מַתְנִי׳ רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר: אִם לֹא הֵבִיא כְּלִי מֵעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת — מְבִיאוֹ בְּשַׁבָּת מְגוּלֶּה, וּבַסַּכָּנָה מְכַסֵּהוּ עַל פִּי עֵדִים.
MISHNA: As a continuation to the discussion at the end of the previous chapter, which mentioned circumcision in the context of a discussion of the halakhot of childbirth on Shabbat, the mishna continues to address the halakhot of circumcision. Rabbi Eliezer says: If he did not bring an implement for circumcising the child on Shabbat eve, he brings it on Shabbat itself uncovered so that it will be clear to all that he is bringing a circumcision scalpel. And in times of danger, when decrees of persecution prohibit Jews from circumcising their children, one covers it in the presence of witnesses who can testify that he transported the scalpel to perform a mitzva.
וְעוֹד אָמַר רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר: כּוֹרְתִים עֵצִים לַעֲשׂוֹת פֶּחָמִין לַעֲשׂוֹת (כְּלִי) בַּרְזֶל.
And furthermore, Rabbi Eliezer said with regard to this issue: One may even cut down trees to prepare charcoal in order to fashion iron tools for the purpose of circumcision.
כְּלָל אָמַר רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא: כׇּל מְלָאכָה שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר לַעֲשׂוֹתָהּ מֵעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת — אֵינָהּ דּוֹחָה אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת, וּמִילָה שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לַעֲשׂוֹתָהּ מֵעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת דּוֹחָה אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת.
Rabbi Eliezer’s approach was not universally accepted, and a principle was stated by Rabbi Akiva: Any prohibited labor that can be performed on Shabbat eve does not override Shabbat, including transporting the circumcision scalpel. However, any prohibited labor involved in the mitzva of circumcision itself that cannot be performed on Shabbat eve overrides Shabbat.
גְּמָ׳ אִיבַּעְיָא לְהוּ: טַעְמָא דְּרַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר מִשּׁוּם חַבּוֹבֵי מִצְוָה, אוֹ דִילְמָא מִשּׁוּם חֲשָׁדָא. לְמַאי נָפְקָא מִינַּהּ? לְאֵתוֹיֵי מְכוּסֶּה עַל פִּי עֵדִים. אִי אָמְרַתְּ מִשּׁוּם חַבּוֹבֵי מִצְוָה, מְגוּלֶּה — אִין, מְכוּסֶּה — לָא. אֶלָּא אִי אָמְרַתְּ מִשּׁוּם חֲשָׁדָא — אֲפִילּוּ מְכוּסֶּה, שַׁפִּיר דָּמֵי. מַאי?
GEMARA: A dilemma was raised before the Sages: Is the reason for Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion that the scalpel must be uncovered due to affection for the mitzva and the desire to publicize it, or perhaps it is due to avoiding suspicion? The Gemara asks: What practical difference is there between the two reasons suggested for Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion? The Gemara answers: The difference is with regard to the question of whether or not it is permitted to bring the scalpel covered in the presence of witnesses who are aware that one is bringing the scalpel for the purpose of circumcision. If you say the reason is due to affection for the mitzva, then if it is uncovered, yes, there is a display of affection for the mitzva. If it is covered, no, there is no display of affection. However, if you say the reason for this ruling is due to avoiding suspicion, even if it is covered he may well do so, because the witnesses are aware that a circumcision will be performed. What is the resolution of this dilemma?
אִיתְּמַר אָמַר רַבִּי לֵוִי: לֹא אֲמָרָהּ רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אֶלָּא לְחַבּוֹבֵי מִצְוָה. תַּנְיָא נָמֵי הָכִי: מְבִיאוֹ מְגוּלֶּה וְאֵין מְבִיאוֹ מְכוּסֶּה, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר. אָמַר רַב אָשֵׁי: מַתְנִיתִין נָמֵי דַּיְקָא, דְּקָתָנֵי: וּבִשְׁעַת הַסַּכָּנָה מְכַסֵּהוּ עַל פִּי עֵדִים, בְּסַכָּנָה — אִין, שֶׁלֹּא בְּסַכָּנָה — לָא, שְׁמַע מִינַּהּ מִשּׁוּם חַבּוֹבֵי מִצְוָה. שְׁמַע מִינַּהּ.
It was stated that Rabbi Levi said: Rabbi Eliezer only stated this ruling to express affection for the mitzva. That opinion was also taught in a baraita: If a child is to be circumcised on Shabbat and they failed to bring the scalpel on Shabbat eve, one brings it on Shabbat uncovered, but he does not bring it covered; this is the statement of Rabbi Eliezer. Rav Ashi said: The language of the mishna is also precise in support of this opinion, as it teaches: And in a time of danger he covers it in the presence of witnesses. By inference, in a time of danger, yes, he covers it; when it is not a time of danger, no, he does not cover it. Conclude from this that the scalpel is uncovered due to affection for the mitzva. The Gemara states: Indeed, conclude from this.
תַּנְיָא אִידַּךְ: מְבִיאוֹ מְגוּלֶּה וְאֵין מְבִיאוֹ מְכוּסֶּה, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר, רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר: נוֹהֲגִין הָיוּ בִּשְׁעַת הַסַּכָּנָה שֶׁהָיוּ מְבִיאִין מְכוּסֶּה עַל פִּי עֵדִים.
It was taught in another baraita: He brings the scalpel uncovered, and he does not bring it covered; this is the statement of Rabbi Eliezer. Rabbi Yehuda says in the name of Rabbi Eliezer: In a time of danger they would customarily bring the scalpel covered in the presence of witnesses.
אִיבַּעְיָא לְהוּ, עֵדִים דְּקָאָמַר: אִיהוּ וְחַד, אוֹ דִילְמָא: הוּא וּתְרֵי.
With regard to these witnesses, a dilemma was raised before the Sages: The necessary witnesses that he is saying, do they include he who is bringing the scalpel and one other witness? Or perhaps they include he who brought the scalpel and two other witnesses to testify on his behalf.
תָּא שְׁמַע: וּבַסַּכָּנָה מְכַסֵּהוּ עַל פִּי עֵדִים. אִי אָמְרַתְּ בִּשְׁלָמָא הוּא וּתְרֵי — שַׁפִּיר, אֶלָּא אִי אָמְרַתְּ הוּא וְחַד, מַאי ״עֵדִים״? שֶׁרְאוּיִם לְהָעִיד בִּמְקוֹם אַחֵר.
Come and hear a resolution to this dilemma from the language of the mishna, which stated: And in times of danger he covers it in the presence of witnesses. Granted, if you say it is referring to him and two other witnesses, it works out well; the wording is appropriate. However, if you say it is referring to him and one other witness, what is to be made of the use of the term witnesses in the plural when there is only one other witness? The Gemara refutes this proof: They may still be called witnesses, in the plural, because they, i.e., he and the other witness, are fit to testify elsewhere.
וְעוֹד אָמַר רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר, תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: בִּמְקוֹמוֹ שֶׁל רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר הָיוּ כּוֹרְתִין עֵצִים לַעֲשׂוֹת פֶּחָמִין לַעֲשׂוֹת בַּרְזֶל בְּשַׁבָּת, בִּמְקוֹמוֹ שֶׁל רַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי הָיוּ אוֹכְלִין בְּשַׂר עוֹף בְּחָלָב.
We learned in our mishna: And furthermore, Rabbi Eliezer said: One may even cut down trees to prepare charcoal for the purpose of circumcision on Shabbat. With regard to this issue, the Sages taught in a baraita: In the locale of Rabbi Eliezer, where they would follow his ruling, they would even cut down trees on Shabbat to prepare charcoal from it in order to fashion iron tools with which to circumcise a child on Shabbat. On a related note, the baraita relates: In the locale of Rabbi Yosei HaGelili they would eat poultry meat in milk, as Rabbi Yosei HaGelili held that the prohibition of meat in milk does not include poultry.
לֵוִי אִיקְּלַע לְבֵי יוֹסֵף רִישְׁבָּא. קָרִיבוּ לֵיהּ רֵישָׁא דְטַוּוֹסָא בַּחֲלָבָא, לָא אֲכַל. כִּי אֲתָא לְקַמֵּיהּ דְּרַבִּי אֲמַר לֵיהּ: אַמַּאי לָא תְּשַׁמְּתִינְהוּ? אֲמַר לֵיהּ: אַתְרֵיהּ דְּרַבִּי יְהוּדָה בֶּן בְּתִירָה הֲוָה, וְאָמֵינָא: דִּילְמָא דְּרַשׁ לְהוּ כְּרַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי.
The Gemara relates: Levi happened to come to the house of Yosef the hunter. They served him the head of a peacock [tavsa] in milk and he did not eat. When Levi came before Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, the latter said to him: Why did you not excommunicate these people who eat poultry in milk, contrary to the decree of the Sages? Levi said to him: It was in the locale of Rabbi Yehuda ben Beteira, and I said: Perhaps he taught them that the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei HaGelili, who permits the eating of poultry meat in milk. Given the possibility that their rabbi rules that it is permitted, I cannot come and prohibit it, and I certainly cannot excommunicate them for it.
דִּתְנַן, רַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי אוֹמֵר: נֶאֱמַר ״לֹא תֹאכְלוּ כׇל נְבֵלָה״, וְנֶאֱמַר ״לֹא תְבַשֵּׁל גְּדִי בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ״. אֶת שֶׁאָסוּר מִשּׁוּם נְבֵלָה — אָסוּר לְבַשֵּׁל בְּחָלָב. עוֹף שֶׁאָסוּר מִשּׁוּם נְבֵלָה, יָכוֹל יְהֵא אָסוּר לְבַשֵּׁל בְּחָלָב — תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר: ״בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ״, יָצָא עוֹף שֶׁאֵין לוֹ חֲלֵב אֵם.
As we learned in a mishna, Rabbi Yosei HaGelili says: It is stated in the verse: “You shall not eat anything that dies of itself; to the stranger at your gates you may give it, that he may eat it; or you may sell it to a foreigner; for you are a holy people to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 14:21), and it is stated later in the same verse: “You shall not cook a kid in its mother’s milk.” From the juxtaposition of the two issues it is derived: That which is prohibited due to the prohibition against eating an unslaughtered animal, it is prohibited to cook it in milk. The prohibition against cooking a creature in milk is not limited to only a kid. If so, with regard to poultry, which is prohibited due to the prohibition against eating an unslaughtered animal, I might have thought it should be prohibited to cook it in milk; therefore, the verse states: “In its mother’s milk.” This excludes poultry, which does not have mother’s milk and is therefore not included in the prohibition.
אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק: עִיר אַחַת הָיְתָה בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהָיוּ עוֹשִׂין כְּרַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר וְהָיוּ מֵתִים בִּזְמַנָּן. וְלֹא עוֹד, אֶלָּא שֶׁפַּעַם אַחַת גָּזְרָה מַלְכוּת הָרְשָׁעָה גְּזֵרָה עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל הַמִּילָה, וְעַל אוֹתָהּ הָעִיר לָא גָּזְרָה.
Rabbi Yitzḥak said: There was one city in Eretz Yisrael where they would act in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer with regard to circumcision, and they would die at their appointed time and not earlier, as a reward for their affection for this mitzva. And not only that, but on one occasion the wicked empire, Rome, issued a decree against the Jewish people prohibiting circumcision; but against that city it did not issue the decree.
תַּנְיָא, רַבָּן שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן גַּמְלִיאֵל אוֹמֵר: כׇּל מִצְוָה שֶׁקִּיבְּלוּ עֲלֵיהֶם בְּשִׂמְחָה, כְּגוֹן מִילָה, דִּכְתִיב: ״שָׂשׂ אָנֹכִי עַל אִמְרָתֶךָ כְּמוֹצֵא שָׁלָל רָב״ — עֲדַיִין עוֹשִׂין אוֹתָהּ בְּשִׂמְחָה. וְכׇל מִצְוָה שֶׁקִּבְּלוּ עֲלֵיהֶם בִּקְטָטָה, כְּגוֹן עֲרָיוֹת, דִּכְתִיב: ״וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה אֶת הָעָם בּוֹכֶה לְמִשְׁפְּחוֹתָיו״, עַל עִסְקֵי מִשְׁפְּחוֹתָיו — עֲדַיִין עוֹשִׂין אוֹתָהּ בִּקְטָטָה, דְּלֵיכָּא כְּתוּבָּה דְּלָא רָמוּ בַּהּ תִּיגְרָא.
Apropos affection for the mitzva of circumcision, the Gemara cites a baraita in which it was taught that Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: Every mitzva that the Jews initially accepted upon themselves with joy, such as circumcision, as it is written: “I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great spoil” (Psalms 119:162), and as the Sages explained, this “word” refers to the mitzva of circumcision, over which they rejoiced, they still perform it with joy. And every mitzva that the Jews initially accepted upon themselves with contentiousness and regret, such as the prohibition against incestuous relations, as it is written: “And Moses heard the people weeping, family by family” (Numbers 11:10), and as the Sages interpreted homiletically: They wept over matters pertaining to their families, as they were prohibited at that time from marrying family members, they still perform with contentiousness. The fact is that there is no marriage contract and wedding in which contentiousness does not arise, as there is inevitably some conflict between the parties. The baraita asserts that this is because, initially, the Jews did not accept the laws governing marriage and family relationships willingly.
תַּנְיָא, רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר אוֹמֵר: כׇּל מִצְוָה שֶׁמָּסְרוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עַצְמָן עֲלֵיהֶם לְמִיתָה בִּשְׁעַת גְּזֵרַת הַמַּלְכוּת, כְּגוֹן עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה וּמִילָה — עֲדַיִין הִיא מוּחְזֶקֶת בְּיָדָם, וְכׇל מִצְוָה שֶׁלֹּא מָסְרוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עַצְמָן עָלֶיהָ לְמִיתָה בִּשְׁעַת גְּזֵרַת הַמַּלְכוּת, כְּגוֹן תְּפִילִּין — עֲדַיִין הִיא מְרוּפָּה בְּיָדָם.
It was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says in praise of the observance of the mitzva of circumcision: Any mitzva for which the Jews sacrificed their lives at the time of the decrees of the wicked empire, such as the prohibition of idolatry and the mitzva of circumcision, is still steadfastly observed. And any mitzva for which the Jews did not sacrifice their lives at the time of the decrees of the wicked empire, such as phylacteries, is still casually observed, meaning that they are not as careful in its fulfillment as they should be.
דְּאָמַר רַבִּי יַנַּאי: תְּפִילִּין צְרִיכִין גּוּף נָקִי כֶּאֱלִישָׁע בַּעַל כְּנָפַיִם. מַאי הִיא? אָמַר אַבָּיֵי: שֶׁלֹּא יָפִיחַ בָּהֶם, רָבָא אָמַר: שֶׁלֹּא יִישַׁן בָּהֶם.
The Gemara cites proof that the mitzva of phylacteries was not fulfilled properly at the time of the decrees, based upon an incident related to the following halakha. As Rabbi Yannai said: Donning phylacteries requires a clean body like that of Elisha, Man of Wings. What is included in the requirement to have a clean body? Abaye said: That one may not pass wind in them. Rava said: That one may not sleep in them.
וְאַמַּאי קָרוּ לֵיהּ ״אֱלִישָׁע בַּעַל כְּנָפַיִם״? שֶׁפַּעַם אַחַת גָּזְרָה מַלְכוּת הָרְשָׁעָה גְּזֵרָה עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁכׇּל הַמַּנִּיחַ תְּפִילִּין עַל רֹאשׁוֹ — יִקְּרוּ אֶת מוֹחוֹ, וְהָיָה אֱלִישָׁע מַנִּיחַ תְּפִילִּין וְיָצָא לַשּׁוּק, וְרָאָהוּ קַסְדּוֹר אֶחָד. רָץ מִלְּפָנָיו וְרָץ אַחֲרָיו. כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ אֶצְלוֹ, נְטָלָן מֵרֹאשׁוֹ וַאֲחָזָן בְּיָדוֹ. אָמַר לוֹ: מַה בְּיָדְךָ? אָמַר לוֹ: כַּנְפֵי יוֹנָה. פָּשַׁט אֶת יָדוֹ וְנִמְצְאוּ בָּהּ כַּנְפֵי יוֹנָה. לְפִיכָךְ הָיוּ קוֹרְאִין אוֹתוֹ ״בַּעַל כְּנָפַיִם״.
The Gemara asks: And why did they call him Elisha, Man of Wings? Because on one occasion the wicked empire of Rome issued a decree against the Jewish people that, as punishment, they would pierce the brain of anyone who dons phylacteries on his head. Nevertheless, Elisha would don them and defiantly go out to the marketplace. One day, an official who was appointed to enforce the decree saw him. Elisha ran away from him, and the official ran after him. When the official reached him, Elisha removed the phylacteries from his head and held them in his hand. The officer asked him: What is in your hand? Elisha said to him: It is merely a dove’s wings. A miracle took place: He opened his hand, and, indeed, it was found to be a dove’s wings. Therefore, in commemoration of this miracle, they would call him Elisha, Man of Wings.
מַאי שְׁנָא כַּנְפֵי יוֹנָה דַּאֲמַר לֵיהּ, וְלָא אֲמַר לֵיהּ שְׁאָר עוֹפוֹת? מִשּׁוּם דְּדָמְיָא כְּנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל לְיוֹנָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״כַּנְפֵי יוֹנָה נֶחְפָּה בַכֶּסֶף וְאֶבְרוֹתֶיהָ בִּירַקְרַק חָרוּץ״ — מַה יּוֹנָה זוֹ כְּנָפֶיהָ מְגִינּוֹת עָלֶיהָ, אַף יִשְׂרָאֵל מִצְוֹת מְגִינּוֹת עֲלֵיהֶן.
The Gemara asks: And what is different about a dove’s wings, that Elisha specifically told him that he was holding the wings of a dove and he did not tell him he was holding the wings of other birds? The Gemara answers: Because the congregation of Israel is likened to a dove, as it is stated: “You shall shine as the wings of a dove covered with silver and her pinions with yellow gold” (Psalms 68:14). Just as a dove has only its wings to protect it, so too, the Jewish people have only mitzvot to protect them. Apparently, Elisha Man of Wings was vigilant in fulfilling the mitzva of phylacteries in the face of the decree, whereas the rest of the people were not.
אָמַר רַבִּי אַבָּא בַּר רַב אַדָּא אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק: פַּעַם אַחַת שָׁכְחוּ וְלֹא הֵבִיאוּ אִיזְמֵל מֵעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת, וֶהֱבִיאוּהוּ בְּשַׁבָּת [דֶּרֶךְ גַּגּוֹת וְדֶרֶךְ חֲצֵירוֹת]
Rabbi Abba bar Rav Adda said that Rabbi Yitzḥak said as follows: On one occasion they were supposed to circumcise a baby on Shabbat, and they forgot and did not bring a scalpel with which to circumcise him on Shabbat eve, and they brought it on Shabbat via roofs and via courtyards,