Shabbos 26 – שבת כו

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Today’s Daf Yomi Question:

R’ Tarfon only allows olive oil since other oils are not drawn as well to the wick and involve a concern of shema yateh (Tosfos).  R’ Yochanan Ben Nuri challenged this by pointing to the people of Bavel who don’t have access to olive oil; but how does this inaccessibility mitigate the fact that it is assur on account of shema yateh?

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5 thoughts on “Shabbos 26 – שבת כו

  1. what is r tarfon response to r yochanan ben nuri when he said what should all the people do who live inother countries that dont have shemen zayis? cause r tarfon holds only shemen zayis

    • There is actually an interesting continuation of this conversation as recorded in the Medrash Tanchuma (Parshas Behaaloscha) where Rav Tarfon responds: “we see that the Torah itself favored and insisted on Shemen Zayis as the exclusive oil for kindling in the Beis Hamikdash – and this is stressed and repeated three times in the Torah…” It appears that according to Rav Tarfon the Torah’s insistence on olive oil is absolute, and indeed he will maintain that just as by the Menorah should they face a situation where they don’t have access to olive oil they would certainly be exempt, by Ner Shabbos too they would be exempt.

    • Good point. Perhaps we can answer:
      1) The Gemara leaves of with the challenge from Rav Yochanan (without recording the response) to indicate that we don’t follow Rav Tarfon’s shita.
      2) Tosfos (23a D”H Meiraish) seems to have a different understanding than the Medrash; Rav Tarfon was actually forbidding other oils on Shabbos for any lamp (not just Ner Shabbos) since he may come to adjust the unsteady flame (produced by those oils). According to this there is no need for Rav Tarfon to re-state this reason/concern which is evidently the basis for the entire braisa.

  2. Nothing is inherently forbidden until we Assur it. Just as a Gezeira that the majority cannot hold by is null, so too, we can’t make a Gezeira that is impractical.

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