Rabbi Yonason Sacks
Although cooking on yom tov itself is generally permitted, the Gemarah (Pesachim 46b) teaches that one may not cook on yom tov for the sake of a weekday. The Amoraim dispute the punishment incurred for violation of this prohibition. Rabbah exempts such an individual from lashes on account of the principle of "ho'eel u'mikl'ei leih orchim chazi leih" - because the remote possibility exists that uninvited guests may subsequently arrive in one's home on yom tov, the individual's cooking can halachically be considered to be "for the sake of yom tov." Rav Chisda, however, rejects the principle of "ho'eel," arguing that one who cooks on yom tov for the sake of a weekday does receive lashes.
In light of Rav Chisda's rejection of the "ho'eel" principle, Rabbah questions how Rav Chisda would account for the accepted halachic permissibility of cooking on yom tov for the sake of a following Shabbos. Rav Chisda explains his opinion by distinguishing between a subsequent weekday and a subsequent Shabbos. While one who cooks on yom tov for the sake of a weekday violates a Biblical commandment, one who cooks on yom tov for the sake of Shabbos violates no Biblical prohibition, since "Tzorchei Shabbos na'asin b'yom tov" - on a Biblical level, one may cook on yom tov for the sake of Shabbos. Rabbah admits, however, that the Rabbis nonetheless prohibited such an activity, lest one come to cook on yom tov for the sake of a weekday. If, however, one establishes an eruv tavshilin as a "recognizable sign," he will never come to accidentally cook on yom tov for a weekday, and the Rabbis then permitted him to cook on yom tov for Shabbos.
Aside from the practical ramification of lashes, the machlokes between Rabbah and Rav Chisda may bear further ramifications. Tosafos (s.v. "Rabbah"), for example, argue that Rabbah's leniency of "ho'eel" does not permit cooking for the sake of a weekday that is performed immediately prior to nightfall. At such a late hour, one cannot reasonably argue that the cooking is for the sake of potential guests, since the food would not be ready in time for them to eat on yom tov. Therefore, according to Rabbah, who views the permissibility of cooking from yom tov to any other day - Shabbos or weekday - as a function of the principle of ho'eel, one may not cook prior to nightfall on yom tov that falls on Erev Shabbos. Rav Chisda, however, who views the allowance to cook on yom tov for the sake of Shabbos as an independent sanction ("Tzorchei Shabbos na'asin b'yom tov"), would permit cooking even at such a late hour. Based on Tosafos' ruling, the Magen Avraham (O.C. 527) notes that it is customary to daven early when yom tov falls on a Friday, in order to prevent people from cooking too close to nightfall.
An additional practical ramification between Rabbah and Rav Chisda may emerge regarding a person who may not cook for himself. The Mahr'ee Weil (Chelek Dinim 55-56) argues that one who fasts on yom tov may not cook for someone else, since such an individual is halachically prohibited from cooking for himself. The principle of "ho'eel" can only operate if a person is capable of cooking for himself. Thus, according to Rabbah's reasoning, even if such a person would wish to cook on a yom tov that falls on Erev Shabbos, he would be prohibited, given the inapplicability of the "ho'eel" principle. If, however, one assumes like Rav Chisda, that the independent permit of "Tzorchei Shabbos na'asin b'yom tov" is what permits cooking on Friday afternoons, such an individual would be permitted to cook for the sake of Shabbos.
The Chochmas Shlomo suggests a further practical ramification. Citing Tosafos (Beitzah 2. s.v. v'haya), the Chochmas Shlomo suggests that the leniency of "ho'eel" only works in settings where guests are generally expected. Therefore, according to Rabbah, a reasonable possibility must exist that guests will arrive on yom tov in order to cook. According to Rav Chisda, however, one may cook on Friday afternoons irrespective of the likelihood of guests' arrival.
The Rambam implies yet an additional practical ramification. In Hilchos Yom Tov (1:15), the Rambam rules that if one cooks on yom tov for a non-Jew, an animal, or for a weekday, no lashes are incurred, because Jewish guests might come and consume the dish on yom tov. The Rambam's ruling implies that such cooking is only permitted if one accepts the broad leniency of "ho'eel." Without this principle, however, one could not simply "overlook" such inappropriate cooking, and such an activity would indeed warrant the administration of lashes.
The Needs of Shabbos are Done on Yom Tov
Rashi (Pesachim 46a, s.v. "M'd'oraisa") explains that the argument between Rabbah and Rav Chisda regarding whether or not "the needs of Shabbos may be performed on yom tov depends on the halachic relationship between Shabbos and yom tov. Rav Chisda maintains that one is Biblically permitted to cook on yom tov for the sake of Shabbos because Shabbos and yom tov are considered "kedusha achas"- the same level of holiness. Because they share the same degree of holiness, the sanctity of yom tov fuses with the sanctity of Shabbos, as if yom tov and Shabbos constituted a single forty-eight hour day. Thus, according to Rashi, the concept of "kedusha achas"-underlies the leniency of Rav Chisda.
The Meiri (Beitzah 4a, s.v. "Beitzah"), however, disagrees with Rashi's application of "kedusha achas." The concept of "kedusha achas," argues the Meiri, is merely a Rabbinic innovation introduced to create stringencies. For example, if Shabbos and yom tov are considered "shtei kedushos"- two different degrees of holiness - an egg that was laid on Shabbos (and therefore muktzeh) would be permitted on yom tov (if yom tov falls on the next day): because Shabbos and yom tov constitute two distinct entities, the prohibited status of the egg on the first day does not automatically carry over into the second day. If, however, the Rabbis decreed that Shabbos and yom tov are considered to be a fused "kedusha achas,"tantamount to a forty-eight hour day, then an egg laid on Shabbos would remain prohibited through yom tov, given that the second day is merely a halachic extension of the first day.
The Rambam and Raavad appear to maintain a similar disagreement regarding whether or not the concept of "kedusha achas"can ever generate a leniency. On Shabbos and yom tov, a person may elect to change his techum boundaries by establishing an "Eruv tichumin" in a particular location. As long as the "Eruv tichumin" is extant at the onset of Shabbos or yom tov, it remains valid throughout the entire duration of Shabbos or yom tov. The Rambam rules (Hilchos Eruvin 8:8) that one who establishes an "Eruv tichumin" at the start of a two-day yom tov in the diaspora must nonetheless establish a new eruv (or ensure the continued existence of the first eruv) for the second night of yom tov, because the two days of yom tov are considered to exist independently of one another as "shtei kedushos." If, however, one was dealing with a situation of "kedusha achas"(for example, the two days of Rosh Hashannah), the halacha would be different: the establishment of a single "Eruv Tichumin" at the onset of the first night would suffice for both days of yom tov, since the second day exists as an extension of the first. The Raavad, however, argues with the Rambam's understanding of "kedusha achas." Even the two days of Rosh Hashana, which exist as a fused "kedusha achas,"require an independent Eruv on each night, since the concept of "kedusha achas"can never result in a leniency. The Rambam and Rashi thus appear to agree that "kedusha achas"can indeed generate leniencies as well as stringencies.
Based on Rashi's explanation of the argument between Rabbah and Rav Chisda, the Ramban (Milchamos Hashem, Beitzah 15a) rules that the halacha must follow Rabbah. The Ramban bases his argument on the fact that we traditionally consider yom tov and Shabbos to be "shtei kedushos." If yom tov and Shabbos exist as two independent sanctities, the Ramban reasons, Rashi's explanation of Rav Chisda would force us to reject the principle of "Tzorchei Shabbos na'asin b'yom tov." Tosafos (Pesachim 47a, s.v. v'ee), however, argue on Rashi, maintaining that Rav Chisda's opinion of "Tzorchei Shabbos na'asin b'yom tov" is not rooted in the link between the kedusha of Shabbos and yom tov. Rather, Rav Chidsa permits preparation for Shabbos on yom tov because if one would not do so, one would not prepare for Shabbos at all (in contrast to a weekday). Because there is no other opportunity for such an individual to prepare, this preparation is deemed "ochel nefesh" - necessary food preparation, of yom tov itself.
The Baal HaMaor (ibid.) disputes the Ramban's conclusion, maintaining that the halacha indeed does follow Rav Chisda. He proves this halacha from the Rabbinic prohibition of inviting a non-Jew to one's home on yom tov, lest one come to cook for the non-Jew. The Baal HaMaor reasons that if the Rabbis enacted an additional protective prohibition to prevent cooking for a non-Jew, then cooking for a non-Jew itself must constitute a Biblical prohibition. If cooking for a non-Jew was itself a Rabbinic prohibition, the Rabbis would not enact an additional preventive prohibition, as such a safeguard would constitute a "gezeirah legezeirah - fence for a fence", which Chazal generally do not enact. The Baal HaMaor thus concludes that the halacha must follow Rav Chisda: according to Rabbah, cooking for a non-Jew can only be a Rabbinic injunction, because the principle of "ho'eel" recognizes the possibility that other Jewish guests might arrive on yom tov. According to Rav Chisda, we do not accept the principle of "ho'eel," and cooking for a non-Jew on yom tov violates a Biblical prohibition.
Whether Shabbos and yom tov constitute "kedusha achas"or "shtei kedushos"may depend upon the nature and scope of the permit to perform food related activities ("meleches ochel nefesh") on yom tov. The Rambam (Hilchos Eruvin 8:10) relates that when the calendar was fixed on the basis of lunar sightings, Yom Kippur could theoretically fall on a Friday or Sunday (in the current calendrical system, such an occurrence is impossible). In such a situation, the two days would be considered like a single day - "kedusha achas." The Maggid Mishneh explains that this relationship is due to Shabbos and Yom Kippur's equal level of prohibited melachot - both Shabbos and Yom Kippur grant no permit for food related activities. The Ran in Beitzah (22a in Rif, s.v. Ashkachan) echoes a similar sentiment as well. The Rambam and the Ran thus reveal a critical principle: the status of "kedusha achas" or "shtei kedushos"depends on whether or not the two days share identical prohibited melachot. The question that remains, then, is whether Shabbos and yom tov actually share an identical set of melachot or not.
There is three-way argument regarding the scope and nature of the permissibility of meleches ochel nefesh on yom tov. The Mishnah in Beitzah (23b) teaches that one may not trap fish on yom tov. Rashi (s.v. ein) explains that this form of trapping is prohibited, even though it is meleches ochel nefesh, because one could have trapped the fish before yom tov. Apparently, Rashi holds that meleches ochel nefesh only permits doing a melacha that could not have been done before yom tov. This limitation implies that the nature of the heter of ochel nefesh is not carte-blanche, categorical permissibility, but rather, a limited dispensation to perform activities which are absolutely and unavoidably necessary for yom tov. The Achronim refer to this restricted permit as "dichui" - literally, "pushed aside." That is, on yom tov, all thirty nine melachos of Shabbos exist on yom tov as well, but extenuating circumstances (things which could not be performed the day before) allow for overriding these prohibitions for the sake of yom tov.
Tosafos (ibid 3a s.v. gizerah), however, disagree with Rashi's limited dispensation. They argue that meleches ochel nefesh is permitted on yom tov, even if one could have easily completed the melacha before yom tov. The Ran (12a in Rif, s.v. ein) agrees with Tosafos as well. Tosafos and the Ran thus appear to maintain a broader, more generous understanding of the Torah's permit to perform meleches ochel nefesh. As opposed to merely "pushing aside" the prohibitions of food preparation in a limited fashion (dichui), the preparation of food on yom tov is absolutely permissible, a term referred to by the Achronim as "hutra".
The Ramban goes a step further: not only is meleches ochel nefesh absolutely permitted (hutra) on yom tov, it was never even prohibited to begin with. According to Rashi, Tosafos, and the Ran, the list of prohibited melachos on Shabbos is identical to the list of prohibited melachos on yom tov. In their eyes, the only difference between Shabbos and yom tov is that on yom tov, we have a right to override some of these prohibited melachos for the sake of food preparation (Rashi merely debates Tosafos and the Ran regarding the extent of this "overriding"). In the Ramban's eyes, however, the list of prohibited melachos on yom tov is fundamentally different from the list of prohibited melachos on Shabbos. When a person performs an act of food preparation on yom tov, he is not overriding a prohibition; he is rather performing an activity that was never prohibited in the first place. The Ramban (Vayikra 23:7) proves this distinction from a close reading of the Torah's wording. Regarding Shabbos, the Torah prohibits the performance of "Kol melacha" - all types of labor. Regarding yom tov, however, the Torah only prohibits "meleches avodah"- laborious work. The Ramban explains that "meleches avodah"refers to melacha which brings no pleasure - i.e., melacha not performed for the sake of food preparation. If, however, one is engaged in "meleches hana'ah," pleasurable food preparation, one is not violating any prohibition whatsoever. Thus, argues the Ramban, the melachos involved in food preparation were never prohibited by the Torah (see also Milchamos Hashem Beitzah 13a in Rif).
A practical ramification between the Ran and the Ramban may emerge with regard to one who performs melachos for the sake of food which are not permitted. Although most food-preparation activities are permitted on yom tov, certain food-related melachos such as harvesting and grinding peppers are nonetheless prohibited. The Ran (Beitzah 12a in Rif, s.v. ein) and the Ramban argue as to whether or not these prohibitions are Biblical or Rabbinic. According to the Ran, these prohibitions are merely Rabbinic. According to the Ramban, however, one who performs such activities violates a Biblical prohibition.
Perhaps this dispute is a function of their understanding of the permit meleches ochel nefesh on yom tov. According to the Ramban, there is no "permit" of Ochel Nefesh. Rather, certain activities fall into the category of "meleches avodah" and are prohibited, and other activities fall into the category of "meleches hana'ah" and were never prohibited to begin with. Thus, if a melacha is not labeled as "meleches hana'ah," it is by default Biblically prohibited. According to the Ran, however, the Torah provides a general "permit" of "hutra" across the board to override all food-related prohibitions, and the Rabbis determined which melachos should and should not be included in this permit. Thus, one who performs a melacha for the sake of food can only be violating a Rabbinic prohibition.
Perhaps one can understand the disagreement between Rabbah and Rav Chisda in light of this background. Citing the aforementioned Maggid Mishneh (Hilchos Eruvin 8:10), Rav Hershel Schachter (Eretz HaTzvi 9: 4) explains that whether Shabbos and yom tov constitute "kedusha achas" or "shtei kedushos depends on the argument between the Ramban and the Ran. Rav Chisda, who holds that Shabbos and yom tov constitute "kedusha achas," would agree with the Ran. In essence, Shabbos and yom tov share the same set of prohibited melachos. Yom tov merely bears a special dispensation to sometimes override these melachos for the sake of food preparation. This dispensation could perhaps be analogized to the dispensation of pikuach nefesh - matters of life and death - on Shabbos. Although the permit of pikuach nefesh overrides the Shabbos, it does not alter the essential identity of the melachos. Given their essential equality of melachos, Shabbos and yom tov constitute a "kedusha achas."Rabbah, however, would likely hold like the Ramban: fundamentally, Shabbos and yom tov have entirely different sets of melachos, and therefore constitute two independent kedushos.
Rav Schachter adds that this explanation may further elucidate the argument between Rabbah and Rav Chisda regarding the principle of "ho'eel." In accepting the principle of "ho'eel," Rabbah entirely ignores the intent of an individual: even if a person expressly intended to cook for after yom tov, the halacha "pretends" that he is truly cooking for the sake of potential guests on yom tov. Rav Chisda, however, rejects "ho'eel," presumably because he perceives the person's intent as critical. Why, then, does Rabbah disregard the actual intent of the individual, while Rav Chisda requires it?
Perhaps this dispute is further consistent with the above analysis. The Gemarah (Yevamos 64a) teaches that whenever a prohibition is overridden, one must have intent to override it. For example, if a person spreads out a fishing net on Shabbos intending to catch fish (a Biblically prohibited activity), and completely unintentionally, his net retrieves and saves the life of a drowning baby, the person is nonetheless liable for violating the Shabbos. Although he ultimately did perform an act of "pikuach nefesh" which normally overrides the Shabbos, "pikuach nefesh" can only override the Shabbos if an individual intends for it to do so. Thus, if the permit of ochel nefesh is "overriding" the prohibition of melacha on yom tov, as the Ran maintains, one's intent is critical. Thus, Rav Chisda, who sides with the Ran, requires proper intent and dismisses the principle of "ho'eel." If, however, ochel nefesh activities were never prohibited to begin with, no "overriding" is occurring. Rather, one is permitting an activity that is fundamentally permitted, much like drinking water or taking a nap. Because there is no trace of a prohibition in this activity, a person's mindset is irrelevant. Hence, Rabbah, who holds like the Ramban that food preparation activities were never prohibited on yom tov to begin with, can accept the principle of "ho'eel."