Shabbos 91: Carrying…and Free Will?

We all know that carrying on Shabbat from one domain to another domain (public domain to private or vice versa) is prohibited.  The act of “carrying” requires a minimum measurement  or amount being carried. The measurement /amount differs from various substances, for example carrying food the measurement is a ripe fig, other items, utensils, vessels all have different minimal measurement amounts.  There is an exception. If one determines that the item is “important” or has value. The hebrew is “chashuv” or “chashivut”.  So, if an item is “chashuv” to an individual, he is liable for carrying even less than the normal minimum amount.

On page 91 an interesting question pops out. What if someone intends his items ( that are less than the amount to be liablie for “carrying”) to be “Chashuf.’   Then a second  person unknowingly carries them from one domain to” another domain. The second person sees that the amount is less than the minimum requirement to be held liable and thinks that the is acting permissively.   The second person does not know the original person intended the item to be “chashuv.”  According R. Shimon Ben Elazar, the second person is liable.

Huh?  How can the second person be liable.? The second guy did not know of the intentions of the first. He was in his right to carry the small amount. Why is he liable.

The SD has a thought.  There is an expression. Man plans and Gd laughs. The SD dosen’t really like that expression.  The better expression is: ” we don’t see the big picture.” We don’t have all the facts. We don’t see the whole universe, cosmos and vision of ultimate reality.  We think we are doing something which is innocent  or harmless and BOOM. We get slammed.  After being thrown we ask: How did I not see that? How did I miss that? Why is this happening to me?  I thought stepping on the  little green thing was ok. I did not know it was a landmine.

This is what Shimon Ben Elizur is teaching us.  We must go through life with a fear and reverence of Hashem, understanding and realizing that even small acts of picking up meaningless or small amounts of things can have significant consequences… And even then we do not always control our reality.  The ultimate lesson is that Hashem controls our reality.  It is a scary inroad into free will. It is difficult with our modern sensibility to accept this.  Hashem controls the world, even down to the smallest most insignificant items.

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2 Responses to Shabbos 91: Carrying…and Free Will?

  1. Emuna Daily says:

    I love how you see these deep hashkafic teachings in an otherwise dry daf. yasher koach!

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