Shabbat, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Six



This mishnah is not concerned with carrying as are the preceding and following mishnayot.  It is here because at the end of this mishnah Rabbi Shimon has a debate with the other sages as he did in yesterday’s mishnah.


Mishnah Six

1)      If one pares his nails with each other or with his teeth, likewise [if one plucks] his hair, likewise his mustache, likewise his beard;

a)      And likewise if [a woman] braids [her hair], likewise if she paints [her eyelids] likewise if she puts rouge on [her face]:

b)      Rabbi Eliezer makes them liable,

c)      But the rabbis forbid [these actions] because of “shevuth.”

2)      If one picks [something] from a perforated pot, he is liable.

a)      If it is unperforated, he is exempt.

b)      Rabbi Shimon exempts in both cases.



Section one:  According to Rabbi Eliezer all of these actions are derivatives of forbidden labors and hence one who performs them is liable.  Cutting nails and hair is a derivative of “shearing.”  Braiding is a derivative of “building.”  Painting body parts is a derivative of “writing” or “dyeing.” 

The rabbis say that these things are forbidden but they are not considered true derivatives of prohibited labors since they are not done in the way that those labors are usually performed.  However, they are still prohibited because of “shevut”—which means desisting. This means that a person should desist from things that are similar enough to forbidden labors.  However, the level of prohibition is only “derabbanan”, of rabbinic origin.

Section two:  A perforated pot contains plants whose roots are attached to the ground.  Hence, one who plucks something from such a pot has performed the forbidden act of reaping.  However, if the pot has no hole in its bottom than he is exempt because reaping is defined as detaching a plant or part thereof from the ground. 

Rabbi Shimon says that in both cases the one who plucks is exempt because we don’t consider even a perforated pot as being attached to the ground.