Can a Pregnant Woman Go Out To Reshus Harabim on Shabbos?

Parah (2:1) | Zamir Pollak | 9 years ago

There is a dispute in the Mishnah in Parah (2:1) whether a parah meuberes(pregnant) can be used for a parah adumah. R’ Eliezer holds that it may be used, while the Chachamim disagree. The Rash in his perush on the Mishnah examines the dispute. What exactly is the issue over which these tanaim are arguing? The Rash gives threes possibilities. The first answer, also quoted by the Rav, is that the dispute is whether we say uber yerech imo hu (the foetus is consider part of the mother) is or lav yerech imo(the foetus is independent). The chachamim hold that the foetus is not considered yerech imo and therefore the parah meuberes in pesulah since it has performed melechah (work). Namely, it has carried its foetus, which is viewed as a separate entity.

The Rash’s second answer is similar to the first. The machlokes is over uber yerech imo hu, but the reason that the chachamim invalidate a parah meuberes is not entirely clear, even after a close reading of the Rash. All the Rash says is the foetus is considered chullin, as seen from other places in shas. It would seem that the explanation would be like that of the Tifferes Yisrael and as the Chazon Ish says for the Rash, that there is a gezeiras hakasuv to only shecht one parah at a time and to burn on the woodpile only one parah at a time (Parah 3:7). According to the chachamim who hold uber lav yerech imo hu, when the parah is shechted and subsequently burned, really, those actions were done to two cows. The Rash points out that, according to this understanding, the meuberes is only invalid, while pregnant. Once she has given birth, she is again fitting to be a parah adumah.

The Rash in his third answer, quotes R’ Yitzchak MiSimpont, saying that the whole dispute is regarding the foetus, if when born it will be suitable to be a parah adumah. The Chachamim hold that it is not suitable since the pasuk in the parsha of parah adumah says “parah” – that the animal must be a parah b’sha’as lekicha, when acquired, and not a foetus or even a calf.

With the aforementioned analysis we can now come to back to our title question. According to the Chachamim that uber lav yerech imo hu, how can a pregnant woman go out to the reshus harabim on Shabbos? She would be carrying! This question is actually asked and left unanswered by the Chelkas Yoav in his Kaba Kashyasa(no. 6). The Chelkas Yoav emphasizes that this kushya is only on the first approach of the Rash, because l’halacha there is no issue whatsoever, as the Chelkas Yoav demonstrates. In any event, the third approach of the Rash is not relevant to the question and the according to the second approach it could be inferred that it would be allowed for a meuberes to go out to the reshus harabim. The Achronim answer simply that the parameters of malachah on Shabbos are quite different than those of the parah adumah, and thus, the two topics, cannot be compared.


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