[bm32b. We begin with the last two words on p. 32a.]
[This section of text and the next are devoted to a detailed exploration of the question whether prevention of cruelty to animals is a biblical commandment or a rabbinic rule].
[In the mishnah, R. Shimon ruled that because two separate biblical verses (Ex. 23:5 and Deut. 22:4) mandate assistance to a person whose beast of burden is in difficulties, both loading and unloading must be done for free. The rabbis in the majority, who ruled that unloading must be done for free but that one can demand payment for loading, based their ruling on the logical principle of "kal v'chomer" (a fortiori, literally _easy and difficult_ or _light and severe_). According to this principle, a bibli cal commandment in a _light_ case is implicitly applicable to a more _severe_ case. For example, if one is forbidden to kindle a fire on Shabbat, it is _certainly_ forbidden to do so on Yom Kippur, which has more stringencies.]
[In the present case, the kal v'chomer assumed by the rabbis is that the _light_ requirement to load mandated by (Deut. 22:4), in which case there is no suffering to the animal that remains unloaded, implies the more _severe_ requirement to unload an anim al suffering under its load. Since, for present purposes, a rule derived from a kal v'chomer has the "strength" of an explicit biblical rule, the "superfluous" verse (Ex. 23:5) must be introducing a new element, the right to demand payment for loading. R. Shimon does not dispute the validity of the kal v'chomer in principle, but argues that the verses are not unambiguous enough for it to be applied.]
Rava said: From the words of both of them [R. Shimon and the rabbis] we can learn that (prevention or relief of) the suffering of living creatures is biblical. Even R. Shimon [only required the explicit verse] because of the scriptural ambiguity; had the verses been conclusive, he would have accepted the kal v'chomer [that the _light_ case (loading) implies the more severe case (unloading).] What would be the basis of the kal v'chomer? Isn't it because unloading relieves the suffering of a living creature ?
[The gemara objects:] Perhaps it is the financial loss [rather than the suffering] that is the basis of the kal v'chomer. And this is how (the argument) would go: Just as loading, where there is no monetary loss (to the owner if the bystander doesn't help ) is required, all the more so in the case of unloading, where there is monetary loss [due to permanent damage to the animal if it is not unloaded].
[The gemara rejects this hypothesis:] But doesn't loading itself prevent monetary loss, since, while the animal is not loaded, the owner cannot go to the market? Or perhaps thieves will come and steal the cargo [that is scattered near the fallen animal]? [Thus, the kal v'chomer cannot be based on monetary loss, and it must be based on the suffering on the animal ...proving a biblical source.]
[The gemara now brings even more evidence:] You should know that the suffering of living creatures is biblical, for we learned at the end of the mishna: R. Yose the Gallilean said that if the animal was carrying more than its appropriate weight [when it l ay down], he is not obligated to help, as it says (Ex 23:5) "under its burden" -- a burden under which it can stand. Does that not imply that the Tanna Kamma [lit. "the (anonymous) First Tanna, whose opinion is shared both by the rabbis and R. Shimon] hol ds that he _is_ obligated to help under these circumstances? Why? Isn't it because suffering of living creatures is a biblical rule? [The assumption is that R. Yose's dissenting opinion, according to which the bystander can allow an overloaded animal to c ontinue to suffer, is based on the view that prevention of suffering is not a biblical commandment. It follows that the rabbis and R. Shimon, who hold that the bystander _must_ help, regard it as biblical.]
[The gemara tentatively rejects this logic:] Maybe [all agree that concern for the suffering of living creatures is not biblical, and] they disagree only regarding "under its burden." R. Yose interprets "under its burden" as a burden under which it can st and [so that the bystander is exempt from assisting if the burden is too great], and the rabbis [and R. Shimon] do not interpret "under its burden" [i.e., they give the phrase no exegesis].
[In our previous text, the gemara tried unsuccessfully to prove that relieving suffering of living creatures was a biblical obligation. Now the gemara provides support for the opposing position:]
You should know that all agree that the suffering of living creatures is _not_ biblical. For the first part of the mishna says that if the owner walked away and sat down, saying "since the commandment is on you, unload it" [and I'll just sit here and watc h], he [the bystander] is exempt, since the verse says "with him" [i.e., you need help only if working with the owner]. And if the suffering of living creatures is biblical, what difference does it make if the owner is helping or not? [Thus, it is clear t hat the obligation to help suffering animals is _not_ biblical!]
[The gemara rejects that proof:] Actually, one can still hold that the suffering of living creatures is biblical. Do you think that the mishna's ruling of "not obligated" [to help] means "completely not obligated?" Perhaps it means that he is not obligate d to unload for free, but he _is_ obligated if he is paid. And this is what the Merciful One is saying: If the owner is with you, work for free, but if the owner is not with you [i.e., helping unload the animal], you may demand payment. And the concern fo r the suffering of living creatures is indeed biblical.
[To those who follow the original text: This section begins with five words in parenthesis, serving as a menemonic for the five following arguments in the ongoing debate on whether the rule to prevent suffering to animals is biblical or rabbinic.]
Let us say that the following b'raita supports Rava [who argues that relieving the suffering of living beings is bibical]. [The b'raita:] One must care for the animal of an idolater just as for the animal of a Jew.
This is understandable if the suffering of living beings is a biblical obligation -- therefore, you care for the animal as if it were the animal of a Jew. But if the suffering of living beings is not biblical, why should he care for it as he cares for a J ews's animal? [The verse (Deut 22:4) requiring assistance in unloading specifies "your brother," which would normally limit the obligation to the animals of other Jews, but not to those of idolaters. In the absence of a general biblical obligation to reli eve the suffering of animals, why would there be an obligation to help the animals of non-Jews?]
[The gemara rejects the proof:] There [in the case of helping the animal of a non-Jew], it is because of enmity. [The reason we help the non-Jew's animal is not because of any biblical requirement, but to promote good social relations; were we not to assi st, our non-Jewish neighbors would hate us.]
This is logical, because we have learned that if the animal was loaded with forbidden wine [wine that was used for idolatry -- a Jew is not permitted benefit from it, even if only by getting paid to move it: cf. Avoda Zara 62a], he does not have to unloa d it. This is understandable if you hold that the obligation to help the suffering animal is not biblical; it follows that he does not have to help. [The policy of avoiding enmity would not overridea biblical prohibition.] But if you hold that it is bibli cal, why should he not have to help? [The biblical requirement should certainly override the rabbinic prohibition against benefitting by moving the forbidden wine.]
The gemara rejects the argument:] [Perhaps it _is_ a biblical requirement,] and this is what it means: He is not required to _load_ it. [But unloading, which does involve relieving the suffering of the animal, would be required, because it is biblical.] < P> [We are at the end of the fourth wide line. The gemara will now attempt to show that concern for the suffering of animals is _not_ biblical. The gemara refers to Ex 23:5, the source for unloading: "When you see your enemy's donkey lying under its burden, and you refrain [from helping]; help, you shall help with him." The phrase "and you refrain" is understood to mean "you would like to refrain", but you may not!]
Come learn from a b'raita: An idolater's animal carrying a Jew's cargo, [you apply the verse literally] "and you refrain" [i.e., you do not have to assist]. If concern for suffering animals was biblical, (why rule by exefggesis of) "and you refrain"? It s hould rule (according to) "help you shall help with him" [the last phrase of that verse]!
[The gemara rejects that hypothesis;] Really the b'raita holds that concern with suffering animals is biblical. But the b'raita was discussing loading, not unloading. [Unloading might well be biblically required, because of the animal's suffering, but thi s would not apply to loading.]
But if so [if the b'raita is discussing loading], what about the last part of the b'raita: A Jew's animal and an idolater's cargo, "help, you shall help with him" [i.e., a Jew _is_ required to assist]. And if the b'raita is dealing with loading, why "help you shall help with him"? [Why should there be any obligation to help with loading?]
Because of the suffering of the Jew. [The reason one must help is not because of the suffering of the animal, but to relieve the suffering of the Jew who owns the animal, and who is obliged to stand by idly if the passer-by doesn't help him load.]
If so, even the first part of the b'raita? [If we are concerned about the suffering of the Jew, shouldn't that also apply to the first part of the b'raita, in which the cargo is owned by a Jew, who will worry that the cargo will be damaged?]
In the first part of the b'raita, the donkey driver was an idolater [and the Jewish owner wasn't there]. [If the animal was owned by an idolater, and the loading was being done by an idolater, a Jew is not obligated to help.] In the second part of the b'r aita [a Jews' donkey and an idolater's cargo], the donkey driver was Jewish [and one must assist him].
Why make these assumptions [that a Jew's animal is driven by a Jew and an idolator's animal is driven by an idolator]? As a rule, a person follows his donkey. [A driver drives his own donkey.]
[Thus, the b'raita _could_ support the position that concern for a suffering animal is indeed biblical. And the b'raita is dealing with a case of loading the animal -- in which case one must help the Jew, but not the idolater. If the b'raita were discussi ng a case of _unloading. However, one would _always_ be obligated to help -- to relieve the suffering of the animal.]
[But how do we know that the b'raita is dealing with loading?] "And you refrain" and "help you shall help" [the biblical proof-texts] were written with respect to unloading [not loading]?!
Rather ... who is the author of the b'raita? It is R. Shimon the Gallilean, who holds [in our mishna] that concern for suffering animals is not biblical. [And the halakha is clearly not according to his opinion.]
[The supporters of the view that prevention of suffering of animals is biblical have thus conceded that their view cannot be reconciled with the b'raita, but argue that the b'raita expresses a minority opinion, and is therefore not halakha. So we are stil l without proof of whether the requirement is biblical or rabbinic].
[The gemara has tried unsuccessfully to determine whether the obligation to relieve an animal's suffering is biblical or rabbinic. This time, the gemara will try to show that it is _not_ bibilcal.]
Come learn [from a b'raita]: If a friend's animal needs to be unloaded, and an adversary's animal needs to be loaded, it is a mitzva to help the adversary's in order to overcome one's inclination [i.e., one's natural inclination _not_ to help one's advers ary]. And if you think that the obligation to help a suffering animal is biblical, shouldn't this (the obligation to unload) be more important (than the obligation to load)?
[If the obligation were biblical, the obligation to unload the friend's suffering animal would certainly take precedence over the obligation to load the adversary's animal. The fact that the b'raita rules that one unload's the adversary's animal clearly i mplies that the obligation cannot be biblical; a biblical obligation would certainly not be overridden by a desire to overcome one's inclination.]
[The gemara rejects that proof that the obligation is not biblical:] Even so [i.e., even if the obligation _is_ biblical], it is to overcome one's inclination. [The gemara here is suggesting that the moral need to overcome one's animosity towards an adver sary is so important that it can indeed override a biblical obligation.]
[Next is another attempt to prove that the obligation is not biblical:] Come learn [from a b'raita]: The adversary referred to [in Ex 22:5 -- "If you see your adversary's donkey lying under its burden"] is a Jewish adversary, but not an idolatrous adversa ry.
But if you hold that relieving the animal's suffering is biblical, what difference does it make if the animal belongs to a Jew or to an idolater? [The fact that there is a distinction between the donkey of a Jew and the donkey of an adversary is evidence that the obligation to help the animal is not biblical; if it _were_ biblical, there would be no distinction.]
[The gemara rejects the argument:] Do you think the b'raita is referring to the adversary of the biblical verse( Ex 22:5) [which deals with unloading]? It is referring to the adversary of the [previously cited] b'raita [which deals with loading an adversa ry's animal].
[The gemara has already shown that the first b'raita, dealing with the choice between unloading a friend's animal and loading an adversary's animal, provides no evidence one way or another on the issue of whether the obligation to relieve the animal's suf fering is biblical or rabbinic. The second b'raita is now seen as an explanation of the first b'raita, pointing out that it deals with the obligation to load the donkey of a Jewish adversary. And we _still_ have no evidence as to whether the obligation is biblical or rabbinic.]
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