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Thought for the Day: A Detail of When Throwing an Object On Shabbos is Assur M'D'Oraisa

I have a (relatively) new chavrusa; a 19 year old college student.  Very bright, ffb, but not yeshivish.  I learn with him a couple of nights a week.  I think I am helping him learn, I know he is helping me.  We are mostly learning Bava Kama, but he is also learning Shabbos.  I've learned both of these gemaras. Which is to say that I remember having opened those masechtos before.  Once in a while I even remember the sugya.  One of the biggest ma'alos of my chavrusa is that he is stubborn (in a nice way) about accepting my explanation if it doesn't quite sound right; which is often, so I he gets to exercise his stubbornness (always with a smile) often.

Take last night, for example.  At the bottom of daf 5A in Shabbos:
Ba'ei R' Yochanan, zarak cheifetz v'ne'ekar hu mimkomo v'chazar v'kiblo; mahu?
The problem is the work "chazar"; which means "returned".  One might, therefore, be tempted to understand the case is that he threw the object, ran away from his spot, then ran back to where he started.  That, however, doesn't make sense; there is no question he is patur (even mutar l'chatchila) in that case.  Art Scroll translates this as:
R' Yochanan asked, one throws an object and leaves his place and runs to catch it; what is the halacha?
The bold face is how Art Scroll inidcates that the English words are a translation, the plain text is an added elucidation; usually to make it read the way Rashi understands.  The trouble here is that Rashi is silent.  It surely looks like they didn't translate "chazar", doesn't it?  So I said, the word "chazar" can also mean to go after.  My chavrusa said, "Really?  But none of my friend's three Aramaic dictionaries say that...."  (Great, now he's bringing facts into the discussion.) So, after some thinking (always a good idea, I should do it earlier and more often) I came up with, "It means that he returned to his object; he had thrown it away and had to return to it."  Sounded good enough for us to move on.  Whew.

But I still had nagging doubts.  I looked around a little.  Baruch HaShem for M'soras HaShas that led me to the Rambam, Chapter 13 of Hilchos Shabbos, halacha 15.  (Interestingly, neither the Shulchan Aruch nor the Sefer Mitzvos G'dolos seems to bring this gemara l'halacha.):
One throws an object and then the thrower himself runs after the object and catches (lit, "receives in his hand") the object in a different domain or more than four amos is exempt, just as if he was catching an object that someone else had thrown.  Why?  Because it is not called a complete coming to rest unless it came to rest in the place it was destined to land at the time of the initial throwing.
Perhaps, then, the gemara used the word "chazar" to emphasize that the object was not considered to have come to rest, but is considered the same as if it had returned the the thrower even though he didn't move.

It's still assur m'd'rabanan, so don't try this at home.  Oh wait... I mean only try this at home; with your mother's permission, of course.


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