Tag Archives: demai

Is It Worse to Sin on Shabbat than During the Week?

Is it worse to do an averiah on Shabbat than during the week? The Chofetz Chaim (in the Hakdama) famously claims that doing an aveirah in the Mikdash or shul is worse because it is shows a lack of mora mikdash. Not to mention that there are numerous sources that suggest that mitzvot and aveirot are more serious when done in Eretz Yisrael (or only count there). Would the same be true of one violated the sanctity of time by sinning? This question arises in a discussion in a Yerushalmi in Demai (4:1, I discussed it in a shiur: here). Normally, when one has Demai, produce received from a Am HaAretz who we are not sure gave Maasrot, one cannot eat from it without separating Maaser again, and you cannot believe the Am HaAretz if he claims he already gave it. However, on Shabbat, the Mishna rules that you can ask the Am HaAretz and he will be believed. The Gemara suggests two rationales for this – either Kavod Shabbat or Eimat Shabbat. Kavod Shabbat means that as we want people to have food to enjoy Shabbat, we have leniencies that make it easier to have food. Eimat Shabbat means that we assume the Am HaAretz is afraid to lie on Shabbat, so we will believe him. Rashi in Ketubot 55b offers the first explanation (he calls it Oneg Shabbat). Tosafot offer the second. The Yerushalmi itself assumes that you need both, and the only question is which reason is primary (see there for how it plays itself out). At any rate, the issue I was wondering about is whether Eimat Shabbat indicates that it is actually worse to do aveirot on Shabbat? The Rambam and others assume not – the notion that it is worse to sin on Shabbat is just a helpful misconception that unlearned people have that allows us to be assured they are telling the truth. Other Rishonim assume that even unlearned people wouldn’t assume that. Rather, as there is a unique connection between Maasrot and Shabbat, as once Shabbat has passed one can no longer snack (eat arai) from produce without being mafrish Terumot and Maasrot, they think it is worse to lie about Maaser on Shabbat. Continue reading Is It Worse to Sin on Shabbat than During the Week?