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How To Commit A Large Number Of Transgressions All At Once

There is an argument amongst the Rishonim with respect to the prohibition of "marbeh b'shiurim". If one cooks food on Shabbos which equals the amount of one grogeres [dried fig] he has transgressed one prohibition. But what if there are two figs worth of food in the pot? Has he done two aveiros? Three figs = three aveiros? That is "marbeh b'shiurim."

The Rashba [Chullin 14] says that no extra biblical prohibitions are involved since only one action is being performed. The Ran [Beitza Perek beis] begs to differ and claims that every shiur of grogeres constitutes a seperate issur dioraisa.

The Ran is problematic. If one steals from 5 prutos from someone else the halacha is that he has done only one aveira. But if the Ran is correct then the thief should be guilty of five issurei dioraisas?

How would the Ran resolve this question?

Maybe you could say that by geneivah, no matter how much you steal it takes the same one maayseh geneivah, with no extra effort involved to steal 5 prutos versus one. Therefore the Ran would agree that stealing 5 prutos ultimately constitutes one issur. But by cooking on shabbos, cooking 3 figs requires more cooking than just one fig, in which case he would hold that you can be held accountable for 3 seperate issurim in that case.

Dear Effie

Nice to meet you.

I don't understand. Cooking three figs [in one pot] is one maaseh bishul just like cooking one fig?

I didn't mean that it was more than one maayseh bishul, rather it takes longer to cook 3 figs than it takes to cook one, which the Ran could hold warrants it to be more than one mechayav. That could be his general approach. However, he would be modeh that his yesod could not apply to the case of geneiva because it takes no more time/effort to steal 5 prutos than one, which makes it harder to say that 5 chiyuvim could be imposed.

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  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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