Chapter 23, Mishna 1
Business dealing prohibited on Shabbos by Rabbinic decree. Now we study some situations that may or may not fall under this restriction. We may borrow jugs of wine or oil on Shabbos for use on Shabbos, but we must not use language regarding the loan that establishes long duration or other terms that may lead us to formalize the arrangement in writing. We may even leave a cloak as collateral to entice the lender to lend, but we work out the terms of exchange after Shabbos or Festival. We don’t make women carry water differently on a Festival if the altered method makes them work harder. There was a prohibition on clapping and dancing on Festivals (because it might lead to repairing instruments), but the people didn’t follow it. The Sages didn’t rebuke them because that would transform them from unwitting to intentional sinners. Eventually the prohibition was rescinded. When borrowing loaves of bread, there is a concern that one will come to repay the loan later when the value of wheat has risen, and the lender will receive more than he lent, thus causing usury. The Rabbis held this doesn’t apply in situations where people are not particular about small amounts like a neighbor borrowing a loaf or two, or where the price of the commodity is stable. Loans made on Shabbos may be informal, but they are enforceable in court. We may not consecrate animals, objects, our own value, or set aside tithes on Shabbos and Festivals because this is too similar to commerce.