Shabbat 76 - How Much is too Much?
Now one could get caught up in the debate and begin to argue from within: can’t cows eat herbs too? Or lambs eat straw? So then why use that particular animal to designate an appropriate quantity, and why can’t the food items be considered together? Or in a more philosophical vein, one could argue about the intent of the Mishnah’s rule – why NOT feed animals that are not one’s own by bringing food from the private into the public sphere?
But it is also important to take a step back and look at the big picture. How does someone know if you’ve carried out too much? Do they turn out your pockets to check? And what kind of society can be created by such fastidious attention to detail and quantities – the kind that focuses on the letter of law rather than the spirit, one that focuses more on the pilpul [tiny details] more than on people and their needs and desires? Because the restrictions on what may be carried from private to public space are so complicated, this also has the result of forcing people to stay home, because who can know if they’re able to leave? When seeing the debate from this perspective, our answer to the question of how much is too much becomes: “genug! - enough already!”
Rabbi Adam Chalom