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Chagigah, 23

CHAGIGAH 23, 24, 25 - have been sponsored by a grant from a benevolent foundation based in Yerushalayim, that is dedicated to spreading awareness of Torah and Judaism.


QUESTION: The Gemara discusses the process of preparing utensils that will be used for the Efer Chatas (the ashes of the Parah Adumah in the purification process of a person who became Tamei with Tum'as Mes), such as a wooden reed used for gathering the ashes. The Gemara says that even if the utensil was completed b'Taharah, it requires Tevilah. This is consistent with the decree mentioned in the Mishnah (20b), that Kelim that were completed b'Taharah still require Tevilah (for use with Kodesh or Chatas, but not for Terumah).

However, the Chachamim were more stringent with this Kli (to be used with Efer Chatas) than with a normal Kli that was completed b'Taharah (for use with Kodesh). Normally, the finished Kli has the status of a Sheni l'Tum'ah. In this case, though, the Chachamim gave the finished Kli the status of a Tamei Mes -- an Av ha'Tum'ah -- and it is Metamei the person who cut it and thus he needs Tevilah as well.

The Gemara asks that if the finished Kli is considered as if it touched a Mes and is therefore an Av ha'Tum'ah, then the person who cut it or handled it should not only require Tevilah, but should also require Haza'ah on the third and seventh days! Why does the Beraisa say that one who cut the wooden reed or immersed it needs only Tevilah? He should also need Haza'ah! The Gemara answers that the reed is like a Tamei Mes *on its seventh day* which has already had Haza'ah on the third and seventh days. Such a Tamei Mes is still considered an Av ha'Tum'ah, but it cannot make a person Tamei to require Haza'ah, only Tevilah.

The Gemara originally said that if the wooden reed is considered to have touched a Mes, then the person who touches it needs Haza'ah on the third and seventh days, meaning that he is also an Av ha'Tum'ah (since a Rishon l'Tum'ah does not need Haza'ah). But why should a person who touches the reed become a Tamei Mes? The reed itself is a Tamei Mes, an Av ha'Tum'ah, and so it should only make the person who touches it a *Rishon* l'Tum'ah (which does not require Haza'ah)! Why should the person who touches it become a Tamei Mes and require Haza'ah (according to the Gemara's Havah Amina)? (Acharonim -- see HAGAHOS MAHARSHAM)


(a) The MINCHAS CHINUCH (263:13:[20]) cites this Gemara as proof for the opinion of the RAMBAM (Hil. Tum'as Mes 5:3) and RABEINU YITZCHAK of Simfonte (quoted by TOSFOS in Nazir 54b and by the RASH in Ohalos 1:2 -- see Insights to Pesachim 14:2), who say that the principle of "Cherev Harei Hu k'Chalal" applies to all Kelim, and not just to metal Kelim. The principle of "Cherev Harei Hu k'Chalal" states that a sword (or Kli) that touches a Mes acquires the Tum'ah of the Mes itself and becomes an *Avi Avos ha'Tum'ah*. Consequently the sword could make a person into an Av ha'Tum'ah (necessitating Haza'ah on the third and seventh days).

Most Rishonim maintain that this principle applies only to metal Kelim, but the Rambam and Rabeinu Yitzchak Simfonte rule that it also applies to Kelim made of other materials, such as wood. This Gemara supports their opinion, for it implies that a wooden Kli that [is considered to have] touched a Mes can make a person into an Av ha'Tum'ah.

However, this does not fully explain the Gemara here. If the Gemara's question was that the one who touches the wooden reed should be like a person who touches a Mes because the reed is like a Mes (due to the principle of "Cherev Harei Hu k'Chalal") it did not have to answer that the Chachamim only made the reed "like a Tamei Mes on its seventh day." The Gemara could have answered that the Chachamim gave the reed the status of a Kli that touched *a person or Kli* who touched a Mes, which is only an Av ha'Tum'ah and not an Avi Avos ha'Tum'ah (i.e. it does not have the status of the Mes itself). That would explain why the reed does not cause the person who touches it to require Haza'ah!

(b) The OR HA'CHAYIM in RISHON L'TZIYON (see also MEROMEI SADEH of the Netziv) explains that the Gemara was not asking that the person who touches the reed should require Haza'ah on the third and seventh days. Rather, the Gemara was asking that if the Chachamim gave the reed the status of Kelim that touched a Mes, the *reed itself* should require Haza'ah and not just Tevilah. Proof to the Or Hachayim's understanding of the Gemara may be brought from the Gemara's wording, "Iy Hachi, *Tiba'i* [as opposed to *Liba'i*] Haza'ah" -- meaning, "if so, *it* [as opposed to *he*] should require Haza'ah."

The Gemara then brings proof that Haza'ah is not required from a Beraisa that says "Chotchah u'Matbilah Ta'un Tevilah" ("[The person who] cuts it and immerses it, must immerse himself"). How does this Beraisa prove that the reed does not require Haza'ah? It would seem to prove that the *person who handles it* does not require Haza'ah, as the Minchas Chinuch understood, and not that the reed itself does not require Haza'ah! (See Netziv)

It would appear that a letter "Vav" is missing from our texts of the Beraisa. The Beraisa should read as it is cited by Rabeinu Chananel, "Chotchah u'Matbilah *v'Ta'un* Tevilah" ("He should cut the reed and immerse it, and then he himself must immerse"). According to this reading, the Beraisa is explaining how to prepare the reed for use, and yet it only mentions that it must be immersed. From this the Gemara infers that *the reed* does not require Haza'ah. (M. Kornfeld -- The Girsa correction we have suggested is reinforced by the fact that according to our Girsa the syntax of the Beraisa is inconsistent. It should have said "*ha*'Chotchah", with a "Heh," instead of "Chotchah.")

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