THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) THE AMOUNT OF FOOD THAT IS "MEKABEL TUM'AH"
OPINIONS: Rebbi Yonasan (end of 24b) teaches that a Kli Cheres (an
earthenware vessel) that is Tamei causes a food item that enters its
airspace to become Tamei ("Metamei b'Aviro"), as we learn from the verse,
"Everything that is inside it shall become Tamei"(Vayikra 11:33) -- even
something as small as mustard seeds.
2) THE INCLUSION OF "KLI SHATEF"
It seems clear from the Gemara that mustard seeds are Mekabel Tum'ah even
though each one is less than the size of a k'Beitzah. What is the minimum
size necessary for a food item to become Tamei?
(a) RASHI in Pesachim (33b, DH b'k'Beitzah) quotes the Toras Kohanim which
implies that even the smallest piece of food is Mekabel Tum'ah mid'Oraisa.
(In order to cause something else to become Tamei, however, the food item
needs to be at least a k'Beitzah, as Rashi here (DH v'Afilu) says.) The
Gemara here supports this opinion.
(b) TOSFOS in Pesachim (33b, DH l'Eimas) maintains that the Toras Kohanim is
teaching only an Asmachta for a Halachah d'Rabanan. A piece of food smaller
than a k'Beitzah is Mekabel Tum'ah only mid'Rabanan. Mid'Oraisa, the food
must be at least a k'Beitzah in order to become Tamei.
Rashi himself in Chulin (82a, DH v'Amar) retracted his opinion and agrees
that a food item must be at least a k'Beitzah in order to become Tamei.
Tosfos here (24b, DH ha'Torah) explains that when the Gemara says "even
mustard seeds" become Tamei in the airspace of a Kli Cheres, it is referring
only to Tum'ah mid'Rabanan, and that mid'Oraisa, the Kli Cheres is Metamei
everything in it, even *eggs*.
(c) The RASHBA (Shabbos 91a) maintains that a food item that is less than a
k'Beitzah does not become Tamei at all, even mid'Rabanan. (Z. Wainstein)
OPINIONS: The Torah teaches that a Kli Cheres is unlike other types of
vessels; it becomes Tamei when a Tamei object enters its airspace, but not
when a Tamei object touches the outside of the vessel's wall. The same is
true with regard to how a Kli Cheres transmits Tum'ah. A Kli Cheres
transmits Tum'ah to objects that enter its airspace, while other vessels
transmit Tum'ah only through contact with an object.
3) THE STATUS OF ALUMINUM
The Gemara points out that the Torah mentions the word (or a variation of
the word), "Toch" ("inside"), four times, and it teaches what we learn from
each occasion of the word, "Toch." One of the things we learn is that only
the inside of a Kli Cheres becomes Tamei, and not the "inside of the inside,
even a Kli Shetef." A "Kli Shetef" refers to a vessel made out of wood,
metal, or bone, which can become Tahor by being immersed into a Mikvah (in
contrast to a Kli Cheres). It is called a "Kli Shetef," or "washable
vessel," since it can be immersed in a Mikvah and made Tahor, unlike a Kli
Cheres which can only become Tahor by being broken.
What does the Gemara mean when it says that the "inside of the inside" of a
Kli Cheres does not become Tamei, and not even the "inside of the inside" of
a Kli Shetef?
(a) RASHI (DH Tocho v'Lo Toch Tocho) explains that the "inside of the
inside" refers to a case in which a Kli Cheres has another vessel inside of
it, and the inner vessel's rim extends above the rim of the Kli Cheres.
Rashi explains that when a Tamei object is in the airspace of the outer
vessel (between the wall of the outer vessel and the wall of the inner
vessel) but not in the airspace of the inner vessel, foods in the inner
vessel do not become Tamei, because they are in the "inside of the inside"
of the Kli Cheres.
Why does the Gemara add that this apples "even" when the inner vessel is a
Kli Shetef? Rashi explains that when the inner vessel is also a Kli Cheres
which only becomes Tamei from the *inside* (and not from the outside), it is
obvious that the food inside of it does not become Tamei. Since the Tum'ah
is presently outside of the vessel, it is logical that the wall of the inner
vessel is considered a separation between the food inside of it and the
Tum'ah outside of it. The Gemara is saying that even when the inner vessel
is a Kli Shetef, which can become Tamei when a Tamei object touches the
*outside* of its wall, its wall is still considered a separation between the
food inside of it and the Tum'ah in the airspace outside its wall.
Rashi adds that the Gemara's question involves only the food inside the
inner vessel. The inner vessel itself does not become Tamei in any
situation, as the Gemara teaches in Pesachim (20a).
TOSFOS (DH v'Afilu Kli Shetef) challenges Rashi's interpretation. One of the
questions he has is that once we know that the Gemara in Pesachim (20a)
teaches that ordinary vessels do not become Tamei by being in the airspace
of a Kli Cheres, it is logical that even if the inner vessel is a Kli
Shetef, the vessel's wall should be considered a valid separation between
the food inside of it and the Tum'ah in the Kli Cheres. What does the Gemara
mean when it says this applies "even" to a Kli Shetef? If this is logical,
why do we need a verse to teach it?
(b) Tosfos therefore explains that the Gemara is teaching the following law.
There is a rule that "Lo Minah Lo Machriv Bah" -- an object of one type
cannot "ruin" the effectiveness of an object of a different type. According
to this rule, a Kli Shetef, which is made from a different material than a
Kli Cheres, should not be able to obstruct the effectiveness of the Kli
Cheres in making whatever is inside of its walls become Tamei, and the food
inside the Kli Shetef (which is inside the Kli Cheres) should become Tamei
as if the food was inside of the outer, Tamei vessel. The Gemara here is
teaching that we learn from the verse of "Toch" that even a Kli Shetef is
considered to have its own airspace.
This seems to be the understanding of the Gemara in Zevachim (3b; see
Insights to Zevachim 3:2). The Gemara there teaches that even though a
Korban Chatas that is slaughtered with intent to be a different Korban is
invalidated and cannot be offered at all, nevertheless, if it is slaughtered
with intent to be eaten as Chulin, then the wrong intent does not invalidate
the Korban Chatas. The Gemara explains that this is because "Lo Minah Lo
Machriv Bah" -- having intent to slaughter the animal as an entirely
different entity, with a thought that does not relate to the status of a
Korban, does not have any effect, and is considered as if it is slaughtered
"Setama" and is valid. The Gemara then asks that we should apply the same
principle to the laws of a Kli Cheres. When there is a Kli Cheres that is
Tahor situated inside of an outer Klei Cheres that is Tamei, and the food
enters the inner Kli Cheres, the food does not become Tamei. The reason for
this is because the inner Kli Cheres (the rim of which protrudes above the
rim of the outer Kli Cheres) protects the food from the air of the outer Kli
Cheres which is Tamei. The Beraisa teaches that even if the inner Kli is not
a Kli Cheres, but a Kli Shetef, the food in the inner Kli still remains
Tahor. The Gemara asks that the food in the inner Kli should not be Tahor
according to the principle that "Lo Minah Lo Machriv Bah," since a Kli
Shetef is an entirely different type of utensil than a Kli Cheres, and
therefore its presence should be disregarded.
The Gemara there answers that there is a special verse of "Toch" that
teaches that the food inside of the inner Kli, even a Kli Shetef, remains
Tahor. It seems that the Gemara there understands that, logically, only a
Kli Cheres should be able to interrupt the airspace of another Kli Cheres,
even without the verse of "Toch." The verse of "Toch" is necessary only to
include a Kli Shetef.
(c) The RAMBAN explains that the Gemara is not teaching that the inner
vessel should serve as a separation because the vessel itself does not
become Tamei. As Tosfos implies, if this was logical, then there would be no
need for a verse of "Toch." Rather, the inner Kli does not become Tamei only
because the verse tells us that it is considered a separation. The reason
why we cannot rely on logic to tell us this is because the entire concept of
Tum'ah of the airspace of a Kli Cheres is a novel concept. Once the Torah
teaches the concept of Tum'ah of the airspace of a Kli Cheres, we would have
assumed that anything in its airspace becomes Tamei, even something inside
of an inner vessel (that remains Tahor) inside of the Kli Cheres! The verse
of "Toch" teaches that this is not true; the "inside of the inside of the
vessel" is never Tamei. Since the Torah excludes this area of the vessel
from the Tum'ah of the airspace, this exception applies regardless of
whether the inner vessel is made of Cheres or of another material.
When the Gemara says "even" a Kli Shetef, it is merely stating that we see
that all types of inner vessels serve as a separation, and that the Torah is
not telling us a specific Halachah about the Kli Shetef that it did not need
to teach about a Kli Cheres. Both an inner Kli Cheres and an inner Kli
Shetef protect their contents from the Tum'ah of the airspace of the outer
vessel by cutting off their contents from the airspace of the outer Kli
Cheres. (However, the Ramban agrees that Tosfos' explanation is the primary
explanation in the Gemara.) (Y. Montrose)
OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that Klei Matchos, metal utensils, are Mekabel
Tum'ah. The Torah lists six types of metal utensils -- utensils made from
gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, and lead -- that become Tamei and that can
be made Tahor by being immersed in a Mikvah (Bamidbar 31:22). The fact that
the verse mentions six different names of metals and does not use a general
term for all of them (such as "utensils made of metal") implies that the
intention of the verse is that only these metals become Tamei and require
Tevilas Kelim, and we cannot derive through a Binyan Av that other metals
become Tamei and require Tevilah.
Aluminum is a new metal that was discovered relatively recently and that was
unknown at the time the Torah was given and during the times of the Gemara.
Does the verse that list the six metals exclude other metals, such as
(a) RASHI in Rosh Hashanah (beginning of 19b, DH va'Chachamim) writes that
the only types of metal that can become Tamei mid'Oraisa are the six metals
listed in the verse. No other type of metal can become Tamei mid'Oraisa.
(Rashi there implies that had we been able to learn a Binyan Av from these
metals, then even glass would have been included, since it, like metal, can
be molten; see RASHASH there.)
Similarly, the TIFERES YISRAEL (in his introduction to Seder Taharos, #44)
quotes the VILNA GA'ON who asserts that only the six metals mentioned in the
Torah are Mekabel Tum'ah.
(b) However, the TIFFERES YISRAEL himself argues and maintains that any
metal which has similar qualities to those mentioned in the Torah is
considered metal with regard to becoming Tamei. Similarly, the ARUCH
HA'SHULCHAN rules that all metals require Tevilah mid'Oraisa in order to
become Tahor, and require Tevilas Kelim when acquired from a Nochri.
RAV MOSHE FEINSTEIN zt'l (IGROS MOSHE YD 2:164) writes that it is more
logical to assume that since the Torah lists only six metals, only those six
are Mekabel Tum'ah. However, even though, mid'Oraisa, only those six metals
are Mekabel Tum'ah, we find that the Rabanan instituted Tum'ah for glass,
because it has qualities that are similar to metal. Therefore, it is logical
to assume that all other forms of metals should at least be considered like
glass and be Mekabel Tum'ah mid'Rabanan.
However, RAV MOSHE STERNBUCH, shlit'a, in TESHUVOS V'HANHAGOS (1:449)
suggests that aluminum would not become Tamei even mid'Rabanan (accordingly,
there would be no requirement, even mid'Rabanan, to immerse aluminum
utensils purchased from a Nochri; see Insights to Avodah Zarah 75:1:b:2). We
find that the Rabanan decreed that only glass is like metal, and therefore
we have no grounds to assume that any other material is included in their
Nevertheless, there may be another reason why aluminum can be Mekabel Tum'ah
mid'Oraisa. Perhaps the six metals in the verse are mentioned only to
exclude other materials which existed *at that time* (such as glass, which,
we might have thought, should have been included in the same category, since
it can be melted). The verse does not intend to exclude materials that might
be discovered in the future and that have similar characteristics to these
six metals. (M. Kornfeld)
4) SWEET ALMONDS AND BITTER ALMONDS
OPINIONS: The Mishnah and Beraisa teach that small bitter almonds are
obligated in Ma'aser, while large bitter almonds are exempt. Large sweet
almonds are exempt from Ma'aser, while small sweet almonds are obligated.
RASHI (DH Ketanim, DH Mesukim, and DH Ketanim) explains that of the bitter
almonds, only the small ones are obligated in Ma'aser, since they are
harvested for eating before they grow large and bitter. Sweet almonds, in
contrast, are harvested for eating when they are large and fully grown, and
thus only large ones are obligated in Ma'aser. The Gemara continues and says
that Rebbi Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi said in the name of his father, "Zeh v'Zeh
Liftor" -- "this and this to exempt," while others say that he said, "Zeh
v'Zeh l'Chiyuv" -- "this and this to obligate." Rebbi Chanina is quoted as
ruling like the first version of Rebbi Yishmael's statement.
What does the Gemara mean when it says, "Zeh v'Zeh"?
(a) RASHI (DH Zeh v'Zeh) writes that "Zeh v'Zeh Liftor" means that both
types of small almonds, bitter and sweet, are exempt from Ma'aser.
Similarly, "Zeh v'Zeh l'Chiyuv" means that both types of large almonds,
bitter and sweet, are obligated in Ma'aser. He understands that this is what
the Gemara means when it asks, according to this opinion, what use do large
almonds have (meaning large bitter almonds), and it answers that they can be
sweetened through fire and eaten.
TOSFOS (DH Zeh v'Zeh Liftor) rejects Rashi's explanation for several
reasons. First, the first part of the Beraisa separates the categories into
bitter almonds and sweet almonds, and not small almonds and large almonds.
We should assume that the statement of "Zeh v'Zeh" -- which seems to be
addressing the Beraisa's categories -- is referring to the same categories
as the Beraisa! Second, according to Rashi's approach, when the Gemara asks
what use do large almonds have, the Gemara should have specified large
*bitter* almonds, and not merely large almonds!
(b) Tosfos therefore explains that "Zeh v'Zeh Liftor" means that both large
and small bitter almonds are exempt, while "Zeh v'Zeh l'Chiyuv" means that
both large and small sweet almonds are obligated. Since there is only one
type of large almond (sweet) that is obligated according to the opinion of
"Zeh v'Zeh l'Chiyuv," the Gemara's question concerning what use do large
almonds have, can be addressing only the large sweet almond. RASHI in Eruvin
(28b, DH Zeh v'Zeh Liftor) explains the Gemara there like Tosfos (see LEV
ARYEH to our Gemara for why Rashi explains the Gemara here differently).
The words of the Gemara here are quoted by the BEHAG (see ROSH to Berachos
6:3) when discussing what Berachah one should recite when eating almonds.
The Behag learns the Gemara like Tosfos and says that we should follow Rebbi
Chanina who rules that "Zeh v'Zeh Liftor," meaning that all bitter almonds
are exempt from Ma'aser. Accordingly, one should recite the Berachah of
"Borei Pri ha'Etz" for a small bitter almond (see Rosh (ibid.) at length who
discusses whether or not the Berachah of "Shehakol" should be recited). The
BEIS YOSEF (OC 202:5) explains that although the small almonds are bitter,
their desirability is their outer skin, which is not bitter when they are
small. When eating a large bitter almond (which is even more bitter than the
small bitter almond), one recites no Berachah, since its bitterness makes it
unfit (and unhealthy) for consumption. This is also the opinion of RABEINU
YONAH and the RASHBA in Berachos (36a). (Y. Montrose)