THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
CHULIN 71-72 - sponsored by Dr. Lindsay A. Rosenwald of Lawrence NY, in
honor of his father, David ben Aharon ha'Levy Rosenwald of blessed memory.
1) THE PREGNANT WIFE OF A KOHEN
QUESTION: Rabah states that "just as a Tamei object that is inside one's
body (Tum'ah Belu'ah) cannot make other things become Tamei, so, too, a
Tahor object that is inside one's body (Taharah Belu'ah) cannot become
This principle seems to have practical relevance with regard to the pregnant
wife of a Kohen. Is she permitted to enter a building in which there is a
Mes? Perhaps since her fetus is a Kohen who is not permitted to become
Tamei, she may not enter such a building.
The SHACH (YD 371:1) cites the ROKE'ACH who rules that the pregnant wife of
a Kohen is permitted to enter an Ohel ha'Mes because of a Sfek Sfeika.
First, perhaps the fetus is not viable and will not survive more than thirty
days, and therefore the prohibition to make it Tamei does not apply. Second,
even if the fetus is healthy, it might be a female, from whom there is no
prohibition to enter a house in which there is a corpse.
Why, though, does the Roke'ach need the reason of Sfek Sfeika to permit the
pregnant woman to enter the Ohel ha'Mes? She should be permitted to enter
for an entirely different reason -- her fetus is a Taharah Belu'ah, and a
Taharah Belu'ah does not become Tamei from the Mes in the house! (See MAGEN
AVRAHAM OC 343:2)
(a) The CHASAM SOFER (printed in a marginal note to the Magen Avraham)
answers that a fetus in its mother's womb is considered Taharah Belu'ah only
when the mother has already started to give birth ("Yashvah Al ha'Mashber").
At that time, the baby is considered to have already started to exit the
womb and to have an independent identity (the Gemara in Erchin (7a) says
that once the mother has started labor, the fetus is "Gufa Achrina," an a
separate body"). Before that stage, however, the fetus is considered part of
the mother's body ("Ubar Yerech Imo") and it will become Tamei just as the
mother herself becomes Tamei in an Ohel ha'Mes. Therefore, the Roke'ach must
give the reason of Sfek Sfeika in order to permit the mother to enter the
Ohel ha'Mes before labor has started.
(b) The AVNEI MILU'IM (EH 82:1) answers based on the Gemara in Yevamos (78a)
that says that when a pregnant Nochris immerses in a Mikvah in order to
convert, the immersion is effective for the baby as well, and both the
mother and baby become Jewish. The Gemara says that the reason for this is
that the fetus is "a natural growth" inside of the mother's womb, and
therefore the mother's body is not considered to be a Chatzitzah, an
intervening substance, between the baby and the water of the Mikvah. The
Avnei Milu'im states that the same reason why the mother is not considered a
Chatzitzah for the immersion of the fetus, so, too, she does not separate
between the fetus and a source of Tum'ah outside of her body. This is in
contrast to the Halachah mentioned by the Gemara later (71b) that when a
person swallows two rings, one Tamei and one Tahor, the Tahor ring does not
become Tamei since it is a "Taharah Belu'ah." In that case, the ring is not
a natural growth inside of the stomach, and thus the ring is protected from
Tum'ah because it is a "Taharah Belu'ah."
(c) The TESHUVAS RADBAZ (1:200, cited by the PISCHEI TESHUVAH YD 371:1) says
that the Roke'ach is referring to a woman who was near the end of pregnancy,
when it is possible that at any moment the baby might be born and protrude
its head out of the womb, in which case it would no longer be "Taharah
Belu'ah." It is only for such a case that the Roke'ach requires the
reasoning of Sfek Sfeika to permit the woman to enter an Ohel ha'Mes. In the
early or middle stages of pregnancy, though, he agrees that the reason of
"Taharah Belu'ah" suffices to permit the woman to enter an Ohel ha'Mes.
(This answer is the opposite of the Chasam Sofer's answer.)
(d) The PRI MEGADIM (on the Magen Avraham, loc. cit.) answers that perhaps
the law of "Taharah Belu'ah" applies only mid'Oraisa -- mid'Oraisa the
object is protected from Tum'ah. However, mid'Rabanan the object becomes
Tamei. Therefore, the Roke'ach gives a different reason -- that of Sfek
Sfeika -- to permit the woman to enter an Ohel ha'Mes. (D. Bloom)
2) THE SOURCE THAT "TAHARAH BELU'AH" DOES NOT BECOME "TAMEI"
QUESTION: The Gemara (end of 71a) proves that Taharah Belu'ah is not Mekabel
Tum'ah (see RASHI DH Kach Taharah Belu'ah) through a Kal v'Chomer. A Kli
Cheres (earthenware vessel) that is sealed with a Tzamid Pesil (a tight
seal) does not prevent an item of Tum'ah (such as a piece of a Mes) inside
of it from being Metamei things outside of it (such as through Tum'as Ohel),
and yet it nevertheless prevents a Tahor item inside of it from becoming
Tamei from a source of Tum'ah outside of it. Certainly, therefore, a
person's body -- that prevents Tum'ah inside of it (Tum'ah Belu'ah, such as
a dead fetus) from being Metamei things outside of it should also prevent
Taharah Belu'ah from becoming Tamei.
3) "TUM'AH BELU'AH" THAT ENTERED THE BODY FROM BELOW
The Gemara attempts to reject this proof by showing that a Kli Cheres is
less susceptible to Tum'ah than a person is, and that is why something
inside of it does not become Tamei, while perhaps something inside of a
person does become Tamei. A Kli Cheres does not become Tamei when an object
of Tum'ah touches its outer wall (but only when Tum'ah enters it), while a
person does become Tamei with Tum'ah touches his outer surface.
In its conclusion, the Gemara accepts the original logic, because the law of
Tum'ah outside of the vessel is unrelated to Tum'ah inside of the vessel. We
cannot refute the Kal v'Chomer concerning the law of Tum'ah inside of the
vessel or person from the law of Tum'ah outside of the vessel or person.
This conclusion, however, seems to contradict the Gemara earlier in Chulin
(25a). The Gemara there says that the Tzamid Pesil prevents Tum'ah from
entering a Kli Cheres only because the outside surface of a Kli Cheres
cannot become Tamei! Accordingly, since the outer surface of a person can
become Tamei, his body should not prevent an object inside of him from
becoming Tamei! Why does the Gemara here say that Tum'ah outside of the
vessel or person is unrelated to Tum'ah inside of the vessel or person, when
we see clearly from the Gemara earlier that the two are interdependent!
ANSWER: TOSFOS (DH Atu) explains that the intention of the Gemara is as
follows. If a Kli Cheres that has a Tzamid Pesil cannot prevent the Tum'ah
inside of it from spreading outwards (even though the outside surface of a
Kli Cheres is not susceptible to Tum'ah and prevents that which is Tahor
inside from becoming Tamei from Tum'ah on the outside), then a person's
*inside* surface -- which prevents Tum'ah Belu'ah from spreading outwards --
certainly should prevent Tum'ah from entering the person and being Metamei a
Tahor object inside of him. (See also TOSFOS HA'ROSH, and MAHARSHA to
QUESTION: The Gemara says that when Tum'ah enters the body "from below," it
does not make the person's body Tamei. How does Tum'ah enter the body
without first touching the outer surface of the body and being Metamei it?
RASHI (DH d'l'Matah) explains that the Tamei object was inserted into his
body while wrapped in a reed, such that the object itself did not touched
4) THE TYPE OF "AVOS HA'TUM'AH" THAT SPREADS THROUGH "MASA"
Why does Rashi need to give such an unusual explanation for the Gemara's
case of Tum'ah Belu'ah? When discussing Tum'ah Belu'ah that entered the body
through the mouth, the Gemara itself says that the person ate a piece of
Neveilah immediately before sunset, and then he immersed in the Mikvah and
became Tahor. The Neveilah in his stomach cannot make him Tamei because it
is now Belu'ah. Why does Rashi not give the same situation for the case of
Tum'ah Belu'ah d'l'Matah? Rashi should explain that the Tamei object was
inserted into his body from below just before sunset, making him Tamei by
touching his outer skin. Since it was a piece of Neveilah (and not a piece
of a human corpse), his Tum'ah lasts only until sunset, at which point he
immerses in a Mikvah and becomes Tahor. The Neveilah, though, is still in
his body at that point, but since it is now Belu'ah, it does not make him
Tamei! Why does Rashi not explain the case this way? (RASHASH)
ANSWER: Perhaps Rashi explains that the Tum'ah was wrapped up in order to
avoid a different problem, besides the problem that the Neveilah makes the
person Tamei when it touches his skin. The Gemara (71a) says that a Neveilah
does not make a person Tamei when it is not fit to be eaten by people or
dogs. A piece of Neveilah that is ingested through the mouth and
regurgitated may be deemed fit for people (see 71a). In contrast, when it
enters the body from below it is unfit not only for people, but even dogs
would not eat it. (Although the Gemara suggests that when a person could be
"tricked" into eating it, the Neveilah is deemed fit, that applies only when
the Neveilah is not inherently unfit, but rather a person does not want to
eat it for some other reason. In our case, the food is inherently unfit.)
Since Neveilah that enters the body from below is no longer considered
edible for people or for dogs, it will not make the person Tamei even if
Tum'ah Belu'ah can make a person Tamei!
In order to resolve this problem, Rashi explains that the Neveilah was
wrapped in a reed before it was inserted into the body. This prevents it
from becoming entirely unfit for consumption and it retains its status as an
object of Tum'ah. (M. Kornfeld)
QUESTION: The Gemara asks why Rabah must teach about Tum'ah Belu'ah and
Taharah Belu'ah, when both laws may be derived from the Mishnah in Mikva'os.
The Gemara answers that Rabah is teaching what the law is in a case in which
one swallows two rings, one Tahor and one Tamei. The Tamei ring does not
cause the Tahor one to become Tamei.
5) "TUM'AS MES" SPREADING THROUGH "MASA"
RASHI (DH Ki) explains that the ring does not cause the person to become
Tamei through Masa, by carrying it, because only an object "from which
Tum'ah originates" ("sheha'Tum'ah Yotz'ah Mimenu") can be Metamei other
things through Masa. For example, only a piece of a Mes itself can be
Metamei through Masa, but not an object that touched a Mes, even though it
is also an Av ha'Tum'ah.
TOSFOS questions this rule. A Zav causes objects that are under him to
become Avos ha'Tum'ah. This is known as Tamei Midras, Mishkav, or Moshav
ha'Zav. Such an object *is* Metamei other things through Masa, even though
its Tum'ah originated from the Zav and not from itself!
ANSWER: RAV MOSHE SHAPIRO shlit'a, quoting the words of RAV CHAIM
SOLOVEITCHIK, explains that Rashi considers a Midras of a Zav to be an
object that is the primary source of the Tum'ah, "she'ha'Tum'ah Yotz'ah
Mimenu." It is not considered a secondary source of Tum'ah because it
originated in the Zav. Rather, the Torah decreed that whatever a Zav sits on
becomes a primary source of Tum'ah itself.
This is evident from the fact that when a Zav makes an object Tamei with
Tum'as Midras, the Tum'as Midras is not considered to be a level lower than
the Tum'ah of the Zav. The Midras, after touching a Zav who was an Av
ha'Tum'ah, is not a Rishon but an Av, and its laws are nearly identical to
the laws of the Zav himself (with the exception that it cannot make what it
rests upon Tamei with Tum'as Midras). (M. Kornfeld)
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes the Mishnah in Mikva'os (10:8) that states that
one who swallows a ring that was Tamei may immerse in the Mikvah and then
eat Terumah. The ring inside of him does not make him Tamei.
RASHI (DH Ki) explains that this Mishnah alone does not prove that Tum'ah
Belu'ah does not make a person Tamei. It is possible that in that case, the
ring cannot make him Tamei for a different reason -- it is touching him on
the inside of his body, which is a "Beis ha'Setarim." An object that is
Tamei with Tum'as Mes does not transfer Tum'ah through Masa, being carried,
because only a Mes itself transfers Tum'ah through Masa. (See previous
TOSFOS (DH Bala Taba'as) disagrees, pointing out that it is clear from the
Mishnah in Mikva'os that Tum'ah Belu'ah is not Metamei. A ring that is Tamei
with Tum'as Mes, he argues, is like a Mes itself and does transfer Tum'ah
through Masa. Therefore, the fact that it is in a Beis ha'Setarim does not
prevent it from spreading Tum'ah.
As REBBI AKIVA EIGER points out, Tosfos apparently maintains that even a Kli
that is Tamei with Tum'as Mes is Metamei through Masa. How, though, can that
be? The Mishnah in Kelim (1:1-2) explicitly states that Tamei Mes is Metamei
only through Maga (contact) and *not* through Masa, as Rashi here says!
ANSWER: The Mishnah in Kelim does not contradict Tosfos for the following
reason. There are two ways in which a Kli can become Tamei with Tum'as Mes.
It becomes Tamei by touching a Mes, and it becomes Tamei by touching a
person who touched a Mes. In the second case, the Kli cannot spread Tum'ah
through Masa, since even the person that it touched does not spread Tum'ah
through Masa. However, in the first case, the Kli is able to spread Tum'ah
through Masa, because of the rule that an object that touches a Mes has the
same status as the Mes itself ("Cherev Harei Hu k'Chalal"). When Tosfos says
that a Tamei ring spreads Tum'ah through Masa, he is referring to a ring
that touched a Mes itself. (This distinction is mentioned explicitly by the
TOSFOS HA'ROSH, DH Bala, and by TOSFOS later, 72a, DH Ki, and by the
BARTENURA to Kelim 1:1.)
(It appears that Rashi argues and maintains that even a ring that touched a
Mes itself cannot spread Tum'ah through Masa. However, it is possible that
Rashi might agree with this distinction. However, Rashi learns that the ring
mentioned in the Mishnah in Mikva'os is a ring that touched a person who had
touched a Mes, and it did not touch a Mes itself (see Rashi DH Teme'ah).
That is why he asserts that such a ring has no Tum'as Masa. The RAMBAM
(Hilchos Tum'as Mes 5:13), though, clearly argues with Tosfos with regard to
a ring that touched a Mes. He rules that garments or objects that touched a
Mes are only Metamei through Maga but not through Masa or Ohel. See Insights
to Nazir 54:2.)