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Nazir, 51

NAZIR 51 - May the Zechus of dedicating this Daf bring a Refu'as ha'Nefesh and Refu'as ha'Guf for Menachem Yitzchak ben Raila Kushner; may he merit to see yet more grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up in Eretz Yisrael and live a life of Torah. Dedicated by his children.


QUESTION: The Gemara asks whether various parts of the body are considered "Galgalin" that prevent the Rekev of a corpse from being Metamei. "Galgalin" is any thing external to the body that decomposes with the body and prevents the Rekev from being Metamei. The Gemara first asks whether hair or nails that are ready to be cut are considered "Galgalin." Later, the Gemara asks whether a fetus ("Ubar") that decomposes within and together with the mother's body is "Galgalin." It then asks whether waste products ("Peresh") inside the body are considered "Galgalin." Rav Acha brei d'Rav Ika then asks whether the skin of a Mes ("Oro") is considered "Galgalin." Others then ask whether the phlegm and mucus ("Kicho v'Ni'o") are considered "Galgalin."

Rav Shmuel bar Acha asks that if all of these items *are* considered "Galgalin," then how will Rekev ever be Metamei, since the body always includes some of these things? Rav Papa answers that the case will be where the person drinks an enema ("Mei Dekalim") that empties the body of its fluids, and a depilatory agent is smeared over his hair, and his body is boiled in Chamei Teverya.

The Gemara is suggesting that the skin might be considered external to the body and not an integral part of the body itself. The Gemara is clearly following the opinion in Chulin (121a) that rules that the skin of a person is not Metamei mid'Oraisa like the rest of his body, as the ROSH cited by the Shitah Mekubetzes points out.

Nevertheless, how can the Gemara think that skin is considered "Galgalin" and external to the body? Earlier, the Gemara made it clear that hair and nails not long enough to cut are considered a part of the body and are not "Galgalin!" Similarly, the Gemara writes that the calloused flesh at the heel is not "Galgalin" as long as it is attached to the person. How, then, can the skin on the person be considered external to the body and not part of it? (BIRKAS ROSH)


(a) The MEFARESH in one explanation asserts that the "Or" which the Gemara suggests might not be "Galgalin" does not mean skin, but rather it refers to loose saliva in the mouth which can shaken out ("Me'ar'er") easily. According to this interpretation, though, why does Rav Papa say that the body must be boiled in water in order for it to be Metamei because of Rekev? It would seem that the purpose of boiling it is to remove the skin, and according to the Mefaresh the skin does not have to be removed since it is part of the body! The Mefaresh himself (DH v'Shalku) answers this by saying that boiling takes out the saliva and phlegm from the body; that is the purpose of the boiling (the saliva does not come out with "Mei Dekalim").

(b) TOSFOS RABEINU PERETZ suggests that the skin which might be considered "Galgalin" is skin that has been removed from the body and buried together with it. According to Tosfos Rabeinu Peretz, the purpose of the boiling in Chamei Teverya must be to remove the saliva, like the Mefaresh says, and not to remove the skin, because if the skin is already removed there is no reason to boil it.

(c) The ROSH explains that Rav Acha brei d'Rav Ika, who questions whether or not skin is "Galgalin," would also question whether or not *hair* that is not yet long enough to be cut is considered "Galgalin." Even though Rabah bar bar Chanah and Chizkiyah earlier imply that hair that is not yet long enough to be cut is certainly considered part of the body, Rav Acha is in doubt and wants to find a proof from a Mishnah or Beraisa for this Halachah. (See also TOSFOS DH v'Sachya and next answer.)

According to the Rosh, what is the difference between the skin that is on the body and the dead flesh on the heal? The Gemara already proved from a Beraisa that the dead flesh on the heal is considered part of the body as long as it is attached!

The answer is implicit in the words of Tosfos and the Rosh there who describe the callous at the bottom of the heal as "dead flesh" and not "dead skin." Dead flesh is certainly part of the body, while dead skin is questionable.

(d) TOSFOS (DH v'Sachya) seems to understand that the body must be boiled in order to remove the hair and for no other purpose. Because of this, Tosfos wonders why the depilatory agent does not suffice. He answers that before using the depilatory agent, the skin must be removed so that the depilatory will get to the roots of the hair. Accordingly, Tosfos writes that our Sugya must hold that even the roots of the hair which are not yet long enough to be cut are considered external to the body. The BIRKAS ROSH points out that it seems that Tosfos does not have the Girsa of our Gemara, "*Oro* Mahu," but rather "*Se'aro* Mahu," and the Gemara is questioning whether *hair* that is not yet long enough to cut is considered part of the body. Skin, however, is certainly considered part of the body.

(e) The SHITAH MEKUBETZES and the MEFARESH (in his second explanation) explain that the Gemara is indeed asking about the skin of the Mes. However, they write that hair that is not long enough to be cut is certainly considered part of the body. Why, then, should the skin not be considered part of the body?

Perhaps they understood that the question of the Gemara is not whether normal skin is part of the body, but whether skin that is peeling off or mostly removed from the body (see Shabbos 94b) is considered "Galgalin." The boiling in hot water removes all of the pieces of skin that are falling off, so that the skin that remains will not prevent the Rekev from being Metamei. (M. Kornfeld)

QUESTION: The Gemara says that a Mes which is "Chaser" (missing body parts) "Ein Lo Rekev" -- the Rekev of that body is not Metamei. What, then, does the Gemara mean earlier (51a) when it says that an Ekev (heal) might be "Galgalin" and prevent the Rekev from being Metamei if one limb rotted and the Ekev was part of that limb? If a limb, such as a leg, is cut off from the body, then the whole leg is not going to be considered Rekev (since it is "Chaser"), and every part of the leg, not just the Ekev, should be "Galgalin!"


(a) The CHAZON ISH explains that when the Gemara says that a single limb that has decomposed with the Ekev on it is considered Rekev, it means that the limb is still attached to the rest of the body and only that limb decomposed.

(b) TOSFOS (DH Mes she'Chasar, as explained by the SIDREI TAHAROS) says that even if the body parts were cut off, as long as they are buried with the Mes the body can become Rekev and be Metamei. (See also answer (b) in previous Insight.)

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