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) MOVING A "MES" FROM THE PLACE IT IS FOUND
QUESTIONS: The Mishnah (64b) states that "one who finds a Mes lying
normally, he may move it together with its Tefusah." The Gemara infers from
the wording of the Mishnah that the Mishnah is excluding a Mes that was
"Matzuy" ("'Matza' Prat l'Matzuy") and one that was murdered ("'Mes' Prat
l'Harug"), as well as one that is found sitting up ("'Mushkav' Prat
l'Yoshev") and one whose head was between his legs ("'k'Darko' Prat
l'she'Rosho Munach Bein Yarkosav").
2) MOVING THE BURIAL PLOT OF YAKOV AVINU
The Rishonim dispute what "Matzuy" means. The RI (cited by TOSFOS) explains
that "Matzuy" means a Mes that was known to be there. If the Mes was already
known to be there, then it is prohibited to move it because of the Halachah
(Sanhedrin 47b) that it is prohibited to move the grave of a Mes. It is
permitted to move a Mes only when the Mes was killed and the place in which
it was found was not its intended place of burial.
The RASHBAM argues and says that "Matzuy" refers to the second part of the
Mishnah, which states that if a person found three Mesim, they have the
status of a "Shechunas Kevaros" and may not be moved. The Rashbam explains
that if *one* of the three Mesim that a person found was already known to be
there (and only the other two were discovered there now for the first time),
the entire group does not have the status of a "Shechunas Kevaros" (like the
Gemara says later on the Daf), and therefore one is allowed to move them
even though there are three Mesim.
(a) Why does the Rashbam not accept the simple explanation of the Ri, who
explains that "Matzuy" means that if the Mes was already known to be there,
it cannot be moved, like the Gemara says in Sanhedrin?
(b) Second, what is the reason why the Halachah of the Mishnah (that a Mes
that was found may be moved with its Tefusah) does not apply to "Harug," one
that was murdered? Why is there no Halachah of "Tefusah" and "Shechunas
Kevaros" for a "Harug?"
(c) The Gemara itself gives reasons for the final two exceptions to the
Halachah in the Mishnah -- a case where the Mes was found sitting up, and a
case where it was found with its head between its legs. The Gemara asks why
does the Halachah of the Mishnah not apply in those cases. It answers that
the fact that the Mes is sitting up or resting its head between its legs
indicates that it is a Nochri. This explains why a Mes that is found sitting
up or with its head between its legs does not have the Halachah of "Tefusah"
and "Shechunas Kevaros." Why, though, does the Gemara not explain why
"Matzuy" and "Harug" also do not have the Halachah of "Tefusah" and
(a) The reason the Rashbam does not explain "Matzuy" like the Ri (that
"Matzuy" refers simply to a known grave) is because all the other exceptions
to the Halachah of the Mishnah are exceptions *l'Kula* -- *lenient*
exceptions. That is, in all of the other cases that the Mishnah excludes,
the Halachah of "Shechunas Kevaros" does *not* apply and it is permitted to
move even three Mesim found together. However, if there is a known grave,
the Halachah is not more lenient, but it is more *stringent*; even if only
one Mes was found, it is prohibited to be moved since it was known to be
there. This exception, then, would be different than the others. For this
reason, the Rashbam explains "Matzuy" to be referring to a case where *one*
of *three* Mesim that were found was already known to be there. In such a
case the Halachah is *lenient* and it is not considered a "Shechunas
Kevaros" and it is permitted to move them.
(b) The Rishonim give a number of explanations for why the Halachah of
"Shechunas Kevaros" does not apply to a "Harug."
1. TOSFOS and the ROSH explain that "Harug" is in the same category as
"Chaser," a Mes that was missing part of its body, which the Gemara says
does not have the Halachah of "Tefusah" or "Shechunas Kevaros."
(c) Regarding our question why the Gemara does not explain the reasoning for
"Matzuy" and "Harug," according to TOSFOS and the MEFARESH the Gemara indeed
does give a reason why "*Harug*" does not have "Shechunas Kevaros."
According to Tosfos, that reason is expressed by the statement of Ula bar
Chanina for it is included in "Mes she'Chasar." According to the Mefaresh,
the suspicion that the Mes is a Nochri applies to a "Harug" just like it
applies to a Mes found sitting up and one found with its head between its
This is not clear, though. What is "Chaser" about a Mes that is found
murdered? If he was stabbed by a sword or strangled, the body is still whole
and is not missing anything!
The ROSH explains that a "Harug" is "k'Chaser Dami" -- it is *like* Chaser.
The Rosh might mean that when the Mes is Chaser, it is a sign that it did
not die naturally but that its life was shortened by having a limb severed
(in which case the Gemara might be referring only to a Chaser that is
missing part of the body without which it could not live, as the Rambam says
in Hilchos Tum'as Mes 9:5). Likewise, when the Mes shows signs of being
murdered, it is evident that the Mes did not die naturally but that its life
was shortened. Therefore, it does not have the Halachah of "Shechunas
The general reasoning behind both the exceptions of Chaser and Harug is that
if there are three of them, it still does not prove that they were buried
there intentionally (SEFAS EMES). Therefore, no matter how many of them
there are, they are treated as a single Mes which we assume was left there
temporarily. (See RAMBAM, Hilchos Tum'as Mes 9:1.)
(TOSFOS writes that it is difficult to understand why a Chaser is treated
differently, and says that perhaps it is a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai.
However, Tosfos might be referring to the other Halachah of Chaser -- that
it does not have "Tefusah." It is not clear why it should not have
"Tefusah," since even a single Mes that is found and is not Chaser does have
The SIDREI TAHAROS explains that the Rosh's logic behind why a "Harug" does
not have the Halachah of "Shechunas Kevaros" is that a "Harug" is "k'Chaser
Demei" -- he is *lacking blood* (as opposed to the straightforward way of
reading the Rosh's words, that he is "k'Chaser Dami," similar to a Chaser").
This, however, is difficult to understand, because the loss of blood should
not make the Mes into a Chaser, since the body is still whole. We learned
that regarding the Halachah of a Kohen, who is prohibited from burying his
close relatives when they are Chaser, the Kohen is permitted to bury them
when they have lost blood because that does not make them Chaser!
In addition, this does not explain why a "Harug" who was strangled to death
(and did not lose any blood) should be considered like a Chaser.
2. The MEFARESH explains that if the Mes is found murdered, that in itself
is reason to assume that it was a Nochri. This seems to be the intention of
the Rambam as well (in Perush ha'Mishnayos and in Hilchos Tum'as Mes 9:2).
Apparently, if a Jew is found killed, then anyone who finds him would have
taken him to a Jewish cemetery. Therefore, if the Mes is found buried there,
we assume that it is a Nochri and that his comrades buried him there.
3. The RAMBAM (Hilchos Tum'as Mes 9:1 and in Perush ha'Mishnayos, Ohalos
16:3) seems to give another interpretation of the reason why "Harug" is
treated differently. The Rambam says that if one finds a number of Mesim
that were murdered together in one place, then even if they are more than
three, they are to be treated like a single Mes and do not constitute a
"Shechunas Kevaros." The reason for this is that any number of Mesim that
were buried at the same time are considered to be like a single Mes. It is a
"Shechunas Kevaros" only when one finds three Mesim who were buried there at
(According to this explanation, the Rambam is learning that the "Harug" does
not have "Shechunas Kevaros" but *does* have "Tefusah.")
Regarding the case of "Matzuy," according to the Ri -- who says that
"Matzuy" means that the Mes was not buried there intentionally, the Gemara
does not feel that it is necessary to give a reason for why it has no
"Tefusah." The Gemara is only explaining the Kulos of the Mishnah, the
places where "Tefusah" and "Shechunas Kevaros" do not apply, and not the
Chumra of "Matzuy" where if the Mes was known to be there it cannot be moved
Regarding the view of the Rashbam, it could be that the Rashbam is following
his own view expressed elsewhere. In TOSFOS (DH Echad Yadu'a), the Rashbam
explains that indeed there is no reason why the Halachah of "Shechunas
Kevaros" does not apply in a case where one of the three Mesim found was
known to be there. It is a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai. (According to the
Rashbam, "Yadu'a" means not that we knew that this Mes was buried there
intentionally, but that we knew about this one before we found the others.)
Since it is a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai, the Gemara cannot give a reason for
it. (This is like the MEFARESH writes in DH v'Chol Hani. The ROSH, however,
explains like the Rashbam, but nevertheless he gives a logical reason, like
the Ri, for the case of three Mesim that were found and one of them was
already known to be there. According to the Rosh, it must be that the Gemara
does not ask what the reason is for why "Matzuy" is different, because the
reasoning is obvious.)
The RAMBAM (Hilchos Tum'as Mes 9:5 and Perush ha'Mishnayos) has a different
explanation for the word "Matzuy." He says that "Matzuy" means that the Mes
was buried and was not on top of the ground. (According to the Rambam, it is
the word "b'Techilah" in the Mishnah that excludes the case of one Mes which
was known to be there, and not the word "Matza," as is clear from the Rambam
in Hilchos Tum'as Mes 9:6.)
The Rambam in Perush ha'Mishnayos implies that the reason why the Halachos
of the Mishnah do not apply to a Mes found not buried is also because the
Mes is assumed to be a Nochri, for if he was a Yisrael, his escorts would
have buried him properly.
The Gemara learns from the verse, "And you shall carry me from Mitzrayim"
(Bereishis 47:30), that when moving a Mes, one must take the "Tefusah" (the
dirt around the Mes) together with the Mes. Yakov was telling to Yosef that
after his death, when Yosef takes his body out of Mitzrayim, Yosef should
take the dirt around his body as well.
TOSFOS (DH Kamah) cites the Yerushalmi that says that the reason the
"Tefusah" must be taken together with the Mes is because fluids from the
decomposition of the Mes are absorbed into the ground around the Mes.
However, we know that Yakov Avinu's body did not decompose! Why, then, was
it necessary to take his "Tefusah?" (SIDREI TAHAROS)
Moreover, Yakov was not even buried in Mitzrayim! Rather, he was embalmed
and taken to Eretz Yisrael, so there was no "Tefusah" at all to take!
(TOSFOS YOM TOV)
(a) The TOSFOS YOM TOV explains that the verse is only an Asmachta (like the
wording of the Rambam in Perush ha'Mishnayos implies).
This does not answer the question fully, though, because how can the verse
be even an Asmachta if Yakov Avinu was not buried in Mitzrayim?
(b) Yakov Avinu -- before he died -- told Yosef to take him from Mitzrayim
after his death. Yakov did not know what circumstances would arise after his
death. He suspected that Pharaoh would not let Yosef take him out of
Mitzrayim and that he would end up buried in Mitzrayim for a long time.
Therefore, he told Yosef that if he is buried in Mitzrayim, then his
"Tefusah" should be brought with him to Eretz Yisrael.