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Pesachim 3


QUESTION: The Gemara teaches that a person should speak with a refined speech. That is why the Mishnah says that Bedikah is done "Or l'Arba'ah Asar" rather than "Leilei Arba'ah Asar," and also why the Torah says in a few places "Lo Tahor" instead of "Tamei."

Why did the Tana use the word "Or" to mean night specifically in our Mishnah, when there are many other Mishnayos that use "Leil?" In addition, why do some verses in the Torah say "Lo Tahor" while others say "Tamei?" (RASHI, DH Asher Einenah, explains that the Torah changed the word to a more refined phrase in only a few places in order to teach the lesson of speaking with a refined speech. Still, why were these verses in particular chosen to teach this lesson?)


(a) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR explains that it is only these verses that needed to say "Lo Tahor." It is necessary for the Torah to use the word "Tamei" when it is teaching the Halachos of Tum'ah in order to tell us *why* we should keep away from it. For example, the Torah must say that someone who touches a particular object cannot go into the Beis ha'Mikdash *because* the object is Tamei. It is the Tum'ah of the object which distances a person who touches it from places of outstanding holiness.

However, when the verse discusses the animals that Noach took into the ark at the time of the flood and says that he took two pairs of both Tahor and Tamei types of animals, the fact that the animals were Tamei is not important to us, because the Torah there is not giving us a reason to keep away from them; rather, it is just categorizing the animals. When the Torah categorizes them, it prefers to use the more refined wording (Lo Tahor) in order to avoid using a word that has a negative implication.

As far as why this Mishnah in particular says "Or," the Ba'al ha'Me'or echoes the words of the RAMBAM (Perush ha'Mishnayos) here who says that this Mishnah says "Or" because it is the first word of the Masechta, and it wanted to start the Masechta with a word that has positive connotations, and not with a word that could have a negative quality, such as "night." Normally, when not beginning a Maseches, the Mishnah uses the simpler word, "Leil." Since the the Beraisa of d'Vei Shmuel (which does say "Leil" Arba'ah Asar) is not the beginning of his teachings, there was no need for him to say "Or."

(b) The RA'AVAD asks that there are a lot of other Mishnayos that use the word "Or" even though they are not at the beginning of a Maseches or chapter. He therefore disagrees with the Me'or on this count. Instead, he explains that "Or l'Arba'ah Asar" as opposed to "Leil Arba'ah Asar" means the *very beginning* of the evening. It refers to the moments immediately after sunset, when there is still some light in the sky from the day, in contrast to when the sky is entirely dark. Since Bedikah must be done at the beginning of the night, as the Gemara (4a) teaches, the Mishnah says "Or l'Arba'ah Asar" -- at the beginning of the night of the fourteenth. (The Beraisa of d'Vei Shmuel was intended to explain the word "Or" in the Mishnah, and that is why it had to say "Leil.")

In all of the other Mishnayos which use the word "Or" (as cited in our Gemara, 3a), the Mishnah is also referring to the beginning of the night. The intention of the Mishnah in all of those cases is that *even* the beginning of the night is not considered part of the previous day, but it is considered part of the coming day.


QUESTION: The Gemara tells us that when Rebbi Yehudah ben Beseira's plan revealed to the people in Yerushalayim that one of the people partaking in the Korban Pesach was actually a gentile, they killed him.

While it is true that they should not have given him any more meat of the Korban Pesach since he was a gentile (the Torah prohibits feeding a gentile from the Korban Pesach, Shmos 12:43), it is not clear why they killed him. What did he do to deserve death?


(a) The MINCHAS CHINUCH (14:2) and the TZELACH (73a) cite the opinion of the RAMBAM (Sefer ha'Mitzvos, Lav #126, and the S'MAG) that the prohibition which says that a gentile may not eat of the Korban Pesach applies to the gentile *himself*. It is not merely an exhortation to the Jews not to *feed* the meat to a gentile; rather a gentile is commanded not to eat from the Korban Pesach. Since a gentile is killed for transgressing any of the Mitzvos which apply to the B'nei Noach ("Azharasan Zo Hi Misasan," Sanhedrin 57a), transgressing the Mitzvah not to eat from the Korban Pesach also carries with it a Chiyuv Misah.

The TOSFOS HA'ROSH (Yevamos 71a) in fact mentions this possibility, but he questions it, because this prohibition is never counted as one of the Noachide Laws. Rather, it is more logical to assume that the Jew is commanded not to feed the meat of the Korban to a gentile, and that is indeed how the RAMBAM rules in Mishnah Torah. (This is how the Mitzvah appears even in the Sefer ha'Mitzvos, according to Hagaon Rav Chaim Heller's Hebrew translation from the original Arabic).

(b) The Acharonim suggest another reason why the gentile in this case was killed. The MINCHAS CHINUCH (loc cit.) points out that according to Rashi in Kidushin 52b, even when a non-Kohen eats from a Korban, he receives his portion from "Shulchan Gavoha" - as a gift from the table of Hashem, as it were. That is, the meat of a Korban is not his actual property; it is "Hekdesh" which is granted to him for the sole purpose of eating as a Korban. Therefore, if a gentile ate the meat of a Korban which he was not allowed to eat, he is stealing from Gavoha, and a gentile is killed for stealing even as little as a Perutah's worth.

(c) The KOVETZ SHI'URIM and D'VAR SHMUEL point out that even according to Tosfos -- who argues and says that when a Jew who is not a Kohen eats from a Korban, he is *not* eating from Shulchan Gavoha but from his private property - the gentile is still guilty of stealing, not from Hekdesh but from other Jews who were entitled to it. Even though Rashi in our Sugya says that the gentile that ate the Pesach paid the Jews' for his portion of the Pesach (DH Rebbi Yehudah), nevertheless, had the Jews known that he was a gentile they would not have sold the meat to him. Therefore, the transaction was erroneous (a Mekach Ta'us), and intentionally fooling the seller is a type of theft.

(d) Another possibility is suggested by the author of CHADASHIM V'GAM YESHANIM. The RAMBAN (Bereishis 3:13) explains that the Nachash was punished for *causing Adam and Chavah to sin*. Even though the Nachash itself did not sin any more than any of the other animals, since he caused Adam and Chavah to sin, he was punished more than any of the other animals. We see that even before the Torah was given, it was certainly prohibited to cause someone to sin. If so, a gentile is also to be punished for causing Jews to sin (such as by fooling them into feeding a non-Jew from the Korban Pesach), and perhaps he is killed for such an offence.

(e) The MINCHAS CHINUCH further suggests that perhaps they killed the gentile the same way that the sons of Yakov killed the residents of the city of Shechem. The RAMBAN (Bereishis 33:13) says that the sons of Yakov were permitted to kill the residents of Shechem even though they did not commit any specific crime at the time for which they were worthy of death. Rather, they were Chayav Misah for many past transgressions. Here, too, when the Jews found out that this person was a gentile, they investigated and discovered that in the past he had committed sins for which a gentile is Chayav Misah, and that is why they killed him.

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