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Pesachim 14

PESACHIM 14 - has been sponsored through a generous gift from Eli Rosengarten of Zurich, Switzerland, and family


[I] THE PRINCIPLES OF TUM'OS AND TAHAROS Although the details of the laws of Tum'ah mentioned in our Sugya have already been summarized in Pesachim Chart #2, we present here a concise survey of the main principles to serve as a tool for convenient review and future reference.
(a) LEVELS OF TUM'AH - Chazal learned from the verses in the Torah (in Parshas Shemini and Parshas Chukas) the various levels of Tum'ah. There are six levels of Tum'ah: (1) Avi Avos ha'Tum'ah; (2) Av ha'Tum'ah; (3) Rishon l'Tum'ah; (4) Sheni l'Tum'ah; (5) Shelishi l'Tum'ah; (6) Revi'i l'Tum'ah. Something that touches a person or object that is at a particular level of Tum'ah becomes Tamei at one level down from the original Tum'ah. The exception to this rule is metal utensils that touch an Avi Avos ha'Tum'ah or an Av ha'Tum'ah, which become Tamei at the same level of Tum'ah as the object they touched. (However, *they* cannot in turn cause other metal utensils to become Tamei at their same level of Tum'ah.)

- *Metal utensils* can become Avi Avos ha'Tum'ah, Av ha'Tum'ah or Rishon l'Tum'ah (see Insights to 14b), but not any lower level.
*People and all other utensils except for earthenware utensils* can become Av ha'Tumah or Rishon l'Tum'ah, but not any lower level - except that Chazal decreed that *the hands* can sometimes become Sheni l'Tum'ah.
*Earthenware utensils* can only become Rishon l'Tum'ah, and not any other level of Tum'ah.
*Food and liquids* can become Rishon l'Tum'ah, Sheni, Shelishi and Revi'i, but not any higher level.

(c) TERUMAH AND KODSHIM PESULIM - Terumah that is Teme'ah at the level of a Shelishi l'Tum'ah becomes Pesulah and may not be eaten. Similarly, Kodshim that become Teme'im at the level of a Revi'i l'Tum'ah become Pesulim. If Terumah receives Tum'ah from a normal Sheni l'Tum'ah, it can in turn Metamei Kodshim to make them a Revi'i and Pesulim. However, if Terumah receives Tum'ah from a Tevul Yom (who is also considered a Sheni l'Tum'ah), it cannot be Metamei Kodshim. For this reason it is called "Terumah *Pesulah*" and not "Terumah *Teme'ah*." Kodshim that are a Revi'i l'Tum'ah are called *Pesulim* and not Teme'im because they cannot be Metamei anything else (except for Mei Chatas, which, by Rabbinic institution, can become a Chamishi l'Tum'ah).

(d) PASSING TUM'AH TO A LIKE SUBSTANCE - The Gemara here (14a, and in various other places in the Sugya) mentions an opinion that Tamei foods and liquids cannot be Metamei similar substances. That is, foods cannot be Metamei foods and liquids cannot be Metamei liquids. Foods can only be Metamei liquids and liquids can only be Metamei foods. (There is an opinion, though, that Kodshim can be Metamei similar substances and another opinion that even Terumah can be Metamei similar substances.) The Gemara concludes that these laws are all mid'Oraisa. However, Mid'Rabanan, foods can certainly be Metamei foods and liquids can Metamei liquids.

A significant portion of our Sugya deals with the topic of Tum'as Mashkin, the Tum'ah that liquids can acquire and convey. In order to facilitate understanding the Sugya, we will briefly summarize several fundamental concepts with regard to Tum'as Mashkin.
(a) THE ABILITY OF LIQUIDS TO BE METAMEI OTHER THINGS MID'ORAISA - There is an argument among Tana'im (in the Tosefta in Taharos, cited by the ROSH in Pesachim 16a) whether a liquid which is Tamei is able to be Metamei other things mid'Oraisa even when the liquid is a Rishon l'Tum'ah. (Even though a *food* which is a Rishon can be Metamei a liquid to make it a Sheni, liquids are weaker and may be unable to be Metamei foods to make them into a Sheni.) The opinions are as follows:
(1) Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Eliezer maintain that liquids cannot be Metamei anything else at all.
(2) Rebbi Yosi and Rebbi Shimon maintain that liquids can be Metamei foods, but not other liquids (since mid'Oraisa, an object cannot be Metamei a like object, as mentioned in Footnote 5 of Chart #2).
(3) Rebbi Yehudah maintains that mid'Oraisa, liquids can be Metamei even utensils. (The opinion of Rebbi Yehudah is very novel, for the liquid itself is a Rishon, and yet it can be Metamei a utensil, which normally can only become a Rishon. The Gemara concludes (17b) that Rebbi Yehudah rescinded his opinion in this regard.)
(b) THE ABILITY OF LIQUIDS THEMSELVES TO BECOME TAMEI. Regarding the opinion of Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Eliezer who maintain that liquids cannot be Metamei foods mid'Oraisa (see (1) above), the Amora'im argue (16a) whether they mean that liquids themselves cannot become Tamei mid'Oraisa, or only that liquids cannot be Metamei other things, but they themselves can become Tamei. Shmuel says that these Tana'im hold that liquids can become Tamei mid'Oraisa; they just cannot be Metamei something else. Rav says that these Tana'im hold that liquids themselves do not become Tamei mid'Oraisa (that is, even if the liquids are Terumah or Kodshim, if it touches something Tamei it will not become Pasul mid'Oraisa).

(c) THE TUM'AH OF LIQUIDS MID'RABANAN - The above discussion relates to the Halachah of liquids on a Torah level. Mid'Rabanan, however, everyone agrees that liquids can become Tamei and that they can be Metamei other things, even other liquids (see above, I:(d)). Furthermore, the Rabanan decreed that liquids have a status of "Rishon" even if they touched only a Sheni (that is, mid'Rabanan, a liquid becomes *more* Tamei that the item which made it Tamei). In addition, the Rabanan decreed that liquids can be Metamei utensils as well (20a), making a utensil into a Sheni l'Tum'ah. (Mid'Oraisa, of course, a utensil cannot become a Sheni, no matter what touches it, as mentioned above, I:(b), and only by touching a Tamei liquid can a utensil become a Sheni mid'Rabanan).
The reason for these rabbinical enactments is twofold:

(1) Liquids become Tamei without Hechsher (that is, other objects, such as foods, will not become Tamei even when they come into contact with Tum'ah, until they have become "prepared" to receive Tum'ah by coming into contact with one of the seven liquids that serve that purpose). Consequently, liquids are more prone to becoming Tamei and require additional vigilance to protect them from becoming Tamei (or from becoming Pasul if they are Terumah or Kodshim). Therefore, the Rabanan decreed that liquids always become a Rishon (Rashi, Shabbos 14b, DH Gezeirah Mishum Mashkin).
(2) In addition, there is a type of liquid -- the bodily fluids of a Zav and Zavah -- which is an Av ha'Tum'ah that can be Metamei even utensils mid'Oraisa. As a safeguard, the Rabanan decreed that all liquids become a Rishon and can be Metamei utensils the same way an Av ha'Tum'ah can be Metamei utensils (Shabbos 14b -- According to the opinion that liquids cannot become Tamei at all mid'Oraisa, this is apparently the only reason why the Rabanan decreed that liquids become Tamei.)
This topic also comprises a significant part of our Sugya. The following are the basic points, in brief, of this topic:
(a) REBBI YOSI'S TESTIMONY - "Rebbi Yosi ben Yo'ezer testified that the liquids in the Beis Mitbechaya are Tahor." The point of this testimony is to teach that there is a basic difference with regard to Tum'ah between liquids found in the Beis ha'Mikdash and liquids found in all places outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash. The Rabanan did not decree that liquids inside the Beis ha'Mikdash become Tamei. The Amora'im argue, though, whether this means that the liquids inside the Beis ha'Mikdash become Tamei themselves but are not Metamei other things, or whether they do not even become Tamei themselves. This argument, in turn, revolves on the argument mentioned earlier whether liquids can become Tamei themselves mid'Oraisa or not (see II:(b) above),and whether they can be Metamei other things mid'Oraisa or not (since the Rabanan were not lenient with the liquids in the Beis ha'Mikdash when it comes to Tum'ah d'Oraisa).

(b) WHICH LIQUIDS? - There is an argument among the Tana'im and the Amora'im (17a) concerning exactly which liquids in the Beis ha'Mikdash do not become Tamei:

(1) Some say that only those types of liquids that are found in the slaughterhouse of the Beis ha'Mikdash are Tahor. Thus, only water and blood are Tahor in the Beis ha'Mikdash. Other liquids, such as oil and wine, are affected by the rabbinical enactment that liquids can become Tamei in the Beis ha'Mikdash just as they are outside the Beis ha'Mikdash.
(2) Others say that all liquids that can be brought upon the Mizbe'ach are Tahor in the Beis ha'Mikdash, that is water, blood, oil, and wine. According to this opinion, the proper reading of the statement of Rebbi Yosi ben Yo'ezer is "Beis Mi*d*bechaya," referring to the Mizbe'ach, and not "Beis Mi*t*bechaya" which refers to the slaughterhouse.
(c) WITH REGARD TO "HECHSHER" - The Rabanan were not only lenient with regard to Tum'ah of liquids in the Beis ha'Mikdash, but they were also lenient with regard to "Hechsher." We know that a food item cannot become Tamei until it has come into contact with one of the seven types of liquids that enable a food to receive Tum'ah (the four liquids in the Beis ha'Mikdash -- water, blood, wine, and oil -- are included in these seven). The Rabanan stated that the liquids of the Beis ha'Mikdash do not serve to be Machshir a food to receive Tum'ah.

The Amora'im dispute the reason behind this. According to Rav, this leniency applies only to the blood of Kodshim, which the Torah states is not Machshir items to receive Tum'ah because the Torah differentiates between blood that comes from the slaughter of Kodshim and blood from other slaughtered animals (end of 16a). According to Shmuel, the Rabanan were lenient even with regard to water in the Beis ha'Mikdash (and also wine and oil, according to those who read the word "Mi*d*bechaya"), and they enacted that it cannot be Machshir something to receive Tum'ah. The reason for this is because mid'Oraisa, water is not Machshir a food unless the food fell into the water when the water was still attached to the ground (that is, while the water was collected in a pit in the ground). When the water has been removed from the ground and is now in a utensil, mid'Oraisa it is *not* Machshir. Although the Rabanan decreed that all water is Machshir, in the Beis ha'Mikdash they were lenient and left the Halachah as it is mid'Oraisa, and thus water in a utensil in the Beis ha'Mikdash is not Mach'shir (TOSFOS 20a, DH Lo).

(d) AFFECTING THE TORAH LAW - Thus far, we have explained that the Rabanan were only lenient in the Beis ha'Mikdash with regard to rabbinical laws of Tum'ah, but not with regard to Torah laws. This point, though, is not unanimous. Rav Papa (17b) holds that even though mid'Oraisa liquids can become Tamei and can be Metamei other things, nevertheless liquids in the Beis ha'Mikdash are Tahor, as taught by a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai. (In its conclusion,the Gemara labels the opinion of Rav Papa as "difficult.")


OPINIONS: The Torah teaches that certain objects acquire the same level of Tum'as Mes as the object which they touched and which gave them the Tum'ah. This concept is called "Cherev Harei Hu k'Chalal" (literally, "a sword is like a corpse"). To which objects does this refer?
(a) RASHI here explains that it refers to metal objects, similar to the "Cherev" mentioned in the verse from which this rule is learned. This rule does not apply to any type of utensil which is not metal, and thus all other types of objects descend a level of Tum'ah from the Tum'ah of the object they touched. This is also the opinion of RABEINU TAM (Nazir 54b, Tosfos DH Ta Shema) and the RASH (Ohalos 1:3).

(b) The RAMBAM (Perush ha'Mishnayos in Ohalos 1:3; Hilchos Tum'as Mes 5:3) and RAV YITZCHAK OF SIMPONTI assert that this principle applies to all types of utensils and therefore non-metal utensils also acquire the same Tum'ah as the object they touched. Why, then, does our Gemara specifically say that the lamp which makes the oil inside of it Tamei is a *metal* lamp that became Tamei through an Av ha'Tum'ah, like the corpse that it touched? The Gemara's intention is to exclude an earthenware lamp, because earthenware is the only type of utensil which does not acquire the same level of Tum'ah as the object which it touches. All other types of material, though, will become Tamei as Av ha'Tum'ah when they touch an Av ha'Tum'ah. (Lamps are normally made either from earthenware or of metal, not from other materials.)

These Rishonim cite proof to their words from the Toras Kohanim, which derives the principle that a utensil which touches another utensil which is an Av ha'Tum'ah also becomes an Av ha'Tum'ah from the clothing upon a person who touched a corpse. The Torah teaches that the clothing becomes an Av ha'Tum'ah, just like the person who touched the corpse. We see from there that even non-metal utensils (clothing) become an Av ha'Tum'ah when they touch an Av ha'Tum'ah. (Rabeinu Tam (Nazir 54b), who ascribes to the first opinion, explains that when the Toras Kohanim says that the clothing of the person becomes an Av ha'Tum'ah, it is referring to metal jewelry that the person is wearing.)

(c) The GE'ONIM (cited by Rabeinu Chananel here) and RAV YITZCHAK OF SIMPONTI in his second explanation (as cited by the Rash in Ohalos, loc cit.) explain that the principle of "Cherev Harei Hu k'Chalal" is only stated with respect to the object which *killed* the person. That object becomes Avi Avos ha'Tum'ah, but no other object -- even metal -- will become Tamei with the same degree of Tum'ah as the object it touches. (The Ge'onim explain, therefore, that the metal candlestick mentioned in our Sugya is one that was used to kill somebody.)

This opinion appears to differentiate between an object that touched an Avi Avos ha'Tum'ah when it was used for murder, and something which touched an Av ha'Tum'ah, which was not used for murder. This principle obviously does not apply to an Av ha'Tum'ah, since an Av ha'Tum'ah has not been murdered. However, the Mishnah clearly says that even a utensil that touches an Av ha'Tum'ah becomes an Av ha'Tum'ah! Why should that be?

From the words of Rabeinu Chananel and the Rash it appears that according to this opinion, it is not the principle of "Cherev Harei Hu k'Chalal" which makes the utensil an Av ha'Tum'ah when it touches an Av ha'Tum'ah. Rather, it is a different principle at work here -- the principle of "Chiburin." While an object is *still touching* an Av ha'Tum'ah (and not after it is removed from the Av ha'Tum'ah), it is considered an Av ha'Tum'ah to make whatever touches it a Rishon. This Halachah applies to all utensils except earthenware (parallel Halachos are to be found with regard to what is touching a Zav or a Mishkav). This is the Tum'ah which the Toras Kohanim derives from the clothing a person who touches a corpse; since his clothes were touching him at the time that he touched the corpse, they become an Av ha'Tum'ah like him. This also appears to be the opinion of the RA'AVAD (Hilchos Tum'as Mes 5:3).

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