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Pesachim 43


QUESTION: The Gemara introduces the concept of "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur." We know that in order to transgress the Torah's commandments against eating a forbidden item, that item must be of a minimum size. "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur" means that a permissible item can join to the forbidden item to reach that minimum size. RASHI (DH Ein Heter) explains the concept of "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur" based on the Gemara later (44b). If a Nazir dips his bread (which is permitted to him) into wine (which is forbidden to him) and eats it, if together the bread and the wine have a total volume of a k'Zayis, then he is Chayav.

We know that there is concept of "Ta'am k'Ikar" -- if an Isur is absorbed in a permissible food item, the entire item becomes Asur if the taste of the Isur is palpable. When a Nazir dips bread into wine, the bread should become Asur because of "Ta'am k'Ikar," since the taste of the forbidden wine is spread throughout the bread. What, then, is the concept of "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur" adding? The permissible item would be Asur without this Halachah, because of "Ta'am k'Ikar!"

It cannot be that the case of dipping the bread into wine is when the taste of the wine is *not* noticeable in the bread, because in such a case the wine would be Batel (nullified) completely and Heter Mitztaref l'Isur will not apply. Otherwise, as the RAMBAN (Milchamos) points out, why does the Gemara (30a) state that when even a tiny amount of Chametz is mixed with another food item ("Ta'aruvos Chametz"), it is Asur *mid'Rabanan*. The concept of "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur" should make it Asur mid'Oraisa, because the permissible food should add to the fractional Shi'ur of the Chametz to make a k'Zayis! It must be that mid'Oraisa, the small amount of Chametz in the mixture is Batel, and when an Isur is Batel, the concept of "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur" does not apply. On the other hand, when the Isur is not Batel (that is, the taste of the Isur is palpable in the mixture), then the mixture is Asur because of "Ta'am k'Ikar." If so, when is there ever a need for the concept of "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur?"


(a) RASHI (44b, DH mi'Pas) understands that when a forbidden object gives its taste to a permitted object, the taste of the Isur makes the entire permissible item in which it is absorbed become an object of Isur. (This is known as "Chatichah Na'aseh Neveilah" -- the forbidden taste of Neveilah in a Kosher piece of meat makes the entire piece of meat forbidden as if it were a piece of Neveilah. According to Rashi, "Chatichah Na'aseh Neveilah" is mid'Oraisa and is part of the concept of Ta'am k'Ikar. See Chulin 100a.).

Therefore, Rashi concludes that the concept of "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur" is needed for a case when part of the Heter did *not* absorb the taste of the Isur. According to the rule of "Ta'am k'Ikar," that part of the Heter would *not* be included in the Shi'ur of the Isur. According to the rule of "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur," though, that part of Heter *does* count towards the Shi'ur, and is added to the Heter which did absorb the taste of the Isur. Therefore, when a Nazir dipped his bread into wine, the part of the bread that did not absorb the wine is Mitztaref to the part of the bread that did absorb the wine. In such a case, "Ta'am k'Ikar" does not apply to the entire k'Zayis, because the taste is not present throughout all of the k'Zayis, but in only less than a k'Zayis of the bread. The reason of "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur," though, does apply.

For this reason, Rashi writes (43b DH Ein Heter) that even if one takes two *separate* objects (one of Isur and one of Heter) and places them into his mouth at the same time, he is Chayav because "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur."

(b) The RAMBAN (Milchamos) writes that Ta'am k'Ikar applies even to a mixture in which the Isur is not b'Ein -- that is, there are no physical pieces of Isur evident in the mixture, but only the *taste* of the Isur is absorbed into the food, such as when grapes are soaked in water for their juice. If the taste of Isur in the Heter is equivalent to the taste granted by a k'Zayis of Isur that is ground into the Heter, then Ta'am k'Ikar applies (but not Heter Mitztaref l'Isur). However, only if there is *a k'Zayis of Ta'am* within "k'Dei Achilas Pras" (the time that it takes to eat half a loaf of bread), can he be punished with Malkus. That is the principle of Ta'am k'Ikar.

The principle of "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur," on the other hand, applies when the Isur itself is visibly absorbed in the Heter (such as wine absorbed in a piece of bread). The law of Heter Mitztaref l'Isur teaches that in such a case, *even if there is not enough of the Isur* in the Heter to eat a k'Zayis of it within "k'Dei Achilas Pras," one will be Chayav Malkus. This also appears to be the opinion of TOSFOS (DH k'Man) and most of the Rishonim. (That is, most Rishonim argue with Rashi and do not hold that "Chatichah Na'aseh Neveilah" is an inherent part of Ta'am k'Ikar.)

SUMMARY: RASHI tells us that the verse which says that a Nazir who soaks his bread in wine is Chayav must be teaching us the principle of "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur." Rashi says that the verse cannot merely be teaching that an Isur absorbed within a Heter is Asur, because it is obvious that it is Asur if there is a k'Zayis of Isur absorbed in the Heter. (Rashi seems to follow this approach later in the Gemara as well, regarding Chametz on Pesach -- see Insights to 44a).

Rashi means to say that we already know the principle of "Ta'am k'Ikar" from *another verse* (as the Gemara will explain on 44b). That is, the verse that says that a Nazir is Chayav for eating bread soaked in wine cannot be teaching "Ta'am k'Ikar," because another verse teaches that principle and thus the verse concerning a Nazir must be teaching that "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur."

Alternatively (NACHALAS DAVID based on Rashi, 44b, DH Ta'am, and Rashi here, DH Ein Heter), Rashi is not addressing Ta'am k'Ikar. Rather, he means that it is obvious on *logical* grounds that an entire k'Zayis of Isur is forbidden to be eaten even if it is absorbed in another food, if one eats it b'Chedei Achilas Pras." The verse must be teaching that even when less than a k'Zayis of Isur is eaten, Heter Mitztaref l'Isur.

QUESTION: If we know from logic that a mixture containing Isur is forbidden and no verse is necessary, then why did the Gemara say just a few lines earlier regarding the Isur of "Bal Taktiru" that we *do* need a verse to teach that a mixture containing Isur is forbidden? The Gemara said that regarding "Bal Taktiru," one verse is needed to teach that "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur," and a second verse is needed to teach that when leavened flour (which is forbidden to be used in the Minchah offering) is *mixed* with the unleavened flour of the Minchah offering, it may not be offered upon the Mizbe'ach. Why do we need the second verse to teach that a mixture is forbidden? Rashi just said that when a k'Zayis of Isur is mixed in the Heter, it is obvious that it is Asur and no verse is necessary to teach that!

ANSWER: The PNEI YEHOSHUA and NACHALAS DAVID explain that it is only obvious that a mixture containing Isur is forbidden when that Isur involves something forbidden *to be eaten*. Since one tastes the k'Zayis of Isur in the mixture, it is Asur, and it does not matter that there is permitted food in the mixture. This is not the case, though, with regard to the Isur of bringing a Minchah offering with Chametz in it. That Isur does not involve *eating* or tasting an Isur, but rather, *offering* Isur upon the Mizbe'ach. In such a case Ta'am k'Ikar cannot be applied, nor can k'Zayis b'Chedei Achilas Pras be applied, since the mixture is not being eaten but burnt on the Mizbe'ach. We might have thought that when the Torah forbids Chametz from being offered as a Minchah offering, it forbids only an offering made solely of leavened flour. But once the leavened flour is mixed with something else, it is no longer forbidden by the Torah, since the particles of Chametz are not being offered in one act, and one would be Patur. Therefore, a verse is needed to teach that even a *mixture* with leavened flour is also Asur.

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