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Pesachim 46


QUESTION: The Gemara teaches the amount of time that it takes for dough to become Chametz. Reish Lakish says that dough becomes Chametz in the time that it takes to walk "from Migdal Nunya to Teverya, which is one Mil." The Gemara asks that Reish Lakish should simply say the time that it takes to walk one Mil; why is he adding "from Migdal Nunya to Teverya?" The Gemara answers that, tangentially, he is teaching how long a Mil is.

There is a similar Gemara at the beginning of Maseches Megilah (2b). The Gemara there says that any settlement that is near a walled city is like the walled city and reads the Megilah on the fifteenth of Adar. The Gemara asks how close do such settlements have to be to the walled city. Rebbi Yirmeyah, and some say Rebbi Chiya bar Aba, answers that it must be no more than the distance "from Chamsan to Teverya, which is one Mil." The Gemara again asks that he should simply say "one Mil," and answers that he is teaching the length of a Mil.

Why does the Gemara here, and in Megilah, suddenly decide to teach us the length of a Mil, which has nothing to do with the subject at hand? Furthermore, we know already that a Mil is 2000 Amos. Why does the Gemara have to give us a practical example?

Second, why does the Gemara need to give us two different measurements, from Migdal Nunya to Teverya, and from Chamsan to Teverya? (TUREI EVEN, Megilah 2b, cited by the GILYON HA'SHAS here)


(a) The TUREI EVEN answers that there are two ways to measure a Mil. Although a Mil is certainly 2000 Amos, we learned in the beginning of Eruvin (3b) that there are two different types of Tefachim, and Amos, with different lengths. An Amah could be exact, or it could be slightly longer (Sochakos). If so, there are two Mils as well-- a long one and a short one.

That is the key to what the Gemara is teaching here. When it comes to Chametz, we are stringent and consider dough that was left for the amount of time that it takes to walk the *shorter* Mil to have become Chametz. That is why Reish Lakish adds that it is the time that it takes to walk from *Migdal Nunya* to Teverya -- the distance of which is apparently a short Mil. When it comes to reading the Megilah, though, there is no stringency involved -- it is just a question of *which* day to read the Megilah, the fourteenth or the fifteenth of Adar. Therefore, we follow the size of the long Mil and we consider the town close to the walled city. The Gemara in Megilah emphasizes this by giving an example of a long Mil -- the distance from *Chamsan* to Teverya.

(b) The fact that it takes the amount of time a Mil can be walked for dough to become Chametz is certainly not a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai, as are other Shi'urim in the Torah, such as the size of the smallest Sukah and the distance one must separate two crops. Rather, the Mil here is used as a measure of time, and it is determined by the practical question of the speed at which dough becomes Chametz. In fact, if dough does not develop cracks in that amount of time, it is indeed not Chametz, as our Mishnah says. Hence, there is no reason to think that it is linked to the *exact* amount of time that it takes a person to walk one Mil. (For the same reason, stating that we should treat this as a Shi'ur in an Isur d'Oraisa for which we would be Machmir -- as the Turei Even said -- is also inappropriate.) This Shi'ur is distinctly different from other Shi'urim, such as the dimensions of a Sukah, the distance between grapevines and wheat plants with regard to Kilayim, the amount of Matzah one must eat to fulfill the obligation, etc., which are normally established either by the Torah or by the Rabnanan based on what is considered a significant quantity, size, or distance for each particular item in question.

For this reason, the Gemara does not simply say that the time that it takes for dough to become Chametz is one Mil, but it adds "the time it takes to walk from Migdal Nunya to Teverya." It takes dough *approximately*, but not exactly (i.e. slightly longer than), one Mil to rise. Therefore, the Gemara added a more exact measure; the amount of time it takes to walk from Migdal Nunya to Teverya.

Similarly, in Megilah, the Halachah under discussion is mid'Rabanan (reading the Megilah), and depends on the practical question of which suburbs of a walled city are subordinate to that city, because their residents are often to be found in the walled city. Again the Mil there may not mean the normal Mil, but approximately a Mil -- the exact Shi'ur will be determined by a number of circumstances (e.g. how easy the approach to the walled city is from the other city -- is it uphill or downhill etc.) Therefore, the Gemara gave a more exact example of the distance by defining it as the distance from Chamsan to Teverya.

In both of these cases, when the Gemara concludes that "he means to teach us that the distance of a Mil equals the distance between these two points," it means that from these Halachic statements it can be inferred that in "Lashon Bnei Adam," normal everyday usage, even such distances may be referred to as "a Mil" (with ramifications for business deals in which a Mil is mentioned).

We may further explain why the Gemara chose the exact examples that it did, in measuring these Mils. In Megilah (5b), the Gemara concludes that in Teverya the Megilah is read on the fifteenth of Adar, like in walled cities (as well as on the fourteenth of Adar, due to a Safek). The Gemara, then, is giving an example which has practical ramifications. Instead of simply teaching that in order to be included as part of the walled city a settlement must be within one Mil of the walled city, the Gemara teaches that Chamsan is close enough to Teverya to take on the specific Halachos of Teverya. Just like Teverya must read the Megilah on both the (fourteenth and the) fifteenth of Adar, so, too, Chamsan must read on both days.

In our Sugya, too, perhaps Migdal Nunya was a place where there was a building ("Migdal") with a flour mill. The Gemara therefore teaches that if one kneads the dough there and walks with it to Teverya to bake it, it will become Chametz. That could be why the Gemara in these two places gives specifically these two examples. (M. Kornfeld)


QUESTION: There is an argument in the Mishnah concerning what to do with dough which (1) one is baking on Yom Tov (Pesach) and (2) which is Tamei (and thus cannot be given to a Kohen to eat), but (3) from which one has not yet separated Chalah. On one hand, he cannot bake all the dough into Matzah first and then, when it is finished baking, separate Chalah from it, because it is forbidden to bake on Yom Tov for any purpose other than human consumption ("Tzorech Ochel Nefesh"), and the Chalah loaf may not be eaten. On the other hand, if one separates Chalah from the dough and then does not bake it, he will not be able to dispose of the Tamei Chalah in the appropriate manner by burning it, because it is forbidden to burn Kodshim which are Tamei on Yom Tov. On the other hand, he cannot let it sit and wait until after Yom Tov, because then it will become Chametz and he will have Chametz in his possession on Yom Tov. What, then, should he do?

Rebbi Eliezer says that one may go ahead and bake the dough before separating Chalah from it, and once it has been baked into Matzah (and there is no longer any concern that it will become Chametz) one may then designate one of the loaves as Chalah. What about the problem of baking something on Yom Tov which is not fit for eating? Rebbi Eliezer maintains that every loaf *is* fit to be eaten, because one could always fulfill his obligation to separate Chalah by removing a little bit of Chalah from *each individual* loaf, and therefore he may bake all of the dough even though in the end he goes ahead and makes *one* entire loaf Chalah (this is called the principle of "Ho'il" -- "since he could have done it another, entirely permissible way, doing it this way is also permitted"). This is Rebbi Eliezer's reasoning as explained by RASHI (DH Ad she'Te'afeh) on the Mishnah, based on the Gemara later (48a). In the Gemara (46b), though, RASHI (DH Lo d'Chulei Alma) seems to give a different suggestion to explain Rebbi Eliezer's opinion.

Rashi says that according to Rebbi Eliezer, he may bake all of the dough in the oven and then make some of it Chalah, because any given loaf is not necessarily the one that is going to be Chalah (and thus, when each loaf is viewed individually, they are *all* fit to be eaten). Why does Rashi here not give the reason that he gave in the Mishnah, where he said that all of the dough is considered his to eat since ("Ho'il") he could separate a little bit from each loaf?

ANSWER: The second reason that Rashi gives for Rebbi Eliezer is also mentioned in the Gemara later (48a). The Gemara there uses this logic to explain how Rebbi Eliezer would permit baking all of the dough without using the principle of "Ho'il." Since each one of the loaves, when viewed individually, might *not* be the one that is used for Chalah, baking them all on Yom Tov should be permitted *without* relying on the principle of "Ho'il." We only have to rely on "Ho'il" if we permit the baking based on the logic that one could take a little bit of Chalah from each loaf. Since one is ultimately not actually taking Chalah from each loaf but separating one large loaf as Chalah, we have to rely on "Ho'il." But if we are relying on the possibility that one can take another loaf as Chalah and not this particular one, such reasoning does not require "Ho'il."

Therefore, Rashi on the Mishnah mentioned the reasoning of taking a little bit of Chalah from each loaf, because that reasoning is the principle of "Ho'il" which is the Gemara's initial assumption (48a) in understanding Rebbi Eliezer (Rashi's approach in the Mishnah is always to explain the Mishnah based on the initial assumption of the Gemara).

In the Gemara (46b), though, Rashi has a question on the opinion of Rebbi Eliezer. If, as the Gemara initially assumes, Rebbi Eliezer maintains that we apply the principle of "Ho'il" to permit baking all of the dough, then why does he require the dough to be baked first and *then* to separate Chalah from it? Even if one separates Chalah *before* baking it, he should still be permitted to bake it all because of "Ho'il" -- since he could be "Sho'el" on the Chalah and then bake it, it should be permitted to bake it now without being "Sho'el" on it!

Rashi saw that this is not really a strong question if Rebbi Eliezer permits the baking of the Chalah because of Ho'il, as we shall explain now. However, according to the Gemara's conclusion that Rebbi Eliezer does *not* have to rely on Ho'il to permit baking the Chalah, this is indeed a strong question. In order to deal with this question, Rashi switched to the explanation offered in the Gemara's conclusion, that one may bake all the loaves since each one might not be the one separated as Chalah.

According to the logic that we allow the baking because of "Ho'il" ("since one could take off a little bit of Chalah from each loaf..."), then if one makes the dough Chalah before baking it, in order to permit baking it we have to utilize *two* "Ho'il"'s: (1) he could be Sho'el on the Chalah, and (2) once he has been Sho'el on the Chalah and he is baking all of the dough, there is still the problem that one of the loaves is going to be made into Chalah and is not fit to eat, and therefore we have to utilize the principle of "Ho'il" and say that since he could take off a little Chalah from each loaf, they are all considered fit for eating. We do not apply the principle of "Ho'il" to such an extent! (TOSFOS DH Ho'il (#1) explains in the name of Rashba that we do not apply a "double Ho'il," see the Gemara earlier, 38a.)

Since we do not permit something if two "Ho'il"'s have to be used, Rashi cannot ask his question using the initial assumption of the Gemara (48a) that Rebbi Eliezer's reason is "'Ho'il' that one could take a little Chalah from each loaf...." Rather, Rashi asks his question on the other way of understanding Rebbi Eliezer, that each individual loaf by itself might be the one that will be eaten. Rashi asks that Rebbi Eliezer should permit baking the dough even after separating Chalah from it, because he could be Sh'oel on the Chalah and then bake it, and separate Chalah from one of the loaves later, which is a single Ho'il. Even though one loaf is eventually going to be separated as Chalah, each is considered fit for eating because each individual loaf by itself might not be Chalah.

That is why Rashi gives a different reason why Rebbi Eliezer would permit baking all the dough first and then separating Chalah -- in order to be able to ask why Rebbi Eliezer does not say that one may separate Chalah first and then bake it, utilizing *one* "Ho'il" and not two! (Based on MAHARSHA on TOSFOS, DH Ho'il).

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