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Pesachim 62


QUESTION: Rabah and Rav Chisda argue concerning a case of one who slaughters the Korban Pesach having in mind that it should attain Kaparah for non- owners of the Korban who are Arelim (uncircumcised people). Rabah says that the Korban is Kosher, since a Machshavah that the Korban will atone for a non-owner who is *not* a Bar Kaparah -- who is intrinsically unable to gain Kaparah from the Korban, such as an Arel -- does not invalidate the Korban. Rav Chisda, on the other hand, holds that an Arel *is* a Bar Kaparah, since he could circumcise himself and thus be fit for Kaparah. Only a person such as a non-Jew is entirely unable to get Kaparah from the Korban.

RASHI (60a, DH l'Arelim, and 61b, DH B'nei Chaburah) writes that when the Mishnah says that "if one slaughters the Korban for an Arel it is Pasul," it is referring to an Arel who is uncircumcised because *his brothers died from Milah*. Such a person is exempt from Milah because of the danger that Milah might pose to his life.

Rashi is consistent with the way he translates Arel throughout the Gemara (e.g. Yevamos 70a); whenever the Gemara discusses an Arel not being able to eat from Korban Pesach, Rashi explains that it is referring to one whose brothers died from Milah, and not to an Arel who *chose* to transgress and not be circumcised. Rashi explains this way because if the Arel under discussion chose not to give himself a Milah, then he may not eat from the Korban Pesach for a different reason -- he is a Mumar, one who rejects the Mitzvos, and a Mumar may not eat from the Korban Pesach (because of "Ben Nechar Lo Yochal Bo," Shemos 12:43).

According to Rashi, how can the Gemara here say that the Arel is a Bar Kaparah because "if he wants, he could circumcise himself?" He cannot circumcise himself because of the danger to his life, since his brothers died from Milah! He should not be considered a Bar Kaparah by any standards! (MAHARSHAM in Techeles Mordechai, end of Lech Lecha; editor's note by Rav Moshe Feldman in HAGAHOS MAHARSHAM)


(a) It is true that this Arel is not allowed to circumcise himself because of the danger that it poses to his life. However, if he *does* give himself a Milah, he may then eat from the Korban. He is therefore considered to be a Bar Kaparah since it is in his power to circumcise himself, albeit by transgressing the prohibition of u'Shemartem l'Nafshoseichem. (TECHELES MORDECHAI; YASHRESH YAKOV, Yevamos 70a)

(b) It is true that Rashi earlier says that the Arel who cannot eat from the Korban is one whose brothers died from Milah. However, he is forced to explain that the Arel under discussion there is one whose brothers died from Milah. If one slaughtered the Korban having in mind to feed it to an Arel who *chose* not to give himself a Milah, Rashi holds that the Korban will be Kosher. It is in the hands of, and even the obligation of, the Arel to repent and circumcise before the time that the Korban must be eaten, making himself fit to eat the Korban. Therefore, he is not considered one who is unfit to eat the Korban (she'Lo l'Ochlav) even before the circumcision.

The case of our Gemara, though, is when one slaughtered the Korban for Arelim who are not owners of the Korban (she'Lo l'Be'alav). We know that if one slaughters for a person (not the owner) who is not fit to eat the Pesach, this does not invalidate the Korban. The question of the Gemara is whether an Arel is also considered unfit to eat the Pesach since he is "Mechusar Ma'aseh" -- an action must be done to him to make him fit to eat the Korban -- or whether he is considered fit to eat, since he may circumcise himself at will. This law will certainly apply to a person who is an Arel *by choice*, and Rashi will understand our Gemara as referring to just such a person. To the contrary, if one slaughters the Pesach for an Arel whose brothers died from Milah, the Korban will be unquestionably Pasul -- that is even Raba will agree that it is Pasul -- because such an Arel is *not* a Bar Kaparah by any standard, since it is not in his ability to circumcise himself.

The Gemara discusses the case of slaughtering for an *Arel* by choice, and not slaughtering for any *Mumar* who rejects the Mitzvos, because everyone agrees that a Mumar is not intrinsically unable to attain Kaparah, since his Pesul is just a frame of mind which he can easily alter, and he is not "Mechusar Ma'aseh."
(M. Kornfeld)


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