(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld

Ask A Question about the Daf

Previous daf

Pesachim 79


QUESTION: The Gemara cites several Beraisos that teach that if most of the people are Tamei, then the entire Tzibur may bring the Korban Pesach in a state of Tum'ah. The reason for this is the principle, "Ein Korban Tzibur Chaluk," a Korban Tzibur, which may be brought b'Tum'ah, is not divided and brought by different groups in different states of Tum'ah or Taharah.

These Beraisos, though, seem to contradict the concept of Tum'ah Dechuyah b'Tzibur! As RASHI (77a, DH Dechuyah) explained, if Tum'ah is *Dechuyah* b'Tzibur, as opposed to *Hutrah*, then there is not an absolute allowance to bring the Korban in a state of Tum'ah, but it is merely permitted to bring it b'Tum'ah if there is no possible way to bring it b'Taharah. As the Gemara in Yuma (7b) explains, if any of the Kohanim are Tahor, they must bring the Korban Pesach rather than the Teme'im. Why, then, is it permitted for those who are *Tahor* to bring the Korban in a state of Tum'ah when the majority of the people are Tamei? Since they are Tahor, they should be required to bring it b'Taharah since they are able to do so! Yet the Gemara here says that those who are Tahor may bring it b'Tum'ah, for the minority follows the majority -- even though this Tana presumably is of the opinion that Tum'ah *Dechuyah* b'Tzibur (as the Gemara implied on 77a)!

ANSWER: Our Sugya supplies the reasoning for allowing all of the Tzibur to bring Korbanos b'Tum'ah when only most of them are Tamei: "Ein Korban Tzibur Chaluk" (a public offering is not to be split). If so, it is only *until* the Korban is brought b'Tum'ah that try to avoid Tum'ah at all costs. For this reason, we must try to offer the Korban with Kohanim and knives that are Tahor.

However, when most of the Tzibur is Tamei, there remains no option to avoid *some* Tum'ah when bringing the Korban Pesach, since the Torah tells us that those who are Tamei must bring a Korban Pesach. Once it has been allowed for some of the people to bring the Korban b'Tum'ah, the rule of "Ein Korban Tzibur Chaluk" applies and allows the rest of the Tzibur to bring it b'Tum'ah as well.

What this means (as the DEVAR SHMUEL, in Mahadura Basra, explains) is that there will be a difference between a situation where the Kohanim and Kelei Shares become Tamei, and one where the people offering the Pesach become Tamei. When the Kohanim or Kelei Shares become Tamei, the normal laws of Tum'ah Dechuyah b'Tzibur apply, and we try to avoid bringing the Korban b'Tum'ah (as the Gemara here (79a) makes clear). However, when the *people* become Tamei, and some amount of Tum'ah becomes inevitable, then a new rule applies: "a Korban Tzibur is not split." This is why the Mishnah says that the Korban Pesach is brought b'Tum'ah if "*Rov* (a majority) of the people were Tamei, or if *the Kohanim* were Tamei," and it does not say if "Rov" of the Kohanim were Tamei. The reason is because if a majority of the Kohanim were Tamei, it would still not be permitted to bring the Korban b'Tum'ah as long as a Kohen who is Tahor can be found to bring the Korban.

(It would seem, though, that even if most of the people are Tamei, the *Kohanim* performing the Avodah should be Tehorim if possible, since, although the Korban will be *eaten* b'Tum'ah, Avodah b'Tum'ah can at least be avoided. If so, when the Mishnah says that if most of the Tzibur is Tamai "Ya'asu [Kulhu] b'Tum'ah" it is referring to the people *eating* the Pesach, and not to the Kohanim offering it. See also Menachos (15a), where we find that if one of the two Bezichin is Tamei, Rebbi Yehudah holds that the second one may be brought b'Tum'ah as well, because "Ein Korban Tzibur Chaluk." However, Rebbi Yehudah may be following his ruling of Tum'ah *Hutrah* b'Tzibur, Pesachim 77a. [M. Kornfeld])

It is not clear, however, what the source is for the rule that "Ein Korban Tzibur Chaluk." Perhaps the following may be suggested. The Gemara cites two separate verses to teach the same Halachah, that the Korban Pesach may be offered b'Tum'ah. On Daf 66b, the Gemara cites the verse in Bamidbar (9:10) that teaches that only an individual ("Ish") who is Tamei on Pesach Rishon is pushed off to Pesach Sheni, but not a Tzibur that is Tamei. Later, on Daf 77a, the Gemara supplies an entirely different source -- "'b'Mo'ado,' even b'Tum'ah." TOSFOS (66a, DH Mah) asks why two sources are needed to teach the same law (and concludes that the Gemaras are in disagreement as to the correct source).

The answer to Tosfos' question may be that the verse of "Ish" is discussing the situation in which the people *bringing* the Pesach are Tamei. There, the Torah groups together the entire Tzibur, making a dichotomy between the single person and the Tzibur and ruling that a Tzibur cannot be pushed off to Pesach Sheni. This is the basis for the rule that "Ein Korban Tzibur Chaluk." The second verse is discussing simply stating that "no Tum'ah can prevent us from bringing the Pesach." This applies when the Kohanim or Kelei Shares are Tamei. In this case the principle of Tum'ah Dechuyah b'Tzibur is applied; it is not an absolute allowance to bring the Korban Tzibur b'Tum'ah; it merely teaches that Tum'ah cannot stop the Korban Tzibur from being brought, and that "Tum'ah *Dechuyah* b'Tzibur." We therefore must still try to avoid as much as possible bringing the Korban b'Tum'ah.

(M. Kornfeld -- The Gemara also cites two sources for the rule that a Korban Tzibur may be brought on Shabbos. However there, too, the second verse may have been necessary to teach that even a Korban which is left over from a *weekday* may be placed on the fires on Shabbos as long as it has begun to burn from before Shabbos, as Tosfos 83b DH v'Lo explains.

It should be noted that the RAMBAM (Hilchos Bi'as Mikdash 4:14) rules that the principle of "Ein Korban Tzibur Chaluk" also applies when Kohanim are Tamei: "If most of the Kohanim in Yerushalayim are Tamei at the time of bringing the Korban, then it may be brought b'Tum'ah." (The Acharonim cite as a partial source for this ruling the Talmud Yerushalmi in our Sugya.) In such a situation, obviously the rule of "Ein Korban Tzibur Chaluk" cannot be applied, since it is possible to avoid bringing the Korban b'Tum'ah in the first place. It may be read into the Rambam, though, that he is only referring to a situation where the Kohanim working in the Beis ha'Mikdash at the time (i.e the Beis Av and Mishmar) are *all* Tamei. Since *most* of the other Kohanim in Yerushalayim are also Tamei, the Torah does not require that we go to such extents to look for Tehorim.)


QUESTION: The Korban Pesach must be brought on the fourteenth of Nisan. However, the Torah allows a dispensation for those who were too far away and were not able to come to Yerushalayim on time, or who were Tamei when the fourteenth of Nisan arrived. They may bring the Korban Pesach on the fourteenth of Iyar. This dispensation, though, applies only to individuals. If the entire Tzibur was Tamei, then the Korban Pesach is brought on the fourteenth of Nisan, even though the people are in a state of Tum'ah and can only bring the Korban b'Tum'ah.

The Gemara discusses the question, what is the Halachah when half of the Tzibur is Tamei and half is Tahor? Everyone agrees that those who are Tahor bring the Korban on Pesach Rishon (the fourteenth of Nisan). As for those who are Tamei, there are three opinions. Rav says that they, too, bring it on Pesach Rishon. Rav Kahana, in the Gemara's first version of his statement, says that they bring it on Pesach Sheni (the fourteenth of Iyar). In the Gemara's second version of his statement, Rav Kahana says that those who are Tamei do not bring the Korban Pesach at all, neither on Pesach Rishon nor on Pesach Sheni. Rebbi Yehudah in the Beraisa (80a) says that the entire congregation may bring their Korban b'Tum'ah. (See Chart #10)

The Gemara here (79b) cites a Beraisa which states explicitly that those who are Tamei bring the Korban on Pesach Sheni, like Rav Kahana (according to the Gemara's first version of his statement). What do the other opinions -- Rav, and the second version of Rav Kahana -- do with that Beraisa?

The Gemara answers that the Beraisa is not really referring to a case where exactly half of the people are Tahor and half are Tamei. Rather, it is discussing a case where a *majority* of the people are Tahor. Why, then, does it say that *half* are Tahor? Because, there are a number of women who are Tamei who bring the total number of Tamei people to equal the number of Tahor people. Thus, when the Beraisa says that "half of the people are Tahor and half are Tamei," it means that the half which is Tamei is including women who are Tamei. Since a woman's obligation to bring the Korban Pesach is a Reshus (both on Pesach Rishon and on Pesach Sheni if she was Tamei on Pesach Rishon), when it comes to counting whether the Tzibur is Tahor or not, the number of women are not taken into consideration, and thus the group which is Tamei is a minority and the group which is Tahor is the majority. Since those who are Tamei are a minority, they therefore bring the Korban Pesach on Pesach Sheni.

Why did the Gemara not suggest the opposite scenario in order to answer the Beraisa? There is an opinion that women are obligated to bring the Korban Pesach (on both Pesach Rishon and on Pesach Sheni if they were Tamei on Pesach Rishon). If so, when the Beraisa says that the Tzibur was split half and half, it is only counting the *men* who are exactly half; there are, though, some women who are Tahor, and because they are obligated to bring the Korban Pesach, they *are counted* and make those who are Tahor into the majority! (This is similar to the way the Gemara resolves another Beraisa.) (MAHARSHA)

ANSWER: The KARNEI RE'EM suggests that if women are obligated on both Pesach Rishon and Sheni, then they are absolutely coequal to men, and if so, there is no reason for the Beraisa to count only the men and say that they are "half Tahor and half Tamei!" Only if women would not be obligated for Pesach Rishon and Sheni, or not obligated just for Pesach Sheni, then they are not considered to be on equal standing with men as far as the Korban Pesach is concerned, and then the Beraisa would be justified in counting only the men. But if the women are fully obligated just like the men, then the words "half are Tahor and half are Tamei" must also be including the women.

Next daf


For further information on
subscriptions, archives and sponsorships,
contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf,