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Pesachim 91

PESACHIM 91 - dedicated by Uri Wolfson in honor of his Chavrusa, Rav Mordechai Rabin of Har Nof.


QUESTION: The Mishnah states that a person who is involved in rescuing someone from underneath a pile of stones may have someone slaughter the Korban Pesach for him. Even though it might be discovered that the person beneath the stones is dead and thus the person searching for him is Tamei, at the moment that the Korban Pesach is brought he is not considered Tamei. Therefore, if his Korban Pesach was brought and then he discovered that the person he was searching for was dead, he does not have to bring a Pesach Sheni.

The Gemara stipulates that this applies only if the pile of stones in which he was searching was a long, horizontal pile, in which case we do not assume that he hovered over the corpse before the Shechitas Ha'ii. If the pile of stones is in a circular shape, then we assume that he hovered above the corpse even before the Pesach was sacrificed, and he becameis Tamei for being an Ohel over a Mes. He is required to bring the Pesach Sheni. RASHI says that in the case of a long, horizontal pile, we do not assume that he is Tamei, because there is a doubt whether he was Tamei at the time that his Korban was offered. Therefore, he does not bring a Pesach Sheni because he might have already fulfilled his obligation. However, we do not assume that he was *definitely* Tahor. Rather, it is only a Safek, and the Safek does not require that he bring another Korban Pesach.

Why is he not considered to be definitely Tahor? After all, he has a Chazakah that he is Tahor! Apparently, even though we usually follow a "Chezkas Tahor," here we do not say that he was Tahor when his Korban was brought since he was Tahor before that time, because now he is definitely Tamei since the dead body was found, and thus his present status of Tamei conflicts with the Chezkas Tahor and thus it remains a Safek.

The RASHASH asks why Rashi says that the person has a Safek whether he fulfilled the Mitzvah of Korban Pesach or not? We have clear rules for cases of Safek Tum'ah! A Safek Tum'ah in Reshus ha'Yachid is considered to be definitely Tamei, while a Safek Tum'ah in Reshus ha'Rabim is considered to be definitely Tahor. When, then, does Rashi say that the person remains with a Safek? The pile of stones was most likely a Reshus ha'Yachid, and therefore he should be definitely Tamei! And if the pile was a Reshus ha'Rabim, then he should be definitely Tahor, and not a Safek!

ANSWER: Here, the question is not one of Safek Tum'ah at all. We know that he became Tamei, and we are not discussing a question of Tum'ah, such as the status of objects that he touched in the interim time before it was known for certain that he was Tamei (that is, when there was a Safek if he was Tamei). Rather, the question here is only whether he fulfilled the obligation of bringing the Korban Pesach or not. Since the consequences of the doubt have nothing to do with the laws of Tum'ah, we follow the normal rule of Safek d'Oraisa l'Chumra and not the rules of Safek Tum'ah. (RAV ELAZAR MANN SHACH, shlit'a, AVI EZRI, Hilchos Korban Pesach 5:10)

QUESTION: Rebbi Shimon derives from the verse, "You may not slaughter the Pesach in one of your gates" (Devarim 16:5) that one who brings a Korban Pesach upon a Bamas Yachid (a privately-owned altar) during a time when Bamos are prohibited transgresses a Lo Ta'aseh.

RASHI asks why Rebbi Shimon applies this Isur only to a Bamas Yachid, and not to a Bamas Tzibur, a publicly-owned Bamah. Rebbi Shimon should have said that there is also a Lo Ta'aseh to bring a Korban Pesach on a Bamas *Tzibur* during a time when Bamos are prohibited. (Even though the verse implies only a Bamas Yachid, as it says "in one of your gates," Rashi apparently views it as illogical to suggest that we must differentiate between the Halachos of a Bamas Yachid and a Bamas Tzibur during a time when all Bamos are forbidden.)

Rashi answers that at the time that Bamos were forbidden, there was no such thing as a Bamas Tzibur, since it is also a Bamah. (Apparently, if a Tzibur got together during that time and built a communal Bamah, it would only be considered a Bamas Yachid.) Rashi adds that after Shiloh was destroyed, Bamos (both Yachid and Tzibur) were permitted until the Beis ha'Mikdash was built. When the Beis ha'Mikdash was built, all Bamos, including Bamos Tzibur, became forbidden.

If that is Rashi's answer, what was his assumption in his question? It must be that Rashi assumed that even during times that Bamos were forbidden, it was permitted to have a Bamas Tzibur, and if so, it should have been forbidden by a Lo Ta'aseh to offer a Korban Pesach upon a Bamas Tzibur.

However, if that is what Rashi thought in his question, then what was his question altogether? If it was permitted to have a Bamas Tzibur, when Bamas Yachid is prohibited, then it was certainly permitted to bring a Korban Pesach on it. In fact, it was a *Mitzvah* to bring a Korban Pesach on it (Megilah 9b)! So perhaps Rebbi Shimon mentioned Bamas Yachid because it is *permitted* to offer a Korban Pesach on a Bamas Tzibur even when Bamas Yachid is prohibited.

Second, why, in his answer, does Rashi say that at the time when Bamos were forbidden, there was no such thing as a Bamas Tzibur? What about in the time of the Mishkan in Shiloh? When the Aron ha'Kodesh was in Shiloh, Bamos Yachid were forbidden, and yet the Mizbe'ach in Shiloh was a Bamas Tzibur!

ANSWER: Rashi is attempting to clarify this very point -- the exact status of Mishkan Shiloh. Rashi is saying that the Mizbe'ach in Shiloh was not considered a Bamas Tzibur, but a *Mishkan* (and therefore even Korbanos that are not permitted on a Bamas Tzibur, such as Korbenos Chovah that do not have a set time, may be offered in Shiloh -- see Megilah 9b).

In order to clarify this point, Rashi asks why Rebbi Shimon said that at a time when Bamos are forbidden, then it is forbidden with a Lo Ta'aseh to bring the Korban Pesach upon a *Bamas Yachid*. It would seem from this phraseology that there was a time when only Bamas Yachid was forbidden, but Bamas Tzibur is permitted. That is why Rebbi Shimon has to specify that bringing the Pesach on *Bamos Yachid* is forbidden with a Lo Ta'aseh, because Bamos Tzibur are Mutar. This period must have been when the Mishkan was standing in Shiloh, and Bamos were prohibited but the Mishkan itself was used.

Rashi however does not accept this position. Instead, he explains that the reason Rebbi Shimon says that the Lo Ta'aseh applies only to a Bamas Yachid is because of exactly the opposite reason -- there *cannot be* a Bamas Tzibur at the time that Bamos are forbidden. Rebbi Shimon specifies Bamas Yachid *not* to imply that a Bamas Tzibur is *permitted*, but to show that it is certainly *prohibited*, since there is actually no such thing as a Bamas Tzibur at a time when Bamos are forbidden. The Mishkan in Shiloh was not a Bamas Tzibur, but it was a Mishkan. This, of course, also answers the second question. Rashi holds that the Mishkan of Shiloh was not considered a Bamah at all, but a full-fledged Mishkan.

This question of Rashi -- whether Shiloh had a status of Bamas Tzibur or Mishkan -- appears to be the subject of debate in the Yerushalmi (Megilah 1:12) and depends on a variant reading of a Tosefta in Zevachim (13:8). The Tosefta in Zevachim asks what is considered "a Bamah Gedolah (Tzibur) at the time when *Bamos are permitted*," and it answers that wherever the Ohel Moed is present without the Aron ha'Kodesh, it is a Bamas Tzibur. According to this reading, the Tosefta, like Rashi, is assuming that Bamas Tzibur can only exist when Bamos are permitted -- for it, too, is a Bamah.

There is another reading of that Tosefta, which is the text that the Aruch (s.v. Bamah) and Rabeinu Chananel had, in which the Tosefta asks what is considered "a Bamah Gedolah at the time when Bamos are *forbidden*," and it answers wherever the Ohel Moed is present without the Aron ha'Kodesh. According to this reading, it is clear that Bamas Tzibur *can* exist even when Bamas Yachid is prohibited. This must be referring to the period of Mishkan Shiloh (after the Arojn ha'Kodesh was captured by the Plishtim), which is the only time when a Bamas Tzibur could have existed even though Bamos Yachid were prohibited.

The two readings of the Tosefta differ concerning the status of Mishkan Shiloh, which existed at a time when Bamos Yachid were forbidden and the Ohel Moed was present without the Aron ha'Kodesh. Originally, the Aron was present in Shiloh, at which time it certainly was considered a Mishkan and not a Bamah. But when the Aron was captured from there and taken away, did Shiloh revert to the status of a Bamas Tzibur, or since it was originally built with the Aron there, it remained a Mishkan and was not a Bamah. Both Nov and Givon were built when the Aron was not present -- see Rashi Pesachim 38b DH Zos Omeres.

(It may be pointed out that the words of Rashi in our Sugya contradict two of the MESHECH CHOCHMAH's theses (Devarim 12:8). The Meshech Chochmah proposes that 1. After the Aron was captured from Shiloh, Bamas Yachid was permitted. Rashi here writes that it was only permitted when Shiloh was destroyed. 2. The Meshech Chochmah writes that even before the Beis ha'Mikdash was actually built, while Giv'on was standing, Bamas Yachid was prohibited. Rashi writes that there was not period when a Bamas Tzibur existed but Bamas Yachid was permitted.)


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