THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
1) THE MINIMUM AMOUNT OF TIME FOR "SETIRAH"
QUESTION: The Gemara cites various opinions of Tana'im regarding the minimum
amount of time necessary for the seclusion to be considered Setirah. The
Gemara concludes that each of the Tana'im measured the amount of time based
on personal experience. If they measured based on personal experience, then
what are they arguing about? The amount of time depends on each person!
(a) The CHAFETZ CHAIM in LIKUTEI HALACHOS (in Ein Mishpat) seems to learn
that the simple reading of the Gemara is that the Tana'im are *not* arguing
about the Shi'ur of Setirah. (Hence, for each person, the Shi'ur indeed
might be different.)
(b) However, the Chafetz Chaim points out that the Rambam records one of the
opinions as the Halachah. It seems that the Rambam *does* consider these
Tana'im to be arguing. How could they be arguing if each one was giving an
opinion based on his own personal experience?
Perhaps the Rambam understands the words "b'Atzmo Shi'er" as meaning *not*
that each Tana measured the length of time that unique to himself, but
rather these words mean that each Tana had the same experience in terms of
the amount of time of seclusion, and each one chose a certain average amount
of time to serve as the standard amount of time to be considered a Halachic
form of Setirah. When the Gemara says that each one measured the time
according to his own experience, it just means that because of
considerations of Tzeni'us, the Tana'im did not survey other people.
2) THE PUNISHMENT FOR PROMISCUITY
AGADAH: Rava says that a person who has relations with an Ishah Zonah will
end up begging for bread. This theme is reflected in the verse, "v'Ro'eh
Zonos Ye'abed Hon" (Mishlei 29:3), which teaches that one who involves
himself in Z'nus will lose his money.
The KLI YAKAR (Parshas Mikeitz, Bereishis 42:55) explains that this is why
Yosef told the Mitzrim to perform Milah to themselves at the outbreak of the
years of famine (see Rashi there). The people of Mitzrayim were notorious
for their licentiousness (see Rashi to Bereishis 12:19). Yosef was afraid
that this would cause them to suffer even more from the famine. Therefore,
Yosef had them all perform Milah, because Milah curbs the Ta'avah for Z'nus
and it would make the people less prone for Z'nus so that they would be able
to retain whatever food they still had.
3) EATING BREAD WITH WET HANDS
What is the reason why Z'nus brings about such a punishment? Perhaps it is
because through Z'nus, children are born who do not know who their father is
(see Yevamos 37b), and they have no source of support. Hence, measure for
measure, the person who brings such children into the world is punished by
losing his source of support.
OPINIONS: The Gemara says that if a person eats his bread without drying his
hands after washing them, it is as if he eats bread that is Tamei. What is
so bad about eating bread with wet hands that the bread should be considered
(a) RASHI explains that "Tamei" here means that it is so repulsive to eat
bread that is wet and soggy from the water on one's hands, that it is
comparable to Tum'ah which is also repulsive.
(b) RABEINU CHANANEL cited by the BI'UR HALACHAH (OC 158:12) explains that
when one touches the bread with wet hands, the bread because fit to become
Tamei -- "Much'shar l'Kabel Tum'ah," and if a person who is Tamei then
touches the bread without washing his hands, the bread will become Tamei.
The Gemara means that since the person has enabled the bread to become Tamei
by eating with wet hands, it is as if he is eating bread that is Tamei.
(c) The BACH (OC 165, DH v'Af Al Gav) explains that the Gemara means that
when a person does not dry his hands after washing them, his act of Netilas
Yadayim is lacking and it as if his hands are still Tamei. The Mishnah in
Yadayim (2:1) says that if a person washes his hands for Netilas Yadayim
with less than a Revi'is, the water that was used to be Metaher his hands
becomes Tamei from his hands, and thus he must pour water over his hands a
second time in order to be Metaher the water that is on his hands. In such a
case, if he does not pour water a second time, then what he eats certainly
becomes Tamei because of the water. That is not what the Gemara here is
referring to, though, because the Gemara says that it is *as if* the bread
is Tamei, and not that the bread actually is Tamei. The Gemara is referring
to when a person washes his hands with a full Revi'is of water, in which
case he does not have to wash off the water with a second pouring, because
the water is Metaher itself when it is a Revi'is. Nevertheless, the Gemara
says that it is recommended that he pour water over his hands a second time
in order to remove the Revi'is of water, and if he does not pour water a
second time, it is as if he is eating bread that is Tamei. The Bach explains
that this is why we find that a person is supposed to recite a Berachah on
Netilas Yadayim before drying his hands, since drying his hands is
considered part of the Mitzvah (see OC 158:12). If he washed with less than
a Revi'is, it is understandable that he must dry his hands in order to
complete the Mitzvah of Netilas Yadayim, since the water that is Tamei must
be removed. However, if he washed with a Revi'is, why is drying his hands
part of the Mitzvah? It must be that the Rabanan considered there to be some
degree of Tum'ah even when he washes with a Revi'is, and thus he has not
finished the Mitzvah until he dries his hands.