THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) THE SOURCE THAT A GER NEEDS BOTH MILAH AND TEVILAH
QUESTION: The Mishnah (70a) states that an Arel may not eat Terumah. Rebbi
Elazar says that this Halachah is derived from the words "Toshav v'Sachir"
which are mentioned in the Torah with regard to eating Terumah (Vayikra
22:10) and with regard to eating the Korban Pesach (Shemos 12:45). Just like
an Arel may not eat from the Korban Pesach (Shemos 12:48), so, too, an Arel
may not eat Terumah.
Rebbi Akiva derives this Halachah from a different source, from the extra
words in the verse, "Ish Ish" (Vayikra 22:4).
The Gemara asks what do the words "Toshav v'Sachir" teach according to Rebbi
Akiva. The Gemara explains that it cannot be teaching that a circumcised
Nochri may not eat from the Korban Pesach, because as long as he is a
Nochri, his circumcision does not remove him from the status of an Arel.
Rather, the Gemara answers, the Torah is teaching that a Ger who did Milah
but did not do Tevilah may not eat from the Korban Pesach, and neither may a
Katan she'Nolad Mal, a child who was born circumcised, because he is
required to have Hatafas Dam Bris.
Why does Rebbi Akiva need this verse to teach that a Ger who did Milah but
not Tevilah is not allowed to eat the Korban Pesach? We learned earlier
(46a) that a Ger's conversion process is not valid until he has both Milah
and Tevilah, and the Gemara there (46b) said that the source for this is the
conduct of our forefathers who had Milah and Tevilah when they left
Mitzrayim before receiving the Torah. Rebbi Akiva, too, should learn this
Halachah from there; before the Ger does Milah and Tevilah he is still a
Nochri and therefore an Arel, and that is why he may not eat from the Korban
Pesach! Why does Rebbi Akiva need a different verse to teach this?
(a) TOSFOS (46b, DH Ki Pligi) explains that Rebbi Akiva -- although he
agrees with the Chachamim there (46a) that both Milah and Tevilah are
necessary for Gerus -- argues with the source for this requirement. He
learns it from the verse cited here.
(b) The RITVA and TOSFOS YESHANIM (46b, DH Od Piresh and DH Divrei Rebbi
Yehoshua) explain that although in a normal case of a Nochri who is
circumcised, that Nochri is considered an Arel, if he performed circumcision
for the specific purpose of becoming a Ger, then he is *not* considered an
The Ritva might be following his opinion earlier (see Insights to 47:2:c),
that the Milah prior to Gerus accomplishes the removal of the Tum'ah of a
Nochri, and once that Tum'ah has been removed, the Tevilah is able to work.
The Tevilah, on the other hand, serves the purpose of giving the Ger the
Kedushah of Yisrael. Since the Milah of Gerus removes the Tum'as Nochri, he
can no longer be called an Arel like other Nochrim because it is the Tum'ah
of Nochrim which makes him an Arel, and that Tum'ah has been removed by
virtue of his Milah.
(c) The RASHBA adds to this and says that not only is a Ger who did Milah
but not Tevilah no longer considered an Arel, he is considered to be a
partial Jew, and therefore he is not in the category of Arelim like other
Nochrim. It is not because the Milah removes the status of Arel, but because
the Milah makes him a partial Jew, and consequently the status of Arel is
The Rashba, too, is following his opinion elsewhere (ibid.), where he holds
that Milah is the beginning of the Gerus process, and it is not just a
preliminary act to the Gerus process. Tevilah is therefore compared to
"Gemar Din" and not the "Techilas Din." (See Insights to 47:2:c)
2) A WOMAN'S OBLIGATION TO PERFORM MILAH ON HER SON
QUESTION: The Beraisa discusses the Halachah that if a person's son (or
servant) is not circumcised, that person may not slaughter nor eat the
Korban Pesach, as the Torah says (Shemos 12:44, 48). The Beraisa says that
if the son is not circumcised at the time of the Shechitah of the Korban
Pesach, then father may not slaughter it, and if the son is not circumcised
at the time of eating the Korban Pesach, then the father may not eat it.
3) THE TWO ELEMENTS OF BRIS MILAH
The Gemara asks how is it possible to have been able to perform Shechitah
(because one did not have a son who was uncircumcised), and yet not be able
to eat the Korban Pesach (a few hours after the Shechitah) because one has
an uncircumcised son? It cannot be that the son was born between the time of
the Shechitah and the Achilah, because if the son is less than eight days
old, then it is not possible to give him Milah, and the Torah says that only
a son to whom it is possible to do Milah prevents his father from eating the
Korban Pesach. Rava answers that the case of the Beraisa is where "his
father and his mother were incarcerated in prison" during the time of
Shechitah, but were freed afterwards, at the time of Achilah. Since it was
not possible for them to do Milah to their son at the time of Shechitah
(because they were in prison), their uncircumcised son did not prevent them
from doing the Shechitah. When they were released from prison and it was
possible for them to circumcise their son, they may not eat the Korban
Pesach until they do Milah to their son.
The Torah says that having an uncircumcised son only prevents the *father*
from eating the Korban Pesach. It makes no mention of the mother. Moreover,
the Gemara in Kidushin (29a) states that the mother has no obligation to
circumcise her child; that responsibility is on the shoulders of the father.
Why, then, does Rava suggest that the case of the Beraisa is where *both*
the father and the mother were in prison? It would suffice to say that the
father alone was in prison! (MAHARSHA, TESHUVOS TASHBETZ 3:8, OR ZARU'A
(a) The OR ZARU'A and RABEINU AVRAHAM MIN HA'HAR explain that Rava indeed
could have left out mention of the mother, except that in normal
circumstances the mother would take the responsibility to do Milah to her
son into her own hands where the father was not capable of doing so, like we
find in the Torah with regard to Tziporah (Shemos 4:25) and in Shabbos
(134a). Thus, it is only for practical considerations that Rava mentions
that the mother was in prison -- he needs to explain how it came about that
the child was still an Arel on the night of Pesach.
The Or Zaru'a, however, is perplexed by Rashi's words, because Rashi writes
that "the Mitzvah of Milah is placed upon *them*," which implies that the
mother is actually obligated to do the Milah, just like the father.
(b) The Or Zaru'a suggests further that the word "Imo" ("his mother") was
added only as an aside, and what matters is that the father was in prison.
Rava added "Imo" simply because the same expression, "his father and his
mother were incarcerated in prison" is used in Chulin (11b), and there it is
necessary to mention that the mother, as well, was imprisoned. Rava here is
borrowing that wording.
(c) RAV YAKOV EMDEN suggests that the Gemara means that *either* the father
*or* the mother was in prison. If the mother was in prison, then the father
was not able to perform the Milah because he needs the mother to tend to the
needs of the baby after the Milah, for she is the one who is able to treat
the baby and help him recuperate. If she is not present, then the baby's
life might be endangered by the Milah.
(d) Rashi seems to contradict his own words. Rashi, as we saw, implies that
both the father and the mother are obligated to do Milah to their son.
However, Rashi contradicts his own words in the end of his comment when he
writes, "If *they* left the prison at the time of eating [the Korban
Pesach], then *his* son prevents *him* from eating the Korban!" Rashi first
refers to the two parents, and then he refers only to the father!
It seems that Rashi learns like the other Rishonim that only the father is
prevented from eating the Korban Pesach when he has a child who is not
circumcised. However, if the father alone would be in jail, it would not
prevent him from circumcising his son, since he could have his wife do it
for him. If, in that situation, his wife does not circumcise the child, then
it shows that *he* was lax in his responsibility to circumcise the child,
either because he did not send a messenger to his wife, or because he did
not emphasize the importance of it before he was separated from his wife.
(Similarly, if there is somebody whom the father knows could take
responsibility for the Milah on his behalf and the father does not tell that
person to do it, then being in jail does not constitute a situation of
"Ones" which would permit the father to eat the Pesach while his son is
That is why Rashi writes that the obligation is for *them* to perform the
Milah (meaning that the father must do it himself, or have his wife do it on
his behalf), and if the Milah is not performed, then the *father* is the
only one who suffers the consequences, and only he is prohibited from eating
the Korban Pesach because of it. (M. Kornfeld)
AGADAH: The Gemara says that Avraham Avinu was commanded only to perform
Milah, but not to do Peri'ah (removal of the thin membrane after the Orlah
is removed). The BEIS HA'LEVI (Parshas Lech Lecha) uses this Gemara to
explain the wording of the verse in the Torah which relates Hashem's
commandment to Avraham to perform Milah.
Hashem told Avraham, "Go before Me and be complete" (Bereishis 17:1), and
then He said, "I will place My covenant between Me and you" (ibid., v. 2).
Why does the verse start with a command telling Avraham what he should do,
and then it switches into a narrative voice of what will happen in the
future? The second verse should have said, "Do My covenant," as a
commandment, parallel with the first verse!
The Beis ha'Levi explains that Milah and Peri'ah serve different purposes.
Milah, the removal of the Orlah, represents removing an imperfection from a
person, because the Orlah is considered like a Mum, a blemish. That is why
the Mishnah in Nedarim (31b, cited here 71a) says that the Orlah is
disgusting, and that we shame the Resha'im by referring to them as "Arelim."
There is another aspect to Milah, though, and that is the Tosefes Kedushah
that it conveys, adding Kedushah to the Jew by creating a bond between
Hashem and him. It is to this aspect of Milah which the Gemara refers when
it says, "Great is Milah, because thirteen covenants were established upon
it" (Nedarim 31b). This second element of Milah is accomplished by the
This is the meaning of the verse. Hashem first told Avraham, "... be
complete" -- i.e., remove the blemish of Orlah. Then Hashem told Avraham
that although he was not commanded to perform Peri'ah, nevertheless "I
*will* place My covenant between Me and you" -- meaning that in the future,
Hashem will make a special covenant between Him and Avraham's descendants,
adding Kedushah to them. This would happen when they would be given the
Mitzvah of Peri'ah, which they performed upon entering Eretz Yisrael.