(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

Yoma 14


The Mishnah states that during the seven days before Yom Kipur, the Kohen Gadol performs the Avodah in the Beis ha'Mikdash. The Gemara asks why is the Kohen Gadol permitted to do the Avodah during those seven days? We have learned that the Kohen Gadol is required to have Haza'ah done to him each of the seven days out of a doubt that he might have become Tamei with Tum'as Mes prior to his seclusion. However, if he is actually Tahor, then the Haza'ah will make him Tamei! Since he might have been Tahor before the Haza'ah, he should not be allowed to do the Avodah after the Haza'ah, because he might be Tamei now as a result of it! (Without Haza'ah, the Kohen Gadol may perform the Avodah because he has a Chezkas Taharah and we assume he is not Tamei with Tum'as Mes. The Haza'ah, though, makes him Tamei from that state of having a Chezkas Taharah!)

The Gemara gives two answers. First, perhaps the Mishnah follows the opinion of the Rabanan who argue with Rebbi Akiva. The Rabanan hold that when Haza'ah of Mei Chatas is done on someone who is Tahor, he does *not* become Tamei. Alternatively, the Mishnah does follow the opinion of Rebbi Akiva, but the Haza'ah is done only in the evening right before nightfall, after the Kohen Gadol has finished doing the Avodah for the day. He becomes Tamei only until the end of the day, for with nightfall he becomes Tahor.

The AUSTROVTZER GA'ON, Rav Yechiel Michal of Austrovtze, zt'l, suggests an alternate reconciliation to explain how the Kohen Gadol is permitted to do the Avodah after the Haza'ah is done to him, without having the problem of being Tamei as a result of the Tum'ah.

The Mishnah (Mikva'os 6:2, cited in Chagigah 22a) says that if one immerses a utensil inside of another utensil into a Mikvah, the inner utensil becomes Tahor, since the water seeping in to the outer utensil is considered part of the Mikvah. This applies only if the opening of the outer utensil is larger than "k'Shefoferes ha'Nod" (the mouth of a flask). If the opening in the outer utensil is smaller than that, the water inside the outer utensil is not considered connected to the Mikvah and the Tevilah is ineffective for the inner utensil, because it was not immersed into the waters of the Mikvah. However, even in such a case the Tevilah will work if one condition is met. If the outer utensil was Tamei, the Tevilah works to be Metaher it, and since the outer utensil becomes Tahor through the Tevilah, the inner one also becomes Tahor (by way of a "Migu"). If the outer utensil is Tahor, then the inner utensil does not become Tahor from the Tevilah, because it is not considered to be in the waters of the Mikvah.

According to this, the Austrovtzer Ga'on suggests the following. Before doing the Haza'ah each day, the Kohen Gadol should touch a utensil which has a very small opening. Then, a small utensil that is Tamei should be placed inside the utensil that he touched, and they should be immersed in the Mikvah.

If the Kohen Gadol was Tamei, then when he touched the larger utensil, he made it Tamei, and thus the Tevilah works to make the inner utensil Tahor. But if the Kohen Gadol was Tahor, then the utensil which he touched is Tahor and thus the Tevilah does not work for the inner utensil and it remains Tamei. In short, the status of the inner utensil is the opposite of the status of the Kohen Gadol; if he is Tamei, then the inner utensil becomes Tahor, and if he is Tahor, then the inner utensil remains Tamei.

Next, the Mei Chatas (the spring water and the ashes of the Parah Adumah) should be placed into the inner utensil. If the Kohen Gadol was Tamei until now, then the utensil is Tahor and the Mei Chatas is Kosher and serves to be Metaher him.

On the other hand, if the Kohen Gadol was Tahor, then the inner utensil is still Tamei, and the Mei Chatas that was placed in it becomes Tamei as well, and Mei Chatas which is Tamei is invalid for Haza'ah. Since it is invalid for Haza'ah, it cannot be Metamei someone who is Tahor! Consequently, we can safely do Haza'ah with this Mei Chatas on the Kohen Gadol and permit him to do the Avodah without having any worry that the Haza'ah is making him Tamei, even according to Rebbi Akiva!

QUESTION: Rebbi Akiva and the Chachamim argue whether doing Haza'ah on someone who is Tahor makes that person Tamei. In our case, Haza'ah is done to the Kohen Gadol out of doubt that he might be Tamei with Tum'as Mes. If he is actually Tahor, though, according to Rebbi Akiva the Haza'ah will make him Tamei, and according to the Chachamim he remains Tahor.

The Gemara later says that everyone agrees that if someone *touches* or *carries* Mei Chatas he becomes Tamei. (Carrying Mei Chatas will only make someone Tamei if there is an amount of water sufficient enough to dip the Ezov wood into and perform another Haza'ah. Touching Mei Chatas will make someone Tamei even if there is not enough water left to perform another Haza'ah.)

If the Chachamim agree to that Halachah, then why do they say that Haza'ah on someone who is Tahor does not make him Tamei? The Mei Chatas is touching him, and the Chachamim agree that Mei Chatas is Metamei someone who touches it! Although the Chachamim hold that the *act* of Haza'ah does not make him Tamei, they agree that touching the Mei Chatas after it has been sprinkled on him should make him Tamei!


(a) The ME'IRI explains that this is not called "Maga" (touching). Apparently, he learns that the water that was sprinkled on the Kohen Gadol was not sufficient enough to perform another Haza'ah with it (and thus the fact that he is carrying it on his body does not make him Tamei).

It is not clear why the Me'iri says that it is not called Maga. We know that at the moment of the actual Haza'ah, the Mei Chatas cannot be Metamei him, because the Mei Chatas is not Metamei during the process of sprinkling it; it is only Metamei if one touches it *not* during the process of sprinkling (TOSFOS YESHANIM, DH Rashi Gores). Even though it turns out that he did not need Haza'ah, it is still not Metamei him because it was done for the sake of Haza'ah. However, why is the Mei Chatas not Metamei him after the process of Haza'ah is over and the water is touching his body?

(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Parah Adumah 15:1) writes that as soon as the person immerses the Ezov for the Haza'ah, the Mei Chatas becomes "Mei Chatas she'Na'aseh Mitzvasan" -- Mei Chatas which has already been used to perform the Mitzvah -- and it is no longer able to be Metamei. The Rambam implies that in our case, too, even though the Kohen Gadol was actually Tahor, since the Haza'ah was already done the Mei Chatas will not make him Tamei through Maga, because it is Mei Chatas which has already been used to perform the Mitzvah.


Next daf


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