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Yoma 55


QUESTION: The Gemara says that if there is a Shofar (collection box) of coins that are designated for buying Korbanos Chatas for the owners of the coins, and one of the owners dies, every set of coins in the box becomes a Safek Chatas she'Meisah Ba'alah -- since each of them may have been the set of coins whose owner died. According to the opinion that maintains that Bereirah works, says the Gemara, the problem can be resolved by removing one set of coins and declaring that set of coins the one whose owner died, and then throwing those coins into the sea. All of the other coins then become Mutar.

How does removing one set of coins work to permit all of the others that remain in the box? Bereirah means that a present condition can be clarified based on an event which occurs later. Usually this is accomplished by a previously stipulated condition, which is only filled at a later time. In this case, though, how does removing one set of coins clarify which set is the one whose owner died? Removing a random set of coins in no way shows that it is the owner of that set of coins who died! And if, for some reason, that act serves to clarify which coins are the forbidden ones, then does that mean that when it comes to every Isur of Ta'aruvos (forbidden mixtures), it suffices to remove one item and declare that item as the object that is Asur, and the mixture then becomes permissible?


(a) TOSFOS (Temurah 30a, DH v'Idach) answers that in a normal case of a forbidden item mixed together with permissible items, the mixture is Asur because the object of Isur was prohibited *before* it fell into the permissible items. Once it was prohibited while it was isolated, it is not possible to transfer the Isur to a different object. Here, though, when the objects were initially mixed together, they were all Mutar. The Isur of one object began only *after* they were mixed together. In such a case it is possible to remove the Isur by choosing one item and declaring it to be the one that is Asur. (Perhaps the logic behind this can be explained as follows. If the item was Asur before it fell into the mixture, then the Rabanan instituted that in certain cases it will not be Batel b'Rov in the mixture, such as when it is a Davar Chashuv or Davar sheb'Minyan or Davar she'Yesh Lo Matirim. However, if the Isur starts only when it is already mixed in, then even though the item is a Davar Chashuv etc., the Rabanan did not say that it should not be Batel. Rather, it is Batel in the mixture, and the Rabanan only required that one remove and designates one item as that which is Asur, in order not to derive benefit from the forbidden item.)

(b) The TOSFOS YESHANIM and RITVA answer that when people place money into the Shofaros, they give it with intention that the Kohanim are granted the power to use it to buy a Chatas for anyone they choose. Therefore, according to the opinion that holds of Bereirah, the Kohanim can determine retroactively that which bundle of money is the money of the person who died, and throw into the sea. According to the opinion that does not hold of Bereirah, the Kohanim must offer each Korban for "whoever put this money in the Shofar," since they *cannot* determine retroactively that the money was deposited in the Shofar for another person.

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