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by Rabbi Ephraim Becker
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Yoma 85

YOMA 59-88 have been dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. Simcha Bekelnitzky (Simcha Gedalya ben Shraga Feibush) of Queens N.Y. by his wife and daughters. Well known in the community for his Chesed and Tzedakah, he will long be remembered.


(a) Question: But Shmuel taught (on the Mishnah determining the status of an abandoned child) that we only permit saving the buried person when there is a Jewish majority!?
(b) Answer: Shmuel was qualifying the Reisha of that Mishnah (which presumes that the child is a Gentile when the majority of residents are non-Jews) by saying that regarding Pikuach Nefesh, we do not apply this majority rule and we *do* save the person (consistent with his earlier teaching).
(a) Question: What application can be derived from assuming the child to be a non-Jew if the majority are non-Jews?
(b) Answer: To permit feeding him non-kosher food.
(c) Question: And of what consequence is the teaching that he is considered a Jew when surrounded by a Jewish majority (since we may not feed him non-kosher food even when it is 50-50)?
(d) Answer: We must return his lost articles (which we would not do if it was 50-50).
(e) Question: What is the consequence of teaching that in a 50- 50 case we will see him as a Jew?
(f) Answer: For the purposes of damages.
1. Question: If a Jew's ox gored his, he should have to bring proof of his Jewishness in order to collect (the burden of proof is always on the claimant)!?
2. Answer: It is speaking in a case when *his* ox (a Tam) gores that of a Jew, and the Jew is claiming *full* damages (which a gentile would be obligated to pay) and the Jew would have to prove that the child is a non-Jew to collect full damages.
(a) Question: Why does the Mishnah list all of the possible doubts?
(b) Answer: The Mishnah is built in steps of "not only..."
1. Not only if we are in doubt if a person is there, but even if there is a doubt if he is alive;
2. And not only if we are in doubt if he is alive, but even if we are in doubt if he is a Jew.
(a) Question: It is *obvious* that if they found the buried man alive, they continue to dig!?
(b) Answer: We dig even if it would only be possible to keep him alive for a short period of time (however short).
(c) Question: It is *obvious* that if he is dead we leave him!?
(d) Answer: We need to be taught this Din according to R. Yehudah b. Lakish.
1. R. Yehudah b. Lakish permits carrying a corpse [which is Muktzeh] from a fire, into a courtyard with an Eruv, lest one [out of respect for the dead person] come to extinguish the fire).
2. He did not permit digging up the corpse (since there no Isur d'Oraysa which he might come to transgress).
(e) Question: How far do we dig to establish if he is alive?
(f) Answer: Until his nose and check his breathing.
(g) Answer: Untl his heart, to check his pulse.
[1. If many people were buried in an accident, and those above are found to be dead we are obligated to continue digging to check the ones below independently.
2. The incident bears this out.]
(h) Question: is this Machlokes hinged on the Machlokes regarding the creation of a person?
1. The Tana Kama brings proofs that a baby is formed from the head.
2. Aba Shaul says from the navel (since Hashem created everything from the middle).
(i) Answer: Even Aba Shaul could agree here to check his respiration since they are only discussing creation of the person, not saving the life of the person (which, the Pasuk indicates, is in the breath).
(j) (R. Papa) The above Machlokes is speaking where we are digging from his feet.
1. Tana Kama holds to dig all the way to his nose and not to rely on the absence of pulse.
2. Yesh Omerim hold that the absence of pulse is sufficient indication of the absence of respiration.
(k) A group of Tana'im were asked for the source of the Halachah that saving human life (even be'Safek) has precedence over Shabbos.
1. R. Yishmael derived it from the Pasuk "Im Ba'Machteres Yimatzei Ha'Ganav ... " (If one is permitted to kill [with all its implications] which is only *Safek* Piku'ach Nefesh then one should certainly be permitted to break the Shabbos for that).
2. R. Akiva inferred it from the Pasuk "Me'Im Mizbechi Tikachenu Lamus", (If we will even interrupt the Avodah (which over-rides Shabbos) to call a witness (whose testimony may not be of any value), to save someone's life then we should certainly break the Shabbos in order to do so.

3. R. Elazar responded from the Mitzvah of Milah - because if one may break Shabbos to rectify *one* limb then one may certainly do so to rectify the *entire body*.
4. R. Yosi b. R. Yehudah learns it from the excluding word Ach (to teach us that there are cases where one is not obligated to observe Shabbos).
5. R. Yonasan b. Yosef learns it from Kodesh Hi Lachem (Shabbos is handed over to *us* [to observe], and not we to it [to die]).
6. R. Shimon b. Menasyah derives it from Ve'Shameru B'nei Yisrael Es Ha'Shabbos (one should break one Shabbos to enable the person who will otherwise die, to keep many Shabbasos).
7. Shmuel later asserted that it is best learned from the Pasuk VeChai BaHem (live with the Mitzvos, not die for them).
(l) Rava found a weakness with each of the sources (each could be understood to permit only Pikuach Nefesh *Vadai* not *Safek* Pikuach Nefesh which we are seeking) other than that of Shmuel.
1. R. Yishmael's source may be understood (as Rava does) to refer to a certainty that the thief will kill the homeowner (given the principle that a person does not stand idly by when his money is being taken away).
2. R. Akiva's source may be understood (as Abaye does) that two Talmidei-Chachamim will check that his testimony is valuable, in which case, it is no longer a case of Safek Pikuach Nefesh, but Vadai.
3. Similarly with the other sources mentioned.
4. Shmuel's source is the only one which covers *Safek* Piku'ach Nefesh because the Pasuk implies that the Mitzvos must be a source of life at all costs, whether one keeps them, or breaks them.
(m) This led Ravina to praise Shmuel's teaching (one sharp peppercorn is better than a basket-full of pumpkins).
(a) Korbanos Chatas and Asham (Vadai), and Misah and Yom Kipur atone, together with Teshuvah.
(b) Teshuvah alone atones for Mitzvos Aseh and Lo Sa'aseh.
(c) Aveiros which incur Misah require Yom Kipur (to suspend the afflictions) and Yom Kipur to atone, with Teshuvah.
(d) One who plans to do an Aveirah and Teshuvah for it, is hindered from doing Teshuvah.
(e) One who does an Aveirah relying on the atonement of Yom Kipur does not benefit from that atonement.
(f) Yom Kipur does not atone for sins between man and man.
1. These require reconciliation between the parties.
2. R. Elazar b. Azaryah learns this from the Pasuk Lifnei Hashem Titharu.
(g) R. Akiva learns from the Pasuk that Hashem purifies us from our sins just as a Mikvah purifies those who are impure.
(a) Question: Asham Talui should be mentioned together with Chatas and Asham Vadai - since the word Kaparah appears there, too!?
(b) Answer: An Asham Talui, unlike an Asham Vadai, does not atone completely (it only holds off the punishment until he ascertains that he sinned and can bring his Chatas).
(c) Alternate Answer: The Asham Talui is not grouped with the others since Yom Kipur is a backup Kaparah for it.
(a) Question: If we infer that without Teshuvah Yom Kipur and Misah do not atone, then this would not follow the opinion of Rebbi (according to whom Yom Kipur atones even without Teshuvah, with the exception of one who denies Hashem (Porek Ol), interprets the Torah however it suits him or negates the B'ris Milah).
(b) Answer: Rebbi might agree with our Mishnah, which only says that Teshuvah alone needs Yom Kipur; it does not say that Yom Kipur needs Teshuvah.
(a) Question: If Teshuvah atones for Mitzvos Lo Sa'aseh, is it not obvious that it will atone for Mitzvos Aseh as well!?
(b) Answer: R. Yehudah therefore amends Lo Sa'aseh to Lav HaNitak Le'Aseh (which needs to be also taught as it does not incur Malkos, and is not more stringent than an Aseh).
(c) Question: Does Teshuvah then *not* atone for a Lo Sa'aseh!?
1. The Beraisa teaches that Teshuvah *does* atone for Lo Sa'aseh.
2. The only exception listed in Beraisa is Lo Sisa (swearing falsely).
(d) Answer: The Tana means by Lo Sisa to include with it all comparable Lavin (which are not Nitak Le'Aseh).
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