THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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1) THE PURIFICATION OF THE TRIBES
QUESTION: Rebbi Chama bar Chanina says that when Hashem will purify the
Shevatim and filter out all of the impure elements of their lineage, He will
begin with the tribe of Levi. He derives this from the verse, "He will sit,
smelting (Metzaref) and purifying (u'Metaher) silver, and He will purify the
children of Levi and refine them like gold and like silver, and they will be
to Hashem like those who present an offering in righteousness" (Malachi
2) THE FUTURE STATUS OF FAMILIES OF DOUBTFUL LINEAGE
Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi understands the verse differently. He says that it
means that Hashem will purify the Mamzerim, allowing them entry into the
Jewish people. RASHI explains that Rebbi Yehoshua understands that when the
verse says that Hashem will be "Metaher," purify, the Jewish people, it does
not mean that Hashem will filter out the impure elements. Rather, it means
that Hashem will make the impure elements pure, enabling them to
legitimately join the Jewish people.
This only explains how Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi understands the word
"Metaher" in the verse. How, though, does he explain the word "Metzaref"
("smelting")? "Metaher," purifying, can be done to something that is Tamei
and make it Tahor. The definition of "Metzaref," though, is to remove
impurities! How does Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi explain that part of the verse?
ANSWER: The RAMBAM (Hilchos Melachim 12:3) writes that when the Gemara says
that Hashem will "purify" the Shevatim, beginning with Shevet Levi, it means
that it will become clarified who indeed is a Kohen and who is a Levi. Those
who, until now, were considered Kohanim and Levi'im but who are revealed not
to be members of Shevet Levi will join the ranks of the rest of Yisrael. The
"purification" of those who are not from Shevet Levi means that it will
become clarified from which Shevet each person comes. It does not mean that
it will become clarified who is a Mamzer and who is an Eved, but rather
"once they (the impure elements) have become mixed in, they have become
The Mefarshim point out that the words of the Rambam imply that there is a
difference between the members of Shevet Levi (Kohanim and Levi'im) and the
rest of Yisrael. The Rambam emphasizes that the members of Yisrael will only
be clarified and "Meyuchas" according to their respective Shevatim, but they
will *not* be clarified with regard to their Kashrus; that is, there will be
no clarification as to who is a Mazmer and who is an Eved. Rather, "once
they have become mixed in, they have become mixed in."
It seems, according to the Rambam, that the clarification of Kohanim is
different, and they must become totally Meyuchas. Why is this?
The RIDVAZ explains that this is a special requirement in the Halachos of
Avodah, of serving in the Beis ha'Mikdash. Although with regard to
prohibitions of marriage, we apply the principle of "once they have become
mixed in, they have become mixed in," but with regard to the Avodah in the
Beis ha'Mikdash, a full Yichus is necessary.
The Ridvaz and others explain the verse quoted in our Gemara according to
this approach. "Metzaref" refers to the process that will be done with
Shevet Levi -- the Kohanim and Levi'im, who have to be cleansed of all
Pesulim in order to perform the Avodah in the Beis ha'Mikdash. "Metaher"
refers to the process that will be done with the rest of Yisrael for the
sake of permitting marriages with Pesulim, to whom we apply the principle of
"once they have become mixed in, they have become mixed in."
QUESTION: Rebbi Yitzchak states that in the future, "Mishpachah
she'Nitme'ah, Nitme'ah" -- a family with a Pesul (such as Mamzerus) that
became mixed (and unidentifiable) with the rest of the Jewish people will
"remain mixed" and be considered part of the Jewish people. Abaye cites a
Beraisa that also states this principle. RASHI (DH Tanina) explains that the
families of impure lineage "will not be separated or distanced [from the
Jewish people], and the doubt about their status will not be clarified...,
but rather they will be left in their state of Safek, and, in the future,
they will be Kesherim."
3) ALLOWING FAMILIES OF TAINTED LINEAGE TO MARRY KOSHER FAMILIES
The time at which the families of doubtful status will be considered
Kesherim will be in the future, "l'Asid la'Vo," when Eliyahu ha'Navi will
come and be Metaher all of the families that have a Pesul who intermingled
with them. Until that time, they remain in a state of doubt, a state of
Safek Kesherim. How, then, can we permit someone to marry into such a family
prior to the arrival of Eliyahu ha'Navi? We should be prohibit such a
marriage out of doubt, and only once the family has actually become Kosher
should one be allowed to marry into it.
ANSWER: The RAN in the name of the RAMBAN answers with a basic rule in
Halachah: Halachah does not change. The Gemara (Berachos 34b) says that all
Mitzvos and Halachos that apply nowadays will apply in the times of
Mashi'ach as well. The only change will be that the subjugation to foreign
nations will come to an end.
The same principle applies inversely, too. If we find a Halachah that exists
in the times of Mashi'ach, then it must also apply nowadays. There will be
no addition, or elimination, or any Halachos. Therefore, if -- in the times
of Mashi'ach -- it will be permitted to marry into a family that is Safek
Kosher, that Halachah must also apply nowadays as well. (Even though the
"Taharah" that Eliyahu ha'Navi will effect does not exist at present,
nevertheless the "Taharah" means that he will permit them, and thus that
Heter must exist now as well.) (A. Kronengold)
HALACHAH: The Gemara gives examples of families that, in the future, Eliyahu
ha'Navi will clarify to be Tahor or Tamei. The Gemara adds that there was
another family of impure lineage, and the Chachamim did not want to reveal
the identity of the family. Rather, they revealed the identity of the family
only to their sons and to their students once every seven years (and some
say twice every seven years).
Even though the Halachah is that "once they have become mixed in, they have
become mixed in," there are three conditions that apply to this Halachah:
(1) We allow, b'Di'eved, a family whose status is in doubt ("Mishpachah
she'Nitme'ah") to remain as part of (and to marry into) the Jewish people
only when its original Pesul was not known. If, however, the Pesul was
known, and they married into the Jewish people anyway (as in the case of Ben
Tzion who brought in a family of Pesulim by force), that family will be
expelled by Eliyahu ha'Navi in the future.
(2) Even though we are not supposed to reveal a "Mishpachah she'Nitme'ah,"
it is still permitted -- and it is even proper ("Kasher ha'Davar," as the
REMA writes) -- to give over such information to "Tzenu'in" (for the purpose
of knowing which families to refrain from marrying into). This can be
learned from the fact that the Chachamim used to reveal the identities of
these families to their students at certain intervals, in order for the
"Tzenu'in" to be able to refrain from marrying into such families. This was
not done in public, though, in order to start rumors about the family being
Pasul, since, in practice, it is permitted to marry them (the reason given
by the RAN, that "the Shechinah does not dwell" among such families, still
(3) The only time we do not reveal a Pesul is only after the family in
question has married into Kosher families. If, however, they have not yet
married into Kosher families, then even though their Pesul is not known to
all, whoever does have the information about the family's Pesul is required
to reveal this Pesul to others. This can be derived from the Heter of "once
they have become mixed in, they have become mixed in," which implies that
the family may remain married to a Kosher family only b'Di'eved, when they
have already married, but l'Chatchilah such a family is not permitted to
marry into a Kosher family. (See REMA EH 2:5.)