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Pesachim 44

1) "HETER MITZTAREF L'ISUR" AND "TA'AM K'IKAR"

QUESTION: Rebbi Eliezar states that a mixture containing Chametz (such as the "Kutach ha'Bavli") is forbidden by a Lav d'Oraisa and is punished with Malkus. The Gemara says that according to Rebbi Eliezer, it is clear that "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur" when it comes to Chametz. That is, since Rebbi Eliezer says that a mixture containing Chametz is Asur, it must be that the permissible part of the mixture combines with the small amount of Chametz to make a full Shi'ur, for which Malkus may be administered. Consequently, in order to be Chayav Malkus, one does not have to eat a k'Zayis of the taste of Chametz itself, but one merely has to eat a k'Zayis of the entire mixture.

Where does the Gemara see this in the words of Rebbi Eliezer? Perhaps when Rebbi Eliezer says that the Kutach ha'Bavli is Asur, it is because the entire mixture has the taste of Chametz in it (Ta'am k'Ikar), and not because "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur!" In order to be Chayav, one must eat a k'Zayis of the taste of Chametz itself, and it does not suffice to eat a k'Zayis of everything together!

Furthermore, why do the Rabanan argue with Rebbi Eliezer and say that one who eats a mixture containing Chametz (such as Kutach ha'Bavli) on Pesach is *Patur*? This is a classic case of Ta'am k'Ikar, in which case even the Rabanan should say that one is Chayav! When the Gemara challenges the opinion of the Rabanan, it only asks that one should be Chayav because he ate a k'Zayis of Isur within the time span of "k'Dei Achilas P'ras." Why does the Gemara not ask that one should also be Chayav Malkus even when he ate less than a k'Zayis of Isur within "k'Dei Achilas P'ras," because of Ta'am k'Ikar?

ANSWERS:

(a) The RA'AVAD explains that indeed, there is no proof from the Mishnah that Rebbi Eliezer holds "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur." Rather, the Gemara infers that Rebbi Eliezer holds "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur" from the fact that he expounds the phrase "*Kol* Machmetzes" (Shemos 12:20) to teach that a mixture containing Chametz is also Asur mid'Oraisa. It makes sense to say that he also derives from there that "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur" -- *Kol* means *anything*. (The Ra'avad concludes with a question, though, for it says "Kol" by many Isurim, and yet the Gemara does not say that by all Isurim Rebbi Eliezer holds "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur.")

The Rabanan argue and say that one is not Chayav, because even though the Isur (Chametz) gives its taste to the Heter, the Rabanan maintain that one does not get Malkus for eating the *taste* of Isur in this case. Even if they agree that Ta'am k'Ikar is mid'Oraisa, here one is not Chayav because one is not eating a k'Zayis of the taste of Isur within "k'Dei Achilas P'ras" (as the RAMBAN in Milchamos explains, this means that the taste of the Isur is not as strong as it would be had there been a k'Zayis of Isur in the mixture).

Another explanation for the Rabanan is that the principle of Ta'am k'Ikar is derived from a Kal v'Chomer (from "Mishras," written with regard to a Nazir eating bread dipped in wine), and although a prohibition may be derived through a Kal v'Chomer, its punishment may not ("Ein Onshin Min ha'Din"). (RAMBAN, BA'AL HA'ME'OR)

Alternatively, other Rishonim explain that Ta'am k'Ikar is only a *Mitzvas Aseh* (if is it learned from Gi'ulei Midyan) and it is therefore not punishable with Malkus (see TOSFOS, Chulimn 99a, in the name of Rabeinu Yosef of Orleans).

(b) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR says that this is not considered a case of "Nosen Ta'am" (an Isur giving its taste to a Heter). "Nosen Ta'am" applies only when the taste of the Isur is actually palpable in the mixture. Here, though, the taste of the Chametz is not discernible in the mixture; rather, the Chametz chemically reacts with the Heter to produce an entirely *new* taste. Even though the Chametz was added to contribute to the new taste, since the taste of the Chametz itself is not discernible in the mixture, it is not called "Nosen Ta'am." Why, then, does Rebbi Eliezer forbid it? It must be because he holds of the principle "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur." (That is, the taste of the Chametz is not Batel according to Rebbi Eliezer because it serves a purpose of *contributing* to the formation of the new taste.) The Rabanan argue and do not derive from the verse that "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur." Since there is no such thing as "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur" and the taste of the Chametz itself is not discernible (and there is no "Nosen Ta'am"), such a mixture is not Asur mid'Oraisa.

(c) RASHI does not seem to follow these views, because Rashi writes later (45a, DH Rebbi Akiva) that Kutach ha'Bavli is forbidden because of Ta'am k'Ikar, and that the only reason the Rabanan say that one who eats it is Patur is because they maintain that Ta'am k'Ikar is only mid'Rabanan. If so, our original question returns -- how does the Gemara know that Rebbi Eliezer holds that "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur?" Perhaps his reason for saying that one is Chayav is because he holds that Ta'am k'Ikar is mid'Oraisa!

The NACHALAS DAVID suggests -- based on an inference from the words of TOSFOS in Nazir (36a) -- that Rashi understood that the Gemara (Abaye) at this point *did not know* that there was a concept of Ta'am k'Ikar mid'Oraisa, but thought that the only Isur of Ta'am k'Ikar was mid'Rabanan. Therefore, the Gemara's only possible explanation for why Rebbi Eliezer says that one is Chayav mid'Oraisa for eating a mixture containing Chametz is that he holds "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur." In the conclusion, though, when we know that there is a concept of Ta'am k'Ikar mid'Oraisa, why do the Rabanan say that one is Patur? Rashi says (45a, DH v'Rebbi Akiva) that the Rabanan, even in the conclusion, maintain that Ta'am k'Ikar is not mid'Oraisa but only mid'Rabanan.

Alternatively, it may be suggested that Rashi holds that the inference that Rebbi Eliezer holds "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur" is not because he says that one is Chayav for eating Kutach ha'Bavli, since that could be because of the laws of Ta'am k'Ikar. Rather, the Gemara's inference is from the fact that Rebbi Eliezer needs a *new* verse to teach that a mixture containing Chametz is forbidden. Why does he need a new verse if we already know Ta'am k'Ikar from other verses? It must be that the new verse is adding the principle of "Heter Mitztaref l'Isur," and it is teaching that even if one eats a mixture in which the taste of Isur is not dispersed throughout the entire mixture, one will still be Chayav. (See last Insight on previous Daf.)


44b

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