(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

Shabbos 14


QUESTION: The Gemara explains that the reason the Rabanan made a decree that a person becomes Tamei if he eats food that was "Sheini l'Tumah" is because he might put Terumah into his mouth when the Tamei food is there, and the Terumah will become Tamei ("Shlishi"). RASHI (DH u'Pasil Lehu) explains that he will thereby transgress the Mitzvah to preserve the Taharah of Terumah. Why does Rashi not give the much more obvious concern, that if the Terumah becomes Tamei from the other food inside his mouth, he will be eating Terumah Temei'ah, which is punishable with death?

This question may also be asked on the Gemara itself, for the Gemara says that the problem is that he may put Terumah in his mouth and "invalidate it" ("u'Pasil Lehu"; that is, make it Tamei). The Gemara should have said instead that he may put Terumah in his mouth and "eat Terumah which is Tamei" (which is a very severe transgression)!


(a) The MAHARSHA says that indeed, both concerns exist, and the Gemara and Rashi simply chose to express one of them.

(b) The RASHASH cites the Mishnah in Terumos (8:2) that states that if one was eating Terumah and it became Tamei while he was eating it, Rebbi Yehoshua says that he must spit it out, and Rebbi Eliezer says that he should swallow it so that he does not transgress the prohibition against wasting Terumah. Why should one be permitted to swallow the Terumah Temei'ah if it is forbidden to eat Terumah Temei'ah?

The RI BEN MALKI-TZEDEK (Terumos ad loc.) says that at the moment that he starts chewing on the Terumah, the Terumah is already considered to be consumed and when he swallows it, it is no longer considered eating Terumah Temei'ah. Since our Gemara is also explaining the opinion of Rebbi Eliezer as well as Rebbi Yehoshua, it could not say that the concern is that one may end up eating Terumah Temei'ah because according to Rebbi Eliezer, he would *not* be liable for eating Terumah Temei'ah since he already put the Terumah in his mouth and started to chew it!

QUESTION: The Gemara says that there were two decrees: (1) If one immersed in a Mikvah and then put his head and most of his body into drawn water (Mayim She'uvim), he is Tamei; (2) If one went to the Mikvah and then had three Lugin of water poured over him, he is Tamei. What is the difference between the two decrees?


(a) TOSFOS (13b, DH v'Tahor) explains that the practice was that immediately after immersing in the Mikvah, one would pour over himself drawn water in order to clean himself. The Rabanan, fearing that people may begin to think that the drawn water is water makes a person Tahor, decreed that not only should one not pour drawn water over himself after immersing, but one should not *submerge* himself into a pool of drawn water either (and if one does, he becomes Tamei). Even though people did not normally submerge themselves into drawn water after immersing in the Mikvah, the Rabanan decreed that one who does so is Tamei in order to ensure that no one makes a mistake and thinks that pouring water over oneself is also permitted. This was the first decree, and it applies only on the *same day* upon which the person immersed himself (and he is a Tevul Yom).

Second, the Rabanan decreed that if it is *no longer the same day* on which the person immersed himself in the Mikvah, one may submerge himself in drawn water, but one may not *pour drawn water* over himself. The fact that it is a new day makes it different from the original situation in one respect, and therefore the Rabanan only decreed that one may not have drawn water poured over him (to decree that one may not submerge in drawn water as well would be two differences from the original situation and be too far removed from it to warrant making a decree).

(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Sh'ar Avos ha'Tumah 9:2) says that both decrees are essentially the same; both pouring water on one's self and submerging in water make a person Tamei. The only difference is that one decree applies to the day of immersion, and one applies to the day after immersion. Originally, the decree applied only on the day of immersion, and subsequently the Rabanan made a decree for the day after as well.

(The problem with this explanation is that the Gemara expresses the decrees in terms of two different actions -- submerging oneself in drawn water, and pouring drawn water over oneself -- which implies that the two decrees are not identical. It could be that the decrees were phrased with two different actions because that is what the people normally did at the two respective times. That is, immediately after going to the Mikvah, they would pour water over themselves, and then the next day (or the night that followed the day they immersed) they would take a bath.)


QUESTION: Why did the Jews not accept the original decree of Shamai and Hillel who decreed that normal, un-watched hands are Tamei, and they only accepted it later when it was reinstated by the disciples of Shamai and Hillel?


(a) The P'NEI YEHOSHUA writes that the people could not accept such a strict measure to *burn* Terumah on account of a Tumah decreed by the Rabanan, since the Torah forbids destroying Terumah if it is Tahor. They accepted the decree only later when the disciples repeated it, for by then they had become accustomed to the notion of burning Terumah that is Tamei with a Tumah decreed by the Rabanan.

(b) It could be that the students of Hillel who argued with the students of Shamai and wanted to be Metaher the hands, maintained that Hillel never participated in the original decree to make the hands Tamei (for it is not logical to assert that Hillel's students would rule contrary to a decree that their own master instituted). That is why it was not accepted. Later, though, when the students of Hillel saw that they were outnumbered and they conceded to the decree, everyone accepted it. (M. Kornfeld)

Next daf


This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.
For information on subscriptions, archives, and other Shema Yisrael
Classes, send mail to daf@shemayisrael.co.il

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel

In the U.S.:
Tel. (908) 370-3344
Fax. (908) 367-6608

Toll free line for dedications: 1-800-574-2646