THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) HALACHAH: USING A FLAMABLE MATERIAL FOR HYGIENIC PURPOSES
OPINIONS: The Gemara (81b) says that a person should not use a piece of
Cheres (potsherd) for Kinu'ach in the bathroom because of Sakanah (because
of its sharpness, it can cause damage to the rectal musculature orifice),
and because of Keshafim (sorcery; sorcerers are able to cast spells on
those who use it). The Gemara (82a) then says that one should not use a
material that is flammable like grass, because it can cause damage to the
2) PEREK "AMAR REBBI AKIVA"
The REMA (OC 3:11) mentions that it is the prevalent practice today to use
paper for Kinu'ach. Why are we not concerned for the danger that the Gemara
(a) The REMA in DARCHEI MOSHE and in the Shulchan Aruch cites the AGUDAH
who says that "since our bathrooms are not in the fields, we are not
concerned about using a material that is flammable." The Rema in Darchei
Moshe declares that he does not follow the Agudah's reasoning; why does
this permit the use of a flammable material for Kinu'ach? However, the Rema
concludes that since people commonly use paper for Kinu'ach, it falls into
the category of "Shomer Pesa'im Hashem" -- "Hashem protects the fools"
(b) The MAGEN AVRAHAM explains that the Agudah means that the reason a
flammable material is dangerous is because of Keshafim (it enables
sorcerers to cast spells on those who use it); it is not physically
dangerous by itself. (This is not the simple meaning of the Gemara on 81b
that seems to distinguish between the two reasons of Sakanah and Keshafim.)
Since there is no fear of Keshafim nowadays, it is permitted to use paper.
(c) The PERISHAH explains that the Rabanan only prohibited using a given
object for Kinu'ach if there are *two* reasons not to use it (such as
Sakanah and Keshafim). Nowadays, there is only the problem (Sakanah and not
Keshafim), and therefore it is not prohibited to use a flammable material.
(d) The CHASAM SOFER (81b) explains that we rule in accordance with Rava,
who says that it is prohibited to use Cheres only because it may tear off
hairs on Shabbos, and not because of Sakanah or Keshafim. Although the
Gemara refutes Rava by citing a teaching of Rebbi Yochanan in which he is
not concerned for a Davar sh'Eino Miskaven, the Halachah apparently follows
Rava. (As for Rebbi Yochanan, we find in many places that there were two
opinions as to whether Rebbi Yochanan ruled like every "Stam Mishnah," and
therefore it is not clear that he ruled that Davar sh'Ein Miskaven is
permitted.) Therefore, the only reason it is prohibited to use Cheres is
because of ripping off hairs. Since Rava maintains that there is no concern
for Sakanah and Keshafim with regard to Cheres, then perhaps there is also
no concern for Sakanah and Keshafim with regard to all other items, which
is why we may use flammable paper for Kinu'ach (see CHASAM SOFER there).
QUESTION: The previous chapter concluded with a Mishnah that dealt with the
minimum size of a clay potsherd that one must carry into Reshus ha'Rabim in
order to be Chayav for Hotza'ah. This chapter begins by discussing the
Tum'ah that the Rabanan enacted for objects of idolatry. What is the
connection between this chapter and the previous one?
(a) RASHI says that this Mishnah has nothing to do with Shabbos. It is
included here only because the Mishnah will *later teach* (86a) that a
certain law of Shabbos is derived from an allusion in a verse, and
therefore the Mishnah teaches other laws that are inferred from verses. All
of the Mishnayos that ask "Minayin" -- "from where [do we learn this law]"
and answer with a verse are included here because of the one Mishnah that
is relevant to Shabbos, in which it asks "Minayin" and answers with a
(b) RABEINU CHANANEL says that the end of the *previous Mishnah* cited a
verse as an Asmachta for a Halachah mid'Rabanan. This chapter continues
with Asmachtos from verses for Halachos mid'Rabanan.
(c) TOSFOS gives the answer of Rabeinu Chananel and adds that the source
for the Asmachta in this Mishnah is a verse in the *same place* in
Yeshayahu as the source for the Asmachta in the previous Mishnah.
3) "EVEN MESAMA"
OPINIONS: Rebbi Akiva and the Rabanan argue concerning the extent of the
Tum'ah of Avodah Zarah, and Rava and Rebbi Elazar argue exactly what is the
issue of argument between Rebbi Akiva and the Rabanan. According to Rava,
Rebbi Akiva and the Rabanan argue whether Avodah Zarah is compared to Nidah
with regard to being Metamei with Even Mesama. Rebbi Elazar learns that
neither Rebbi Akiva nor the Rabanan maintain that Avodah Zarah is Metamei
with Even Mesama.
What is the difference between being Metamei with Even Mesama, and being
Metamei with Maga and Masa? It seems that Even Mesama and Masa are the same
type of transmission of Tum'ah.
(a) According to RASHI in Nidah (55a, DH Even Mesama), Even Mesama is an
extension of Tum'as Masa (and applies even to objects which are not suited
for sitting upon). It differs from the normal Tum'as Masa, since generally
only something which is fit to be *moved* by the Nidah becomes Tamei
through Masa, while something lying on a very heavy stone which is above
the Nidah cannot be moved by her (since the stone is too heavy to carry).
(b) According to RASHI here (DH b'Even Mesama), Even Mesama refers to a
large stone which was suspended on poles, and a Nidah or Zav was sitting on
top of the stone while utensils were underneath the stone. The utensils are
Tamei even though no pressure was put on them by the stone on which the
Nidah or Zav is sitting. This appears to apply even to objects that are not
made for sitting upon (see Tosfos), and is a completely new type of Tum'ah.
(c) According to RABEINU TAM (cited by Tosfos here and in Eruvin 27a, DH
Kol), an Even Mesama is such a heavy stone that the weight of the Nidah
above it in no way adds any noticeable pressure to any of the objects which
are beneath it. Objects beneath the stone become Rishon l'Tum'ah. It is not
the same as Tum'as Masa, since Masa requires *moving* the object, and not
just holding it (as Rashi explains in Chulin 21b).
(d) TOSFOS (here and in Eruvin 27a, DH Kol, and Nidah 55a, DH Even Mesama)
cites Rabeinu Tam and explains that the Even Mesama is such a heavy stone
that the weight of the Nidah above it in no way adds any noticeable
pressure to any of the objects which are beneath it. Any objects *which are
fit for sitting upon* which lie below the stone will become Tamei. (That
is, Even Mesama is an extension of Mishkav u'Moshav).