ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler of Kollel Iyun Hadaf
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
(a) Our Mishnah rules that the Gaba'in - (Jewish tax-collectors appointed by a Nochri king who entered one's house in order to take a security from taxes still owing), as well as thieves who returned vessels that they stole, are believed to say that they did not touch Kodesh.
(b) If they say that they did not touch ...
1. ... Terumah or ...
2. ... Mei Chatas - they are not believed.
(c) The Beraisa declares everything in the house is Tamei. To reconcile it with our Mishnah, we establish it - where they came on their own, whereas the Beraisa which says that everything in the house is Tamei, speaks when they came together with a Nochri.
(d) Even in the case of the Beraisa however - the Gaba'in are believed if they say that they did not enter the house.
(a) Rebbi Yochanan and Rebbi Elazar argue over the reason for the Din in the latter Beraisa. One of them explains that it is because the Gaba'in are afraid of the Nochri - the other says it is because they are afraid of the king.
(b) The difference between the two reasons - will be in a case where the Gabai is accompanied by a Nochri who is not important, and who therefore poses no threat that he might divulge what they did to the king; whereas if it is the Nochri of whom he is afraid, the Gabai will still not be believed.
(a) Rav Pinchas explains that our Mishnah, which believes the thieves with regard to Kodesh - speaks when they did Teshuvah; whereas the Beraisa which declares Tamei wherever the thieves trod - speaks when they did not.
(b) This answer is evident from the Lashon of our Mishnah - which talks about the thieves returning the vessels that they stole.
(c) The Tana of the Beraisa, commenting on our Mishnah, explains that in Yerushalayim, an Am ha'Aretz is believed on large, earthenware vessels with regard to Kodesh - how much more so with regard to small ones.
(d) The reason that Chazal were more lenient in Yerushalayim than anywhere else is because furnaces were forbidden in Yerushalayim, as we explained earlier. The special concession they made regarding small vessels exclusively was - to believe the potters even outside Yerushalayim (whereas regarding large ones, they only believed them).
(e) The reason for this is - because, whereas everyone needed small vessels for the Nesachim which he kept in his house before taking them to the Beis-Hamikdash, it was only very few people who handed large barrels of wine to the Beis Hamikdash, so that it sufficed to believe the Amei ha'Aretz in Yerushalayim itself.
(a) Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi learned from the Pasuk in Shoftim (in Tanach) "va'Ye'asef Kol Ish Yisrael el ha'Ir k'Ish Echad Chaverim" - that on Yom Tov, when everyone gathers together in Yerushalayim, they all have the Din of Chaverim, who are believed regarding Terumah.
(a) Rebbi Yehudah in our Mishnah, permits a Chaver who opens a barrel of wine to sell on Yom Tov or starts selling his dough, to continue selling it after Yom Tov. The Rabanan rule - that his wine and dough are considered Tahor only on Yom Tov itself, but not after Yom Tov.
(b) Rebbi Ami and Rebbi Yitzchak Nafcha were discussing whether, according to the Chachamim, after Yom Tov, the Chaver is permitted to leave the remainder of his barrel of wine or dough for the following Yom Tov and sell it then. The reason of the one who ...
1. ... permits it is - because there is no logical reason why after Yom Tov to be any worse that on Yom Tov itself, when everyone touched it, yet the Torah permitted it.
2. ... forbids it is - because the Torah only permitted them on Yom Tov itself, but once Yom Tov is over, they become Tamei retroactively.
(c) One Beraisa says 'Yanichenah', another says 'Lo Yanichenah' - a Kashya on Rebbi Ami and Rebbi Yitzchak Nafcha, who appear to be duplicating an established Machlokes Tana'im.
(d) To avoid the problem - we establish the author of the latter Beraisa as Rebbi Yehudah in our Mishnah, and 'Lo Yanichenah' means that he does not need to leave it until Yom Tov.
(e) The author of the first Beraisa ('Yanichenah') - is therefore the Rabanan.
(a) After Yom Tov, says the Mishnah, the Kohanim would Tovel all the holy vessels, because they had been touched by Amei ha'Aretz, who are generally considered to be Tamei. However, if the last day of Yom Tov fell on Thursday, they would not do this until after Shabbos - because on Friday, they were busy with the preparations for Shabbos.
(b) According to Rebbi Yehudah, they would not do it either if the last day fell on Wednesday - because on Thursday too, they were busy clearing the ashes that had accumulated on the Mizbe'ach over Yom Tov.
(c) They would warn the Kohanim Amei ha'Aretz who entered the Heichal on Yom Tov to bow down to Hash-m (see Tosfos Amud 2 DH 'she'Lo') - to take care not to touch the Shulchan.
(a) They accounted for the possibility of the holy vessels becoming Tamei (and therefore temporarily unusable) - by making a spare set.
(b) The only two vessels in the Beis-Hamikdash that did not require Tevilah after contact with Tum'ah - were the Mizbe'ach ha'Zahav and the Mizbe'ach ha'Nechoshes.
(c) According to Rebbi Eliezer, this was because they were considered joined to the ground - the Rabanan maintain that it was because they were covered (as will be explained shortly in the Sugya).
(a) According to the Beraisa, they would warn the Kohanim not to touch the Shulchan or the Menorah. Our Mishnah omits the Menorah - because according to the Tana, it doesn't matter so much if it is out of use for a short while, since the Torah does not write "Tamid" in connection with it, as it does by the Shulchan.
(b) The Tana of the Beraisa however, learns from the Pasuk in Terumah "v'es ha'Menorah Nochach ha'Shulchan" - that the Torah is comparing the Menorah to the Shulchan, in which case, Tamid applies to the Menorah, too.
(c) According to the Tana of our Mishnah (who does not learn the Hekesh) - the Pasuk is merely coming to fix the location of the Menorah.
(a) We initially contend that the Shulchan should not be subject to Tum'ah - because, due to its size (it can hold forty Sa'ah of liquid, or two Kur of solids), it is a wooden vessel that cannot be carried both when empty and full (giving it the title 'Kli Etz he'Asuy l'Nachas'). Consequently, it is not comparable to a sack (to which the Torah compares regular wooden receptacles regarding Tum'ah), and is not subject to Tum'ah.
(b) Resh Lakish learns from the Pasuk in Terumah (with regard to the placing of the Lechem ha'Panim) "al ha'Shulchan ha'Tahor" ('mi'Chelal she'Hu Tamei') - that, in spite of its size, it is subject to Tum'ah.
(c) The Torah is indicating here - that the Shulchan should be picked up on Yom Tov (when everybody was in the Azarah), and shown to the people, so that they should be aware of the tremendous miracle that occurred weekly, and realize how much Hash-m loved them. In any event, it transpires that the Shulchan was picked up full as well as empty.
(d) The miracle concerned was - the fact that the bread was still as hot and fresh as when it was baked eight days earlier (and they could see the steam still rising from it).
(a) The Tana Kama of a Beraisa says that if a table or a folding-chair broke or was overlaid with marble, it remained Tamei, provided sufficient space remained on the part that was not broken or overlaid, to place cups. According to Rebbi Yehudah - there must also be space for pieces of bread and meat as well, because the main usage of a table is to eat on.
(b) The principle that governs the opinions of both Tana'im is - that a vessel remains subject to Tum'ah, as long as it can still be used for its original purpose.
(c) We learn from this Beraisa that when a vessel is overlaid - it adopts the status of the material with which it is overlaid (even l'Kula, how much more so l'Chumra).
(d) Nevertheless, we need to say that the Shulchan was subject to Tum'ah because they used to pick it up (as we explained earlier); the fact that it was overlaid with gold (which is a metal, and would therefore have been subject to Tum'ah, even if it had not been carried when it is full) will not suffice - because, in spite of that, the Pasuk in Yechezkel specifically refers to the Shulchan as a wooden vessel, when it writes "ha'Mizbe'ach Etz ... va'Yedaber Eilai 'Zeh ha'Shulchan Asher Lifnei Hashem' ".
(a) Resh Lakish maintains - that valuable vessels do not become Bateil to the Tzipuy (material with which they are overlaid), only regular ones.
(b) According to Rebbi Yochanan - all vessels are Bateil to the Tzipuy, even valuable ones.
(c) Nor does it make any difference, according to him, whether the rim is overlaid too, or not.
(d) According to Resh Lakish, the Kashya that we just asked in the previous question ('Why will it not suffice to say that it was subject to Tum'ah because it was overlaid with gold?'), is automatically answered - because the Shulchan was made of acacia wood, which was valuable, and therefore not Bateil to the Tzipuy (as we will now explain).