CHULIN 71 (1 Adar) - dedicated in memory of Mordecai (Marcus) ben Elimelech Shmuel Kornfeld, who perished in the Holocaust along with most of his family. His Yahrzeit is observed on 1 Adar. May his death and the deaths of the other Kedoshim of the Holocaust atone for us like Korbanos.
1) THE PREGNANT WIFE OF A KOHEN
QUESTION: Rabah states that "just as a Tamei object that is inside one's body (Tum'ah Belu'ah) cannot make other things become Tamei, a Tahor object that is inside one's body (Taharah Belu'ah) cannot become Tamei."
This principle seems to have practical relevance for a pregnant wife of a Kohen. Is she permitted to enter a building in which there is a Mes? Perhaps since her fetus may be a male who, as a Kohen, is not permitted to become Tamei, she may not enter such a building.
The SHACH (YD 371:1) cites the ROKE'ACH who rules that the pregnant wife of a Kohen is permitted to enter an Ohel ha'Mes because of a Sfek Sfeika. The first Safek is that perhaps the fetus is not viable and will not survive more than thirty days, and therefore the prohibition against causing it to become Tamei does not apply. The second Safek is that even if the fetus is healthy, it might be a female, for whom there is no prohibition against become Tamei.
Why does the Roke'ach need the reasoning of Sfek Sfeika to permit the pregnant woman to enter an Ohel ha'Mes? She should be permitted to enter for an entirely different reason: her fetus is a Taharah Belu'ah, and a Taharah Belu'ah does not become Tamei from the Mes in the house! (See MAGEN AVRAHAM OC 343:2)
(a) The CHASAM SOFER (printed in a marginal note to the Magen Avraham) answers that a fetus in its mother's womb is considered Taharah Belu'ah only when the mother has already started to give birth ("Yashvah Al ha'Mashber"). At that time, the baby is considered to have already started to exit the womb and to have an independent identity (the Gemara in Erchin (7a) says that once the mother has started labor, the fetus is "Gufa Achrina," a separate body). Before that stage, however, the fetus is considered part of the mother's body ("Ubar Yerech Imo") and it will become Tamei just as the mother herself becomes Tamei in an Ohel ha'Mes. Therefore, the Roke'ach must give the reason of Sfek Sfeika in order to permit the mother to enter the Ohel ha'Mes before labor has started.
(b) The AVNEI MILU'IM (EH 82:1) answers based on the Gemara in Yevamos (78a) that says that when a pregnant Nochris immerses in a Mikvah in order to convert, the immersion is effective for the baby as well, and both the mother and the baby become Jewish. The Gemara says that the reason for this is that the fetus is "a natural growth" inside of the mother's womb, and therefore the mother's body is not considered a Chatzitzah, an intervening substance, between the baby and the water of the Mikvah. The Avnei Milu'im states that the same reason for why the mother is not considered a Chatzitzah for the immersion of the fetus, the mother is not considered a separation between the fetus and a source of Tum'ah outside of her body. This is in contrast to the Halachah mentioned by the Gemara later (71b) that when a person swallows two rings, one Tamei and one Tahor, the Tahor ring does not become Tamei since it is a "Taharah Belu'ah." In that case, the ring is not a natural growth inside of the stomach, and thus the ring is protected from Tum'ah because it is a "Taharah Belu'ah."
(c) The TESHUVAS RADBAZ (1:200, cited by the PISCHEI TESHUVAH YD 371:1) says that the Roke'ach is referring to a woman who was near the end of pregnancy, when it is possible that at any moment the baby might be born and protrude its head out of the womb, in which case it would no longer be "Taharah Belu'ah." Only in such a case does the Roke'ach require the reasoning of Sfek Sfeika to permit the woman to enter an Ohel ha'Mes. In the early or middle stages of pregnancy, however, he agrees that the reason of "Taharah Belu'ah" suffices to permit the woman to enter an Ohel ha'Mes. (This answer is the opposite of the Chasam Sofer's answer.)
(d) The PRI MEGADIM (on the Magen Avraham, loc. cit.) answers that perhaps the law of "Taharah Belu'ah" applies only mid'Oraisa; mid'Oraisa, the object is protected from Tum'ah. However, mid'Rabanan the object becomes Tamei. Therefore, the Roke'ach gives a different reason -- that of Sfek Sfeika -- to permit the woman to enter an Ohel ha'Mes. (D. BLOOM)
2) THE SOURCE THAT "TAHARAH BELU'AH" DOES NOT BECOME "TAMEI"
QUESTION: The Gemara (end of 71a) proves through a Kal va'Chomer that Taharah Belu'ah is not Mekabel Tum'ah (see RASHI DH Kach Taharah Belu'ah). A Kli Cheres (earthenware vessel) that is sealed with a Tzamid Pesil (a tight seal) does not prevent an item of Tum'ah (such as a piece of a corpse) inside of it from being Metamei things outside of it (such as through Tum'as Ohel), but it nevertheless prevents a Tahor item inside of it from becoming Tamei from a source of Tum'ah outside of it. Certainly, then, a person's body -- that prevents Tum'ah inside of it (Tum'ah Belu'ah, such as a dead fetus) from being Metamei things outside of it should also prevent Taharah Belu'ah from becoming Tamei.
The Gemara attempts to reject this proof by showing that a Kli Cheres is less susceptible to Tum'ah than a person, and that is why something inside of it does not become Tamei, even though something inside of a person does become Tamei. A Kli Cheres does not become Tamei when an object of Tum'ah touches its outer wall (but only when Tum'ah enters it), while a person does become Tamei when Tum'ah touches his outer surface.
In its conclusion, the Gemara accepts the original logic, because the law of Tum'ah outside of the vessel is unrelated to Tum'ah inside of the vessel. The Kal va'Chomer that teaches the law of Tum'ah inside of a vessel or person cannot be refuted from the law of Tum'ah outside of the vessel or person.
This conclusion, however, seems to contradict the Gemara earlier in Chulin (25a). The Gemara there says that the Tzamid Pesil prevents Tum'ah from entering a Kli Cheres only because the outside surface of a Kli Cheres cannot become Tamei. Accordingly, since the outer surface of a person can become Tamei, his body should not prevent an object inside of him from becoming Tamei! Why does the Gemara here say that Tum'ah outside of the vessel or person is unrelated to Tum'ah inside of the vessel or person, when the Gemara earlier clearly says that the two are interdependent?
ANSWER: TOSFOS (DH Atu) explains that the intention of the Gemara is as follows. If a Kli Cheres that has a Tzamid Pesil cannot prevent the Tum'ah inside of it from spreading outwards (even though the outer surface of a Kli Cheres is not susceptible to Tum'ah and prevents that which is Tahor inside from becoming Tamei from a source of Tum'ah on the outside), then a person's inner surface -- which prevents Tum'ah Belu'ah from spreading outwards -- certainly should prevent Tum'ah from entering the person and being Metamei a Tahor object inside of him. (See also TOSFOS HA'ROSH, and MAHARSHA to Tosfos.)
3) "TUM'AH BELU'AH" THAT ENTERED THE BODY FROM BELOW
QUESTION: The Gemara says that when Tum'ah enters the body "from below," it does not make the person's body Tamei. How does Tum'ah enter the body without first touching the outer surface of the body and being Metamei it? RASHI (DH del'Matah) explains that the Tamei object was inserted into his body while wrapped in a reed, such that the object itself did not touched his skin.
Why does Rashi need to give such an unusual explanation for the Gemara's case of Tum'ah Belu'ah? When the Gemara discusses Tum'ah Belu'ah that entered the body through the mouth, the Gemara itself says that the person ate a piece of Neveilah immediately before sunset, and then he immersed himself in the Mikvah and became Tahor. The Neveilah in his stomach cannot make him Tamei because it is now Belu'ah. Why does Rashi not give the same situation for the case of Tum'ah Belu'ah del'Matah? Rashi should explain that the Tamei object was inserted into his body from below just before sunset, making him Tamei by touching his outer skin. Since it was a piece of Neveilah (and not a piece of a human corpse), his Tum'ah lasts only until sunset, at which point he immerses in a Mikvah and becomes Tahor. The Neveilah, though, is still in his body at that point, but since it is now Belu'ah it does not make him Tamei. Why does Rashi not explain the case this way? (RASHASH)
ANSWER: Perhaps Rashi explains that the Tum'ah was wrapped in a reed in order to avoid a different problem, besides the problem that the Neveilah makes the person Tamei when it touches his skin. The Gemara (71a) says that a Neveilah does not make a person Tamei when it is not fit for human or canine consumption. A piece of Neveilah that is ingested through the mouth and regurgitated may be deemed fit for people (see 71a). In contrast, when it enters the body from below it is unfit not only for people, but even a dog would not eat it. (Although the Gemara suggests that when a person could be "tricked" into eating it, the Neveilah is deemed fit, that applies only when the Neveilah is not inherently unfit, but rather a person does not want to eat it for some other reason. In contrast, in this case the food is inherently unfit.) Since Neveilah that enters the body from below is no longer considered edible for people or for dogs, it will not make the person Tamei even if Tum'ah Belu'ah can make a person Tamei.
In order to resolve this problem, Rashi explains that the Neveilah was wrapped in a reed before it was inserted into the body. This prevents it from becoming entirely unfit for consumption and it retains its status as an object of Tum'ah. (M. KORNFELD)
4) THE TYPE OF "AVOS HA'TUM'AH" THAT SPREADS THROUGH "MASA"
QUESTION: The Gemara asks why Rabah must teach about Tum'ah Belu'ah and Taharah Belu'ah, when both laws may be derived from the Mishnah in Mikva'os. The Gemara answers that Rabah is teaching what the law would be in a case in which one swallows two rings, one Tahor and one Tamei. The Tamei ring does not cause the Tahor one to become Tamei.
RASHI (DH Ki) explains that the ring does not cause the person to become Tamei through Masa, carrying it, because only an object "from which Tum'ah originates" ("sheha'Tum'ah Yotz'ah Mimenu") can be Metamei other things through Masa. For example, only a piece of a Mes itself can be Metamei through Masa, but not an object that touched a Mes, even though that object is also an Av ha'Tum'ah.
TOSFOS questions this rule. A Zav causes objects that are under him to become Avos ha'Tum'ah. This is known as Tamei Midras, Mishkav, or Moshav ha'Zav. Such an object is Metamei other things through Masa, even though its Tum'ah originated from the Zav and not from itself!
ANSWER: RAV MOSHE SHAPIRO shlit'a, quoting the words of RAV CHAIM SOLOVEITCHIK, explains that Rashi considers a Midras of a Zav to be an object that is the primary source of the Tum'ah, "sheha'Tum'ah Yotz'ah Mimenu." It is not considered a secondary source of Tum'ah because it originated in the Zav. Rather, the Torah decreed that whatever a Zav sits on becomes a primary source of Tum'ah itself.
This is evident from the fact that when a Zav makes an object Tamei with Tum'as Midras, the Tum'as Midras is not considered to be a level lower than the Tum'ah of the Zav. The Midras, after touching a Zav who was an Av ha'Tum'ah, is not a Rishon but an Av, and its laws are nearly identical to the laws of the Zav himself (with the exception that it cannot make what it rests upon Tamei with Tum'as Midras). (M. KORNFELD)
5) "TUM'AS MES" SPREADING THROUGH "MASA"
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes the Mishnah in Mikva'os (10:8) that states that one who swallows a ring that was Tamei may immerse in a Mikvah and then eat Terumah. The ring inside of him does not make him Tamei.
RASHI (DH Ki) explains that this Mishnah alone does not prove that Tum'ah Belu'ah does not make a person Tamei. It is possible the ring cannot make him Tamei for a different reason: it is touching him on the inside of his body, which is a "Beis ha'Setarim." An object that is Tamei with Tum'as Mes does not transfer Tum'ah through Masa, being carried, because only a Mes itself transfers Tum'ah through Masa. (See previous Insight.)
TOSFOS (DH Bala Taba'as) disagrees. Tosfos points out that it is clear from the Mishnah in Mikva'os that Tum'ah Belu'ah is not Metamei. A ring that is Tamei with Tum'as Mes, he argues, is like a Mes itself and does transfer Tum'ah through Masa. Therefore, the fact that it is in a Beis ha'Setarim does not prevent it from spreading Tum'ah.
As REBBI AKIVA EIGER points out, Tosfos apparently maintains that even a Kli that is Tamei with Tum'as Mes is Metamei through Masa. How, though, can that be? The Mishnah in Kelim (1:1-2) explicitly states that Tum'as Mes is Metamei only through Maga (contact) and not through Masa, as Rashi here says!
ANSWER: The Mishnah in Kelim does not contradict Tosfos for the following reason. There are two ways in which a Kli can become Tamei with Tum'as Mes. It can become Tamei by touching a Mes, and it can become Tamei by touching a person who touched a Mes. In the second case, the Kli cannot spread Tum'ah through Masa, because even the person who it touched does not spread Tum'ah through Masa. However, in the first case, the Kli is able to spread Tum'ah through Masa, because of the rule that an object that touches a Mes has the same status as the Mes itself ("Cherev Harei Hu k'Chalal"). When Tosfos says that a Tamei ring spreads Tum'ah through Masa, he refers to a ring that touched a Mes itself. (This distinction is mentioned explicitly by the TOSFOS HA'ROSH, DH Bala, and by TOSFOS later, 72a, DH Ki, and by the BARTENURA to Kelim 1:1.)
(It appears that Rashi argues and maintains that even a ring that touched a Mes itself cannot spread Tum'ah through Masa. However, it is possible that Rashi might agree with this distinction. Rashi learns, however, that the ring mentioned in the Mishnah in Mikva'os is a ring that touched a person who had touched a Mes, and it did not touch a Mes itself (see Rashi DH Teme'ah). That is why he asserts that such a ring has no Tum'as Masa. The RAMBAM
(Hilchos Tum'as Mes 5:13) clearly argues with Tosfos with regard to a ring that touched a Mes. He rules that garments or objects that touched a Mes are Metamei only through Maga but not through Masa or Ohel. See Insights to Nazir 54:2