1) RABAH'S SOURCE FOR "TUM'AH BELU'AH" IN A CASE OF TWO RINGS
QUESTIONS: Rabah (71b) teaches that when one swallows two rings, one Tahor and one Tamei, the Tamei ring does not cause the Tahor one to become Tamei, because "Taharah Belu'ah" cannot become Tamei.
(a) What is the source for Rabah's ruling? His source cannot be a Kal va'Chomer from Tzamid Pesil (as the Gemara (71b) says is the source for Taharah Belu'ah alone), because two objects together in a container with a Tzamid Pesil do make each other Tamei.
(b) Why does Rabah mention two cases, one of Tum'ah Belu'ah making something else Tamei, and one of Taharah Belu'ah becoming Tamei? In every case of Tum'ah Belu'ah with two objects that are inside a person, one potentially makes the other Tamei and the other potentially becomes Tamei. Rabah could have said merely that Tum'ah Belu'ah does not cause something else to become Tamei, or that Taharah Belu'ah does not become Tamei. Why was his second statement necessary?
(a) TOSFOS (end of DH Ki) explains that Rabah learns the Halachah of two objects inside of a person from the Halachah that one who eats a piece of Neveilah and then immerses in a Mikvah at sundown is permitted to eat Terumah right away. He may eat Terumah, even though the Terumah will touch the Neveilah inside his stomach. This shows that Terumah does not become Tamei inside the person's stomach.
(b) Tosfos explains that Rabah does not actually mention two cases of Tum'ah Belu'ah. When Rabah is quoted (71a) as saying, "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," he means as follows: "Just as Tum'ah Belu'ah does not make what is outside of the stomach Tamei, Tum'ah Belu'ah does not make what is together with it inside the stomach Tamei."
2) THE REASON WHY THE MOTHER OF A DEAD FETUS IN UTERO IS "TAHOR"
QUESTION: The Gemara asks why Rav Yosef says that the midwife "is not Teme'ah mid'Oraisa, but only mid'Rabanan," when it would have sufficed to say that "she is Teme'ah mid'Rabanan" alone. The Gemara answers that Rav Yosef is teaching that the Mishnah (71a) is not merely expressing the view of Rebbi Akiva, who maintains that a dead fetus is Metamei inside of the mother's womb, but the Mishnah is expressing even the view of Rebbi Yishmael, who maintains that a dead fetus in the womb is Tahor.
RASHI (DH Lo Teima) explains that according to Rebbi Akiva, even though the midwife becomes Tamei, the reason why the mother remains Tahor when she has a dead fetus in her womb is that the Tum'ah of the fetus is inside a Beis ha'Setarim.
Rashi's words here seem to contradict his words earlier. Rashi earlier (71a, DH Kach Taharah) writes that even in a Beis ha'Setarim, a Tamei object transfers Tum'ah when it is carried, through Masa. The mother, therefore, should become Tamei because she is carrying the dead fetus! (TOSFOS DH v'Harei)
ANSWER: Perhaps Rashi means that the Mishnah might be referring to a mother whose fetus died while she was giving birth. Rashi maintains that in order for Tum'ah to be transferred through Masa, the person must carry and move the object of Tum'ah (see Rashi earlier, DH Malak). Since the mother did not move after her fetus died, she does not become Tamei through Masa. (M. KORNFELD)
3) REBBI YISHMAEL'S SOURCE THAT A DEAD FETUS IN THE WOMB IS "TAHOR"
QUESTION: Rebbi Yishmael's source that a dead fetus inside the womb is not Metamei one who touches it is the verse, "v'Chol Asher Yiga" (Bamidbar 19:16).
Why does Rebbi Yishmael need a verse to teach that a dead fetus in utero is not Metamei? The Gemara earlier (71a) proves that a dead fetus is not Metamei from the law of Tum'ah Belu'ah (where one who eats a piece of Neveilah does not become Tamei when the source of Tum'ah is inside of his body). A dead fetus is also Tum'ah Belu'ah. Why, then, does Rebbi Yishmael need a different verse from which to derive his ruling?
(a) TOSFOS (DH Gezeirah) explains that Rebbi Yishmael considers even a limb that protrudes from the womb to be Tahor. Such a limb is not Belu'ah, and thus Rebbi Yishmael needs a different source to prove that it is Tahor.
(b) However, RASHI (DH Lo Teima) does not seem to accept this approach. According to Rashi, Rebbi Yishmael is discussing a normal case of Tum'ah Belu'ah -- a dead fetus entirely in the womb of the mother. Why, then, does Rebbi Yishmael need a separate verse to teach that it is Tahor?
Perhaps one may suggest that if not for this verse, Rebbi Yishmael would have learned that a dead fetus can be Metamei even though it is Belu'ah from the verse, "ha'Noge'a b'Mes b'Nefesh" (Bamidbar 19:13), which is the verse from which Rebbi Akiva derives that a dead fetus is Metamei. (M. KORNFELD)
4) LIFE DEPENDS ON A "REVI'IS" OF BLOOD
QUESTION: Rebbi Yishmael derives from the verse, "ha'Noge'a b'Mes b'Nefesh" (Bamidbar 19:13), that a Revi'is of blood from a corpse is Metamei like a corpse itself.
RASHI (DH Revi'is) adds that a person's life depends on a Revi'is of blood, because that is the minimum amount of blood that the body needs to live.
What is the meaning of this statement? How can a person survive with only a Revi'is (approximately three to four ounces) of blood?
(a) The RASH in Ohalos (2:2, quoting from the Tosefta) says that the amount of blood in the smallest fetus that can be considered a whole person is one Revi'is. This is what Rashi means when he writes that a person's life depends on a Revi'is of blood.
(b) TOSFOS in Sotah (5a, DH Adam) quotes RABEINU CHANANEL who says that even a fully-grown person can survive on one Revi'is of blood (as Rashi's words here and in Shabbos (129a, DH u'Muki) imply). This Revi'is, however, does not refer to the total amount of blood in a person's body, but rather it refers to the unique, "clear" blood in the heart.
5) "TUM'AS BEIS HA'SETARIM" ACCORDING TO THE CHACHAMIM
QUESTION: The Mishnah (72a) discusses a case in which a limb of a fetus that protrudes from the womb of a cow is cut off after the Shechitah of the cow. Rebbi Meir rules that the cut limb has the status of Neveilah and is Metamei the rest of the fetus. The Gemara explains that Rebbi Meir follows his own opinion elsewhere (Kelim 27:10) that Tum'ah can be transferred even when it is inside of a Beis ha'Setarim.
However, the Chachamim in the Mishnah also say that the cut limb is Metamei the fetus with Tum'ah d'Rabanan (in a case in which it is Kadosh). Since the Chachamim presumably argue with Rebbi Meir's opinion regarding Tum'ah in a Beis ha'Setarim, how is their view to be understood? If Tum'ah cannot be transferred in a Beis ha'Setarim, why do the Chachamim say that the fetus is Tamei? (RASHASH)
ANSWER: The RASHASH answers that perhaps the Gemara assumes that since the Chachamim are discussing exclusively the Tum'ah of Kodshim, with regard to Kodshim they agree with Rebbi Meir that, due to the severity of Kodshim, a Beis ha'Setarim can transfer Tum'ah.
6) A "ZAV" WHO STEPS ON, AND THEN TOUCHES, A CLOTH
QUESTIONS: The Gemara cites the Mishnah in Kelim (27:10) in which Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Yosi argue about whether Tum'as Beis ha'Setarim (a Tamei object that comes into contact with the concealed part of a person or object) is Metamei or not. The Mishnah there discusses a case of a piece of clothing that measures three Tefachim by three Tefachim, the minimum size that is fit to become Tamei with Tum'as Midras (a Zav causes objects that are under him to become Tamei with Tum'as Midras). It is cut up into smaller pieces and is no longer fit to become Tamei with Tum'as Midras (an Av ha'Tum'ah), but it is fit to become Tamei with other forms of Tum'ah. According to Rebbi Meir, the smaller strips of the cloth are Tamei with Tum'as Maga Midras (Rishon l'Tum'ah, which is acquired by touching a Midras), because Rebbi Meir maintains that Tum'as Beis ha'Setarim is Metamei. Therefore, the strips are Tamei since they touched an actual Midras -- they touched each other while they were still connected (RASHI DH Aval).
Rebbi Yosi argues and maintains that Tum'as Beis ha'Setarim is not Metamei. However, if a Zav touches the cut strips of cloth, then they become Tamei with Tum'as Maga ha'Zav.
RASHI (DH Ela) explains that this refers to a case in which the Zav touched the cloth with his bare foot when he stepped on it, or he touched it after he stepped on it, giving it two Tum'os -- Tum'as Midras (an Av ha'Tum'ah) and Tum'as Maga Zav (a Rishon l'Tum'ah).
Rashi's words need clarification.
(a) Why does Rashi write that the Zav stepped on the cloth with his bare foot? Even if his foot was covered, by stepping on the cloth it becomes Tamei with Tum'as Midras! TOSFOS (DH Tahor) points out that Tum'as Midras is transferred even when the Zav is wearing shoes.
(b) In Menachos (24a), Rava asks what the Halachah is in a case in which flour of Kodshim that was Tamei was touched by a person who is a Tevul Yom. Does the Tevul Yom give an additional degree of Tum'ah to the flour that is already Tamei, or does the Tevul Yom have no effect because "Sava Lah Tum'ah," the Kodshim was already Tamei?
Why does Rashi here say that when the Zav touched the cloth after he stepped on it, the cloth becomes Tamei with both Tum'as Midras and Tum'as Maga Zav? Even though the principle of "Sava Lah Tum'ah" applies only when the second Tum'ah is a lighter form of Tum'ah than the first, this indeed is the case here; the first Tum'ah is Tum'as Midras, a severe form of Tum'ah, and the second Tum'ah is Maga Zav, a light form of Tum'ah!
(a) The MEROMEI SADEH answers that Rashi is explaining Rebbi Yosi's statement that a Zav who touches a cloth makes it Tamei with Tum'as Maga Zav. The case must be one in which the Zav's foot was bare, because if his foot was covered, then it does not transfer Tum'as Maga Zav. (As Tosfos writes, Maga Zav is transferred only when the foot of the Zav is bare, even though Maga Midras is transferred even when the Zav is wearing shoes.)
(b) The RAMBAN explains that it is not difficult to understand why Rashi writes that the Zav touched the cloth after he stepped on it, giving it an additional form of Tum'ah, and why Rashi ignores the concept of "Sava Lah Tum'ah." The Gemara in Menachos leaves the question of "Sava Lah Tum'ah" unanswered, and therefore Rashi explains the Sugya here according to the view that another form of Tum'ah can be added. (D. BLOOM)