You define KO'ACH KOCHO as follows:
>>3) [line 7] KO'ACH KOCHO - indirect force, where the original force causes a reaction which causes the act
("Kocho" is defined as an act not done with the body itself, rather through the power of the body, i.e. throwing a stone)<<
I am trying to understand why a wood chip flying off a piece of chopped wood is NOT koach kocho, since it seems to me that your definition fits this case perfectly: "the original force" - striking the wood with the axe - "causes a reaction" - the wood chip flying off - "which causes the act" - killing a person.
Thank you very much.
Joel Rosenstein, Ramat Bet Shemesh
Good point, Joel. We weren't clear enough in that definition.
"Kocho" is defined as an effect caused by something that is no longer in contact with the person's body, but was originally put into motion by the person. That is what we meant to say in the parenthetical sentence. Thus, when a person strikes wood with an ax, the effect of the blow on the wood is not called "Kocho." Rather, it is Adam Atzmo that chipped the wood. "Kocho" refers to when (for example) a chip of wood, which is now flying in the air and not in contact with the person who chopped it, causes an effect.
Let me know if this answers your question. Shabbat Shalom,
Dear Rabbi Kornfeld,
Thank you for your detailed response. I had a feeling that the definition KO'ACH KOCHO on your site could be made more specific because of what you described.
However, I am still having difficulty understanding why the Gemorah concludes that the case of the Tamarim being dislodged by a thrown clod, falling, and killing someone is NOT a case of KO'ACH KOCHO, but rather is in the same category of the ETZ HAMITBAKEA. After all, it is the Koach of the clod, which is now flying in the air and not in contact with the person who chopped it (i.e., Kocho as it is defined), which releases the Tamarim which fall and kill. On what basis is this case considered direct Koach and not Koach Kocho?
I discussed this with a couple of people today, but have not yet heard a satisfactory response.
Thank you, Joel
The words "Ko'ach Kocho" are not used in this Sugya in the usual sense (as we described in our previous mailing), for nowhere in the Parshah of Retzichah b'Shogeg is there a mention that Kocho is Chayav and Ko'ach Kocho is Patur.
Rather, according to Rebbi the Torah teaches that one is Chayav in the case of Etz ha'Mitbake'a, while the Chachamim maintain that one is not Chayav in such a case. The words "Kocho" and "Ko'ach Kocho" are used here to differentiate between the cases in which the Torah is Mechayev and those in which the Torah will be Poter. That is, the case in which the Torah is Mechayev is referred to as "Kocho," while the one in which it is Poter is called "Ko'ach Kocho." In this sense, Ko'ach Kocho means simply that the killing is not *as directly* related to the person as the case in which the Torah is Mechayev.
Thus, when the Gemara here says that the case of the Temarim is not Ko'ach Kocho, it simply means that one is Chayav in such a case just as one is Chayav in the case of Etz ha'Misbake'a. That is, even though the killing is less directly related to the person in the case of the Temarim, nevertheless, the important factor of Etz ha'Mitbake'a is that the killing is coming as a first reaction to the person's action -- even if it is only a corollary of his force -- and not that the killing is coming from something that was set in motion while the killer was in direct contact with it.