1) COMBINING THE BLOOD AND FLESH OF A "SHERETZ" FOR "TUM'AH"
OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that the blood of a Sheretz and its flesh combine to make a Shi'ur (of a k'Adashah for Tum'ah). Rav Chanin in the name of Rav Ze'ira (or Rav) states that the blood and flesh of a Sheretz combine only when the blood is "Bo" -- "in it."
There are various explanations for what this means. RASHI explains that this means that blood combines only with the flesh of the Sheretz from which it came.
The PERUSH KADMON (#1, Rav Sofer) explains that blood combines only with the flesh of a Sheretz that is the same species as that from which the blood came.
TOSFOS (DH Amar, first explanation) and the RASH in Ohalos (3:3) explain that blood combines only with the flesh of the Sheretz while the blood is still part of the Sheretz (on the surface of the Sheretz, after the Sheretz has bled). This is also the explanation of the RAMBAM (Hilchos She'ar Avos ha'Tum'ah 4:7).
Rebbi Yosi bar Chanina challenges Rav Chanin's ruling from a Beraisa that states that the flesh and blood of two different Sheratzim, or two different species, do join together to make a k'Adashah. Rav Yosef answers that Rav Chanin was referring to "Miktzaso," in which case they do not join, while the Beraisa is referring to "Kulo," in which case they do join.
What is the meaning of "Miktzaso" and "Kulo"?
(a) RASHI (DH Amar), TOSFOS (DH Amar), PERUSH KADMON (#1, Rav Sofer), and RABEINU GERSHOM (in his second explanation) explain that "Kulo" means that the blood came from a whole Sheretz, in which case it combines even with the flesh of another type of Sheretz to make a complete Shi'ur of Tum'ah. "Miktzaso" means that the blood came from part of a Sheretz, in which case it combines only when it is "Bo."
(b) RABEINU GERSHOM (in his first explanation) says that "Kulo" means that the entire blood content of one Sheretz can combine even with the flesh of another type of Sheretz to make a Shi'ur of Tum'ah. "Miktzaso" means that part of the blood of a Sheretz cannot combine with the flesh of another Sheretz to make a Shi'ur.
(c) RABEINU NISIM GA'ON (cited by Tosfos, DH v'Ha) and the RASH in Ohalos (3:3) explain that "Kulo" refers to what the person touched: when a person touched both the blood and the flesh together, he becomes Tamei, even though the blood is from one Sheretz and the flesh is from another. "Miktzaso" refers to when the person touched one of them, either the blood or the flesh, which was touching the other one. Even though the part of the Sheretz that he touched (such as the flesh) was touching the other part of the Sheretz (the blood), the flesh and blood do not combine to make a Shi'ur to make him Tamei. (See following Insight.)
2) WHEN IS BLOOD "METAMEI B'OHEL"?
OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that the blood of a Sheretz and its flesh combine to make a Shi'ur (of a k'Adashah for Tum'ah). Rav Chanin in the name of Rav Ze'ira (or Rav) states that the blood and flesh of a Sheretz combine only when the blood is "Bo" -- "in it." RASHI explains that this means that blood combines only with the flesh of the Sheretz from which it came (see previous Insight for other explanations).
Rebbi Yosi bar Chanina challenges Rav Chanin's ruling from a Beraisa that states that the flesh and blood of two different Sheratzim, or two different species, do join together to make a k'Adashah. Rav Yosef answers that Rav Chanin was referring to "Miktzaso," in which case they do not join, while the Beraisa is referring to "Kulo," in which case they do join (see previous Insight).
Rav Yosef explains the source for his distinction between "Kulo" and "Miktzaso." A Beraisa states that if a Revi'is of blood from a Mes spilled on a sloping floor, and a person was Ma'ahil (formed a shelter with his body) over all of the blood, he becomes Tamei. If he was Ma'ahil over only part of it, he does not become Tamei. However, Rebbi Chanina said in the name of Rebbi that a person who stirred a Revi'is of blood of a Mes remains Tahor even though he certainly was Ma'ahil over it. These two rulings imply that there is a difference between Kulo and Miktzaso.
The Rishonim explain this statement in different ways.
(a) RASHI (DH Ela), consistent with his explanation of Rav Chanin's statement (see previous Insight), explains that if the Revi'is of blood from a Mes came from a whole Mes, then it is Metamei b'Ohel. If the Revi'is of blood came from a detached limb of a Mes, then it is not Metamei b'Ohel (rather, a bit more than a Revi'is of such blood is required to be Metamei b'Ohel). When the Beraisa says that one becomes Tamei only when he stands over all of the blood, it is referring to a case in which the blood came from a whole Mes. When Rebbi Chanina says that one who stands over blood is not Tamei, he is referring to blood that came from a detached limb of a Mes.
(b) RABEINU GERSHOM and PERUSH KADMON (#1, Rav Sofer) in his second explanation explain that since the blood was being stirred, the utensil with which it was stirred must have absorbed some of the blood, and, similarly, some of the blood on the floor is absorbed by the floor. Therefore, in both cases there is no longer a full Revi'is. When the blood came from a whole Mes, then it is Metamei b'Ohel even though it is no longer a complete Revi'is. When the blood came from part of a Mes, then it is not Metamei b'Ohel since it is not a complete Revi'is.
(c) RABEINU NISIM GA'ON (quoted by Tosfos, DH v'Ha) and the RASH in Ohalos (3:3) explain that in the case of the Beraisa, the blood is lying in separate pools on the floor, and, similarly, in the case of Rebbi Chanina, the blood absorbed in the ladle is viewed as though it is in a separate pool. Alternatively, the blood that is on a slope is viewed as many units of blood as opposed to one mass of blood. When the person is Ma'ahil over all of the blood together, he becomes Tamei. This is what the Beraisa means when it says that one is Tamei when he is Ma'ahil over all of the blood. When he is Ma'ahil on only part of the blood which is less than a Revi'is, he remains Tahor.
3) IMMITATING THE WAYS OF "NOCHRIM" FOR THE SAKE OF SAVING THE JEWISH PEOPLE
QUESTION: The Gemara relates that the Romans once decreed that the Jews may not observe Shabbos, Bris Milah, and Nidah. Rebbi Reuven ben Istrobli cut his hair like a Roman ("Kumi") and disguised himself, and he went and sat among the Roman legislators. With sharp logic, he successfully persuaded the Romans to rescind all three decrees, until it was discovered that he was a Jew and the decrees were reinstated.
RASHI (DH v'Siper) writes that he disguised himself by shaving off his hair on his forehead and leaving the hair at the back of his head to grow long, in the manner of the Romans.
Why was Rebbi Reuven permitted to cut his hair like a Roman? The Torah explicitly forbids such an act, as it says, "You shall not walk in their statutes" (Vayikra 18:3)!
ANSWER: The Gemara in Bava Kama (83a) cites a Beraisa that says that although cutting one's hair in the manner of the Romans ("Kumi") is considered the ways of the Emorim and is forbidden, the Chachamim permitted Avtulmus bar Reuven to cut his hair in this manner, "because he was close to the king." TOSFOS there (DH Hitiru) explains that the Chachamim never made a Gezeirah to prohibit such a haircut for those who are close to the king. Tosfos cites the Gemara here in Me'ilah as proof that Avtulmus bar Reuven was close to the authorities. It is evident that Tosfos' Girsa of the Gemara here read "Avtulmus bar Reuven" instead of "Rebbi Reuven bar Istrobli."
How, though, can the Chachamim permit something that the Torah forbids?
1. The BEIS YOSEF (YD 178:2, DH v'Im Tomar) explains that the reason why the Chachamim were able to permit an Isur d'Oraisa to those who are close to the king is that the Mitzvah of saving the Jewish people overrides this Isur. A Jew who is close to the royal circles is in a position to frustrate efforts to cause harm to the Jewish people, as the incident involving Rebbi Reuven bar Istrobli demonstrates. (According to this explanation, it seems that it would be permitted for a person in a position to save Jewish lives to transgress any prohibition in the Torah (apart from the three cardinal transgressions) in order to save Jewish lives.)
2. The Beis Yosef answers further that when the Torah says, "You shall not walk in their statutes," it does not specify which statutes are forbidden. The Torah authorizes the Chachamim to decide exactly what is forbidden. The Chachamim prohibited the general public from cutting their hair in the "Kumi" style, but they did not prohibit it for those who are close to the king. Those who are close to the king fulfill the Mitzvah of not following the ways of the Nochrim by refraining from other practices which do not interfere with their efforts to maintain a close relationship with the authorities.
3. The KOVETZ SHI'URIM in Bava Kama (#98) cites the TESHUVOS MAHARIK (Shoresh 88) who quotes the Sifri (Devarim #29), "You should not say: Because they go out wearing Argaman (purple), I will also wear Argaman." This implies that the prohibition applies only when one dresses or acts like the Nochrim specifically because he wants to emulate the Nochrim. In contrast, if he does so for the benefit or honor of the Jewish people, he transgresses no prohibition. (See also BACH YD 178:7, who supports this reasoning and says that those who are close to royalty may act like the Nochrim when "it would be a disgrace for them if they would appear dissimilar to the Nochrim.")
However, the Kovetz Shi'urim notes that the words of the Beraisa in Bava Kama, "... the Chachamim permitted Avtulmus...," seem difficult according to this explanation. According to this explanation, there never was a prohibition in the first place for those close to the king such that the Chachamim needed to "permit" it! The Kovetz Shi'urim answers that perhaps the Beraisa specifies the reason for why such an act is permitted in order to prevent a Chilul Hash-m -- so that other Jews not think that their distinguished leaders are sinning by cutting their hair like the Nochrim. (D. BLOOM)
4) THE SOURCE THAT BLOOD OF "SHERATZIM" IS "TAMEI"
QUESTIONS: The Gemara (17a) relates that Rebbi Masya ben Charash asked Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai what the source is for the law that blood of Sheratzim is Tamei. Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai answered that it is derived from the verse, "v'Zeh Lachem ha'Tamei" (Vayikra 11:29). The disciples of Rebbi Masya exclaimed that Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai is a great Chacham.
Rebbi Masya responded that Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai did not expound the source himself; rather, it is "an established teaching in the mouth of Rebbi Elazar bar Rebbi Yosi." Rebbi Masya proceeded to relate the incident in which Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai and Rebbi Elazar bar Rebbi Yosi traveled together to Rome to intercede with the authorities on behalf of the Jewish people in an attempt to rescind the evil decrees that the Romans issued against the Jewish people. During their journey to Rome, they were asked for the source that blood of Sheratzim is Tamei. Rebbi Elazar "bent his mouth" and said in a low voice the verse, "v'Zeh Lachem ha'Tamei." Rebbi Shimon noticed and said, "The bending of your lips shows that you are a Talmid Chacham, but [because you issued a Halachic ruling in front of me] the son shall not return to his father!"
This incident poses a number of difficulties.
(a) It is apparent that Rebbi Masya already knew the source for the law that blood of Sheratzim is Tamei when he asked Rebbi Shimon, as he pointed out to his students immediately afterwards that it was not Rebbi Shimon's novel teaching but was already taught by Rebbi Elazar. If he already knew the source, then why did he ask Rebbi Shimon for it?
(b) Why did Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai himself not quote this teaching in the name of Rebbi Elazar bar Rebbi Yosi?
(c) Why did the students of Rebbi Masya declare, upon hearing Rebbi Shimon's Derashah, that he is a great Chacham? Rebbi Shimon at this time was already a great Torah sage and leader, as is clear from the fact that Rebbi Masya posed his question to Rebbi Shimon after the incident in which Rebbi Shimon was chosen to travel to Rome as the emissary of the Jewish people. As the Gemara relates, Rebbi Shimon was chosen because "frequently miracles are done" for him. Rashi points out that this incident occurred after Rebbi Shimon's sojourn in the cave (as described in Shabbos 33b). It is clear that Rebbi Shimon was already recognized as a leading Torah sage at that time (indeed, he had already received Semichah from Rebbi Akiva). Why did Rebbi Masya's students become so excited about a relatively minor teaching such that they now declared Rebbi Shimon to be a great Chacham?
(d) Why did Rebbi Masya refer to the derivation from the verse as "Talmud Aruch b'Fiv..." -- "an established teaching in the mouth of Rebbi Elazar...," instead of saying merely, "These are the words of Rebbi Elazar..."?
ANSWER: The CHIDA in PESACH EINAYIM explains this incident as follows. When Rebbi Masya asked Rebbi Shimon for the source that blood of Sheratzim is Tamei, he was not actually asking for the source. He knew that Rebbi Elazar had taught that the source is the verse, "v'Zeh Lachem ha'Tamei." Rather, Rebbi Masya was asking whether Rebbi Shimon agreed with the words of Rebbi Elazar, or whether he maintained (or had learned from his teachers) that there is another source for the law. Likewise, Rebbi Masya was in doubt about whether the reason why Rebbi Shimon was strict with Rebbi Elazar (as the Gemara relates on 17b) was that Rebbi Elazar answered the inquirer on his own accord, teaching the novel answer that the source for the law is the verse of "v'Zeh Lachem," or whether Rebbi Shimon was strict with Rebbi Elazar merely because he was quick to tell the inquirer the accepted teaching that all of the sages knew, before giving Rebbi Shimon a chance to reply.
Accordingly, Rebbi Masya asked Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai whether he agrees with the Derashah that Rebbi Elazar taught (and they had received it is an accepted tradition from their teachers), or whether he argues with it (and it was Rebbi Elazar's own novel teaching).
When Rebbi Shimon replied that the source is the verse, "v'Zeh Lachem," he answered Rebbi Masya's doubts by showing that he agrees with the Derashah. Moreover, by not saying the Derashah in the name of Rebbi Elazar, he showed that the Derashah was taught long before Rebbi Elazar, and it was an accepted teaching among the sages. Accordingly, the reason why Rebbi Shimon was strict with Rebbi Elazar was not that he taught a new law in his presence, but merely because he was quick to answer before letting Rebbi Shimon answer.
However, the students of Rebbi Masya thought that the Derashah was a novel teaching of Rebbi Shimon himself. They therefore declared, "The son of Yochai is an even greater Chacham that we thought, because he immediately answered a question with which you, our teacher, Rebbi Masya, had difficulty!" Rebbi Masya responded that this Derashah does not demonstrate Rebbi Shimon's great wisdom, because "I already knew the Derashah, as it is an accepted Derashah handed down by the sages." This is what Rebbi Masya meant when he said that it is a "Talmud Aruch" -- a previously-established teaching -- in the mouth of Rebbi Elazar, and it is not Rebbi Elazar's own novel teaching. Rebbi Masya proved to his students that the Derashah was already known by relating to them the incident involving Rebbi Shimon and Rebbi Elazar during their journey to Rome.
5) COMBINING "NOSAR" AND "PIGUL" TO MAKE A COMPLETE "K'ZAYIS"
QUESTION: The Gemara explains that less than a k'Zayis of Pigul and less than a k'Zayis of Nosar combine to make a complete Shi'ur of Isur to obligate the person who eats it to receive Malkus. This is derived from the verse, "Lo Ye'achel Ki Kodesh Hu" (Shemos 29:34), which teaches that there is a prohibition against eating all Pesulei ha'Mukdashin, meat of Korbanos that has become unfit to be offered.
Why is one punished with Malkus for transgressing the Isur of "Lo Ye'achel"? This Isur is a "Lav shebi'Chelalos." A Lav shebi'Chelalos is a single Lav that prohibits many different acts. When the Torah includes a number of different acts in one prohibition (such as eating any object of Kodesh that became Pasul in any manner), none of these acts are subject to a punishment of Malkus (Pesachim 24a)! (See Insights to Chulin 80:4.)
(a) TOSFOS in Zevachim (78a, DH ha'Pigul) explains that there indeed is no Chiyuv Malkus for one who transgresses this prohibition, since it is a Lav shebi'Chelalos. The Gemara means merely that Pigul and Nosar combine to make a Shi'ur that is prohibited to eat.
This explanation, however, requires further elucidation, because even without the verse of "Lo Ye'achel" it would be prohibited to eat a half-k'Zayis of Pigul and Nosar because of the Torah prohibition of "Chatzi Shi'ur" -- the Torah prohibits eating even a partial amount of Isur (according to Rebbi Yochanan in Yoma (73b), whose opinion is the Halachah). Why, then, is it necessary for Nosar and Pigul to be combined in order to make a Shi'ur of Isur?
Perhaps Tosfos understands that the Mishnah means that they combine to make a Shi'ur for which one is punished with Kares (but not with Malkus).
(b) TOSFOS in Pesachim (24a, DH Ha) explains that although the verse of "Lo Ye'achel Ki Kodesh Hu" indeed is a general prohibition against eating various types of Pesulei ha'Mukdashin, since it was written in the Torah specifically with regard to Nosar it is not considered a Lav shebi'Chelalos, at least with regard to eating Nosar. Since a Hekesh compares Pigul to Nosar, Pigul is also punishable with Malkus due to this prohibition. Therefore, Pigul and Nosar may be combined to make a k'Zayis and to obligate the person who eats the combination to receive Malkus for transgressing the prohibition of "Lo Ye'achel Ki Kodesh Hu."
(c) RASHI (DH Aval) explains that if there is more Pigul than Nosar, then the Nosar combines with the Pigul to be considered a complete Shi'ur of Pigul. If there is more Nosar then Pigul, then the Pigul combines with the Nosar to be considered a complete Shi'ur of Nosar. If there is half a Shi'ur of each, then there will be Malkus for both Pigul and Nosar.
Rashi clearly understands that the Gemara does not mean that Malkus is administered for violating the general prohibition of eating a k'Zayis of Pesulei ha'Mukdashin. Rather, the Gemara means that Nosar and Pigul combine with regard to the specific prohibitions of Pigul and Nosar, for which one will receive Malkus if there is a Shi'ur.
It is important to note that according to Rashi, the Gemara's ruling regarding a combination of a partial Shi'ur of Pigul with a partial Shi'ur of Nosar does not represent the general Halachah of Bitul. The OR SAME'ACH (Hilchos Ma'achalos Asuros 15:10) and MISHNEH L'MELECH (Hilchos Me'ilah 7:6) point out that there is no such thing as making an object Batel to become punishable with Malkus, but rather Bitul can only remove an object's status of Isur. That is, if one part of Heter falls into ten parts of Isur and eleven people each eat a k'Zayis of the mixture, no one is Chayav Malkus, because the k'Zayis of Heter cannot become Batel to become Isur, and thus there remains a doubt about what each person ate. Similarly, if a third of a k'Zayis of Nosar would be Batel to two thirds of a k'Zayis of Pigul, it would not be possible to combine them to give a punishment of Malkus for Pigul, because Bitul does not make the Nosar acquire the status of the Isur of Pigul.
Moreover, Rashi writes that half of a k'Zayis of Nosar combines with half of a k'Zayis of Pigul to obligate one who eats the combination to receive two sets of Malkus (PERUSH KADMON #1, Rav Sofer, in contrast to the view of the TOSFOS YOM TOV mentioned in the margin of the Gemara). It seems that the Gezeiras ha'Kasuv is teaching that Nosar and Pigul each have a dormant element of the other Isur within them which becomes active when the two are combined. (M. KORNFELD, Z. Wainstein)