NIDAH 62 (3 Av) - dedicated l'Iluy Nishmas Reb Aharon Dovid ben Elimelech Shmuel Kornfeld (Muncasz/Israel/New York), who passed away on 3 Av 5761, by his daughter Diane Koenigsberg and her husband Dr. Andy Koenigsberg. May his love for Torah and for Eretz Yisrael continue in all of his descendants.
1) LIQUIDS ABSORBED IN THE POT OF A "ZAV"
QUESTIONS: The Gemara quotes the Mishnah in Kelim (9:5) that teaches that utensils used by a Zav (and which had absorbed Tamei liquids) that fell into an oven will cause the oven to become Tamei only if the oven is ignited. The heat serves to extract the Tamei liquids from the utensils.
RASHI here says two things that are very difficult to understand.
(a) Rashi (DH Charasin) explains that the Mishnah refers to utensils such as an "Avit Shel Mei Raglayim" (urine container) of a Zav or Zavah.
Rashi's words are perplexing. The Mishnah in Kelim says that the oven is Tamei only once the flame is ignited. Urine of a Zav, however, is one of the Mashkin Chamurin (it is an Av ha'Tum'ah and not merely a Rishon), and according to Reish Lakish later in the Gemara it is Metamei even without the flame of the oven being ignited.
It appears that Rashi is explaining the Mishnah according to Rebbi Yochanan, who maintains that even Mashkin Chamurin are not Metamei the oven until the oven is lit. Why, though, does Rashi explain the Mishnah at this point according to Rebbi Yochanan?
This question is strengthened by the fact that the Gemara concludes that even Rebbi Yochanan agrees that Mashkin Chamurin which one wants to remove from a vessel (such as from a urine container) is Metamei the oven even before it is lit.
(b) Rashi (DH Lo Shanu) explains that Mashkin Kalin are fluids such as tears, and blood of a wound. These words of Rashi are also perplexing, because the Gemara earlier (55b) cites a Beraisa that lists the tears of a Zav and blood of his wound as fluids that are on exactly the same level of Tum'ah as water that the Zav touches. Why, then, does Rashi here not explain simply that Mashkin Kalin is water that the Zav touched?
(a) The Mishnah in Kelim specifically mentions that the utensils were used by a Zav. Why does it mention Zav if the same Halachah applies to utensils used by a person with any type of Tum'ah?
It must be that the Mishnah refers specifically to the Ma'ayanos which are exclusive to a Zav, such as urine (which is an Av ha'Tum'ah). When Rashi explains that the Mishnah refers to utensils that have absorbed Mashkin Chamurin (such as urine of a Zav), his intent is to explain the Mishnah according to Rebbi Yochanan in order to point out that Rebbi Yochanan's opinion is the simple understanding of the Mishnah. Reish Lakish's opinion is the novel approach which is not the straightforward meaning of the Mishnah.
Why, though, does Rashi choose to side with one opinion over the other at this point? Rashi is bothered by a problem in the Sugya. According to the Gemara's conclusion, Rebbi Yochanan agrees with Reish Lakish that Mashkin Chamurin which the owner desires to be removed from the utensils -- and which can be removed -- are Metamei (as the Mishnah says in Ohalos (3:2) and as cited by the Gemara later). However, Rebbi Yochanan still argues that if the owner does not want the Mashkin Chamurin to be removed, even if they will be removed in the future they are not Metamei. From where does Rebbi Yochanan derive this Halachah?
Rebbi Yochanan derives this Halachah from the first Mishnah (Kelim 9:5) quoted by the Gemara, which teaches that utensils absorbed with Mashkin Chamurin are not Metamei (until the oven is lit). From the apparent contradiction between the two Mishnayos, Rebbi Yochanan derives the difference between a case in which the owner wants the Mashkin to come out and a case in which the owner does not want the Mashkin to come out. This is Rashi's intention when he explains the Mishnah according to Rebbi Yochanan. (-Based on the Shi'urim of ha'Gaon Rav Moshe Shapiro.)
(b) Rashi explains that Mashkin Kalim refers to the tears of a Zav and not simply to the water that a Zav touched because, otherwise, there is no reason for the Mishnah to mention specifically Zav and not any other type of Tum'ah, according to Reish Lakish. Rashi understands from the Mishnah that the Mishnah is discussing only bodily fluids, and since the list of bodily fluids was taught with regard to a Zav (see Gemara 55b), it mentions a Zav in the Mishnah. The Halachah of the Mishnah, however, applies to other Teme'im as well.
Why, though, does the Mishnah itself choose to discuss only bodily fluids? The same Halachah should apply even to water touched by a Zav. Perhaps the Mishnah does not teach the Halachah with regard to water because water evaporates easily, and it will evaporate before it reaches the inside of the oven. Fluids from the body do not evaporate as quickly, and therefore they will be Metamei the oven. (M. KORNFELD)
2) "TAMEI" LIQUIDS WHICH HAVE BEEN ABSORBED WITHIN ANOTHER SUBSTANCE
OPINIONS: The Gemara teaches that everyone agrees that Tamei liquids absorbed within another substance (Mashkin Belu'in) and that will not come out are Tahor. What is the source for this Halachah?
(a) RASHI (DH Iy Lo) cites the Gemara in Chulin (71a) as the source for this Halachah. The Gemara there teaches that a dead fetus inside its mother's body is not Metamei because it is "Tum'ah Belu'ah," Tum'ah absorbed within another substance. This is also the opinion of TOSFOS (DH mi'Kulei) and the RA'AVAD (Hilchos Tum'as Mes 20:5).
(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Tum'as Mes 20:5) rules that the only case in which Tum'ah Belu'ah is not Metamei is Tum'ah that is absorbed inside a living being (like the case in Chulin). This is also the view of the VILNA GA'ON (to Ohalos 11:7). According to the Rambam, a Tamei liquid which is absorbed within another substance is Tahor because it is no longer considered an independent entity; it has become part of the substance in which it is absorbed.
3) A HOUSE THAT ABSORBED BLOOD
QUESTION: The Gemara cites a Mishnah that says that utensils in a house in which blood was absorbed in the floors do not become Tamei. If the blood has not yet been absorbed, the utensils do become Tamei.
What new Halachah is the Mishnah teaching? It is obvious that utensils become Tamei when they are under the same roof as the blood of a Mes!
(a) Perhaps one might have thought that blood that will eventually become absorbed is considered as though it is already absorbed, and it is not Metamei the utensils. The Mishnah teaches that the blood indeed is Metamei the utensils even though it eventually will be absorbed.
(b) The Mishnah is discussing a case in which part of the Revi'is of blood has already been absorbed into the house. Since a full Revi'is of actual blood no longer remains, perhaps the utensils should not become Tamei. The Mishnah, therefore, teaches that the blood indeed is Metamei the utensils; the blood that has been absorbed joins the blood that remains to make a full Revi'is. (SHITAH MEKUBETZES, to Bava Kama 101b, in the name of the RA'AVAD)