NIDAH 67 (8 Av) - Dedicated l'Iluy Nishmas Mrs. Lily (Leah bas Pinchas) Kornfeld, who passed away on 8 Av 5765. Dedicated by their daughter and son-in-law, Diane and Andy Koenigsberg and family. May her and her husband's love for Torah and for Eretz Yisrael continue in all of her descendants.
1) HALACHAH: "CHATZITZOS"
OPINIONS: The Gemara lists several types of Chatzitzos of which a woman must be wary when she immerses herself in the Mikvah. These Chatzitzos include:
1. Kli Cheres. She may not stand atop an earthenware vessel when she immerses, because she will be too concerned about slipping and falling and will not immerse properly.
2. Namel. She may not immerse herself in a port, lest the mud and dirt that arise due to the boats adhere to her and cause a Chatzitzah (Rashi). Alternatively, in her desire to avoid onlookers she will rush and not immerse properly (Tosfos).
3. Tavshil. She may not handle food immediately prior to immersing, lest it adhere to her.
4. Rivdi d'Kusilta. The dried scabs (three days old) that result from bloodletting are a Chatzitzah.
5. Lifluf. Dry discharge in the eye is a Chatzitzah.
6. Kechol. Eye-shadow and the like, on the outside of the eye, is a Chatzitzah.
7. Atzmah Eineha. If she closes her eyes tightly, or if she opens them too wide, the folds formed in the skin of her eyelids are a Chatzitzah.
8. Derech Gedeilasah. Reish Lakish requires a woman to immerse her body in the way in which she normally stands (for example, without pressing her arms to her side and without pressing her legs together).
Many of the early Rishonim (including RAV SA'ADYAH GA'ON, RABEINU CHANANEL, the RIF, and the BEHAG) had additional words in their text of the Gemara. Before the words of Reish Lakish their text read, "The Halachah is not like these teachings with regard to immersing to become Tahor to her husband, but only with regard to immersing to become Tahor to handle Taharos." (See TOSFOS DH Paschah Eineiha.)
There are a number of opinions about which teaching the Gemara refers to when it says that the Halachah is not like "these teachings."
(a) The RA'AVAD (Sha'ar Tevilah) explains that it refers to the Halachos of Rivdi d'Kusilta, Lifluf, and Kechol (4, 5, and 6 above).
(b) The RAN (in Shevuos) explains that it refers to Atzmah Eineha as well (4, 5, 6, 7).
(c) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Mikva'os 2:22) adds that it refers to Tavshil as well (3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
(d) TOSFOS (DH Paschah Eineha) and the ROSH (Hilchos Mikva'os 35) maintain that it refers to all of the cases before that of Reish Lakish (1-7).
(e) The YERE'IM (end of #26) in the name of the ARUCH says that it refers not only to all seven cases before the case of Reish Lakish, but it refers to the Halachah of Reish Lakish as well (1-8). The Gemara is ruling that Reish Lakish's teaching applies only to a person who is becoming Tahor to handle Taharos, but not to a woman who is becoming Tahor to be permitted to her husband.
The Yere'im points out that although -- according to Rav Sa'adyah Ga'on's text of the Gemara -- the teachings of the Gemara are not l'Halachah, l'Chatchilah a woman must be careful to avoid all of these Chatzitzos and also to immerse the way Reish Lakish instructs.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 188) rules that a woman must be careful to avoid all of these Chatzitzos. The SHACH (YD 188:13) writes that in extenuating circumstances, one may rely on the alternate text of the Gemara with regard to the three Halachos to which the Ra'avad maintains that it refers (4-6).
2) A CHATZITZAH ON MOST OF WHAT?
OPINIONS: Rebbi Yitzchak states that if a woman immerses in a Mikvah when "most" of her body is covered by an intervening substance that bothers her, mid'Oraisa it is a Chatzitzah and her Tevilah is not valid. If the substance covers only "a small part" of her, or if it does not bother her, mid'Oraisa her Tevilah is valid. The Rabanan, however, decreed that in all cases her Tevilah is invalid.
Is the Gemara discussing a Chatzitzah on a small part of any part of her body, or only on a specific part of her body?
(a) RASHI (DH Rubo) explains that the Torah law applies only to her hair. If most of her hair is covered by an intervening substance which disturbs her, mid'Oraisa her Tevilah is invalid. If the substance on her hair does not disturb her, then it is not a Chatzitzah unless it covers most of her hair. If, however, the intervening substance is on her body, her Tevilah is invalid mid'Oraisa even if it covers only a small part of her body.
(b) TOSFOS (Eruvin 4b, DH Davar Torah) and the TOSFEI HA'ROSH explain that the Torah law refers to most of her body. Accordingly, only when a majority of her body is covered by the intervening substance will her Tevilah be invalid mid'Oraisa. If it covers her hair, her Tevilah is valid mid'Oraisa even if it covers all of her hair.
3) A "CHATZITZAH" THAT DOES NOT BOTHER THE PERSON
QUESTION: Rebbi Yitzchak states that if a woman immerses in a Mikvah when a majority ("Rubo") of her body (see previous Insight) is covered by an intervening substance that bothers her ("Makpid Alav"), mid'Oraisa it is a Chatzitzah and her Tevilah is not valid. If the substance covers only a small part of her body, or if it does not bother her, mid'Oraisa her Tevilah is valid. The Rabanan, though, decreed that in all cases her Tevilah is invalid, lest people mistakenly think that an intervening substance on a majority of the body is not considered a Chatzitzah even when one is Makpid about it.
Why is a Chatzitzah on Rubo when one is not Makpid considered only a Chatzitzah mid'Rabanan? Since the Rabanan decreed that, in practice, it is a Chatzitzah, it follows that a person would be Makpid about it and would want the substance removed from his body before immersing -- not because it disturbs him physically, but because it disturbs him Halachically! Every substance that covers Rubo should be considered one which disturbs the person, and thus it should be a Chatzitzah mid'Oraisa.
(a) RAV ELCHANAN WASSERMAN (addenda to KOVETZ HE'OROS, Yevamos #4) answers in the name of RAV CHAIM SOLOVEITCHIK that when Rebbi Yitzchak said that an intervening substance on the majority of a person which disturbs the person is a Chatzitzah mid'Oraisa, this applies only when the person is Makpid on all of that substance covering the majority of the body. In the case of a Chatzitzah mid'Rabanan, he is not Makpid on all of the substance covering the majority of his body, but only on that part that makes the difference between a minority and a majority of his body. (For example, if there is a Chatzitzah on 80% of his body, he is disturbed only by 30% of it, because without that amount of the Chatzitzah there would be a Chatzitzah on only 50% of his body.) Since he is not disturbed by all of the Chatzitzah, it is not considered a Chatzitzah mid'Oraisa.
(b) Rav Elchanan Wasserman offers a different answer. A person is considered to be Makpid only when he is Makpid for physical reasons, but not when he is Makpid for Halachic reasons. In this case, since he is not Makpid on the Chatzitzah that covers Rubo for physical reasons but only because he does not want his Tevilah to be invalid mid'Rabanan, he is not considered one who is Makpid.
Rav Elchanan Wasserman cites an example of this reasoning from the Gemara in Bava Metzia (30a). The Gemara there says that a Parah Adumah is rendered invalid if a bull mates with it. The Torah says that the Parah Adumah is valid only if a yoke has never been placed upon it (Bamidbar 19:2), which includes being mounted by a bull. The Gemara there says that this invalidates the Parah Adumah because the owners are pleased with the fact that it has mated with the bull (otherwise, the fact that a bull mounted it would not invalidate it). The SHITAH MEKUBETZES there asks, why should the owners be pleased that a bull mounted it if this renders it invalid for use as a Parah Adumah, thereby causing the owners a tremendous financial loss (a valid Parah Adumah is very rare and valuable)? The Shitah Mekubetzes answers that since the owners are pleased when all other cows mate and breed, it is considered as though they are pleased that the Parah Adumah has mated as well.
The same principle applies to the case of the Gemara here. Even though, for Halachic reasons, the person is Makpid on the Chatzitzah on his body, since he is not Makpid for practical reasons it is not considered as though he is Makpid, just as the owner of the Parah Adumah is considered to be happy with the fact that his Parah Adumah bred, even though for Halachic reasons (the Parah is rendered unfit) he actually is not pleased. (D. BLOOM)