PESACHIM 24 (7 Av) - Dedicated in memory of Dr. Simcha Bekelnitzky (Simcha Gedalya ben Shraga Feibush) of Queens, N.Y., Niftar 7 Av 5757, by his wife and daughters. G-d-fearing and knowledgeable, Simcha was well known in the community for his Chesed and Tzedakah. He will long be remembered.
1) EATING OR DERIVING BENEFIT FROM A FORBIDDEN ITEM IN AN UNUSUAL MANNER
OPINIONS: Rebbi Yochanan says that one who eats a forbidden item in an unusual manner is exempt from punishment. The Gemara records two versions of Rebbi Yochanan's statement. In the first version, Rebbi Yochanan says that one is punished with Malkus only when he eats a forbidden item in the normal manner of eating, but not when he eats it in an abnormal way, such as when he eats Chelev that is raw. In the second version, Rebbi Yochanan says that one is punished with Malkus only when he derives benefit in the normal manner, but not when he derives benefit in an abnormal way, such as when he smears the Chelev of a Shor ha'Niskal as a salve on his wound. The Gemara concludes that according to the second version, Rebbi Yochanan certainly maintains that one is not punished with Malkus when he eats a forbidden item in an unusual manner (such as raw Chelev).
It is clear that the second version of Rebbi Yochanan's statement provides a broader range of exemption. What is the point of dispute between the two versions? What actions are included in the exemption according to the second version, but are not included in the exemption according to the first version?
(a) RASHI (DH Ika d'Amri) implies that the first version refers only to Isurei Achilah which are Mutar b'Hana'ah -- food items which are forbidden for one to eat, but from which one is permitted to derive benefit, such as Neveilah. If an item is Mutar b'Hana'ah, then only an act of "Achilah," eating, is prohibited. Eating the item in an abnormal way is not called an act of "Achilah," even though the act might still provide Hana'ah. Since the item is forbidden only to be eaten, one is exempt for eating it in an abnormal way. However, when an item is also Asur b'Hana'ah, one is not exempt for eating it in an abnormal way, because one stills derives benefit from it.
In contrast, according to the second version, even if an item is also Asur b'Hana'ah, one is still exempt if he either eats the item in an abnormal manner or derives Hana'ah from it in an abnormal manner.
(b) The MISHNEH L'MELECH (Hilchos Yesodei ha'Torah, beginning of 5:8) rejects this logic (without noting that it has a basis in Rashi's words) and suggests another explanation. The only normal use for Chelev is to burn it as fuel or to rub it into hides (as Rashi writes in DH Chelev). Therefore, one who eats raw Chelev alters its normal usage in two ways. First, he uses it not for burning or for smearing, but for eating, which is not the normal form of benefit from Chelev. Second, even the few individuals who deviate from the normal usage of Chelev and eat it do not eat it raw; they cook it first. Hence, a person who eats Chelev that is raw deviates in two ways from the normal usage.
According to the first version of Rebbi Yochanan's statement, one must make a double change in order to be exempt. The type of benefit that one derives must be a form of benefit for which this item is not normally used, and the way in which he derives that alternative type of benefit must also be an unusual way.
According to the second version, even if one benefits from the forbidden item with only one deviation from the normal form of benefit (for example, he uses the item for a different type of usage than normal), that suffices to exempt him, even though the way in which he derives that benefit does not deviate from the norm.
(c) The MISHNEH L'MELECH suggests another approach based on the words of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Ma'achalos Asuros 14:10) and the MAGID MISHNEH (ibid. 8:16). According to the first version of Rebbi Yochanan's statement, one is exempt only if he eats or derives benefit in a different manner than normal. According to the second version, when the forbidden item is fit to be eaten, any form of benefit other than eating is considered abnormal ("she'Lo k'Derech Hana'aso"). One does not need to alter the normal manner in which he derives benefit; the very fact that he derives benefit in a way other than eating is already considered to be an "unusual way" of deriving benefit.
(According to this understanding, what does the Gemara mean when it says that if one is exempt for smearing Chelev on a wound then he certainly is exempt for eating raw Chelev? Why is there more reason for him to be exempt when he eats raw Chelev, if that act is equivalent to deriving benefit in an unusual way (smearing Chelev on a wound)? The Gemara means that there is more reason to exempt a person when he eats an item in an unusual way than when he derives benefit from it in a usual way.)