1) FORFEITING THE MITZVAH OF MILAH
OPINIONS: The Torah commands every Jewish male to be circumcised, with a penalty of Kares for failure to fulfill this Mitzvas Aseh.
If a person was not given a Milah when he was a baby, and when he reaches adulthood he remains uncircumcised, does he transgress the Mitzvah every day that passes that he is not circumcised?
(a) The Gemara teaches that Milah is the type of Mitzvah that, if performed after its prescribed time, is not forfeited, as opposed to Mitzvos such as Sukah, Lulav, and Shofar, which are forfeited if they are not performed at their prescribed time. It is clear from the Gemara that if a man does not become circumcised until he is older, he is not considered to have forfeited the Mitzvah each day that passed while he was uncircumcised. Rather, since he finally fulfilled the Mitzvah of Milah, he never forfeited the Mitzvah. This also seems to be the intention of Tosfos (131a, DH v'Shavin). Only if he dies uncircumcised is he considered to have forfeited the Mitzvah and is Chayav Kares.
(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Milah 1:3) writes that a person who does not circumcise himself transgresses the Mitzvas Aseh every day that passes. However, he is Chayav Kares only if he dies without a Milah.
The fact that he is Chayav Kares only if he dies without a Milah is consistent with the Gemara here, which says that he does not forfeit the Mitzvah as long as it is still possible to perform it. Why, though, does the Rambam write that he transgresses a Mitzvas Aseh every day that he delays his Milah?
The RA'AVAD apparently understands that the Rambam means to say that a person transgresses the Mitzvas Aseh every day mi'Safek, out of doubt, because of the possibility that he might die without a Milah. He only transgresses the Mitzvas Aseh every day when he has intention never to fulfill the Mitzvah of Milah at all. Accordingly, if a person has intention to have a Milah at any time later in his life, he does not transgress the Mitzvas Aseh as each day passes, as the Gemara here says.
2) A NON-KOHEN WHO PERFORMS THE "AVODAH"
QUESTION: After the Gemara says that the Torah is more lenient with regard to the Korban of a Mechusar Kaparah than with other Korbanos, the Gemara asks that "if so, a non-Kohen (Zar) and a Kohen in mourning (Onen) should also be able" to perform the Avodah of offering the Korban of a Mechusar Kaparah, and it should not be limited to a Kohen.
How can the Gemara suggest that a non-Kohen may perform the Avodah for a Mechusar Kaparah? The Torah explicitly states that such Korbanos must be offered by a Kohen (Vayikra 12:6, 14:25, 15:15, 15:30)!
(a) TOSFOS (DH Ela) and the RASHBA (in his first answer) explain that the Gemara does not really mean to suggest that a non-Kohen should be able to perform the Avodah. It is asking only that a Kohen who is in mourning should qualify. The word "Zar" was added for emphasis.
(b) The RASHBA suggests further that the Gemara is asking why the Torah requires a Kohen for this Korban, if the Korban of Mechusrei Kaparah is more lenient than other Korbanos.
(c) The RASHBA and the RITVA give another answer. The Gemara assumed that when the Torah says that a Kohen must offer the Korban, that requirement applies only when there is a Kohen available to do the Avodah. When no Kohen is available, then perhaps a non-Kohen is able to perform the Avodah.
(d) The RITVA adds that perhaps the Gemara means to suggest only that a non-Kohen should be permitted to eat the meat of the Korban.
(e) The RITVA answers further that when the Gemara uses the word "Zar" (non-Kohen), it refers not to someone who is not a Kohen at all. Rather, it refers to a Kohen who is not wearing the necessary attire of Bigdei Kehunah, who is equivalent to a "non-Kohen" (see Zevachim 17b, Sanhedrin 83b).
(f) The MITZPEH EISAN points out that although the Shechitah of Kodshim may be performed by a Zar, Melikah (slaughter of a bird) may not. The Gemara in Zevachim (65a) derives this from a verse written with regard to Olas Nedavah. Perhaps the Gemara is suggesting that a Zar should be permitted to perform Melikah on the Korban of a Mechusar Kaparah when it is a bird!
3) ONE WHO CUTS OFF A LEPROUS "NEGA" WHILE HE PERFORMS MILAH
QUESTION: The Gemara discusses one who performs Milah when there is a Nega of Tzara'as on the Orlah, which will be cut off when the Orlah is cut off. The Gemara discusses whether one is permitted to cut off the Nega in order to cut off the Orlah, since one is normally prohibited from cutting off a Nega which is Tamei.
The Mishnah in Nega'im (6:6) states that the tops of small limbs that slope down to a point, like the tips of the fingers and the top of the Orlah, are not Metamei with a leprous Nega. Why, then, does the Gemara discuss one who cuts off a Nega from the top of the Orlah, if a Nega in such a place is not Tamei? The Torah prohibits only cutting off a Nega which is Tamei in order to make oneself Tahor. (YA'AVETZ, LECHEM SHAMAYIM)
(a) The MELECHES SHLOMO (Nega'im 7:5) cites an answer in the name of RABEINU SULEIMAN. When the Mishnah discusses a Nega (Baheres) on the Orlah, it does not mean that there was a Nega on the Orlah itself. Rather, it means that the person's entire body was afflicted with the white Nega and the Orlah was healthy. The Mishnah in Nega'im (8:1) teaches that a healthy spot is Metamei a person when the rest of his body is white, because that spot is considered a Michyah (recession), which is a sign of Tum'ah. The Mishnah clearly adds that in the case of a person whose body is almost completely covered by a Nega, even if the healthy skin is on the top of a small limb, it is considered a Michyah and is Metamei.
(b) The MELECHES SHLOMO and TIFERES YISRAEL (Nega'im 6:6, in the name of his father) give another answer. Perhaps the Nega is not on the top of the Orlah, but rather the Pisyon (spread) of the Nega spread to the top of the Orlah. If the Nega (from an adjacent part of the body) spread to the top of the Orlah, it can be Metamei, and thus when one cuts off the Orlah he removes a Siman of Tum'ah (as the BARTENURA rules in Nega'im 8:5).
(c) The MELECHES SHLOMO and TIFERES YISRAEL (ibid., in the name of his son) also suggest that in the case of the Gemara here, the baby has a Nega the size of a Gris on the flat side of the Orlah, and not at the tip. In such a case it will be Metamei (as is clear from Rashi in Vayikra 13:14; it is Tahor only when it cannot be seen in one glance by a Kohen).
(d) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Nega'im 10:1) writes that although a person will be punished with Malkus for cutting off a Nega only when his act serves to make himself Tahor (that is, he cuts off a Siman Tum'ah), nevertheless the Torah prohibits one from cutting off any Nega, even though he does not thereby become Tahor (for example, he cut off only a small part of a large Nega). Accordingly, the Gemara here may be referring to the prohibition, and not to the Chiyuv of Malkus. Mid'Oraisa, there may be a prohibition against cutting off a Nega even at the tops of small limbs, even though cutting off those forms of Nega does not change his status from Tamei to Tahor. (For example, there is a full-size Nega on the side of his limb adjacent to the Orlah, and this Nega extends to and covers the Orlah. By cutting off the Orlah he does not make himself Tahor, but it is nevertheless forbidden.)
Similarly, Rashi here (DH Nega'im Tehorin) writes in the name of the Sifri that the Torah prohibits cutting off even Nega'im that are Tahor.