YOMA 55 (7 Av) - Dedicated in memory of Dr. Simcha Bekelnitzky (Simcha Gedalya ben Shraga Feibush) of Queens, N.Y., by his wife and daughters on his ninth Yahrzeit. G-d-fearing and knowledgeable, Simcha was well known in the community for his Chesed and Tzedakah. He will long be remembered.


QUESTION: The Gemara discusses the case of a Shofar (collection box) of coins which are designated for the purchase of Korbenos Chatas for the owners of the coins. If one of the owners dies, every set of coins in the box becomes a "Safek Chatas she'Meisah Be'aleha," because perhaps the one who died was the owner of that set of coins. According to the opinion that maintains "Yesh Bereirah," the doubt can be resolved simply by removing one set of coins and proclaiming that the owner of that set of coins was the one who died. Those coins then should be thrown into the sea, and all of the other coins become permitted to be used for Korbenos Chatas.
How does the removal of one set of coins permit all of the other sets of coins that remain in the box? "Yesh Bereirah" means that although the status of an object is not clear at the present time, a future occurrence can determine its status retroactively. The principle of "Yesh Bereirah" is usually applied in a case in which a condition is stated at the time of the original event and that condition is fulfilled only at a later time. In the case of the Gemara here, however, the removal of one set of coins does not clarify that the owner of that set was the one who died.
If, for some reason, the act of removing a set of coins from the rest indeed clarifies that those coins are the ones that belonged to the man who died, then is such an act effective in every other case of a forbidden mixture? Would it suffice to remove one item and declare it as the one that is forbidden, and thereby permit the rest of the mixture?
(a) TOSFOS in Temurah (30a, DH v'Idach) answers that in an ordinary case of a forbidden mixture, the forbidden item in the mixture was forbidden before it became mixed with the permitted items. Since it was prohibited when it was alone, its status of Isur cannot be transferred to a different item. In the case of the Gemara here, however, all of the items (coins) were permitted at the time they became mixed together. The Isur of one item took effect only after all of the items became mixed together. In such a case, the status of Isur can be removed by selecting one item and declaring it to be the one that is forbidden.
(Perhaps the logic behind this distinction is as follows. In every case of a mixture of a forbidden item with permitted items, the forbidden item should be Batel b'Rov, annulled in the majority. However, in certain cases the Rabanan instituted that the Isur in the mixture is not Batel b'Rov, such as in cases of a "Davar Chashuv," "Davar she'b'Minyan," and "Davar she'Yesh Lo Matirin." In the case of an item that became forbidden only after it fell into the mixture, the Rabanan did not institute that the mixture remain forbidden, even when the forbidden item is included in one of the types of cases mentioned above ("Davar Chashuv," etc.). The Rabanan required only that one remove and designate one item from the mixture as that which is forbidden in order that he not derive benefit from the forbidden item.)
(b) The TOSFOS YESHANIM and RITVA answer that when a person places money in the Shofar, he gives it with intent to grant the Kohanim the authority to use the money to buy a Chatas for anyone they choose. Therefore, according to the opinion that maintains "Yesh Bereirah," the Kohanim may determine retroactively which set of coins is the money of the person who died.
(According to the opinion that maintains "Ein Bereirah," every time the Kohanim purchase a Korban from the money of that Shofar they must stipulate that the Korban they purchase is "for whoever put this set of coins into the Shofar." This is because they are unable to determine retroactively through Bereirah that this set of coins was deposited in the Shofar by a particular person.)