Pesachim 93 The Status of Pesach Sheini- A Chag in its own right?

The Mishna on 92b tells us that not only one who was impure or far away on Pesach, as per the biblical imperative (Bamidbar 9/9-13  ) but also one who was  שוגג ( unknowing) or אונס  (prevented from bringing it by reasons beyond his control) may and must bring his קרבן  a month later on פסח שני.

There is a significant debate between רבי  and רבי נתן  as to the nature of this day.

According to רבי, it is considered a  רגל בפני עצמו  (festival in its own right) whereas according to רבי נתן, it is merely תשלומין   (a “make-up” opportunity) for the mitzva missed on Pesach .

It seems that according to רבי, פסח שני  brings with it a default obligation to bring a קרבן פסח  but includes an exemption for those who have already brought one on Pesach itself.

In contrast, according to רבי נתן, there is no default obligation to bring a קרבן פסח  that comes with פסח שני, but just an inherited one from Pesach if it has not already been carried out. (to phrase it in “Lomdishe” terminology, According to רבי, the מחיב  is actually  פסח שני  with פסח  being a פטור  for those who brought their קרבן  already on it. In contrast, according to רבי נתן, the מחייב  is actually Pesach itself, with פסח שני  merely being תשלומין  if it was missed.)

A major נפקא מינה (practical ramification) of this debate regards someone who converted between Pesach and Pesach Sheini, or a child who became Bar/bat-Mitzva during this period.

Should we say that פסח שני  is a festival in its own right, then it follows that they should bring a קרבן  on פסח שני.  On the other hand, should we say that it is merely a תשלומין  for the missed mitzva on Pesach, then seeing as they were never obligated by פסח ראשון, there is no missed mitzva for them to make up!

Another נפקא מינה  relates to when the punishment of כרת  is applicable.

Rebbe holds that one can get כרת  for intentionally missing the קרבן פסח on either date, and the Gemara understands that this is consistent with his view that פסח שני  is its own independent festival.

Though, as Rashi points out, one person cannot get כרת  twice, this does mean that a person who knowingly missed either date and unknowingly missed the other, will be liable to כרת, and that in the above-mentioned case of the convert, knowingly missing פסח שני  will result in כרת. (interestingly enough Rashi mentions the case of the convert and not the case of the child regarding כרת – perhaps this is because he holds like the views in Chazal that אין בית דין של מעלה עונשין עד גיל עשרים , a topic requiring analysis of its own– see Shabbos 89b and my Hebrew analysis on this subject. Yet see Pesachim 91b and תוס’ ד”ה “איש ולא קטן”)

In contrast, רבי נתן  holds that one can only get כרת  for knowingly missing פסח ראשון , the primary מחיב , in which case פסח שני does not exempt him from the כרת  . If one unknowingly missed פסח ראשון  or missed it for legitimate reasons, he never incurred the כרת  in the first place and whereas פסח שני  gives him a chance to make up for the lost mitzva, it does not have  the independent status to create its own כרת  if missed.

A third view in this regard is that of רבי חנניא בן עקביא who agrees with רבי נתן  that פסח שני  is not an independent festival but holds that it is not only a תשלומין  (chance to make up the lost mitzva) but also a תקנתא  (remedy) for the כרת  incurred by knowingly missing פסח ראשון . As such, one would only be liable toכרת  if he knowingly missed both opportunities!

Another possible נ”מ , though not mentioned in the Gemara, could be whether Pesach Sheini is to be treated as a low-level festival in other ways too, perhaps even for those who have brought the קרבן פסח  and for all of us today who cannot do so? This could involve avoiding fasts, eulogies, saying Tachanun etc.

A more complex question that might be dependent on this debate but would also be affected by other considerations  would be whether we will be liable to keep Pesach Sheini if the conditions that obligate us to bring the קרבן פסח  were to return during the period between Pesach and 14 Iyar!   

______________________________

There is a general rule of פסק  (halachik rulings) that הלכה כרבי מחברו  (the halacha follows Rebbe in a dispute with any of his colleagues-see Eruvin 46b) -AT first glance, one might think that this would indicate that we should rule like רבי  that פסח שני  is a רגל בפני עצמו.

Yet, in various places (for example Pesachim 27b, Kesubos 21a   ) it is made clear that this rule usually only applies מחבירו  (against one of his colleagues )  and not מחביריו  (against more than one colleague)- In the latter case, the general rule of הלכה כרבים  (follow the majority) still applies.

As such, seeing as bothרבי נתן  and רבי חנניא בן עקביא  hold that Pesach Sheini is NOT a festival in its own right, the view of the two of them should override that of רבי, and we should rule that it is NOT a festival in its own right.

Yet, the Rambam (Korban Pesach 5/7) rules that a convert who converted between the two Pesach’s, as well as a child who reached the age of majority during that period, MUST bring a קרבן פסח  on פסח שני . his ruling regarding כרת  (K.P. 5/2) is also consistent with the view of Rebbe, a point not lost on the Raavad!

Even more in need of analysis is the ruling of the Meiri (Pesachim 93a), who holds that the convert referred to above does NOT bring a קרבן פסח  DESPITE the fact that we hold that פסח שני  is a רגל בפני עצמו  regarding כרת, a ruling that seems to contradict the link made between the two rulings by the Gemara!

The key to understanding the Rambam might lie in a different sugya (B.B 124b) where some views are brought that we follow רבי  even against more than one of his colleagues, or that one is permitted to do so if one agrees with the logic in his arguments?

Perhaps the Rambam follows this view and uses this discretion to rule like Rebbe even against more than one of his colleagues- (this would admittedly go against the consensus of the Rishonim in Bava Basra who rule either like Rava or Rav Papa but so long as it is consistent in the Rambam’s psak in general, something we would need to test, it would not be illegal.)

And perhaps the Meiri goes a step further and uses this discretion to rule like Rebbe regarding treating פסח שני  as an independent חג  on the one hand but not like Rebbe regarding the convert or the child. Understanding that although the Gemara connects the two rulings, the logic is not precisely the same and it is possible to agree with Rebbe’s logic in one place and not in another?

Alternatively , it could be that the main debate is regarding the convert and the child, and there are only two views there, that of רבי and that of רבי נתן  – it is just regarding the connected dispute regarding כרת  where there are two views against Rebbe, and perhaps in a case where the main debate contains only one opposing view, the rule that we follow Rebbe still applies- This explanation might explain the Kesef Mishna (K.P. 5/7) who ironically explains that the Rambam rules like Rebbe specifically because of the rule of הלכה כרבי מחבירו  against רבי נתן, seemingly ignoring the parallel dispute regarding כרת.

In truth, the Raavad raises this difficulty earlier on in the perek (K.P. 5/2) and the Kesef Mishna bring Rabbeinu Avraham son of the Rambam who explains that seeing as we are dealing with a 3-way dispute (whether פסח שני  is its own festival, תשלומין דראשון , or תקנתא דראשון) , Rebbe is weighted against each of his colleagues separately, not together, and the rule of הלכה כרבי מחבירו  still applies.

This explanation initially bothered me because at the end of the day, the Gemara did seem to indicate that the נקודת המחלוקת  (point of contention) as about whether Pesach Sheini is an independent festival or not, and on that, Rebbe is clearly in the majority.

It seems that the way Rabbeinu Avraham understands his father, this is not quite precise, and seeing as  רבי נתן   and רבי חנניה בן עקביא  derive their views from different readings of the verses, each one’s understanding of   אינה רגל בפני עצמו  is so different that they are seen as completely different views- This if course requires further analysis but might shed further light on the rather different  ruling of the Meiri as well.

Much more to investigate, and we would need to test whatever explanation we choose against the Rambam’s other relevant rulings and the other relevant sugyos to see if it holds any water.

______________________________________________

Be that as it may, given that the Rambam has ruled conclusively that פסח שני  is its own independent festival, does this have any significance for us in our day where no-one is able to perform Pesach Rishon?

Simply speaking, it seems not. Even according to Rebbe who holds that Pesach Sheini is an independent festival, this is most likely only for those whose obligation was pushed over to Pesach Sheini, not for those who obligation was fulfilled on Pesach Rishon or who despite not having fulfilled their obligation on Pesach Rishon do not have their obligation pushed over to Pesach Sheini.

Given that we have learnt explicitly )Pesachim 66b)  that only individuals and NOT the entire community, (or even the majority thereof) have their obligation pushed over to Pesach Sheini, this independent festival simply does not apply in a case where the whole Jewish people were unable to bring the Korban Pesach, despite the rule of טומאה הותרה בצבור, for other reasons beyond their control.

Yet there does appear to be a “taste” of this festival for everyone in that many have the custom not to say Tachanun on Pesach Sheini ( interestingly based on the Megilas Taanis which lists it as a day when fasting and saying eulogies are not allowed-whether this should apply after Megilas Taanis ceased to be authoritative  [see Rosh haShana 19b] is a question in its own right) ) and some even eat Matza!

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Pesachim 99-100 Eating on Erev Pesach and שלוש סעודות when Erev Pesach falls on Shabbos- a primer for this year!

Arguably one of the most studied Mishnayos of one of the most studied Talmudic chapters plunges us straight into the grand finale of our Masechta- Perek “Arvei Pesachim” which focusses, among much else, on the Seder night itself.

We are told, in somewhat cryptic language  whose precise wording varies from גירסא  to גירסא  that ערבי פסחים סמוך למנחה לא יאכל אדם עד שתחשך”  ”  (on the eves of Pesachim close to Mincha, a man may not eat until it gets dark.)

The related daf are filled with Amoraim and Rishonim discussing the intricacies of each word in this line, among them:

  1. The use of the plural form ערבי  and פסחים  as opposed to simply ערב פסח
  2. What type of eating is forbidden?
  3. What is it forbidden to eat?
  4. Which Mincha is being referred to?
  5. The meaning of the phrase סמוך למנחה
  6. The meaning of עד שתחשך
  7. The reason for this prohibition
  8. How this compares to ערב פסח  and ערב יום-טוב  in general

What is מוכרח  in the Mishna is that there is a certain time close to Mincha time on Erev Pesach where a new prohibition against eating that has not existed until that time takes force.

Understanding the reason for this prohibition would be helpful in identifying what this prohibition refers to, but we are already subject to some rather tight constraints.

The Gemara itself  (Pesachim 107a)  entertains two possibilities as to the  time and reason for the prohibition:

  1. close to מנחה גדולה  in order not to miss the קרבן פסח.
  2. close to מנחה קטנה  in order not to eat the מצה  in a way defined as אכילה גסה (coarse or gluttonous eating)

It concludes that the prohibition only starts “close to “ מנחה קטנה  and is for the sake of the mitzva of eating matza.

Whereas Tosfos proves from the laws of Yom-Kippur (Yoma 80b where one who eats אכילה גסה on Yom-Kippur is exempt from punishment) that אכילה גסה  is not considered eating at all, Rashi focusses on the positive need to build up a תאוה  (lust) or תיאבון (appetite) for the matza for the sake of הדור מצוה  (beautifying the mitzva.)- The difference in language between Rashi on our daf and on 107b and between the understanding of Rashi and Tosfos is of course worthy of its own analysis.

Having established the time and reason for the prohibition, we now turn to what exactly is forbidden.

This cannot be referring to eating chametz, as we know from the first perek (Pesachim 4b) that this is already forbidden rabbinically from the fifth hour of the day.

As Tosfos points out,It also cannot be referring to מצה  as eating מצה  is forbidden the whole day before Pesach – This point is made extremely sharply in the Yerushalmi (  as quoted by Tosfos) that האוכל מצה בערב פסח כאלו בועל ארוסתו בבית חמיו  – one who eats matza on pesach eve is like one who sleeps with his betrothed one while she is still in his father in law’s house (a comparison which of course needs its own clarification.)

On the other hand, snacks not involving bread are permitted all afternoon, as the Gemara(Pesachim 107b) states clearly- אבל מטבל הוא בנימי תרגימא (he may dip different types of snacks.)

If both chametz and non-chametz forms of bread are already forbidden prior to this time and non-bread snacks are permitted even after this time, then what is permitted until this time and prohibited from this time till dark?

Tosfos concludes that this prohibition has relatively limited scope and refers exclusively to מצה עשירה (rich matza.)

Though also subject to discussion, for the purposes of our discussion we shall assume that this is talking about egg-matza or matza made from fruit juice.

The prohibition of chametz does not apply to it as it is not chametz, and the prohibition of matza does not apply to it as it does not taste like regular מצה which needs to be made from only flour and water (or alternatively because one cannot fulfil the mitzva of matza with it.)

Yet the permission to “dip various type of snacks” even after סמוך למנחה  also does not apply to מצה עשירה  , as it is halachically considered bread and not a snack (another matter requiring further discussion and possibly relevant to the question of  “Mezonos bread.”)

מצה עשירה  is thus permitted before this time but forbidden thereafter.

Another possible less-limited interpretation of this prohibition could be that it applies to all foods that have not been forbidden until now, except for chametz and matza which are already forbidden.

We would then need to distinguish between “eating” which is forbidden and “טובל הוא בנימי תרגימא” which is permitted, focusing not on what is being eating but, on the manner and/or quantity involved.

“dipping” could refer to informal eating as in having a snack from time to time, which is permitted, and “eating” could refer to having a formal meal.

The distinction could also lie in the quantity, with “dipping” referring to small quantities and “eating” referring to larger quantities.

This appears to be the way the Rambam learns this prohibition, as he states  (חמץ ומצה פרק ו הלכה ב)

וכן אסור לאכול ערב הפסח מקודם המנחה  כמעט, כדי שיכנס לאכילת מצה בתאוה, אבל אוכל הוא מעט פירות או ירקות  ולא ימלא כריסו מהן,

“ and similarly, it is forbidden to eat on Pesach eve a little bit before Mincha, in order to come into eating matza with an appetite, but one may eat a little fruit or vegetables but may not fill his stomach with them.”

The Rambam seems to distinguish between eating a lot, which is forbidden, and eating a little, which is permitted, but while he does not state precisely what may not be eaten, specifically gives fruit and vegetables as examples of what one may eat a little of- the omission of meat and fish certainly seems to require explanation, a point we might return to when we get to daf 107, Hashem willing.

The Gemara on our Mishna opens up by trying to explain how the prohibition on Erev Pesach is any different to any ערב שבת   and ערב יום-טוב  when it is also forbidden to eat from Mincha time according to Rabbi Yehuda (ostensibly also for reasons of appetite-building for the festive meal.)

After rejecting a second possible explanation, it concludes like the first suggestion of Rav Huna according to which Rabbi Yehuda indeed holds that the prohibition applies every ערב יום-טוב  and ערב שבת, but the Mishna comes to teach us that even Rabbi Yosi who permits doing so, forbids it on ערב פסח  because of the extra concern for matza.

This could be very significant as the halacha usually follows Rabbi Yossi against Rabbi Yehuda so the fact that he agrees with Rabbi Yehuda on ערב פסח  could have great practical ramifications.

After further discussion, the Gemara concludes that even on Erev Pesach, Rabbi Yosi holds that if a meal was already started, one need not stop it- whether this is referring to when the meal was started before סמוך למחה  or even if it was started illegally after סמוך למנחה , and whether the permission  not to interrupt applies even after dark or just until dark, is the subject of further discussion.

Whereas the above debate can be very practical every year, this year is an example where it is virtually impossible to avoid.

Firstly, Purim fell on erev Shabbos, and the requirement to make a festive meal on Purim day clashes with the possible prohibition of eating a lot on ערב שבת, at least according to Rabbi Yehuda.

Even if we assume based on the conclusion of the Gemara and the general rule of psak that we do not follow Rabbi Yehuda on ערב שבת  , and that this means that there is no limitation whatsoever of eating on ערב שבת  (something which a further study of the issue will show is not so straightforward), there is no escaping this issue on erev Pesach, which this year falls on Shabbos!

The usual obligation to eat 3 meals containing halachik bread clashes with the prohibition of eating matza the whole day, chametz from the fifth hour, and even מצה עשירה  from סמוך למנחה!

Assuming that one can fulfil the obligation to eat bread on Shabbos with מצה עשירה , the simplest solution would be to start one’s second shabbos meal  very early (possibly straight after davening ותיקין  ) and use bread, making sure to finish by the beginning of the 5’th hour.

One could then have the third meal before סמוך למנחה  using מצה עשירה.

In practise, the practise of some Ashkenazim not to eat מצה עשירה  on Pesach at all or even on erev pesach gets in the way of this solution and they are forced to  fulfill the third meal with fruits and vegetables, as permitted in general by certain authorities, or to have both the second and third meal with real bread before the beginning of the fifth hour, a rather tricky but not impossible proposition which also compromises on the custom to have סעודה שלישית after מנחה גדולה .

For practical halacha, see O.C. 444 and the discussions in the poskim around it.

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Pesachim 90-92 The אונן, Korban Pesach, and mourning laws on Purim

The Mishna at the bottom of daf 90b lists a number of people who despite currently being unfit to eat the קרבן פסח may still be included in a group that the קרבן  is slaughtered for, seeing as they will be fit to eat it in the evening.

This list includes, amongst others, one who is an אונן and a prisoner who has been promised that he will be freed by evening.

Although they may be included in a group, the קרבן  may not be slaughtered for them alone, in case they do not become fit to eat it and the entire קרבן  becomes invalid.

Although the term אונן  is generally used to refer to someone who has lost a relative and still has not buried him, the usage of this term does seem to vary from place to place, and the reference to one over these 3 daf presents an opportunity to begin clarifying the scope, status, and laws of an אונן  as opposed to an אבל  and a regular person.

The term אונן/אנינות  is found in the Chumash itself in  the ודוי מעשרות, the declaration made in the third and sixth year before Pesach verifying that one has separated all his tithes and treated them according to halacha.

One of the phrases in this declaration is “לא אכלתי באוני ממנה” (I never ate from it while I was in my אנינות  –  Devarim 26/14.)

The implication is that it is forbidden to eat one’s Maaser Sheini while one is an אונן (the other tithes are not eaten by the original owner but by the Levi ,the poor, or the Kohain)

What precisely “באוני”  means is not evident from the פסוק,but the Ibn Ezra sees it as synonymous with “אבלי” (my mourning) and connects it to the naming of Binyamin as “בן אוני” (Bereishis 35/18.) and “לחם אונים “ (Hoshea 9/4).

Although the actual word is not used, reference to the day one lost a relative can also be found regarding sacrifices, where Aharon explains  that the reason he did not eat from the inaugural sacrifices we because he had lost his 2 sons that day (Vayikra 10/19)

The Targum Yonatan explains that Aharon made a “kal vachomer” argument to Moshe- If an אונן  is not permitted to eat מעשר שני, how much more so a קרבן חטאת  which has a much greater sanctity.

By making this link, the Targum seems to have made it clear that Aharon had the same status of the אונן  mentioned regarding מעשר שני and that this phrase refers to the day of death, leading us to conclude that אנינות דאורייתא  refers to the day of death, at least prior to the burial, and possibly also afterwards.

In truth, the Gemara (Zevachim 100b) brings a Beraisa which records a debate between Rebbe and Chachamim as to how long אנינות  continues, at least on a rabbinical level/

Rebbe is of the view that it is only until the burial whereas the Chachamim hold that it is the entire day.

The Gemara discusses which day they are talking about, whether it is the day of death or the day of burial, in a case where the two do not coincide.

It argues that it is impossible that Rebbe holds that אנינות  on the day of death ends after the burial even before the day is over, seeing as everyone agrees that the entire day of death is subject to the laws of אנינות  based on the passuk “ואחריתה כיום מר”  (after it is like a bitter day-  Amos 8/10   ) and everyone also holds that the night after the day of death is rabbinically subject to the laws of אנינות.

רב ששית  It then suggests that the dispute is referring to the day of burial and a long discussion ensues.

The Gemara concludes that according to Rebbe, the whole of the day of death is subject to אנינות דאורייתא and the night after, as well as the day and night after burial are subject to אנינות דרבנן.

Returning to our sugya, Rashi explains that the אונן  mentioned in our Mishna who may be included in the group for a קרבן פסח seeing as he will be fit to eat it as night, is referring to one who has not yet buried his death, bringing support from the Gemara in Zevachim.

The Gemara (Pesachim 92b) explains that seeing as אנינות at night (even on the day of death) is only דרבנן, Chazal did not apply their own restrictions in a way that would cause the אונן to miss out on a מצות עשה  whose neglect incurs the penalty of כרת.

In contrast, other קרבנות  may not be eaten at night during אנינות דרבנן as Chazal upheld their restrictions even in cases where the אונן  would miss out on a regular מצות עשה , so long as its neglect  does not incur the penalty of כרת .

This requires further explanation- After all, the Gemara (Moed Katan 14b)  rules that אבלות  does not apply on Chol haMoed seeing as the עשה דרבים  (public positive mitzva) of שמחת יום טוב  pushes aside the עשה דיחיד  of אבלות.

The usage of the term עשה indicates that this is referring to אבלות דאורייתא, in other words, אנינות on the first day.

If a public positive mitzva of rejoicing on chol hamoed pushes aside אבילות דאורייתא , why shouldn’t the mitzva of eating any קרבן, particularly public ones, push aside אנינות דרבנן?

Furthermore, surely the rule of עשה דוחה לא תעשה  should allow the mitzva of eating a korban to push aside even a biblical prohibition of אנינות ?

The solution to the later question seems rather straight-forward:

When one action consists of 2 independent results, one a mitzva and one an aveira, the above rule might tell us that the action is defined as a mitzva and not an aveira.

However in the case of the prohibition of eating מעשר שני  or קדשים  during אנינות, the very essence of the prohibition forbids performing the עשה.

From the fact that the Torah forbids eating קדשים    during אנינות , it is clear that the rule of עשה דוחה לא תעשה  cannot apply here anymore than it would apply to any of the other prohibitions regarding eating them, such as doing so when impure.

It could  follow that when Chazal extend such prohibitions, they do so under the same parameters as the original biblical prohibition and unless they specifically say otherwise, the fact that their decree is stopping the fulfillment of an עשה דאורייתא  is irrelevant- that is the essence of the גזירה  , just like it is with גזירה דרבה  which stops us from fulfilling the מצוות עשה  of shofar and lulav and the מצוה מדברי סופרים  of קריאת המגילה  on shabbos, by way of Chazal’s authority to require one to be שב ואל תעשה  (passive) rather than perform a מצוה עשה under circumstances that concern them.

In contrast, when it comes to the laws of אבילות other than those relating to מעשר שני  and קדשים, there is no specific עשה  or גזירה דרבנן  to mourn on Yom-Tov.

The requirement is to mourn during the specified mourning period, and it conflicts with another requirement to rejoice on the festivals – as such, the public requirement to rejoice on the festivals overrides the private requirement to mourn.

Similarly, there is no specific prohibition to eat the קרבן פסח  while one is an אונן- the prohibition only follows from the general prohibition of eating קדשים, and whereas on the day of death when this prohibition is דאורייתא , the fact that eating it is an עשה שיש בו כרת  might not be sufficient to override the prohibition, it is enough for Chazal to choose not to extend this prohibition if it will stop one performing such a serious mitzva.

We should also note that the 2 sources in the Torah for the laws of אנינות  are limited not only to the day of death, but also to a prohibition against eating מעשר שני  and קדשים.

A different area of the laws of אנינות  relates to exemption from performing מצות, but other than not wearing Tefillin which might be a law of mourning itself, this seems to be dependant on whether one is in fact busy with the burial arrangements, and the main sugya on this can be found at the beginning of the third chapter of Brachos (18a.)

A third area relates to the various laws practiced as an expression of mourning, at least on the day of death. These  might be an extension of the prohibition of eating מעשר שני  or קדשים  , either on a  biblical or rabbinical level, but might also be completely non-related, on either level.

This could have major ramifications for whether the law of אבלות  , particularly on the day of death, apply on Purim or not.

If we follow the ruling of the Rambam )Aveil 1/1) who holds that the requirement to keep certain signs of mourning on the day of death is indeed part of the law of אנינות דאורייתא, then it is unlikely that מצוה מדברי סופרים such as rejoicing on Purim, will override this .

On the other hand, if we follow other Rishonim who hold that the laws of aveilus are only rabbinical in status, it is more likely that the higher status of Simchas Purim as a מצוה מדי סופרים  AND a מצוה דרבים  will override them.

The resolution of this question is way beyond the scope of this post, but it is indeed a matter of debate between the Mechaber and the Rema in Orach Chaim whether public mourning applies on Purim or not! (O.C. 696/4 but compare Y.D. 401/7 where the Mechaber seems to agree with the Rema that it does not.)- Perhaps the law of הלכה כדברי המיקל בערוב  should apply?!

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Pesachim 87-88 Hashem’s love for Am yisroel, and sexual imagery in Tanach and Chazal

A Special post in loving memory of my father zt’l, containing some of his teachings based on Navi and Chazal.

One of the parts of Tanach my father zt’l loved teaching was the early chapters of  Sefer Hoshea, and the teachings of Chazal on it, which are found on these daf.

While reading these, one is struck by the unusual nature of Hoshea’s first prophetic mission.

In short, Hashem tells Hoshea to marry a prostitute and have “children of prostitution” with her.

They have 2 sons and a daughter together, and Hashem tells Hoshea to call them names which denote his anger with the people of Israel.

Suddenly, the second chapter opens with a short positive message of how numerous the people of Israel will be and how Hashem will accept them back, before going back to predictions of destruction.

Whereas this is not the first example of a valid prophecy telling a Navi to do something that is usually forbidden (the עקידה  being the most famous example,) this is certainly bizarre enough to beg some explanation.

Chazal pick up on this and fill in the background- Hashem told Hoshea how the people had sinned.

Rather than begging for mercy for them, Hoshea suggests that Hashem replace them with a different nation.

Hashem then tells Hoshea to marry and prostitute and have children with her.

He then tells him to leave her and her children.  Hoshea protests that he cannot just leave his wife and children, and Hashem reveals the Mussar in the allegory.

Hoshea wouldn’t abandon his wife and kids despite their  sinful  and doubtful status, yet he expected Hashem to abandon his chosen people who had a long and proven unique relationship with him?!

Although Hoshea’s initial response might seem harsh and out of place for a leading Navi, it is not the only  case we find of such an attitude.

Chazal (Shabbos 89b ) tells us how in the future, Hashem will approach Avraham Avinu and tell him that his children have sinned, and he will reply that Hashem should destroy them. He then approaches Yaakov who has the same reaction. Only Yitzchak asks Hashem to spare them.

One cannot but notice the irony by which Avraham, known as the man of kindness who begs for mercy for the worst of sinners, seemingly gives up on his descendants, whereas Yitzchak, known as the man of absolute justice who is hardly recorded in the text as begging for mercy for anyone, is the one who comes to the rescue.

Be that as it may, it seems that there is a certain threshold beyond which even the most dedicated of our leaders lose their patience with us and stop even attempting to save us from ourselves.

As my father zt’l would often point out, this happened eventually to Eliyahu haNavi as well, who in his encounter with Hashem on Chorev spoke extremely negatively and dismissively of the Jewish people  (Melachim 19), and Hashem’s reaction was to inform him that his time as leader was over and he needed to anoint his student Elisha in his place-  A leader who gives up on his people and can no longer see the good in him gives up his right to lead his flock.

Yeshayahu  also calls the people a “nation of impure lips” and is punished by being burnt on his lips. (Yeshayahu 6)

At a certain point, after  a lifetime of fighting for his people, even Moshe Rabbeinu lost his temper and hit the rock, after which he lost the chance to lead the people into Eretz-Yisrael (Bamidbar 20/10.)

However, unlike Avraham, Eliyahu, and Moshe who reached this stage at the end of a long career of serving the people, Hoshea  and Yeshayahu display this attitude at the beginning of their prophetic careers, and rather than depriving them of their planned prophetic future, Hashem chooses to correct their attitude and give them another chance, by way of a very traumatic experience which puts their thinking right.

מעשה אבות סימן לבנים  (the actions/events of the fathers are a sign for the children-[see Tanchuma Lech Lecha 9]) and this error and subsequent correction was not limited to the founding fathers and the prophets, but can be found in Chazal themselves as well, and up to this very day.

The Gemara (Pesachim 88a) tells how when the Amora עולא came to the Babylonian center of פומבדיתא  , he was given a basket of the dates that Bavel was famous for.

When told how cheap they were, he expressed his amazement at how despite the easy availability of such incredible sustenance, the Jews of Babylon did not study Torah at night.

Later, after eating them, he got a stomach-ache.

After that, he expressed his astonishment at how despite the availability of such unhealthy food (סמא דמותא,)  the Babylonians still studied Torah at night!

We discussed in the beginning of the Masechta (see my post on Pesachim  3 ) how the Torah goes out of its way to use לשון נקיה  (clean language.)

In fact, the Rambam  (Moreh 3/8)  takes this even further and in a controversial statement highly disputed by the Ramban (Shmos 30/13), he explains that the reason why the Hebrew language is called לשון הקודש  is because among other degrading words, it has no explicit nouns for the sexual organs, nor verbs for the sexual act, using only euphemisms.

Yet any Yeshiva kid should be able to tell you that both the Tanach and Chazal are full of sensual imagery, and on our daf, multiples examples of this can be found from Shir haShirim, Hoshea, and in Chazal’s comments on them.

It is interesting to note that whereas Chazal seem to interpret the explicit imagery in Shir haShirim completely allegorically, they  significantly enhance the sexual meaning of the episode in Hoshea, painting a rather graphic picture of the career of the prostitute Hoshea marries.

It seems rather clear from this, consistent with the thesis we developed in our earlier quoted post, that despite the mandate to attempt to use euphemistic language where it is possible to do so without blurring the message, when the clearest way of teaching a message is by use of explicit imagery, the Torah and Chazal do not hold back.

The above attempts to follow the approach of Rambam- of course, it is possible, more along the lines of Ramban,  that the Torah and Chazal simply see nothing “unholy” about the use of sexual imagery in the first place, and use it rather freely, in some cases allegorically, and in some rather literally.  (see though Mishna Sanhedrin 8/1 where the term “clean language” seems to be used in this context as well as the words of the above-quoted Ramban himself who seems to admit this. It is also possible that the entire incident with Hoshea is also to be understood allegorically despite how graphically Chazal describe the details. )

Much to talk about this subject, but it will take a tour of shas to test either thesis, so l have attempted to at least start laying the foundations from our daf and continue building as we go.

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Pesachim 83-84 בסיס לדבר האסור בנותר and עשה דוחה לא תעשה

I would like to have a brief look at some general principles in halacha which are referenced over these two dapim.

One of them is  a principle we generally see in the laws of מוקצה  on shabbos, but which has a surprising application in the laws of the קרבן פסח, possibly opening the door to a broader application of this rule.

The Mishna on daf 83a tells us that the bones, sinews, and נוצר  (leftover meat) of the קרבן פסח  need to be burnt on the 16 of Nissan, the first day of Chol Hamoed, unless the 16’th falls on Shabbos in which case they are burnt on the 17, seeing as we do not burn קדשים  on Yom-Tov or Shabbos.

The Gemara on this Mishna opens by quoting a ruling of רב מרי בר אבוה  in the name of רבי יצחק .

It is forbidden to leave over the meat of the קרבן פסח (or other sacrifices)  until morning, a prohibition known as נותר.

If one transgresses and does so, one needs to burn it on the 16 Nissan, as per the above Mishna.

However this only applies to the meat, not the leftover bones, which usually do not usually require burning.

The חדוש  of רבי יצחק is that if the bones supported leftover meat, they are also forbidden as נותר  and need to be burnt.

The example Rashi gives, based on the continuation of the Gemara, is bones containing marrow.

Seeing as the bones contain or support the marrow which is considered edible meat and subject to the laws of נותר, the bones are considered a בסיס לדבר האסור  (“base for something forbidden”) and also forbidden as נותר  and subject to burning!

It is interesting to analyze whether this law is an extension of the same principle in the laws of shabbos, where a normally non-Muktza item that forms the base or support for a muktza item takes on the forbidden muktza status of the muktza item it is supporting.  (See Shabbos  47a)

Alternatively, it could be that this a different rule sharing only the name, with different mechanics and parameters.

After all, while this rule is generally accepted in hilchos shabbos, the Gemara makes various attempts to prove or disprove it in our context regarding the קרבן פסח but makes no attempt to bring the fact that it applies by הלכות שבת as a support for רבי יצחק.

Furthermore, when it comes to הלכות שבת, the laws of בסיס לדבר האסור  apply also to an item on top of which muktza is placed.

If this was simply an extension of that law, why would Rashi (and the Gemara) bring an example from bones containing marrow- surely bones without marrow but which still have meat connected to them should also have this status? (see Rabbeinu Chananel who indeed explains the Gemara as discussing bones with meat on them!)

If this is indeed an extension of this principle’s application in the laws of shabbos, we also need to investigate whether this is a general rule which extends to other areas of halacha as well.

For example, usually the bones of a non-kosher animal or נבילה being considered inedible are not treated with the same stringency as the meat itself when it comes to the laws of כשרות and might even combine with the kosher meat in  mixture to nullify the non-kosher meat בשישים  (in sixty times the amount-see Y.D. 99/1)

Should this principle be extended to all areas of halacha by default, perhaps when bones contain marrow, (or according to Rabbeinu Chananel if meat is still attached to them) they should be treated with the same stringency as the forbidden meat itself?

In order to answer these questions sufficiently, it is necessary to understand the source, whether פסוקים , מסורת, or סברא   (logic/lomdus) for this rule both regarding shabbos and קדשים and assess whether the source is the same in both cases and whether it also applies to other cases or not.

As muktza is a דין דרבנן  and נותר  is a דין דאורייתא (though the rule of עצמות ששמשו נותר  which designates it as a בסיס  is likely דרבנן ), the first two might be problematic but a common סברא, so long as not contradicted by any counter-examples in the primary sources, might do the trick.

One possible conceptualization of this rule could be that when an item of neutral status supports an item of forbidden status, it loses its independent identity and takes on the nature of the forbidden item it supports, at least on a rabbinical level.

An analogy could be one who supports people’s sinful actions, מסייעין ידי עובדי עבירה, who to a certain extent, and on a rabbinical level only, are also considered sinners. Yet they do not take on the same status as the sinner himself, but only the status of one who transgresses the rabbinical prohibition of assisting sinners.

Yet in both our cases, the item supporting the forbidden item does not just become forbidden but takes on the status of the forbidden item.

This is not necessarily a contradiction as it is possible that a person, being a complex being with his own free choice and דעת  while partly liable for other people’s sins that he enables, does not completely lose his independent status either.

In contrast, an inanimate object which lacks such דעת, has a far weaker level of independence, which is easily completely overridden  by a forbidden object it supports.

 If this is indeed the lomdus, it would not surprise us if this principle applies in other areas of halacha.

However, it is also possible that this principle is only applied by Chazal is certain specific cases and that in other cases, even if the logical principle they based this rule on applies conceptually, they chose for other reasons not to apply it there.

Much more to go into it, but as usual, just raising issues!

Another well known principle referred to at the bottom of 83b and beginning of 84a is the rule of  עשה דוחה לא תעשה  – a positive mitzva pushes aside a negative mitzva. (see my recent post on Pesachim  58-59  )

In our case, we learnt in the Mishna that one may not burn נותר  on Yom Tov and waits till chol hamoed to do so.

The Gemara asks why the mitzva of burning the נותר  does not push aside the prohibition of doing melacha on Yom-Tov based on this principle.

Various answers are given, but the final word goes to Rav Ashi, who explains that in addition to the prohibition of performing melacha on Yom-Tov, there is also a positive mitzva to rest on Yom-Tov, based on it being described as a שבתון (day of rest.)

Similar to shabbos, when one does melacha on Yom-Tov, one not only transgresses a negative commandment but also the positive command of resting.

Although a positive command pushes aside a negative command, it does not push aside a negative command and a positive command.

As such, the rule of עשה דוחה לא תעשה  can never apply to melacha on Yom-Tov, just as it cannot apply on shabbos.

A broader study of the rule of עשה דוחה לא תעשה  , particularly the long sugya in Yevamos, will reveal that one of the potential sources for this rule is the fact that a ברית מילה can be performed on shabbos- despite the fact that performing melacha on Shabbos involves both a positive and negative mitzva.

If this is the case, how does Rav Ashi say with such confidence that an עשה  cannot push aside both a לא תעשה  AND  an עשה ?

Food for thought for next time we encounter this rule!

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Pesachim 81-82 Shaming people- Is it ever allowed?

The Mishna at the bottom of daf 81b tells us that if all or most of a קרבן פסח became impure, it needed to be burnt on the public fire.

The Gemara quotes רבי יוסי בר חיננא  who explains that this to embarrass those people who were not careful enough with their קרבן.

This seems a rather extreme penalty for something that is unlikely to have been done intentionally- After all, it is well known how harshly Chazal speak of shaming someone in public, to the point that it is compared to murder )B.M. 58b), and one can lose one’s עולם הבא for doing so (Avos 3/11.)

Chazal even said that a person should rather jump into a fiery furnace than shame his friend in public! )Brachos 43b)

Even though there is a biblical command to rebuke one’s neighbor when he does wrong, derived from the passukהוכח תוכיח את עמיתך  (Vayikra 19/17),  Chazal tell us, based on the continuation of the verse “ולא תשא עליו חטא”  that this must be done without embarrassing him (ספרא קדושים פרשה ב פרק ד אות ח)

The seriousness of shaming sinners is illustrated in a frightening story (B.M 59a) where Chazal describe how David haMelech was sitting and learning in the בית מדרש  after his terrible sin with בת-שבע.

People began to scorn him, asking him rhetorically what the punishment for committing adultery was.

His sharp reply should shake us all- “One who commits adultery deserves strength by strangulation but has a share in the world to come.  Yet one who embarrasses his friend in public has no share in the world to come.”

It seems from this statement of Chazal  that the prohibition of shaming someone in public applies towards one who has committed one of the worst sins intentionally, how much more so towards one who was somewhat negligent and didn’t stop his קרבן  from becoming impure , hardly a sin on the level of that discussed there.

This idea is also illustrated in the continuation of this very sugya on Pesachim 82a:

Although one is allowed to use the communal wood for publicly burning his impure קרבן פסח  when required, the Mishna brings a Beraisa which rules, amongst other things, that one who wishes to use his own wood is not permitted to do so.

There is a dispute between Rav Yosef  and Rava regarding why- Rav Yosef rules that it is in order not to embarrass those who do not have their own wood to bring, whereas Rava rules that it is in order to avoid them being suspected of stealing from the public when they take back their remaining wood.

We are dealing with people who are made to burn their impure sacrifices publicly in order to shame them, yet Rav Yoseif tells us that we don’t let them bring their own wood in order not to shame others who have been equally negligent but don’t have their own to bring!

Yet as if not to less us get carried away, the Gemara then continues to explain how the impure Kohanim were made to stand outside the הר הבית  on the Eastern sideת while their fellow kohanim offered up the קרבנות and Rav Yosef’s view here is that this is in order to embarrass them for not being extra careful to remain pure before Erev Pesach!

Perhaps one can argue that there is a difference between shaming that is an integral part of the prescribed punishment and shaming that comes in addition to it, or after one has already been punished.

An intrinsic part of many punishments prescribed by the Torah is shaming, which Chazal said (Brachos 12b) can get one pardoned for all his sins!

One of the primary results of מלקות (lashes)  is ונקלה אחיך לעניך (Your brother will be degraded in front of your eyes-Devarim 25/3)

On the other hand, the mitzva of rebuking a person is not  a punishment  and must be done without shaming.

Furthermore, even while a person is being punished, it seems that no more shame than that which is integral to the punishment as instituted may be applied.

As such, even a person who has been negligent and allowed most or all of his sacrifice to become impure may not be shamed any more than the prescribed punishment itself allows for.

At the very same time as he is shamed by having to publicly burn his sacrifice, we do not allow more shame to be inflicted upon him because someone else brings his own wood and he is unable too- such is the sensitivity required even when shaming a person is required!

Another possible explanation could be that although the Beis Din is required to do their professional job and punish people in ways that involves some humiliation, everyone else is still forbidden to shame the person any further, and certainly someone who is as guilty as him may certainly not be allowed to do things that could cause him shame.

Although this is the view of Rav Yosef, we have noted that Rava disagrees and does not appear concerned about him causing shame to his friend by bringing wood when his friend has none to bring.

Does this mean that he holds that when a person is already being shamed as part of his punishment, we do not have to be so sensitive as to avoid actions that could shame him further?

Not necessarily- it could be that Rava holds that one is not required to refrain from doing a positive act, such as using one’s own wood and sparing the public the expense, in order to avoid shaming someone who is unable to do so.

This is a very complex subject, and our analysis could have many practical ramifications, but my main intention here is only to raise some of the issues- Although in practise there might be times when one is indeed  permitted or even required to shame someone publicly to stop him from public transgressions that involve חלול ה’  or that others could learn from (see Rema 608/2 and M.B.there) , or in a teacher-student setting (see Rambam Hilchos Talmud Torah 4/5), one should only do this with correct halachik guidance and may never take a serious prohibition like this lightly in anyway.

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Pesachim 74-76 Science,Torah and מחלוקת מציאות

A major theme of the beginning of פרק כיצד צולין  is the requirement that the קרבן פסח  be                  “צלי אש ולא צלי מחמת דבר אחר” (roasted by fire and not by anything else.)

This is derived from the double mention of the word “צלי אש”  in the פסוקים  (Shmos 12), which teaches us that not only must the קרבן פסח  be roasted by direct flame and not the heat of the vessel or liquid , but even things that might be considered the same as fire for other things requiring a fire  (such as a מכוה -leprous burn-which may come even from burning metal), are not considered as fire for the קרבן פסח , except for an actual flame itself.

As such, the פסח  may not be roasted with a metal spit, or through direct contact with the walls or floor of the oven, as part of the roasting process would then be performed by the heat of the metal spit or of the oven surface, and not directly by the fire.

There is much discussion regarding  the scope of these rules, during which some essential principles of אסור והתיר (contact between forbidden and permitted foods) is derived.

______________________________________

One of the most important rules pertains to how permitted items that have absorbed the taste of forbidden items may be freed of their forbidden status, namely the rule of “כבולעו כך פולטו”- in the same way that the forbidden taste is absorbed, so it is expelled.

A common application of this rule is that vessels that were used for roasting non-kosher food over a flame without liquid require לבון (direct, dry heat of a flame in order to be koshered.)

In contrast, vessels that were exposed only to hot liquids or foods cooked in liquids may generally be koshered by הדחה  (immersion in boiling water.)

______________________

Two other important rules are subject to debate.

  1. חם מקצתו חם כולו- when it comes to metal items (which conduct heat), if part of the item is hot, the entire item is viewed as hot. This is the view of the Mishna on daf 74a which forbids using a metal spit for roasting the קרבן פסח , assuming that the part of the metal spit inside the animal though less exposed to the fire is heated by the part outside it , something disputed by Rabbi Yehuda in a Beraisa brought by the Gemara on daf 74a.
  2. תתאה גבר – When a hot kosher or non-kosher item makes contact with a cold item of the opposite halachic status , do we view this stringently as hot contact, or leniently as cold contact?

It depends on whether the hot item is on top or on the bottom, but the rule is still subject to debate. רב  rules that עילאה גבר  – the item on top prevails. This means that if the item on top is hot, the contact is treated as hot contact, whereas if the item on top is cold, it is treated as cold contact.

In contrast, שמואל  holds that  תתאה גבר, the bottom item prevails- if the bottom item is hot, is is treated as hot contact whereas if the bottom item is cold, it is treated as cold contact.

The Gemara on daf 76a brings various proofs from the Mishna on daf 75b for the view of רב but they are all rejected. It then brings 2 proofs from ברייתות in support of Shmuel, seemingly given him the last word (see Rashi ד”ה “ושמואל who indeed rules this way), but clarifying that even if the cold item is on the bottom item, it is not treated exactly the same as cold contact but rather more leniently that hot contact- the kosher item is not rendered non-kosher in its entirely but the section of it that came in direct touch with the non-kosher item on top requires קליפה (peeling off)- see Tosfos ד”ה “תניא”  who discusses the situation where the kosher item is liquid and cannot be “peeled.”)

Both the above disputes share the common property that they appear at face value to be based on מציאות (factual matters) that can be easily tested.

The question of whether part of a metal spit being hot causes the rest of it to become hot is a scientific question easily answered by experimentation, as is the question of whether the top or bottom item being hot causes the two items to absorb taste from one another.

In truth, the scientific observation that hot air rises seems to indicate that if the hot item is on the bottom, it imbibes taste into the upper cold item but not the other way round, regardless of whether the permitted item is on the bottom or top, something which neither רב  nor שומאל  seem to acknowledge.

For example, if a cold kosher item is on top of a hot non-kosher item, then the taste of the hot non-kosher item should rise and be absorbed into the cold kosher item on top, as שמואל  indeed holds.

However, if a cold non-kosher item is on top of a hot kosher item, then from a scientific point of view, it seems that there is no way for the cold non-kosher item’s taste to rise and be absorbed into the hot kosher item below and besides for the area of direct contact which might require קליפה, there seems to be no reason to forbid the upper cold kosher item- yet שמואל  would indeed forbid it in this case too, seeing as the important factor to him is whether the hot item is on the bottom or not, not whether it is the kosher item or the non-kosher one!

In the world of  למדנות (lomdus or analytical learning), we generally try to avoid interpreting such disputes superficially and search for a more conceptual basis to the argument.

Additionally, although there might be some debate amongst the ראשונים  regarding how to relate to statements of Chazal that appear to be based on the possibly faulty science of their time, these both seem to be easily observable rules which are not dependant on relatively modern scientific research!

Perhaps one can suggest that the first dispute does not resolve around whether the part of the metal spit in direct contact with the animal is heated by the part of it that is exposed to the flame, but whether the degree of heating is considered sufficient for us to consider the animal as being roasted partly by the spit and not roasted in its entirety directly by the fire as required.

We see what might be a similar  distinction when it comes to the distinction of cooking in a כלי ראשון  on Shabbos  as opposed to cooking in a כלי שני.

Although the contents of the כלי שני  could be just as hot as the contents of a כלי ראשון , certainly to the point of יד סולדת בו (the min temperature that water needs to be in order for one to quickly withdraw one’s hand from it after testing it, which serves as the minimum temperature required for cooking on shabbos.), the heat of the כלי שני  is considered secondary, being derived from the contents of the כלי שני  and thus has less power to effect the cooking process.

Similarly, Rabbi Yehuda could opine that even though the entire rod is hot, the unexposed part of the rod has gained its heat from a secondary source, namely the exposed part, and this lacks the energy to effect significant halachik cooking, thus not invalidating the direct flame-roasting of the קרבן.

In contrast, the mainstream view rejects this parallel because unlike the כלי שני  whose contents might be just as hot but which itself lacks heat and thus absorbs the heating energy of the contents sparing  anything else placed inside it from the halachik cooking process, the unexposed part of the spit is constantly absorbing new heat from the exposed part, and thus far more capable of effecting halachik cooking to the קרבן, thus invalidating the direct flame roasting.

Even if this analysis passes scientific rigor, or if we accept that halachik definitions are not always the same as scientific, it seems harder to take such an approach in the second dispute.

Here the question is clearly not whether the type of heating caused by  a fixed degree of heat is halachically considered cooking or not, it is about whether the bottom item or the higher item is significant in determining the results of the contact.  This seems to be a מחלוקת מציאות by definition!

While searching the Responsa Project for Achronim who might discuss this issue, I came across a פרוש  on Pesachim by Rav Shlomo Ganzfried (פני שמואל פסחים עו.) , the famous author of קצור שולחן ערוך , who points to a תשובה (responsa) of the נודע ביהודה (קמא יו”ד כח) who asks this precise question.

While pointing out that there are many similar debates in matters of אסור והתיר  that appear to be מחלוקת מציאות that can be easily resolved by experiment, he notes that these debates where never resolved that way.

For example, אhere is famous debate (Chullin 98a) whether forbidden foods are בטל בשישים  (nullified) by 60 times the quantity of permitted foods) or only בטל במאה (nullified by 100 times the quantity.)

This too seems to be a מחלוקת מציאות  as the main issue is whether the אסור  imparts of its taste to the התיר  when the היתר  is more than 60 but less than 100 times the אסור.

The same question can be asked regarding the debate whether מליח כרותח  (salting is like boiling.)

He presents the thesis that the rules of when taste is transferred are not based on objectively proven criteria, as just because an item is able to impart taste, it does not always do so.

Chazal set certain thresh-holds based on what appeared logical to them,  that determine when we are חושש for this happening, but that does not mean that every time there is less than 60 times the אסור  taste is always imparted or vice versa.

As such, ascertaining these things is hard enough to do via experimentation that debates around them are a justified form of מחלוקת מציאות .

How the availability of modern statistical sampling methods might improve our ability not only to experiment but to assess how significant the results of the experiments are is not addressed in the נודע      ביהודה, and opens questions which are beyond the scope of this post.

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Pesachim 71-73 מקלקל ומתעסק בחבורה

In the fifth Perek (Pesachim 59a,) the Mishna teaches that even once it has been set aside to be a קרבן פסח, if the lamb or goat was slaughtered with intent to use it for another קרבן, or other invalid purposes, it is פסול.

In our chapter, we have focussed a lot on the fact that the קרבן פסח  pushes aside the prohibition of מלאכה  on Shabbos, and is thus offered even on Shabbos, unlike the חגיגה  which does not push this prohibition aside and is thus not offered on shabbos.

The Mishna on 71b puts these two rules together and teaches that if someone slaughtered a קרבן פסח  for an invalid purpose on shabbos, seeing as the קרבן  is invalid and the מצוה  has not been fulfilled, he has also unknowingly desecrated שבת  and needs to bring a קרבן חטאת  (sin offering) to atone for this.

The Gemara on 72b notes that seeing as the קרבן  is invalid, the slaughter was actually an act of מקלקל (a destructive action) and the general rule is that מקלקל בשבת פטור (one is not liable for a melacha whose result is only destructive- See post on Shabbos 105-106)

There is a view,however, namely that of Rabbi Shimon  (Shabbos 106a  ) that holds that כל המקלקלין פטורים חוץ ממבעיר וחובל – one is not liable for any destructive act other than lighting a fire and injury (the later falling under the מלאכה of שוחט.

According to this view, these two melachot are exemptions to the exemption of מקלקל and it thus makes sense that slaughtering an animal in a way that renders it unfit is still a punishable act on shabbos.

However, according to the view that מקלקל בחבורה (making a wound in a destructive way) is also פטור, why should one who slaughters an animal on shabbos in a way that disqualifies it be liable- his act was purely destructive!

The Gemara  first asks this question in relation to someone who slaughtered the קרבן פסח with the intention for people other than those assigned to it to eat it.

It responds that seeing as such a קרבן  is not taken down from the מזבח if it was already put up, there is still some benefit to the slaughter, and it is not considered מקלקל.

It then asks the same question regarding the case where the animal is found to be a בעל מום (blemished) after slaughter.  In this case, even if the animal has been put on the מזבח already, it must be taken down.

The Gemara answers that the mishna is only referring to certain blemishes that Rabbi Akiva holds do not require it to be taken down once it has already been put up.

The Gemara proceeds to query the case where it was slaughtered and then found  to be a טריפה (terminally wounded animal)  in a place which could not have been seen before slaughter, and answers that there is still some benefit in that the animal can no longer become טמא like a נבילה (an animal that died without halachik slaughter.)

We see from this sugya that even according to the opinion that the exemption of מקלקל applies to the מלאכה  of שוחט\חובל , the slightest benefit achieved from the animal itself because of the slaughter prevents the action from being defined as  מקלקל , even if the action is clearly more destructive than constructive.

Whether this limitation applies only to these two exceptional מלאכות or to all cases of מקלקל requires further analysis.

________________________________________________

Tosfos notes that in addition to מקלקל, there is another reason for exemption that should apply in these cases, namely the exemption of מתעסק, which usually applies when one intends to perform an action on a permitted item and lands up performing it on a forbidden one.

One who slaughters a קרבן פסח for another purpose presumably does so because he thought that it was set aside for another purpose (though see the discussion regarding the precise case on daf 72a where this might not be so straightforward an assumption.)

Similarly, one who thinks that he is slaughtering an animal without a blemish or that is not a טריפה and later finds out that it was indeed blemished or טריפה, has also performed an action on a forbidden item thinking it was a permitted item.

He notes that although there is admittedly a view (Kerisot 19b), in connection with the case of the two babies discussed on daf 72, that just like מקלקל  is not an exemption when it comes to חובל, neither is מתעסק, a view which of course needs its own explanation, it is clear from the same sugya that according to the view that the exemption of מקלקל  does apply to חובל, it applies to מתעסק  too.

As such, it is difficult why the Gemara does not question the liability of such a person based on the exemption of מתעסק, even if it is not considered מקלקל.

We should note that this question fits the way תוספות  understands מתעסק  (see post on Shabbos 72.)

However, Rashi  holds that the exemption of מתעסק only applies where the action was applied to a DIFFERENT item than the one which he intended to apply it to, for example if his hand slips, and in  a case where he intended it to be applied to the same item but merely thought that it was a permitted item, he would be liable as שוגג seeing as נעשתה מחשבתו  (his intended action was carried out on its intended recipient.)

According to this view, the question does not even begin!

________________________

Another difficulty is the assumption that even a small benefit stops an action from being considered מקלקל even according to the opinion (Rabbi Yehuda) that exempts מקלקל בחבורה .

Virtually every destructive action could be viewed as beneficial in some far-fetched way, rendering the often-used exemption rather mute.

Yet Rabbi Yochanan (Shabbos 106a) denied that Rabbi Shimon held that מקלקל is liable when it comes to חובל ומבעיר and said that if he did indeed hold that way, it is only when there is some small benefit.

It follows that according to Rabbi Yehuda who holds that מקלקל  is exempt even when it comes to these 2 מלאכות  , he must mean that this is EVEN if there is some small benefit!

The Tosfos therefore  suggest that when our sugya refers to the view that exemptsמקלקל בחבורה  , it is not referring to Rabbi Yehuda, but rather to Rabbi Shimon according to Rabbi Yochanan’s interpretation  by which Rabbi Shimon only holds one liable for מקלקל בחבורה  if there is some small benefit.

It is possible that Rabbi Yochanan would still agree that Rabbi Shimon holds that מתעסק בחבורה is liable just like מקלקל בחבורה  is under his more limited circumstances, and that our sugya is not bothered by the מתעסק  issue.

This also allows us to conclude that Rabbi Yehuda exempts מקלקל בחבורה  even where there is some small benefit and that this certainly applies to מלאכות  other than it and הבערה!

There is much more to discuss on this issue, some of which we have done in earlier posts, and some of which I hope to revisit in later posts.

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Pesachim 69-70 The Pesach night Chagiga and the egg on the seder plate

The Mishna on 70b tells us that the  קרבן חגיגה   (festive sacrifice) brought together with the קרבן פסח  was not subject to many of the rules that the קרבן פסח itself was subject to:

Unlike the קרבן פסח  which could only be a male goat or lamb, under two years of age, the חגיגה  could come from cattle as well, and be female or male, younger or older than two years.

Furthermore, unlike the קרבן פסח  which only had one day and one night after its slaughter to be eaten, the חגיגה  may be eaten within two days and one night.

However, unlike the קרבן פסח which was always brought, the חגיגה  was neither brought on Shabbos, nor if most of the community was impure, nor if the group associated with the קרבן פסח  was small enough to be satisfied by the קרבן פסח   itself.

The Gemara deduces from this that the author of the Mishna holds that the חגיגה  is not obligatory- After all, if it was obligatory, it should be offered on shabbos like all obligatory sacrifices with a fixed time.

We should note that the Gemara uses the language “לאו חובה היא”  (is not obligatory) to describe the special chagiga of Pesach night.

The simple meaning of this means that although it could be דאורייתא (biblical in nature,) it is a voluntary mitzva and not an obligatory one.

Yet it is not the norm for the Torah to give us voluntary mitzvot without specifically saying so, and we also do not usually  דורש טעמא דקרא (expound the verse’s reasons, a topic for another post, but see meanwhile Sanhedrin 21a ) and conclude that a mitzva in the Torah does not apply when the reason does not seem to apply.

It is thus not surprising that the Tosfos understand that the Gemara means to say that it is only  דרבנן (a rabbinical command.) and that this is why it cannot push aside the prohibition of melacha on shabbos.

________________

The Gemara proceeds to bring a Beraisa that explains that the חגיגה  is eaten first in order that the קרבן פסח  can be eaten על השובע  (while satisfied.)

Rashi understands that the reason the קרבן פסח  in turn needs to be eaten על השובע  is ” שיהו נהנין באכילתו ותיחשב להם” (so that they should get pleasure from eating it and it should be significant to them.)

He seems  to understand the phrase על השובע  not literally as “while fully satisfied” but rather as while not very hungry, or partly satisfied.

The חגיגה  thus plays the roll as a filler in order that the relatively small amount of meat that each member of a large group gets from the קרבן פסח will be eaten after one has already satisfied his hunger and be able to relax and enjoy it- after all, even though it is clearly not healthy, one who is very hungry often tends to eat quickly in order to satisfy his hunger and doesn’t take the time to enjoy his food properly.

In contrast, the Tosfos quotes the ריב”א  based on the Yerushalmi as explaining that this requirement is a גזירה דרבנן  (rabbinical decree) to prevent one from rushing to eat it in his hunger and while doing so, transgressing the prohibition of שבירת עצם (breaking a  bone of the קרבן פסח.)

Whereas it is אפשר  (possible), though not  מוכרח  (a foregone conclusion)  that Rashi views על השובע to be an intrinsic element in the mitzva of קרבן פסח, without which one might not fulfil one’s obligation, the approach brought by Tosfos clearly sees it as a side- requirement on a rabbinical level, which probably, though not certainly, would not מעכב (hold back) one’s fulfillment of the mitzva.

___________________

Back to the Beraisa quoted by our Gemara, we should note that it does not bring the requirement that the קרבן פסח  be eaten על השובע as the reason that the חגיגה is brought in the first place but only as the reason why it is eaten before the קרבן פסח – it is the Gemara that seems to goes further and take this as the reason for bringing the חגיגה , and thus the reason why the חגיגה  is not brought by small groups.

We should note that all the above applies to the special חגיגה  brought on erev Pesach and eaten on the night of Pesach, and not to the regular obligatory חגיגה  brought on the first day of Pesach and other festivals.

Whereas it is not yet clear whether  the regular חגיגה can be brought by an impure community, it seems implicit at this stage that being דאורייתא ,it is brought on shabbos, and certainly isnt dependant on the number of people eating it.

 However, on the next amud, Rav Ashi derives from a passuk that the regular chagiga is also not brought on shabbos. This seems to clash with our Gemara’s deduction from the fact that the חגיגה  brought with the פסח is not offered on Shabbos, that it is not obligatory- after all, the regular חגיגה  is certainly obligatory yet it is also not brought on shabbos!

Tosfos suggests that even if the חגיגה  brought with the פסח  is דאורייתא, it cannot be compared to the regular חגיגה which does not have a strictly fixed time and unlike it can be offered on all 7 days if missed on the first day!

As such, it  is only regarding the חגיגה  brought with the פסח that the Gemara claims a causal link between biblical level obligation and the ability to overide the prohibition of מלאכה  on shabbos!

________________________

The Gemara continues to note the dissenting view of בן תימא who holds that the  חגיגה  that comes with the קרבן פסח  is subject to the same time restrictions that apply to the קרבן פסח , and only the regular חגיגה brought on Pesach day enjoys a  less restrictive time-period for it to be eaten.

In support for his view, the passuk “ולא ילין לבקר זבח חג הפסח”  is brought, where the word “זבח” is taken to refer to the חגיגה and “פסח”  to refer to the קרבן פסח.

The implication, as noted by Tosfos, is that בן תימא  considers the חגיגה to be דאורייתא whereas the חכמים  of the Mishna who disagree with him, consider it to be דרבנן.

After much discussion, the Gemara  also concludes that according to בן תימא, all or most of the other restrictions pertaining to the קרבן פסח also apply to that חגיגה.

Tosfos points out that later (Pesachim 71a) the Gemara brings a פסוק  to prove that the חגיגה may be eaten for 2 days and one night, unlike the קרבן פסח which clearly seems to support בן תימא  against our Mishna as saying that the חגיגה  is דאורייתא  and thus offered on shabbos as well!

He also notes that there is a view elsewhere (Chagiga ) that implies that the  חגיגה   of ערב פסח  is indeed דרבנן, and we are left with aמחלוקת תנאים  regarding whether

  1.  the חגיגה  on ערב פסח  has the same biblical status as the regular חגיגה  AND is offered on pesach as well

 OR

 whether it is simply a מצוה דרבנן  designed to ensure that the rule that the קרבן פסח  is eaten while partially satisfied is upheld AND is thus NOT offered on shabbos.

________________________________

Although we do not merit to bring either the קרבן חגיגה  or the קרבן פסח in our time, there are a number of possible practical ramifications of the above analysis, one of which I wish to bring up briefly:

The egg which is traditionally placed on the Seder plate is done so  זכר לחגיגה (see Orach Chaim 473/4 based on Tur O.C. 473 but see also other views brought, all based on Pesachim 114b.)

It seems that according to the view that חגיגה  on Pesach night is only דרבנן and not brought on shabbos , when Pesach falls on Shabbos, the egg should not be placed.

Although some Rishonim do indeed rule this way, the halachik consensus seems to be that being just a זכר  and also due to other reasons given for using the egg, we do so anywhere (see above sources for more details.)

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.