Pesachim 32-33 Mining Data- Pesach deoderant and מתעסק revisited, and קים ליה בדרבה מיניה


In loving memory of my dear father, Moreinu haRav Avraham Benzion ben Azriel Hertz Isaacson zt’l, whose love of Torah, passion for justice, and acts of kindness inspire everything I do.

One of the guiding principles of these posts, as taught to me by my Rebbeim, is that while  it is both impossible and disingenuous to resolve complex questions based on isolated sugyas without considering all sugyos in the shas that pertain to the relevant question (obviously the domain of senior Talmidei-Chachamim) ,  passing through daf of Gemara superficially  without taking note of things that could impact these questions is a waste of an incredible opportunity to build one’s database, and likely a form of בטול תורה.

I would like to touch briefly one how some topics we have discussed before in our posts are enriched by these daf:

סיכה כשתיה   and deodorants on Pesach:

In our post on Shabbos 86a (please refer there for background,) we discussed using non-edible substances containing chametz (such as deoderant containing wheat-based alcohol) on one’s body on Pesach.

This was based on the Mishna (Shabbos 86a) which says that regarding Yom-Kippur, the rule is that סיכה כשתיה (annointing is like drinking( and not only drinking chametz liquids but annointing with them is also forbidden (albeit as noted there, not treated as stringently.)

We discussed whether this rule applies in other areas of halacha as well, specifically chametz on Pesach, in which case although the prohibition of deriving any benefit from chametz on Pesach only applies to chametz that is fit for a dog to eat, something that is fit for annointing such as deodorant might be considered as if it is fit for drinking and thus also forbidden (please refer to that post for a more detailed analysis of this and other factors involved.)

At the bottom of Pesachim 31b, the Gemara quotes a Mishna which forms much of the discussion on Daf 32a.

This Mishna (Trumos 6/a) tells us that a זר  (non kohain) who eats תרומה (the portion separated for the kohain) בשוגג  (unintentionally) must compensate the kohain with the קרן  (same amount of fruit) plus חומש  (a fifth penalty [actually a quarter of principle, making the penalty a fifth of the total paid]) and that this applies also to one who drinks תרומה  or anoints oneself with it.

Rashi (as well as the Bartenura on the Mishna)  explains that although the Torah only requires this penalty of one who ate תרומה, and not one who damaged it (as the Gemara derives later on the daf,) we know from elsewhere (Yoma 76b) that סיכה כשתיה  (annointing is like drinking) and for this reason, one who anoints himself unknowingly with תרומה is also liable to this penalty.

As such, we have seen at least one other area of halacha, namely the prohibition of eating תרומה, that the principle of סיכה כשתיה  applies, at least according to Rashi, and also according to this Mishna itself
(see ר”ש  who points out that this is based on a ת”כ ), in the absence of some other explanation.

While we can still not conclude that this is the case regarding chametz on Pesach, from this Mishna, things are starting to look more that way, though we have still not shown that the principle extends so far as to make something that is ראוי לסיכה (fit for annointing) as if it is ראוי לשתיה  (fit for drinking.)

All the above is based on this Mishna and daf, but a thorough study of the sugya in Yoma and elsewhere will show that many Rishonim say that Yom-Kippur and תרומה  are indeed exceptions, and discuss whether even there, the prohibition is only דרבנן, just another illustrating of the guiding principle we opened this post with.

קים ליה בדרבה מינה  – the greatest of two punishments.

One of the essential principles when it comes to punishments is that if a person performs an action which involves more than one prohibition, and thus more than one punishment, he receives the more severe punishment and is exempt from the lighter one.

There are two main sources for this principle, one regarding liability to payment for damages caused by a capital transgression (אין אדם מת ומשלם – see Kesubos 36b), and one regarding liability to payment for damages caused by corporal transgressions (אין אדם לוקה ומשלם- see Makkos  13b)

There is a debate as to whether the former principle replies only to transgressions subject to death by the courts, or whether it also applies to transgressions subject to כרת , with רבי נחוניה בן הקנה holding that כרת  treated like a death penalty in this respect  (as recalled from daf 29a.)

The Mishna at the bottom of  Pesachim 31b says that if a person eats chametz תרומה  on pesach unknowingly, he pays both the principle and the fine, but if he does so intentionally, he is exempt not only from the penalty (which only applies for unknowing transgression), but also for the principle.

After much discussion regarding why this is so, the Gemara on daf 32a seems to conclude that the mishna reflects the view of רבי נחוניא בן הקנה, who holds that the rule that one who is liable to death for an action is exempt from monetary obligations that come from the same action  applies also to someone liable to כרת.

Seeing as one who eats chametz on Pesach intentionally is liable to כרת, he cannot also be liable to compensate the kohain.

While certainly not the last word in the debate, a סתם משנה (anonymous Mishna with no debate) that supports this view certainly could add to its weight, unless there is a later Mishna which debates the matter  (סתם ואחר כך מחלוקת), something we shall have to keep our eyes open for!


In various posts on the subject (see post on Shabbos 72 for background), we have discussed the rule pertaining to someone who intends to perform an action on a permitted item and lands up performing it on a forbidden one.

For example, one who intends to cut something detached from the ground on shabbos and lands up cutting something attached, or one who intends to eat permitted fats and lands up eating forbidden fats.

We saw the general rule that when it comes to shabbos, one is exempt for such actions due to requirement for מלאכת מחשבת  (significant and calculated melacha), and when it comes to actions one derives pleasure for, such as forbidden fats (or forbidden sexual relations), one is liable.

There is a degree of unclarity as to what happens with prohibitions that one does not derive pleasure from but are not shabbos related, though Chazal did seem to derive a general exemption for מתעסק  from the words “וחטא בה” (Kerisos 19a.)

We also saw a dispute between Rashi and Tosfos regarding what type of מתעסק  one is exempt from on shabbos.

Rashi understood the exemption to pertain only to one who intends to cut one item that he knows to be detached but whose hand slips and lands up cutting a different item which was attached.

However, if he intends to cut a certain item thinking it is detached, and after successfully doing so, realized that the same item had been attached, he could be liable.

In contrast, Tosfos holds that the main discussion centers around the later case, and that in the former case, one would be exempt even if he had intended to cut an attached item but landed up cutting a different attached item!

On daf 32-33, there is much discussion about the prohibition of מעילה, deriving benefit from הקדש ( sanctified things), something we also  touched on earlier (post on Pesachim 25-26) in discussing הנאה הבאה לאדם בעל כרחיה .

One of the things discussed is the source brought in a Beraisa for exempting one who performed מעילה intentionally from the required sacrifice, namely the words in the verse “וחטאה בשגגה”  

The Beraisa immediately asks why a special source is required regarding מעילה, where more serious intentional transgressions for which one is liable to כרת  also do not require a קרבן.

It responds that from a different perspective, מעילה  is actually more serious than the other prohibitions, and there are various versions in the Gemara as to what precisely the Beraisa says and means.

Two views, those of מר בריה דרבנא and רב נחמן בר יצחק relate directly to the sugya of מתעסק  and indeed portray it from a different angle.

The former claims that מעילה  is stricter than other prohibitions in that one is liable even בלא מתכוין  (without intention.)

For example, whereas if one intends to tear a detached item on shabbos and lands up cutting an attached item, he is exempt, if one intended to warm oneself with regular wool and landed up warming himself with wool from an animal set aside for a burnt offering, he is liable.

We note that:

  1. As expected, both Rashi and Tosfos explain the case of מתעסק  in shabbos and with מעילה  consistently with their explanations elsewhere
  2. The Gemara seems to take it as given that shabbos is only an example of the exemption but that it applies to all other prohibitions as well, other than מעילה, and Rashi actually brings both the source of מלאכת מחשבת  regarding Shabbos and “וחטא בה”  regarding other mitzvos, noting that there is no such מעוט  (exclusion) regarding מעילה.
  3. No mention is made here of the fact that we have seen in other sugyot on the subject that prohibitions that one derives pleasure from (presumably most prohibitions) also produce liability even for מתעסק.
  4. Although this indeed seems to be the classic definition of מתעסק  in the sugyas we have studied (at least according to Rava), The phrase מתעסק  is not used by מר בריה דרבנא but rather the phrase אין מתכוין .

In contrast, רב נחמן בר יצחק  explains that מעילה is stricter than other mitzvos in that one is liable for מתעסק in the case of מעילה  unlike in other mitzvos where one is exempt.

He gives the example of one who intends to lift a detached item on shabbos and lands up tearing an attached item, who is exempt, as opposed to one who puts his hand into a vessel containing oil of הקדש  (consecrated oil) intending simply to remove an item from it but lands up annointing his finger in the oil, who is liable.

We note that:

  1. Unlike מר בריה דרבנא, רב נחמן בר יצחק  does refer to the phrase מתעסק  as opposed to אין מתכוין.
  2. רב נחמן בר יצחק  gives examples of מתעסק  according to Abaya in the other sugyas we have studied, as Rashi explains, where one intends to do a permitted act (lifting) and lands up performing a forbidden act (tearing), seemingly agreeing with Abaya that in the case referred to by מר בריה דרבנא, this would be considered like regular שוגג  even on shabbos and one would be liable.

The above observations could be invaluable in understanding the different views regarding howמתעסק  works and how it relates to דבר שאין מתכוין  and הנאה הבאה לאדם בע”כ.

Hopefully we shall have a chance to return to them soon!

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.

Shabbos 86 “Pesachdik” Deodorant

Does one need to ensure that deodorants and perfumes used over Pesach do not contain chametz, typically wheat-based alcohol?

In general, the rule is that any chametz that is no longer fit for a dog to drink is no longer subject to the biblical prohibitions  of eating, owning , or benefitting from Chametz on Pesach  ( see Pesachim 45b and Shulchan Aruch O.C. 442/2) , though one who is crazy enough to actually eat it might still have transgressed a  rabbinical prohibition (see machlokes there )

As no dog in its right mind would drink deodorant or perfume, it thus seems obvious that there is no concern with such things over Pesach. 

Some, however,  have suggested that as the alcohol in the deodorant could technically be separated by chemical means , it is  thus theoretically still edible, but as pretty much anything  can be separated chemically with the correct process and halocho is generally based on the current status of an item, not a hypothetical status after a major chemical process , this seems to be somewhat of a stretch.

However , there is another concept that needs to be addressed , and that is the principle  of סיכה כשתיה ( anointing is the equivalent of drinking  .)

This principle is derived in a Mishna on our daf from a passuk,  and is applied to Yom Kippur  in particular, to the point that anointing oneself on Yom-Kippur is forbidden just like drinking is .

This comparison  is only partial though, and the severe punishment of kareit (excision ) that applies to one who eats knowingly and intentional on Yom Kippur certainly does not apply to one who anoints oneself – at most , it involves a regular biblical prohibition , at least , a rabbinical one based on a verse ( אסמכתא ) 

The question is whether this principle is unique to Yom Kippur, as implied by the Mishna’s precise wording , or applicable in other areas of halocho too, with the Mishna using Yom Kippur just as the main example of such application , for whatever reason .

If this principle  does indeed apply to Chametz on Pesach too, it would seem that anointing oneself with Chametz might be equivalent to drinking it, and thus forbidden .

However, even if this is true, one would have to investigate further whether this could create a biblical or even rabbinic prohibition on using deodorant or perfume containing chametz on Pesach.

This is because the biblical  prohibitions on Pesach only apply to chametz that is still fit for a dog to eat .

Even if anointing oneself with chametz that is fit for a dog to eat is forbidden like drinking is on Pesach , and not just as part of the prohibition of benefitting from chametz, seeing as the perfume is not fit for a dog to DRINK , there might  still be no prohibition to ANNOINT with it, at least biblically .

Even if it is still forbidden rabbinically to drink such unfit chametz, it doesn’t necessarily follow that Chazal extended their ruling to the already novel principle of סיכה כשתיה .

One would have to investigate whether

–  סיכה כשתיה merely means that  anointing is the same as drinking regarding the actual prohibition itself   ,


 -whether it is a broad enough comparison to mean that if it is FIT for anointing , it is ALSO  as if it is fit for drinking .

Only if the latter is true , would we say that seeing as perfume and deodorant is fit for anointing, it is considered as if it was fit for drinking, and thus anointing with it is forbidden.

One could also argue that deodorant is not used for classic anointing at all, which is to provide  a good fragrance, soften the skin,  or other pleasure, but simply to remove bad odor, which MIGHT be  permitted even on Yom Kippur. This depends on the scope  of the prohibition on Yom Kippur, which is in turn derived from the requirement to afflict oneself.

The latter argument is not straight forward, as most modern deodorants are dual purpose and many people indeed choose them based on their preferred fragrance,  using them even  when they are not particularly sweaty or smelly.  As such, it seems to me that such deodorants may indeed be viewed halachically as perfumes, though I have not come to any conclusion on the matter.

There is much to discuss about the first חקירה   we made regarding whether the rule of סיחה     כשתיה   applies only on Yom Kippur or in all areas of halacha.

Suffice to say is that given that this is a Chiddush, and the Mishna specifically mentions Yom Kippur alone, the burden of proof should be with one who wishes to claim that Yom Kippur is merely an example of the application of a general rule.

Examining the source for the rule, one comes to  the Passuk in Tehillim  109 , where David haMelech describes the curse that befalls those who forget Hashem and oppress the poor-וַיִּלְבַּ֥שׁ קְלָלָ֗ה כְּמַ֫דּ֥וֹ וַתָּבֹ֣א כַמַּ֣יִם בְּקִרְבּ֑וֹ וְ֝כַשֶּׁ֗מֶן בְּעַצְמוֹתָֽיו: 

(and the curse will come like his garment, and it will come like water inside him and like oil in his bones”)

In the passuk, oil which soaks into one’s bones through annointing , is compared to water in one’s insides (stomach) which is absorbed through drinking, hence the basis (though admittedly by the Mishna itself only a “zecher ladavar”) for the rule.

As the context is that of suffering, and the Mitzva of Yom Kippur is also that of self-affliction, it seems clear that the comparison is being made specifically in the context of affliction, not other things.

However, the room is still open to argue that if refraining from annointing with oil and the like  is considered a  requirement of  affliction like refraining from drinking water is, then the benefit obtained on Pesach from annointing with chametz , is also equivalent to the benefit obtained from drinking chametz.

If so, even if we do not expand the rule to include also  אסורי אכילה  (things that one is forbidden to eat or drink), perhaps we would at least extend it to אסורי הנאה , like Pesach.

Although  the prohibition of benefitting only applies to edible chametz, perhaps chametz which is fit for annointing  is also considered edible regarding the definition of benefit?

In practise, it seems that there are a lot of Chiddushim (novel ideas) required to forbid using deoderant or even perfume containing chametz alcohol on Pesach, and that it is probably fine.

I wrote this as a lomdishe analysis based mainly on this daf, without taking an encyclopedic view to the concept as is required to come to a full conclusion, but a quick look at parallel sugyos and the relevant Rishonim reveals that there is indeed some disagreement as to the scope of this rule .

I  was happy to see that although the Chofetz Chaim in Biur Halocho (326/10) tends towards stringency even in regular אסורי אכילה like חלב  (forbidden fats), most contemporary poskim including Rav Moshe Feinstein zt’l  (O.C 3/62) and Rav Asher Weiss  יבדל לחיים  ( I have seen quoted from his Hagada siman 24 but have not got hold of one yet) seem to  hold that there is no problem with annointing  with inedible chometz materials , each citing various distinctions that I made in this analysis!)

( These daf posts are aimed to raise points for discussion and analysis based on a chosen idea on the given daf . They are written quickly, without sufficient time to be checked thoroughly  by myself or senior Talmidei Chachomim, and not meant for psak halocho- please message me privately if you require practical guidance in the relevant area and if I cannot help you myself, I shall  bli neder try direct you or your question to someone who can.

I hope that those who read them will give their input and help me improve on them)