THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) "YAD L'TUMAH"
OPINIONS: The Gemara quotes the Mishnah in Uktzin (1:1) that states that a
Yad (a handle for a food or utensil) which is not a Shomer (it does not
protect or preserve the food or utensil) brings Tum'ah to the food if
Tum'ah touches the Yad, and it transfers Tum'ah from the food to other
food, but it does not join to the food for the minimum amount needed to be
The Mishnah says that a Yad transfers Tum'ah, but it does not mention
whether the Yad itself becomes Tamei. Does a Yad become Tamei?
(a) The RAMBAM (Perush ha'Mishnayos to Uktzin 1:1) explains that a Yad
does become Tamei, since it is considered to be part of the food.
Rav Gustman quotes the words of RASHI here (in both DH Tamei) who clearly
learns that the Yad itself becomes Tamei. This view is also expressed by
Rashi later (123a, DH Tefach).
The Acharonim point out that even according to the Rambam and Rashi who
say that the Yad itself becomes Tamei, it remains Tamei only while it is
attached to the food, but not when it becomes detached.
(b) The CHAZON YECHEZKEL (Likutim 241-242) and HAGA'ON RAV YISRAEL ZEV
GUSTMAN zt'l (in Kuntrusei Shi'urim, Bava Kama 9) quote TOSFOS later
(128a, DH Behemah) who writes, "All Yados are not Mekabel Tum'ah; rather,
they serve merely as a conduit to bring in and pass on Tum'ah."
According to Tosfos, it is easy to understand why the Gemara asks that
perhaps a Yad serves only to pass on Tum'ah, but not to bring in Tum'ah.
If a Yad is considered part of the food, as the Rambam says, and that is
why it serves as a conduit for Tum'ah, then there should be no difference
between passing on Tum'ah and bringing in Tum'ah. (Z. Wainstein)
2) BECOMING "TAMEI" WHILE ATTACHED TO THE GROUND
QUESTION: Rebbi Yochanan maintains that just as a Yad transfers Tum'ah to
the food to which it is attached, it is also able to cause the food to
become Huchshar for Tum'ah. The Gemara quotes a Beraisa that supports
Rebbi Yochanan's view. The Beraisa says that "just as a Yad can transfer
Tum'ah, a Yad can also bring Hechsher." The Beraisa adds that "just as
they (fruits) are not Mekabel Tum'ah until they are uprooted, so, too,
they do not become Huchshar for Tum'ah until they are uprooted."
3) COMBINING FOOD TO FORM A "SHI'UR TUM'AH"
RASHI (DH uch'Shem) quotes the Toras Kohanim that says that produce is not
Mekabel Tum'ah while it is attached to the ground, because, otherwise, all
produce would be Tamei as a result of contact with Sheratzim.
According to the logic of the Toras Kohanim, why does the Beraisa compare
Hechsher to Tum'ah, saying that "just as they are not Mekabel Tum'ah until
they are uprooted, so, too, they do not become Huchshar for Tum'ah until
they are uprooted"? The Beraisa implies that we know first that Kabalas
Tum'ah occurs only after the produced is detached from the ground, and
from there we learn that Hechsher, too, occurs only after the produce is
detached. However, the logic of the Toras Kohanim seems to apply to
Hechsher as well: produce cannot become Huchshar for Tum'ah while it is
attached to the ground, because, otherwise, everything should become
Huchshar from the rain that fell on it. We do not need to compare Hechsher
to Kabalas Tum'ah in order to know that it does not apply to produce that
is attached to the ground! Moreover, since produce cannot become Huchshar
while attached to the ground, it obviously cannot become Tamei either.
Why, then, does the Toras Kohanim explain this logic only with regard to
Kabalas Tum'ah and not Hechsher Tum'ah?
(a) Perhaps the Toras Kohanim is teaching that even if the food would be
able to become Huchshar, due to the rain, while attached to the ground, it
would still not be able to become Tamei until it is detached.
(b) The RASHBA quotes TOSFOS who answers that the fact that it rained does
not automatically make the produce Huchshar for Tum'ah, because perhaps
the owner of the field was not pleased that it rained at the time (for
example, he was traveling). The owner must be pleased that his produce
became wet in order for it to be Huchshar for Tum'ah. (See Insights to
(c) The Rashba quotes the RAMBAN who explains that the Beraisa indeed
could have learned from *Hechsher* that Kabalas Tum'ah does not apply to
produce attached to the ground. The reason why the Beraisa instead writes
that we learn from Kabalas Tum'ah that Hechsher does not apply is merely
in order to maintain consistency with the preceding statement of the
Beraisa, which learns Hechsher of Yad from Kabalas Tum'ah of Yad. (Z.
QUESTION: Rav says that the laws of a Yad do not apply to a Yad attached
to a food that is less than a k'Zayis in size.
Rav seems to be saying that the laws of Tum'as Ochlin apply only to a food
that is at least a k'Zayis. However, we have learned that the Rishonim
argue about the size that a food must be in order to be Mekabel Tum'ah.
RASHI in Pesachim (33b, DH b'k'Beitzah) quotes the Toras Kohanim which
implies that even the smallest piece of food is Mekabel Tum'ah mid'Oraisa.
However, in order to cause something else to become Tamei, the food must
be at least a k'Beitzah, as Rashi in Chulin (25a, DH v'Afilu; see Insights
there) and elsewhere writes.
TOSFOS in Pesachim (33b, DH l'Eimas) maintains that the Toras Kohanim is
teaching only an Asmachta for a Halachah d'Rabanan. A piece of food
smaller than a k'Beitzah is Mekabel Tum'ah only mid'Rabanan. Mid'Oraisa,
the food must be at least a k'Beitzah in order to become Tamei. The RASHBA
maintains that food which is less than a k'Beitzah is not Mekabel Tum'ah
at all, even mid'Rabanan.
How do these Rishonim understand the statement of Rav, who implies that
the food becomes Tamei when it is a k'Zayis?
(a) RASHI (DH Ein Yad l'Pachos) explains that Rav is referring to a Yad
that is attached to a piece of food less than a k'Zayis (such as a bean),
and that food was together with other food, comprising at least a
k'Beitzah. Rav is saying that if Tum'ah touches the Yad, the food does not
TOSFOS (DH Ein Yad) questions Rashi's explanation. When the food attached
to the Yad is less then a k'Zayis, it does not become Tamei even when the
Tum'ah touches it directly (and it does not touch merely the Yad), and
even when it is together with other food that is at least a k'Beitzah. One
of his proofs is the Gemara earlier (24b) which derives from a verse
regarding a Kli Cheres (an earthenware vessel) that is Tamei (and thus is
Metamei any food that enters its airspace) that even when the Kli Cheres
is filled with mustard seeds (which are each much smaller than a k'Zayis),
they are all Tamei. Tosfos points out that according to Rashi, there is no
need for the Gemara to derive this from a special verse; the normal law of
Tum'as Ochlin teaches that small amounts of food that are merely touching
each other are always considered connected. From the fact that a verse is
necessary in that case, it must be that, in general, small, unconnected
pieces of food do not join to make a Shi'ur when they are merely touching.
(b) TOSFOS explains that Rav is discussing a case in which the piece of
food that is less then a k'Zayis is weakly attached to a larger piece of
food. If one picks up the food by the Yad, only the piece that is less
than a k'Zayis will be lifted up; the Yad does not support the rest of the
If the food itself that is less than a k'Zayis is touched by Tum'ah, then
the entire k'Beitzah becomes Tamei, because this piece of food is
connected to the food that is the size of a k'Beitzah. Similarly, if the
food is the size of a k'Zayis and its Yad is touched by Tum'ah, the Yad
conveys the Tum'ah to the k'Beitzah, because the Yad is considered to be a
significant Yad since it is attached to a k'Zayis. However, when the Yad
is attached to a piece of food that is less than a k'Zayis, it is not a
significant Yad at all and it does not convey Tum'ah at all. This is what
Rav is teaching.
The KEHILOS YAKOV (#34) writes that the proof of Tosfos -- that foods that
are touching each other but are not connected do not add up to a Shi'ur of
Tum'ah -- is true only in a case in which the object making them Tamei is
touching only part of the food. If the object is touching all of the food
simultaneously, then Tosfos has no proof that pieces of food that are
touching each other, but are not connected, cannot combine to become
It seems that Tosfos could have explained that Rav's case involves two
foods that are only touching, and the Tamei object touches both of them
simultaneously. From the fact that Tosfos explains the case to be one in
which the foods are somewhat connected, it is apparent that Tosfos
maintains that even when the Tamei object touches food items that are
touching each other, it does not make the food Tamei.
The MISHNEH L'MELECH (Hilchos Tum'as Ochlin 4:3) also writes that Tosfos
and the RASHBA require food to be connected in order to join to be the
minimum amount necessary to become Tamei. The Kehilos Yakov concludes that
it must be that Tosfos and the Rashba either have some source that a
connection is required, or they maintain that the simultaneous contact
between a Tamei object and all of the foods that are touching each other
does not add any logical reason for them to combine to form the minimum
amount of the Shi'ur Tum'ah.
The Mishneh l'Melech adds that this may be the basis of the argument
between Rashi and Tosfos here. Rashi maintains that a k'Beitzah of food
can be comprised of many pieces touching each other, while Tosfos and the
Rashba maintain that the pieces of food must be connected in order to
combine to make a k'Beitzah. The Mishneh l'Melech sides with Tosfos and
asserts that this is also the opinion of the RAMBAM.
However, the Gemara later (124b) seems to contradict the logic of Tosfos.
Rebbi Akiva there says that one can become Tamei from touching two
different pieces of Neveilah, each of which is only half of a k'Zayis (the
minimum amount of Neveilah that is Metamei is one k'Zayis). We find other
similar opinions throughout the Gemara (see, for example, Ohalos 3:3).
This implies that if foods that merely touch each other are simultaneously
touched by a source of Tum'ah, then they should become Tamei, even though
each food by itself is less than the Shi'ur Tum'ah.
Tosfos in Nazir (50b, DH Ta Shema Chelev) differentiates between the law
of combining Tamei items in order to make a third object Tamei, and
combining food so that it should become Tamei. He states that we combine
Tamei items (when they are only touching but not connected) only to make
things that they touch become Tamei. We do not combine foods when they are
not connected so that they can become Tamei. (See Kehilos Yakov #34, DH
v'Nir'eh, for the logic behind this difference.) (Y. Montrose)