Rav Shmuel bar Acha asks that if all of these items *are* considered
"Galgalin," then how will Rekev ever be Metamei, since the body always
includes some of these things? Rav Papa answers that the case will be where
the person drinks an enema ("Mei Dekalim") that empties the body of its
fluids, and a depilatory agent is smeared over his hair, and his body is
boiled in Chamei Teverya.
The Gemara is suggesting that the skin might be considered external to the
body and not an integral part of the body itself. The Gemara is clearly
following the opinion in Chulin (121a) that rules that the skin of a person
is not Metamei mid'Oraisa like the rest of his body, as the ROSH cited by
the Shitah Mekubetzes points out.
Nevertheless, how can the Gemara think that skin is considered "Galgalin"
and external to the body? Earlier, the Gemara made it clear that hair and
nails not long enough to cut are considered a part of the body and are not
"Galgalin!" Similarly, the Gemara writes that the calloused flesh at the
heel is not "Galgalin" as long as it is attached to the person. How, then,
can the skin on the person be considered external to the body and not part
of it? (BIRKAS ROSH)
(a) The MEFARESH in one explanation asserts that the "Or" which the Gemara
suggests might not be "Galgalin" does not mean skin, but rather it refers to
loose saliva in the mouth which can shaken out ("Me'ar'er") easily.
According to this interpretation, though, why does Rav Papa say that the
body must be boiled in water in order for it to be Metamei because of Rekev?
It would seem that the purpose of boiling it is to remove the skin, and
according to the Mefaresh the skin does not have to be removed since it is
part of the body! The Mefaresh himself (DH v'Shalku) answers this by saying
that boiling takes out the saliva and phlegm from the body; that is the
purpose of the boiling (the saliva does not come out with "Mei Dekalim").
(b) TOSFOS RABEINU PERETZ suggests that the skin which might be considered
"Galgalin" is skin that has been removed from the body and buried together
with it. According to Tosfos Rabeinu Peretz, the purpose of the boiling in
Chamei Teverya must be to remove the saliva, like the Mefaresh says, and not
to remove the skin, because if the skin is already removed there is no
reason to boil it.
(c) The ROSH explains that Rav Acha brei d'Rav Ika, who questions whether or
not skin is "Galgalin," would also question whether or not *hair* that is
not yet long enough to be cut is considered "Galgalin." Even though Rabah
bar bar Chanah and Chizkiyah earlier imply that hair that is not yet long
enough to be cut is certainly considered part of the body, Rav Acha is in
doubt and wants to find a proof from a Mishnah or Beraisa for this Halachah.
(See also TOSFOS DH v'Sachya and next answer.)
According to the Rosh, what is the difference between the skin that is on
the body and the dead flesh on the heal? The Gemara already proved from a
Beraisa that the dead flesh on the heal is considered part of the body as
long as it is attached!
The answer is implicit in the words of Tosfos and the Rosh there who
describe the callous at the bottom of the heal as "dead flesh" and not "dead
skin." Dead flesh is certainly part of the body, while dead skin is
(d) TOSFOS (DH v'Sachya) seems to understand that the body must be boiled in
order to remove the hair and for no other purpose. Because of this, Tosfos
wonders why the depilatory agent does not suffice. He answers that before
using the depilatory agent, the skin must be removed so that the depilatory
will get to the roots of the hair. Accordingly, Tosfos writes that our Sugya
must hold that even the roots of the hair which are not yet long enough to
be cut are considered external to the body. The BIRKAS ROSH points out that
it seems that Tosfos does not have the Girsa of our Gemara, "*Oro* Mahu,"
but rather "*Se'aro* Mahu," and the Gemara is questioning whether *hair*
that is not yet long enough to cut is considered part of the body. Skin,
however, is certainly considered part of the body.
(e) The SHITAH MEKUBETZES and the MEFARESH (in his second explanation)
explain that the Gemara is indeed asking about the skin of the Mes. However,
they write that hair that is not long enough to be cut is certainly
considered part of the body. Why, then, should the skin not be considered
part of the body?
Perhaps they understood that the question of the Gemara is not whether
normal skin is part of the body, but whether skin that is peeling off or
mostly removed from the body (see Shabbos 94b) is considered "Galgalin." The
boiling in hot water removes all of the pieces of skin that are falling off,
so that the skin that remains will not prevent the Rekev from being Metamei.