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Nidah 3


QUESTION: The Gemara tells us that if a Mikvah, which originally had 40 Se'ah, was found to be lacking after a person was Tovel, and the Mikvah was in Reshus ha'Yachid, Rebbi Shimon rules that the person is *Safek* Tamei. Why isn't he Tamei for *certain*, as is the case with Safek Tum'ah of a Sotah? Rebbi Shimon explains that we cannot compare our case to that of a Safek Sotah, for in the case of the Sotah there are strong grounds (Raglayim l'Davar) to consider her Tamei, since her husband had forewarned her not to isolate herself with a certain person and she did so anyhow.

If so, why should Rebbi Shimon *ever* rule about a Safek Tum'ah in Reshus ha'Yachid that it is Tamei? In a normal Safek Tum'ah there are no grounds to suspect that the object did indeed become Tamei!


(a) RASHI (DH v'Iba'is) and TOSFOS (DH u'Sheneihem) assert that Rebbi Shimon indeed rejects the familiar rule of "Safek Tum'ah b'Reshus ha'Yachid Tamei," and instead rules that every such Safek is *Safek* Tamei.

(b) The RAMBAN, however, disagrees. Normally, Rebbi Shimon rules that "Safek Tum'ah b'Reshus ha'Yachid" is Tamei for *certain*, as we are accustomed to hearing. Therefore, if there is a question as to whether an action which can make an object Tamei did or did not take place, we rule that the object in question is Tamei for certain. In the case of the Mikvah, however, we only consider the person to be Safek Tamei, since we know for *certain* that the Mikvah was once *measured* and found to contain 40 Se'ah. Rebbi Shimon does not compare to Sotah a case where there is a doubt as to when or whether an object changed its status (and we see no specific action taking place that could cause the change in status), since there is a Chazakah d'Me'ikara in such a case which allows us to assume that the status did not change, or that it changed later.

But why didn't Rebbi Shimon just say so, then? Why did the Gemara mention that Sotah is different from Mikvah because there are "Raglayim l'Davar" to consider her Tamei, instead of saying that Mikvah is different because it has a Chazakah that it had 40 Se'ah?

The Ramban explains that even when there *is* a Chazakah, we still judge the object (in our case, the Sotah) to be Tamei when there is Raglayim l'Davar. Since there is no Raglayim l'Davar to make the person Tamei in the case of the Mikvah that was found lacking, Rebbi Shimon does not rule that it is Tamei for certain but that it is Safek Tamei.

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