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Nidah 17

QUESTION: The Gemara quotes a Tosefta (Taharos 2:3) which states that if someone intends to use snow as a liquid, it can become Tamei, like all other liquids. Unlike liquids, however, if snow is touched by something Tamei, the surrounding snow does *not* become Tamei. RASHI (DH Lo Nitma) explains that a mass of snow is not considered Halachically connected. Each snowflake stands on its own.
Hagaon Rav Henoch Eigish (Hashem Yikom Damo) asks in MARCHESHES (1:39:12) why the surrounding snow doesn't become Tamei, since liquids always become a Rishon l'Tum'ah when touched by something Tamei. Even if the whole mass is not considered connected, the snowflakes that were originally made Tamei are touching neighboring snowflakes. These should become Tamei and become a Rishon, since they are judged to be a liquid, and should be Metamei their neighbors to become Rishon l'Tum'ah, and so on, until the entire mass is Tamei.

This question is not difficult for those who hold that less than a Revi'is of a liquid does not transfer Tum'ah. TOSFOS (Pesachim 14a DH di'Ika), however, rules that even the smallest amount of liquid transfers Tum'ah. Why then does the Tosefta consider the surrounding snow Tahor?


(a)The VILNA GAON (on the Tosefta) mentions that the Tosefta refers to a Tevul Yom. A Tevul Yom who touches liquids does not make them a Rishon l'Tum'ah (see Parah 8:7). The snow that was touched therefore is a Sheni and does not transfer Tum'ah to any other snowflakes.

RAV ZEVIN (Le'or ha'Halachah p. 198) and RAV ROZOVSKY (Shi'urei Rav Shmuel 5749, Gitin 16a) have great difficulty with the Vilna Gaon's answer. The Gemara finds a case where a mass of snow does become Tamei; it was placed in the interior of an clay oven or vessel which is Tamei. According to the Vilna Gaon, however, we could expect the Gemara to record a different, simpler case. *Anyone*, besides a Tevul Yom, who touches snow, will make the entire mass Tamei! The first flake becomes a Rishon l'Tum'ah, and the process snowballs.

(b) HAGA'ON RAV SHIMON SHKOP (Sha'arei Yosher, end of 3:27) suggests a novel approach to liquids that may be used to answer this question. Even though snow is not *Halachically* connected, the point where one flake touches the next is called Maga Beis ha'Starim (contact in a hidden place), since physically all of the snow is one large mass. Tum'ah is not transferred if the only contact occurs in a hidden place (such as inside of a body or an object). Therefore, snow does not transfer Tum'ah, and the *only* way to be Metamei a mass of snow is in the interior of a clay oven which is Tamei.

(c) Perhaps it may be suggested that although even a minute amount of a liquid may be Metamei another liquid (and a Revi'is is not necessary), nevertheless, each particle of snow is considered to be even less than "a minute amount." That is, since Halachically snow is not combined with the neighboring snow, there is no particle of *any mass at all*, of which it can be said that "this is a 'whole' particle of snow, and touching one side of it will make the other side Tamei." Therefore, no snow can be Metamei the neighboring bit to become a Rishon. (M. Kornfeld -- I presented this interpretation to Hagaon Rav Moshe Shapiro, who agreed that such an approach is plausible.)



OPINIONS: The Mishnah, in describing the anatomy of the woman, says, "The Chachamim gave a parable [to teach the anatomy] of the woman: the main room ('Cheder'), the corridor ('Prozdor'), and the attic ('Aliyah')." The Gemara explains that these are the parts of the womb of a woman. "The main room is the innermost (the uterus), the corridor is outside of that (the cervical canal), and the attic is built above both of them. There is an opening ('Lul') between the attic and the corridor."

Which part of the body were the Chachamim alluding in their parable of the Aliyah, and what is the "Lul" that leads from it into the Prozdor?

(a) RASHI and TOSFOS explain that the Aliyah is along the roof of the Prozdor (that is, it is only to one side of the cervical canal). Occasionally blood comes into the Prozdor from the Aliyah, but its blood is not like the blood of Nidah. Whereas there are five different colors of Dam Nidah, there is only one color of blood that flows from the Aliyah (Tosfos DH v'Dam). There is an opening from the Aliyah through the roof of the Prozdor.

The CHASAM SOFER (Yoreh Deah 188) points out that it is very difficult to resolve this description with the known details of anatomy. There is no attic of any sort next to the womb! Some answer that according to the explanation of Rashi and Tosfos, the Aliyah is not part of a normal woman's anatomay, but rather it is a hole that forms in some women due to illness, and through this hole blood enters from the bladder (or other organs) into the Prozdor.

(b) RAMBAM (Perush ha'Mishnayos; Hilchos Isurei Bi'ah 5:3) explains that the Aliyah refers to the uterine (fallopian) tubes that are attached to the top of the uterus from either side, which connect the ovaries to the uterus. This explanation matches the actual anatomical structure much better, as the Chasam Sofer (ibid.) points out. The Rambam further writes that it is not usual for blood to flow into the uterus from the uterine tubes, but it occasionally happens due to a wound or illness. Such blood is not Dam Nidah. It enters the Prozdor via the Lul, which is an opening between the Prozdor and the uterine tubes.

(According to the Rambam's explanation as well, it is not clear what and where this opening is. The only natural opening in the uterine tubes appears at the head of the uterus where the uterine tubes connect to the uterus, but this is far from the Prozdor (the cervical canal, which is at the other end of the uterus)! It seems, therefore, that even according to the Rambam, the Lul is a hole that is formed due to illness.)

QUESTION: However, the Rambam's explanation is very difficult to understand for the following reasons:
(1) The Gemara says that the blood of the floor of the Prozdor is Metamei more than that of the ceiling of the Prozdor, since the Lul opens into the ceiling of the Prozdor from the Aliyah, above it. According to the Rambam, the Aliyah refers to the uterine tubes on *both* sides of the Prozdor, and if so, it is open to both of them. Why then should there be a difference between the "ceiling" and the "floor" of the Prozdor?

(2) The Gemara says that from the Lul outward is more likely to be Tahor than from the Lul inward. According to the Rambam, however, who says that the Lul is open to both sides of the Prozdor (since there is an Aliyah on each side), how can the Lul outward be more Tahor than from the Lul inwards? Doesn't *all* of the blood of the woman pass from the Lul (or one of the Lulim) outwards when it exits, whether it comes from the Aliyah or from the uterus? The blood there should be no better than a Safek!

ANSWERS: Perhaps it could be suggested:
(1) The "Gag," or ceiling, of the Prozdor actually refers to the upper part of the Prozdor itself, beyond the Lul and closer to the uterus. The Rambam would hold that this part of the Prozdor is Metamei more than the floor -- that is, the part of the Prozdor below the Lul -- which is more Tahor. (This works out to be the opposite of the explanation of most Rishonim, who explain that the ceiling is more *Tahor* than the floor.)

(2) According to the Rambam, the reason we say that blood found from the Lul and below is Tahor is because when blood (that is, of Nidah) comes from the uterus, it all flows out together (or one drop comes out before the rest, but it remains close to the uterus, as Rashi explains on 2b, DH ha'Gas). Now that only a drop of blood was found outwards from the Lul, it can be assumed that it is from the Lul and not from the Dam Nidah of the uterus. (M. Kornfeld)

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