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Nidah 27

    • Question: Chachamim rule that if a small amount of dust fell into a Tarvad of Rekev it is still Metamei b'Ohel, while Rebbi Shimon rules that it is Tahor. D'Vei Rav explain that Rebbi Shimon says it is Tahor since it is impossible for a grain of Rekev not to be caught between two grains of dust, making the grain of Rekev Batel to the dust. Once the grain becomes Batel, there is no longer a Melo Tarvad of Rekev and the Rekev will not be Metamei b'Ohel (since there was exactly a Tarvad of Rekev to begin with). Others argued that the inverse is true -- the Rekev will be Mevatel the dust and there will be an even larger measure of Rekev due to Bitul. What is the basis for their Machlokes?

    • Answer: The Gemara's discussion would seem to depend on the following question: If there was less than a k'Zayis of Isur and a small amount of Heter fell into it, would the Heter become Batel to the Isur and join with it to produce a k'Zayis of Isur, or not? Can something that is permitted become an object of Isur due to Bitul, or just vice versa? (see PRI MEGADIM, introduction to Ta'aruvos)

      The Ohr Sameach (Ma'achalos Asuros 15:10) and Mishneh l'Melech (Me'ilah 7:6) maintain that one part of Heter cannot be Batel in more parts of Isur in order for it to become a piece of Isur. Therefore, if one part of Heter fell into ten parts of Isur and 11 people each ate a k'Zayis, they would not be Chayav Malkos. Bitul can only nullify an object to become as if it is non existent. It cannot impart to an object a new status; it can only remove a status. (See also Oneg Yomtov #1, who discusses whether Bitul will help if threads of Tzitzis that were woven Shelo Lishmah got mixed in with a majority of threads which were woven Lishmah)

      D'Vei Rav, in our Sugya, clearly understand that there is no such thing as Heter becoming Batel in Isur. Similarly, Rekev can become Batel to the dust, but not dust to the Rekev. Those who argue with dVei Rav maintain that Heter can become Batel and become Isur. Therefore, the dust can add to the Shiur of Rekev, making up for the Rekev that becomes Batel to the dust. (Rav Shlomo Kluger in Mei Nidah)

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