THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) HALACHAH: MEZUZOS ON HOUSES IN YERUSHALAYIM
OPINIONS: The Gemara says that according to the Tana Kama, houses in
Yerushalayim do not become Tamei with Nega'im, because the Torah says that
only houses which are built on land which is "Achuzaschem" (Vayikra 14:34) -
- "in your possession" -- can become Tamei. Yerushalayim is not considered
"Achuzaschem," because it was not divided among the tribes. The Gemara
compares the laws of Nega'im to the laws of Mezuzos.
2) A HOUSE OWNED BY PARTNERS AND THE LAWS OF MEZUZAH AND TUM'AS NEGA'IM
Does that mean that according to the Tana Kama, l'Halachah none of the
houses in Yerushalayim are required mid'Oraisa to have Mezuzos?
(a) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Mezuzah 6:6) writes that synagogues are exempt from
Mezuzos because of their *Kedushah*, just like Har ha'Bayis, the Lishkos,
and other sanctified places are exempt, as the Gemara said earlier (11b).
Regarding Nega'im, the Gemara (11b) said that a synagogue does not become
Tamei with Nega'im because it is not a place that is designated for a
defined owner. It is not because of the Kedushah of the place.
Obviously, there is a whole different set of criteria that determines the
status of the place with regard to Nega'im than the criteria that determine
its status with regard to Mezuzah. Why, then, does the Gemara say that a
synagogue of a small town ("Beis K'neses Shel Kefarim") *requires* a
Mezuzah? It is a Makom Kadosh!
The Rambam explains that it was the normal manner of synagogues in small
towns to be used as guest houses. They did not sanctify the synagogues, for
otherwise guests would not be able to sleep there. (The RITVA (11a) offers a
(b) RASHI (DH d'Kefarim) does not learn like the Rambam. Rashi writes that a
synagogue of a small town requires a Mezuzah because it has "Ba'alim
Nikarim" -- we know who the owners are, and it is like a house owned by
partners. A synagogue of a large town ("Beis ha'Keneses Shel Kerachim"),
though, does not have discernible owners. Rashi seems to equate the criteria
of Mezuzah to the criteria of Nega'im; regarding both Halachos, if we do not
know who owns the house, it is not Chayav.
What about the houses in Yerushalayim, which do not become Tamei with
Nega'im? Perhaps the houses in Yerushalayim require Mezuzos, because
although the land is not owned by anyone, the houses upon the land do have
owners. Why, then, does the Beraisa say that one is not allowed to rent out
a house in Yerushalayim? The house has a private owner, so let him rent out
the right to dwell in the house! Perhaps the answer is that at the time of
the allotment of the land, there was a condition made that whoever builds a
house in Yerushalayim and uses the land is not allowed to keep others out.
Therefore, one cannot take rental money for a house in Yerushalayim.
However, the house itself certainly has a private owner so it does require a
QUESTION: The Gemara concludes that a synagogue of a small town ("Beis
K'neses Shel Kefarim") does not become Tamei with Nega'im, because even if
we know who the owners are, that fact that it is owned by a group exempts it
from the laws of Tum'as Nega'im. It is like houses on land that was allotted
to a tribe but not yet divided among the specific families; those houses do
not become Tamei with Nega'im.
Why, then, does the Gemara (11b) say that a house owned by partners *does*
become Tamei with Nega'im? According to the Gemara here, a house owned by
partners should not become Tamei with Nega'im!
(a) TOSFOS YESHANIM and TOSFOS HA'ROSH explain that the Gemara here assumes
that the two Beraisos are arguing. According to the Beraisa here, a house
owned by partners does not become Tamei with Nega'im and is exempt from a
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 286:1) rules that a house owned by partners
is required to have a Mezuzah.
(b) The TOSFOS YESHANIM adds that perhaps the two Beraisos can be
reconciled. A house owned by partners must have a Mezuzah. When the Beraisa
says that houses built on land that has not yet been divided does not become
Tamei with Nega'im, that is because that land has *never* had an owner, and
not merely because that land is jointly owned by more than one person.
Similarly, a synagogue of a small town, which is jointly owned is different
than a house owned by partners, because no person has the right to reclaim
his portion of the synagogue, while a house owned by partners can be split
up whenever any of the partners so decide. Therefore it is exempt from
(c) The RITVA and RI HA'LAVAN explain that indeed, a house owned by partners
is exempt from a Mezuzah and does not become Tamei with Nega'im. The only
time such a house requires a Mezuzah, or can become Tamei with Nega'im, is
when each partner-owner has his own particular section of the house,
distinct from everyone else's section. They only share a common door at the
main entrance to the property. Thus, each owner is Chayav to put up a
Mezuzah on his part of the house.