THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
Avodah Zarah, 13
1) TRANSGRESSING "TUM'AH D'RABANAN" FOR THE SAKE OF FULFILLING A MITZVAH
OPINIONS: The Gemara quotes a Beraisa which states that just as a Kohen is
allowed to leave Eretz Yisrael in order to do business with Nochrim (even
though the Rabanan gave Chutz la'Aretz a status of Tum'ah), he may also
enter a cemetery for this purpose. The Gemara says that the Beraisa
obviously does not mean that a Kohen may become Tamei merely in order to
conduct business. Rather, the Beraisa must be referring to a Beis ha'Peras,
a field or area that the Rabanan decreed to be treated as though it were
The Beraisa continues and says that a Kohen is also permitted to walk
through this area for the purpose of learning Torah or finding a wife.
Does the Beraisa mean that the Kohen may walk through the Beis ha'Peras only
for these Mitzvos, or may he walk through the Beis ha'Peras to fulfill other
Mitzvos as well?
(a) TOSFOS (DH Lilmod) says that the Beraisa is specifically referring to
these two Mitzvos, which are especially important. The Mitzvah of learning
Torah is especially important, because the Torah teaches us how to live our
lives. The Mitzvah of marrying is especially important, for procreation was
one of the purposes for which Hashem created man, as the verse states, "He
did not create it in vain, He formed it to be inhabited" (Yeshayah 45:18).
The Rabanan suspended their prohibition of a Kohen entering a Beis ha'Peras
because of the importance of fulfilling these two Mitzvos.
This opinion seems to be supported by the Gemara in Megilah (27a), which
says that one may sell a Sefer Torah *only* for the purpose of learning
Torah or marrying. The Gemara there explicitly states that a Sefer Torah may
be sold "only" for these two Mitzvos, indicating their importance.
(b) The SHE'ILTOS D'RAV ACHAI GA'ON (Emor #103) argues that the Mitzvah of
learning Torah and the Mitzvah of marrying a wife are *lesser* Mitzvos. He
explains that in order to fulfill other Mitzvos, a Kohen certainly is
permitted to walk through the Beis ha'Peras. He cites the Gemara in Berachos
(19b) which states that a Kohen is permitted to step over a place which is
Tamei mid'Rabanan in order to see a Jewish king, and even to see a foreign
king (so that he will be able to contrast him to a Jewish king). He quotes
the Gemara here that says that it is also permitted for a Kohen to walk
through a Beis ha'Peras in order to learn Torah or to get married.
What does the She'iltos mean when he says that learning Torah and getting
married are lesser Mitzvos? How does he understand the Gemara in Megilah
that implies that these two Mitzvos are *greater* than other Mitzvos? (See
SHE'EILAS SHALOM on the She'iltos, who notes that Tosfos here, when quoting
the She'iltos, does not ask this question on the She'iltos.)
The SHE'EILAS SHALOM explains that the She'iltos certainly agrees that the
Mitzvah of learning Torah and the Mitzvah of marrying are more important
than going to see a foreign king. The She'iltos, though, is discussing the
opinion of Rebbi Yosi, who is mentioned later in the Beraisa. Rebbi Yosi
states that even when the Kohen is able to learn Torah without passing
through the Beis ha'Peras, he nevertheless should pass through it in order
to go to the teacher who will be able to teach him best. Accordingly, the
words of the She'iltos are understood. Passing through a Beis ha'Peras in
order to fulfill other Mitzvos (which certainly are less important than
learning Torah or marrying) *is* more important than passing through a Beis
ha'Peras in order to learn from a different teacher (since, if one does not
pass through the Beis ha'Peras, he will still be able to learn Torah, but he
will not be able to fulfill the other Mitzvos). The She'iltos is asking
whether one may transgress an Isur d'Rabanan of Tum'ah in order to learn
Torah or get married when he could do so without transgressing the Isur
d'Rabanan. He answers this question with the opinion of Rebbi Yosi, who says
that it is permitted.
The NETZIV in HE'EMEK SHE'EILAH points out that there is an interesting
argument between Tosfos and the She'iltos. He notes that the reason that
Tosfos gives for the importance of marriage is the verse in Yeshayah.
Similarly, the Gemara in Megilah quotes this verse as well when it gives the
reason for why one may sell a Sefer Torah in order to get married. Why,
though, does the Gemara there, and Tosfos here, not say that the reason why
marriage is so important is because of the Torah's Mitzvah of "Peru u'Revu?"
It seems that the fact that "Peru u'Revu" is a Mitzvah is not sufficient
reason to permit transgressing an Isur d'Rabanan (and thus the verse in
Yeshayah, which stresses that procreation is the purpose of Hashem's
creation of the world, is necessary). If, however, a normal Mitzvah does not
override an Isur d'Rabanan of Tum'ah, then what is the reasoning of the
Gemara in Berachos that says that a Kohen may pass through a cemetery in
order to see a foreign king (or to do a Mitzvah of "Kavod ha'Beriyos")?
He answers that Tosfos understands that the Gemara in Berachos is
specifically addressing cases regarding "Kavod ha'Beriyos," giving honor to
a person. The importance of "Kavod ha'Beriyos" *does* override Tum'ah
d'Rabanan. Why, though, does the principle of "Kavod ha'Beriyos" override
Tum'ah d'Rabanan, while the fulfillment of a Mitzvah d'Oraisa does *not*?
The Netziv explains as follows. It is true that a Mitzvas Aseh overrides a
Lo Sa'aseh ("Aseh Docheh Lo Sa'aseh"), while "Kavod ha'Beriyos" does not
have that power. However, when the Rabanan instituted a prohibition, they
did not apply that prohibition when abiding by it would lead to lack of
"Kavod ha'Beriyos," but they did decree that it be in force in a situation
in which fulfilling the Isur d'Rabanan would prevent the person from
fulfilling a Torah Mitzvah. This is the view of Tosfos.
The She'iltos, in contrast, makes a Kal v'Chomer from the principle of
"Kavod ha'Beriyos" to other Mitzvos of the Torah. If, as the Gemara in
Berachos says, "Kavod ha'Beriyos" overrides Tum'ah d'Rabanan, then certainly
Torah commandments do the same. (Accordingly, the Netziv learns the
She'iltos in a way similar to that of the She'eilas Shalom.) (See also
TOSFOS in Bechoros 29a, TUREI EVEN (in AVNEI MILU'IM) to Chagigah 4a, ATZEI
ARAZIM 1:9.) (Y. Montrose)
2) THE SOURCE FOR WHY AN ANIMAL IS UNFIT TO BE BROUGHT AS A "KORBAN" WHEN
THERE IS NO BEIS HA'MIKDASH
QUESTION: The Gemara states that if, after the destruction of the Beis
ha'Mikdash, a person designates an animal to be a Korban, the animal must be
left to die. The Gemara says that they owner may not kill it through
Shechitah, because, if slaughtered properly, someone might accidentally eat
the meat of the Korban. The Gemara asks why the owner may not kill it in
another way (such as by cutting it in half). Rava answers that if the owner
cuts it in half "it would appear as if he is creating a blemish (Mum) in an
animal of Kodshim."
The Gemara questions Rava's statement. A person who cuts an animal that was
consecrated as a Korban does not merely "appear" to create a blemish in the
animal -- he *is* creating a blemish in the animal! The Gemara answers that
when the Beis ha'Mikdash is not standing, and no animal can be brought as a
Korban, there is no Isur d'Oraisa against creating a blemish in a
consecrated animal. Only when the Beis ha'Mikdash is standing, and the
animal is fit to be brought as a Korban, is it forbidden mid'Oraisa to
create a blemish in the animal.
What is the source for the Gemara's statement that an animal is not fit to
be offered as a Korban when there is no Beis ha'Mikdash?
The MAR'OS HA'TZOV'OS points out that this question does not apply according
to the view of the RA'AVAD (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 6:16) and the other
Rishonim who maintain the Kedushah of Yerushalayim and the place of the Beis
ha'Mikdash is no longer present, in the absence of the Beis ha'Mikdash. Even
according to the opinion in the Gemara that the Kedushah of Eretz Yisrael
still exists after the Churban, that applies only to the rest of Eretz
Yisrael but not to Yerushalayim. According to this view, an animal is unfit
to be brought as a Korban after the Churban because there is no longer the
Kedushah required in order to bring Korbanos.
However, the RAMBAM (ibid.) maintains that the original Kedushah remains
with regard to all Halachos that are associated with Yerushalayim and the
Beis ha'Mikdash. According to the Rambam's view, why is an animal unfit to
be offered as a Korban? We cannot answer that the Rambam holds that Rava
here is following the other opinion (that maintains that Yerushalayim also
lost its Kedushah), because the Rambam himself (in Hilchos Isurei Mizbe'ach
1:7) rules like Rava, when he rules that in the times of the Beis
ha'Mikdash, a person would be punished with Malkus for creating a blemish in
a consecrated animal, while today, when the Beis ha'Mikdash is not standing,
a person would *not* receive Malkus for creating a blemish.
Why, according to the Rambam, may a Korban not be offered even though the
Beis ha'Mikdash is not standing?
(a) The MINCHAS CHINUCH (287:11) answers that the Rambam indeed maintains
that Rava's statement was said according to the other opinion, which
maintains that the Kedushah of Yerushalayim left when the Beis ha'Mikdash
was destroyed. When the Rambam rules that a person does not receive Malkus
for creating a blemish in a consecrated animal, he is not ruling like Rava.
RASHI here (DH v'Nihavei) points out that there is an argument among the
Tana'im in Bechoros (33b) whether or not it is forbidden to make a blemish
in an animal that already has a blemish. Rashi explains that the Gemara here
is asking its question according to the opinion that making a blemish in
such an animal is forbidden, and Rava is answering that the Halachah does
not follow that opinion.
The Minchas Chinuch explains that the Rambam had a difficulty with Rashi's
explanation of the Gemara. Why would the Gemara ask a question based on an
opinion that we do not follow? Although he does not explain Rava's answer,
he says that the Rambam deduced from the question of our Gemara that the
Halachah is that even nowadays one is not allowed to make a blemish in an
animal that is already unfit, because of the Torah prohibition against
making a blemish.
Why, then, does the Rambam say that a person does not receive Malkus for
making a blemish in a consecrated animal when there is no Beis ha'Mikdash?
The Minchas Chinuch answers that the source of the opinion (that of Rebbi
Meir) in Bechoros which the Rambam follows is the extra word "Kol" in the
verse, "Kol Mum Lo Yiheyeh Bo" -- "Any blemish shall not be [created] in it"
(Vayikra 22:21). In SEFER HA'MITZVOS (Shoresh Beis), the Rambam expresses
his opinion that prohibitions that are derived from inclusive words, such as
from the word "Kol" in the verse above, are *not* punishable with Malkus.
(c) The KEHILOS YAKOV (7:2) suggests that the Rambam can rule like Rava,
that an animal today is unfit to be brought as a Korban, even though he
maintains that the Kedushah of Yerushalayim still exists. The SEFER
HA'CHINUCH (#440) discusses his view that the prohibition against
slaughtering a Korban outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash is still applicable
today, when the Beis ha'Mikdash is not standing. Even though it is
prohibited to slaughter a Korban outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash, that does
not mean that it is prohibited to bring a Korban today (see Insights to
Shevuos 16:1). However, he says, while it may be permitted to bring a Korban
today, there is no *obligation* to bring a Korban today.
What is the reason behind the prohibition against making a blemish in an
animal of Kodshim? The reason seems to be that by making a blemish in the
animal, the person is taking the Korban away from its purpose of being
offered to Hashem. If, however, there is no longer a Mitzvah to offer
Korbanos today, then making a blemish in a Korban no longer constitutes a
loss of what is supposed to be brought to the Mizbe'ach, because nothing is
supposed to be brought! Accordingly, the Rambam rules like Rava, that there
is no longer a Torah prohibition to cause a blemish to any animal, since all
animals are already unfit to be brought and there is no loss of Korbanos for
the Beis ha'Mikdash. This does not contradict the fact that the original
Kedushah of Yerushalayim still remains. (Y. Montrose)