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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
- "EVEN MESAMA"
OPINIONS: The Gemara suggests we might think that just as a Nidah is
Metamei b'Even Mesama so too her blood should be Metamei b'Even Mesama. The
Gemara cites a Limud to refute this and concludes that blood does not have
Tum'as Mishkav u'Moshav nor does it have Tum'as Even Mesama. Dam is,
however, Metamei b'Masa.
Which objects are considered to be Tamei with Even Mesama (which applies
only to Nidah, and becomes only a Rishon l'Tum'ah) although they are
neither Mishkav u'Moshav (which only applies to a Nidah and becomes an Av
ha'Tum'ah) nor Masa (which applies to Neveilah as well as to Nidah, and
becomes only a Rishon l'Tum'ah)?
- According to RASHI, anything which is suited for siting upon is Metamei
b'Mishkav u'Moshav when placed under a Nidah. Even Mesama is an extension
of Masa, and applies even to objects which are not suited for sitting upon.
It is different from the normal Tum'as Masa, since generally only something
which is fit to be moved by the Nidah becomes Tamei through Masa, while
something lying on a very heavy stone which is above the Nidah cannot be
moved by her (since the stone is too heavy to carry).
- According to Rabbeinu Tam (in Tosfos Eruvin 27a DH Kol), an Even Mesama
is such a heavy stone that the weight of the Nidah above it in no way adds
any noticeable pressure to any of the objects which are below it. Any
objects below the stone become Rishonim. It is not the same as Masa, since
Masa requires moving the object that is carried by the Nidah, and not
just carrying it (as Rashi explains in Chulin 21b).
- TOSFOS (Eruvin 27a DH Kol and in our Sugya) disagree with Rabbeinu Tam.
They explain that we are dealing with a case where there is an object which
is suited for sitting upon, however there is an enormous boulder is between
it and the Nidah. Any objects which are fit for sitting upon which lie
below the stone will become a Rishon l'Tumah not an Av ha'Tumah. (That is,
Even Mesama is an extension of Mishkav u'Moshav).
- HALACHAH: CORNEAL TRANSPLANTS
Chazal decreed that skin is Tamei to prevent people from "making
human skin into spreads." Why would it have been permitted to do such a
thing had they not enacted their decree? One may not derive benefit from
any part of a dead human body (Avodah Zarah 29b)! (TOSFOS DH Shema)
- People are more careful to keep themselves Tahor than to keep the other
Mitzvos of the Torah. (Tosfos -- this seems to be Tosfos' intent in our
Chulin 122a as well.)
- One may derive benefit from the skin of a cadaver. (ibid. -- Rashi in
Chulin ibid. seems to agree to this approach, DH Dvar Torah.)
The difference between Tosfos' two answers is very important in determining
the halachic permissibility of certain transplants. It is now common
practice to replace damaged corneas with those of cadavers. Since the
cornea can be classified as skin, and it is not necessarily "Pikuach
Nefesh" to replace the cornea (especially if it is damaged in only one
eye), it is important to determine whether or not one may use the skin of a
dead person. (Even if the cornea was taken from a non-Jewish corpse, the
SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 349:1) prohibits the derivation of benefit from a
non-Jewish corpse as well as a Jewish one.)
Harav Yekusiel Greenwald in his "KOL BO AL AVEILUS" and the SERIDEI ESH
(2:120) permit corneal transplants based on the answer in Tosfos that
allows one to benefit from the skin of a dead person. Others disagree,
asserting that a cornea is flesh and not skin, while yet others permit the
operation on the grounds that using a cornea for a transplant is considered
Shelo ke'Derech Hana'asan. (see Rav Ovadyah Yoself in YABI'A OMER, 3:20)
The MISHNEH LE'MELECH (end of Hil. Avel) brings an interesting proof to
permit the derivation of benefit from the skin of a cadaver. David
betrothed his wife Michal with 100 Philistine foreskins, removed from
Philistine warriors that he killed in battle (Shmuel II 3:14). Obviously,
it is permitted to derive benefit from the skin of the dead!
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