THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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- HALACHAH: "CHATZITZOS"
The Gemara lists many types of Chatzitzos that a woman must be wary of when
she immerses herself in the Mikvah:
- Kli Cheres - She may not stand atop an earthenware vessel when she
immerses, since she will be too scared of falling to immerse properly.
- Namel - She may not immerse herself in a port, lest the mud and dirt
that the boats raise adhere to her and cause a Chatzitzah (Rashi).
Alternatively, she may be worried about onlookers and she will rush and not
immerse properly (Tosfos).
- Tavshil - She may not handle food right before she immerses, lest it
stick to her.
- Rivdi d'Kusilta - The dried scabs (three days old) that result from
bloodletting are a Chatzitzah.
- Lifluf - Dry discharge in the eye is a Chatzitzah.
- Kechol - Eye-shadow and the like, on the outside of the eye, is a
- Atzmah Eineha - If she closed here eyes tightly, or if she opened them
too wide, the folds formed in the skin of her eyelids are a Chatzitzah.
- Derech Gedeilasah - Reish Lakish requires a woman to immerse her body
in the way that she normally stands (for example, without pressing her arms
to her side, and without pressing her legs together).
Many of the early Rishonim (such as Rav Saadiah Gaon, Rabbeinu Chananel,
the Rif and the Behag) had added words in their Gemara. Before the words of
Reish Lakish, their Gemara read, "The Halachah is not like these teachings
with regard to immersing to become Tahor to her husband, but only with
regard to becoming Tahor to handle Taharos" (see Tosfos DH Paschah
(second)). There are various opinions as to which teaching the Gemara
refers when it says that the Halachah is not like "these teachings."
- The RA'AVAD (Sha'ar Tevilah) explains that it refers to the Halachos of
Rivdi d'Kusilta, Lifluf, and Kechol (numbers 4-6).
- The RAN (ch. 2, Maseches Shavuos) explains that it refers to Atzmah
Eineha as well (numbers 4-7).
- The RAMBAM (Hilchos Mikva'os 2:22) adds that it refers to Tavshil as
well (numbers 3-7).
- TOSFOS (DH Paschah Eineha) and the ROSH (Hilchos Mikva'os 35) say that
it refers to all of the cases before Reish Lakish (numbers 1-7).
- The YERE'IM (end of #26) in the name of the ARUCH says that it not only
refers to all seven cases before Reish Lakish's case, it refers to the
Halachah of Reish Lakish as well (numbers 1-8), and is pointing out that
Reish Lakish's teaching applies only to a person who is becoming Tahor to
handle Taharos, but not to a woman who is becoming Tahor to be permitted to
The Yere'im points out that even though, according to Rav Saadia Gaon's
reading of the Gemara, the teachings of the Gemara are not l'Halachah,
nevertheless L'Chatchilah a woman must be careful to avoid all of these
Chatzitzos and also to immerse the way Reish Lakish instructs.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (Yoreh Deah 188) rules that a woman must be
careful to avoid all of these Chatzitzos. The SHACH (188:13) writes that in
extenuating circumstances, one may rely on this alternate text of the
Gemara with regard to the three Halachos to which the Ra'avad mentions that
it refers (numbers 4-6).
- A CHATZITZAH ON MOST OF WHAT?
OPINIONS: Rebbi Yitzchak says that mid'Oraisa, if a woman was covered by an
intervening substance that bothers her, this acts as a Chatzitzah and her
Tevilah is not valid. If the substance covers only a small part of her, or
if it does not bother her, then mid'Oraisa her Tevilah is valid. The
Rabanan, though, decreed that in all cases her Tevilah is invalid.
- RASHI (DH Rubo) explains that the Torah law refers only to her hair.
That is, if most of her hair has an intervening substance which disturbs
her, then mid'Oraisa her Tevilah is invalid. If the intervening substance
is on her body, even if it covers only a small part of her body her Tevilah
is invalid mid'Oraisa.
- TOSFOS (Eruvin 4b, DH Davar Torah) and the TOSFEI HA'ROSH explain that
the Torah law refers to most of her body. Thus, only if a majority of her
body is covered by the intervening substance will her Tevilah be invalid
mid'Oraisa. Even if it covers all of her hair, her Tevilah is valid
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