ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous dafNidah 25
(a) Rebbi told Rebbi Yishmael b'Rebbi Yossi that, just as his first
statement (an unformed Shefir full of blood is Tamei Nidah) was only the
opinion of an individual (Sumchus quoting Rebbi Meir), so too was his
second (that a Shefir full of flesh, is Temei'ah Leidah) only the opinion
of Rebbi Yehoshua.
(b) Rebbi Yehoshua quotes the Pasuk "va'Ya'as Hashem Elokim ... Kosnos Or
va'Yalbisheim", from which he learns that Hashem only makes skin for a
person after he has created him. This is a Gezeiras Hakasuv to teach us
that a Shefir which is not formed is Metamei Leidah.
Now, if Rebbi Yehoshua was arguing only by Achur, which is really a Sevara
(based on the fact that the baby melted), he would not have quoted a Pasuk.
So we see, that he must argue by Tzalul, as well.
(a) 'Tinuf' is the waste that is formed from the baby which melted, and
which now comes out from the womb.
(b) The placenta is a sign of a baby of a large species of animal, and by a
human being, it is the placenta or the Shefir.
(c) The ramifications of these Halachos concern the Dinim of Bechorah:
whether the baby is considered a Bechor, and will therefore exempt the
subsequent baby that is born, from the Bechorah.
(a) The Tana gives Shilya as a sign of birth by a larger species of animal,
but not Shefir. This is understood, if the Machlokes is by Tzalil, and it
is there that Rebbi Yehoshua considers a Shefir a baby because of the
Gezeiras ha'Kasuv (of "va'Ya'as Elokim" etc.) - so we will say that the
Gezeiras ha'Kasuv is restricted to the Shefir of an Adam; but if their
Machlokes is confined to Achur, in which case Rebbi Yehoshua's Din is based
on a Sevara, and not on a Gezeiras ha'Kasuv, why should the Shefir of an
animal be any worse than that of an Adam?
(b) In fact, answers the Gemara, Rebbi Yehoshua himself is not sure whether
a Shefir full of Mayim Achurim is a baby or not (Clearly then, he maintains
that a Shefir full of Mayim Tzelulim is Tehorah. In that case, we have to
say that when the Beraisa quoted the Pasuk of 'va'Ya'as Hashem" as his
source, it was no more than an Asmachta.) Consequently, he rules to the
strict side in all cases.
By a woman, where it is purely a monetary issue (whether or not the Kohen
will be entitled to receive five Sela'im for the subsequent child) he rules
that a Shefir Achur *is* a Bechor, to exempt the father from the subsequent
By an animal, where it is a question of Safek Isur (whether or not, the
owner will be permitted to shear or to work with the next baby to which
this animal gives birth) he again goes le'Chumra to rule that the Shefir
Achur is *not* a Bechor (so that the next one *is*).
And in the case of the woman, he also rules that a Shefir Achur renders her
Tamei Leidah mi'Safek, so that she has to keep the fourteen days of Tum'as
Leidah of a girl (but no days of Taharah).
(c) Shmuel holds that a Shefir always renders the mother Safek Temei'ah
Leidah, whether it is Achur or Tzalul. Consequently, she is obligated to
sit the days of Tum'ah of a girl, but no days of Taharah.
(d) The only time that Shmuel ruled leniently in this regard was when the
Shefir was so transparent, that one could actually see a hair from one side
to the other; so he figured that the Mayim Tzelulim inside it could not
possibly be that of a melted baby, which would never be as clear as that.
(a) According to the changed text in our Gemara, the initial size of a
Shefir is that of a locust called 'Rishon'.
(b)&(c) Its two nostrils resemble the two eyes of a fly - but close
together, and its mouth is just a slit as thin as a hair's-breadth.
(d) The Amah resembles a lentil, and the sexual organ of a female the split
in a barley.
(e) It has no hands or feet (because it begins growing from the head -
Rashi, according to the original text in the Gemara).
(a) If one were to examine (wash) a Shefir with water, it would melt, so
one examines it with oil.
(b) If the sexual organs are not yet visible (because they have not yet
broken through the skin), using a splinter with a blunt point, one pushes
the skin in the area of the sexual organs; if he feels something resistant
underneath, he knows that it a male (and the mother will keep the Tuma'h
and Taharah of a boy), whereas if there is no resistance, then he knows
that it is a female (and she keeps the Tum'ah and Taharah of a girl).
(c) If the Beitzim themselves are not visible at that early stage, then the
Chut shel Beitzim certainly aren't!
(a) Its two thighs resemble two red threads of the weft.
(b) Its two arms resemble two red threads of the warp.
(c) What Shmuel meant was that it is only when a Shefir has hair that it is
considered a Vaday baby, to give the mother even the days of Taharah as
(d) Shmuel gave a man Malkus because he reckoned that the Shefir to which
his wife had given birth was forty-one days old, whereas it was forty days
since she had Toveled. Consequently, the husband must have been Boi'el
Nidah, though he denied having done so.
So he gave him Malkus, and he admitted.
(e) When Shmuel issued the ruling that a Shefir is only a Safek baby, that
was for the ordinary individual, who would not recognize a Shefir. He
himself however, was an expert, who could recognize a Shefir.
(a) 'Panav Tuchos' is Tehorah, because it nave had the shape of a face. A
Sandel however, is different, because its face was misshapen by the baby
that was together with it. Indeed, the second baby is the evidence that the
Sandel is a baby.
(b) Some say that a Sandel is flat like a sole, and others that it actually
has the shape of a face.
(c) According to those who require a Sandel to have the shape of a face, it
makes no difference whether it is in the front or at the back.
They compare it to someone who slapped his friend's face and pushed it
through to the other side.
(a) The Chidush of our Mishnah is that, although the second baby was a
male, we do not automatically assume that the Sandel is a male too. Because
we may have thought that either both babies would be girls - if the father
sowed first; or they boys - if the mother was the first to sow.
The Chidush of the Mishnah is that we actually contend with the possibility
that they both sowed simultaneously.
(b) Even if the first baby was a girl, there would be a Chidush in our
Mishnah: namely, that the Sandel may also be a girl, and that we begin the
days of Tum'ah from the second baby (the Sandel), and the days of Taharah
from the first -a Chumra in each case, because it means that her days of
Nidus are extended by one day in either case.