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
1) WHAT AMOUNT OF FOOD IS "MEKABEL TUM'AH?"
OPINIONS: Rava asked Rav Nachman, "What is the Halachah if a person threw a
k'Zayis of Terumah into a house which is Tamei." The Gemara tries to
determine with regard to what law Rava was asking; if he was asking with
regard to Shabbos, the Shi'ur is a "Grogeres" (dried fig), and not a
k'Zayis. If he was asking with regard to the laws of Tum'ah, the amount of
food the size of a Beitzah (egg) is necessary.
2) ANALYZING RAVA'S QUESTION
What form of Tum'ah is the Gemara referring to when it says that a
k'Beitzah is necessary for food to be Mekabel Tum'ah?
(a) RASHI in Pesachim 33b (DH b'k'Beitzah) quotes a Toras Kohanim which
implies that even the smallest piece of food is Mekabel Tum'ah mid'Oraisa.
Our Gemara, then, is referring to food becoming Tamei with the ability to
*be Metamei* other foods, as Rashi here explains (DH Iy l'Inyan Tum'ah).
(b) TOSFOS (DH Iy l'Inyan Tum'ah) and in Pesachim 33b (DH l'Eimas)
maintains that a piece of food which is less than a k'Beitzah is Mekabel
Tum'ah mid'Rabanan, and the Toras Kohanim which Rashi cited is only an
"Asmachta." Only food which is the size of a k'Beitzah is Mekabel Tum'ah
mid'Oraisa, and this is how Tosfos explains our Sugya. Tosfos shows that
RASHI (in Chulin 82a, DH v'Amar) also retracted his opinion.
(c) The RASHBA maintains that food which is less than a k'Beitzah is not
Mekabel Tum'ah at all, even mid'Rabanan.
QUESTIONS: The Gemara concludes that Rava's question to Rav Nachman
concerned a case where someone throws a k'Zayis of Terumah into a house
which is Tamei, and it falls onto another piece of food which is less than
the size of a k'Beitzah. The question was whether the food, which becomes a
Shi'ur with regard to Tum'ah, also becomes a Shi'ur with regard to Shabbos
(so that the thrower is Chayav for transferring it from Reshus ha'Rabim to
(1) The Gemara earlier said that if a person carried out a piece of food
that was less than the size of a "Grogeres," and by the time he put it down
in another Reshus it had swelled to become the size of a Grogeres, he is
exempt from punishment because at the time that he took it out it was less
than a Shi'ur. Why, then, should a person be Chayav in our case, if at the
time of the Akirah (when he threw it) it was not a Shi'ur (it was only a
k'Zayis, and not a "Grogeres")?
(2) Why does the Gemara mention that a *k'Zayis* of Terumah was being
thrown into the Tamei house? *Any* Shi'ur of food that joins with the food
in the house will be Tamei if the total size (after it lands) is a
(3) Why does the food that was thrown have to be Terumah?
(a) The RASHBA and RITVA explain that even though the food was not actually
a k'Beitzah at the time that he threw it, it is considered to have been a
k'Beitzah at that time, because (1) the act of throwing itself -- i.e. the
Akirah -- caused the food to become bigger (that is, without the Akirah, it
would not have become bigger). In the earlier case of the Gemara, when the
food expanded to the size of a "Grogeres," its larger size was not at all
related to the act of Akirah (it would have expanded no matter where it
However, since the food that he threw was not in reality a k'Beitzah at the
time of Akirah, it needs some additional significance at the time of the
Akirah in order to be considered fully significant retroactively. For this
reason it must (2) be a *k'Zayis* of (3) *Terumah*, because as such it has
significance (that is, a non-Kohen who eats it is Chayav Misah b'Yidei
Shamayim). That factor, combined with the factor that it later becomes a
k'Beitzah, makes it significant for Shabbos as well. (See also TOSFOS 91b,
(b) The Rishonim cite the RASHBAM who answers that the reason it was
considered significant at the time it was thrown was not because at the end
of its flight it landed on other food. Rather (1) it was considered
significant at the time it was thrown independent of what happened later,
because it is (2) a k'Zayis of (3) Terumah Tehorah which is fit for a
Kohen, and a non-Kohen who eats it will be Chayav Malkus. That alone makes
it significant enough to be Chayav for Hotza'ah on Shabbos.
Why, then, does it need to join to form a k'Beitzah? Explains the Rashbam,
because once it enters the house it becomes Tamei and is no longer fit for
a Kohen to eat, nor is a non-Kohen Chayav for eating Terumah Temei'ah.
Since it loses its importance as it enters the house, it needs another form
of significance (i.e. becoming a k'Beitzah in size) to be considered a