Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitza 26 - Rendering on Yom Tov

The Gemora cites an opinion that maintains that an expert is not permitted to look and examine blemishes on Yom Tov. A first-born animal can only be slaughtered if it has been determined that there is a blemish and it is indeed permanent. There are several different reasons cited for this prohibition.

Rashi explains that it is prohibited to pass judgement on Yom Tov since it is the expert's declaration that enables one to eat from this animal. This would be considered making something usable on Yom Tov, which is generally forbidden. The commentators explain that this would be different than a regular decision rendered by a posek since in most cases, the posek is only clarifying something whcih we did not know before. He is not changing its status. In contrast, a bechor which is shechted prior to the experts examination is forbidden to eat even if it was subsequently determined that the animal had a blemish. It is evident that the expert's decision is making this animal usable and therefore he is prohibited from rendering such a decision on Yom Tov.

Tosfos adds that since the halacha is that one is not permitted to examine the animal, the animal becomes muktza since the owner concludes that he will not be able to use this animal, which strengthens the prohibition against examining tha animal to determine if it has a blemish or not.

The Rambam in Hilchos Yom Tov (2:3) explains that the Sages decreed that one cannot examine an animal where a blemish occured prior to Yom Tov since this will lead to people examining animals where the blemish occured on Yom Tov. Obviously if by the arrival of Yom Tov, there was no apparent blemish, the animal is deemed to be muktza since it was not prepared from before Yom Tov.

The Magid Mishna explains that we are concerned that the expert will rule that the blemish is not permanent and therefore it cannot be shechted. This will result in the fact that retroactively, the animal was handled unnecessarily on Yom Tov.

The Taz (498:9) asks that according to the Magid Mishna, all rulings should be forbidden on Yom Tov for perhaps the Rav will rule that the chicken, chollent etc. is forbidden and retroactively the object in question was handled unnecessarily?

He answers that the Magid Mishna is only referring to a case similar to bechor where there was never a status quo of heter beforehand and the issur began even as early as birth (a bechor becomes holy by peter rechem - opening of the womb).

A comparable case would be when a liquid issur fell into other liquid and there is not in the mixture enough to negate the issur and then more permissible liquid fell in and perhaps there is enough now to negate the issur. A posek cannot render a decision on this shaila because there was a time that the mixture was forbidden to eat.

The Machtzis Hashekel comments that according to Rashi, a posek can rule on this issue. Only by a bechor where the permission is dependent on the expert and not on the factual basis is where a posek cannot rule on Yom Tov.

The Meiri states this distinction explicitly. When there is a question if an animal is a treifa or not, all we need is a clarification. If one knows that it is not a treifa, the animal is permitted. A rav can rule on a treifa issue on Yom Tov since he is only clarifying. Ruling on a bechor if it has a blemish and if it is permanent is not dependent on the facts, rather on the declaration of the expert. One cannot issue such a ruling on Yom Tov.