Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Daf Yomi - Chagigah 11 - AVERAGE AMAH

The Gemora had stated: A person must immerse himself in an amount of water that is sufficient for his entire body to enter the water at one time. The Gemora states that the ritual bath must contain at least three cubic amos of water since a person’s average height is three amos and his width is one amah. The Chachamim concluded that this measurement is equivalent to forty se’ah.

The Chasam Sofer comments: Every person has his individual measurement of an amah (from his elbow (correction from my Uncle Shloime and others) to the tip of his middle finger). The height of each and every person (excluding his head) is equivalent to three of his personal amos and not the size of the average amah. The Chasam Sofer said that he can attest to this for he personally investigated this and confirmed it many times.

The measurement of a mikvah follows the average amah (three cubic amos) and not the amah of each unique individual.

The Bach (Y”D 120) states that Biblically, one can immerse himself in a mikvah that contains water sufficient for his entire body to enter at one time even if there isn’t forty se’ah; the Chachamim decreed that the mikvah must contain forty se’ah.

The Chasam Sofer asks: Even if the Bach is correct regarding the measurement of water required for a person to immerse himself in; he is also referring to the immersion of new utensils, where the Torah requires its immersion in a mikvah fit for a niddah to immerse in. It is evident that the Biblical amount of water needed for a valid mikvah is measured according to the average person (niddah) and not according to each individual, for otherwise, to whom is the Torah referring to when it states that the water needed for the immersion of utensils should be water sufficient for a niddah. He concludes that the words of the Bach are extremely perplexing.


Avromi said...

Elbow not shoulder - sorry - thanks to my Uncle Shloime