Friday, April 27, 2007

Daf Yomi - Chagigah 20 - Food For Thought

*** Our Gemara states that one must be more scrupulous regarding utensils that are used on Shabbos than those that are used on weekdays.

The Mabit writes that the Gemara states that one is required to purify himself prior to a festival by immersing in a mikveh. The Mabit wonders why one would not also be required to immerse himself prior to Shabbos? The Mabit answers that one is not required to immerse in a mikveh prior to Shabbos because the sanctity of Shabbos will cleanse the person from any impurities.

Reb Yosef Engel questions this answer, as our Gemara clearly states that one is required to be more scrupulous on Shabbos regarding matters of impurity.

*** The Gemora states that a person cannot watch something that is in his friend's hand. We need to be certain that the utensil did not become tamei; only the holder can provide us with that assurance.

The Minchas Chinuch (10) proves from here that whenever intention is needed, the one who is performing the action must be the one who has the intention. Therefore, he rules that a non-Jew, mute or minor cannot knead the dough for matzah even if there will be someone else watching. Only the person kneading the dough can be certain that it did not become chametz.

Other Acharonim disagree and differentiate between those with intellect and those without. If the person has his own intellect, then he cannot be watched; however, a mute or a minor that have no intellect on their own may be watched.

*** The Mishna states: If one hand became tamei, the other is tamei as well; but only regarding kodoshim and not in respect for terumah.

The Minchas Chinuch (106)writes that if a Kohen loses concentration regarding one of his hands during the Bais HaMikdosh service; he has to sanctify that hand again, but not the other hand.

The distinction is that the mitzvah for the Kohen to wash his hands and feet prior to performing the sacrificial service is a Biblical one; our Mishna is discussing Rabbinical stringencies that were applied to kodoshim.


Velvel said...

The Mabit is shocking! No mikvah on Erev Shabbos!

Pilpul said...

Perhaps the answer is that one is not required to be extra careful on Shabbos in regards to tumah and tahara because of the high level of sanctity that is contained in the Shabbos (like the Mabit), but practically speaking the people were extra careful on Shabbos and that is the meaning of the Gemora.