Saturday, April 28, 2007

Daf Yomi - Chagigah 21 - Highlights

The Mishna had stated: We may immerse utensils inside of other utensils in a mikvah for terumah, but not for kodesh.

The Gemora asks: Why is this forbidden to do by kodesh?

Rabbi Ila answered: It is because the weight of the inside utensil prevents the water from circulating freely between the two utensils; if this would occur, the immersion would not be valid because the water must touch every part of the utensil. (This case would not constitute a Biblical chatzitzah (an interposition between the water and the utensil) because the water does find a way to pass through the utensils, but since it appears like a chatzitzah, the Chachamim were stringent regarding kodesh, but not in regards to terumah.)

The Gemora asks: One of the other stringencies listed later in the Mishna is on account of chatzitzah; this would imply that the reason for the first stringency is not because of chatzitzah. The Mishna had stated: When immersing garments for kodesh, one must first untie them and dry them, but for terumah one may immerse them while they are knotted (and/or wet). The reason for this halacha is because of chatzitzah (the water cannot touch every part of the garment when it is tied); shouldn’t the first stringency be on account of something else?

The Gemora answers: Both of these stringencies are in fact because of chatzitzah, and they are both necessary. The first stringency is based upon the logic that the weight of the utensil causes the chatzitzah; this does not apply by the latter case, which is referring to a garment where there is no weight. The second stringency is based upon the logic that a knot prevents the water from touching all parts of the garment; this does not apply by the former case, where the water can cause the inside utensil to float and the water will be able to circulate freely. (21a – 21b)

The Gemora comments: Rabbi Ila is consistent with a different statement that he said in the name of Rabbi Chanina bar Papa. He said: There are ten stringencies for kodesh listed in the Mishna. (This is the proof to the consistency: There are eleven halachos listed in the Mishna and yet Rabbi Ila said that there were only ten. It is evident that two of them are based upon the same reasoning; the first (one utensil inside the other) and the fifth (a garment with a knot) are both because of chatzitzah.)

Rabbi Ila continues: The first five apply to kodesh and to chulin which was made according to the tahara standard of kodesh (pious people would treat chulin in their house as if it was kodoshim in order to train the members of their family with these stringencies). The last five only apply to kodesh.

The Gemora asks: Why is there this distinction?

The Gemora answers: The first five are stricter because they have legitimate Biblical concerns; the last five are merely Rabbinic decrees and therefore they apply to kodesh, but not to chulin which was made according to the tahara standard of kodesh. (21b)

Rava presents an alternative explanation to the Mishna: The reason that the Chachamim issued a decree against immersing one utensil inside the other is because they were concerned that people might immerse needles or spinning hooks (small items) inside a utensil whose opening is not the required size of a skin bottle’s tube (if the opening is less than that, the immersion is not valid because we view the water inside the utensil as separate from the water in the mikvah).

The Gemora cites a Mishna in Mikvaos (6:7) which states: In order to connect a mikvah which is lacking forty se’ah to a mikvah which contains forty se’ah, there must be an opening in the wall separating the two mikvaos at least the size of a skin bottle’s tube. The Mishna explains that we measure the outer circumference of the tube, which the Chachamim established to be where one can freely rotate his two fingers inside the hole. (The connection of the two mikvaos is known as hashakah.) (21b – 22a)