Friday, May 04, 2007

Daf Yomi - Chagigah 26 - Highlights

The Mishna states: From the city of Modiim and inwards (towards Yerushalayim), the am haaratzim are trusted regarding small earthenware vessels that they are tahor. From Modiim and outward, they are not believed. (Modiim was a city that was 15 mil away from Yerushalayim.) These utensils could not be manufactured in Yerushalayim and they were used every day. If we would not have allowed them to purchase these vessels from the am haaratzim, the public would not be able to manage; the sages do not issue decrees when many people cannot comply with it.

If the potter who is selling the pots enters Modiim (heading towards Yerushalayim), you can purchase these small vessels only from him, and only those pots, provided that you observed him entering. If he left Modiim, he is not believed. (25b)

The Gemora cites a braisa regarding the status of Modiim itself: Sometimes it is regarded as being inward of Modiim (and one can purchase from him) and sometimes it is regarded as being outwards of Modiim. When the potter is leaving Modiim and the chaver is coming in, Modiim is like the inside and the chaver may purchase from the am haaretz (since if he delays, he will not have the opportunity to purchase later).

When both the potter and chaver are coming in, or for that matter both are going out, it is like outside and he may not purchase from him. (In the former case, he can wait until they are inward from Modiim and in the latter case, the chaver was penalized for not purchasing the vessels when they were both inwards.)

The Gemora derives the above halachos from the language of our Mishna. (25b – 26a)

It was taught in a braisa: An am haaretz is trusted (within Modiim) regarding small earthenware vessels that they are tahor for kodesh.

Rish Lakish says: A vessel is considered small if it can be held in one hand. Rabbi Yochanan disagrees and maintains that it is regarded as small even if it is bigger than that. (26a)

Rish Lakish maintains that the vessels are regarded as tahor provided that they are empty. Rabbi Yochanan holds that the vessels are tahor even if they contain liquids that are chulin.

Rava said: It emerges according to Rabbi Yochanan that the vessels are tahor despite the fact that the liquids are tamei. (26a)

The Mishna states: Tax agents that entered a house or thieves that returned the earthenware vessels that they stole are believed to say that they did not touch the interior of the vessel and thus are deemed to be tahor. (This halacha is only in respect to kodesh, but not for terumah.)

The Mishna continues: In Yerushalayim, the am haaratzim are believed regarding the tahara of kodesh, but not for terumah. During the festival, they are believed even for terumah. (26a)

The Gemora asks a contradiction from a Mishna in Taharos (7:6): If the tax agents enter a house, the entire house is deemed to be tamei.

The Gemora answers: The Mishna in Taharos is referring to a case where there is a gentile among them. Our Mishna is referring to a case where there are no gentiles with them.

The Gemora asks: Why are they not believed if there was a gentile among them?

Rabbi Yochanan and Rabbi Eliezer offer answers. One of them said: The other agents are afraid that the gentile will punish them for being lazy and not searching the house thoroughly; that is why they are not believed that they didn’t come into contact with the vessels. The other answered: They are afraid that the gentile will report on them to the king and therefore they perform a thorough search. (26a)

The Mishna had stated: In Yerushalayim, the am haaratzim are believed regarding the tahara of kodesh, but not for terumah.

The Gemora cites a braisa: They are believed regarding large earthenware vessels that will be used for kodesh. The Gemora explains the reasoning for this: We do not make kilns in Yerushalayim (so that the smoke shouldn’t blacken the walls of the city); earthenware vessels were scarce and there was no alternative, but to allow the chaveirim to purchase those vessels from them. (26a)

The Mishna states: If a chaver opens his barrel of wine or commences selling his dough during the festival; Rabbi Yehudah says: He may continue selling it after the festival. The Chachamim maintain that he cannot conclude the selling of this barrel or dough (because it has already been rendered tamei on account of the am haaratzim). (26a)

Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Yitzchak Nafcha were sitting on the porch of the latter. One began and said: According to the Chachamim, may he keep it for another festival? The other one answered: Every one's hand has been handling it, and you say, he shall keep it for another festival (it is certainly tamei)? The first one said to him: But until now as well, has not every one's hand been handling it (and nevertheless, the chaver was permitted to sell it)? He replied: What comparison is that? During the festival, it was understandable why the chaver could sell the food because the am haaretz was regarded as tahor; however, now that the festival has passed, the food is tamei retroactively.

The Gemora cites a braisa which would indicate that he would be allowed to set the food aside until the next festival. (26a)

The Mishna states: As soon as the festival is over, they remove the Temple vessels to purify them. (The am haaratzim were able to touch the vessels during the festival, and once the festival has passed, they become tamei retroactively.) If the festival was over on a Friday, they do not remove the vessels on that day on the account of the honor of Shabbos (the Kohanim were preoccupied with their Shabbos preparations at home). R. Yehudah said: They would not remove the vessels on Thursday either, since the Kohanim are not at leisure then. (26a)

The Gemora explains Rabbi Yehudah’s reasoning: The Kohanim were not at leisure because they were occupied with removing the ashes that accumulated on the Mizbeach during the festival. (The ashes from all the korbanos brought during the festival were piled onto the mound at the center of the Mizbeach and were only removed after the festival.) (26a)

The Mishna states: How was the purification of the Courtyard done? They immersed the vessels which were in the Temple. During the festival, they would say to the kohanim who were am haaratzim, “Be careful not to touch the Table.” (The Table could not be immersed after the festival.)

All the vessels that were in the Temple had second and third sets, so that if the first became tamei, they would be able to bring the second ones instead of them.

All the vessels which were in the Temple were subject to immersion, except the Golden Altar and the Copper Altar because they were likened to earth (and earth is not susceptible to tumah). These are Rabbi Eliezer’s words. The Chachamim said: Because they were plated. (26a – 26b)

The Gemora cites a braisa: During the festival, they would say to the kohanim who were am haaratzim, “Be careful not to touch the Table and the Menorah.”

The Gemora asks: Why didn’t our Mishna teach this halacha regarding the Menorah, as well?

The Gemora answers: It is written “tamid” by the Table, indicating that the Table must be in its place continuously and it cannot be moved. There is a Tannaic dispute if this halacha applies to the Menorah, as well. (26b)

The Gemora asks: We can infer from the Mishna that there is the possibility of the Table becoming tamei; how can this be? We have learned that any wooden utensil which is intended to remain stationary is not susceptible to tumah through contact. How could the Table become tamei?

The Gemora answers: The Table did indeed move; they would lift the Table and show the festival pilgrims the showbread. They would tell them: “See how beloved you are before the Omnipresent; the bread is just as hot and fresh now (at the time of removal from the Table) as it was when it was arranged.” Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: There was a great miracle that transpired with the showbread. (The showbread was placed on the Table on Shabbos, and it was subsequently removed the following Shabbos. For the bread to remain fresh in such a state was an open miracle.) It emerges that the Table was moved and thus can become tamei.

The Gemora asks: Perhaps the Table is susceptible to tumah because it is coated with gold? Rabbi Yochanan said: A wooden utensil is subordinate to the coating whether the coating is anchored or not and whether the coating covers the rim or not.

The Gemora answers: The Table in the Beis HaMikdosh is different; we find that Scripture refers to the Table as a Table of Wood. It is regarded as wood despite the fact that it was plated with gold. (26b – 27a)