Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Rava interprets the Mishna: The Mishna is referring to a case where a nine year old boy with a blemished lineage (a mamzer) cohabited with a woman; she is disqualified from eating terumah (and the latter part of the Mishna teaches us that she is disqualified even if there is uncertainty regarding his age), as is stated in the following braisa: A boy who is nine years and one day old, who is an Amonite, Moabite, Egyptian, or Edomite convert (who are not permitted to marry into the congregation), or is a Cuthean, Nasin, chalal, or mamzer, who cohabited with a Koheness, Leviah, or an Israelite woman has disqualified her from the Kehunah.

Tosfos asks: Why don’t we apply the principle of chazakah; any matter which is uncertain to us should be resolved by a presumption that the previous status continues to prevail until there is a clear indication that it has indeed changed? Let us say that since he was younger than nine previously, we will assume that he was still a minor at the time that he cohabited with her, and she should still be qualified to eat terumah?

Tosfos answers: We are referring to a case where the boy is presently older than nine years old, and therefore his present status of precludes the use of chazakah.

It is evident from Tosfos that if we still would be uncertain if he is older than nine years old, we would have relied on the chazakah that during cohabitation, he was younger than nine, and she would still be qualified to eat terumah.

This proves that Tosfos maintains that a chazakah which is likely to change still has the force of a regular chazakah until it has been established that this status changed.