1) HOLDING AN ANIMAL BY A PIECE OF FLESH HANGING FROM IT
OPINIONS: In the Mishnah (127b), Rebbi Meir states that once an animal is slaughtered, any limb that was dangling from it becomes Huchshar for Tum'ah (because of the blood of Shechitah). Abaye (end of 127b) explains that Rebbi Meir maintains that the dangling limb is considered part of the animal because the limb will be lifted when the rest of the animal is lifted, even though the rest of the animal will not be lifted when the limb itself is lifted.
Rebbi Yochanan also understands that this is the intent of Rebbi Meir. Rebbi Yochanan points out that another statement of Rebbi Meir seems to contradict his statement here in the Mishnah. In the Mishnah in Tevul Yom (3:1), Rebbi Meir says that when a piece of a Terumah food was cut and is dangling from the rest of the food, "if one can grasp the smaller piece and the larger piece is lifted with it, then they are considered like one" (and if a Tevul Yom touches either one, both pieces become Pasul). This clearly contradicts Rebbi Meir's statement here (according to Abaye), where he says that even if the larger part of the animal cannot be lifted up by the smaller part, the smaller part is still considered part of the animal.
Rebbi Yochanan answers that "Muchlefes ha'Shitah," the opinions must be switched. What does Rebbi Yochanan mean by this, and how does it resolve the contradiction?
(a) RASHI (DH Muchlefes) explains that Rebbi Meir generally rules that the two pieces are considered one even when the smaller piece cannot support the larger piece. In the case of Tevul Yom, however, Rebbi Meir "changes his opinion" and maintains that in the case of food of Terumah, the smaller piece is considered attached only when the larger piece can be lifted by picking up the smaller piece. Rashi does not explain the reason for Rebbi Meir's exception in the case of Tevul Yom.
The RASHASH questions Rashi's explanation from the Gemara's following words. The Gemara asks why Rebbi Yochanan gives the answer of "Muchlefes ha'Shitah," when he could have answered that perhaps Rebbi Meir differentiates between Tevul Yom and all other forms of Tum'ah. According to Rashi, that exactly is what Rebbi Yochanan answers: Rebbi Meir rules differently in the case of Tevul Yom than in the cases of all other forms of Tum'ah!
(b) TOSFOS (DH Rebbi Meir) points out that the Girsa in our text of the Mishnah in Tevul Yom differs from the text quoted by the Gemara here. The Girsa in our Mishnayos reads, "... if one can grasp the larger piece and the smaller piece is lifted with it, then they are considered like one." If this is the correct text, then there clearly is no contradiction at all. Rebbi Meir does not require that the small piece support the larger piece; he requires only that the larger piece be able to lift the smaller piece.
Accordingly, the TOSFOS YOM TOV (Tevul Yom 3:1) explains that "Muchlefes ha'Shitah" means that we must correct the statement quoted in the name of Rebbi Meir in the Mishnah in Tevul Yom. The text in our edition of the Mishnayos indeed is based on the correction suggested by Rebbi Yochanan.
2) WHAT IS "MACHSHIR" ACCORDING TO REBBI SHIMON?
QUESTIONS: In the Mishnah (127b), Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Shimon disagree about whether a limb that was dangling from an animal becomes Huchshar for Tum'ah once the animal is slaughtered. Rebbi Meir maintains that once an animal is slaughtered, any limb that was dangling from it becomes Huchshar for Tum'ah (because of the blood of Shechitah). Rebbi Shimon maintains that the limb does not become Huchshar for Tum'ah. The Amora'im suggest a number of explanations for the Machlokes between Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Shimon.
Rav Acha brei d'Rav Ika suggests that Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Shimon disagree about a case in which the blood of Shechitah was wiped off of the animal's neck after the first Siman was cut, before the Shechitah was completed. Rebbi Meir maintains "Yeshnah li'Shechitah mi'Techilah v'Ad Sof" -- "the entire act of slaughtering from beginning to end (and not just the final bit of the Shechitah) constitutes Shechitah." Accordingly, the blood that was wiped off is considered "Dam Chalalim," which is Machshir. Rebbi Shimon maintains "Einah li'Shechitah Ela leva'Sof" -- "the act of Shechitah is not considered Shechitah until the end," and only the final bit of the Shechitah constitutes Shechitah. Accordingly, the blood that was wiped off is "Dam Makah," which is not Machshir.
(a) The Gemara earlier (35b, quoted by Rashi here, DH Rav Ashi) cites a Beraisa in which Rebbi Shimon maintains that blood is not one of the liquids that are Machshir. Consequently, even if Rebbi Shimon agrees that the blood that was wiped off is Dam Chalalim, it still should not be Machshir! Why, then, does Rav Acha say that Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Shimon disagree about "Yeshnah li'Shechitah mi'Techilah v'Ad Sof"?
(b) A similar question may be asked on all of the other explanations given by the Amora'im (except for that of Rav Acha) to explain the Machlokes between Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Shimon. The Amora'im agree that Rebbi Shimon maintains that only the act of Shechitah is Machshir the animal to become Tamei, but not the blood that comes from the Shechitah, and therefore only the animal itself, and not the dangling limb, becomes Muchshar through Shechitah. According to Rabah, the limb does not become Muchshar because the animal cannot be a Yad for the limb. However, if it could be a Yad for the limb, then the limb, too, would become Muchshar for Tum'ah. Similarly, according to Abaye, the limb does not become Muchshar because the animal cannot be lifted by picking up the dangling limb. However, if the animal could be lifted by picking up the limb, then Rebbi Shimon would agree that the Shechitah is Machshir the limb as well.
However, the dangling limb is forbidden to be eaten, even after the animal is properly slaughtered. Therefore, the act of Shechitah should not be Machshir the limb, regardless of whether the animal is considered a Yad for the limb (according to Rabah), or whether the animal can be lifted by the limb (according to Abaye)! How, then, does the limb become Huchshar?
(a) TOSFOS (127b, DH u'Mar Savar) explains that Rav Acha was not aware of the Beraisa earlier (35b) when he gave his explanation for the Machlokes between Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Shimon. He assumed that Rebbi Shimon agrees that blood is Machshir.
(b) Tosfos explains that all of the other Amora'im may have been aware of the Beraisa earlier, but they maintain that Shechitah could be Machshir a dangling limb according to Rebbi Shimon, because the prohibition against eating the limb is only an Isur d'Rabanan.
3) A "YAD" FOR AN "EVER"
OPINIONS: Rabah asks whether a live animal can be considered a "Yad" for an Ever. The Gemara leaves his question unresolved.
What is the meaning of Rabah's question?
(a) RASHI (DH Ba'i Rabah) explains Rabah's question as follows. Rabah earlier explains that Rebbi Meir maintains that the body of an animal can be a Yad for a limb dangling from it, so that the Shechitah of the animal is Machshir not only the animal to become Tamei, but it is also Machshir the limb that is dangling from the animal. Rabah now asks whether, according to Rebbi Meir, an animal can be a Yad to transfer Tum'ah itself to a dangling limb (and not only to transfer Hechsher for Tum'ah). In a case in which the dangling limb becomes Huchshar (through water falling on it) while the animal is alive, and a dead Sheretz touches the animal's body, does the animal's body serve as a Yad to transfer the Tum'ah to the dangling limb -- even though the animal itself does not become Tamei (since it is alive)? The basis for the doubt is the law that a bone that has no meat on it does not become Tamei, but it nevertheless serves as a Yad to transfer Tum'ah to meat that is attached to it.
(Rashi maintains that, normally, a Yad not only transfers Tum'ah to the food to which it is attached, but it also becomes Tamei itself.)
(DH Behemah) asks a question. Why should Rabah have any doubt whether an animal can be a Yad? Although animals cannot become Tamei, that is no reason to prevent them from being a Yad! A Yad always serves only to transfer Tum'ah to the food to which it is attached; it does not become Tamei itself. (Tosfos is consistent with his opinion that the Yad itself never becomes Tamei. See Insights to Chulin 118:1
Later in the Gemara, Rebbi Yirmeyah asks whether one half of a gourd is considered a Yad to transfer Tum'ah to the other half, when half was worshipped as Avodah Zarah. RASHI (128b, DH Mahu, in "Lishna Acharina") explains that the question is whether the half of the gourd that is an Avodah Zarah can transfer its Tum'as Avodah Zarah through the other half.
TOSFOS (128a, DH Harei) strongly disagrees with Rashi and asserts that it is obvious that the half that is not Avodah Zarah should be considered a Yad to transfer Tum'ah to other foods. Tosfos says that Rebbi Yirmeyah's question is according to Rebbi Shimon, who maintains that a food that is not fit to eat (such as the half of the gourd that was worshipped as Avodah Zarah) does not become Tamei with Tum'as Ochlin. Rebbi Yirmeyah is asking whether the half that was worshipped serves as a Yad to transfer Tum'ah (if it is touched by a dead Sheretz) to the other half of the gourd.
Rashi and Tosfos are consistent with their respective views with regard to a Yad. Rashi maintains that a Yad becomes Tamei itself; since it is used to handle food, this secondary usage for food gives the Yad the status of food itself. According to Rashi, Rebbi Yirmeyah is asking whether such a concept exists for an object of Avodah Zarah. Is something that is attached to Avodah Zarah and is used to handle Avodah Zarah considered Avodah Zarah itself? It is clear that the question of whether a Yad is considered "food" and whether a Yad is considered "Avodah Zarah" are two different questions.
Tosfos, on the other hand, maintains that a Yad itself never becomes Tamei. It merely serves to pass on Tum'ah to whatever it touches. It therefore makes no difference whether the Tum'ah is that of Avodah Zarah or of any other Tum'ah. (M. KORNFELD, Z. Wainstein)
4) THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REBBI AND REBBI AKIVA
OPINIONS: The Gemara quotes a Beraisa in which Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili says that Basar Min ha'Chai is Tahor. He derives this from the verse that says, "v'Chi Yamus Min ha'Behemah" (Vayikra 11:39), which teaches that just as Tum'as Neveilah applies to a dead animal that cannot become alive again, it applies only to parts of the animal's body that do not grow back. Rebbi Akiva says that just as Tum'as Neveilah applies to a dead animal, which has bones and sinews, it applies only to things that have bones and sinews. Rebbi says that just as Tum'as Neveilah applies to a dead animal, which has meat, bones, and sinews, it applies only to things that have meat, bones, and sinews.
The Gemara asks what is the difference between the views of Rebbi Akiva and Rebbi, and it answers that they argue with regard to the knee. In what way is the knee the subject of their argument?
(a) RASHI and TOSFOS (DH Bein) explain that the knee has bones and sinews, but no meat. According to Rebbi Akiva, such a limb can become Tamei. Rebbi maintains that the knee (or any other limb that has bones and sinews, but no meat) is not considered an Ever Min ha'Chai and cannot become Tamei, because it has no meat on it.
(b) Tosfos quotes the RIVA who explains that Rebbi agrees that the knee bone is Metamei even though it has no meat, since that is its natural form. Rebbi argues with Rebbi Akiva with regard to a limb that had meat on it, but the meat came off. Rebbi does not consider such a limb an Ever Min ha'Chai, while Rebbi Akiva does. (The Girsa of the Riva's text of the Gemara says that the difference between Rebbi Akiva and Rebbi is "Basar," and not "Arkuvah" as appears in our text.)
5) THE "TUM'AH" OF A PIECE OF MEAT CUT OFF FROM A LIMB
OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses a case of one who cuts a k'Zayis of meat from an Ever Min ha'Chai. If he first cut the meat and then thought about using it as food, it is Tahor (from Tum'as Neveilah). If he first thought about using it as food and then cut it, it is Tamei. RASHI (DH Chatcho and DH Tahor) explains that in this case, the Jew wants to feed the meat from the Ever Min ha'Chai to a Nochri. The Torah prohibits only an Ever Min ha'Chai, but not Basar Min ha'Chai. There is no prohibition against feeding meat from such a limb to a Nochri; it is forbidden only to feed him a limb which has sinews and bones attached to it. Therefore, when a person cuts off the meat before he thinks about using it as food, it is not yet inherently Tamei. However, when he thinks of it as food before he cuts off the piece of meat, it becomes Tamei when it is attached to the limb.
Rashi (DH ha'Chotech) makes an interesting statement. He says that although the Gemara is discussing a case in which one cuts off a k'Zayis of meat from the limb, the Tosefta (Uktzin 3:2) does not mention a k'Zayis. Rashi explains that the Tosefta refers to a case in which there is a k'Beitzah of meat. To what object does Rashi refer when he says that it must be a k'Beitzah, and why?
says that Rashi here is retracting his opinion that there is no minimum amount necessary for a food to be Tamei with Tum'as Ochlin (see Insights to Chulin 25:1
, and see TOSFOS
to Chulin 118b, DH Ein Yad). By explaining that the amount of meat cut off must contain a k'Beitzah, Rashi is agreeing with the opinion of RABEINU TAM
and others who say that food must be at least a k'Beitzah in order to become Tamei with Tum'as Ochlin (and not only to be Metamei other food). Only when the food item previously was the size of a k'Beitzah can the piece that is cut from it be Tamei with Tum'as Ochlin (if he intends to use it as food). Similarly, Tosfos in Pesachim (33b, DH l'Eimas) asserts that Rashi retracted his opinion, although Tosfos there does not quote Rashi here as his source.
The MISHNEH L'MELECH's explanation for the words of Rashi helps us understand the Maharsha. The Mishneh l'Melech (Hilchos Kelim 23:9) questions why Rashi mentions that the meat must be a k'Beitzah. He first explains, like the Maharsha, that Rashi is referring to the amount that is cut off, and he maintains that only when it is a k'Beitzah can it become Tamei with Tum'as Ochlin. He continues, however, and says that this explanation seems unnecessary, because there is no need for the piece of meat that is cut off to be a k'Beitzah as long as the meat from which it is cut is a k'Beitzah. The piece that is cut off should be Tamei because it was Mekabel Tum'as Ochlin before it was cut! The Mishneh l'Melech says that the only reason for why Rashi explains the Beraisa in such a manner is that he maintains that the amount which the person is cutting off must be the entire amount that he wants to eat. Since only a piece that is a k'Beitzah can become Tamei with Tum'as Ochlin (assuming Rashi retracted his earlier opinion), it must be that the person thought of eating a k'Beitzah of meat, and then cut off that amount from a larger piece of meat. The piece he cut off, therefore, must be a k'Beitzah in order to become Tamei. (See Mishneh l'Melech there at length.)
(b) The LEV ARYEH has difficulty with the Maharsha's proof that Rashi retracted his opinion. Rashi is not discussing the amount of meat that is cut off; rather, he is saying that the entire limb must be a k'Beitzah before anything is cut off from it. The reason why Rashi requires that the entire limb must be a k'Beitzah is that Rashi maintains that in order for something to be Tamei with Tum'as Ochlin and be able to transfer that Tum'ah, the food must be a k'Beitzah. Since the reason why this small piece of meat is Tamei is that it received the Tum'ah from the piece of meat to which it was attached, it retains its Tum'ah only if the original piece was a k'Beitzah.
The interpretation of the first part of Rashi's commentary here also depends on this argument. According to the Maharsha, when Rashi says that the Tosefta does not state an amount, he is introducing the fact that no minimum amount is necessary for food to become Tamei with Tum'as Ochlin. The Lev Aryeh interprets Rashi in the opposite manner. Rashi is saying that the piece of meat which is cut does not require any minimum amount, as stated correctly by the Tosefta. The only amount required is that of the original piece, which must be a k'Beitzah. (Y. MONTROSE)