1) AN ORDINARY "KORBAN CHATAS" IN A CASE OF "HE'ELEM MIKDASH"
OPINIONS: The Mishnah (14b) records a three-way Machlokes regarding the obligation to bring a Korban Oleh v'Yored for accidentally entering the Beis ha'Mikdash in a state of Tum'ah. Rebbi Eliezer states that the person is Chayav only when he forgot what made him Tamei. Rebbi Akiva states that the person is Chayav when he forgot that he was Tamei, but not when he forgot that he was entering the Beis ha'Mikdash. Rebbi Yishmael maintains that he is Chayav for entering the Beis ha'Mikdash while Tamei whether he forgot that he was Tamei or that he was in the Beis ha'Mikdash.
The Gemara here quotes Rava who asked Rav Nachman that according to the opinions that one is Chayav to bring a Korban Oleh v'Yored only if he entered the Beis ha'Mikdash when he forgot that he was Tamei, but not if he forgot that the place he was entering was the Beis ha'Mikdash, what is the Halachah when he forgot both details? Does the fact that he forgot that this was the Beis ha'Mikdash disqualify him from bringing a Korban for also forgetting that he was Tamei?
What exactly is Rava's question? Does Rava mean that one who forgets both details should be completely exempt from any Korban, or does he mean that such a person should be exempt only from the Korban Oleh v'Yored, but he should be Chayav to bring an ordinary Korban Chatas?
(a) RABEINU TAM (cited by Tosfos) explains that Rava refers only to the obligation to bring a Korban Oleh v'Yored. Certainly, however, such a person will be obligated to bring an ordinary Korban Chatas. This is consistent with the rule that a Korban Chatas is brought for the unintentional transgression of any Isur which, when transgressed intentionally, is punishable with Kares.
However, this seems difficult to understand. The first Mishnah in Shevuos (2a) states that when a person entered the Beis ha'Mikdash unaware of his original state of Tum'ah ("Ein Bah Yedi'ah ba'Techilah"), or unaware of the fact that he was entering the Beis ha'Mikdash, the Sa'ir ha'Chitzon atones for him. This implies that the person does not bring an ordinary Chatas, because the Sa'ir ha'Chitzon atones only for sins for which a person has no obligation to bring a Korban (7b).
The RITVA answers that Rabeinu Tam maintains that in the case of "Ein Bah Yedi'ah ba'Techilah," a Gezeiras ha'Kasuv teaches that the person brings no Korban (and thus the Sa'ir ha'Chitzon atones for him). This is logical, he explains, because it would not be proper for a person who had no knowledge beforehand that he was Tamei to be required to bring an ordinary Chatas, while a person who did have previous knowledge that he was Tamei is required to bring only a Korban Oleh v'Yored.
(b) TOSFOS disagrees with Rabeinu Tam for a number of reasons. First, the wording of the Gemara is that perhaps one who forgets both details is "Patur" from bringing a Korban. "Patur" usually means that the person is totally exempt from any obligation. Second, the Gemara later (24b) searches for a sin that involves Tum'ah, for which an ordinary Korban Chatas is brought. The Gemara comes up with the case of a Nasi who eats Kodshim while he is Tamei. According to Rabeinu Tam, why does the Gemara there not give the simple case in which a person forgot that he was Tamei and he forgot that he was entering the Beis ha'Mikdash (according to Rebbi Eliezer and Rebbi Akiva)?
Tosfos therefore asserts that Rava's question is whether such a person brings a Korban Oleh v'Yored or he brings no Korban at all.
Why, though, does the Gemara not apply the rule that a Korban Chatas is brought for the unintentional transgression of any Isur which, when transgressed intentionally, is punishable with Kares? Tosfos explains that this rule does not apply here, because one of the methods of expounding Torah law is that if a certain law was in a certain category and then that law was found to be an exception, it no longer has any connection to that category ("Davar she'Hayah bi'Chelal v'Yatza li'Don b'Davar he'Chadash").
The KEHILOS YAKOV (13:2) explains why Rabeinu Tam does not agree with Tosfos' explanation that this is a "Davar she'Yahah bi'Chelal v'Yatza li'Don b'Davar he'Chadash." Rabeinu Tam maintains that there are two different transgressions with regard to Tum'as Mikdash: entering the Mikdash while forgetting that one is Tamei, and entering the Mikdash when Tamei while forgetting that one is in the Mikdash. Although Rabeinu Tam agrees that the sin of entering the Mikdash while forgetting that one is Tamei has left the general category (of sins for which one is obligated to bring a Korban Chatas for unintentional transgression, and is Chayav Kares for intentional transgression) and is a "Davar... v'Yatza li'Don b'Davar he'Chadash" (one brings a Korban Oleh v'Yored instead of an ordinary Korban Chatas), that sin is not the same as forgetting about the Beis ha'Mikdash. Since, according to Rebbi Eliezer and Rebbi Akiva, the sin of entering the Mikdash while forgetting that it is the Mikdash never left the general category, it remains in the general category and one is obligated to bring a Korban Chatas.
REBBI AKIVA EIGER (on the Mishnayos, and in Teshuvos, end of #8) suggests another approach to understanding the view of Rabeinu Tam. He asks that Rebbi Yishmael's opinion -- that one brings a Korban Oleh v'Yored for either type of forgetting, even for forgetting that he is entering the Mikdash -- seems to contradict a rule in the Gemara earlier. The Gemara states that one who does an act of Aveirah while "Mis'asek" is not considered guilty, except in cases of forbidden relations and forbidden food items (from which a person derives pleasure through the act). An example of "Mis'asek," Tosfos says, is one who uproots a vegetable from the ground thinking that it was already detached from the ground. Why, then, should a person who is Tamei, who thinks that he is entering an ordinary house (not realizing that it is the Beis ha'Mikdash), be required to bring a Korban? His act should be an act of "Mis'asek," and he should be exempt!
Rebbi Akiva Eiger answers that the exemption of "Mis'asek" applies only to exempt the person from the obligation to bring an ordinary Korban Chatas. It does not exempt him from the obligation to bring a Korban Oleh v'Yored in a case where such an obligation exists.
Based on the words of Rebbi Akiva Eiger, Rabeinu Tam's opinion may be understood as follows. Rabeinu Tam maintains that Rava's question was that according to Rebbi Eliezer and Rebbi Akiva, perhaps one who forgets that he is Tamei and forgets that he is entering the Beis ha'Mikdash is exempt even from an ordinary Korban Chatas, because such a person, who forgets that he is entering the Mikdash, is considered "Mis'asek"! (This also explains why Rebbi Eliezer and Rebbi Akiva in the Mishnah state that "one is not obligated [to bring a Korban] if he forgets [the holiness of] the Mikdash," instead of saying that one is not obligated "if he forgets [the holiness of] a piece of meat that is Kadosh." If he eats a piece of meat that is Kadosh while he is Tamei, unaware that the meat is Kadosh, he would have to bring a Chatas, because the exemption of "Mis'asek" does not apply to sins from which a person derives pleasure.) (Y. MONTROSE)
2) ENTERING THE BEIS HA'MIKDASH WHILE "SAFEK TAMEI"
QUESTION: The Gemara discusses the possible variations of a case in which one person walked on two paths, one of which was definitely Tamei, and then he entered the Beis ha'Mikdash. One case involves a person who walked on one of the paths, was Metaher himself, then walked on the other path, and then entered the Beis ha'Mikdash. The Tana Kama maintains that he is obligated to bring a Korban. Rebbi Shimon says that he is exempt.
Rebbi Yochanan explains the Machlokes. In order to be obligated to bring a Korban for entering the Mikdash while Tamei, a person must first have known that he was Tamei and then forgot. What, though, is the law when one has knowledge of a Safek Tum'ah? The Tana Kama maintains that when the person already walked on the first path, and then walked on the second, even the knowledge that he is Safek Tamei is considered a "Yedi'ah" such that the person originally "knew" that he was "Tamei" and should not go into the Mikdash.
This explanation of the opinion of the Tana Kama seems to contradict the Gemara earlier. The Gemara (14b) says that if a person knew that touching a Sheretz causes a person to become Tamei but was uncertain about the size of a Sheretz that makes a person Tamei, that is not called "knowing" that he was Tamei (when he touched an amount that made him Tamei). Why does the Gemara here call one's awareness of a Safek Tum'ah "knowing" that he was Tamei, while in the case earlier in which the person knew that he touched a Sheretz which is Metamei but did not know how much is Metamei, he is not called "knowing" that he was Tamei?
ANSWER: TOSFOS answers that there is a fundamental difference between the two cases. In the case of the Gemara here, the person knows that if he indeed walked on both paths consecutively and then entered the Mikdash, his entry into the Mikdash was in a state of Tum'ah. In the case earlier, the person never knew that he became Tamei; he did not know that such a small amount of Sheretz could make him Tamei. Since he had no definite knowledge that he was Tamei and forbidden from entering the Mikdash, he never really "knew."
The MAHARSHA asks a question on Tosfos. The Gemara later challenges Rebbi Yochanan's explanation from a different case. A person ate a piece of meat and discovered later that the meat might have been Chelev (but it also might have been kosher). He then ate another piece of meat and discovered that the second piece of meat, too, was questionable. Rebbi Yochanan says that Rebbi taught that in such a case, if the person eventually finds out that both pieces were Chelev, he is obligated to bring only one Korban Chatas. He is not required to bring two Korbanos for his two sins because he did not find out for certain, between the time he ate the first piece and the time he ate the second piece, that he had eaten Chelev. In order to be Chayav to bring two Korbenos Chatas, the person needs to know that he was Chayav to bring one Korban before he can become Chayav to bring another. This Halachah is known as "Yedi'os Mechalkos" ("knowledge separates" the obligation to bring Korbanos).
The Gemara asks how can Rebbi Yochanan state in the case of Safek Tum'ah that doubtful knowledge of his Tum'ah is considered "knowing" when, in this case, he dismisses the doubtful knowledge that the meat was Chelev (that is, the person's knowledge after he ate the first piece) and requires only one Korban?
According to the answer of Tosfos, in the case of Chelev the person had absolutely no idea that he was possibly eating Chelev, which is exactly like the case of the person who did not know how much Sheretz is Metamei. How, then, can the Gemara ask from this case on a case where the person will know, at one point, that he was certainly Tamei?
The MITZPEH EISAN answers that the case of Chelev cannot be referring to a person who ate only one piece of meat at a time. The Gemara in Kerisus (18a) discusses whether there must be two pieces of meat present, one Chelev and one kosher, in order for a person who ate one of them (and only later finds out that he ate Chelev) to be obligated to bring a Korban. Even though, according to Rebbi, both pieces of meat do not need to be present when the person eats one of them, there must have been two pieces of meat there originally in order for there to have been a definite presence ("Ikva Isura") of forbidden food.
This answers the question of the Maharsha on Tosfos. In the case of the Chelev, Chelev definitely was present. The person who ate the meat, therefore, was eating something when there definitely was a presence of Isur. This is similar to the case of Tum'ah, where the person knew that after walking on the second path, he definitely would be Tamei in the Mikdash at one point. (Y. MONTROSE)