Yeshivat Har Etzion
SHIUR #22: Ch.2 - Daf 22a
by Rav Ezra Bick
A. The issur hana'a of chametz
Before we continue in the gemara, must examine the Rambam's ruling concerning chametz.
In Hilkhot Ma'akhalot Assurot (8:15), the Rambam cites the opinion of R. Abahu. As we saw last week, the Rambam in other sources sees R. Abahu's rule as a guiding principle in understanding the nature of issur hana'a. As is mentioned in our gemara, the original scene of controversy between R. Abahu and Chizkiya concerns chametz. However, in this regard, the Rambam appears to follow Chizkiya: "Chametz on Pesach is assur be-hana'a, as is written, 'lo yei'akhel' - there shall not be any permissibility of eating (heter akhila - the formulation of Chizkiya)" (Chametz u-Matza 1:1). In light of the rule of R. Abahu, as quoted in Hilkhot Ma'akhalot Assurot, there is no need for the Rambam to cite Chizkiya's derivation in Hilkhot Chametz.
Suggesting an explanation for what the Rambam DID NOT write is, by definition, a great deal more speculative than explaining what he did write. The explanation I shall present here must be judged by its connection to other statements of the Rambam and the light it sheds on the Rambam's opinion in general concerning issur hana'a. At best, though, it remains a possible, perhaps probable, suggestion. With that in mind - here goes!
The Rambam has another disputed halakha concerning chametz, based on the same verse - lo yei'akhel: "One who eats the slightest amount of chametz itself on Pesach violates a Torah prohibition, as is written, `lo yei'akhel chametz.' Nonetheless, he is not liable for karet or a sacrifice unless he eats the minimum amount (shiur) which is the equivalent of an olive (zayit)" (Chametz u-Matza 1:7). The commentators of the Rambam immediately point out that there is nothing unusual here - for all Torah food prohibitions, there is a minimum amount (ke-zayit) for punishment (malkot or karet), and a Torah prohibition, without punishment, for even less than a ke-zayit. This is a disagreement between R. Yochanan and Resh Lakish (Yoma 74a), and the Rambam rules in accordance with the opinion of R. Yochanan, that it is a Torah prohibition to eat even less than a ke-zayit (Shevitat Assor 2:3). What then is the purpose of having a SPECIFIC source that chametz is prohibited less than the shiur?
One of the standard answers in the commentators is to compare chametz to cheilev, the source of the prohibition of less than the shiur (from the verse, "KOL cheilev," the R. Yochanan in Yoma derives that ALL cheilev is prohibited, even less than the shiur). "Cheilev is a permanent prohibition, and was never permitted, unlike chametz, which was permitted before Pesach; hence chametz requires a separate verse to prohibit less than the shiur" (Mishneh Le-Melekh ad.loc.).
What is the connection between the fact that chametz is a temporary, date-dependent prohibition, and the conclusion that without a specific derivation, less than the shiur should be permitted, unlike other prohibitions? The gemara in Yoma states that R. Yochanan explains the prohibition of less than the shiur because "chazi le-itztarufi" - (less than the shiur) is capable of joining up (to become a shiur); i.e., two pieces each less than a ke-zayit are together a ke-zayit. While many achronim understood this reasoning to be a practical one - this piece is prohibited because it can actually soon become part of a larger piece, the Rav zt"l always explained that R. Yochanan is advancing the logical explanation for the prohibition: If a ke-zayit is prohibited, then every part of it is prohibited, as the whole is no more than a quantitative sum of its parts. Hence the object (cheftza) of each less-than-ke-zayit piece is identical in nature with the whole ke-zayit piece.
We now understand the explanation of the Mishneh Le-Melekh. The din of R. Yochanan is based on what is called an "issur cheftza," the prohibition is a facet of the nature of the food. Just as objects are colored, or hard, or cold, some objects are "assur;" the prohibition being a descriptive quality of the object. Since size is an independent predicate, and does not appear to be a factor in the other qualities, it follows that any size piece of the same object has the same qualities as the ke-zayit piece, including "issur." However, if we are speaking of an "issur gavra," a prohibition which does not define the nature of the food, but applies to the subject - YOU may not eat this food - this reasoning breaks down. To illustrate this point it should be noted that if one takes an oath (shevua) not to eat ke-zayit of bread, it is permitted to eat less. The oath does not define a quality of the bread, which is the same as it was before you took the oath; rather the oath- taker has prohibited himself from eating it. If he explicitly states that he will not do the action of "eating a ke-zayit," eating less than a ke-zayit is not the same action.
The Mishneh Le-Melekh is apparently arguing that chametz is not an issur cheftza, since it is permitted before Pesach and after Pesach. The object, chametz, does not change on the fourteenth of Nissan; rather, WE are commanded not to eat it. Hence, the argument from "chazi le-itztarufi" and the derivation from cheilev do not apply, and it is necessary to have a separate derivation to prohibit less than a shiur of chametz.
However, it must be understood: How does "lo yei'akhel" imply that one may not eat less than a shiur? This is especially puzzling in light of the fact that everywhere else "akhila" is defined as at least a ke-zayit. The answer I think is that "lo yei'akhel" does not imply you cannot eat less than a ke-zayit; it implies that despite the logical argument of the Mishneh LeMelekh, chametz IS an issur cheftza. In this case, the Torah changed its usual habit of writing "do not eat" in order to write (in the passive) "chametz may not be eaten" to indicate that here too the prohibition is a defining characteristic of the food - chametz may not be eaten. The object of the prohibition is the chametz. Once I know that chametz, despite its date-dependent nature, is an issur cheftza, it indeed follows from the argument of chazi le-itztarufi and from cheilev that less than a ke-zayit chametz is also prohibited.
Now, for part two. Having clarified how the Rambam understands the meaning of "lo yei'akhel," we turn to his use of the same verse to derive the issur hana'a. I think that the principle of R. Abahu, as we explained it last week according to the Rambam, also depends on the prohibition being an issur cheftza. If it is written in the Torah, "Do not eat that!", there is no reason to understand the prohibition as prohibiting anything else other than the physical activity known as eating. Hana'a should not be included. The principle of R. Abahu is based on the fact that the Torah prohibited the object, defined it as being "assur." Here I understand "eating" as being the human activity prohibited as a result of the object having the characteristic of "assur." Not "assur be-akhila," which already introduces a non-cheftza limitation, but simply "assur." What does it mean to say that an object is assur, prohibited? It is "out-of-bounds," "off-limits," something to be rejected, not permitted to you. In other words, it is assur be-hana'a, UNLESS THE TORAH SPECIFICALLY LIMITS THE RESTRICTION TO EATING ALONE, as it did in the case of neveila. Something that is assur, as an issur cheftza, should not be "part of your life;" in other words, it is a state of relationship between me and the object that is assur, such as hana'a or, as the Rambam calls it, "hana'at akhila," and not a particular activity.
However, if the Torah has not created an issur cheftza, but has addressed the Jew and told him not to eat, this prohibits the activity of eating just as "lo ta'aseh melakha" prohibits doing certain activities on Shabbat. Since we have a prima facie assumption that chametz isan issur gavra, we would not have been able to derive issur hana'a from the prohibition of eating. However, says the Rambam, since it is written "lo yei'akhel," meaning that the chametz is indeed the object of the prohibition as an issur cheftza, there is an issur hana'a, based, as all issurei hana'a are, on the rule of R. Abahu. One conclusion that may be drawn is that one who has benefit from chametz will not receive malkot or karet, for the same reason as other issurim. Indeed, that is what the Rambam rules: "One who eats chametz on Pesach... is liable to karet... both one who eats or who drinks it. Chametz on Pesach is prohibited be-hana'a...." (Hilkhot Chametz 1:1-2).
Aside from explaining the Rambam's ruling concerning chametz, we have hereby sharpened our understanding of the Rambam's position on R. Abahu, beyond what we reached last week. I suggest that this understanding is an improvement over the conclusion of last week's shiur, and this itself indicates that the explanation of the Rambam in Hilkhot Chametz is correct. But I leave final judgment to each of you.
B. Gemara 22a - Gid ha-nasheh
The gemara will spend the next two pages reviewing almost all issurim to see how the fit in to R. Abahu and Chizkiya. The first case, gid ha-nasheh, raises an interesting problem.
Gid ha-nasheh is a sinew, and practically speaking does not have taste. Nonetheless, it is prohibited. There is a disagreement whether "yesh be-gidin be-notein ta'am," which primarily refers to whether meat cooked with the gid intact is prohibited by virtue of its absorbing the "ta'am' (taste) of the gid, as would any meat cooked together with issur be prohibited. Here the Rambam rules that "EIN be-gidin be-notein ta'am," and it sufficient to remove the gid and the rest of the meat is permitted (Hilkhot Ma'akhalot Assurot, 16:6).
Our gemara connects other halakhot to this disagreement:
1. Is the gid of a neveila included in the prohibition of neveila? The question is whether the category of neveila applies only to meat, or to the gid as well. (If the category applies, the problem of "ein issur chal al issur," which we met up with last week, will not apply, as the prohibition of neveila is an issur kollel, applying to the rest of the animal). Rashi explains that if "ein be-gidin be-notein ta'am," and gid does not have the status of "meat," it is not included in the category of neveila. Rashi apparently assumes that "neveila" is properly only a category of meat - the question is whether the gid is called "meat" or not. Here the Rambam rules that the gid of a neveila is prohibited as neveila, as well as under the category of gid ha-nasheh (8:6). (According to Rashi, this would implies that "YESH be-gidin be-notein ta'am.")
2. Is gid ha-nasheh assur be-hana'a? The gemara concludes that according to R. Abahu, gid will only be permitted in hana'a if "YESH be-gidin be-notein ta'am." If "yesh be-gidin," then the gid is called "neveila," and we can apply the logic that the explicit statement of the Torah that neveila should be given to the "ger" includes the gid as well; hence it is permitted in hana'a. The gemara explicitly states that if "EIN be-gidin," there is no possibility other than to conclude that gid is assur be-hana'a (R. Shimon). Here the Rambam rules that gid is permitted in hana'a (8:14). By the principles of the gemara, this implies that "YESH be-gidin be-notein ta'am."
3. Is the gid of a forbidden animal included the prohibition of beheima temei'a? This would appear to be equivalent to the no. 1 above, the only difference being that there the other prohibition was neveila and here it is temei'a. The gemara indeed draws the same conclusion - he who holds "EIN be-gidin" holds that the gid of a non-kosher animal is not included in the prohibition of temei'a, and vice-versa. Here the Rambam rules that the gid is NOT prohibited, since "the gid is not meat, as previously explained" (8:5). This implies that "EIN bigidin." This is an especially difficult contradiction, since aside from contradicting the gemara's connecting this halakha and the halakha in no. 1 to the same principle of "ein bigidin," the two halakhot appear to be identical; yet the Rambam rules in two different manners, and this in two contiguous halakhot!
4. The "previously explained" in the previous item is found in 4:18. The Rambam here discusses, not gid ha-nasheh specifically, but all gidin and other non-edible parts of the animal (skin, bones, gidin, horns, and hoofs). The Rambam rules that none of these parts are included in neveila (at least, they are not included for the purpose of malkot), because "these things are not fit to be eaten." This sounds like "ein bigidin," except that specifically concerning gid ha-nasheh and neveila, the Rambam (above, no. 1.) rules in the opposite manner.
As should be apparent, there is a problem with the Rambam, both internally, and in relation to the gemara.
Starting from the contradiction between 8:6 and 8:5 (gid ha-nasheh of a neveila - #1- as opposed to gid ha-nasheh of a beheima temei'a), the Sha'ar Ha-Mishpat answers that a gid, by virtue of its inedibility, is not considered meat and therefore not included in meat- prohibitions. However, gid ha-nasheh, since it was specifically prohibited by the Torah, is an exception - the prohibition (of eating) artificially grants it the status of "food" and consequently of meat as well. Hence, in the case of neveila, where the gid was prohibited from birth, the gid also has the status of meat and is subsequently included in the new prohibition of neveila that obtains when the animal dies. However, in the case of a non-kosher animal, since the gid ha-nasheh is not prohibited as gid ha-nasheh (according to R. Shimon who maintains that gid ha-nasheh is only prohibited where the rest of the animal is permitted), the gid has no special status. It is treated like all gidin which are inedible, and is, therefore, not included in the prohibition of temei'a. This also explains why other gidin are also not included in the prohibition of neveila (4:18).
It should be noted that the Rambam does not say, in 4:18, that the gid is not neveila because "ein be-gidin be-notein ta'am." Rather he says that the gidin are inedible, "not fit to be eaten." This fits in well with the Sha'ar Ha-Mishpat - the reason for the exclusion of gidin is that they are not "food;" in the case of gid ha-nasheh the Torah has treated it as food by prohibiting it and hence it is also not excluded from neveila.
Some achronim find the logic of this solution puzzling. Granted that it makes sense to say that the Torah prohibition grants the gid the status of "food." But in order to be neveila, it would be necessary to have the status of "meat." Not everything edible within an animal is considered meat - the blood, for instance, of a neveila, is not included in the prohibition of neveila. In order to maintain this solution, it is necessary to claim that the only reason why gid is not "meat" is because of its inedibility - as we saw, the Rambam's language in 4:18 does indeed support this.
Once we reach this position, the permissibility of hana'a follows. Since the gid of a neveila is included in the prohibition of neveila, it follows that we can say that the permissibility of neveila - to be sold to a non-Jew - includes the gid as well, indicating that it is not assur be-hana'a.
The only question is that the gemara explicitly denied this. The gemara says that if "ein be-gidin be-notein ta'am," the gid is NOT included in the permissibility of neveila.
One possible solution is that the Rambam does not learn that line in the gemara like Rashi. Rashi explains that "ein be-gidin be-notein ta'am" implies that gid is not "meat." However, the Rach has another explanation. It says in the Torah that neveila should be "given to the ger and BE EATEN." But if "ein be-gidin be-notein ta'am," it is not fit to be eaten; hence the verse is not speaking of gid even if gid is prohibited as neveila.
This returns us to the question: Why then does the Rambam rule that gid is not assur be-hana'a?
There are several suggestions for an independentargument in the Rambam to permit gid. One of them is based on the Rambam's understanding of issur hana'a, as we explained it last week. "Lo tokhal" implies issur hana'a, because akhila really means hana'at akhila. However, gid, which is tasteless, has no hana'at akhila. Hence, "akhila" in the case of gid must mean..... akhila! - the physical act of eating, and, therefore, it cannot be extended to hana'a. (It should be noted that this does not work out as well according to the reformulation of the Rambam that I suggested in the first part of this week's shiur).
This is supported by the fact that the Rambam says that cheilev is not assur be-hana'a because it is written "yei'aseh le-khol melakha" (8:15). If the permissibility of gid is derived from the permissibility of neveila, then cheilev could have been derived from the same source ("ke-she-hutra neveila.... - when neveila was permitted, it, ITS FAT, AND ITS GID were permitted"). If cheilev needs an independent source for the permissibility of hana'a. then so does gid.
As is becoming obvious, it is not clear exactly how to explain all the rulings of the Rambam that are interconnected here. Sometimes, we have to leave a problematic sugya clarified, but not completely solved.
The next two pages of gemara (22b-24a) consist of a short examination of nearly all issurei akhila and issurei hana'a to see how they fit in to the derivations of R. Abahu and Chizkiya. We will learn this material at an accelerated pace, hoping to cover all gemara before the sugya of "she-lo ke-derekh akhilato (24b) in three weeks. The shiurim will serve mostly to fill in on supplementary material.
For next week, try and finish up to 23a "... ketzirkham dekhol yisrael mashma" (after the case of "chadash"). The shiur will mostly discuss the difference between direct and indirect hana'ot, raised in Tosafot s.v. "ve-eiver" and s.v. "minayin."
Avoda Zara 62a, mishna and gemara, until "...bechomarin u-be-avoda zara."
Tosafot Bava Kama 101a s.v. "ve-lo."
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