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Steinsaltz

But isn’t it written in that same section dealing with a woman after childbirth: “She shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the Sanctuary, until the days of her purification are completed” (Leviticus 12:4), which comes to include teruma? Rather, the Torah considers several distinct matters separately, and not all the verses refer to teruma.

The Gemara asks: And why do I need three verses with regard to teruma? The Gemara answers: They are all necessary, as, had teruma been derived solely from the verse: “He shall not eat of the holy things until he be pure” (Leviticus 22:4), I would not have known by what means ritual purity is achieved, whether by immersion alone or in some other way. Therefore, the Merciful One writes: “And when the sun has set he shall be pure, and afterward he may eat from the holy things” (Leviticus 22:7), to teach that he must also wait for sunset.

And had the Merciful One written only: “And when the sun has set,” I might have said that this applies only to one who does not require an atonement offering, but as for one who requires an atonement offering, one might say that he may not eat teruma until he brings his atonement offering. Therefore, the Merciful One writes: “She shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the Sanctuary, until the days of her purification are completed” (Leviticus 12:4), which indicates that she may eat teruma as soon as her days of purification are completed, and she need not wait until after she has brought her atonement offering.

And had the Merciful One written only: “Until the days of her purification are completed,” I would say that upon the completion of the purification period she is immediately purified even without immersion. Therefore, the Merciful One writes: “Until he be pure.”

The Gemara asks: And according to that tanna who disagrees with the tanna of the school of Rabbi Yishmael and says that the verse “Any man from the seed of Aaron who is a leper or a zav shall not eat of the holy things until he be pure” (Leviticus 22:4) is speaking of a zav who already experienced three sightings of an emission, and of a confirmed leper, both of whom must bring an offering as part of their purification process; and, this being the case, that phrase “until he be pure” must mean until he brings his atonement offering; then why do I need two verses with regard to sacrificial food, this verse and the verse with regard to a woman after childbirth: “And the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be pure” (Leviticus 12:8), to teach us that sacrificial food may not be eaten until after the atonement offering has been brought?

The Gemara answers: They are both necessary, as had the Merciful One written this halakha only with regard to a woman after childbirth, one might have said that it applies only to her because her period of ritual impurity is so long, as she may not return to eating teruma or sacrificial food for either forty days, in the case of a male child, or eighty days, in the case of a female. But with regard to a zav, say that this is not the case. And had the Merciful One written this halakha only with regard to a zav, one might have said that it applies only to him, as no exemption is ever made from its general prohibition and he is always impure. But as for a woman after childbirth, who is permitted to her husband for thirty-three or sixty-six days of that period, say that this is not the case. Both verses are therefore necessary.

The Gemara asks: As for the verse stated with regard to a vessel that contracted ritual impurity through contact with a creeping animal: “It must be put into water, and it shall be impure until the evening; then shall it be pure” (Leviticus 11:32), why do I need it? Rabbi Zeira said: It is necessary in order to teach about touching. An impure vessel, even after it has been immersed, still imparts ritual impurity to the teruma that it touches until nightfall. The same applies to an impure individual who has already undergone immersion; not only is it prohibited for him to eat teruma, but also he renders it impure if he touches it.

As it is taught in a baraita: Had the verse stated only: “It must be put into water, and it shall be impure until the evening,” one might have thought that it remains ritually impure until the evening in all regards. Therefore, the verse states: “Then shall it be pure,” indicating that it is pure following immersion, even before sunset. And had it stated only: “Then shall it be pure,” one might have thought that it is pure following immersion in all regards. Therefore, the verse states: “And it shall be impure until the evening.” How so; how can the apparent contradiction between the two parts of the verse be resolved? Here, the verse is referring to second tithe, for which immersion alone suffices; and there it is referring to teruma, for which sunset is required.

The Gemara asks: But I can reverse this construct and say that the greater stringency should be applied to second tithe. The Gemara answers: It is reasonable to say that teruma is subject to the greater stringency; just as the eating of teruma is subject to greater stringency than the eating of second tithe, so too, the touching of teruma should be subject to greater stringency than the touching of second tithe.

And if you wish, say that the prohibition with regard to the touching of teruma is derived from here: “She shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the Sanctuary, until the days of her purification are completed” (Leviticus 12:4); this is a warning with respect to one who eats teruma after having immersed but before sunset. Or, perhaps, it is nothing other than a warning with respect to one who touches teruma before sunset, as is implied by the plain reading of the verse?

Therefore, the verse states: “She shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the Sanctuary, until the days of her purification are completed” (Leviticus 12:4), thereby juxtaposing consecrated food to the Sanctuary. Just as the prohibition against entering the Sanctuary is a matter that involves the taking of life, as one who enters the Sanctuary while impure is liable to receive karet, so too, the prohibition against touching consecrated food must be a matter that involves the taking of life, e.g., eating teruma in a state of ritual impurity; but the prohibition against touching teruma in a state of impurity does not involve the taking of life, as there is no punishment of karet for mere touching.

And as for the fact that the verse expressed this halakha in terms of touching, this is what it is saying: The halakha governing touching is like that of eating, as they are both prohibited to an impure person, even after immersion, until sunset. But the verse is actually speaking of the prohibition against eating teruma in a state of impurity.

§ It is taught in the mishna that the wife of a priest with crushed testicles or a severed penis may eat teruma on his account, provided that they have not engaged in sexual relations since his injury. The Gemara asks: Who is the tanna who taught with regard to a woman awaiting intercourse that would disqualify her from marrying into the priesthood by Torah law, as in this case, where the woman would become disqualified from marrying into the priesthood if she had relations with her injured husband, that such a woman may eat teruma? Rabbi Elazar said: This halakha is subject to dispute, and it is taught in the mishna in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Shimon, who similarly stated that a widow betrothed to a High Priest may eat teruma on his account, provided that he has not engaged in sexual relations with her.

Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The mishna can be understood even if you say that it is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Meir, who maintains that a widow betrothed to a High Priest may not eat teruma on his account, as it is different here, as she had already eaten teruma on her husband’s account before his injury. Since she has done nothing to disqualify herself, she retains her presumptive status as one for whom it is permitted to eat teruma.

And how does Rabbi Elazar counter this argument? He maintains that we do not say that since she had already eaten teruma on her husband’s account she continues to do so, as, if you do not say that this argument must be rejected, then it should be permitted for an Israelite woman who married a priest and her husband died without children to continue eating teruma on his account, as she had already eaten teruma because of him during his lifetime. However, such a conclusion is clearly incorrect. This halakha indicates that the fact that she had already eaten teruma is irrelevant.

And Rabbi Yoḥanan holds that the two cases are not comparable, as there, where the husband died, his acquisition of his wife has lapsed, i.e., they are no longer married, and therefore she cannot continue to eat teruma on his account, whereas here, where his genitals were injured, his acquisition has not lapsed. While sexual relations between them are forbidden, their marriage remains intact.

§ It is taught in the mishna: Who is deemed a man with crushed testicles? The Sages taught in a baraita: Who is deemed a man with crushed testicles? It is anyone whose testicles have been wounded, even if only one of them. Furthermore, a man is considered to have crushed testicles not only if they have been wounded, but even if they have been punctured, or have decayed as the result of an injury, or are partly deficient for some other reason. Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Beroka, said: I heard from the Sages in the vineyard in Yavne that anyone who has only one testicle is nothing other than a eunuch by natural causes, and he is fit.

The Gemara is puzzled by the wording of this last teaching: Can it enter your mind that he is a eunuch by natural causes, i.e., from birth? That designation refers to one who was born without testicles, whereas the reference here is to one who lost a testicle as the result of an injury. Rather, say that he resembles a eunuch by natural causes, and he is fit.

The Gemara asks: As for one whose testicles were punctured, is he incapable of having children, so that he should have the status of one whose testicles were crushed? Wasn’t there an incident where a certain man was climbing up a palm tree,

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
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