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Steinsaltz

from one who immersed that day who was never a primary source of impurity, as he was rendered impure only through contact with a creeping animal, and nevertheless he disqualifies teruma upon contact.

The Gemara continues to challenge the inference: What is unique about the impurity of one who immersed that day who was rendered impure through contact with a creeping animal is that this impurity can apply to either a person or a utensil, as people and utensils are capable of achieving purity through immersion, and within its type there can be a primary source of impurity. A loaf, however, is food, which can never be a primary source of impurity. It can only be rendered impure as a secondary source of impurity.

The Gemara answers: The halakhot of an earthenware vessel can prove that the fact that there are primary sources of impurity within its type is not a relevant factor. An earthenware vessel can never become a primary source of impurity, and nevertheless, if it is impure it disqualifies teruma upon contact.

The Gemara challenges: What is unique about an earthenware vessel is that unlike a loaf, it can render items impure or it can itself become impure from its airspace. An earthenware vessel is the only vessel that does not require direct contact with another item in order to contract or transfer impurity, but can effect or contract impurity through its airspace.

The Gemara answers: One who immersed that day can prove that being able to render items impure through airspace is not a relevant factor. Such an item disqualifies teruma, but imparts impurity only through direct contact and not through its airspace.

And the derivation has reverted to its starting point. The aspect of this case is not like the aspect of that case and the aspect of that case is not like the aspect of this case, as each case has its own unique stringencies. However, their common denominator is that non-sacred food they come into contact with is permitted, i.e., is not rendered impure, but they disqualify teruma. Therefore, Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai infers a fortiori that all the more so, a loaf that contracted second-degree impurity, which is disqualified, i.e., rendered impure, even if it is non-sacred, should also disqualify teruma with which it comes into contact. This was Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai’s logical a fortiori inference that led him to rule that a loaf of second-degree impurity status disqualifies teruma.

And another generation, i.e., the later generation that Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai predicted would deem teruma that came into contact with second-degree impurity pure, would refute this inference as follows: What is unique about their common denominator is that both cases have a stringent aspect that does not exist in other impure items.

And Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai maintained that teruma that came into contact with second-degree impurity is pure, as he would not refute an inference that is based on two sources due to the fact that both sources have a stringent aspect, since each source’s stringency is not shared by the other.

§ It is taught in a baraita (Tosefta, Ḥagiga 3:18) that Rabbi Yosei said: From where is it derived with regard to sacrificial food with fourth-degree ritual impurity that it is disqualified although it is not capable of imparting impurity to other items?

It is derived through logical inference: Just as one who is lacking atonement, e.g., a zav or leper who immersed at the conclusion of his period of impurity but has not yet brought an offering for his atonement, who is permitted to partake of teruma, nevertheless disqualifies sacrificial food if he comes into contact with it, so too, with regard to an item of third-degree impurity status, which disqualifies teruma and is therefore more severe than one who is lacking atonement, is it not logical that it should render sacrificial food with which it comes into contact as having fourth-degree impurity?

The baraita concludes: And we have therefore derived that third-degree impurity applies to sacrificial food from an explicit verse in the Torah, and we have derived that fourth-degree impurity applies to sacrificial food by means of the above a fortiori inference.

The Gemara asks: From where in the Torah do we derive that third-degree impurity applies to sacrificial food? The Gemara answers: As it is written: “And the flesh that touches any impure thing shall not be eaten” (Leviticus 7:19). Are we not dealing in the verse with meat that touches even an item of second-degree impurity? And the Merciful One states that it “shall not be eaten,” indicating that it assumes third-degree impurity. Therefore, fourth-degree impurity can be derived by means of the a fortiori inference of Rabbi Yosei, as we stated above.

Rabbi Yoḥanan says: With regard to the reasoning behind the Distinguished Rabbi Yosei’s a fortiori inference, I do not know what it is, as the response to his inference is right by its side: Food whose impurity came from contact with one who immersed that day can prove that a degree of impurity that disqualifies teruma does not necessarily impart fourth-degree impurity to sacrificial food, as this food disqualifies teruma upon contact, but it does not impart fourth-degree impurity upon sacrificial food.

As it is taught in a baraita (Tosefta, Teharot 1:4) that Abba Shaul says: With regard to one who immersed that day, until sunset he is treated as one who is impure with first-degree impurity vis-à-vis sacrificial food, in that he is able to render two items of sacrificial food impure and to disqualify one additional item. In other words, the first item of sacrificial food that he touches assumes the status of a second-degree impurity. A second item that comes into contact with the first one assumes third-degree impurity. A third item that comes into contact with the second assumes fourth-degree impurity and is therefore disqualified from being eaten, though it cannot impart impurity to other items.

Rabbi Meir says: One who immersed that day is considered im-pure with second-degree impurity, even vis-à-vis sacrificial food, and as such renders only one item impure and disqualifies one additional item. And the Rabbis say: Just as he merely disqualifies teruma foods and teruma liquids, without transferring to them impurity that can then be transferred further, so too, he merely disqualifies sacrificial foods and sacrificial liquids. In other words, the impurity imparted by one who immersed that day can reach only third-degree impurity and not fourth-degree impurity, contrary to the opinion of Rabbi Yosei.

Rav Pappa objects to Rabbi Yoḥanan’s argument: From where is the presumption derived that Rabbi Yosei holds in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis? Perhaps he holds in accordance with the opinion of Abba Shaul, who says that one who immersed that day is able to render two items of sacrificial food impure, and to disqualify one additional item.

The Gemara answers: If it enters your mind that Rabbi Yosei holds in accordance with the opinion of Abba Shaul, he should have brought proof for the existence of a fourth degree of ritual impurity with regard to sacrificial food from the case of food whose impurity came from one who immersed that day, as follows:

Just as with regard to food whose impurity came from one who immersed that day, while the one who immersed that day is himself permitted to consume non-sacred food, nevertheless you say that the food imparts fourth-degree impurity status upon sacrificial food, then with regard to food

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)
אדם סלומון
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