Daf for Sunday, Tzom Gedalya – Chagigah 20

Daf Notes is currently being dedicated to the neshamah of

Tzvi Gershon Ben Yoel (Harvey Felsen) o”h

May the studying of the Daf Notes be a zechus for his neshamah
and may his soul find peace in Gan Eden and be bound up in the Bond of life.

Rav Mari proves from the Mishna that chulin which was made according to the tahara standard of Kodesh (pious people would treat chulin in their house as if it was kodoshim in order to train the members of their family with these stringencies) is regarded as if it was Kodesh itself.


The Gemora cites a braisa which presents two opinions regarding this: The Tanna Kamma maintains that the chulin is treated as regular chulin. Rabbi Elozar the son of Rabbi Tzadok holds that it is treated as if it would be terumah (not as strict as Kodesh). (19b – 20a)


Rabbi Yonasan ben Elozar said: If a scarf fell off of him (Parush – one who eats chulin in a state of purity), and he asked his friend to give it to him and he does, it is regarded as if it was tamei (items can remain tahor as long as they are being guarded from tumah, however, if there is a diversion of attention, the item is deemed to be tamei).


Rabbi Yonasan ben Amram said: If someone intended to take out his weekday clothes and he mistakenly took out his Shabbos clothes, the clothes are considered tamei.


Rabbi Elozar ben Tzadok said: Two women chaveiros (their husband’s or father’s are extremely careful in regards to the laws of tumah and tahara) whose clothing became exchanged with each other in a bathhouse; Rabbi Akiva ruled that their clothing is tamei.


The Gemora asks: Items that are guarded under the assumption that they are a different item remain tahor (it is not regarded as hesech hadaas – a diversion of attention); why was the clothing considered tamei?


Rabbi Yirmiyah answers: We are referring to a case where the clothes were being guarded from something that would render them tamei, but not from something that would render them pasul. (The term “tamei” describes something that it itself is contaminated and it can transmit tumah to another item; “pasul” means that it itself is contaminated, but it cannot transmit tumah to another item.) The Gemora proves that there is such a concept of guarding something from becoming tamei, but not guarding it from becoming pasul.


The Gemora asks on the rulings mentioned above: Why are the clothes regarded as tamei when they should be considered only pasul? Furthermore, the Gemora proves that a mistaken impression on the item does not render it tamei because it is still being guarded; why should the clothing be regarded as tamei when they were constantly being guarded?


The Gemora answers: Rabbi Elozar ben Tzadok’s ruling (regarding the two women in the bathhouse) is understandable because it can be said that each woman thinks to herself that the other woman is the wife of an am haaretz and she therefore diverts her attention away from guarding her clothes.


Rabbi Yonasan ben Amram’s ruling (regarding the fellow who mistakenly took out his Shabbos clothes) is also understandable because one is generally more scrupulous regarding his garments that are used on Shabbos than those that are used on weekdays and since he thinks that these garments are his weekday clothing, he guards it less and that is considered a diversion of his attention.


The Gemora does not understand Rabbi Yonasan ben Elozar’s ruling because the owner should be able to guard the scarf even while it is in his friend’s hand.


Rabbi Yochanan answers: There is a principle that one does not guard something that is in his friend’s hand and therefore the scarf is considered tamei. (20a – 20b)




The Mishna states: The Chachamim imposed various stringencies to protect kodoshim that that did not impose for terumah.


1) We may immerse utensils inside of other utensils in a mikvah for terumah, but not for kodesh.
2) Different parts of the utensil are considered separate for terumah, but not for kodesh (if one part becomes tamei, the rest of the utensil becomes tamei).


3) One may carry terumah while he is carrying a midras (objects that became tamei when a zav, zavah or niddah place their weight on them – they are classified as an av hatumah and have the ability to contaminate people or utensils), but one may not carry kodesh while carrying a midras.


4) The clothing of those eating terumah is regarded as tumas midras for those that are eating kodoshim.


5) When immersing garments for kodesh, one must first untie them and dry them, but for terumah one may immerse them while they are knotted (and/or wet).


6) Utensils that were completed in a state of tahara still require immersion for kodesh, but not for terumah.


7) A utensil combines all of its contents together for kodesh (if one piece becomes tamei, they all become tamei even if they are not touching each other), but not for terumah.


8) Tumah of kodesh extends to a fourth level (revii), while that of terumah extends only to a third level (shlishi).


9) Regarding terumah, if one’s hand becomes tamei, the other hand remains tahor, while for kodesh, one must immerse both hands, because one hand contaminates the other for kodesh but not for terumah.


10) One may eat dry terumah foods with hands that are tamei, but not kodesh foods.


11) An onein (one whose close relative passed away and has not been buried yet), a mechusar kippurim (one who is lacking atonement) require immersion for kodesh, but not for terumah. (20b – 21a)





*** Our Gemara states that one must be more scrupulous regarding utensils that are used on Shabbos than those that are used on weekdays.

The Mabit writes that the Gemora states that one is required to purify himself prior to a festival by immersing in a mikveh. The Mabit wonders why one would not also be required to immerse himself prior to Shabbos? The Mabit answers that one is not required to immerse in a mikveh prior to Shabbos because the sanctity of Shabbos will cleanse the person from any impurities.


Reb Yosef Engel questions this answer, as our Gemara clearly states that one is required to be more scrupulous on Shabbos regarding matters of impurity.


*** The Gemora states that a person cannot watch something that is in his friend’s hand. We need to be certain that the utensil did not become tamei; only the holder can provide us with that assurance.


The Minchas Chinuch (10) proves from here that whenever intention is needed, the one who is performing the action must be the one who has the intention. Therefore, he rules that a non-Jew, mute or minor cannot knead the dough for matzah even if there will be someone else watching. Only the person kneading the dough can be certain that it did not become chametz.


Other Acharonim disagree and differentiate between those with intellect and those without. If the person has his own intellect, then he cannot be watched; however, a mute or a minor that have no intellect on their own may be watched.


*** The Mishna states: If one hand became tamei, the other is tamei as well; but only regarding kodoshim and not in respect for terumah.

The Minchas Chinuch (106) writes that if a Kohen loses concentration regarding one of his hands during the Bais HaMikdosh service; he has to sanctify that hand again, but not the other hand.


The distinction is that the mitzvah for the Kohen to wash his hands and feet prior to performing the sacrificial service is a Biblical one; our Mishna is discussing Rabbinical stringencies that were applied to kodoshim.




 L’zecher Nishmas HaRav Raphael Dov ben HaRav Yosef Yechezkel Marcus O”H