Chullin 11aחולין י״א א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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11aי״א א

כגון דקיימי דרא דגברי ואמרי כדקאי קאי

in a case where there is a row of standing men, from the house to be quarantined to the priest’s house, and they each say to the one standing next to him that the leprous mark remains standing unaltered.

מנא הא מילתא דאמור רבנן זיל בתר רובא מנלן דכתיב (שמות כג, ב) אחרי רבים להטות

§ After discussing the role of presumptive status in determining halakha, the Gemara discusses the role of the majority. From where is this matter that the Sages stated: Follow the majority, derived? The Gemara is surprised at the question: From where do we derive it? Obviously, it is derived from a verse, as it is written explicitly: “After the majority to incline” (Exodus 23:2).

רובא דאיתא קמן כגון ט' חנויות וסנהדרין לא קא מיבעיא לן

The Gemara explains: With regard to a majority that is quantifiable before us, for example, in the case of a piece of meat that was found on the street before ten shops, nine shops selling kosher meat and one shop selling non-kosher meat, one follows the majority and deems that piece kosher. Or when the Sanhedrin adjudicates a case, one follows a majority of the judges in determining the ruling. In these cases, we do not raise the dilemma.

כי קא מיבעיא לן רובא דליתיה קמן כגון קטן וקטנה מנלן

When the dilemma is raised to us it is in the case of a majority that is not quantifiable before us, for example, the case of a minor boy and a minor girl. If the boy entered into levirate marriage with the girl, it is permitted for them to remain married, and there is no concern that when they grow older it will be discovered that the boy or the girl never develop sexually. Rather, one follows the majority, that minors develop sexually at puberty. It is with regard to that non-quantifiable majority that the Gemara asks: From where do we derive it?

א"ר אלעזר (סימן זמן שבח מכנש)

Rabbi Elazar said an answer to this question. Before presenting his answer, the Gemara cites a mnemonic for the names of the Sages who address this question: Zayin, Rabbi Elazar; mem, Mar, son of Ravina; nun, Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak; shin, Rav Sheshet; beit, Rabba bar Rav Sheila; ḥet, Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov; mem, Rav Mari; kaf, Rav Kahana; nun, Ravina; shin, Rav Ashi.

אתיא מרישא של עולה דאמר קרא (ויקרא א, ו) ונתח אותה לנתחיה אותה לנתחיה ולא נתחיה לנתחים וניחוש שמא ניקב קרום של מוח אלא לאו משום דאמרינן זיל בתר רובא

Rabbi Elazar’s answer was as follows: It is derived from the halakha concerning the head of a burnt offering, that one severs it from the animal’s body but does not cut it into smaller pieces, as the verse states: “And he shall flay the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces” (Leviticus 1:6), and it is inferred: The animal is cut into its pieces, but its pieces, including its head, are not cut into pieces. Rabbi Elazar suggested: And since the head is not cut and cannot be examined, let us be concerned that perhaps the brain membrane was perforated, which would render the animal a tereifa and unfit for sacrifice. Rather, is the reason we are not concerned for this not due to the fact that we say: Follow the majority of animals, which are not tereifot?

ממאי דילמא דפלי ליה ובדק ליה ואי משום אותה לנתחיה ולא נתחיה לנתחים ה"מ היכא דחתיך ליה לגמרי אבל היכא דלייף לית לן בה

The Gemara asks: From where is that conclusion drawn? Perhaps the reference is to a case where one splits the head open and examines the brain membrane. And if that could not be due to the inference: The animal is cut into its pieces, but its pieces are not cut into pieces, that statement applies in a case where one cuts the head completely in half. But in a case where the sides of the head remain joined, we have no problem with it. Therefore, no proof can be cited from here.

מר בריה דרבינא אמר אתיא משבירת עצם בפסח דאמר רחמנא (שמות יב, מו) ועצם לא תשברו בו וניחוש שמא ניקב קרום של מוח אלא לאו משום דאמרינן זיל בתר רובא

Mar, son of Ravina, said: The fact that we follow a non-quantifiable majority is derived from the halakha of the breaking of a bone in the Paschal offering, as the Merciful One states: “Nor shall you break a bone thereof” (Exodus 12:46). Mar, son of Ravina, suggested: And let us be concerned that perhaps the brain membrane was perforated and the animal is a tereifa, as it is impossible to examine its brain membrane since one may not break its bones. Rather, is the reason we are not concerned for this not due to the fact that we say: Follow the majority of animals, which are not tereifot?

ממאי דלמא דמנח גומרתא עליה וקלי ליה ובדיק ליה דתניא המחתך בגידים והשורף בעצמות אין בו משום שבירת עצם

The Gemara asks: From where is that conclusion drawn? Perhaps the reference is to a case where one places a coal on the head and burns through the head, exposing the brain membrane, and then examines it, as it is taught in a baraita: One who cuts the sinews or burns the bones of the Paschal offering is not subject to lashes due to the prohibition of breaking bones. Therefore, no proof can be cited from here either.

ר"נ בר יצחק אמר אתיא מאליה דאמר רחמנא (ויקרא ג, ט) חלבו האליה תמימה וליחוש שמא נפסקה חוט השדרה אלא לאו משום דאמרינן זיל בתר רובא

Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: It is derived from the halakha of the tail of a lamb brought as a peace offering, with regard to which the Merciful One states: “And he shall sacrifice of the peace offering…the fat tail whole, which he shall remove opposite the rump bone” (Leviticus 3:9), meaning that the tail must remain intact and may not be cut. Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak suggested: And let us be concerned that perhaps the segment of the spinal column in the tail was severed prior to slaughter, rendering the animal a tereifa and unfit for sacrifice. Rather, is the reason we are not concerned for this not due to the fact that we say: Follow the majority of animals, which are not tereifot?

וכי תימא דמתתאי פסיק לה (ויקרא ג, ט) לעומת העצה אמר רחמנא מקום שהכליות יועצות

And if you would say in rejection of that proof that one severs the tail from below the spine, in a place that would not render the animal a tereifa, the Merciful One states: “Opposite the rump bone [he’atze],” the place where the kidneys advise [yo’atzot], This is a location where severing the spinal column renders the animal a tereifa. Consequently, the proof that the majority is followed remains intact.

ממאי דלמא דפתח לה ובדיק לה ואי משום תמימה הני מילי היכא דחתכה לגמרי אבל היכא דלייף לית לן בה

The Gemara asks: From where is that conclusion drawn? Perhaps the reference is to a case where one splits the tail and examines the spinal column. And if that could not be, due to the requirement that the fat tail remain “whole,” that statement applies in a case where one cuts the tail completely in half. But in a case where the sides of the tail remain joined, we have no problem with it. Therefore, no proof can be cited from here.

רב ששת בריה דרב אידי אמר אתיא מעגלה ערופה דאמר רחמנא (דברים כא, ו) הערופה כשהיא שלמה תיהוי וליחוש דלמא טרפה היא אלא לאו משום דאמרינן זיל בתר רובא

Rav Sheshet, son of Rav Idi, said: The principle of following a non-quantifiable majority is derived from the halakha of the heifer whose neck is broken when a person is found killed in an area that is between two cities and the murderer is unknown (Deuteronomy 21:1–9). As the Merciful One states: “And all the elders of that city…shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken, in the valley” (Deuteronomy 21:6), from which it is inferred: Other than its neck being broken, the heifer should remain in a state where it is whole. And if one does not follow the majority, let us be concerned that perhaps the animal is a tereifa. Rather, is the reason we are not concerned for this not due to the fact that we say: Follow the majority of animals, which are not tereifot?

וכי תימא מאי נפקא מינה הא אמרי דבי רבי ינאי כפרה כתיב בה כקדשים

And if you would say in rejection of that proof that there is no need for an examination, as what difference is there whether it is a tereifa, since it is neither eaten nor sacrificed, didn’t they say in the school of Rabbi Yannai: A term of atonement is written in its regard (see Deuteronomy 21:8), indicating that the halakhic status of the heifer whose neck is broken is like that of sacrificial animals, and a tereifa is unfit for use in that ritual?

רבה בר רב שילא אמר אתיא מפרה אדומה דאמר רחמנא (במדבר יט, ג) ושחט ושרף מה שחיטתה כשהיא שלמה אף שריפתה כשהיא שלמה וליחוש דילמא טרפה היא אלא לאו משום דאמרינן זיל בתר רובא

Rabba bar Rav Sheila said: The principle of following an unquantifiable majority is derived from the halakha of the red heifer, with regard to which the Merciful One states: “And he shall slaughter…and he shall burn” (Numbers 19:3, 5), from which it is derived: Just as its slaughter is performed when it is whole, so too its burning is performed when it is whole. And if the majority is not followed, let us be concerned that perhaps the animal is a tereifa. Rather, is the reason we are not concerned for this not due to the fact that we say: Follow the majority of animals, which are not tereifot?

וכי תימא מאי נפקא מינה חטאת קרייה רחמנא

And if you would say in rejection of that proof that there is no need for an examination, as what difference is there whether it is a tereifa, since it is neither eaten nor sacrificed, the Merciful One called it ḥatat, meaning purification, just as a sin offering is called ḥatat, indicating that in both cases a tereifa is unfit.

רב אחא בר יעקב אמר אתיא משעיר המשתלח דרחמנא אמר (ויקרא טז, ז) ולקח את שני השעירים שיהו שניהם שוים וליחוש

Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said: The fact that one follows a non-quantifiable majority is derived from the halakha of the scapegoat, with regard to which the Merciful One says: “And he shall take the two goats…one lot for the Lord and one lot for Azazel” (Leviticus 16:7–8). From the fact that the verse mentions the two goats together, the Sages inferred that the two goats should be equal. But how can it be ascertained that they are equal; let us be concerned