Pesachim 16aפסחים ט״ז א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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16aט״ז א

ספק משקין ליטמא טמא לטמא אחרים טהור דברי רבי מאיר וכן היה רבי אלעזר אומר כדבריו רבי יהודה אומר לכל טמא

If there is uncertainty whether or not a certain liquid has become ritually impure, it is presumed impure. It is an uncertainty with regard to Torah law, and the halakha is stringent in such cases. However, if the uncertainty is with regard to rendering other items impure, they are pure, as liquids transmit impurity by rabbinic law, and the halakha is lenient with regard to uncertainties of that kind. These are the statements of Rabbi Meir, and Rabbi Elazar would say likewise in accordance with his statements. Rabbi Yehuda says: When there is uncertainty with regard to these liquids, the item is impure in all cases, even in terms of transmitting impurity to other items, as he maintains that the impurity of liquids is by Torah law.

רבי יוסי ורבי שמעון אומרים לאוכלין טמאין לכלים טהורין

Rabbi Yosei and Rabbi Shimon say: In cases of uncertainty as to whether or not these liquids transmitted impurity to foods, the ruling is that the foods are impure, in accordance with the principle that when there is uncertainty in cases of Torah law, the halakha is stringent. Rabbi Yosei and Rabbi Shimon maintain that liquids transmit impurity to food by Torah law. However, when there is uncertainty as to whether or not these liquids transmitted impurity to vessels, the halakha is lenient, and they are pure. Even Rabbi Yosei and Rabbi Shimon concede that liquids transmit impurity to vessels only by rabbinic law. This baraita clearly indicates that Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Yosei indeed dispute whether or not the impurity of liquids applies by Torah law.

וסבר רבי אלעזר משקין אית להו טומאה בעולם והתניא רבי אלעזר אומר אין טומאה למשקין כל עיקר תדע שהרי העיד (יוסף) בן יועזר איש צרידה על איל קמצא דכן ועל משקין בית מטבחיא דכן

With regard to the Tosefta, the Gemara asks: And does Rabbi Elazar maintain that liquids have ritual impurity by Torah law at all? Wasn’t it taught in a baraita that Rabbi Elazar says: There is no impurity for liquids at all by Torah law. Know that this is so, as Yosei ben Yo’ezer of Tzereida testified about the grasshopper called eil kamtza that it is kosher and may be eaten; and he testified about liquids in the slaughterhouse in the Temple that they were ritually pure, as there was no decree of impurity issued with regard to them. The fact that these liquids are ritually pure indicates that by Torah law liquids cannot transmit impurity at all. Instead, that type of impurity is by rabbinic law, and rabbinic decrees of impurity were not in effect in the Temple.

הניחא לשמואל דאמר דכן מלטמא טומאת אחרים אבל טומאת עצמן יש להן שפיר אלא לרב דאמר דכן ממש מאי איכא למימר

The Gemara adds: This works out well according to the opinion of Shmuel, who said that in this context the term ritually pure means that they do not transmit impurity to other items; however, they themselves can become impure. If that is Rabbi Elazar’s opinion, he indeed holds in accordance with the statement of Rabbi Meir that liquids transmit impurity by rabbinic law but themselves become impure by Torah law, as stated in the baraita above. However, according to Rav, who said that Yosei ben Yo’ezer holds that the liquids are actually ritually pure and they themselves cannot be rendered impure, what can be said? According to Rav, Rabbi Elazar maintains that there is no impurity at all by Torah law with regard to liquids. In what sense does he hold in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Meir, who said that liquids themselves can become impure by Torah law?

אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק אחדא

Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: When the baraita said that Rabbi Elazar agreed with Rabbi Meir, it was with regard to one of Rabbi Meir’s opinions. Rabbi Elazar agrees with Rabbi Meir that in a case where there is uncertainty with regard to rendering other items impure, they are pure, as liquids transmit impurity by rabbinic law. However, Rabbi Elazar maintains that the impurity of liquids themselves is also not by Torah law, and therefore in a case of uncertainty with regard to impurity of the liquids themselves, the ruling is that they are pure.

והא כדבריו קאמר דנפישי ועוד והא וכן קתני קשיא

The Gemara raises a difficulty: But isn’t the baraita saying: And Rabbi Elazar would say in accordance with Rabbi Meir’s statements, in the plural, indicating that the points of agreement are many? And furthermore, the baraita is teaching: Likewise. This term also indicates that Rabbi Elazar agrees completely with Rabbi Meir. Since no resolution was found for this contradiction, the Gemara concludes that it is indeed difficult to understand the baraita according to Rav.

גופא רב אמר דכן ממש ושמואל אמר דכן מלטמא טומאת אחרים אבל טומאת עצמן יש להן רב אמר דכן ממש קסבר טומאת משקין דרבנן וכי גזרו רבנן במשקין דעלמא ובמשקין בית מטבחיא לא גזור

After citing the testimony of Yosei ben Yo’ezer and the associated amoraic dispute, the Gemara analyzes the matter itself. Rav said: Yosei ben Yo’ezer said that the liquids in the Temple are actually ritually pure and neither become impure nor transmit impurity. And Shmuel said that the liquids are ritually pure in the sense that they do not transmit impurity to other items; however, they themselves can become impure. The Gemara elaborates: Rav said that liquids are actually pure, as he maintains that the ritual impurity of liquids is by rabbinic law, and when the Sages issued this decree they did so only with regard to ordinary liquids. However, with regard to the liquids of the slaughterhouse in the Temple, they did not issue the decree.

ושמואל אמר דכן מלטמא טומאת אחרים אבל טומאת עצמן יש להן קסבר טומאת משקין עצמן דאורייתא לטמא אחרים דרבנן וכי גזור רבנן במשקין דעלמא במשקין בית מטבחיא לא גזור וכי לא גזור רבנן לטמויי אחרים אבל טומאת עצמן יש להן

And the Gemara elaborates on the opinion of Shmuel: Shmuel said that the liquids are ritually pure in the sense that they do not transmit impurity to other items; however, they themselves can become impure, as Shmuel maintains that the ritual impurity of liquids themselves is by Torah law, whereas their capacity to transmit impurity to other objects is by rabbinic law. And when the Sages issued this decree, they did so only with regard to ordinary liquids. However, with regard to the liquids of the slaughterhouse in the Temple they did not issue the decree. And when Shmuel said that the Sages did not issue their decree with regard to the liquids of the slaughterhouse, he meant that they did not do so with regard to their capacity to transmit impurity to other items; however, as far as their own impurity is concerned, they become impure like other liquids.

אמר ליה רב הונא בר חיננא לבריה כי עיילת לקמיה דרב פפא רמי ליה מי אמר שמואל דכן מלטמא טומאת אחרים אבל טומאת עצמן יש להן קרי כאן והבשר אשר יגע בכל טמא לא יאכל

Rav Huna bar Ḥinnana said to his son: When you enter before Rav Pappa, raise the following contradiction before him: Did Shmuel actually say that the liquids are ritually pure in the sense that they do not transmit impurity to other items but they themselves are susceptible to impurity? Is there anything that by Torah law can itself become impure but does not transmit impurity to other items? Read here a verse that clearly states that any item that is itself impure, including liquids, transmits impurity to other items: “And the flesh that touches anything impure shall not be eaten; it shall be burnt in fire” (Leviticus 7:19).

אמר רב שישא בריה דרב אידי מידי דהוה ארביעי בקדש מתקיף לה רב אשי רביעי בקדש לא איקרי טמא האי איקרי טמא קשיא

Rav Sheisha, son of Rav Idi, said: The legal status of liquids is just as it is in the case of fourth-degree ritual impurity in a consecrated item, with regard to which everyone agrees that it becomes impure but does not transmit impurity to other items. Rav Ashi strongly objects to this contention: How is it possible to compare these two cases? Fourth-degree impurity in a consecrated item is not called impure; it is disqualified. However, this liquid is called impure. Therefore, the two halakhot are not comparable. No resolution is found for this contradiction, and the Gemara concludes that it is indeed difficult.

תא שמע וכל משקה אשר ישתה בכל כלי יטמא מאי יטמא הכשיר

The Gemara cites several sources to decide the dispute between the tanna’im and between Rav and Shmuel with regard to whether or not the impurity of liquids is by Torah law. Come and hear: “And all drink that may be drunk in any vessel shall be impure” (Leviticus 11:34). This verse clearly indicates that liquids can become impure. The Gemara rejects this contention: What is the meaning of the term: Shall be impure, in this context? It means that the liquid renders produce susceptible to ritual impurity.

הכשיר מרישא דקרא שמעת ליה מכל האכל אשר יאכל וגו׳ חד בתלושין וחד במחוברין

The Gemara retorts: Does it in fact mean that the liquid renders produce susceptible to ritual impurity? That cannot be as you already learned that from the beginning of this verse: “From all food that may be eaten, on which water has come shall be impure” (Leviticus 11:34). The Gemara answers: Nevertheless, the second part of the verse is also necessary: One part of the verse, the latter part, is referring to water detached from its source, in vessels, and one part, the former part, is referring to water still attached to its source in the ground.

וצריכי דאי אשמעינן בתלושין משום דאחשבינהו אבל מחוברין אימא לא

And both derivations are necessary, as neither halakha could have been derived from the other. As, had the Torah taught us only about the halakha of water detached from its source, one might have thought that this water renders food susceptible to ritual impurity due to the fact that he ascribed significance to the water by drawing it from its source. However, with regard to water still attached to its source, say that it does not render food susceptible to ritual impurity.

ואי תנא מחוברין משום דקיימי בדוכתייהו חשיבי אבל תלושין אימא לא צריכי

And had the Torah taught only the halakha of water still attached to its source, one might have thought that due to the fact that it stands in its place this water is significant; however, with regard to water detached from its source, say no, it does not render food susceptible to ritual impurity, as it is disconnected from its source. It was therefore necessary for the Torah to mention both cases.

תא שמע אך מעין ובור מקוה מים יהיה טהור מאי יהיה טהור מטומאתו

The Gemara cites another proof. Come and hear: “However, a spring or a cistern, a gathering of water shall be pure, but he who touches their carcass shall be impure” (Leviticus 11:36). It can be inferred from this verse that all water can be rendered impure, with the exception of spring water and water in a cistern, which are in the ground. The Gemara rejects this contention: What is the meaning of the phrase: “Shall be pure”? This phrase means that one who immerses in this water is purified from his ritual impurity, and does not refer to the impurity of liquids at all.

ותלושין מי מכשירין והאמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא משקין בית מטבחיא לא דיין שהן דכן אלא שאין מכשירין

The Gemara stated that both water detached from its source and water still attached to its source render food susceptible to ritual impurity. The Gemara asks: And does water detached from its source render food susceptible to contract impurity? Didn’t Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, say: With regard to the liquids of the slaughterhouse in the Temple, not only are they pure, but neither do they render produce susceptible to ritual impurity? Apparently, water detached from its source does not render food susceptible to impurity by Torah law. The fact that the Sages suspend the capacity of certain liquids to render produce susceptible to impurity indicates that the fact that water removed from its source renders food susceptible to impurity must be by rabbinic decree. Otherwise, that capability could not have been suspended in the Temple.

תירגמא על דם דאמר רבי חייא בר אבא אמר רבי יוחנן מנין לדם קדשים שאינו מכשיר שנאמר על הארץ תשפכנו כמים דם שנשפך כמים מכשיר

The Gemara rejects this contention: Explain this statement as referring to blood. Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina was not referring to all liquids in the Temple, but only to blood. As Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: From where is it derived with regard to blood of consecrated offerings that it does not render produce susceptible to impurity? As it is stated: “You shall surely not eat the blood; you shall pour it upon the earth like water” (Deuteronomy 12:16). The Sages derived from this verse: Blood that is poured like water, i.e., blood from a non-sacred domesticated animal that pours out when it is slaughtered and is not received in a vessel as sacrificial blood assumes the legal status of water and renders produce susceptible to ritual impurity.