Pesachim 17aפסחים י״ז א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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17aי״ז א

ואמר רב אישתבש כהני מידי הוא טעמא אלא לרב רב משקי בית מטבחיא תני אבל משקי בי מדבחיא מטמא

And Rav said: The priests erred in this regard, as those substances are actually impure. This source indicates that along with the meat, the stew, wine, and oil, which are liquids, also become ritually impure. The Gemara rejects this proof. This difficulty is reasonable only according to Rav, and Rav teaches that the testimony of Yosei ben Yo’ezer was that the liquids of the slaughterhouse, blood and water associated with the slaughter of offerings, do not become ritually impure. However, Rav agrees that the liquids of the chamber of the altar, wine and oil that accompany the offering on the altar, can become impure. The rabbinic decree that liquids can become impure is not in effect with regard to the liquids of the Temple slaughterhouse, but it is in effect with regard to the liquids offered on the altar. Therefore, the liquids listed by Haggai can become impure and transmit impurity by rabbinic law.

גופא רב אמר אישתבש כהני ושמואל אמר לא אישתבש כהני

Apropos Rav’s statement with regard to Haggai’s exchange with the priests, the Gemara discusses the matter itself. Rav said: The priests erred, as they should have said the oil is rendered impure. And Shmuel said: The priests did not err.

רב אמר אישתבש כהני רביעי בקדש בעא מינייהו ואמרו ליה טהור

The Gemara elaborates: Rav said that the priests erred, as Haggai raised the dilemma before them whether or not consecrated items become impure with fourth-degree ritual impurity. The question in the verse pertains to the following case: One is carrying a dead creeping animal in the corner of his garment and bread comes into contact with it, conferring upon the bread first-degree ritual impurity status; and stew comes in contact with the bread, conferring upon the stew second-degree ritual impurity status; and wine comes in contact with the stew, conferring upon the wine third-degree ritual impurity status; and oil comes into contact with the wine. The question is: In that case, does the wine confer upon the oil fourth-degree ritual impurity? And when the priests said to him that it is pure, they erred. In fact, the oil is disqualified with fourth-degree ritual impurity, because it is a consecrated item.

ושמואל אמר לא אישתבש כהני חמישי בקדש בעא מינייהו ואמרו ליה טהור

And Shmuel said: The priests did not err, as Haggai raised the dilemma before them whether or not consecrated items become impure with fifth-degree ritual impurity. According to Shmuel’s explanation, the case is as follows: The corner of the garment comes into contact with a dead creeping animal, conferring upon the garment first-degree ritual impurity status; bread comes into contact with the garment, conferring upon the bread second-degree ritual impurity status; stew comes in contact with the bread, conferring upon the stew third-degree ritual impurity status; and wine comes in contact with the stew, conferring upon the wine fourth-degree ritual impurity status; and oil comes into contact with the wine. In that case, does the wine confer upon the oil fifth-degree ritual impurity? And the priests correctly said to him that the oil is pure.

בשלמא לרב היינו דכתיב ארבעה לחם ונזיד ויין ושמן אלא לשמואל חמשה מנא ליה

The Gemara analyzes this dispute: Granted, according to the opinion of Rav, that is the reason that it is four items that are written in the dilemma raised in the verse: Bread, stew, wine, and oil, as the dilemma pertains to fourth-degree ritual impurity. However, according to Shmuel, from where does he learn that the dilemma involves five items?

מי כתיב ונגע כנפו ונגע בכנפו כתיב במה שנגע בכנפו

The Gemara explains Shmuel’s opinion. Is it written in the verse: And its corner touched the bread, indicating that the primary source of impurity that was in the corner of the garment touched the bread? It is actually written in the verse: “And it touched the corner of his garment,” meaning the bread came into contact with that which touched the primary source of ritual impurity that was in the corner of his garment. The bread came into contact with the corner of the garment, not with the primary source of impurity itself. Accordingly, the garment assumes first-degree ritual impurity status, which confers upon the bread second-degree ritual impurity status, which confers upon the stew third-degree ritual impurity status, which confers upon the wine fourth-degree ritual impurity status. Since the wine cannot confer fifth-degree ritual impurity status upon the oil, the oil remains pure.

תא שמע ויאמר חגי אם יגע טמא נפש בכל אלה היטמא ויענו הכהנים ויאמרו יטמא בשלמא לשמואל מדהכא לא אישתבש התם נמי לא אישתבש אלא לרב מאי שנא הכא דאישתבש ומאי שנא התם דלא אישתבש

The Gemara cites proof from the subsequent verse. Come and hear: “And Haggai said: If one who is impure with impurity imparted by a corpse touches any of these, shall he be impure? And the priests answered and said: He shall be impure” (Haggai 2:13). Granted, according to Shmuel, from the fact that here, with regard to a dead creeping animal, the priests did not err, as Shmuel maintains that the dilemma was with regard to fifth-degree ritual impurity, there too they did not err. However, according to Rav, what is different here, concerning the impurity of a creeping animal, such that the priests erred, and what is different there, with regard to impurity imparted by a corpse, such that they did not err?

אמר רב נחמן אמר רבה בר אבוה בקיאין הן בטומאת מת ואין בקיאין הן בטומאת שרץ

Rav Naḥman said that Rabba bar Avuh said: The priests of Haggai’s era were experts with regard to the severe ritual impurity imparted by a corpse, as they knew that the impurity of a dead body confers upon a consecrated item fourth-degree ritual impurity status. However, they were not experts with regard to the lesser impurity of a creeping animal.

רבינא אמר התם רביעי הכא שלישי

Ravina said that the distinction between the cases is different. There, the first dilemma addressed fourth-degree ritual impurity, whereas here, the dilemma addressed third-degree ritual impurity. Haggai’s second dilemma does not begin with contact with an item that came into contact with a corpse; rather, it begins with contact with the corpse itself. Since a corpse is the ultimate primary source of impurity, the fourth item is impure with third-degree ritual impurity. The priests knew that halakha.

תא שמע ויען חגי ויאמר כן העם הזה וכן הגוי הזה לפני נאם ה׳ וגו׳ בשלמא לרב היינו דכתיב טמא אלא לשמואל אמאי טמא

Come and hear a resolution to this matter from the next verse: “And Haggai answered and said: So is this people, and so is this nation before me, said God; and so is all the work of their hands; and that which they offer there is impure” (Haggai 2:14). Granted, according to the opinion of Rav that the priests erred, that is the reason that it is written: “That which they offer there is impure,” as the priests’ lack of familiarity with the halakhot of impurity increase the likelihood that all of their Temple service is ritually impure. However, according to Shmuel, why does the verse say that their offerings are ritually impure?

איתמוהי קא מתמה והא וכן כל מעשה ידיהם כתיב אמר מר זוטרא ואיתימא רב אשי מתוך שקלקלו את מעשיהם מעלה עליהם הכתוב כאילו הקריבו בטומאה

The Gemara answers: According to Shmuel, this is not a statement. Rather, the verse is a rhetorical question expressing bewilderment: Is all the Temple service of the priests really impure? Apparently, they are familiar with the halakhot of impurity. The Gemara raises a difficulty: But isn’t it written in that verse: “And so is all the work of their hands,” which is a statement, not a question? Mar Zutra, and some say it was Rav Ashi, said: Since they corrupted their deeds by sinning in general, the verse ascribes to them wrongdoing as if they sacrificed offerings in a state of impurity.

גופא רב תני משקי בית מטבחיא ולוי תנא משקי בי מדבחיא

Apropos the two versions of Yosei ben Yo’ezer’s testimony that the liquids in the Temple are ritually pure, the Gemara addresses the matter itself. Rav teaches that Yosei ben Yo’ezer spoke of the liquids of the slaughterhouse, blood and water, and Levi taught that this halakha applies to the liquids of the altar, which include the wine of libations and oil of meal-offerings in addition to blood and water.

ללוי הניחא אי סבירא ליה כשמואל דאמר דכן מלטמא טומאת אחרים אבל טומאת עצמן יש להן משכחת לה דנגעי כולהו בראשון

The Gemara comments: According to the opinion of Levi, this works out well if he holds in accordance with the opinion of Shmuel, who said that Yosei ben Yo’ezer testified that the liquids are ritually pure in the sense that they do not transmit impurity to other items but they themselves can become impure. In that case, you can find a scenario for Haggai’s second question; all the substances mentioned made contact with an object with first-degree ritual impurity status. Levi can explain that the prophet’s dilemma is not in a case where the different items came into contact with each other, as he is of the opinion that liquids do not transmit impurity. Rather, the stew, wine, and oil each came in contact with an object with first-degree impurity, in accordance with Shmuel’s opinion that consecrated liquids themselves can become impure. Accordingly, the priests answered that these objects are impure.

אלא אי סבר ליה כרב דאמר דכן ממש היכי משכחת לה על כרחך כשמואל סבירא ליה

However, if Levi holds in accordance with the opinion of Rav that the liquids are actually ritually pure, under what circumstances can a scenario in which wine and oil, liquids offered on the altar, can become ritually impure be found? Rather, perforce you must say that he holds in accordance with the opinion of Shmuel with regard to the meaning of the term pure in this context.

ולשמואל הניחא אי סבר לה כרב דתני משקי בית מטבחיא אבל משקי בי מדבחיא אחריני נמי מיטמאו רביעי הוא דלא עביד חמישי הא שלישי עביד רביעי

The Gemara continues: And according to Shmuel, this works out well if he holds in accordance with the opinion of Rav, who taught that the decree to which Yosei ben Yo’ezer testified was issued with regard to the liquids of the slaughterhouse, but the other liquids of the altar transmit impurity as well. If that is Shmuel’s opinion he can explain Haggai’s dilemma, as it is only an item with fourth-degree impurity status that does not render another item impure with fifth-degree ritual impurity. However, an item with third-degree impurity status renders another item impure with fourth-degree ritual impurity.

אלא אי סבר ליה כלוי דתני משקי בי מדבחיא מאי איריא רביעי דלא עביד חמישי אפילו שני ושלישי נמי לא עבדי על כרחיך כרב סבירא ליה

However, if he holds in accordance with the opinion of Levi, who taught that the liquids of the altar, including wine and oil, do not transmit impurity, why does Haggai specifically state that a liquid with fourth-degree impurity status does not render another liquid impure with fifth-degree ritual impurity? Even if these liquids had first or second degree ritual impurity status, they do not render another item impure with second- and third-degree ritual impurity, as Levi maintains that consecrated liquids do not transmit impurity at all. Rather, perforce he holds in accordance with the opinion of Rav with regard to the object of Yosei ben Yo’ezer’s decree.

תניא כוותיה דרב תניא כוותיה דלוי תניא כוותיה דלוי הדם והיין והשמן והמים משקי בי מדבחיא שנטמאו בפנים והוציאן לחוץ טהורין נטמאו בחוץ והכניסן בפנים טמאין

The Gemara cites a source in support of each version, as it was taught in a baraita in accordance with the opinion of Rav, and it was taught in a baraita in accordance with the opinion of Levi. The Gemara elaborates: It was taught in a baraita in accordance with the opinion of Levi: With regard to the blood, the wine, the oil, and the water, in the case of all liquids of the altar that became ritually impure inside the Temple and one took them outside, they are pure in the sense that they do not transmit impurity to other objects. This is because when they were within the Temple confines that more stringent form of impurity did not take effect. However, if they became impure outside the Temple and one took them inside the Temple, they are impure even in terms of transmitting impurity to other items, as they too retain their prior level of impurity.

איני והאמר רבי יהושע בן לוי משקי בי מדבחיא לא אמרו דכן אלא במקומן מאי לאו למעוטי נטמאו בפנים והוציאן לחוץ לא למעוטי נטמאו בחוץ והכניסן בפנים

The Gemara raises a difficulty: Is that so? Didn’t Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi say: With regard to the liquids of the altar, the Sages said they are ritually pure only in their place. What, does this statement not come to exclude liquids that became impure inside the Temple and one took them outside, as in that case once they left the Temple they would be retroactively impure in terms of transmitting impurity? This contradicts the Gemara’s previous assertion. The Gemara responds: No, the statement comes to exclude liquids that became impure outside the Temple and one brought them inside.

והא במקומן קאמר הכי קאמר לא אמרו דכן אלא שנטמאו במקומן

The Gemara raises a difficulty: Didn’t Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi say: In their place, indicating that these liquids are pure in terms of transmitting impurity only if they remain inside the Temple? The Gemara answers that this is what Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi is saying: The Sages said they are pure only with regard to those liquids that became impure in their place, not with regard to those that became impure elsewhere and were brought into the Temple. In any case, the language of the baraita clearly indicates that the legal status of wine and oil is like that of other sacred liquids, in accordance with the opinion of Levi.

תניא כוותיה דרב הדם והמים משקי בית מטבחיא שנטמאו בין בכלים בין בקרקע טהורין

And it was taught in a baraita in accordance with the opinion of Rav: The blood and the water, the liquids of the slaughterhouse, that became ritually impure, whether they were in vessels or on the ground, are pure.