ועבודה דוחה את השבת מילה דוחה אותה שבת שנדחית מפני העבודה אינו דין שתהא מילה דוחה אותה
and the Temple service overrides Shabbat, as Shabbat offerings are sacrificed at their appointed time, and nevertheless circumcision overrides leprosy, i.e., if there were symptoms of leprosy on the foreskin of the baby, one circumcises the child even though he thereby violates the prohibition to cut off symptoms of leprosy; therefore, with regard to Shabbat, which is overridden by the Temple service, is it not logical that circumcision, which is so stringent that it overrides leprosy, overrides Shabbat as well? This was the tanna’s reasoning at the outset.
ומאי או אינו דקאמר הדר אמר וממאי דצרעת חמורה דילמא שבת חמורה שכן יש בה עונשין ואזהרות הרבה (אי נמי) וממאי משום דחמירא צרעת היא דילמא משום גברא הוא דלא חזי ומה אני מקיים שמיני ימול חוץ משבת תלמוד לומר ביום אפילו בשבת:
And what was the reason the tanna said: Or perhaps, and questioned his previous statement? He reconsidered and said: And from where do we know that leprosy is more stringent than Shabbat? Perhaps Shabbat is more stringent, as it includes the severe punishments of karet and execution by stoning, and numerous warnings pertaining to it throughout the Torah. Alternatively, and from where do we know that the reason the Temple service does not override the prohibition of leprosy is specifically because leprosy is more stringent than the Temple service? Perhaps the Temple service does not override the prohibition of leprosy because a man afflicted with leprosy is unfit to perform the Temple service and not due to the stringency of the prohibition to remove symptoms of leprosy from one’s body. And if so, how do I establish the verse: “And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised” (Leviticus 12:3)? That it applies to days other than Shabbat. Consequently, the tanna cited additional proof from that which the Torah states: “On the day,” indicating that circumcision is performed even on Shabbat.
תנו רבנן מילה דוחה את הצרעת בין בזמנה בין שלא בזמנה יום טוב אינה דוחה אלא בזמנה בלבד
The Sages taught: Circumcision overrides leprosy. The foreskin is cut even if it has symptoms of leprosy on it, despite the fact that there is a Torah prohibition to cut off symptoms of leprosy. This is the halakha both when the circumcision takes place at its appointed time, on the eighth day, or when it is not performed at its appointed time but after the eighth day. However, circumcision overrides a Festival only when performed at its appointed time.
מנהני מילי דתנו רבנן ימול בשר ערלתו ואף על פי שיש שם בהרת יקוץ ומה אני מקיים השמר בנגע הצרעת בשאר מקומות חוץ ממילה
The Gemara asks: From where are these matters derived? As the Sages taught in a baraita with regard to the verse: “And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised” (Leviticus 12:3), since this verse is stated in general terms, it teaches that even though there is a bright white leprous spot there, he should cut it. And how do I establish the verse: “Take care with regard to the plague of leprosy to take great care and to perform in accordance with all that the priests, the Levites, instruct you; as I commanded them you shall take care to perform” (Deuteronomy 24:8)? Does usage of the term “take care” indicate that there is a negative mitzva that prohibits cutting off symptoms of leprosy? We establish this prohibition as applying in other places, other than the place of a circumcision.
או אינו אלא אפילו מילה ומה אני מקיים ימול בשר ערלתו בזמן שאין בה בהרת תלמוד לומר בשר ואף על פי שיש שם בהרת
The tanna asks: Or perhaps that is not the case; rather, this prohibition applies even in the place of circumcision, and how do I validate the verse: “The flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised”? It applies when there is no bright white leprous spot on the foreskin. So that we will not interpret the verse that way, the verse states the superfluous word flesh. It would have been sufficient to state: His foreskin shall be circumcised, but instead the verse stated: “The flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised,” indicating that the foreskin must be removed even though there is a bright white spot there.
אמר רבא האי תנא מעיקרא מאי ניחא ליה ולבסוף מאי קשיא ליה
Rava said: Initially, what did this tanna find acceptable, and ultimately, what did he find difficult? At first he assumed that the mitzva of circumcision is more stringent, but he ultimately rejected this assumption with no explanation.
הכי קאמר ימול בשר ערלתו ואף על פי שיש בהרת ומה אני מקיים השמר בנגע הצרעת בשאר מקומות חוץ ממילה אבל מילה דוחה את הצרעת מאי טעמא דאתיא מקל וחומר ומה שבת חמורה מילה דוחה אותה צרעת לא כל שכן
Rather, this is what he is saying: Initially he held that the phrase: The flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised teaches that it is permitted to remove the foreskin even though there is a bright white spot there. And how do I validate the following verse: Take care with regard to the plague of leprosy? It applies in other places, aside from the place of circumcision, but circumcision overrides leprosy. What is the reason for this? It is derived by means of an a fortiori inference: Just as Shabbat is stringent and nevertheless circumcision overrides it, all the more so that circumcision overrides leprosy, which is less stringent than Shabbat.
ומאי או אינו דקאמר הדר קאמר ממאי דשבת חמירא דילמא צרעת חמירא שכן דוחה את העבודה ועבודה דוחה את השבת תלמוד לומר בשר ואף על פי שיש שם בהרת
And what was the reason for the term or perhaps that the tanna is saying to question his previous statement? He reconsidered and said: From where do we know that Shabbat is more stringent? Perhaps leprosy is more stringent, as leprosy overrides the Temple service, as stated earlier, and the Temple service overrides Shabbat. Therefore, the verse states the additional word flesh, to teach that the foreskin is removed even though there is a bright white leprous spot there.
לישנא אחרינא מילה דוחה את הצרעת מאי טעמא דאתי עשה ודחי לא תעשה ומאי או אינו דקאמר הדר קאמר אימר דאמרינן דאתי עשה ודחי את לא תעשה לא תעשה גרידא האי עשה ולא תעשה הוא ומה אני מקיים ימול בשר ערלתו בזמן שאין בה בהרת תלמוד לומר בשר ואף על פי שיש שם בהרת
The Gemara cites another version of Rava’s comments. Initially the tanna thought that circumcision overrides leprosy. What is the reason for this? He relied on the principle that a positive mitzva comes and overrides a negative mitzva. And what was the reason the tanna is saying: Or perhaps to question his previous statement? He reconsidered and said: Say that we say that a positive mitzva comes and overrides a negative mitzva when there is a negative mitzva alone. However, this cutting off leprosy is prohibited by both a positive mitzva and a negative mitzva. And how do I establish the verse: The flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised? It applies only when there is no bright white spot on the foreskin. Therefore, the verse states the additional word flesh in order to emphasize that the foreskin is removed, even though there is a bright white spot there.
תינח גדול דכתיב בהו בשר קטן נמי כתיב ביה בשר בינוני מנלן
The Gemara questions the derivation from the word flesh: This works out well with regard to the circumcision of an adult who has not yet been circumcised, as the word flesh is written with regard to adults in the verse: “And an uncircumcised male who will not circumcise the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from its people; My covenant he has broken” (Genesis 17:14). Similarly, it works out well with regard to a minor who is circumcised on the eighth day, as the superfluous word flesh is also written with regard to him. However, with regard to a person at an intermediate stage of life, i.e., a child who was not circumcised on the eighth day but has not yet reached majority, from where do we derive that his circumcision overrides leprosy? The Torah explicitly mandates his circumcision: “Circumcise for yourselves every male” (Genesis 17:10). However, that verse does not employ the term flesh.
אמר אביי אתיא מביניא מגדול לא אתיא שכן ענוש כרת מקטן לא אתיא שכן מילה בזמנה הצד השוה שבהן שכן נימולין ודוחין את הצרעת אף כל שנימולין דוחין את הצרעת
Abaye said: It is derived from a combination of the two sources about the status of a child at the intermediate stage, from the common denominator between an eight-day-old and one who reached majority. From an adult alone, the halakha with regard to an intermediate child cannot be derived, as an adult is punishable by karet if he fails to circumcise himself, but an intermediate child is not punishable by karet. Likewise, from the case of an eight-day-old child, the case of an intermediate child cannot be derived; since the circumcision at its time overrides Shabbat it may also override leprosy. However, the common denominator between an eight-day-old and an adult is that they are circumcised and their circumcision overrides leprosy. So too, all who are circumcised, including those in the intermediate stage, override leprosy.
רבא אמר מילה בזמנה דוחה לא צריכא קרא מקל וחומר אתיא ומה שבת דחמירא דוחה צרעת לא כל שכן
Rava said: No verse is required to teach that circumcision at its appointed time overrides leprosy, as it is derived by means of an a fortiori inference: Just as circumcision overrides Shabbat, which is more stringent than leprosy, all the more so that circumcision overrides leprosy.
אמר ליה רב ספרא לרבא ממאי דשבת חמירא דילמא צרעת חמירא שכן דוחה את העבודה ועבודה דוחה את השבת התם לאו משום דחמירא צרעת אלא משום דגברא הוא דלא חזי אמאי ויקוץ בהרתו ויעבוד מחוסר טבילה הוא
Rav Safra said to Rava: From where do we know that Shabbat is more stringent? Perhaps leprosy is more stringent, as leprosy overrides the Temple service, and the Temple service overrides Shabbat. Rava answered: There, when leprosy overrides the Temple service, it is not because leprosy is more stringent; rather, it is because the man afflicted with leprosy is unfit for the Temple service. Rav Safra asked: Why is he unfit? Let him cut off his bright white leprous spot and serve. Rava answered: He would remain unfit to serve, as he is lacking immersion. In order to purify himself for service in the Temple, he must immerse himself and wait until the following day. In the meantime he is unfit.
תינח נגעים טמאים נגעים טהורים מאי איכא למימר
Rav Safra raised a difficulty: It works out well if we are referring to impure symptoms of leprosy, as even one who removes them must immerse afterward. However, with regard to pure symptoms of leprosy, there is a prohibition to cut off the symptoms even though there is no impurity. They have the legal status of blemishes that invalidate a priest from serving until it is cured. Once the bright white spot is removed, he may immediately serve in the Temple without immersion. What is there to say in that case?
אלא אמר רב אשי היכא אמרינן דאתי עשה ודחי לא תעשה כגון מילה בצרעת אי נמי ציצית וכלאים דבעידנא דמתעקר לאו קא מוקים עשה הכא בעידנא דמתעקר ללאו לא קא מוקים עשה
Rather, Rav Ashi said that this is the reason that leprosy overrides the Temple service: Where do we say that a positive mitzva overrides a negative mitzva? It is in cases like circumcision in a case of leprosy, or alternatively, ritual fringes and diverse kinds of wool and linen, as at the time the negative mitzva is uprooted, the positive mitzva is fulfilled in the very same action, e.g., when the ritual fringes are woolen and will be attached to a linen garment, a prohibited mixture is created. However, here, in the case of a person afflicted with pure symptoms of leprosy cutting off his symptoms to enable his involvement in the Temple service, it is different, at the time the negative mitzva is uprooted, the positive mitzva is not yet fulfilled, as cutting off the symptoms is only a preliminary action that enables him to serve. In that case, the positive mitzva does not override the negative one.
והא דרבא ורב ספרא
The Gemara points out that this disagreement between Rava and Rav Safra