דאפיק חמור בהדה
where one took out a donkey with it. According to the first tanna, this would be permitted, since there is no concern that people would think that the wrong cow or cows were slaughtered. However, according to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, who maintains that this rationale is irrelevant, even this case would be excluded by the word “it.”
(במדבר יט, ג) ושחט אותה שלא ישחוט אחרת עמה לפניו לרב שלא יסיח דעתו ממנה לשמואל שיהא זר שוחט ואלעזר רואה
The Gemara expounds the next phrase in the verse: “And he shall slaughter it,” means that “it,” the red heifer, should be slaughtered and that no other should be slaughtered with it. And the next phrase: “Before him”; according to Rav, it means that he should not divert his attention from it. According to Shmuel, it indicates that a non-priest can slaughter it and Elazar the priest observes.
ולקח אלעזר הכהן מדמה באצבעו לשמואל לאהדוריה לאלעזר לרב הוי מיעוט אחר מיעוט ואין מיעוט אחר מיעוט אלא לרבות דאפילו כהן הדיוט
The Gemara proceeds to expound the next verse: “And Elazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger” (Numbers 19:4). What is indicated by specifying Elazar? According to Shmuel, since the phrase “before him” in the previous verse indicates that Elazar himself did not need to slaughter the red heifer but that rather a non-priest could, it is necessary in this stage to return it to Elazar, to indicate that he must himself take the blood with his finger. According to Rav, this is an example of a restrictive expression following a restrictive expression, as both verses indicate that the rite may be performed only by a priest. And there is a hermeneutical principle that a restrictive expression following a restrictive expression comes only to amplify the halakha and include additional cases. In this case, it serves to teach that even a common priest may perform the rite.
(במדבר יט, ו) ולקח הכהן עץ ארז ואזוב ושני תולעת לשמואל דאפי' בכהן הדיוט לרב אצטריך סלקא דעתך אמינא כיון דלאו גופה דפרה נינהו לא ליבעי כהן קא משמע לן
The Gemara expounds another verse in the same passage: “And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and a strip of crimson” (Numbers 19:6). What is indicated by specifying that this is done by the priest? According to Shmuel, who holds that in the previous stage the verse stated: “And Elazar the priest” to indicate that Elazar, i.e., a deputy High Priest, was required to perform that stage, the use of the term “the priest” in this stage indicates that a deputy High Priest is no longer required for this stage; rather, even a common priest may perform this stage. According to Rav, who holds that even in the previous stage a common priest may perform the rite, the term “and the priest” is necessary here, as it could enter your mind to say that since these stages do not involve the heifer itself, they do not require a priest at all. Therefore, the verse teaches us that this is not correct.
(במדבר יט, ז) וכבס בגדיו הכהן בכיהונו וטמא הכהן עד הערב כהן בכיהונו לדורות
The Gemara expounds the next verse: “Then the priest shall wash his clothes” (Numbers 19:7). Why is there a need to restate the involvement of the priest? To teach that he should be in his priestly state, i.e., wearing his priestly garments and fit for service. In the next phrase of the verse, the involvement of the priest is restated: “And the priest shall be impure until evening” (Numbers 19:7). This repetition is to teach that even in future generations the rite is to be performed only by a priest in his priestly state.
הניחא למאן דאמר לדורות בכהן הדיוט שפיר אלא למאן דאמר לדורות בכהן גדול השתא כהן גדול בעינן בכיהונו מיבעיא אין מילתא דאתיא בקל וחומר טרח וכתב לה קרא
The Gemara analyzes this derivation according to the two sides of the dispute the Gemara cited previously: It works out well according to the one who said that for future generations the rite of the red heifer may be performed by a common priest. It is therefore understandable that the verse emphasizes that the priest has to perform the rite in his priestly state. But according to the one who said that for future generations it must be performed by a High Priest, now that we require the High Priest, is it necessary to mention that he must be in his priestly state? Yes, sometimes there is a matter that could be derived by means of an a fortiori inference, and the verse nevertheless unnecessarily writes it explicitly.
(במדבר יט, ט) ואסף איש טהור את אפר הפרה והניח איש להכשיר את הזר טהור להכשיר את האשה והניח מי שיש בו דעת להניח יצאו חרש שוטה וקטן שאין בהן דעת להניח
The Gemara expounds another verse in the passage: “And a man who is pure shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and place them” (Numbers 19:9). The verse states “a man” to qualify a non-priest to perform this stage of the rite. The verse states “pure” to qualify even a woman to perform this stage. The verse states “and place” to indicate that only one who has the basic level of intelligence to be able to intentionally place the ashes in their place is qualified to do so, thereby excluding a deaf-mute, an imbecile, and a minor, since they do not have the basic level of intelligence to be able to intentionally place the ashes in their place.
תנן התם הכל כשרין לקדש חוץ מחרש שוטה וקטן ר' יהודה מכשיר בקטן ופוסל באשה ובאנדרוגינוס
The Gemara prefaces its exposition of another verse in the passage, which details the sanctification of the ashes of the red heifer, by citing a dispute concerning that stage: We learned in a mishna there, in tractate Para: Everyone is qualified to sanctify the ashes of the red heifer, i.e., to pour the water over them, except for a deaf-mute, an imbecile, and a minor. Rabbi Yehuda qualifies a minor, but disqualifies a woman and a hermaphrodite.
מאי טעמא דרבנן דכתיב (במדבר יט, יז) ולקחו לטמא מעפר שריפת החטאת הנך דפסלי לך באסיפה פסלי לך בקידוש והנך דאכשרי לך באסיפה אכשרי לך בקידוש
What is the reason of the Rabbis, i.e., the first tanna? As it is written: “And they shall take for the impure of the ashes of the burning of the purification from sin, and he shall put running water thereto in a vessel” (Numbers 19:17). The word “they” is understood as referring to those who perform the previous stage of gathering the ashes. The verse therefore indicates: Those whom I disqualified for you for gathering the ashes, I have disqualified for you also for sanctification; and those whom I have qualified for you for gathering the ashes, I have qualified for you for sanctification.
ורבי יהודה אם כן לימא קרא ולקח מאי ולקחו דאפי' קטן דפסלי לך התם הכא כשר
And why does Rabbi Yehuda not accept this reasoning? If so, let the verse say: And he shall take. What is the meaning of “and they shall take”? The use of the plural serves to qualify additional people who were excluded from the previous stage. It means that with regard to even a minor, who I disqualified there with regard to collecting the ash, here, with regard to sanctification, he is qualified.
אשה מנא ליה ונתן ולא ונתנה ורבנן אי כתב רחמנא ולקח ונתן ה"א עד דשקיל חד ויהיב חד כתב רחמנא ולקחו
From where does Rabbi Yehuda derive that a woman is unfit? The verse states “and he shall put” and not: And she shall put. How do the Rabbis interpret this verse? They assume that if the Merciful One had written: And he shall take…and he shall put, I would have said the rite is not valid unless one person takes and the same one puts the ashes in the water. Therefore, the Merciful One writes “and they shall take” to indicate that the taking and the putting need not necessarily be executed by the same individual.
ואי כתב רחמנא ולקחו ונתנו הוה אמינא עד דשקלי תרי ויהבי תרי כתב רחמנא ולקחו ונתן דאפילו שקלי תרי ויהיב חד
And if the Merciful One had written two plural forms such as: And they shall take…and they shall put, I would have said the rite is not valid unless two people take and two people put. Therefore, the Merciful One writes “and they shall take” and “and he shall put” (Numbers 19:17), to indicate that even if two take and one puts the rite is nevertheless valid.
ולקח אזוב וטבל במים איש טהור לרבנן איש ולא אשה טהור להכשיר את הקטן ולר' יהודה איש ולא קטן טהור להכשיר את האשה
The Gemara continues to expound the verses: “And a man who is pure shall take hyssop and dip it into the water” (Numbers 19:18). According to the Rabbis, who hold that the sanctification of the ashes in the previous stage may be performed by woman but not a minor, the word “man” indicates that for this stage, the taking and dipping of hyssop, only a man is qualified but not a woman, and the word “pure” is written to qualify even a minor for this stage. And according to Rabbi Yehuda, who holds the previous stage may be performed by a minor but not by a woman, the word man indicates that for this stage only an adult is qualified but not a minor, and the word pure is written to qualify even a woman for this stage.
מיתיבי הכל כשרין להזות חוץ מטומטום ואנדרוגינוס ואשה וקטן (שיש) בו דעת אשה מסייעתו ומזה
The Gemara raises an objection from a mishna in tractate Para: Everyone is qualified to sprinkle the purification waters, except for a person whose sexual organs are concealed [tumtum], and a hermaphrodite [androginus], and a woman. And concerning a minor who has a basic level of intelligence, a woman may assist him and he sprinkles the purification waters. The mishna disqualifies a woman for the sprinkling but qualifies a minor.