Friday, May 12, 2006

The yichus of the megadef

We have been discussing the opinion of the Ramban who held that the child of the ‘ish mitzri’ was Jewish but with a ‘pagum’ status, as opposed to the opinion of the Chachmei Tzorfas who held he was a nochri until he was megayeir. Putting aside the Litvishe lomdus for a few minutes, the Divrei Elimelech has an interesting spin on the parsha. Rashi teaches that the parsha of the mekallel took place at the same time as the parsha of the mekoshesh eitzim; in fact they were cell mates in prison together. If we assume that the mekoshesh episode took place chronologically where the parsha appears (which is the opinion of Ramban in P’ Shlach; Rashi disagrees), then both episodes of mekoshesh and mekallel occurred immediately after the story of the meraglim. Why did this issue of the mekallel not having a place in the camp only arise then? The Divrei Elimelech explains that at the time of mattan Torah, ‘paska zuhamasam’, there was a spiritual elevation of the entire people. This effectively negated the ‘pgam’ that was the result of the relationship of the “ish mitzri” with his Jewish wife. However, after the episode of the meraglim, when the nation fell from this high spiritual level, the mekallel once again faced the stigma of being a ‘pagum’ and was rejected from the camp of the tribe of Dan. Although he was Jewish, the camps were based on the familial relationship of mishpacha, which follows the father’s yichus.

11 comments:

  1. That's interesting, the Ramban himself in the chiddushim (and to a lesser extent in the Sefer Zechus) was mesupak if a man born from a goy and a jewess is considered a pagum or not, the gemara in yevamos (45b) paskens he's for sure not a mamzer, but it's unclear whether he's a pagum. Tosafos there is mashma that he's a pagum. The Ramban in Yevamos 45a brings a gemara in bechoros which has a tzad to say that in such a case of a leviyah and an akum the kid is patur from pidyon haben because he gets the leviyahness from his mother's side, but then if that's true that if a person's father is a goy and mother is a yid that the person is part of his mother's shevet, then how come moshe rebainu paskened the megadeff doesn't get a yerusha? It must be that it bichlal never goes basar the mother.

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  2. Welcome back Chaim! If I follow, you are asking since michpachas av keruya mishpacha and not mishpachas eim, then how is it that Rav Papa in Bechoros 47 holds that if the mother is a leviya and the father an akum the child is patur from pidyon because of the mother? In a nutshell, this is R' Chaim's discussion in hil issurei biya 15:9, brought also in the GRI"Z in Bechoros. The reason a Levi is patur from pidyon is NOT because he is part of a mishpachas levi'im (in which case we would have to only look at the father's yichus), but because b'cheftza he himself is a Levi as determined by his yichus to his mother. IOW, one can properly be called a descendent of Levi'im by just having a Leviya as a mother, but would be called part of the bais av or mishpacha of levi'im only if one's father was a levi. The former is sufficient to create the ptur pidyon.

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  3. but in the gemara's hava amina there, the gemara thought you have to mammish be a levi to be patur from pidyan haben, it's only in the maskuna like what R' Chaim said. I'm thinking of writing an essayon this topic, but it could be beyond my target audience. You have to know.

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  4. Not sure what you mean - what are you calling the hava amina? Also, the GRI"Z in Bechoros I see quotes the Ramban in Emor, but it it tangential to what I wanted to discuss.

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  5. Bill Selliger9:11 AM

    You don't even have to come on to such a wild case...ma'asim b'chol yom, a bas kohen (or bas levi) marries a yisrael, the kid is patur from pidyon.

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  6. That is the maskanas hagemara because it all depends on 'peter rechem'. However, in the hava amina the gemara thought if the father is a yisrael then the kid would be chayav in pidyon haben because of the yichus of mishpachas av. Only if the father is a goy do we ignore the father's yichus and follow the mother's. Question: why should we do that - why is the yichus to mishpachas av, which does apply to a ben noach, not mechayev the son of a leviya and an aku"m in pidyon just like the son of a yisrael and leviya is obligated because of mishpachas av?

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  7. Bill Selliger12:29 PM

    Maybe "zermas susim zermasam"?

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  8. Good thing you didn't translate that phrase. So does it come at as machlokes rishonim whether a kid born of jewish mother and goyishe father is called a yid or not? The Karnei Re'im on Yevamos 45a or b (it's oys aleph) seems to say tosfos holds the kid is an aqum, but tosfos (yevamos 23a) says it goes basur the mother. Complicated sugya. Any ha'aros? (I'm planning my next essay on the subject afterall.)

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