Friday, May 04, 2007

what briskers wonder about when lost in thought

R’ Chaim Brisker once found his son lost in thought and asked him what was on his mind. R’ Moshe Soloveitchik replied that he was thinking what the din would be if a 12 year old androgynus kohein entered a cemetery. If the androgynus is considered male, there is no issur involved because he is a katan; if the androgynus is female, there is also no issur because tumas kohanim applies to male kohanim only. However, there is a separate issur of causing a kohein to become tamei – perhaps we should consider the androgynus half-female as violating an issur of causing tumah to a half-male. See R’ Reichman’s Reshimos Shiurim (Mes. Sukkah) for the rest of the debate between R’ Chaim and his son on this point.


  1. Is the issur of causing tum'a to a male an issur within the scope of l'nefesh lo yitama or is it mishum lifnei iveir? If the latter, does lifnei iveir apply to making a katan (who's chayav mishum chinuch) sin? [I suppose yes, but just thought I'd verify].

  2. Bill Selliger12:19 PM

    I found my son lost in thought recently and asked him what was on his mind. He said candy.

  3. Tal Benschar12:38 PM


    It is a separate issur -- lehazhir gedolim al ha ketanim. If an adult (could be a Yisroel) causes tumas mes to a kohein katan, he, the adult, has violated the issur. Nothing to do with lifnei iver.

    (Similarly, one may not feed a minor non-kosher food.)

  4. Mike S.12:45 PM

    I thought a tumtum was a safek, and androgynous beriah bifnei atzmoh? Although we speak of an androgynous as having a tsad zichrus and a tzad nekeivus. I am surprised the Minhat Hinnuch doesn't address the issue.