Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Oneg Y"T on how bitul b'rov works

Rambam (K.P. 3:9) writes (based on Pesachim 88) that if a group of korbanos pesachim got mixed up together and it was later discovered when looking at the hides that one of the animals was a ba’al mum, none of the korbanos may be eaten. 

Achronim ask (see the Steipler for a nice piece): Why we don’t say that the one korban that is pasul is bateil and all the animals can be eaten?

(Even if you hold that a whole animal is a chaticha ha'reuya l'hiskabeid, that's only a din derabbanan.  Here, you risk bringing chulin l'azarah on pesach sheni if bitul doesn't work and you discover the problem before zerikas ha'dam.)

The Oneg Y”T has a chiddush that tzitzis which were not spun lishma (or matzah not baked lishma) cannot become bateil if it is mixed in with other kosher threads (or good matzah).  Bitul can only nullify a property of an object, e.g. a piece of meat that is assur loses that status if it falls into a mixture.  Bitul cannot assign a new property to an object.  The tzitzis thread (or matzah) that was not made lishma cannot attain that quality of being lishma just because it fell into a mixture.

The Mishna in Parah (9:7) tells us that if some fireplace ashes got mixed in with the ashes of parah adumah, even though the fireplace ashes are bateil to the parah adumah ashes, the mixture cannot be used to be metaheir someone.  Why not?  Once the ashes are bateil, shouldn’t the whole mixture be treated as parah adumah ashes, just like we treat a pot of cholent that a piece of treif meat fell into the same as a pot filled with kosher meat?  The Oneg Y”T answers that this Mishna proves his yesod: meat can loses it’s status of issur through bitul, but fireplace ashes cannot attain the status of ashes of being parah adumah through bitul.

If you are the Oneg Y”T, the answer to the korban pesach question is simple: a pasul korban cannot be made into kosher hekdesh by virtue of bitul.

I wanted to share R’ Wahrman z”l's twist to this story.  He suggests (Oros haPesach siman 74) that even if you reject this Oneg Y”T, there is a still a difference between bitul by korban pesach and other cases.  Bitul changes halachic reality, but it cannot change physical reality.  A thread of tzitzis not spun lishma is physically the same as any other thread; a matzah not baked lishma is still the same physical matzah as any other matzah.  Perhaps bitul can rectify these defects, but cannot rectify a korban found to be a ba’al mum.  At the end of the day, the physical reality of the blemish is still present, and it is that physical reality which prevents the korban from being accepted.

9 comments:

  1. I havent looked this up and am not sure, but Why can't you answer it's different when it depends upon the etzem chiyuv and mitzva. By tzitzis and karbon If it's not lishma then it doesn't qualify for the chiyuv mitzva. Maybe bitul only works where it's a din that's neutral, like meat and food, where it depends on a halachic status, but they all share the same chiyuv of being kosher and being mchayev a bracha.

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    1. I'm not sure what you mean. The treif food is not kosher and acc to some Rishonim is therefore not mechayeiv a bracha. And why should that distinction make a difference anyway? Why would the fact that you are using something for a kiyum mitzvah preclude using bitul? What about bitul of pasul schach to kosher schach for the mitzvah of sukkah?

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  3. OK point taken. I don't know about schach. But I did hear that r Shimon shkop argues with the oy"t. They argue If bitul brov causes a siluk / removal of dinim so the isur loses it's din and mmeila becomes heter(a din shlili). Or that bitul brov is even when heter falls into isur, since they hold bitul brov has the power to be mekabel dinim, it takes on the din of rov. The later I think is more the oy"t.
    (They argue on the strings of tzitzis done lishma )

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    1. Yes, R' Shimon talks about this too, but I did not have a chance to look it up again and refresh my memory, so I am going to put your comment on the back burner in my brain until I have time to think about it some more : )
      The point of the Oneg Y"T is that heter cannot be mekabeil dinim; bitul is just siluk. WE'll have to see what R' Shimon says.

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  4. Sorry I'm late to the party on this one, this happens to be one of my favorite topics...

    Please see Hapardes 19:9 (I think it's December 1945, but unfortunately I don't think it's on on Hebrewbooks, if you have Otzar Hachochma you can see it there, or I can send you a scan) for a piece by Rav Meilech Schachter (during his tenure as Rav in Scranton) in which he criticizes Rav Chaim Yitzchak Bloch (Rav in Jersey City) who suggested Rav Wahrman's yesod in a prior article in Hapardes. Rav Meilech's main taana is that it seems somewhat arbitrary where/when you call something a shinui in din and where you call it a shinui in metzius, and also that metzius shouldn't matter if the din has changed, so who cares what the metzius is. Fascinating stuff.

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    1. I unfortunately don't have the otzar hachochma, so if you can scan it, that would be nice. How in the world did you find that article?

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    2. At this point, I have absolutely no idea how I found it.
      But old Hapardeses are an absolute treasure trove full of random awesome stuff like this. I'll email you the scans shortly to the charlesbrown52 address

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    3. I sent the scans, please let me know if you received them. (If not, maybe they went to your spam folder...)

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