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Mechusar Kippurim on Erev Pesach

Pesachim (8:5) | Yisrael Bankier | 6 days ago

The Mishnah (8:5) discusses several cases involving tameh people whose last day of purification coincides with erev Pesach. The cases can be grouped into addressing two halachic categories. The first is a tevul yom, where the person has immersed in the mikvah and will be tahor that evening. The second is a mechusar kippurim where the person must still offer a korban to complete the tahara process thereby enabling them to partake in korbanot. In each of these case, the Mishnah explains that they can be included in the korban pesach and partake in the korban that evening. The Bartenura explains that these cases are different to one who was tameh met (having been in contact with tumah from a corpse) where if the last day of purification is on erev Pesach, they would not be able to be included in the korban pesach.1

When discussing the mechusar kippurim, the Bartenura explains that he can be included in the korban pesach even if his korban has not yet been offered prior the slaughter of the korban pesach. 2 This however is on the condition that his korban has already been handed over to beit din. The Rambam also maintains this position. This requirement is found in the Gemara out of concern that he might neglect to bring his korban and therefore not be able to eat the korban pesach that night. Once handed over however, there is a chazaka that all such korbanot would be offered before the end of the day.

The Bartenura explains, based on this concern, that if one required immersion in a mikvah to complete their purification process, then they cannot be included in the korban pesach until they do so. It is only once they are a tevul yom and the need only wait until nightfall, that we are no longer a concern that anything will be neglected.

The Tifferet Yisrael notes that a mechusar kippurim also requires immersion in the mikveh after his korbanot have been offered. One might ask that we should be concerned that he would neglect that immersion as well. The Tifferet Yisrael responds that since the requirement is rabbinic, and that after that immersion the person is not considered a tevul yom, if he neglects to immerse in the mikveh, he could simply immerse that night just prior to eating the korban pesach.

The Tosfot R’ Akiva Eiger however raises a different concern. He explains that explanation thus far has been according to the beginning of the discussion in the Gemara. The requirement to hand over the korbanot to beit din was based on the Gemara’s question why a mechusar kippurim could be included in a korban whereas someone who was a tameh sheretz (having touched one of the dead teeming creatures) could not. The answer there assumed that a tameh sheretz was excluded on a rabbinic level out of concern they would not immerse in the mikveh. The Gemara however continued with the opinion of Rav that the exclusion of one who was tameh sheretz is based on a pasuk – “ki yiheye tameh”. Were it not for the pasuk then he would be able to be included in the korban pesach. In other words, there is no concern for neglect! The Tosfot (s.v. ki) explains that after the immersion, since he is now a tevul yom, the tumah is “weaker” and no longer excluded by the pasuk. The Tosfot R’ Akiva Eiger therefore concludes that the exclusion is based on a pasuk and no other external concern. Those in our Mishnah are allowed to be included since their tumah has been weakened and not, in the case of the mechusar kippurim, because his korbanot have been handed over.

The Chazon Ish3 however defends the Rambam. He explains that the Gemara uses our Mishnah to prove that one can assume that their korbanot have been offered if they were handed over to beit din. We find therefore that the requirement persists. He continues that the reason why the there is no concern of neglect when it comes to immersion (as R’ Akiva Eiger concluded) is because a mikveh is readily available, whereas with a mechusar kippurim, sometimes one might have difficulty in accessing korbanot, e.g. due to lack of funds.


1 The Bartenura explains that this is derived from the pasuk that refers specifically to one who is tameh met (Bamidbar 9:?): “and it happened that there were people that were tameh met and the could not perform the korban pesach that day”. The understanding is that they were unable that day, but that night they would be tahor. Nevertheless, they still could not partake in the korban pesach.

2 The Tifferet Yisrael explains that even though offering another korban after the korban tamid has been offered would violate a positive mitzvah, these are bird offerings, and since only the blood place on the mizbeach the mitzvah in not violated. He continues that even for a metzorah whose korbanot include animals, they still could be offered, since the positive mitzvah of korban pesach which is punishable with karet would override this mitzvah (see also the Sefat Emet).

3 Cited by the Yalkut Biurim, Metivta, p 142.

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