Connected Klei Cheres

Keilim (5:3) | Yisrael Bankier | 9 years ago

The Mishnah discusses different extensions, attachments and connections of a kli cheres and teaches whether they are considered part of the kli for tumah and to what extent. By comparing the different cases we can come to an understanding of the principles. 

The Mishnah (5:3) discusses a few cases. One is the Tirat Ha’Tanur, which is the enclosure connected to the oven into which the baked bread is placed. If it is at least four tefachim tall or firmly attached then it is considered part of the oven, and even the oven will become tameh if tumah is dangled in its containing space.

Another case is the beit hapach (oil container) and beit ha’tavlin (spice container) that are attached to the outside of the kira(stove). In this case there is a debate. Everyone agrees that these are not part of the stove. R’ Meir however understands that there is a rabbinic decree that if the stove is tameh then these containers can transfer that tumah through direct contact. R’ Yishmael however treats these containers as independent vessel so they would be completely tahor.

The Tifferet Yisrael asks regarding the second case. If it is considered chibbur (attached) then it should be considered like the case of the tirat ha’tanur and they should be like one kli. If it is not then the ruling should be like another case we learnt previously. Recall the case of a tray with many bowls attached to it (2:7) each bowl is treated independent, yet each is susceptible to tumah. The Tifferet Yisrael however understands that according to R’ Yishmael the side containers are not susceptible to tumah at all, which presents a difficulty.

The Tifferet Yisrael (Boaz 5:4) understands that there are three different cases of attachment. The first is if both parts are required for the same object and function. For example, in the case of the tirat ha’tanur both the oven and the tirah are required for the baking the bread. Consequently, they are considered like the one kli and tumah being in the airspace of one would cause the other to become tameh.

The second level is where the function of one container is independent of the other. This would be similar to the case of the tray with bowls. Each kli is treated independently.

The third case is where each of the keilim are required for the one product, but they serve very different functions. That would align with our case. The kira is used for cooking while the spice container for adding condiments. This case is the cause for debate. R’ Meir understands that on a rabbinic level that are connected, but only to transfer tumah by direct contact. R’ Shimon however understands that they are not connected. However since the beit ha’pach is physically attached to the kira and the kira is attached to the ground, it is as if the beit ha’pach is attached to the ground. Now since all keilim that are attached to the ground are tahor(with the exception of a tanur and kira) they are also tahor.

The Mishnah Achrona however presents a different distinction between the three cases. In the case of the Tirat Ha’Tanur, the tira is technically defined as a yad (“handle”) for the tanur. A yad can transfer tumah to a kli even if it is on it back This explains the bidirectional transfer between the tira and the tanur.

The beit hapach and beit ha’tavlin however are not consider yadot since they do not serve it all and function independently. The question then is how does this case differ from the case of the tray with bowl, where if one became tameh the adjoining ones remain tahor. One would expect R’ Meir to argue in that case as well. 

The Mishnah Achrona explains that in that case – tocho shel ze, gabo shel ze– this inside of one bowl is that outside of the other. It would be an excessive stringency to say that the outside is me’tameh m’derabbanan. In other words, no one would say that a kli cheres should become tameh on a rabbinic level since its outside become tameh. But that is only in the case where all the keilim appear to be equal. In our case however it is clear that the primary kli is the kira and the other attachment are secondary and therefore considered its outside. Consequently, the Mishnah Achrona understands that R’ Meir would only metameh the side keilim if the main tanur became tameh; once the inside becomes tameh, so does the outside. If tumah entered the side keilim he argues that the kira would be tahor since they are considered its outside and a kli does not become tameh from its outside. This is consistent with the opinion of the Rambam but against the Bartenura.  


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