Whose Ratzon is needed for Hechsher?

Machshirin (4:7) | Yisrael Bankier | 14 years ago

Earlier we discussed the requirement of ratzon (approval) for hechsher. Then the discussion was focused on the when ratzon was required. It was however assumed that the person that had to provide the ratzon was the owner of the food. The question of whether the ratzon of another person is significant is the subject of debate.

The Rambam (Tumat Ochlin 12:1) rules that the approval must be supplied by the owner. The Rashba (Chulin 32b) however cites a Tosfot that argues that the ratzon of anyone could satisfy the requirement when placing one of the liquids on food. One such proof is one of the Mishnayot (4:7): “Fruit that falls into a stream, and one whose hands are tameh (mi she’hayu) retrieved them...” The implication from the wording of the Mishnah is that it could be referring to anyone and not specifically the owner. The Kesef Mishnah however argues that it is illogical that the approval of one person could cause tumah to another person’s property and argues that the proofs or implications provided are not strong enough.

Another Mishnah could at first provide a difficulty to the Rambam’s position. The Mishnah (5:1) teaches that if one playfully pushes another person into the water, the water that comes off the victim after he exits is considered b’chi yutan – it would be able to affect hechsher if it came into contact with food. The difficulty is that the water certainly did not become detached from the river with the approval of the victim; it was only with the ratzon of the person who pushed him in. The Chazon Nachum notes that the debate regarding the requirement for ratzon ba’alim is not relevant here. Why?

The Mishnah Achrona explains that there is a significant difference. The debate regarding ratzon ba’alim is only regarding where the food itself fell into the water or where the water fell on the food. As mentioned in the earlier article, that law is learnt from the difference in the way we read (yutan) and the way the word yiten is written in the following pasuk: “But if water has been placed (v’chi yutan) upon a seed then their neveilah falls upon it, it is tameh to you” (Vayikra 11:38). The derivation is that just as one actively placing water is with ratzon, so too must the water now on the fruit be with ratzon. Just whose ratzon is required is debated. This later case of the friend joking around is regarding the requirement that the water be detached from its source with ratzon. All would agree explains the Mishnah Achrona, that the requirement can be satisfied by anyone. 97

But why then is the requirement for ratzon when detaching the water more relaxed? Perhaps this can be answered again based on the earlier article (in which we cited R’ Chaim HaLevi al HaRambam). We had explained that the requirement that the water be detached with ratzon is learnt from a different pasuk: “...and any beverage that can be drunk...” (11:34). This pasuk appears to make a far broader statement regarding the nature of the liquid. Consequently just as we had learnt there are two points in time where there is a requirement for ratzon, here we learn that according to some opinions, who can supply that ratzon at both times can be different.

97 The Eliyahu Raba however provides a different distinction. He explains that in a case where the provision of ratzon is dependent of machshava (thought) alone then that can only be provided by the owner. This case is different since the “friend” performed an action as well. If one performs an action, then they are able to cause hechsher to another person’s fruit.


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