A Tevul Yom that Plugs a Leak

Tevul Yom (2:7) | Yisrael Bankier | 5 years ago

The Mishnah (2:7) teaches that if a barrel is perforated on the side or at its base and a tevul yom touched and thereby plugged the hole, then the contents are tameh. R’ Yehuda however argues that only if the tevul yom made contact at the mouth or the base of the barrel would the contents be tameh. If however, the tevul yom touch a perforation on the side, then only the liquid in the hole would be tameh. Consequently, the tameh liquid in that region may be annulled if there are one hundred times that amount to annul it.

Considering that we are dealing with a tevul yom which is a sheni le’tumah the contents of the barrel must be terumah (either oil or wine) since a tevul yom can cannot make regular liquids tameh. Furthermore, to be more precise, the terumah would be pasul (invalid) rather than tameh since it would not be able to pass the tumah on.

The Bartenura explains that according to R’ Yehuda if the tevul yom touched the content at the top of the barrel, then all the contents below are tameh since they act as a base and are therefore considered connected. If the tevul yom plugs the base with his finger, since if he removes it all the content above would follow what he has stopped they are all connected (chibbur). The same however is not the case if he touches it from the side.

Why according to the Chachamim are all the contents tameh if the zav touches the hole in the side? The Tosfot (Avodah Zara 59b) explains since the liquid in the hole is tameh it is considered as if he is contact with the base of the water above it and the mouth of the water below it. Rashi (60a) and Rash however explain that according to the Chachamim all the liquid is considered attached (chibur). Consequently, it does not matter where one touches, all the liquid would be tameh. Furthermore, the logic provide above in the Barteunra is therefore not needed for the opinion of the Chachamim since we view all the liquid as one.

Interestingly, the Mishnah Achrona notes that the version of the Mishnah as quoted in the Gemara (Avoda Zara 60a) is slightly different to ours. In our Mishnah, the Chachamim only discuss where the tevul yom touches the side or the base, while the Gemara’s version adds touching the mouth as well. A simple way to resolve it is since that the Chachamim is referring to perforations, and the barrel in our Mishnah is simply open at the mouth. Consequently, the textual difference is of no consequence. That would be particularly true considering the opinion of Rashi who explains that according to the Chachamim all the liquid is considered one unit and it does not make any difference where the zav made contact.

The Mishnah Achrona however suggest that according to the Tosfot’s understanding it does make a difference. It is only when it is perforated and the tevul yom blocks the flow that it is considered chibbur. The water above it would flow out and that which below is considered a base for that water (basis). He suggests that it is possible that if it was only open at the top and the water stable, that it is not considered chibur. It would appear that according to the Mishnah Achrona’s suggestion that the basis is dependent on the mass above it being considered chibur (due to the potential of it flowing out). He continues, that according to R’ Yehuda however that would not be case, since R’ Yehuda lists that case of contact at the mouth of the barrel explicitly. This would then explain why the Chachamim do not list the case of the tevul yom making contact at the top of the barrel while R’ Yehuda does.

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