Elyano Shel Zav

Zavim (5:2) | Yisrael Bankier | 6 years ago

The final perek of masechet Zavim begins with discussing the various ways a zav can transfer tumah. The first case in the second Mishnah discusses the items on top (nisa) of a zav and explains that they are tameh. The Bartenura explains that those items are tameh even if they are not in direct contact with the zav. Furthermore, even if there is a large pile of items they are all tameh; they are each a rishon le'tumah.

The Bartenura adds that this law of elyano shel zav applies to any items on the zav, even if those items are not usually on him.

The Tosfot (Eiruvin 27a) however are unsure about this conclusion. If the zav is moving those items above, then they would become tameh regardless of whether they are usually above him. This is because they are tameh due to tumat heiset - the zav caused them to move. If however we are dealing with case which is not qualified as tumat heiset, the Tosfot is unsure whether it includes all items.

To explains, there is a difference between elyano shel zav and tumat heiset. The Tosfot explains that if, for example, the item is partially resting on the floor, then it would be considered tameh due to elyano shel zav but not heiset. In such a case the scope to which elyano shel zav applies becomes important.

The Ritva (27a) however explains as follows. We learn the concept of elyano shel zav from the following pasuk, "if one shall touch anything tachtav (underneath him/it?)". Chazal understand that the "tachtav" must be referring to the case of elyano shel zav since if it the pasuk was referring to the object underneath the zav, this would be the case of tumat mishkav u'moshav which has already been derived from another pasuk. The Ritva understands that the Torah taught elyano shel zav using the language of tachtav to connect it to tumat mishkav u'moshav so that it only applies to those items that are fit for mishkav u'Ömoshav.

The Ritva continues that when our Mishnah teaches that "anything" that is on top of a zav is tameh it must be referring to a case of tumat heiset and not elyano shel zav since the former does not apply to"anything".

We find therefore that according to the Ritva, elyano shel zav is more closely related to tumat mishkav u'mashov.

The Chazon Ish (Zavin 4:7) asks that if elyano shel zav applies to everything then the fact that two separate pesukim are required to teach elyano shel zav and tumat heiset would appear difficult. Tumat heiset could be derived from elyano shel zav since their scope of what the tumah can be applied to would be identical. The Chazon Ish provides a number of answers. One is that the scope of elyano shel zav is restricted in any case. It does not apply to food, drink, earthenware kielim or people. Consequently, tumat heiset could not be learnt from elyano shel zav.

It appears that according to the Chazon Ish, if elyano shel zav applied more broadly, it would be part of the family of tumat heiset rather than tumat mishkvav u'moshav (which appears to be the position of the Ritva). Indeed, this is the position of the Ramban (Nida 33a) who explains that eilano shel zav stems from tumat heiset albeit has some novelties (as already detailed above).


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