TalmuDigest

For the week ending 6 July 2013 / 27 Tammuz 5773

Pesachim 16 - 22

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • Do liquids become ritually impure and contaminate others by Torah Law?
  • The exception made for the liquids in the Beit Hamikdash
  • Which sort of water or blood makes food susceptible to ritual impurity
  • The function of the tzitz (kohen gadol’s headband) in counteracting effect of ritual impurity on sacrifices
  • The examination of the kohanim by the Prophet Chagai
  • Rabbi Yehuda’s position and retraction re status of liquids
  • The cow that drank contaminating water of purification
  • How Rabbi Akiva interpreted a passage to extend effect of spiritual contamination
  • The special susceptibility of liquids to spiritual contamination
  • When contamination of one item in a vessel affects everything in it
  • The needle found in the flesh of a slaughtered animal
  • Mysterious saliva in Yerushalayim
  • How the flesh of the sacrifice became susceptible to contamination
  • A second look at the burning of chametz terumah
  • Till when can one feed an animal chametz or sell to non-Jew
  • Source for the prohibition of benefiting from chametz and other forbidden foods

Selling the Chametz

  • Pesachim 21a

The selling of chametz to a non-Jew before Pesach is familiar to Jews who observe the Torah Law forbidding possession of chametz on Pesach. But there is no indication in our gemara that the sale was structured in the manner which we do it, which is to buy the chametz back after the holiday.

The sale mentioned in the first mishna of the second perek appears to have been for keeps. It is in regard to such a sale that there is a difference of opinion as to how close to Pesach it can be carried out.

Beit Shammai’s position is that chametz can be sold to a non-Jew only if there is enough time for him to consume it all before Pesach. The reason for this, explains Rashi, is that Beit Shammai considers it incumbent on the Jewish owner of the chametz to assure that it is not in existence anywhere when Pesach arrives.

Beit Hillel, on the other hand, permits the sale of the chametz to a non-Jew as long as it is permitted for a Jew to derive any benefit from chametz, which is the end of the fifth hour of the day before Pesach. This position is based on the premise that the halacha only prohibits possession of chametz on Pesach, and once it has been sold to a non-Jew there is no need to be concerned that it still exists.

Since we rule like Beit Hillel the sale of chametz can be done up until the morning before Pesach. The buying back that is done in our day can be done immediately when Pesach ends.

What the Sages Say

“When the Torah commands us to fear G-d it uses a seemingly extra word in order to include having great respect for Torah scholars.”

  • Rabbi Akiva - Pesachim 22b

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