Pesachim Perek 2 – Daf 24a Issur Hana’a (4)

  • Rav Ezra Bick
We will continue to speed through the gemara for one more week.  You should learn up to 24b ("...tum'at basar be-lav").  Most of the gemara concerns alternate sources for issur hana'a.  At the end appears a short discussion of overlapping issurim - can one act be prohibited more than once.  This is the subject of a famous controversy between the Rambam and the Ramban.
See Rambam, Ma'akhalot Assurot 2,23
Rambam, Introduction to Sefer HaMitzvot, Shoresh 9 (first part, until approx. ten lines after the citation of Pesachim 24a) and the Ramban ad. loc..
            The gemara has two suggestions for a general derivation of issur hana'a, based on the obligation to burn a particular sacrifice. Since the verse is viewed as redundant, the gemara suggests using the principle of "im eino inyan" to derive a general issur hana'a for all issurei akhila. 
            The gemara (end of 24a) attempts to reject the very principle of "im eino inyan" by suggesting that there be two verses prohibiting the same thing - "la'avor alav beshtei lavin." One who transgresses this prohibition has violated two injunctions. The gemara mentions a case of insects which bear multiple prohibitions. The gemara's answer is that this would be an explanation of last resort, and it is preferable to derive something new, albeit in a different context, than to have a doubled prohibition.
            This issue of multiple prohibitions is subject to a disagreement between the Rambam and the Ramban. The Rambam, in the introduction to the Sefer HaMitzvot (chapter 9), declares that a distinct mitzva must refer to a distinct category. Multiple verses which prohibit the same thing ("shem") are counted as only one "lav." Whereas in the Sefer HaMitzvot the immediate result is in the enumeration of the 613 mitzvot, in the cases of lavin (negative mitzvot) there is a legal repercussion as well - for each lav, there is malkot for its transgression. The Rambam is saying that it is not possible to receive two sets of malkot if only one category of issur was transgressed.
            This does not mean that one act cannot result in more than one set of malkot. Any particular act can transgress more than one category. This is the basis for the sugya of "ein issur chal al issur" which was mentioned in the second shiur of this perek. The Rambam is saying however that a category cannot be prohibited more than once; in other words, there is no such thing as a doubly-prohibited category.
            Somewhat surprisingly, the Rambam quotes our sugya in support of his position. The Ramban immediately points out that our sugya in fact says the opposite. The gemara suggested that in our case the redundant lav be used "la'avor alav beshtei lavin" - to create a second lav for the same category. The gemara illustrates this with the case of putita, etc., which Rashi explains bears multiple malkot because there is more than one verse which prohibits insects. Eating insects is prohibited twice (aside from the fact that a given creature may belong to more than one category of insect). It is clear from the comparison of our case to that of putita that a redundant lav may be used to create a liability for multiple malkot.
            The Rambam first of all has to explain the multiple malkot of putita. This he does by ascribing each of the malkot in those cases to different categories of issur. The Rambam (Hilkhot Ma'akhalot Assurot 2,23) claims that the insects mentioned in this halakha belong to the categories of "sheretz ha-of," since they have wings, "sheretz ha-aretz," since they walk on land, and "sheretz ha-hamayim," since they breed on water. The Rambam then adds a different category for insects that arise within fruits, a special category for insects that reproduce, and a different category for "of" (a bird, rather than a flying insect), thereby getting up to six different categories. If a creature happens to belong to all six categories, there will be six sets of malkot. The Raavad simply points out that there does not exist any such creature. In any event, the Rambam is consistent. Unlike Rashi, who explained that there are multiple malkot for the single category of "sheretz," the Rambam insists that each malkot refer to a different category.
            However, the real question is not from the case of putita itself, but from the gemara's comparison of putita to tamei kodashim. The only possibilities here are either "la'avor alav beshnei lavin" or "im eino inyan." There is no additional category in the area of kodashim. Since "la'avor alav beshnei lavin" is equated with putita, it seems to imply that redundant lavin engender additional malkot. This is the Ramban's question in Sefer HaMitzvot, and is all the more difficult given the fact that the Rambam in Sefer HaMitzvot himself quoted our gemara as a proof of his position.
            Reading the Rambam in Sefer HaMitzvot closely, we can see that his proof from our gemara was primarily linguistic. The gemara, when rejecting the possibility of "shnei lavin," writes, "kol heicha d'ika limidrash darshinan, velo mukminan BELAVI YETIRI." The Rambam understands the term "lavi yetiri" to mean totally redundant lavin, without any legal import. He therefore explains that the gemara is saying that since the repetition of the lav will have no halakhic content, it is preferable to understand it under the method of "im eino inyan," even though that is clearly a "forced" reading, rather than to have no legal purpose for the verse at all. Only if there is no other possibility will I say "lavi yetiri," which means repetition merely to impress on me the seriousness of the prohibition, without any legal ramifications whatsoever.
            Nonetheless, the Ramban is still correct that this case of lavi yetiri has been compared to putita, which according to the Rambam is not one of lavi yetiri (since there are multiple malkot), but one of overlapping categories. The Rambam seems to be ignoring this part of the gemara.
            Rav Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik ("Rav Velvel") answers by subjecting the second verse, "lo biarti mimenu betamei" (together with the "hekesh" of "lo tukhal le-ekhol be-she'arekha...") to the following analysis. Are we to understand that from this verse we derive that there is a special individual prohibition on eating a korban that is tamei, based on the hekesh (i.e., since there is a prohibition on eating ma'aser sheni which is tamei, and since there is a hekesh of korban to ma'aser sheni, there is ALSO an issur on eating a korban which is tamei), or that there is a general category on eating kodashim which is tamei (lo biarti mimenu betamei) which includes all sorts of kodashim (as I know from the hekesh). The difference is that if the prohibition is a specific korban one, then the korban would need to be valid (other than the tum'a) for the prohibition to obtain. If, for instance, the blood which should be sprinkled on the altar would have been accidentally spilled, so that the korban could not be eaten anyway, there would be no special prohibition on eating it betum'a. Now, Rav Velvel claims, the Rambam obviously learns like the first possibility; in other words, there are two distinct categories here, just as in putita (according to the Rambam's understanding of putita).
            Let me explain what the category difference is. The first possibility raised by Rav Velvel distinguishes between two essentially different kinds of issurim. The issur of "lo biarti mimenu betamei" says that anything that has kedusha is adversely affected by tum'a, resulting in issur, similar to other ma'akhalot assurot. The second issur (derived directly from the hekesh) says that a korban may not be eaten when it is tamei. This issur is a different kind (and not merely a subset of the first). A korban is supposed to be eaten, the meat has an obligation to be eaten. The tum'a operates by interfering with that obligation; it detours the korban from its intended route. Eating a korban betum'a is a desecration of the intended mitzva of the korban. That is why Rav Velvel argues that if the korban has been detoured by another factor, there is no longer any specific korban tamei prohibition. This then is a completely different category from the first issur, and hence, according to the Rambam, there would have been two sets of malkot, just like putita.
            There is still a difficulty, however, with Rav Ashi's answer, "kol heicha d'ika limidrash...." The Rambam states that that refers to totally redundant lavin (lavi yetiri). But we have just managed to define the multiple lavin of tum'a as being non- redundant. The answer must be that Rav Ashi is not directly referring to the case raised by Ravina, but only explaining the principle. Just as in a case of redundant lavin, I will prefer to use the principle of "im eino inyan" to derive something significant, so too in this case it is preferable to use "im eino inyan" to derive something new, with the option of understanding the issur of korban tamei in the second way outlined by Rav Velvel, as included in the general prohibition of kodashim tamei (lo akhalti mimenu betamei). [Not too persuasive, but that is the best I can see at this time].
            The importance of this discussion lies in the example given by Rav Velvel of a very important principle. Even in a case where the same physical object is prohibited (a korban tamei), the CATEGORY under which it is prohibited may be very different. Understanding the nature of the category will result in possible "nafka minot," aside from the technical multiplication of malkot according to the Rambam's rule. It is therefore necessary to rigorously analyze each new issur, even in a case, like this one, where it appears that the verse is equating it with another known issur. As Rav Velvel points out, there are also two ways to understand the import of that verse (or rather, the two verses used).
            That is all for today. We have finished our speed-dash through this section of the gemara and are now returning to more analytic sugyot.
Next week: Shelo ki-derekh Hana'ato
Gemara: 24b "Amar R. Abahu..." until "amar Abaye... delo ktivi behu akhila."
R. David; s.v. "Ika."
Rambam, Ma'akhalot Assurot, 14,10-11.
The problem here is to understand the difference and the relationship between the two versions of R. Abahu. The Rambam clearly has a totally different understanding. Notice, that based on Rashi's understanding of the gemara, it is difficult to decide which version of R. Abahu the Rambam is citing!