Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Yoma 6b - Hutrah and Dechuya

There is a machlokes in the gemara whether tu'mah is hutrah or dechuya b'tzibbur. The gemara has two versions of the machlokes. According to the first version, if there are tahor kohanim in the beis av that is serving on that day, you must use the tahor kohanim. The entire machlokes would be whether you bring kohanim from a different beis av. According to the second version, even if there are tahor kohanim within that beis av, the opinion who holds טומאה הותרה בצבור, it is completely mutar and therefore one can even lichatchila have the tamei kohanim do the avodah. The Gevuras Ari points out that on a d'oraysa level there doesn't seem to be any grounds for a distinction between having tahor kohanim within that beis av or in a different beis av. Therefore he assumes that according to Rav Nachman that טומאה הותרה בצבור, on a d'oraysa level both version would allow kohanim te'meim to do the avodah, the first version which demands that tehorim do the avoda when they are in that same beis av, is only d'rabonon.
The Gevuras Ari also points out that regarding the korban pesach which has active involvement from the tzibbur, it make sense that we look at the entire tzibbur when determining רוב טמאים or רוב טהורים regarding pushing off tu'mah or doing pesach sheini. But, for other korbanos tzibbur which has not communal involvement, it should be completely dependent on the kohanim. Since we pasken like Rav Sheishes טומאה דחויה בצבור, so long as there are any kohanim that are tahor we should need to do it b'tahara, not b'tumah. We should completely disregard the numbers of kohanim that are tamei and the numbers of the tzibbur that are tamei, since there is a possibility of doing it b'tahara. The difficulty with this is the Rambam (Bias Mikdash perek 4) writes that if either rov tzibbur are tamei or rov kohanim are tamei, it pushes off tu'mah. Furthermore, the Rambam seems to even allow people who are tamei meis to enter the azarah. This should be forbidden even according to those who hold טומאה הותרה בצבור, because the heter is only for the kohanim, not for yisraeilim to enter the azarah with tu'mas meis (except for korban pesach). It seems that the Rambam understands that טומאה דחויה בצבור doesn't require one to take every measure to preserve tahara, rather it is preferable to use tahor people but tamei people are also acceptable. Many achronim (sefas emes, gevuras ari, radvaz) question the Rambam (4:14) who says that if MOST kohanim of Yerushalayim were tamei, it can be done b'tumah, which implies that even though there are tahor kohanim, it can be done by the tamei kohanim. The Radvaz explains that the Rambam holds we follow Rov, so we view it as if all kohanim were tamei and allow the tamei and tahor kohanim to do it together. We learn from this Rambam that טומאה דחויה בצבור doesn't demand that we take every measure possible to avoid tu'mah.
There is a big discussion in achronim when one can fulfill a mitzvah with a nicer esrog later, or not with a less mehudar esrog, which one to use. The Shevus Yaakov (quoted in my sefer nasiach b'chukecha page 22) proves from the gemara that we would delay a mitzvah to do it in a more mehudar way later. The fact that we push off the korban to get kohanim from a different beis av, clearly shows that although we can do the mtizvah now, we would push it off to do it מן המובחר later on. The language of the Shevus Yaakov (1:34) is - הרי להדיא היכא דדחויה היא בצבור מהדרינן אחר כהן אחר אף דאיכא שהוי מצוה בזה קודם שימצא להדר אחר כהן אחר, אפ"ה לעשות מצוה מן המובחר עדיף
The proof of the Shevus Yaakov is very problematic. The concept of טומאה דחויה בצבור means that one is only allowed to bring a korban b'tumah once all other options have been exhausted, but if there is even one kohein who can do it b'tahara, it cannot be done b'tumah. Therefore, we would bring kohanim that are tahor from a different beis av, rather than doing it now b'tumah, is not merely a מצוה מן המובחר. Rather it is because the din of טומאה דחויה בצבור only permits it to be done b'tumah when no other option is possible. Since there is a possibility of doing it b'tahara by bringing kohanim from elsewhere, the tu'mah is not pushed off. It isn't an issue of hiddur to get kohanim from a different beis av, rather the entire din of דחויה בצבור doesn't apply when there is an option of bringing a tahor kohein from a different beis av, or even a different mishmar. This doesn't prove anything about a mitzvah which can be performed now just that it can be more mehudar if done later. Perhaps in a situation where the mitzvah can be done now we would not push it off to do it in a more mehudar way later on.
However, if we understand that the concept of טומאה דחויה בצבור just means that it is more advantageous to do it b'tahara, but not essential that it be done b'tahara even where possible, then the proof of the Shevus Yaakov makes sense. It would seem that the Rambam understands exactly that, טומאה דחויה בצבור means that we prefer tahara, but it is not an absolute requirement to do it b'tahara. That is why the Rambam holds that when the majority of kohanim are tamei, even though there are tahor kohanim, we can still have it done b'tumah.

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