Hagigah 22a-b

April 29, 2007

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We have already learned that great care must be taken to ensure ritual purity in the cases of terumah (tithes) and kodashim (Temple sacrifices), but that the demands made regarding kodashim are greater than those having to do with terumah. The first Mishnah in the perek (chapter) (20b) contrasts terumah and kodashim, pointing out various ways in which the rules of kodashim are stricter. One example is how we view the different parts of a vessel ? are they all considered as one, so that when one part becomes ritually defiled, the entire vessel will need to be immersed in a mikveh, or, perhaps, we can view them separately, and continue to use the vessel even if one part of it has become tameh (ritually defiled). According to the Mishnah, for purposes of terumah we can view such parts of a vessel as the ahorayim, the tokh, and the bet ha-tzevitah as being separate, although for kodashim they will be considered connected.


The Gemara defines the terms that appear in the Mishnah by referring to a Mishnah in Masechet Kelim (25:6), which teaches that a vessel, a jug, for example, whose ahorayim (its bottom or outer part) become tameh on a Rabbinic level will leave tokho (its inside), ogno (upper lip), ozno and yadav (different types of handles) tehorim (ritually pure). 


The case of bet ha-tzevitah is defined by Rav Yehudah in the name of Rav as a type of handle, while Rabbi Assi quoting Rabbi Yohanan suggests that it is a small vessel that is attached to the larger one, where people dip their food into spices that are placed there.


Already in the time of the earliest rishonim there were different versions of this term in the Mishnah. While some manuscripts have bet ha-tzevitah, others have bet ha-tzevi'ah. In truth, however, the different definitions that are suggested can work with either reading.

This essay is based upon the insights and chidushim of Rabbi Steinsaltz, as published in the Hebrew version of the Steinsaltz Edition of the Talmud.  To learn more about the Steinsaltz Daf Yomi initiative, click here.

Next: Hagigah 23a-b