ז׳ בתשרי ה׳תשע״ה (October 1, 2014)

Hagiga 23a-b: An Impure Sandal and a Barrel of Wine

As we learned in the first Mishna in this perek (chapter) (20b), great care must be taken to ensure ritual purity in both cases of teruma (tithes) and kodashim (Temple sacrifices), but the demands made regarding kodashim are greater than those having to do with teruma. We have already seen a number of examples of the contrast between these two halakhot. Another case presented by the Mishna is whether a person is permitted to carry an object or article of clothing that is tameh (ritually defiled) at the same time as they carry teruma or kodashim; as long as they are carried separately, a person can carry the tameh object together with teruma, but not with kodashim.

Rav Yehuda quotes Shmuel who identifies the source for the limitation on carrying an object that is tameh together with kodashim as being connected with a particular event. Once someone was carrying a barrel of kodesh wine from one place to another, and the strap of his sandal – which was tameh – broke off. The person placed the strap on the barrel, and eventually it fell inside, defiling all of the wine in the barrel.

  • The Talmud Yerushalmi tells a slightly different version of this story. According to the Yerushalmi, the barrel sprung a leak and the individual who was carrying it used his sandal to plug up the leak. The rishonim point out that telling the story this way solves a number of problems. For example, a broken strap should be categorized as a shever keli – a broken piece of a vessel – and it is only a complete vessel that can retain tuma. Once it is broken, a vessel loses its status as tameh. As such, the story that appears in our Gemara would not seem to create a situation of ritual defilement of the wine. Thus, the Tosefot Rid recommends reading in our Gemara, as well, that the entire sandal was placed in the barrel, rather than the broken strap.
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