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Category: Daf Yomi

Daf Yomi – Chagigah 24 – Tumah-Chometz comparisons

Learning these gemaras about one hand being tamei while the other hand is tahor, u’kidomeh, I cannot help but remember the tension of the two weeks before erev Pesach, when parts of the house were Kosher L’Pesach, while other areas were full of chometz. The tension involved in getting the children to understand those boundaries, not to mention their father, is by far my least favorite part of the entire Passover experience. In fact, Pesach becomes easy and enjoyable once everything is Pesachdik. Imagine going through all of YomTov with this half-and-half existence! I simply cannot imagine how much more tense this Tahara experience described in Chagigah must have been.

I can truly believe that the people who lived in that era were of a higher spiritual stature, if they could go through a YomTov in Yerushalayim, follow these rules, and still experience Simchas YomTov and come away uplifted and in one piece.

(I realize that this insight says more about me than it does about the Gemara in Chagigah.)

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Daf Yomi – Chagigah 23

The Daf discussed Chazal’s occasional tendency to enact a decree in reaction to specific mess-ups. 
What is the purpose of enacting such rules?  Let’s take the Parah Adumah incident.  There was once a man who took a vial of Parah Juice on a boat across the Jordan river.  A human bone was found on the boat, and the vial was rendered Tamei.  The Rabbis reacted by either decreeing that Parah Adumah ashes or water may not be transported over a body of water unless it’s on a bridge, with feet firmly planted on the ground.  According to R. Chananyah ben Akavya, the decree only forbade transporting the ashes on a boat, on the Jordan river, exactly like the incident that motivated the decree.
How does such a decree prevent future occurrences?  How would R. Chananyah see any deterrent power in his version of the decree ?  
It seems that the “why” is overlooked.  I know it is not common to ask those kinds of questions when analyzing a sugya.  And when we were learning the daf, I did not really pause to look into it.  But as I mentioned with regard to the Chaver vs. Am Haaretz sugya, it’s something that merits further study, even if not in the conventional Yeshivish style.  Perhaps it’s a question for academic Talmud scholars to delve into.  But it does fascinate me, and I shall chalk it up as another perplexing gemara.
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Daf Yomi – Chagigah 22

The sugya currently under discussion is that of “Chullin She’Naasu Al Taharas Hakodesh”, ordinary non-sacrificial food that is prepared and eaten with the strict guidelines of Kodoshim.
Why would anyone want to impose those complex rules upon himself?
Rashi offers an explanation at the bottom of 19B.  He suggests that there are people who frequently eat Kodshim and wish to remain in the habit so that their families will be careful to maintain the Taharah required to eat Korbanos.
I can understand that Kohanim would wish to maintain this standard.  Why would people outside of Yerushalayim or after the Churban want to keep these rules, which are elective?
Furthermore, why would the Chachamim ratify this chumrah by giving it halachic parameters? 
There is much history that must go into answering all these questions.  Other issues that need to be addressed is how such a massive sub-stratum of society as the “Am Ha’Aretz” group came to be.  These people were ostensibly observant in all other respects of halacha except for Maaser and Taharah.  This division between Chaveirim, those who were knowledgeable in the laws of Taharah, and Amei Haaretz who were not, must have been jarring.  Imagine a group of Jews who refuse to come anywhere near other Jews.  This goes beyond not accepting certain hechsheirim, which is the closest modern manifestation of the Perushim-Am Haaretz divide. 
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