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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lepers and the Dead (Part 5: Support)

We think that the following gemara and Rashi help to support and clarify the previous idea on how טומאת אהל works by צרעת in contrast to מת.  We won't be going into it in depth.

The gemara in Berachos 25a brings down Rava's position, who says that when feces passes within 8 feet of person he is not allowed to recite shema even though the feces did not stop.  However, Rava does agree that צרעת does need to stop under the tree in order to transmit טומאה because צרעת is transmitted based upon a קביעות.
ורבא אמר לך התם בקביעותא תליא מילתא דכתיב בדד ישב מחוץ למחנה מושבו הכא והיה מחניך קדוש אמר רחמנא והא ליכא
Rashi there explains that the case is only by צרעת and not by מת, because by a מת the טומאה would be transmitted even without stopping under the tree. Either way it is his אהל. 
הטמא עומד תחת האילן. ולא בנושא את המת קאי דמת לא שנא עומד ול"ש יושב ול"ש הולך אהל הוא וגבי מצורע קתני לה בת"כ דגלי ביה רחמנא ישיבה דכתיב בדד ישב מחוץ למחנה מושבו
The critical verse about צרעת is בדד ישב מחוץ למחנה מושבו.  The leper must dwell alone.  His dwelling place is outside the camp. The identity of the place as his dwelling only emerges if he has a קביעות there. 

In the next post, we will try propose a philosophical understanding of טומאת אהל by צרעת based on the last Rambam in טומאת צרעת and the above verse of  בדד ישב מחוץ למחנה מושבו.


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