Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The Answer

First of all, a big thank you to Midwest for guiding me right to the sources I needed.  Certainly he's a Talmid Chacham and a gentlemen.

In order to answer the question asked in the previous post, I have to note that I failed to follow my own advice in seeking out an answer.  One of the principles I always use when I have a question with a mishnah or gemara is "Keep reading.  If you thought of it, chances are the Chazal anticipated it and provided the answer."  I didn't do that this time {slap on the forehead} which caused me needless panic as I desperately checked every other source I could other than the next mishnah!
The first thing it is necessary to understand is the level of cleansing a kli shares requires after being used for cooking a sacrifice.  The concern is that leftover sacrificial food will become nosar which make the pot foribdden for use as long as it's in there.  Does a kli sharet require simple cleaning or kashering? 
The halacha seems require a level of kashering similar to that of regular utensils that have become nonkosher.  In other words, a form of hagala is performed.  However, how it is done is a dispute between Rabbi and the Chachamim.  Rabbi holds that the utensil first undergoes hagala and then merikah u'sh'tifah.  He defines merika as rinsing the inside of the utensil with cold water and sh'tifah as rinsing the outside of the vessel with cold water.  The Chachamim, on the other hand, say that merikah is scouring the inside of the vessel with boiling water, fulfilling the need for hagala, and sh'tifah is rinsing the outside of the utensil with cold water.  In any case both Rabbi and the Chachamim require a purging to remove the sacrifical food absorbed into the walls of the utensil.  Everyone also agrees that merikah u'sh'tifah can only be done in the Temple itself.
When must merikah u'sh'tifah be done?  According to the Rambam, it should be done davka before the food becomes nosar.  Tosafos and the Ra'avad disagree and say that it can be done even after the food becomes nosar.
So back to my original question: what happens if a kli shares was rinsed out after being used to cook a chatas leaves the Temple and then becomes tameh?  The mishnah says that one must poke a large hole in it to remove its status as a kli, therefore removing the tumah as well.  It can then be brought back to the Temple where merikah u'sh'tifah can be performed.  I asked: if the vessel is already externally clean, why can't it be dunked in a mikveh and then be brought back for the purging process?
From what I've noted above, the answer is obvious.  Regardless of who we follow, there are only two ways the vessel can leave the Temple:
a) still dirty
b) already purged and cleansed
It doesn't matter if we follow Rabbi or the Chachamim.  Both require a cleaning with hot water as the essential first step of the cleaning process which would remove first the visible sacrificial remnants and then the part absorbed into the wall.  Therefore, a vessel which has just been rinsed doesn't occur.  Even if we say that it was rinsed first to remove lots of excess food, it would go straight to the hagala process afterwards.
Therefore there is no case in which the situation I proposed occurs.
Interestingly, the Tiferes Yisrael to Zevachim 11:6 (Boaz 1) notes another reason (according to the Rambam's undestanding) why one cannot simply dunk the utensil and return it to the Temple, even in  the unlikely case that it somehow got out of the Azarah gently rinsed but not purged.  The specific case the Mishnah refers to is a utensil used to cook a shelamim offering which can be eaten for two days and one intervening night and which has found its way out of the Temple and into a source of tumah on the second day.  Even if one dunks it in the mikveh, it will not actually become tahor until sunset and at that point the food becomes nosar!  So this solution doesn't work either.

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