Friday, July 16, 2004

Matos - Masei #2: Tevilat Kelim

This parsha is the basis for, or perhaps merely contains a hinting support (asmachta), to tevilat kelim, the immersion of newly purchased/acquired metal (and glass) vessels when not acquired from another Jewish person.
In Chazal's reading of the verse, tevilat kelim seems to be the tail-end of kashering a vessel. That is, a vessel from a non-Jew was likely used with non-kosher food. Therefore, such a vessel must be kashered before use, in order to remove particles of non-kosher food on the surface of the vessel and particles of non-kosher food absorbed in the walls of the vessel.
At the tail-end of this kashering is tevilat kelim which involves putting the vessel in a mikveh.

Bemidbar 31:21-24:

וַיֹּאמֶר אֶלְעָזָר הַכֹּהֵן אֶל-אַנְשֵׁי הַצָּבָא, הַבָּאִים לַמִּלְחָמָה: זֹאת חֻקַּת הַתּוֹרָה, אֲשֶׁר-צִוָּה ה אֶת-מֹשֶׁה.
אַךְ אֶת-הַזָּהָב, וְאֶת-הַכָּסֶף; אֶת-הַנְּחֹשֶׁת, אֶת-הַבַּרְזֶל, אֶת-הַבְּדִיל, וְאֶת-הָעֹפָרֶת.
כָּל-דָּבָר אֲשֶׁר-יָבֹא בָאֵשׁ, תַּעֲבִירוּ בָאֵשׁ וְטָהֵר--אַךְ, בְּמֵי נִדָּה יִתְחַטָּא; וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָבֹא בָּאֵשׁ, תַּעֲבִירוּ בַמָּיִם.
וְכִבַּסְתֶּם בִּגְדֵיכֶם בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, וּטְהַרְתֶּם; וְאַחַר, תָּבֹאוּ אֶל-הַמַּחֲנֶה.
"And Eleazar the priest said unto the men of war that went to the battle: 'This is the statute of the law which the LORD hath commanded Moses:
Howbeit the gold, and the silver, the brass, the iron, the tin, and the lead,
every thing that may abide the fire, ye shall make to go through the fire, and it shall be clean; nevertheless it shall be purified with the water of sprinkling; and all that abideth not the fire ye shall make to go through the water.
And ye shall wash your clothes on the seventh day, and ye shall be clean, and afterward ye may come into the camp.'"
These verses follow the fight with Midian. The simplest reading of the verses would be that this is some treatment of the vessels to remove ritual impurity from contact with the bodies of the slain. However, fire, mentioned earlier in the verse, is not the method used elsewhere to purify vessels from impurity, so it is taken to be removal of non-kosher materials from the vessels (see Ramban, below).

From there, it was extended to the case of new vessels, unused by a non-Jew and therefore not containing on the surface or in its walls any non-kosher food. In such a case, the removal of the non-kosher food need not be done and all that is done is the dippping it in a mikveh. We can say it was extended, or we can say that it was recognized that the dipping in the mikveh is an entirely separate element that the removal of the non-kosher food, and is just associated with the transfer of possession to a Jew, as well as some form of ritual impurity.

It is interesting that Rav Sheshet does not think that tevilat kelim should be extended to purchased new vessels - those which do not have non-kosher food in/on them. (We do not rule like him.) Nowadays, I would say that close to 100% of instances of tevilat kelim is done on such new vessels.

A quick overview of how they seem to be parsing the psukim (based loosely on the Ramban, rather than Rashi):
"Howbeit the gold, and the silver, the brass, the iron, the tin, and the lead,"
Thus, metal utensils:

"every thing that may abide the fire,"
actually, everything which was used in fire - that is, to cook non-kosher food.

This is a subcategory of metal utensils, mentioned above. Thus, pots which are used to cook things, and skewers.

"ye shall make to go through the fire, and it shall be clean;"

this is a form of removing unkosher material from the cookware. Either placing in boiling water if it was used to cook non-kosher food if we are talking about a pot, or for more extreme types of cooking, (for skewers) via libun, that is put through fire.
It will be made clean from non-kosher materials.

"nevertheless it shall be purified with the water of sprinkling;"
in Hebrew, Mei Niddah. They take it to mean that it should be put in the same type of water a Nidda, a menstruating woman, must go into to become pure. That is a mikvah containing 40 seah of mikvah water. Thus, a final step, even after this hagala (being placed in boiling water) or libun (fire), it needs to be put into mikvah water to be "purified." There seems thus to be some impurity involved.

"and all that abideth not the fire ye shall make to go through the water."
Still talking about metal items (!!), which COULD in theory pass through the fire. But it was not used on the fire. It was only used for cold.
An example would be a metal cup. (Though also a pot which was used irregularly, just with cold materials should have the same rule.)
For those, it should be made to go through the water, that is, cleaned thoroughly, to remove the non-kosher material from the surface. We do not need to worry about absorbed matter since it will not absorb into the walls of the vessel without heat.. Though not mentioned explicitly, the same after-procedure mentioned above, of putting it in a mikvah, applies.
Note: here is where Rashi differs, and maintains that no mention of scrubbing with water is mentioned (though of course one should still scrub them so as not to consume non-kosher food!) "ye shall make to go through the water" means dipping in the mikvah.

New Vessels
As mentioned before, Rav Sheshet does not think that dipping in the mikvah should apply to new vessels purchased from a non-Jew (basically all that we dip in the mikvah nowadays). I can see how this is connected to the verses.

The verses only spoke of vessels which had been used with fire (cooking or roasting) and which had not been used with fire (thus with cold materials) and had given a method of removing the non-kosher material, noting that even so, (ACH = however) they should still be dipped in a mikvah to finally be considered ritually pure.

Nowhere did the verses mention something that had not been used with non-kosher hot or cold food. For such a new vessel, there would be no procedure to remove non-kosher material. Thus, it was not spoken of at all by the verses. Further, perhaps this ritual uncleanliness comes from the presence of the non-kosher food, and if there was never any on it, there should be no cause to purify it.

However, Rav Nachman (citing Rabba bar Avuah) says new vessels purchased from a non-Jew must be dipped in the mikvah. If I were trying to find a source, I might look at the end of the verse - those items which did not go through fire - and point out that unused vessels also did not go through fire. Rav Nachman looks to the beginning of the verse, to those items which went through the fire. Such items, such as a skewer, were used with fire, to to remove the non-kosher food they must be placed in the fire again. (This will either cause the food to exit, because the method causing absorbsion will also cause the expulsion of the same material, or because putting it through the fire will cause the material to be consumed and thus the material will no longer exist.) When doing this libun, making it white-hot through fire, the vessel is essentially remade. If so, it is the same as a new vessel. And even though it is a new vessel, it still needs to be dipped in a mikvah. So too, a new vessel which never had non-kosher food in it will also need to be dipped in a mikvah.

Rav Sheshet objects that if this were so, then even metal items not used for food, such as shearing scissors, would require dipping. After all, you are now speaking of metal utensils which were never used with non-kosher food. And, we know that no one would suggest that such a utensil would need to be dipped.

Rav Nachman replies that the subject of the passage is vessels that are used with food. That is, the only vessels discussed in the verse are the type that are used with food. This is true, as the verse first speaks about those used in the fire to prepare food, and those used to contain cold food.

We are not told if Rav Sheshet agrees. I can see room to disagree with Rav Nachman, but in terms of current practice, we rule like Rav Nachman.

We see in this interchange that a lot relies on how the verses are interpreted. It is therefore somewhat difficult to say, as the Ramban seems to say (at the end, reversing his initial position), that dipping in the mikvah is Rabbinic in nature and the verses just serve as an asmachta=support, that is that Chazal do not actually think the verses mean what they say it means, but are using this as a mnemonic or as a device to connect the Rabbinic laws to some Scripture.

Glass vessels
Glass is not mentioned in the verse; it only mentions types of metal. However, Rav Ashi says that since they can be repaired when they break, they are like metal utensils and should require dipping in the mikvah. This is generally taken to be a Rabbinic extension to the Biblical command (or to the Ramban, an extension of the Rabbinic rule).

However, I would ask why they decided to make this Rabbinic extension. Confusion of glass with metal, since both can be fixed? This seems unlikely. Further, if this is a Rabbinic extension, why is Rav Ashi the only one to know about it? If it is Rav Ashi's own extension, why should he make such a takana?

I think Rav Ashi might be saying that glass has a Biblical requirement to be dipped. The verse spoke of metal utensils, used with hot and used with cold, but all could theoretically be put into the fire. Some need to be, and some don't, but in theory they all are capable of withstanding fire. Just as Rav Nachman said that libun remakes a metal vessel, so too, Rav Ashi might be saying, a glass vessel which is broken can be remade by putting it on the fire. It is of the same class.

Another way of looking at it: The verses state:

אַךְ אֶת-הַזָּהָב, וְאֶת-הַכָּסֶף; אֶת-הַנְּחֹשֶׁת, אֶת-הַבַּרְזֶל, אֶת-הַבְּדִיל, וְאֶת-הָעֹפָרֶת.
כָּל-דָּבָר אֲשֶׁר-יָבֹא בָאֵשׁ
"Howbeit the gold, and the silver, the brass, the iron, the tin, and the lead,"
"every thing that may abide the fire,"
Thus, after mentioning the various metals, it continues with the words "every thing that may abide the fire." This might be regarded as a type of ribui, extension of the rule. These rules of koshering and dipping apply to all metals, and all things like metals that "may abide the fire."

My unique reading of Rav Ashi would have repercussions in terms of how to treat vessels made of Pyrex. Pyrex is a glass able to withstand the fire in that you can cook with it. It is glass with boron = borosilicate. If glass is a rabbinic rule, they did not necessarily make this rule extend to other materials which did not exist at the time of the ruling. They might have, though, stating that anything which can be fixed is like metal. (Rabbi Tendler thinks Pyrex definitely requires dipping since the sand in Eretz Yisrael contains boron, so Chazal's glass was borosilicate.)

The same issue comes up with regards to other types of metals - newly discovered metals, such as aluminum, which are not mentioned in the verse. There are questions whether one needs to dip them in a mikvah at all, or whether they need be dipped as a Rabbinic rule, or perhaps as a Biblical rule

According to my reading of Rav Ashi, that he is deducing a Biblical rule, then glass is included in the Biblical requirement. New forms of glass should also be included, as should other types of metal, since the verse gives a rule, instead of just examples from which someone might deduce some sort of rule.

Note that other materials, like clay, would not require dipping in the mikvah.

Let us examine some of the sources. The derivation of tevilat kelim from the verses is not as straightforward as that presented above.

The gemara, in Bavli, Avodah Zara 75:
The Mishnah mentions tevilat kelim, among other types of perparing vessels.

הלוקח כלי תשמיש מן {הגוי} את שדרכו להטביל יטביל להגעיל יגעיל ללבן באור ילבן באור השפוד והאסכלא מלבנן באור הסכין שפה והיא טהורה:

The style of the Mishnah is generally not to give Scriptural sources, or reasons, for its rulings. That is left to other Tanaaitic sources, which are often cited in the gemara. However, we might be able to determine what it going through the mind of the Mishna from the way of phrasing things.

Here, it seems that the Mishna does not require tevilat kelim, dipping in a mikvah, for items which are kashered via scalding with boiling water or whitened with fire.

The Mishna might be divided stylistically into the first part, which gives a general rule, and the second part, which treats individual items.

הלוקח כלי תשמיש מן {הגוי} את שדרכו להטביל יטביל להגעיל יגעיל ללבן באור ילבן באור
"One who acquires vessels of use {J: for food} from a non-Jew: those which their way is to dip you should dip; to place in boiling water you should place in boiling water; to whiten with fire you shall whiten with fire."

The Mishna does not say what would cause each category to have its derech, method, to be that which it is. It is possible but slightly forced to say that שדרכו, its way, means its method of regular use, which would then accord with the parsing of the verse given above according to the Ramban, that כָּל-דָּבָר אֲשֶׁר-יָבֹא בָאֵשׁ means every item which was in the past used with fire, and וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָבֹא בָּאֵשׁ means that which was not used with hot foods. Then שדרכו להטביל would mean that its method of use did not involve hot foods.

Alternatively, and more likely, the Mishna is saying that there are different methods of preparing vessels purchased from a non-Jew, and each should be prepared according to its specific rules, which are partially described in the Mishna and partially described elsewhere. The derivation of these rules is left to other Tanaaitic sources, as is the general style of the Mishna.

The Mishna seems to suggest that tevila, dipping, is something done to one class of vessels (those whose way is to be dipped). Other vessels are prepared via scalding or whitening in fire. However, the Mishna writes all this in a shorthand, without elaboration, and so it is equally acceptable to read the Mishna that those vessels which are only prepared via dipping shall be only dipped. Those which require more extreme methods of preparation will have those other methods done to it. But that preparation may very well also include dipping in the mikvah at the end. The Mishna is written in shorthand, with the details expected to be filled in by knowledge of other Oral and Written sources.

(One other possibility I thought I would mention is that perhaps tevila here in the Mishna does not mean dipping in a mikvah, but rather washing well with water.)

The Mishna finishes by giving specific examples:

השפוד והאסכלא מלבנן באור הסכין שפה והיא טהורה
The skewer and the grill you whiten in fire. The knife may be polished and it is pure (=cleansed of non-kosher material)

The gemara begins by citing another Tanaaitic source which talks about tevilat kelim, to say that all the classes of items, even those cleansed of non-kosher food via scalding or fire, still require dipping in the mikvah.

תנא וכולן צריכין טבילה בארבעים סאה
מנהני מילי?
אמר רבא דאמר קרא (במדבר לא) כל דבר אשר יבא באש תעבירו באש וטהר. הוסיף לך הכתוב טהרה אחרת תני בר קפרא מתוך שנאמר (במדבר לא) במי נדה שומע אני שצריך הזאה שלישי ושביעי ת"ל אך חלק א"כ מה ת"ל במי נדה מים שנדה טובלת בהן הוי אומר ארבעים סאה
"We learned (in a Tanaaitic source a continuation of the Mishna): And they all need immersion in 40 seah.
From where do we know these words?
Rava said, that it states in the verse, "every thing that may abide the fire, ye shall make to go through the fire, and it shall be clean" {veTaher}. {Thus besides the explicit cleansing through fire/scalding,} the Scriptures adds for you another methodology of cleansing/purification {which must be done.}
Bar Kappara taught {a Tanaaitic source}: From the words of the verse BeMei Niddah {literally "with the water of sprinkling} I would understand that it requires sprinkling {with the water of the Red Heifer = Para Aduma} on the 3rd and 7th day. Therefore the verse states {and intoduces the statement with the word} אך, "except," to make it distinct {from the other places where it does mean the water of the Para Aduma}.
If so, what does BeMei Niddah mean {if not the sprinkling of the Para Aduma water}? Water that a Niddah/menstruous woman immerses in them. That is to say, in 40 seah."

Bar Kappara was a late Tanna - he was the student of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, who ordered the Mishna, and the teacher of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, an early Amora. Rava is a 4th generation Babylonian Amora. Both give derivations for the requirement to immerse vessels in a mikvah.

Were each of these sources unaware of the other? This is, was Rava unaware of the brayta of Bar Kappara? It is possible - Amoraim can generally only be sure to know Mishnayot, while a specific brayta may elude them. Was Bar Kappara unaware of Rava's derivation? Well, Rava seems to innovate this derivation, in that he does not cite a brayta for it, or attribute it to an earlier generation. While Rava was surely finding the source for the earlier halacha recorded in the Mishna and brayta, it is possible that Bar Kappara was unaware of this derivation.

The next segment of gemara is an unattributed statement in Aramaic - what is known as the stama degemara. This may very well be post-Amoraic. It harmonizes Bar Kappara's derivation and Rava's derivation, showing why each is needed.

However, the simple reading of the statements of Rava and Bar Kappara would have them arguing.

Bar Kappara's derivation requires a radical reinterpretation of the words Mei Niddah, from waters of Para Aduma to a mikvah that a Niddah immerses in. On the plus side, the immersion is read directly into the verse, as an addition purification after scalding/whitening with fire. That is, there is a straightforward reading, on a quasi-pshat level. On the minus side, it is a radical reinterpretation of those words, and so we can see how Rava would like to give a different derivation.

Rava's derivation, from the extra word "veTaher," is that rather than meaning that at the completion of the aforementioned process it will be purified, the word means that afterwards one must take an additional step to purify it. On the plus side, the words "BeMei Niddah Yitchata" are not radically reinterpreted. This is an important point. They actually mean that the waters of the Para Aduma should be sprinkled on the vessel on the 3rd and the 7th day, because of impurity from contact with dead bodies. The same purification which was added parenthetically here for things going through the fire would apply equally to those not going through the fire. Just the word veTaher implies that some other purification must be done. On the minus side, there is no specification what this additional purification should be, so it is left to Oral tradition that this refers to immersion in a mikvah of 40 seah.

So, we can see why Bar Kappara and Rava each prefer his own derivation, and each can know of the possibility of the other's derivation.

The explanation of the verse I initially gave thus follows Bar Kappara and ignores Rava.

The stama though likes to harmonize, and he shows why each of these drashot are required.

איצטריך למיכתב וטהר ואיצטריך למיכתב במי נדה
אי כתב וטהר ה"א וטהר כל דהו כתב רחמנא במי נדה
ואי כתב רחמנא במי נדה הוה אמינא הערב שמש כנדה כתב רחמנא וטהר לאלתר
"It was required to write veTaher {Rava's source} and it was required to write BeMei Niddah {bar Kappara's source.}
If it had only written veTaher, I would have beleived any amount {of water would suffice. After all, the method of purification is not mentioned. Therefore} the Merciful One wrote BeMei Niddah {so that I know 40 seah are required.}
And had the Merciful One only written BeMei Niddah I would have beleived that sunset {would be required for it to become pure} just as is the case by a Niddah. Therefore the Merciful one wrote veTaher, {to show that the purification happens} immediately.

However, what did Bar Kappara do until Rava came along with his drasha? Rather, I think it is as i suggested and there is actually a dispute.

Next, the interchange between Rav Nachman and Rav Sheshet, two Amoraim, about new vessels.

אמר רב נחמן אמר רבה בר אבוה אפי' כלים חדשים במשמע דהא ישנים וליבנן כחדשים דמו ואפילו הכי בעי טבילה
מתקיף לה רב ששת אי הכי אפי' זוזא דסרבלא נמי
א"ל כלי סעודה אמורין בפרשה
"Rav Nachman cited Rabba bar Avuah: even new vessels are implied {in the verse}. For behold, old vessels which are whitened through fire are like new, and even so need immersion in a mikvah.
Rav Sheshet asked, if so, even shearing scissors
{which are not used with non-kosher food, or for that matter, food} would also! {And since this is clearly not so, new vessels are not implied.}
He said to him, {shearing scissors are not also implied, since only} vessels for a meal are stated in the passage."

See my explanation of this, above, under the heading "New Vessels."

What about non-metallic items? Earthen vessels and glass:

רב יצחק בר יוסף זבן מנא דמרדא {מגוי} סבר להטבילה
א"ל ההוא מרבנן ורבי יעקב שמיה לדידי מפרשא לי מיניה דרבי יוחנן כלי מתכות אמורין בפרשה
אמר רב אשי הני כלי זכוכית הואיל וכי נשתברו יש להן תקנה ככלי מתכות דמו
"Rav Yitzchak bar Yosef bought a vessel from a gentile made from a mixture of earth and animal dung, and thought to immerse it.
A certain one of the rabbis, and Rabbi Yaakov was his name, said, To me it was explained from Rabbi Yochanan that
{only} metal vessels are spoken of in the passage {note the similarily of this last phrase to "only vessels of the meal are spoken of in the passage.}
Rav Ashi said, these glass vessels, since when they break they have a way of fixing them, they are akin to metal vessels."

I have explained above how I want to understand Rav Ashi's statement, as part of the items mentioned in the verse.

Finally, a brayta:

ת"ר הלוקח כלי תשמיש מן הגוים
דברים שלא נשתמש בהן מטבילן והן טהורין
דברים שנשתמש בהן ע"י צונן כגון כוסות וקתוניות וצלוחיות מדיחן ומטבילן והם טהורין
דברים שנשתמש בהן ע"י חמין כגון היורות הקומקמוסון ומחמי חמין מגעילן ומטבילן והן טהורין
דברים שנשתמש בהן ע"י האור כגון השפודין והאסכלאות מלבנן ומטבילן והן טהורין
וכולן שנשתמש בהן עד שלא יטביל ושלא יגעיל ושלא ילבן תני חדא אסור ותניא אידך מותר
"We learned in a brayta, One who acquires vessels of {meal} use from non-Jews:
Things which were not used
{= new vessels} immerse them and they are pure.
Things which were used with cold, for example cups, jugs, and flasks, rinse them and then immerse them and they are pure.
Things which are used with hot, for example boilers, kettles and heating vessels, scald them and then immerse them and they are pure.
Things which are used with fire, for example skewers and grills, whiten them with fire and then immerse them and they are pure.
And all of them
{the above} which you do not immerse and which you do not scald and which you do not whiten in fire - one Tanaaitic source says it is forbidden and the other says it is permitted.

This brayta is structured after the Mishna, and explains what each of the cryptic phrases,

את שדרכו להטביל יטביל להגעיל יגעיל ללבן באור ילבן באור השפוד והאסכלא מלבנן באור הסכין שפה והיא טהורה
"One who acquires vessels of use {J: for food} from a non-Jew: those which their way is to dip you should dip; to place in boiling water you should place in boiling water; to whiten with fire you shall whiten with fire."

that is, those whose way is to dip, etc., is explained to refer to a certain class of vessel, which is used not at all, or with cold, or with hot, or with fire, with examples of each. The last one, those used with fire, even has its examples mentioned in the Mishna as well.

Something however seems a bit off. To channel Sesame Street, One of these things is not like the others, and three of these things are kind of the same. Can you guess which one is not like the others?

Three of these things - vessels used with cold, with hot, and with fire, have examples of the class of items belonging to it. Only one - new, unused vessels, does not have examples. Of course, it cannot really have examples, since it is a class which spans all of the other classes, since any of them can possibly have not been used.

New, unused vessels stand out in another way as well. Rav Sheshet seems to think that new, unused vessels should not require immersion. How can he argue with a Tanaaitic source like this brayta. And why does Rav Nachman only cite Rabba bar Avuah, and not refer to this brayta as an authoritative backup even when challenged by Rav Sheshet?

Vessels used with cold items also stand out, but in a different way. To cite the end of the brayta, in its two forms: "And all of them {the above} which you do not immerse and which you do not scald and which you do not whiten in fire - one Tanaaitic source says it is forbidden and the other says it is permitted."

Thus, if you miss out on a method of cleansing, depending on which version of the brayta, it is either forbidden or permitted. But what are these methods of cleansing? Immersing, scalding, and whitening in fire. One method of cleansing is missing from this list! That is, rinsing. Remember, those items used with cold should be rinsed and then immersed. Thus, items used with cold are not like the others.

It gets trickier. Why should they be permitted, or forbidden, if you neglected to clean them? The gemara explains the reason. There is a dispute whether non-kosher foods which impart an unpleasant taste to the food cause the food to be forbidden or not. Since this is old food in the container, it imparts an unpleasant taste to the food.

This explanation is difficult in the first place, because it only works for things which need be cleansed via scalding or whitening on the fire. But what about immersing? Forgetting to immerse the item has no effect on the food cooked or prepared in it! Immersing is just for ritual purity, not cleansing from non-kosher food.

Furthermore, we saw that each class - cold, hot, and fire - had some cleansing method plus immersion in a mikvah. For cold it is rinsing; for hot, scalding; for fire, whitening in fire. Yet the Mishna gives these three classes and says those which the way is to immerse you immerse; those which you scald you scald; those which you whiten in fire you whiten. What happened to rinsing in the Mishna!?

I posit the following. There is a difference in terminology, and some late-editing of some Tanaaitic sources in an attempt to clarify matters.

Specifically, I posit that tevila as used initially in the Mishna and in this most recent brayta means rinsing, not immersion in a mikvah. Thus, the Mishna: Those which are cleansed via tevila = rinsing should be rinsed. Those via scalding should be scalded. Those via whitening on the fire should be whitened on the fire. No mention whatsoever is made in the Mishna of immersion in a mikvah.

Therefore, the first thing the gemara did was bring a brayta that said that all of them additionally needed to be immersed in a mikvah of 40 seah. Originally we thought this was only extending immersion to the latter two classes in the Mishnah, but now we see that it was adding this ritual immersion to all three classes. It specifies in 40 seah in part to distinguish it from the tevila mentioned in the Mishna.

In this brayta we just discussed, they wanted to say that for each class, you would take action X, plus immersion, and then it is pure. Ideally you would use the same terminology for rinsing used in the Mishna, מטבילן, to describe this cleansing. However, this would cause confusion between the two types of tevila, and so they changed it to מדיחן.

However, in the summary of the brayta, where it says that if you neglected a type of cleansing it is either permitted or forbidden, it used and kept the Tanaaitic language of the Mishna, where tevila is actually rinsing. Thus, the method of actually removing non-kosher food from the item is described. Thus, if you neglected to remove the food in one of these ways, one can say on all of them tha they are either forbidden or permitted. But removing ritual uncleanliness via immersion in a mikva is out of place in the list. One might accurately discribe the dispute, in its totality, in terms of whether imparting unpleasant non-kosher taste to a food will forbid another food. With tevila here meaning rinsing, the list of actions once again matches the list of actions mentioned in the Mishna.

But why would the terminology change within the same brayta? Would the author not realize it would be confusing? After all, if tevila means immersion in the resha and rinsing in the sefa, the terminology is inconsistent!

I would suggest that the change in terminology, and the use of מדיחן in the resha, is not original.

This brayta is patterned after, and is an explanation of, the Mishna. The Mishna does not mention immersion in a mikva at all. The brayta wished to explain what each of these three classes are. Therefore, the brayta would not have mentioned unused vessels, which only require immersion in the mikva. The brayta would speak only of the three classes of items, of cold, hot, and fire, and give examples of each, together with how to cleanse them of the non-kosher food items.

For cold, it would give examples of cups, jugs, and jugs, and say that they must be rinsed. The word used to describe rinsing would be tevila. For hot, it would give examples of boilers, kettles and heating vessels, and say that they require scalding. For fire, it would give examples of skewers and grills, and say that they require whitening on the fire. No mention of tevila, that is immersion in the mikva, existed.

Then, it was edited. The first brayta brought in the gemara mentioned that all of the above required tevila in a mikva of 40 seah. So, some hand edited the brayta for each of the three classes, and added tevila in a mikva, that is the words מטבילן והן טהורין, immerse them and they are ritually pure, in order to bring the brayta in line with actual practice, and in harmony with the other brayta. However, this caused a problem, in that tevila was already used to describe rinsing. Thus, the hand that added מטבילן והן טהורין changed the pre-existing tevila in the brayta to be explicitly rinsing - מדיחן. He neglected to change the pre-existing tevila in the sefa, since it was not in direct conflict with his addition. This is what caused the confusion, both in this brayta and by extension to our Mishna.

Once we have immersion in a mikva, we can describe things which do not need any prior cleansing as well. Thus, a later hand, which saw Rav Nachman's statement about unused, new vessels purchased from a gentile, could describe their method of preparation and removal of ritual impurity, as mere immersion in a mikva. This is a change which violently moves the brayta from being just an interpretation/elaboration of the Mishna, since there is a new case undiscussed by the Mishan. Or, to my mind more likely, this was not a later hand than the first editor, but was actually was the same hand as above. The addition of new vessels was the impetus for changing the brayta, and since this established the baseline of immersion in the mikva, all the other cases in the brayta had to have that procedure added to them as well.

Since this case of new vessels was not original to the brayta, Rav Sheshet and Rav Nachman would not have known about it. In fact, I mentioned this addition was in all likelihood the result of Rav Nachman's statement.

A possible halachic repercussion from all of this. May food prepared in non-immersed vessels be used, or are they forbidden? Current understanding of this question is correct in that this is not an issue of imparting unpleasant taste, but that perhaps the ritual impurity of the vessel, and the fact that you neglected to do what the Torah/Chazal commanded you causes the food prepared in it to be forbidden.

However, the source for saying the food would be forbidden was the brayta, which depending on which version says either permitted or forbidden. And, we see that when the brayta speaks of tevila it means rinsing. This means that there is no source to say that food in a new vessel, which does not require rinsing, but which did not have immersion in a mikva, should be forbidden. Thus I would say it would absolutely be permitted.

There is a lot more in the gemara, but I will leave it at this. It is a very interesting sugya all around.

Finally, the Ramban:

תַּעֲבִירוּ בָאֵשׁ וְטָהֵר. אין הכלי שנגע במת או בנבלה נטהר באש, שאין טבילת התורה אלא במים, ולפיכך הוצרכו רבותינו (ע"ז עה:) לפרש שזו הטהרה להגעילם מאיסורי המאכלות שבלעו ביד הגוים, וזה אמת בלי ספק:
"ye shall make to go through the fire, and it shall be clean/pure" A vessel which comes in contact with a dead person or animal is not made ritually pure with fire, for the immersion of the Torah is only with water. And therefore Our Rabbis (in Avoda Zara 75b) were compelled to explain that this purification is the cleansing of them from the forbidden foods that they absorbed in the hands of the gentiles, and this is truth without a doubt.

Thus, initially the Ramban treats this as absolute pshat, the simple reading of the verse. Then, he relies on the gemara, and the braytot mentioned earlier (that of Bar Kapara and the second, edited one), to explain the verses. First, he cites Rashi.

וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָבֹא בָּאֵשׁ. כל דבר שאין תשמישו ע"י האור כגון כוסות וצלוחיות וקיתונות שתשמישן בצונן ולא בלעו איסור, תעבירו במים, מטבילן ודיו, לשון רש"י.
"and all that abideth not the fire" - that is, everything whose method of use is not on the fire - for example cups and jugs and flasks, that their use is with cold, and they did not absorb forbidden foods: "ye shall make to go through the water" - that is, you immerse them in a mikva and that is sufficient. This was the language of Rashi.

Indeed, this is the language of Rashi on the gemara as well. The statement that immersion is enough somewhat accords with what I claim is the wrong reading of the Mishna, but it is strange in that he says immersion is enough, when according to the second brayta, hadacha, rinsing, has to be done first. Luckily, Ramban disagrees with Rashi, and will read the verse to require this rinsing:

ואינו נכון בעיני, שאין לשון "תעבירו" טבילה, כי היה אומר "תביאו במים" שהוא לשון הטבילה, כמו בַּמַּיִם יוּבָא וְטָמֵא עַד-הָעֶרֶב, וְטָהֵר (ויקרא יא לב). ועוד שאף הכלים שתשמישן בצונן צריכין הכשר מן האיסור שבהן מלבד הטבילה הזו, ואיך לא יזכיר הכשרן כאשר עשה בבאים באש. וכשלמדו חכמים טבילה זו לא הזכירו בה המקרא הזה, אלא דרשו (ע"ז שם) אך במי נדה יתחטא, מים שהנדה טובלת בהם. אבל פירוש "תעבירו במים", לכבסם ולשפשף אותם במים יפה עד שתסור חלודה שנדבקה מהם מן האיסור שנשתמש בהם, שזהו הכשרן מן האיסור:
And it {Rashi's explanation} is not correct in my eyes, for the terminology "תעבירו" - "ye shall make to go through the water" does not accord with the language of immersion {in a mikva}, for it should say "you shall bring it in water" which is a language of immersion, as the verse in Vayikra states, "in the water it must be placed it will be impure until evening, and it will be pure."
And firther, the vessels used with cold need a kashering from the prohibited foods in them aside from this immersion in a mikva, and how does the verse not mention their method of kashering as it does by the passing through fire?
And when the Chachamim deduced this immersion in the mikva they did not mention this part of the verse, but rather they deduce from אך במי נדה יתחטא, "nevertheless it shall be purified with the water of sprinkling = Mei Niddah" - waters that a Niddah immerses therein.
{Note: this is of course only Bar Kappara, not Rava, but recall that the stama harmonized the two.}
But rather the explanation of "ye shall make to go through the water" is to wash them and rinse them with water, very well, until you remove that which is stuck in (rust??), which is attached to it from the forbidden foods which it was used with, for this is their kashering from the prohibited food.

יאמר הכתוב, דבר שתשמישו באש תביאו באש כדרך שהיה התשמיש בו באיסורו, אם תשמישו באור ממש כגון הברזל והנחשת וגם הכסף והזהב מלבנו באור, ואם ע"י חמין כגון הבדיל והעופרת מגעילו בחמין, ודבר שלא נשתמשו בו באש אלא בצונן תדיחו אותו במים עד שיתמרק ויטהר. וכך אמרו חכמים (שם), מדיחן ומטבילן והן טהורים:
The Scriptures say, an item whose use is with fire you shall put into fire, in the manner in which it was used with the prohibited item. If it was used with actual fire, like the iron and copper, and also the silver and the gold, whiten it with fire. And if via hot water, as with tin and lead, you scald it with hot water. And an item which was not used with fire, but rather with cold foods, you should rinse it with water until it is removed, and then purify it. And so say the Chachamim {there in Avodah Zarah, the brayta}, you rinse them and immerse them and they are pure.

ולשון ספרי (מטות נ), תעבירו באש, כגון הסכינין מפני כוית הגוים, וכל אשר לא יבא באש, כגון הכוסות, תעבירו במים מפני גיעול הגוים. ולא הוצרך הכתוב לחזור ולהזכיר הטבילה, שכבר הזכיר אותה אך במי נדה יתחטא, ואחרי פליטת האיסור כולם שוים בדין הטבילה:
And the language of the Sifre: "You shall pass them through fire" - such as knives, because of the mark of fire (absorption on the fire) of the gentiles. "and all that does not go in the fire" - such as the cups, "you shall pass through water" because of the the dirt (non-kosher food on the surface of the vessels) from the gentiles.

And the verse need not go back and mention the immersion, for it already mentioned it when it said אך במי נדה יתחטא, "nevertheless it should be immersed in water for a Niddah," and after the expulsion of the prohibited matter all of them are equal in the law of immersion.

In the next two paragraphs, Ramban reverses himself, and thinks everything is an asmachta, a mere hint to Rabbinic law. This is in part due to Onkelos, but also perhaps in part due to the fact that the stama degemara harmonized Rava and Bar Kappara's take on these psukim.

ולבי מהרהר עוד, לומר שהטבילה הזו מדבריהם והמקרא אסמכתא עשו אותו, וכן אונקלוס מתרגם אותו בחטוי הזאה של אפר פרה, והצריכו אותה חכמים בכלי המתכות בלבד מפני שיש בהם כלים שתשמישן באור ובכלי ראשון ובכלי שני ובצונן, וזה צריך תלמוד:
And my heart thinks further, to say that this immersion is Rabbinic and the Scriptural text they made an asmachta - support. And so too Onkelos translates it as sprinkling with the asher of the {Red} Heifer. And the Chachamim required it for metal vessels only because there is in them vessels which are used with fire and kli rishon and kli sheni and with cold, and this needs {further} study.

I have trouble seeing all this as asmachta, because I see a lot of the drashot in the gemara are based on the specific language of the verses, and there is argument based on the specific implication of the verse. I'm thinking here about glass, and about new vessels. The fact that Onkelos gives an alternative reading of the pasuk does not mean that Chazal don't consider this Biblical. First, you can say that Onkelos is pshat and Chazal are saying drash, but perhaps Ramban's attitude towards pshat and drash precludes this.

Alternatively, you can say that Onkelos reflects Rava's derivation of tevilat kelim. Recall that his derivation did less damage to the pshat of the psukim, and as I wrote above, you can still claim that Ach BeMei Niddah Yitchata means the ashes of the Red Heifer, since the drasha is from veTaher. However, once the stama degemara harmonizes Rava with Bar Kappara and says that both are required, Ramban can no longer say that Onkelos paskens like Rava, that is, like one side of the machloket.

Finally Ramban discusses why this was relevant suddenly here, by the fight with Midyan, and not earlier by the fight with Sichon and Og.

והזהיר אותם עתה בהגעלת כלי מדין מאיסורי הגוים, ולא אמר להם זה מתחלה בכלי סיחון ועוג שלקחו גם שללם, כמו שאמר (דברים ב לה) רק הבהמה בזזנו לנו ושלל הערים אשר לכדנו. והטעם, כי סיחון ועוג מלכי האמורי הם וארצם מנחלת ישראל היא, והותר להם כל שללם אפילו האיסורים דכתיב (שם ו יא) ובתים מלאים כל טוב אשר לא מלאת, ואמרו רבותינו (חולין יז.) קדלי דחזירי אשתרי להו, אבל מדין לא היה משלהם ולא לקחו את ארצם, רק לנקום נקמתם הרגו אותם ולקחו שללם ולכך נהג האיסור בכליהם. וכן בדין הטומאה שהזהירם עתה (בפסוק יט) ואתם חנו מחוץ למחנה שבעת ימים וגו', כי מלחמת סיחון ועוג בה היו כל ישראל וטומאה הותרה בצבור. ועל דרך הפשט, הזהירם ואתם חנו מחוץ למחנה שבעת ימים ותתחטאו כדי שלא יטמאו את העם, אבל שם כולם היו שוים בדבר:
And He warned them now in the scalding (koshering via hag'ala) of the vessels of Midyan from forbidden foods of gentiles, and did not tell them originally, by the vessels of Shichon and Og when they too captured their spoils, as it states, "Only the animals we have despoiled and the spoil of the cities which we have captured." And the reason is that Sichon and Og were Kings of the Emorites, and their land is from the inheritance of the Israelites, and all their spoils were permitted to them, even the prohibited items, as it says, "and houses full of all good, which you did not fill" {but were filled by their previous inhabitants}. And our Rabbis said (Chullin 17a), "lard was permitted to them." However, as regards Midyan, it was not of theirs (inheritance-wise) and they did not take their land, but only to take vengeance they killed them and took their spoils. And therefore they concerned themselves with the prohibited foods in their vessed. And so to in the law of ritual impurity, that they are warned now, "and you, encamp outside of the camp for seven days, etc.," for regarding the battle of Sichon and Og, all of the Israelites were in it, and ritual impurity is permitted when the entire community is ritually impure.
And by way of pshat, he warned them, "and you, encamp outside the camp for seven days and be sprinkled," in order that they should not render impure the (rest of) the nation, but there {in the battle of Sichon and Og} they were all equal in the matter . {That is, they were already impure.}

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