And I am caught up at last, and we complete this frustrating perek.
Also, I wanted to mention that Print-o-craft, after not offering a 2018 Asufa Haggadah, is offering a 2019 version
. Asufa is a project from an Israeli art collective where they assign a different artist to create each page of the Haggadah, and they put out a new Haggadah every year. They're very fun, you turn each page and you get a new, beautiful perspective on the Seder. Daf 128
Rabbi Linzer kept calling this topic very fun. That's... an interesting perspective. I think it's clear that the Talmud is playing around here, but the ideas involved are still tricky and the topic kind of irrelevant.
The Gemara has discussed in previous perakim the hanging limb, which is where a limb is partially severed from an animal, and then it dies, and so the limb is considered ever min hachai. The act of dying is considered to have severed the limb entirely so that the limb is considered ever min hachai. And contrariwise if one shechted the animal, the shechitah doesn't take effect on the animal so it's sort of neveilah. Now the Gemara considers the susceptibility of this limb to tumah. Since it was sort of connected to the animal while shechitah was happening, and the blood of shechitah renders a shechted animal susceptible to tumah, but the act of shechitah also technically disconnected it from the rest of the animal, is it susceptible to tumah?
Rabbi Meir says yes, Rabbi Shimon says no. The Gemara sees this dispute as an opportunity to play around with a lot of more abstract principles of halakha.
What if the blood of shechita flies out of the neck and touches the limb, does that render it susceptible to tumah? What if the blood of shechita flies out after you sever one of the simanim, you wipe it off, and then you sever the second siman? This lets us contemplate and re-examine a previous argument about what constitutes 'the moment of shechita', whether that's a continuous process or if it only happens at the end of shechitah.
Also, what if the living cow touches something tamei... It is not susceptible to tumah as a living cow, but perhaps it acts as a yad and transmits the tumah to the partially severed tail? This lets us contemplate various questions about what constitutes a yad in unusual circumstances that technically meet the definition of yad but for various reasons test our conventional assumptions of what a yad should look like.
There's also an interesting bit where they discuss Rabbi Akiva's position. According to Rabbi Yehuda, Rabbi Akiva's position was originally aligned with Rabbi Meir, and then he retracted it after it was pointed out that it was inconsistent with a different ruling of his about tumah of certain vegetables. So Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Shimon, both talmidim of Rabbi Akiva, and one held the pre-retraction position and one held the post-retraction bit. Perhaps Rabbi Meir never heard Rabbi Akiva's retraction and only knew the pre-retraction position, or perhaps he knew both and formed his own opinion that Rabbi Akiva's position was originally right.Daf 129
Ordinarily there is an idea that tumas ochel is a relatively non-severe kind of tumah. It's pretty limited, that is to say. Abaye asks a series of questions about cases where food can taken on a more serious kind of tumah than normal, and Rava answers each in the same way, by saying that in this case, the food is 'like wood', that is to say, it is not being treated as food.
The cases include: Making a chair out of dough that is then sat on by a zav. Dough filling in the cracks in a utensil that is then touched by a mes. Offering food as a sacrifice to avodah zarah. In each case, what makes the food more severely tamei is that it is considered for these purposes not as food.
I separately, since I've been listening to Rabbi Linzer's YCT Daf Yomi podcast quite a bit and citing him fairly regularly in these notes, wanted to say something about the news from YCT. But I think the thing I want to say is that I don't have an opinion. Not that I don't have feelings about it, but I don't know enough facts about the case to feel like my opinion belongs out in the open. But I wanted to at least say I'm thinking about it.