Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Zevachim 95: From Laundering to Kashering, Placing Limits on Cleansing

The rabbis continue to discuss the laundering of consecrated items.
  • Why must the earthenware vessel be punctured to render it ritually pure and then broken back at the Temple courtyard?
  • Taken from Leviticus (6:21),  we learn that puncturing only creates ritual impurity but the vessel will still be permitted, for example, to hold fruit
  • Why should the copper vessel be scoured and rinsed?It is not a vessel after the hold has been made, but it will be refashioned into a vessel and at that point it must be scoured and rinsed
  • What about the robe of the High Priest?  And other particularly thick or soft garments?   They are subject to different standards regarding ritual impurity unless they are not ‘useful’, i.e., less than 3x3 finger widths
  • Blood from a sin offering and/or leprous marks are laundered using seven abrasive substances: tasteless saliva (coming from one who has not eaten since waking); liquid from Cilician beans; urine; natron; lye; cimolian earth; potash.
  •  Urine is not appropriate for the Temple courtyard, though it is used to prepare incense and to launder
  • The urine is absorbed with the other laundering agents and they are applied all together – but wouldn’t this invalidate the laundering (Nidda 62)?
  • The Gemara discusses the process o the vessels in greater detail
  • In particular, Rami bar Chama asks if one suspended the meat of a sin offering in the airspace of an earthenware oven to roast it, must the vessel be broken?  Is cooking/absorption of flavor the issue, or is it required to break the vessel even for cooking within its airspace?
  • This is argued back and forth
  • The rabbis discuss the effects of absorption of cooking on ovens as well: an oven smeared with animal grease was once forbidden to bake bread, ever, in case that bread was eaten accidentally with kuta, a dairy-based item
  • Dough may not be kneaded with milk to keep people from sinning accidentally by eating that bread with meat and to keep people from becoming used to something that could be a sin
  • The rabbis eventually rule that the oven will never fully be cleansed of the meat fat
  • Must pots used for leavened bread be broken or kindled before Pesach?
  • The rabbis debate and then declare that an oven that kindles from the inside can be koshered to eliminate absorbed flavour
  • Similarly, pots heated from the outside will never lose their absorbed flavours and cannot be kashered