Shiur #7: Yesh Lo Matirin Part 2

  • Rav Moshe Taragin
The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash

Talmudic Methodology
Yeshivat Har Etzion

Shiur #7: Yesh Lo Matirin Part 2

by Rav Moshe Taragin

The past shiur described two distinct explanations for the stringencies which a 'davar she-yesh lo matirin' exhibits when inserted into a ta'arovet. Unlike standard forbidden foods, which can be overridden by a proportion of 1:60 of issur to heter, items which are only temporarily assur - yesh lo matirin, they will soon become permitted - are never canceled. Rashi in Beitza defined this strictness in practical terms: If the ta'arovet may eventually be eaten in a complete and unquestionable manner, halakha does not allow its consumption based on ta'arovet cancellation laws. Instead of relying on laws that allow for leniency, a person should wait until such items are halakhically permissible. The Ran suggested a different explanation for the lack of bitul, namely the lack of a ta'arovet cancellation process. Bitul operates through a clash created when permissible items encounter prohibited ones in a ta'arovet. Each item vies to impose its identity upon the other, and halakha provides exact ratios to determine which item will triumph. Items which are only temporarily forbidden do not create a direct clash, since all the items are fundamentally similar, and bitul cannot occur in the absence of this clash. This shiur will explore a number of ramifications of the argument between Rashi and the Ran about the essence of this exemption.

The gemara in Beitza appears to apply the yesh lo matirin stringency to all prohibitions - Biblical as well as Rabbinic. Some claim, however, that this issue is disputed, and that several Amoraim limit the stringency to Biblically prohibited substances. In fact, the gemara in Beitza at one point reads, "According to Rav Ashi, who claims that yesh lo matirin laws apply even regarding Rabbinic issurim..." inviting us to believe that others would assert that yesh lo matirin is limited to Biblical situations. The Pri Chadash, in his comments to Yoreh De'ah 110:46, suggests this reading. Clearly, Rashi's logic better supports this claim. Had the bitul impediment been based upon the lack of clash between the items, we would not distinguish formally between different levels of issur. Rashi's notion of 'waiting out' the issur until it fades rather than relying upon risky ta'arovet leniencies would better accommodate a position which distinguished between varying levels of issur.

Perhaps the most famous and practically relevant yesh lo matirin question pertains to a ta'arovet of min b'she'eino mino. Ta'arovet typically comes in two varieties: min b'mino (mixtures of similar foods, for example, kosher and non-kosher chicken) and min b'she'eino mino (mixtures of dissimilar foods). Rabbi Yehuda puts forth the opinion that bitul only operates on the latter form of ta'arovet; min b'mino, however, is not batel. Though we rule against Rabbi Yehuda, and allow bitul of similar items as well, it is clear that bitul of dissimilar items is more powerful and effective. Would yesh lo matirin become batel in a ta'arovet of min bi’she'eino mino? The Mishna in Challa (3:10) appears to allow this form of bitul, though both the Rif (in his comments on the 7th perek of Chulin) as well as Rabbenu Tam (in his Sefer Hayashar, #501) claim that bitul does not work in this type of ta'arovet. Presumably, the mishna in Challah echoes the logic of the Ran. The general disqualification of bitul for yesh lo matirin stems from the lack of a clash. Since both items are inherently permissible, no contest occurs and no bitul ensues. Ta'arovet of min b'she'eino mino, however, witnesses a clash at a chemical level, since the items are physically different. This clash enables bitul to proceed. The Ran himself makes this point in his explanation of the nature of bitul. Rashi's logic for yesh lo matirin would apply equally to min b'mino and min b'she'eino mino. Presumably we would not distinguish between the two, and would disqualify bitul even for a ta'arovet of min b'she'eino mino. Alternatively, even if we accept the mishna's distinction and acknowledge he effectiveness of bitul for min b'she'eino mino, the difference could stem from our defining a ta'arovet of min b'she'eino mino as a completely unique form of mixture, whose bitul process is so powerful that even Rashi's recommendation of delaying would be inapplicable. The Rema - in his Torat Chatat 40:6 - perceives min b'she'eino mino in a manner which would even disable Rashi's definition of yesh lo matirin's stringency.

The Tzelach (written by the author of the Noda B'yehuda, Rav Yechezkial Landau) offers an additional distinction which might highlight the difference between Rashi and the Ran. Would the stringency apply to items which may be used multiple times? For example would yesh lo matirin prevent bitul for muktze items whose general use is forbidden? What would happen if a muktze item fell into a ta'arovet of non-muktze items in a ratio greater than 1:60? Would bitul take place, thus enabling use of the entire mixture, or would we apply the non-bitul yesh lo matirin stringency? Typically the rule is thought to apply to foods, which may only be eaten once. Certainly Rashi may not demand the classic delay which prevents employing bitul. Regarding food, which is ingested only once, he may recommend waiting until transient prohibitions have faded. After all, waiting to eat that food will generally not entail significant loss. The food item may only be eaten once so very little is lost by delaying its consumption. However, regarding re-usable items, delaying use would exact a heavier 'toll' since the use surrendered during the preliminary stage cannot be recovered. Using the item (or ta'arovet) tomorrow is a independent opportunity unrelated to the current ability. Perhaps in this instance Rashi's stringency would not apply. However, the Ran's understanding of bitul disqualification would still obtain since, fundamentally, yesh lo matirin does not 'clash' with issur, and no bitul commences. The Tzelach in Pesachim (9b) draws this distinction between Rashi's logic and the Ran's.