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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Timtum Halev

-A brief overview of the concept of Timtum Haleiv.
Vayikra 11:2. Isurei achila. On the issue of Timtum Haleiv. The Mokor is Yoma 39a– R’ Yishma’eil– ahl tikri v’nitmeisem bahm ello u’n’tamtem bahm. The Maharshal in YSHSH in Yevamos 14:7 says (from the m’kubalim) that they are m’tamteim "es haleiv v’es haseichel."

The question is: is it the metzi’us of the food, or the fact that you were oveir the issur through a achilah asurah?

This is a lengthy discussion. Here is a bare bones outline of what follows.

Metzius of Timtum even in circumstances of hetter:
For nursing babies, the m’chabeir and Ramoh in YD 81:7, and the various m’koros for that psak.
The Ran in Droshos and the Ramban in Shmini.
The Rosh and Ran in Yoma
Reb Meir Simchoh and Reb Elya Lopian.
Maybe the Ritvo and Maharsho in Chulin.
The Rogatchover's Ran

Only when eating it is ossur:
Tanchumoh
Abravanel
Maybe the Maharal
Reb Moshe
Maybe Rashi in Chulin
The Briskers.
The Rogatchover's Rambam

The Mechaber in YD 81:7 paskens that a Jewish baby is allowed to have a non-Jewish wet nurse, but discourages doing this because the non-kosher food will harm the baby spiritually.
The Rama there also says that a Jewish woman who needs to eat non-kosher food for health reasons (Shach and Taz– piku’ach nefesh) should not nurse her baby because the non-kosher food will harm him. (The Minchas Asher I bring below points out that the makor of the Rama is the Rashba in Yevamos 114, and the Rashba holds that a woman’s milk is not treif, and that the problem is the treifeh food she ate before nursing.)

The Gr'a brings as a mokor for this the Medrosh in Parshas Shemos, on passuk 2:17 (and Gemora Sota 12b). The possuk says they brought a nursing woman from the Jews, and the Medrash brought down by Rashi says that Moshe refused to nurse from an Egyptian woman because he was going to grow up and be a Navi so how could he eat non-kosher food. So at least we see that the treifus would have affected him to the extent that it would interfere with his ability to speak to the Ribbono Shel Olom. (Reb Yakov in Emes Le'Yakov says that the reason the poskim discourage this is because every Jewish child should be raised with the hope that he might one day be on the madreiga of Moshe Rabbeinu.  The Maharitz Chayes in Sotah says that really, timtum is enough reason to discourage this, and the Gemora only says "Peh she'asid" because it was before Mattan Torah.)

The Gr'a also brings a machlokes Rabbeinu Chananel and the Rashba whether the pasuk in Yeshaya that "their leaders will be your nursemaids" is only in times of danger or that the whole problem is middas chasidus, so the passuk might be even without sakana.

There is, in fact, a story told about the Gr'a. When he was a child, someone asked him if he could figure out why the laws of Isurei Achila at the end of Parshas Shemini are followed by the laws of Childbirth in the beginning of Tazria. He answered that eating treif effects even a child that is not yet born-- isha ki sazri'a.


Rav Elya Lopian, in his "Lev Eliahu" in Parshas Shemos on Moshe and nursing from a Mitzris, has a lengthy discussion of what he calls "Teva Ruchani," where he says that the negative spiritual effect of certain foods cannot be mitigated: the effect will occur no matter what the circumstances and justification may be. It is no different than putting a fork into an electrical outlet. The laws of nature are indifferent to the circumstances.

Another makor is Tosfos in Chagigah 9a DH Shuvu who brings a Yerushalmi that Acher’s mother passed by a beis avodah zarah when she was pregnant and smelled k’tores being offered to the idols.

Another relevant story: We know that before Shimshon was born, his mother, Tzlalponis, was visited by a malach that told her of her forthcoming childbirth, and warned her to not eat or drink any grapes or wine, and that her son was prohibited from cutting his hair. When she told her husband, Mano'ach, about the encounter, he davened to Hashem that the Malach return to clarify what they should do with the child. The Malbim explains that Mano'ach was confused because although they were told that their son would be a Nazir, they were not given any specific instructions about how to raise the child, in fact, only Tzlalponis was told to avoid grapes and wine. So the angel returns and is unhelpful: he just repeats what he told Tzlalponis. How did this repetition clarify anything?

Reb Chaim Brisker is quoted as saying that Mano'ach was thinking that Tzlalponis was enjoined to be a nazir. But when the Malach repeated his earlier admonitions regarding Tzlalponis' prohibition from grapes and wine, but did not say that Tzlalponis would be a Nezirah, Mano'ach realized that the reason she was prohibited from grapes and wine was only so that Shimshon shouldn't indirectly be nourished by what his mother ate. In fact, this is why Tzlalponis was not forbidden to cut her hair; what she did with her hair had no relevance to her fetus. But what she ate and drank would nourish her child, and this was forbidden.

We see that in the case of Shimshon, his mother was forbidden to eat what her fetus was forbidden to eat-- but only because it would go through her system and end up in Shimshon, who was a Nazir Mibetten.

Obviously, you can't build any legal rules based on the unique case of Shimshon, whose miraculous and singular condition does not necessarily have any relevance to normative halacha; Shimshon was not chayav in mitzvos, and his prohibition from grapes and wine was not mere nezirus, but the basis and the foundation of a metaphysical and miraculous power. Or, you could argue that for Shimshon, wine was metamteim es haleiv, so the concept would apply to us and the common issurei achilah. However this plays out in your mind, this is certainly an example of a case where the mother was explicitly forbidden to ingest those things that would have been allowed to her only because they were prohibited to her fetus.


See the Tanchumoh in Shmini simonim 7 and 8 that appears to say that it’s not the cheftzoh, it’s the issur. As always, bringing a proof from a Medrosh is problematic, especially a Tanchumoh, which is a 'sadeh lo avahr bah ish."

The Ran in his 11th droshoh says that if nevi’im were available all the time, we would be better off having nevi’im paskening for us, because if a rov paskens and gets it wrong, it’s like a doctor making a mistake and prescribing a poison instead of a healing medicine. But then he says that it could be that the mitzvoh of listening to the chachomim counterbalances the timtum haleiv. (By the way, it appears that the Ran assumes for a dovor poshut that hachro’oh of m’tzius is not a lo bashomayim hi problem, as the Maharitz Chajes says in Yoma in the sugya of the Mohn showing who is right and who is wrong in dinei momonus and ishus, and not like Rashi in Eiruvin on the sugya of using fish skin for tfillin.)

The Abravanel in D’vorim 17:4) disagrees with the Ran. He holds that a person is never harmed by following the Chachamim. If a chochom paskened, it is mutttor; If it is muttor, then it cannot be harmful. To tell the truth, it’s hard to say what the bottom line is according to the Ran, who seems to be saying that the mitzvoh of listening to a chochom is a counteractive to the damage of eating a dovor ho'ossur. But the Abravanel is clear--there is no damage in the first place if you are following a chochom who paskened, because it is muttor for you to trust the chochom. (Apparently, the Abravanel holds that the chiyuv chattos of a yochid she’ossoh b’horo’as Beis Din is that he is called a shogeig only as far as the chiyuv korbon, but it’s called oneis gomur for everything else.)

In Chullin 5a the Gemora brings that Eliohu ate meat brought by crows from Achov’s kitchen. The Gemora asks, but it’s shchitas mumor and treif mamosh? The Gemora answers ahl pi hadibbur shani. Rashi learns that it means that it was a horo’as sho’oh that allowed him to eat treifeh meat. It appears that despite his having eaten this treifus, his ko’ach nevu’oh was not hurt or diminished, unlike the Medrosh in Shmos. But the Ritvo and the Maharsho both learn the ahl pi hadibbur meant that Eliohu knew b’n’vu’oh that it was shechted by a ma’amin, and not by Achov or one of his ovdei avodoh zoroh. According to them, Eliohu did not eat meat that was treif at all.

Reb Meir Simcha in Parshas Vo’eschanan, Dvorim 6:11, on Batim m’lei’im kol tuv, brings the Gemora in Chulin 17 about afilu kadli d’chaziri, that in the forteen years of conquest and division, we were allowed to eat whatever we found, even preserved ham. Then he says a tremendous chiddush. The reason that the following possuk says "Hishomer lecho pen tishkach es Hashem" is "ki teva dvorim ho’assurim shemitamteim es haleiv...v’afilu im ochlon b’hetter...v’lochein y’challeil shabbos l’choleh v’lo ya’achilenu n’veiloh." I think that RMS’ shittoh is the most extreme possible application of the concept. Note, however, that it not that different than what Chazal say about Y’fas To’ar, a hetter that applies only in wartime, and which, despite the hetter, carries grave spiritual risk. The difference is that by yefas to'ar, Chazal constantly state that the hetter is a b'di'eved and frought with risk, and no such Chazal exists in the context of kadli d'chaziri.

Reb Moshe in OC I:53 says that relying on an eid echod is oneis gomur and not an aveiroh klal. HaRav Reuven Feinstein has told me numerous times that this means there is no timtum haleiv. This interpretation is well known in the Feinstein family as Reb Moshe's shittoh.

But see Reb Moshe in OC II:88) where he brings a t’shuva of the Chasam Sofer regarding a handicapped girl in the following situation. If she stayed at home she would never develop, and would and remain an einoh bas daas. If, however, the parents sent her to a special school, she could potentially attain normal-range mental function. However, the school was in a non-Jewish area and there was no possibility of providing her with kosher food. The Chasam Sofer said that ahl pi din it is muttor, but he recommends against sending her for the following reason. If they send her she will become a bas daas and chayevess b’mitzvos. After she becomes chayeves b’mitvos, she might do aveiros because of her earlier timtum haleiv. Therefore, it is better that she remain an einoh bas da’as instead of being a bas da’as with a leiv m’tumtom. From this it seems that treifus is metamteim es haleiv even if eaten b'heter (the girl was not a bas daas.) However, R’ Moshe brought the Chasam Sofer primarily to say that in the case at hand, where the child could never reach a madreigo of da’as, the Chasam Sofer’s psak is not relevant.

The Minchas Osher in Shmini page 102: he brings the Rosh in Yoma 8:14 who brings the Ram MeiRuttenberg that it’s better to shecht for a choleh on Shabbos than to give him neveiloh, because (but it’s not poshut at all that this is what the Rosh and Ram mean) Shabbos is huttroh for the choleh but neveiloh is still neveiloh and only d’chuyoh, i.e., Shabbos is issur gavro and neveiloh is issur cheftzoh. (Brought in OC 328:14.) He brings the Ohr Somei’ach 6 Chometz Umatzoh 7 that answers the Shagas Aryeh’s question on the Rambam who says matzoh shel tevel is a mitzvoh habo’oh b’aveiroh, but it should be asei docheh lo sa’aseh; RMS answers that an aveiroh can never be a mitzvoh. Asei docheh is only when the aveiroh is with A and the mitzvoh is with B. RMS asks but why does Tosfos in Kiddushin 38 asks that Matzoh should be docheh Chodosh. This kashe is soseir RMS’ yesod. RMS answers that Chodosh is only an issur gavro, since it’s tolui b’zman. But then RMS asks on himself from Yevomos 20 where it says that min hatoroh yibum is docheh issur lahv. So the Minchas Osher answers that kashe by saying that all issurei biyoh are issur gavro, not issur cheftzoh. (He began the piece by saying that this is why the Rambam titled treifus "Ma’acholos Assuros," but titled znus "Issurei Bi’oh." Although he brings exceptions, he says this is because ma’acholos are issur cheftzoh but bi’oh is issur gavro.)

See also the Minchas Osher on page 105 who klers whether the timtum is the reason for the issur or the issur is the reason for the timtum. He brings the Ramban Shmos 22:30 who says that the smichus of Anshei Kodesh to the dinim of treifus are because the tzivui to avoid treifus is because they are molid "ohvi v’gassus ru’ach banefesh." But, he brings the Maharal that starts out contradicting the Ramban. Tiferes Yisro’el 8. The Maharal says that the Torah is not a medical work. It is only because of the issur that they are pogeim. This is why the Gemora in Yoma says "Aveiroh" m’tamtemes. It is the Aveiroh that causes the damage. But the Maharal later says "and even if treifus is m’tamteim," that’s not the reason the Torah assered them.

The sefer Mishuchan Gavo’ah here brings from the Ramban (discussed above) that the ma’acholim that the Torah assered were assered because they are bad for our health, and brings the Abravenel (discussed above) says that the Torah is not a medical book, and that these dinim are to protect our neshamos, not our bodies. He brings from the Magid from Ritteveh, Reb Yissochor Ber, that he heard from Reb Chayim Brisker that once the Torah made them assur, they are indeed mazik the body, as we see the din of timtum halev. He brings from the Brisker Rov that according to Reb Chaim, the timtum is only where al pi din the thing is assur to eat, but not for a choleh. He brings a story from the Briskers that the Rambam once visited Teiman, and met a great Gaon there, with whom he began a correspondence. Once he got a question from him that showed apikursus, and he refused to continue the correspondence. When the Teimani kept sending him inquiries, the Rambam told him to be bodeik the local kashrus. He later got a letter from the Gaon that he did investigate, and found that one local shochet had been ma’achil neveilos and treifos to the community for the past 13 years.

And the Rogatchover:
The Rogatchover in his Tzafnas Paanei'ach on the Rambam (2 Sabbos 2 and 5 Shavu'os 20) says this is a machlokes the Rambam and the Ran.  The Rambam holds that Sakana removes issur entirely; the Ran holds that the issur remains a davar ha'asur, but that the Torah says he must do the issur anyway.  (The machlokes Rambam and Ran is where a man swore he wouldn't eat for a week or sleep for three days.  Everyone agrees we give him malkos and he can sleep immediately, and the Rambam holds that is true for the not-eating shvu'ah too, but the Ran says that by not eating, he cannot eat until he comes to a condition of sakana, and only then he eats because he's a mesukan.  The Rogatchover learns pshat in the machlokes as above. 
And please don't tell me that he's only talking about an issur that arises from a shvu'ah.  He's not.  He's talking about all issurim, as evident in his discussion in Hilchos Shabbos.)

The Sefer Shmiras Haguf Ve'hanefesh brings from the Chelkas Yakov Chelek 2 siman 40 that one who is getting a blood transfusion should, if time and circumstances allow, get the transfusion from a Shomer Torah Umitzvos.  I  have personal knowledge that the Ponevezher Rov was very, very makpid to have this done when he had surgery.  (I was in the waiting room during the surgery with Mr. Ernst Bodenheimer.  I was either saying tehillim or learning.)

Please  note that this concept appears in other forms.  Example: Gittin 7a.  Rav Avahu said "Tzadikim, Hashem does not bring them occasion to stumble accidentally in Torah prohibitions."  Tosfos DH Hashta asks, but what of the numerous cases of tzadikim erring and doing issurim?  Tosfos says that Rav Avahu's rule only applies to eating, "d'gnai hu l'tzadik she'ocheil dvar issur."  Tosfos adds that this is only by a food which is inherently assur, but not by foods that are assur on a particular day or time, like before havdala or on Yom Kippur.  Reb Elchonon in the Kovetz Biurim says that the difference is issur gavra or issur cheftza.  He connects this to the issue of whether derabanans are gavra or cheftza, because the gemara uses Rav Avahu's rule regarding Dmai, which is a pure derabanan.  Of course, one could argue that Dmai is viewed as if it were Tevel, but that's a poor answer.  Also, the Shach in YD 81 does list derabanans among the cases that are like nursing from a non-Jew.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is a great Teshuva by Ben Ish Chai in Rev Pealim Sod Yesharim 4:6 who says that if it is an ones gamur, then there is no timtum halev, because the timtum comes from the bad spirit on the item caused by doing an issue, but if you eat it beheteir than the spirit is not there.

Eliezer Eisenberg said...

I thank you, and I am putting the teshuva into this post on my other website, Beisvaad.blogspot.com