What level of obligation do women have regarding the korban Pesah?
Although the main discussion of this question takes place in the next chapter of Massekhet Pesahim
, as we will see, the point is raised here in the context of bringing the Pesah
sacrifice when the community is tameh,
or ritually defiled.
Generally speaking, the rule is that women are not obligated in positive mitzvot
that are time-bound. Therefore such mitzvot
as hearing the shofar
on Rosh haShana
or sitting in the sukka
on the holiday of Sukkot
are not obligatory on women. Nevertheless, with regard to the laws of Pesah
it is well known that women are obligated in the positive commandments (like eating matza
), just as they are obligated in the negative ones (like refraining from eating hametz
). The question that arises on our daf
is whether the obligation is a full requirement to the extent that they would be obligated to bring a sacrifice on Pesah sheni
should they miss Pesah rishon
(first), or, perhaps, their obligation does not go so far.
Mishna: If the entire community or most of it became ritually impure, or the priests were all impure and the community was pure, they should perform the ritual of the Paschal lamb in ritual impurity. If a minority of the community became impure, even if they are many people, those who are pure perform the ritual of the Paschal lamb on the first Pesah, and those who are impure perform the ritual on the second Pesah.
The Gemara brings a number of baraitot
that discuss what to do if there are an equal number of people who are tameh
(ritually pure). The positions taken by the baraitot
seem difficult. For example, one baraita
teaches that, in such a case, the people who are tahor
bring the korban
in its proper time, but those who are tameh
do not bring the korban
at all - neither on Pesah rishon
nor on Pesah sheni.
Rav explains the case to be when there are an equal number of tameh
people, but the majority of those who are tahor
are women. Rav believes that women are obligated in the korban Pesah
on Pesah rishon
, but on Pesah sheni
they can choose whether or not to participate.
So, on Pesah rishon
only the people who are tahor
bring the korban
because there is not a majority of tameh
people. Therefore, we cannot activate the rule of tuma hutra be-tzibur
- that when the majority of the people are ritually defiled we allow the korban
to be brought
The people who are tameh
cannot bring the korban
on Pesah sheni
either, since they can only do so if they were a minority on Pesah rishon
. If we remove the women from the equation on Pesah sheni
- since they are not obligated to participate in it - it turns out that the tameh
people were not a minority on Pesah rishon,
so the obligation to bring a sacrifice on Pesah sheni
never takes effect.