- Question: What is the difference between a Kohen contaminating himself with the dead and anyone breaking Shabbos in terms of the concept of “adding on to the count”?
- The Minchas Chinuch (mitzvah 264) says in the name of Tosfos in Brachos 20a that even though a kohen can be spiritually contaminated by the dead body of his close relative but if there are other dead bodies in that house he cannot get out his relative because burial of a relative only pushes off the prohibition of contact with the dead by a kohen. However Rashi holds that the prohibition being in contact with the dead is totally permitted in terms of taking care of a close relative so even if there are other dead bodies in the room it is permitted.
- Tosfos said it is forbidden just like cutting off a branch of figs where only one fig is needed to heal a sick person and three are on the branch so you get a prohibition of breaking Shabbos for the other two figs even though they were all on the same branch. Why is Shabbos any different than contact with the dead by a Kohen according to Rashi?
- By Shabbos one is liable for each object one does a forbidden act with.
Answer: By Shabbos even though it is one action of cutting off the branch but because it was for 3 different object then the prohibition is attributed to each object as if you did the prohibition 3 times. But once you are tamei, spiritually unclean, that is that, and there is nothing more to add therefore it would make no difference if he came into contact with one or more dead person, so once it is permitted for one it is permitted for all. Parenthetically if a kohen is already in a state of tamei and then later on before being purified he comes in contact again then he does get another sin it is just that at one time since nothing is added when becoming tamei then once it is permitted for his relative then everything else becomes permitted and it is not considered adding unneeded amounts.