Monday, November 19, 2007

Eved Knani/Milah/Geirus Part 3

In yesterday's post we discussed the following case:

A man buys a pregnant woman as a shifcha knanis. The women then gives birth to what we call a yelid bayis, a child born into slavery. After the woman gives birth she then does her tevilah l'shem geirus (because all slaves also go through a conversion). The halacha is that a yelid bayis is nimol l'shmoneh. Normally, anyone who is nimol lishmoneh, the milah is also docheh shabbos. However, the Rambam holds that in this case the milah is not docheh shabbos. The question is, why?

Rav Chaim explains that in this case, since the mother was not tovel l'geirus while she was pregnant, the baby has the current status of a non-Jew. If so, the milah cannot be docheh shabbos because the milah of a non-Jew is not docheh Shabbos.

The Chazon Ish argues with Rav Chaim based on the following logic. Rav Chaim is essentially saying that it is the geirus component of the milah that separates this case from the classic case of yelid bayis. In a classic case there is milah without geirus. Here it is milah with geirus. The Chazon Ish points out that by milah of avadim the Rambam holds in general that the avadim require daas. If so, how do avadim ktanim ever have milah??

The Chazon Ish reasons that it must be the case that the Rambam only says milas avadim need daas because of the general geirus component, for we know that geirus needs daas. That component is totally missing by ktanim. Therefore, the din to be mohel an eved katan must be on the adon independent of any geirus. If so, there should be no difference whether the eved is a non-Jew or not, because the din of milah exists independent of that halacha.

This issue really gets into the general issue of geirus by k'tanim and gets involved in the sugya in Kesuvos 11a. Perhaps we will discuss this another time.