This article states that the Chatam Sofer described tumat met as being not a solid fact of the layout of the building, but more something that we should view like a "viscous vapour" (קיטור צמיג) in responsum Yoreh Deah 340. But I can't find this stated in the responsum; certainly not the exact words, nor from my imperfect scan anything to that effect. Can anyone help? Thanks!

  • 1
    It only described the ch"s words as such , not that he said so explicitly
    – TwoOs
    May 30, 2021 at 7:22
  • "This article states"... does it really? This line seems to say the opposite of what you claim: לכן נראה שלכל הדעות לא מדובר בזרימה חופשית של משהו "מעין קיטור צמיג" - "and so it would appear that according to all opinions we are not speaking of a free flowing substance akin to something like a viscous vapor"... the author seems to exclude R. Sofer from the view you attribute to him. In fact he explicitly states: "אלא גם לדעת החת"ס הטומאה עוברת רק תחת גג משותף" - "even according to the view of the Hatham Sofer, the impurity only passes beneath a shared/conjoined roof" i.e. not like a vapor. Jun 14, 2023 at 14:16

1 Answer 1


The entire teshuvah conveys the Chasam Sofer's attitude to this question. The authors of the aforementioned article distinguish between two views of tumas ohel: either the tumah transfers within an ohel because that is what the Torah says, but it doesn't travel as, say, a viscous vapor from one ohel to the next (this is what they call the "formal ohel" view); or tumah does travel like a vapor, even from one ohel to the next if the halachic criteria (of a space of one tefach by one tefach) are met. The Chasam Sofer adopts the latter view:

טומאה הנמשכת ממקום למקום ע"י חור טפח לא עלה על דעת שום קדמון בעולם שיהיה רק דרבנן כי הלכה למשה מסיני הוא שיהיה חור טפח לענין טומאה כמו ג' על ג' בכל התורה דלא נימא ביה לבוד וכ"כ הריטב"א בסוכה י"ח ע"א דהל"מ היא וכ"כ בכתו' רפ"ב וכ"כ בתשו' מהרי"ט סי' צ"ו ע"ש וכ"כ שבות יעקב ח"א סי' פ"ה מה לי אהל זה או אהל אחר וכ"כ בתשו' שער אפרים ס"סי צ"ג שתמה על עמיתו הש"כ שכ' סי' שע"ב נגד זה

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