Vayikro 6:21

An earthenware vessel in which it is cooked shall be broken, but if it is cooked in a copper vessel, it shall be purged and rinsed with water.

Rashi explains,

“[An earthenware vessel in which it is cooked,] shall be broken: Because the absorption that had been absorbed in the vessel becomes נוֹתָר [literally, “left over.” I.e., the food remains within the vessel’s wall (see next Rashi), and subsequently, when the time limit for eating the sacrifice has expired, the absorption in the vessel wall is “left over.” Since נוֹתָר, “left over,” must be destroyed by burning, the food in the wall of this earthenware vessel must be destroyed by breaking the vessel].

purged and rinsed: to expel its absorption. [This is in the case of a metal vessel.] But an earthenware vessel, Scripture teaches you here [by requiring that it be broken,] that it never rids itself of its defect. - [Pes. 30b]

In the case of the metal vessel, I can understand that the absorbed material is removed by cleaning and nullified by the volume of cleaning materials. But in the case of the earthenware vessel, the absorbed material is still there!

  • I don't understand the question. An earthenware vessel can never be purged so you have to destroy it; a metal one can be purged so you can do that and retain the vessel. Rashi isn't discussing any food remaining in the vessel (you can't eat it after the time limit either way), only the vessel. Apr 29 '12 at 2:24
  • All Rashi says is that it must be broken because of the Nosar absorbed in it. This could simply mean that since there is no way to make the vessel permitted for use, it must be destroyed. The explanation you quoted ("Since נוֹתָר, “left over,” must be destroyed by burning, the food in the wall of this earthenware vessel must be destroyed by breaking the vessel") is interesting, but it's not what Rashi says, and I wonder what the source is.
    – Dave
    Apr 29 '12 at 2:42
  • @MonicaCellio - I think his question is based on the assumption that breaking the vessel is tantamount to burning the nossar it has absorbed.
    – Dave
    Apr 29 '12 at 2:44
  • It is interesting, though, that Rambam places the halachos of breaking the vessel not in Hil. Pesulei Hamukdashin together with the laws of nosar, but in Maaseh Hakorbanos as part of the laws of the chatas. (Indeed, the rule about breaking it applies only to a chatas - if it was used for any other kind of korban, it can be cleaned and reused (Maaseh Hakorbanos 8:14).) Which implies that it's not really an issue of getting rid of nosar per se.
    – Alex
    Apr 29 '12 at 5:51
  • @Alex Please look at the Ra'avad at your reference. Apr 29 '12 at 8:44

It's a bit of of a non-sequitor. IF the vessel is metal, you can kasher it and re-use it; but if it's clay, there's no way to re-use it, so you just have to break it (i.e. and throw it away, neither you nor anyone else can use it). Not that breaking it "fixes" it.

  • You assume breaking is just lest someone will use it, not an independent mitzva.
    – Double AA
    Apr 29 '12 at 5:29

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