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In parashat Emor (Vayikra 21:2) it is written

כִּי, אִם-לִשְׁאֵרוֹ, הַקָּרֹב, אֵלָיו: לְאִמּוֹ וּלְאָבִיו, וְלִבְנוֹ וּלְבִתּוֹ וּלְאָחִיו.כא,ג וְלַאֲחֹתוֹ הַבְּתוּלָה הַקְּרוֹבָה אֵלָיו, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-הָיְתָה לְאִישׁ--לָהּ, יִטַּמָּא

Rashi there explains that the word "שארו" refers to the spouse.

In Yechezkel 44:25 the word "שארו" is omitted:

וְאֶל מֵת אָדָם לֹא יָבוֹא לְטָמְאָה כִּי אִם לְאָב וּלְאֵם וּלְבֵן וּלְבַת לְאָח וּלְאָחוֹת אֲשֶׁר לֹא הָיְתָה לְאִישׁ יִטַּמָּאוּ

What could be the explanation for this?

I looked into the meforshim (commentaries) on Yechezkel and did not find anything on this issue.

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Remember that man for good and Chanania ben Chizkia is his name for if not for him the seffer Yechezkel would have been hidden, for his words contradict the Torah. What did he do, he brought three hundred barrels of oil and sat in the upper dwelling and expounded. Shabbos 13b.

Just so happens that the things that Yechezkel said which contradicted the Torah were in chapter 44 & 45 according to Rashi on that gemara in shabos*. So let's expound.

The gemara in Yevamos 22b has a drasha concerning the passuk in parshas emor that you mentioned. כי אם לשארו הקרוב עליו, ואמר מר שארו זו אשתו, וכתיב (שם פסוק ד׳) לא יטמא בעל בעמיו להחלו, יש בעל שמטמא ויש בעל שאין מטמא, הא כיצד, מטמא הוא לאשתו כשרה ואין מטמא לאשתו פסולה. Seems like Yechezkel is mentioning the list of relatives which the cohen gets tamei for when the cohen is married to someone passul to him.

*he first quotes a pasuk which is found at the end of chapter 45 which implies that only cohanim can't eat neveilos. He then quotes chapter 45 verse 20 where this is a korban mentioned which has no source in the Torah.

  • Where is the Rashi that the things that Yechezkel said which contradicted the Torah were in chapter 44 & 45? Please put in the link and I will accept your answer for the bounty. – Gershon Gold Dec 8 '14 at 18:30
  • @Gershon I clarified but didn't link. – user6591 Dec 8 '14 at 18:59
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According to מעדני מלכים no. 187, citing the כסף משנה to Rambam, Hilchot Avel 2:1 that only things that are "מפורש בתורה ממש," only things that are absolutely explicit in the Torah are considered to be mitzvos on the Biblical level; if it's not absolutely clear, then it is considered to be "מדברי סופרים."

He doesn't consider "שארו" to be absolutely explicit, because (as mentioned by the questioner) we don't know that until we see Rashi to that passuk; and אונקלוס doesn't even translate it as wife, rather as "לְקָרִיבֵהּ דְקָרִיב לֵהּ," "his relative who is close to him."

מעדני מלכים uses this to explain why the Rambam only counts six מתי מצוה (Avel 3:1), omitting the wife, because even though it is a Biblical mitzvah, it is only found מדברי ספרים -- we only know about it through exegetical means.

( h/t Gershon Gold for pasting this link in comments on the question! )

  • Why didn't yechezkel mention this type of mitzvah midivrei sofrim? – David Michael Gang Dec 3 '14 at 19:38
  • I just checked back with מעדני מלכים....AFAICT, he doesn't really give a good reason for it....my assumption is that it's not really one of the מתי מצוה. ....it might also be worthwhile to look at the כסף משנה as well, though I haven't yet. – Shokhet Dec 3 '14 at 19:51

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