Tefisat Yedey Adam
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
- If a person draws water into a mikveh even if he doesn’t use a vessel at all or uses a vessel with a hole in it the water is invalid because of tefisat yadey adam. That is the water is treated like sheuvim. 
- Whether this is Biblical or rabbinic depends on the dispute of whether drawn water in a vessel is Biblical or rabbinic. A person’s actions makes it considered sheuvim even if it isn’t in any vessel.
Why is Tefisat Yadey Adam invalid?
- The Raavad Baalei Hanefesh p. 116 (Bookwald 3:4 p. 147) quotes an opinion who explains that water drawn by a person is a form of sheuvim. He explains that in the Torah it never says that drawn water is invalid if it is placed in a vessel, it is invalid anytime it isn’t natural like a spring, whether the water is drawn with a vessel or by a person. The Rash (Mikvaot 2:6) writes that the water a person draws is like sheuvim. Rashba (Torat Habayit Shaar Hamayim 5, p. 494), Rosh (Mikvaot 2:6), Rambam (Pirush Mishnayot 2:6), Trumat Hadeshen 254, Bet Yosef 201:15(4) agree that tefisat yedey adam is sheuvim. The translation of the Rambam in the Mechon Hameor edition of Rambam p. 564 fnt. 15 this point is even clearer. Mishnah Achronah 2:6, Tiferet Yisrael (Boaz 2:5), Aruch Hashulchan 201:120, Chelkat Binyamin 201:270, Chazon Ish YD 130:9 explaining the Ramban, Rash, Rosh, and Rashba.
- The Raavad himself says he doesn't think it is sheuvim but nonetheless invalid if you have intention to draw the water into the mikveh. Rabbi Akiva Eiger (Bookwald edition p. 149) thinks this is a deoritta invalidation, while the fuller text seems to indicate that is only rabbinic (p. 149 fnt. 18).
- Zichron Yosef YD 13 explains that water that is drawn by a person is considered havaya al yadey dvar hamekabel tumah since a person is mekabel tumah. The invalidation is a derivation in Zevachim 25b. He explains that it is considered havaya al yadey dvar hamekabel tumah even if you’re not touching the water. His proof is that the Rosh Mikvaot 5:5 codified by Shulchan Aruch 201:48 writes that a person holding a board on which the water flows into the mikveh is havaya al yadey dvar hamekabel tumah. Taz 201:58 agrees that a person is mekabel tumah and would create this invalidation. This is evident in Mishna Parah 6:4. However, according to the rishonim and achronim above this isn't the only invalidation of tefisat yedey adam.
- Yet, according to the Rambam (Mikvaot 6:2 as pointed out by the Bet Yosef YD 201:48) this invalidation of havaya al yedey dvar hamekabel tumah is only true for mayim chayim and not a mikveh.
- Also, according to the Rambam (Hilchot Mikvaot 5:8) and Rash (Mikvaot 2:8, Bet Yosef 201:15(4),39, Taz 201:28) this invalidation of tefisat yedey adam can apply to animals as well (since it isn't beyedey shamayim) even though they aren't mekabel tumah.
- The Rashba (Shaar Hamayim ch. 5 36a) writes that it isn’t because of sheuvim but it is another invalidation. He doesn’t explain further.
- Drawing water into a mikveh using a vessel that isn’t susceptible to tumah is nonetheless tefisat yadey adam.
Unintentional and Non-Beneficial
- Water drawn by a person is invalid even if it is unintentionally drawn into the mikveh.
- If you are trying to carry the water out of the mikveh and some of it spills back into the mikveh it isn’t considered tefisat yadey adam since it is non-beneficial to have that water spill back into the mikveh.
Connected to the mikveh
- If a person moves water that is connected to the mikveh isn’t considered tefisat yadey adam.
- Using a pump is considered grama and not tefisat yadey adam.
- Melting ice with hot metal boards isn’t an issue of tefisat yadey adam since it is grama.
- If the water was drawn into a mikveh using an indirect or delayed reaction according to some poskim it is valid as it wasn’t drawn by a person directly.
- Having a machine make ice according to some poskim is considered tefisat yadey adam.
- Drawn water by a person into a mikveh is invalid but if it is drawn along the ground it is valid. Some say that it is valid even if the entire 40 seah is drawn by a person along the ground, while others say it is only valid if the majority of the mikveh wasn’t drawn by a person at all. We are strict.
- Raavad Baalei Hanefesh p. 116 writes that a person drawing water into the mikveh even without a vessel is considered sheuvim. He says that it is derived from the concept that a mikveh is compared to a spring and just like a spring needs to be natural, so too a mikveh needs to be natural and not artificial. His proofs include: Tosefta Mikvaot 4:4 regarding wringing out hair and carrying water with one’s feet, Mishna Mikvaot 3:3 and 7:6 regarding wringing out clothing. Rashba (Meyuchasot LRamban 231) and Rosh Mikvaot n. 2 agree. This concept is codified in Shulchan Aruch YD 201:15.
- The Torat Kohanim (Shemini 9:1) learns that just like a spring is natural so too a mikveh needs to be natural and if there’s tefisat yadey adam it is invalid.
- Chelkat Binyamin 201:15 s.v. ubikar and 201:248 writes that according to most rishonim the rules of tefisat yedey adam is identical with sheuvim, even though the Raavad makes some distinctions.
- *The Mishna Mikvaot 3:3 establishes that if a person wrings out a cloth into the mikveh it is invalid. The Rambam Hilchot Mikvaot 5:2 codifies this but adds that it only applies if one first picked up the cloth out of the mikveh but if it is still partially in the mikveh water that comes out of it isn’t an issue.
- Tosefta Mikvaot 4:4 writes that if one has 3 lug of water in one’s hair and squeezes them out into a mikveh it is invalid. Rosh Hilchot Mikvaot no. explains that squeezing out water wasn’t originally drawn water but it is considered drawn water since it involves a human action to squeeze it into the mikveh.
- Ramban responsa 231 citing the Raavad agrees that anything which comes from a person’s actions is considered drawn water. Even though one’s hair is certainly not a vessel the water squeeze out of it is invalid since it was drawn by a person into the mikveh.
- Rashba (Meyuchasot 231) quotes the Raavad as holding that tefisat yadey adam is an issue even with a vessel that is punctured and doesn’t hold water. Shach 201:46 and Taz 201:27 agree. However, the Meiri Mikvaot 7:3 quotes some rishonim who hold that tefisat yadey adam doesn’t apply with drawing water with a punctured vessel. The Meiri writes that this approach is incorrect because of the Mishna Mikvaot 2:6. Zichron Yosef YD 13 is also strict.
- Shach 201:46 and Taz 21:27 are both strict on water that a person unintentionally drew into a mikveh unlike the Bach 201:21 who is lenient. Chelkat Binyamin 201:250 is strict. Rosh Mikvaot n. 5 holds that water drawn by a person is only invalid if it is drawn intentionally. Also, Raavad in the version of Rabbi Buchwald p. 150 writes explicitly that water drawn by a person unintentionally doesn’t invalidate the mikveh.
- Shach 201:46 writes that since the water spilling back into the mikveh isn’t beneficial and isn’t considered tefisat yadey adam. Lechem Vsimla (Simla 201:70) explains the Shach to mean that it is negative that the water is spilling back. The Lechem Vsimla asks on the Shach and Chazon Ish YD 130:11 disagrees.
- Rambam (Pirush Mishnayot Mikvaot 2:6) and Rosh (Mikvaot 2:6), Taz 201:47
- Rabbi Akiva Eiger in Drush Vchidush writes that water pumped up by a person isn’t considered tefisat yadey adam since at the time of when one pulls up the pump nothing happens to the water directly. He calls it grama. This is quoted by the Lechem Vsimla (210:145) and Divrei Yosef p. 147-8. Zichron Yosef YD 13 is lenient regarding using a pump since it is a koach kocho which isn’t considered like a maaseh of a person.
- Maharsham 1:200 writes that melting ice with hot metal boards isn’t tefisat yadey adam since it is a grama. Chatom Sofer 1:200, Maharam Shik 196, and Nachal Eshkol 53 agree.
- See discussion of pump above. Rabbi Akiva Eiger in Drush Vchidush cited by Lechem Vsimla 201:145 and Divrei Yosef p. 147 held that grama doesn’t make tefisat yadey adam. Maharit 17 also writes that anything which is pushed only with a koach sheni it is considered a grama and not an issue of tefisat yadey adam. Therefore, he writes that water that was drawn from a river into a mikveh using a water mill with buckets that had holes in them is kosher. Zichron Yosef 13 also writes that koach kocho doesn’t create tefisat yadey adam. Ben Ish Chai in Hod Yosef 71 writes that koach sheni is a discussion by shechita and to avoid the opinion of the Tevuot Shor if it is a koach shelishi it isn’t considered tefisat yadey adam. Divrei Yosef p. 148 supports this approach by saying that as long as the water isn’t naturally drawn into the mikveh it is invalid.
- Imrei Yosher 1:148
- *Raavad (Baalei Hanefesh Shaar Hamayim p. 117) states that water that was drawn by a person is invalid for a mikveh like water in a vessel. Nonetheless, water drawn by a person is slightly different in that it would be kosher even if the entire mikveh is drawn along the ground, unlike water that was in a vessel which is invalid if the entire mikveh is drawn along the ground. This Raavad is cited by the Bet Yosef 201:15:1 p. 255 and Taz 201:28.
- However, the Bet Yosef 201:39 assumes that the two invalidations are the same and the Rash who says hamshacha on tefisat yadey adam holds in general that tefisat yadey adam is effective for everything.
- On the other hand, the Rashba (Torat Habayit Shaar Hamayim ch. 5 36a) writes that only if water is drawn by the feet of animal is it is valid but if a person draws water with his feet it is invalid even if it is drawn along the ground. Bet Yosef 201:39 cites this. Rosh Hilchot Mikvaot no. 2 cited by Bet Yosef 201:15:4 and Tur 201:15 agree. However, the Rash Mikvaot 2:8 and Rambam Hilchot Mikvaot 5:8 seem to agree with the Raavad and don’t distinguish between people and animals and both are valid if it is drawn along the ground. See Taz 201:28 for a lengthy explanation of both approaches.
- Bach 201:26 and Taz 201:28 write that we follow the Rosh. Therefore, it is only valid if there’s a majority of rainwater in the mikveh besides the water drawn on the ground by a person into it. Aruch Hashulchan 201:120 agrees. (Rama seems to be citing both the Raavad and Rosh but see the Taz.) Divrei Yosef p. 147 writes that the Shulchan Aruch 201:39 accepts the Rosh and Tur.
- Chazon Ish YD 129:10 argues that everyone agrees that if the water didn’t leave the ground it is valid even if it is drawn by a person. Chelkat Binyamin 201:270 presents both the approach of the Taz and Chazon Ish but doesn’t offer a resolution. In the footnotes he cites the Taharat Yisrael 83 and Shach 201:50 as holding like the Chazon Ish. Similarly, Igrot Moshe YD 1:120:5 distinguishes between having the water not leave the ground in which case there’s no tefisat yadey adam and carrying the water and then placing it on the ground for hamshacha which is invalid to remove tefisat yadey adam.