19 May Seeing Via Mirror
In Bamidbar 4:20 the Torah tells us that the Leviim should not come to see the Kodesh and die. Rashi in Sanhedrin 81b s.v. Kevala says that this is a warning for the Leviim that they should not look at the items of Hekdesh as they are put into their cases as they Yidden began to travel from place to place the Kohanim would cover each item in it’s respective case and the Leviim were forbidden to look at it. If the Leviim did look at it they would be punished that they would get Misa bidei shomayim. What would happen if a Levi saw these items via a mirror would that be considered seeing and therefore they would be chayev misa? What about if a bracha is recited upon seeing something and it was seen via mirror would the bracha still be recited? How about saying testimony based on seeing through a mirror? The Teshuvos Betzel HaChochma vol 2 18 says that regarding brachos seen via a mirror like Kiddush Levana or upon seeing the Yam Hagadol and upon seeing a King or a Chacham. If one sees the above via a mirror that is not called having seen them and therefore a bracha is not recited. This would work also that even if one saw these things within thirty days through a mirror it would not count as if one saw it within thirty days and disqualify him from making the bracha. The bottom line is that seeing through a mirror in not considered seeing regarding having the requirement of making a bracha. Regarding testifying it would be considered having seen even though it was via mirror. The only problem is that we find in Rosh Hashana 21a that if witnesses saw the new moon reflected in the sea they cannot testify. One can differentiate that really seeing through a mirror is considered sufficient to having seen the new moon but we are worried that the reflection he saw in the sea may not be the true moon. The Gemara in Chullin 10b says we go based on a chazaka reading a house that had in it tzoraas. How could the Kohen be metame the house? The Kohen can only be metame the house only after exiting the house otherwise he would become tamei. Now it could very well be that in that time it took for the Kohen to exit the house the tzoraas became smaller and now does not have the shiur. The Tzofnas Paneach questions this premise in the Gemara why can’t we say that the Kohen was following the tzoraas as he was exiting the house with a mirror? So from this we see that the Gemara held that looking through a mirror is not considered seeing. This would be problematic because this would seem to be the same as a testimony. The Gemara in Pesachim 26a says that seeing hekdesh does not constitute meilah but there is still an issur involved. What would happen if one sees hedesh via a mirror would the hekdesh become assur MiDe’Rabbonon. We could surmise that when it comes to issurei hanaah there would be no difference if one actually saw it or saw it through a mirror in either case the person had hanaah therefore the hekdesh should be assur. Regarding the Leviim when they saw the klei hamishkan through a mirror. Since that seeing of the Keilim does not constitute an issur hanaah but rather just an issur of seeing. Therefore if a Levi looked through the mirror that would not be considered a re’iyah and he would be pattur. May we be zocheh to be mekayem the rules of not seeing the keilim of the Kodesh Hakadashim!