We were previously taught in Mishna Chagigah 3:1 (20b) about a variety of stringencies concerning the laws of spiritual purity which are applied to utensils that are in contact with קודש (kodesh) i.e. sacrificial foods, and which are not applied to utensils that are in contact with the תרומה (terumah) food given to the Kohanim.
Specifically, the Mishna emphasises that while מטבילין כלים בתוך כלים לתרומה – ‘we may immerse utensils within other utensils for [use with] terumah’, אבל לא לקודש – ‘but we may not [immerse utensils within other utensils] for [use with] kodesh.’ The question we must ask is why is something permissible for one item but not permissible for the other?
This point is addressed in today’s daf (Chagigah 21a-b) where we are taught that though, when a utensil containing another utensil is immersed in a mikveh the water generally reaches both utensils, nevertheless given that there is a concern that one of the utensils might press against the other and thereby causing a חציצה (chatzitza) – i.e. an interposition impeding the possibility of the water reaching all areas of both utensils – we are strict in about this possibility with utensils used with kodesh. However, knowing that water does generally reach both utensils in such a situation, we are more lenient when dealing with utensils which are to be used for terumah.
What this tells us is that though there are instances when we can try and multitask in our efforts to achieve purity, there are some realms which demand a heightened level of spiritual sensitivity, and in such cases, acts of purification must be performed with less haste and with a greater consciousness about the transformative nature of purification on each individual utensil or – more broadly – on each individual aspect of our life that we seek to purify.
Overall, what we learn from here is that the pursuit of the holy and the pure is a delicate process, and while certain outcomes can be reached through spiritual shortcuts, some specific spiritual destinations – and especially those relating to the holiest aspects of our lives – are only reached by walking the long hard road of spiritual growth and transformation.