What is the mekor for the issur of making kodshim tamei?
Yehuda Alexandroff, Toronto, Canada
The Rambam (Pesulei Mukdashim 18:12) writes: "It is forbidden to be Metamei Kodshim because it makes them Pasul... but there is no Malkus."
The Kesef Mishnah records the source as Zevachim 33b and Makos 14b. According to Reish Lakish, a Tamei person who touches Kodshim gets Malkus, while according to Rebbi Yochanan he does not get Malkus. The Kesef Mishnah adds that it appears that Rebbi Yochanan agrees that it is forbidden.
According to Reish Lakish, the source is straightforward. The verse says, "b'Chol Kodesh Lo Siga" (Vayikra 12:4), which forbids both eating and touching Kodshim while Tamei.
According to Rebbi Yochanan, the verse is referring only to Terumah, not to Kodshim. The Aruch la'Ner (Makos 14b), however, explains that the word "b'Chol" includes Kodshim in the Isur but (without Malkus).
Rav Elchanan Wasserman zt'l Hy'd, in Kovetz Shi'urim (Pesachim 68) learns that the Isur to touch Kodshim while Tamei is based on the prohibition against causing ruin to Kodshim, as the words of the Rambam infer.
All the best,