Monday, July 16, 2007

PRINTER’S MISTAKE IN RASHI - Yevamos 74 - Daf Yomi

The Gemora had stated that the mitzvah of terumah and bikkurim apply during all years of the Shemitah cycle, whereas maaser sheini is separated only in the first, second, fourth and fifth years of the cycle.

It would seem from the language of Rashi that terumah and bikkurim operate only during the six years of the Shemitah cycle, but not during Shemitah itself. The Meiri explicitly states like this. The Commentators explain the reasoning for this: During Shemitah, the produce from the fields is regarded as ownerless; how can there be an obligation to bring your first fruits to the Beis Hamikdosh. Furthermore, you would not be able to recite the verses that you are thankful for the land which was given to me. The Avnei Neizer (Y”D 445) writes that perhaps it can be recited. Since presently, these fruits are his, he can say that the land is his as well.

Rashi, in his commentary to Chumash (23:19) writes: The choicest of the first fruits of your soil Even in the seventh year, the offering of bikkurim is obligatory. The Mizrachi, Maharal and Sifsei Chachamim all state that this must be a printers mistake.

I noticed the following discussion in the Meorot HaDaf Hayomi weekly newsletter.

The Torah commands us to take the first fruit of the seven species, and bring them to the Beis HaMikdash during the period between Shavuos and Sukkos: “And you will take of the first fruits of the earth, that you will bring from the land that Hashem your G-d has given you. You will put them in a basket and bring them to the place Hashem your G-d has chosen to rest His Name upon” (Devarim 26:2). May we merit that the Beis HaMikdash soon be rebuilt, enabling us to fulfill this mitzva this very year.

Your land: The commandment of bikkurim involves bringing the first fruit that grow from our own land - “From the land that Hashem your G-d has given you.” We need not bring bikkurim from ownerless trees. Th¬e Or HaChaim takes this one step further. On Shmitta year, we are commanded to disown our fields and their produce, allowing people and animals to enter freely and help themselves to the fruit. As such, he rules that there is no mitzva of bikkurim on Shmitta, since the produce of the land is not ours for that year.

Rashi’s opinion: ¬The Minchas Chinuch (91:2) cites the Or HaChaim, and notes that not only do the Rambam and Sefer HaChinuch imply that one must bring bikkurim on Shmitta, Rashi in his commentary to the Chumash rules explicitly so. On the words, “th¬e first fruit of the land” (Shemos 23:19), Rashi writes that even on the seventh year we must bring bikkurim. Although the Minchas Chinuch did not find a previous source, Rashi must have based himself on some ruling of the Sages (the Chazon Ish explains how Rashi learned this from the Mechilta).

However, the classic commentaries on Rashi insist that this version of Rashi must be a misprint. How could Rashi reconcile this, with the possuk that requires us to say when bringing bikkurim, “I have brought the first fruit of the land You have given me, Hashem” (Devarim 26:10)? If the land is not ours, how can we say this possuk? Furthermore, in our sugya Rashi seems to imply that we do not bring bikkurim on Shmitta (Rashi 74a, s.v. V’nohagin).

Despite these questions, the Tashbatz (II, 247) writes that there is no misprint in Rashi’s commentary to Chumash. According to him, Rashi indeed holds that we must bring bikkurim on Shmittta.

Fruit that matured before Shmitta: ¬The Chazon Ish (Orla 11, s.k. 18) explains that Rashi refers to fruit that had blossomed (chanata) in the sixth year, and were harvested in the seventh. Th¬ese fruit do not have the sanctity of Shmitta. They belong to the field’s owner, who is obligated to offer from them bikkurim. One might have thought that the mitzva of bikkurim is entirely suspended during Shmitta, even for those fruit that blossomed previously. ¬The Torah tells us that we bring the bikkurim in the season when we rejoice over the harvest (from Shavuos to Sukkos). In Shmitta there is no general harvest. Rashi comes to teach us that nonetheless, we still must bring bikkurim from the fruit that blossomed in the previous year (see also commentary on Minchas Chinuch, Machon Yerushalayim publication, note 3).