Monday, December 18, 2006

Daf Yomi - Rosh Hashana 13 - Highlights


The Gemora cites a Mishna in Massros which states that fenugreek, which is a certain type of spice, is subject to the obligation of tithing when it develops seeds. One is obligated to separate maaser from grains and olives after they have grown one third of their eventual growth.

Rav Assi offers proof to this from a verse in Exodus and he explains that the Sages ascertained that any produce which has fully grown and is set to be harvested by Sukkos, it certainly grew to a third of its eventual growth by Rosh Hashanah. The Torah refers to such produce as “the end of the year,” indicating that produce which grows a third before Rosh Hashanah is considered to be produce from the previous year.

Reb Zeira explained to Rabbi Yirmiyah that the Sages established a measurement and they are all issued precisely. Produce which did not grow a third prior to Rosh Hashanah cannot be fully grown by Sukkos. There are other examples of precise measurements. One can immerse himself in a mikvah that consists of forty se’ah, but a kortov (an extremely small measurement equal to 1/64 of a log) less will invalidate the mikvah. Food the size of an egg is capable of transmitting tumah but if the food is a drop less than an egg (even in the size of a sesame seed), it cannot transmit tumah. (12b – 13a)

Rabbi Yirmiyah accepted Reb Zeira’s explanation and he proved it by quoting a discussion between Rav Kahana and his contemporaries.

Rav Kahana was asked by his contemporaries regarding the korban omer that the Jews brought when they entered Eretz Yisroel. They inquired of him as to where did the barley come from for this korban. It could not have been grown by a non-Jew for the Torah states that it should be from “your harvest.” The Gemora proves that the korban omer was brought that year from the verses in Yehoshua which state that the Jews ate from the new grain only on the day after Pesach began. It is evident that they originally did not eat because the korban was not brought and it was only on the second day of Pesach, which is the day the korban omer is brought that they began to eat from the new grain.

Rav Kahana answered them that they used the barley which did not grow a third while it was owned by the non-Jew. Since the barley reached a third of its growth in the possession of the Jew, it is regarded as “your harvest” and can be used for the korban omer.

Rabbi Yirmiyah commented that it is evident from Rav Kahana’s response that the Sages were accurately able to determine if the produce grew a third or if it was less than a third.

The Gemora concludes that it is possible for barley in Eretz Yisroel to be unripe and in a span of five days can become completely ripe. This is because Eretz Yisroel is referred to as “the land of the deer,” whose produce can ripen much faster than regular. (13a)


The Gemora cites a Mishna in Shevi’is which states that rice, millet, poppy and sesame that took root prior to Rosh Hashanah are regarded as being from the previous year pertaining to the laws of maaser and Shemitah.

Rabbah challenged the ruling of this Mishna from the words of the Sages. They stated that fruits from trees that emerge before the fifteenth of Shevat are considered as being from the previous year. Grain and olives are regarded as being from this year if they grow a third before the fifteenth of Shevat. Vegetables are decided by the year in which they are picked. Why did the Mishna in Shevi’is decide that there are certain foods that are assigned to be from the new year based on when they took root?

Rabbah answered that the beans are harvested a few at a time and therefore they cannot be assigned a year based on the time of picking like other vegetables. The Sages did not want one harvest to be divided in its halachos. It was decided to assign them a year based on when they took root since the entire harvest will have one halacha.

Abaye questions this reason by citing the opinion of Rabbi Shimon Shezuri. A ruling was issued regarding Egyptian beans that were planted for seeds and some of them took root before Rosh Hashanah and others took root after Rosh Hashanah. One cannot separate terumah and maaser from one onto the other since they are from different years. Rabbi Shimon Shezuri maintains that one can mix all the beans together and separate terumah and maaser from this mixture. Abaye asks that the same can be done with the beans that are harvested in different years.

Rabbah answers that it is only Rabbi Shimon Shezuri who holds that this option is available because he holds of the principle called “yesh bilah,” meaning that we can assume after the mixing that the beans from the different years are evenly distributed amongst each other. That is why he permits separating terumah and maaser from the mixture. However, the Chachamim do not subscribe to this principle and they assume that the beans will not be evenly distributed in the mixture and when one will separate terumah and maaser, he will be taking from one year onto the other. (13b)