THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) "BA'ALEI KISIM"
OPINIONS: Rava says that the one who maintains that grain finished by a
Nochri is exempt from Terumah and Ma'aser also maintains that dough that was
kneaded by a Nochri is exempt from Chalah. Rava adds that the one who
maintains that grain finished by a Nochri is obligated in Terumah and
Ma'aser also maintains that dough that was kneaded by a Nochri is obligated
in Chalah. The Gemara questions Rava's statement from a Beraisa that
maintains that grain finished by a Nochri is obligated in Terumah, while
dough kneaded by a Nochri is exempt from Chalah. The Gemara answers that the
Beraisa agrees that, mid'Oraisa, grain finished by a Nochri is exempt from
Terumah, but it is Chayav mid'Rabanan because of a Gezeirah of "Ba'alei
Kisim." To what does this Gezeirah of "Ba'alei Kisim" refer?
(a) RASHI (DH Gezeirah) explains that if we permit grain bought by "Ba'alei
Kisim" -- wealthy people -- from Nochrim without having Terumah separated,
then they might also think that when they buy grain from a Jew, they also do
not have to separate Terumah.
(b) Alternatively, Rashi explains that the Gezeirah was made because of
people who own a lot of property, "Ba'alei Kisim," who are stingy and do not
want to separate Terumah and Ma'aser from all of their produce. Such people
would give their fields to Nochrim and let the Nochrim finish the grain,
thereby making their produce exempt from Ma'aser.
The SHITAH MEKUBETZES questions this second explanation of Rashi. Why would
the landowners give their fields to Nochrim in order to exempt their produce
from Terumah and Ma'aser? It would suffice to have the Nochrim finish the
harvesting of the grain, without giving possession of the fields to the
It could be that Rashi rules like RABEINU GERSHOM (66b) who says that grain
finished by a Nochri is exempt from Terumah and Ma'aser only when the grain
is owned by the Nochri. The Shitah Mekubetzes himself maintains that even
grain owned by a Jew is exempt, as long as a Nochri finished the harvesting
process (see previous Insight).
There seems to be a practical Halachic difference between the two
explanations of Rashi. According to the first explanation, the Gezeirah
applies to any grain, even grain originally owned by a Nochri. Indeed, this
is the way TOSFOS (DH Gezeirah) and the RA'AVAD (Hilchos Ma'aser 11:14)
apply the Gezeirah. According to the second explanation of Rashi, the
Gezeirah seems to apply only to grain owned by a Jew that was given to a
Nochri to finish; it does not apply to grain that was always owned by a
(c) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Terumos 4:15; see also Hilchos Bikurim 6:10) rules
that grain received from a Nochri is obligated in Terumah mid'Rabanan, as "a
decree because of the Ba'alei Kisim; this is in order that a Jew not give
his grain to a Nochri in order to exempt it from Ma'aser." However, the
Rambam earlier (Hilchos Terumos 1:11-13) says that Terumah finished by a
Nochri is "completely exempt." This implies that it is not even obligated in
Terumah mid'Rabanan. The KESEF MISHNEH (Hilchos Terumos 1:11) explains that
the Rambam holds that Rav Papa and Ravina argue with Rava and maintain that
there is no Gezeirah of "Ba'alei Kisim."
What does the Kesef Mishneh mean? The Rambam clearly rules (in Hilchos
Terumos 4:15) that there is a Gezeirah of "Ba'alei Kisim," as quoted above!
Moreover, we find that the Kesef Mishneh himself (Hilchos Terumos 4:15)
explains that the Rambam rules that there is a Gezeirah of "Ba'alei Kisim"!
(KEREN ORAH, MA'ASEH ROKE'ACH)
The YAD BINYAMIN explains that the Rambam holds that the Gezeirah of
"Ba'alei Kisim" was instituted only with regard to grain that the Nochri
himself separated as Terumah, as indicated by the wording of the Rambam (in
Hilchos Terumos 4:15). Ordinary grain bought from a Nochri (that was not
separated as Terumah) was not included in the Gezeirah at all.
What, though, is the logic behind this distinction?
1. The MAHARASHDAM (YD 192) says that the Gezeirah was made because of a
problem that might arise when a Jew sees a Nochri's Terumah being sold and
treated like Chulin. He might think that the obligation to separate Terumah
is merely to remove the Terumah from the rest of the produce, but not to
treat it with Kedushah. When he sees that the Terumah separated by a Nochri
is sold and treated like Chulin, he will think that any Terumah -- even
Terumah separated by a Jew -- may be sold. This is why the Chachamim enacted
a Gezeirah giving a certain degree of Kedushah to the Terumah separated by a
The Yad Binyamin has difficulty with this explanation. Why does the Gemara
call this a Gezeirah because of the "Ba'alei Kisim"? *Any* Jew, not just
"Ba'alei Kisim" who have a lot of land or who buy a lot of produce, might
get confused and think that Terumah must merely be separated but does not
need to be treated with Kedushah and given to a Kohen!
2. The Yad Binyamin therefore explains that the reason why this Gezeirah
applies only to grain separated by the Nochri as Terumah is because we
suspect that if a Nochri is separating Terumah in the first place, he is
probably doing so because the grain really belongs to a Jew who sold him the
grain after the time of Ma'aser arrived, making the grain obligated in
Ma'aser d'Rabanan (see Rambam, Hilchos Terumos 1:13). Since this grain is
now suspect, the Chachamim enacted a Gezeirah of "Ba'alei Kisim" to ensure
that Jews would not try to take steps to pass off their grain as
Nochri-owned and exempt the grain from Ma'aser. The Yad Binyamin writes that
he later found this explanation in TESHUVOS RABEINU BETZALEL ASHKENAZI (#1).
2) GRAIN IN ITS HUSK
OPINIONS: Rebbi Oshiya says that if one wants to avoid the obligation to
separate Ma'aser from his grain, he can bring the grain into his house when
it is still in its husk so that his animal may eat it, before it becomes
obligated to have Ma'aser separated from it. What is the reasoning behind
(a) RASHI (DH b'Motz Shelah) explains that the reason for this exemption is
that as long as the grain is in its husk, it is considered animal food, and
it is not food which is fit for people and obligated in Ma'aser.
(b) Alternatively, Rashi explains that grain is only obligated in Ma'aser
when it is "Ro'eh Penei ha'Bayis" -- when it "sees the face of the house."
When grain is in its husk, it does not "see" the house, since the house is
hidden from the "view" of the grain, and therefore the grain does not become
obligated to have Ma'aser separated from it.
What is the difference between these two explanations?
1. The TZELACH in Berachos (31a) explains that according to the first
explanation (that the grain is considered animal food), the grain has this
Ma'aser-free status only for as long as it remains in its husk. Once the
husk comes off, the grain is obligated in Ma'aser. According to the second
explanation, as long as the grain did not "see" the face (outside) of the
house when it entered, it is exempt from Ma'aser even *after* its husk comes
off inside the house.
The Tzelach explains an apparent problem in Rashi's words based on this
difference. In our Gemara, Rashi gives both of these explanations. In
Pesachim (9a) and Nidah (15b), however, Rashi gives only the second
explanation, and he says that the Gemara is discussing a case in which the
grain's husk was eventually removed. Why does Rashi here give two
explanations, when it is obvious that the first explanation (that animal
food is exempt from Ma'aser) is not consistent with the Sugyos in Pesachim
and Nidah? The Tzelach explains that in those Sugyos, the Gemara is
explaining a different opinion according to Rebbi Oshiya. Those opinions can
understand Rebbi Oshiya's view only according to the explanation that the
grain did not "see" the face of the house. However, Rashi in our Gemara is
presenting different ways to understand what Rebbi Oshiya held. He could
have held that either of these reasons are valid.
The AFIKEI YAM (2:29) says that he does not understand the explanation of
the Tzelach. The Gemara here is also discussing a case in which the husk
eventually is removed. The Gemara asks that just as there is a Gezeirah of
"Ba'alei Kisim" (making the grain of a Nochri obligated in Terumah
mid'Rabanan), we should also make a Gezeirah that his Chalah should be
Chalah d'Rabanan because of "Ba'alei Kisim" (see previous Insight). The
Gemara answers that one is able to exempt himself from the obligation to
separate Chalah merely by baking less than the amount which is obligated in
Chalah. The Gemara then asks that one can also exempt himself from Ma'aser,
as one can bring his grain into his house in the manner of Rebbi Oshiya. The
Afikei Yam says that this obviously means that the person can also use the
grain normally when it is outside its husk, just as he can avoid Chalah and
eat normal baked goods. If the grain must remain animal food in order to be
exempt, then a person may not eat his grain in a normal fashion *and* avoid
separating Ma'aser. If this is the case, though, then the Gemara has no
2. The Afikei Yam (ibid.) has a different understanding of Rashi's two
explanations. He says that upon closer analysis of Rashi's words in Pesachim
(9a, DH v'Iy Ba'is Eima) and in Nidah (15b, DH Iba'is Eima), we find that
Rashi is explaining that when the grain comes towards the house in its husk,
it *is* considered as though it "sees" the face of the house. However, since
it has not been completely processed, it cannot be called Tevel. This is the
first explanation of Rashi here, and it is Rashi's preferred explanation as
indicated by the fact that he gives only this explanation in the other
Sugyos. Rashi understands that Rebbi Oshiya mentions the fact that its husk
is still on the grain only as an indication that it has not yet been
processed. Even if its husk is off, though, Rebbi Oshiya would agree that it
is not obligated in Ma'aser as long as it has not been processed.
The second explanation of Rashi is similar to the explanation of the TALMID
HA'RIF quoted in the SHITAH MEKUBETZES in Bava Metzia (88b). He holds that
when Rebbi Oshiya says that the grain is exempt when it entered while still
in its husk, he means that it is exempt *only* when it is in its husk and
not when it is in any other stage before being finished. This is because
only when it is covered by its husk is the grain considered not "seeing" the
face of the house, and therefore not obligated in Ma'aser after it enters
the house even if its husk is subsequently removed (see Afikei Yam at
length). (Y. Montrose)