Parashas Ki Seitzei
Seeing Rashi's source clears up a misunderstanding
When you come in the vineyard of your friend you may eat grapes as you desire to satiation, but you may not put [produce] into your vessels.
When you come into the vineyards of your friend: Rashi; The verse is speaking of a hired workman (B"M 92b).
As you think about this simple comment, it is strange. What would you ask?
Of course it's talking about a hired workman. Could it possibly mean someone who just goes into another person's field and takes fruit without asking? Not possible!
So why does Rashi have to tell us the obvious?
We cannot understand this Rashi without first seeing his Tamudic source. It is in Bava Metzia 92a. I will recount the Tamudic discussion on this point (in my own words):
Rav said he found a hidden scroll which said that Isi ben Yehuda said "When you come into the vineyard" refers to all men (may come in the vineyard and eat its grapes) Rav said "you have deprived all people of their parnassa." ( by letting anyone come in and eat the fruits of this guy's field).
Rav Kahana said (Isi meant). These men came to work and eat (though they weren't explicitly hired).
So the Tamud asks: What's wrong with that? If they are working, why shouldn't they be allowed to eat?
The Talmud's answer: Nevertheless the owner wants to hire his own men so he knows they're experienced and motivated; he doesn't want these freeloaders who are only working to get some food.
Now we see where Rashi is coming from. He says only hired workers can eat, not people who were not hired and worked to get some food for the moment.
To fully understand a Rashi comment it is always wise to see his source. It can clear up a lot of misunderstanding.
Avigdor Bonchek has published a new book on Rashi called "Rashi: The Magic and the Mystery" published by Gefen. Look for it at Jewish book stores.
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