I. [138A] And is there a Tannaite authority who taught that a maneh is forty sela? Yes. For lo it was taught on Tannaite authority: A new waterskin [not yet fully sealed], even though it can hold pomegranates, it is clean. [It is only susceptible to uncleanness when it holds water.] If he sewed it completely and it tore, the measure [of the opening needed to render it no longer susceptible to uncleanness] is the size a pomegranate will fit through.
J. R. Eliezer b. Jacob says, “[An opening to disqualify it must be the size of] a warp clue, one fourth of a maneh of forty sela [T. Kel. B.M. 6:5 C-D, cf. M. Kel. 17:2].” [This shows that a Tanna knew of such a measure.]
A. And how much must one give to him [i.e., to the priest from the first shearings of the flock] [M. 11:1 N]?
B. It was taught on Tannaite authority: It is not necessary that he bleach the wool and give it to him. But [he should give him a sufficient amount so that] when the priest will bleach it he will end up with [a quantity of bleached wool worth] five sela.
A. [And he must give] enough to make a small garment [from the wool] [M. 1:1 R]. What is the basis in scripture for this matter?
B. Said R. Joshua b. Levi, “Scripture said, `[Because the Lord your God chose him (Levi) from among all of your tribes] to stand and serve [in the name of the Lord, him and his sons forever]' (Deut. 18:5). This implies that [to be included in the obligation of first shearings an item must be] fit for service.”
C. What is [an example of a small garment]? A belt.
D. Why not maintain it is the size of a robe? [As the saying goes:] If you try to grasp a large amount, you may not be able to hold anything. If you try to grasp a small amount, you will be able to hold it.
E. Why not maintain it is the size of a woolen cap? For it was taught on Tannaite authority: A woolen cap rested on the head of the High Priest and on it the golden plate was placed. This fulfills what was written, “And you shall fasten it on the turban by a lace of blue” (Exod. 28:37).
F. [Perhaps a belt should be rejected on a technicality.] Scripture said, “Him and his sons (Deut. 18:5).” [This implies you must give enough wool to make] something that is of equal value to Aaron and his sons.
G. Is the belt not something of value [to the ordinary priest as well]?
H. This makes perfect sense [to reject this claim] according to the view that the belt of the High Priest is [var.: not] the same [composition] as the belt of the ordinary priest.
I. But according to the view that it is [var. omit:] not identical to that of the ordinary priest, what can you say [to defend the view that the belt is of equal value to all priests]?
J. People will call it a belt [no matter what it is made of. So you cannot reject it on mere technical grounds.]
A. If he did not have a chance to give to [the priest a share from the first shearings] before they dyed [the wool], he is free of his obligation [to give the shearings to the priest after dying it] [M. 1:11 T].
B. It was stated: If one sheared and sold the first sheep [immediately after shearing it, R. Hisda said, “He is obligated [to give first shearings even though at the time he completes shearing five sheep, he no longer owns the first one].”
C. R. Nathan bar Hoshaia said, “He is exempt.”
D. R. Hisda said, “He is obligated” — for lo he sheared five sheep.
C. R. Nathan bar Hoshaia said, “He is exempt. At the time that one reaches the minimum [of the shearing of five sheep] he must fulfill the requirement of the verse that they be `your sheep.' And this instance he does not.”
A. It was taught in the Mishnah on Tannaite authority: One who buys shearings of wool from a gentile is exempt from the obligation to give from it a gift of the first shearings [to the priest] [M. 1:11 V]. Lo, if he bought his sheep in order to shear them [and then to return them to him, it appears in such an instance] he would be liable to the obligation. [This contradicts the view of R. Nathan.]
B. But why is this so? After shearing each one it reverts from his possession [back to the gentile owner. So when he reaches the minimum he does not own five sheep.]
C. We may explain [this follows] the view of R. Hisda [even] in accord with the opinion of R. Nathan bar Hoshaia. [He is liable because] this is an instance in which he [the gentile] sold them to him for thirty days [so that he might shear them. At the time he reaches the minimum he still owns five sheep and is liable to the rules of first shearings].
A. One who buys shearings of wool from his fellow [is subject to the following rules]: If [the buyer did not buy the entire lot of the wool but] left over [some of the wool of the lot in the possession of the seller], the seller is liable [to give from that a gift of wool to the priest]. [But if the buyer] did not leave over [any wool in the possession of the seller, but purchased the entire lot], the buyer is liable [to give the priest a gift from the wool] [M. 1:11 W-Y].
B. Who is the Tanna who holds that [in Mishnah's case] where there is [wool] left over with the seller we must go after the seller [to give a gift of wool to the priest]?
C. Said R. Hisda, “It is R. Judah.”
D. For it was taught on Tannaite authority in the Mishnah: He who sells trees in his field [but not the earth in which they are planted] —
E. [the buyer] designates peah from each and every [tree, for the trees are not deemed an orchard, since the buyer does not own the land].
F. Said R. Judah, “Under what circumstances [does this apply]?
G. “[It applies] when the owner of the field does not retain [any of the trees for himself].
H. “But if the owner of the field had retained [some of the trees for himself],
I. “[the owner] designates peah for all [of the trees, those he sells and those he retains]” [M. Peah 3:5 I-N].
J. Said Raba to him, “But lo it is the master [himself] who said, `If the owner of the field started to cut [the fruits before selling the trees, only then is he liable to leave the gift to the poor in the corner of the field].'”
K. And if you maintain [by way of argument to compare that case to our Mishnah] here also [the obligation falls on the seller] if he started to shear [the sheep before selling any of them, that is not a valid argument].
L. For it is consistent there [in the case of peah], “And when you reap the harvest of your land” (Lev. 19:9), is written. At the time you start to reap you become liable to [set aside the corner] for the entire field.
M. But here [in the case of first shearings] at the time you start to shear you do not become liable [to give first shearings] for the entire flock. [That comes about later.]
N. But said Raba, “[Our Mishnah follows the view of] this Tanna.”
O. For it was taught in the Mishnah on Tannaite authority: If one said to another, `Sell me the intestines of this cow [=the maw],' and among them there were some [pieces] that were designated gifts [to the priest], he [the buyer] must give them to the priest and may not deduct from the purchase price [on that account].
P. If one bought [meat] from another by weight [and some of the pieces already were designated gifts for the priest], he [the buyer] must give those to the priest and he may deduct from the purchase price [on that account][M. 10:3 H-I].
Q. [138b] It seems logical to conclude [from that ruling] that [on principle] a person may not sell the articles he intends to give as gifts to the priest.
R. Here also [we may suppose] that a person may not sell the articles he intends to give as gifts to the priest. Hence if the seller left over [any articles], the seller is obligated [to give the gifts to the priest]. For the buyer can say to him, “The gift to the priest remains with you.”
S. But if [the seller] did not leave over [any articles], the buyer is obligated [to give the gifts]. For the seller can say to him, “I never sold you the priestly gift. [Nothing had been designated. You purchased the entire lot.]”
Chapter Eleven deals with the obligation to give to the priest the gift of first shearings. The chapter is a fine example of a balanced, tightly edited unit. Throughout the lengthy discourse in I.1-25 the Talmud brings the scriptural references to the first shearings (mainly Deut. 18:4) into the discussion of Mishnah's rulings. In the course of the discussion the Talmud cites T.'s ruling by Ilai that exempts an animal owned in partnership from the obligation of first shearings leading to a sustained discussion of the obligations on property held in partnership by two Jews or by a Jew and Gentile and then to a sequence of comparisons of rules for the priestly dues of the first shearing with several other issues.
Unit I.1 works out the scriptural and logical basis for C of M. Unit I.2 further inquires into M.'s rule. I.3 cites T.'s rule of Ilai exempting a partner from first shearings and investigates its scriptural basis. I.4-5 continue the preceding and introduce a text from T. Terumot. I.6-15 present a full and rich exposition that works through the contrast and comparison of first shearings and the rules for heave-offering, dough offering, peah, the firstling, mezuzah, tithes, priestly gifts, first fruits, fringes and a parapet. Wherever scripture says “your” does it exclude partnerships from the rule? I.16-17 further extend the inquiry. I.18-24 contrast rules of first shearing with rules of heave-offering. The summary unit at I.25 states the accepted rule for three cases and closes the discussion.
The remainder of this short chapter follows Mishnah closely. II.1 begins a reprise of I.6-15: heave-offering, tithes, firstling. III.1 seeks the scriptural basis for G of M. Unit III.2 develops an issue raised in the preceding independent of the M. and cites a view of Yosé in T. Peah. Unit III.3 continues the discussion of Yosé's view. IV.1 provides a scriptural basis for the prescribed number. IV.2 develops the issue further. V.1 clarifies the M.-passage. VI.1 clarifies the next M.-passage. VI.2-3 develop issues out of the preceding. VII.1 engages in Mishnah-criticism that clarifies the correct reading. VII.2 discusses and defines minimum measures for liability. VIII.1 comments on the M.-passage IX.1 defines the quantity of the matter taken up in the M.-passage. X-XI present an Amoraic dispute related to M. Finally, XII.1 clarifies the authorship of the passage.J:\W\PUBS\HUL\VOL3\CH11P.SET
A. [The requirement to] let [the dam] go from the nest (Deut. 22:6-7) applies (1) in the Land and outside of the Land, (2) in the time of the Temple and not in the time of the Temple, (3) to unconsecrated [birds] but not to consecrated ones.
B. A more strict rule applies to covering up the blood than to letting [the dam] go from the nest:
C. For the requirement of covering up the blood applies (1) to a wild beast and to fowl, (2) to that which is captive and to that which is not captive.
D. But letting [the dam] go from the nest applies only (1) to fowl and applies only (2) to that which is not captive.
E. What is that which is not captive?
F. For example, geese and fowl which make their nest in an orchard.
G. But if they make their nest in the house (and so Herodian doves), one is free of the requirement of letting the dam go.
A. An unclean bird is exempt from the requirement of letting the dam go.
B. [If] an unclean bird sits on the eggs of a clean bird,
C. or a clean bird sits on the eggs of an unclean bird,
D. one is free of the requirement of letting the dam go.
E. A cock partridge —
F. R. Eliezer declares liable [to the law of letting the dam go].
G. And sages exempt.
A. R. Abin and R. Meyasha [offered two explanations of a matter]: One said, “Any time it is taught in the Mishnah [that a certain rule applies], in the Land and outside of the Land, it is unnecessary to state it, except for [the instance where it is stated in M. 11:1]: [The laws concerning the obligation to donate to the priest] the first shearings [of wool from the sheep of one's flock apply both inside the Land of Israel and outside the Land of Israel]. This [explicit statement] negates the view of R. Ilai who said, `[The laws concerning the obligation to donate to the priest] the first shearings [of wool from the sheep of one's flock] applies only [to animals] in the Land of Israel [b. 136a, 11:1 I.17 J above].'”
B. And the other said, “Any time it is taught in the Mishnah [that a certain rule applies], in the time of the Temple and not in the time of the Temple, it is unnecessary to state it, except for [the instance where it is stated in M. 5:1 A], [The prohibition against slaughtering on the same day] `it and its young' (Lev. 22:28) applies [(1) in the Land and outside the Land, (2) in the time of the Temple and not in the time of the Temple].”
C. You might have concluded that it makes sense to say that since [this rule] was stated in scripture in the context of [rules regarding] Holy Things [that applied in the Temple, it is therefore logical to infer that] at the time there are Holy Things [offered in the Temple, the rule] is in practice. And at the time that there are no Holy Things [offered in the Temple, the rule] is not in practice. [Mishnah therefore] makes the novel point [that it is in practice at all times].
D. And both of them said, “Any time it is taught in the Mishnah [that a certain rule applies], to unconsecrated [things] and to consecrated ones, it is necessary to state it, except for the instance where it is stated in M. 7:1 A]: [The prohibition of] the sinew of the hip [sciatic nerve, Gen. 32:32, applies (1) in the Land and outside of the Land, (2) in the time of the Temple and not in the time of the Temple, (3) to unconsecrated animals and to Holy Things]. For it is obvious [that the sinew remains prohibited even after the animal is consecrated. Would it make any sense to say that] since it was consecrated the prohibition of the sinew of the hip ceased to apply to it?
E. But did we not conclude [that the rule at M. 7:1 I.1 applied] to the offspring of Holy Things? And what is the basis for this conclusion? Is it not because we found it difficult [that the rule restates the obvious. It is better] that it not be taught [at all in M.].
F. But basically it also should be no difficulty for you [to assume that the rule restates the obvious]. Because it was taught in the Mishnah-passage where it was necessary [to teach a novel rule], it is also acceptable that it be taught where it was not necessary [but where it merely restates the obvious].
A. To unconsecrated [birds] but not to consecrated ones [M. 12:1A]: Why not? Because scripture says, “You shall let the mother go, [but the young you may take to yourself; that it may go well with you, and that you may live long]” (Deut. 22:7). [The rule applies] to that which you are commanded to let go. This excludes that which you are not commanded to let go [i.e., consecrated birds], but that you must bring to the Temple treasurer.
B. Said Rabina, “This implies that regarding a clean bird that had killed a person, you are free from the obligation to let the mother go. What is the basis for this assertion? Because scripture says, “You shall let the mother go, [but the young you may take to yourself; that it may go well with you, and that you may live long]” (Deut. 22:7). [The rule applies] to that which you are commanded to let go. This excludes that which you are not commanded to let go [i.e., a bird that killed someone], but that you must bring to the court [to be judged].”