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Avodah Zarah, 73
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1) "RISHON RISHON BATEL"
QUESTIONS: The Mishnah teaches that Yayin Nesech that falls into other wine
prohibits the mixture "b'Kol she'Hu," in any amount. The Gemara quotes Rav
Dimi who teaches that if Yayin Nesech falls into permitted wine, each drop
of prohibited wine becomes Batel as it falls in ("Rishon Rishon Batel"),
even if the Yayin Nesech is the majority of the resultant mixture, and the
mixture is Mutar. When the Mishnah says that Yayin Nesech prohibits whatever
it falls into "b'Kol she'Hu," it is referring to a case in which permitted
wine is poured into Yayin Nesech. Even if there is only a minute amount of
Yayin Nesech, it prohibits everything that falls into it, because each drop
of permitted wine becomes Batel as it falls into the prohibited wine.
2) HALACHAH: "RISHON RISHON BATEL"
RASHI asks that according to Rav Dimi, Yayin Nesech should never prohibit
other wine into which it falls, because every drop will become Batel as it
enters the permitted wine. Where, according to Rav Dimi, do we find a case
of Yayin Nesech that falls into permitted wine and prohibits it (as the
Mishnah tells us on 74a)? Rashi answers that Rav Dimi admits that the
principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel" will not apply when a large barrel breaks
and falls into a wine pit, causing the prohibited wine to enter the
permitted wine all at once.
(a) The Gemara explains that according to Rav Dimi, when the Mishnah says
that when wine falls into water, the mixture is prohibited if the taste of
Isur can be discerned in the mixture ("b'Nosen Ta'am"), it means that the
water into which the wine fell is Asur, and it prohibits the wine. Why,
though, is the wine not prohibited if the forbidden taste cannot be
discerned in the wine? The entire mixture should become prohibited because
of "Rishon Rishon Batel!" Rashi answers that the case is one in which the
wine fell into the water all at once, and thus "Rishon Rishon Batel" does
ANSWER: When Rashi writes that we do not apply "Rishon Rishon Batel" when a
barrel of Isur falls into the Heter at one time, how much Isur is necessary
to prohibit the mixture? Obviously, a "Kol she'Hu" will not suffice to
prohibit the mixture, since "Rishon Rishon" will apply and be Mevatel such a
If, however, the wine fell into the water at one time, then how are we to
understand the Gemara's next question? The Gemara asks that if the water
mentioned in the Mishnah is prohibited water and the wine is permitted wine,
then why -- in the case in which water falls into wine -- is the mixture
prohibited? We should permit the mixture because of "Rishon Rishon Batel!"
According to Rashi, the end of the Mishnah is discussing a case in which the
mixture was not caused by pouring one liquid into the other, but rather one
liquid fell into the other all at once. How, then, can we apply the
principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel" to the case of water that fell into wine,
if it fell in all at once? (MAHARSHA, KARNEI RE'EM; see also RITVA and RAN
(on the Rif, 35b), who ask a similar question.)
(b) The Gemara then quotes Rav Yitzchak bar Yosef who qualifies this
Halachah and states that the principle of "Rishon Rishon" applies only when
the wine spills form a narrow-necked container into the pit of wine. If, in
contrast, one pours wine from a barrel such that the flow is a broad column,
then the wine that is poured into the pit does not become Batel to the
permitted wine, and it prohibits the entire mixture.
The Gemara then quotes Ravin who says in the name of Rebbi Yochanan that
when Yayin Nesech falls into a pit of permitted wine after a jar of water
fell into the pit, and there is not enough Yayin Nesech alone to give a
discernible taste to the water, the entire mixture is permitted.
RASHI (DH Amar Lach) writes that the Halachah does not follow the view of
Rav Dimi, who says that "Rishon Rishon Batel" applies every time that Yayin
Nesech falls into permitted wine, because Rav Yitzchak was Machmir and ruled
that if the Yayin Nesech is poured from a barrel, we do not permit the
mixture through "Rishon Rishon." Rashi adds that Ravin was also Machmir and
prohibited the mixture when Yayin Nesech was poured into a pit of permitted
wine, unless a jar of water was poured in first.
How does Rashi know that Ravin disagrees with Rav Dimi? Perhaps he agrees to
the principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel," but here he is discussing a
situation in which the Yayin Nesech falls into the pit all at one time, such
that the principle of "Rishon Rishon" cannot apply! (RAMBAN, RITVA, ROSH)
The Rishonim (RITVA, RAN) explain that if enough prohibited wine falls into
the permitted wine such that had the permitted wine been water it would have
been possible to discern the taste of the prohibited wine in that water,
then the mixture is prohibited.
The CHIDUSHEI HA'RAN points out that this answers our second question. Ravin
teaches that if the amount of prohibited wine will not give its taste to the
jar (Kiton) of water that was poured into the pit, then the wine in the pit
is permitted. Obviously, the amount of prohibited wine that fell into the
pit must have been rather small, since it could not give any taste to even a
jug of water. If the amount of permitted wine that was in the pit originally
is more than a jug, then the prohibited wine will not be able to be "Nosen
Ta'am" to change the taste of that wine (had it been water) in a noticeable
way. Therefore, even if the prohibited wine falls into the pit all at once,
the principle of "Rishon Rishon" will still apply, since it was a small
amount of prohibited wine that fell into a large amount of permitted wine.
When Rashi writes that Ravin disagrees with Rav Dimi, perhaps he is assuming
that there must be more than a Kiton-full of permitted wine in the pit, and
therefore even if the prohibited wine falls into the pit at one time,
"Rishon Rishon" will still apply. (See also MAHARSHA.)
Perhaps we may add to this answer. It seems that Rashi maintains that even
if there is enough prohibited wine to give the taste of wine to the mixture,
and the prohibited wine falls in at one time, it will not prohibit the
mixture unless there is *more* prohibited wine than permitted wine. We may
infer this from a number of comments of Rashi. First, Rashi (DH Rishon)
writes that a barrel that falls into a wine pit prohibits it only when it is
a "large" barrel. This implies that it is not enough for the prohibited wine
to give taste to the mixture; it must also comprise the majority (Rov) of
the mixture. This is also evident from the words of Rashi (DH l'Gav Hetera)
when he mentions Bitul *b'Rov* and he does not emphasize that the Bitul is
*b'Nosen Ta'am*. Also, Rashi (DH Hachi Garsinan) writes that the Gemara is
attempting to refute Rav Dimi by proving that we do not apply "Rishon Rishon
Batel" when Isur falls into Heter, even when there is more Heter than Isur.
What difference does it make if there is more Heter than Isur? "Rishon
Rishon" applies even when there is very little Heter! Apparently, Rashi
means to say that the case in the Mishnah is indeed one in which prohibited
water falls into permitted wine all at once. Nevertheless, according to Rav
Dimi, who accepts the principle of "Rishon Rishon," we would permit the
mixture, even when the prohibited water gives taste to the wine, since there
is not a majority of the prohibited water in the mixture.
The logic for this distinction may be as follows. Rashi is following his
opinion expressed in Chulin (98b), where he writes that mid'Oraisa all
mixtures are Batel b'Rov. The rule that if a prohibited food gives taste in
a mixture, then the mixture becomes prohibited -- is only mid'Rabanan.
accordingly, perhaps the Rabanan waived the prohibition of "Nosen Ta'am"
when a prohibited food falls into a permitted food because of the principle
of "Rishon Rishon Batel." The mixture will become prohibited only when there
is a Rov, a majority, of prohibited food in the mixture, such that even
mid'Oraisa the mixture is prohibited.
If this is correct, the Gemara's question on Rav Dimi is now clear. Even
though the prohibited water fell into the wine all at once, it will not
prohibit the wine if there is less water than wine, and there clearly *is*
less water than wine, if the water is merely "Nosen Ta'am," giving a taste,
to the wine.
This answers our second question as well. According to Rashi, Yayin Nesech
cannot prohibit a pit full of permitted wine when it falls in all at once,
unless there is more Yayin Nesech than permitted wine. Since the Yayin
Nesech was not able to give taste to a jug of water, it is obviously a much
smaller quantity than a jug-full of Yayin Nesech. It is certainly logical,
therefore, to assume that there is more permitted wine in the pit than there
is Yayin Nesech falling into it. Consequently, the Yayin Nesech will not be
able to prohibit the mixture, according to Rav Dimi.
OPINIONS: The Gemara records various opinions regarding whether or not we
apply the principle "Rishon Rishon Batel," and to what extent it applies.
What is the Halachah?
(a) The RAMBAN, RITVA, and other Rishonim rule that the principle of "Rishon
Rishon Batel" is not accepted in practice, l'Halachah, at all. They prove
this from the Tosefta, cited by the Gemara earlier (58a), which states that
if an "Agardemim" (a Nochri standards-inspector) tastes wine and pours the
remainder back into the barrel, the entire barrel of wine becomes
prohibited. If we apply "Rishon Rishon Batel," though, then the wine should
be permitted, especially in this case in which the wine is being poured from
a cup! It is evident from the Gemara there that we do not apply "Rishon
Rishon Batel" in practice. This also seems to be the opinion of TOSFOS (DH
Ro'in), and the Rishonim write that this is also the intention of RASHI (DH
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 134:1) cites the opinion of the Rambam and
rules that we apply the principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel" when Yayin Nesech
is poured from a container with a narrow neck (such as a cup) into permitted
wine. Therefore, the mixture remains permitted regardless of how much Yayin
Nesech is poured (in this manner) into the permitted wine. In contrast, when
Yayin Nesech is poured from a barrel, we do not apply the principle of
"Rishon Rishon Batel" and the Yayin Nesech prohibits the mixture with any
amount, b'Kol she'Hu.
(b) The RA'AVAD, cited by the Ritva and Ran, agrees with these Rishonim that
we do not apply the principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel" to permit a minute
amount (Kol she'Hu) of Yayin Nesech that falls into a barrel. However, he
writes that with regard to other prohibited types of foods, which prohibit a
mixture only when they are "Nosen Ta'am" but not when there is a minute
amount, then we *do* apply the principle of "Rishon Rishon." Therefore, even
if enough of the prohibited food falls into a permitted food such that it
changes the taste of the permitted food, the principle of "Rishon Rishon"
will apply and the mixture will be permitted.
The logic for this distinction appears to be that the principle of "Rishon
Rishon Batel" has no effect on Yayin Nesech, since even the first drop that
falls into the permitted wine will suffice to prohibit the entire mixture,
since we rule that Yayin Nesech prohibits with a Kol she'Hu (not like Rav
Dimi). However, in a case in which the first drop of a prohibited liquid
that falls into a permitted food *cannot* prohibit the mixture, then every
drop that falls in becomes Batel and it can no longer prohibit the mixture
even if more of the prohibited liquid is added such that it changes the
taste of the mixture.
The TUR cites the Ra'avad as saying that "Rishon Rishon Batel" has an even
further limitation. It applies only when a person pours the prohibited
liquid into the permitted liquid in small amounts, bit by bit, not in a
steady flow. In such a case, each part becomes Batel before the next part
enters the permitted liquid. (This is also the opinion of RABEINU TAM, cited
by Tosfos in Bava Kama 100b.)
(c) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Ma'achalos Asuros 16:28) rules that we do apply the
principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel," and, therefore, if a prohibited wine or
other liquid is poured into a permitted liquid, the prohibited liquid is
Batel and the mixture remains permitted. However, he limits the application
of this principle to cases in which the prohibited liquid is being poured
from a narrow-necked container. If it is being poured from a barrel, which
has a wide neck, the Rambam rules that "Rishon Rishon Batel" does not apply,
following the opinion of Rav Yitzchak bar Yosef.
(d) The ROSH (5:28) rules like Rav Dimi, since the prohibition of a mixture
into which a minute amount of Yayin Nesech fell is only mid'Rabanan.
Therefore, when the Amora'im argue with regard to this prohibition, we
should rule leniently because of the principle of "Safek d'Rabanan l'Hakel."
In our Gemara, Rav Dimi is the most lenient opinion, since he applies
"Rishon Rishon Batel" even when wine is poured from a barrel into the pit,
and therefore we accept Rav Dimi's ruling which permits a mixture in which
Yayin Nesech was poured into permitted wine, because of "Rishon Rishon."
However, the Rosh accepts the opinion of Tosfos (DH Ki Asa), who writes that
"Rishon Rishon Batel" applies only until enough prohibited wine is poured
into the mixture to change the taste of the mixture. That is, Yayin Nesech
that is poured into permitted wine will not prohibit the mixture as long as
there is only a minute amount of prohibited wine that does not give a taste
to the mixture. When the prohibited wine gives a taste to the mixture,
"Rishon Rishon" can no longer permit the mixture. (This is basically the
opposite of the ruling of the Ra'avad, who says that "Rishon Rishon" will
not work for an Isur created by a Kol she'Hu, but it will work for an Isur
created by Nosen Ta'am.)
The Rosh points out that even though we rule like Rav Dimi that "Rishon
Rishon Batel," nevertheless the ruling of the Mishnah -- that Yayin Nesech
is more severe than other Isurim and can prohibit a mixture with a Kol
she'Hu -- is also true. There are two other cases in which Yayin Nesech can
prohibit a mixture with a Kol she'Hu, even according to Rav Dimi. The first
case is when wine that is permitted is poured into Yayin Nesech. In this
case, we apply "Rishon Rishon Batel" and the drop of Yayin Nesech prohibits
the mixture regardless of how much permitted wine falls into it. This
applies, though, only to Yayin Nesech, because of its severity, but not to
other Isurim. For other Isurim, "Rishon Rishon" can be used only to permit
the mixture (when the Isur falls into Heter), but not to prohibit the
mixture (when the Heter falls into Isur, and there is not enough Isur to
give its taste to the Heter).
The second case in which Yayin Nesech prohibits a mixture with a Kol she'Hu
is when the Yayin Nesech is being poured not from a jug or barrel, but from
a tank ("Gigis") of wine. In such a case, even Rav Dimi agrees that the
principle of "Rishon Rishon" does not apply.
However, the Shulchan Aruch later (134:3) cites the opinion of the Rosh and
Tosfos, who assert that if enough Yayin Nesech is poured into water such
that the taste of the wine is discernible in the water, we do not apply
"Rishon Rishon Batel." The REMA there points out that the this is a
different opinion (see SHACH there, 134:17), and he concludes that the
Halachic ruling should follow this second opinion. Thus, the Rema accepts
both the stringency of the Rambam (that we do not apply "Rishon Rishon" when
Yayin Nesech is poured from a barrel), and the stringency of the Rosh (that
we do not apply "Rishon Rishon" when so much Yayin Nesech is added that its
taste is discernible in the mixture).
The DERISHAH and TAZ explain that the Shulchan Aruch is not citing
conflicting opinions. Rather, his intention is to differentiate between the
application of "Rishon Rishon Batel" when Yayin Nesech is poured into wine,
and when it is poured into water. When Yayin Nesech is poured into wine (Min
b'Mino), he accepts the ruling of the Rambam, who says that "Rishon Rishon"
permits the mixture regardless of how much Yayin Nesech is added. However,
when Yayin Nesech is poured into water (Min b'she'Eino Mino), the Shulchan
Aruch deems it logical to accept the ruling of the Rosh and Tosfos, who do
not permit the mixture if the taste of Yayin Nesech can be discerned in the
water. The reasoning behind this is that it is illogical to permit a person
to consume a mixture in which the prohibited food can be tasted easily, just
because it was mixed in a manner of "Rishon Rishon Batel." (See Tosfos to
73a, DH Ki Asa.)
The BI'UR HA'GRA (134:11) accepts this ruling as the Halachah. He adds that
even if Yayin Nesech was poured into wine (Min b'Mino), we prohibit the
mixture if so much Yayin Nesech was added that *most* (Rov) of the mixture
is Yayin Nesech.
The SHACH (134:1) adds, based on the RAN, that if permitted wine is poured
into a minute amount of Yayin Nesech, then we prohibit the mixture even when
the permitted wine comes from a large barrel and falls into the Yayin Nesech
all at once. The wine that is standing is considered to be more significant
than the wine being poured, and therefore it is Mevatel the wine being
poured. This is a stringency of the Rabanan that applies to Yayin Nesech
because of its severity. (This ruling, however, applies only to a mixture of
Min b'Mino, two similar foods. If a large amount of *water* falls into Yayin
Nesech all at once, though, and there is enough water such that the taste of
the Yayin Nesech cannot be discerned in the water, the mixture is
3) "HIGDILO B'ISUR" AND "HIGDILO B'HETER"
QUESTION: Chizkiyah rules that if water, permitted wine, and Yayin Nesech
are mixed together, and there is enough water such that the taste of the
Yayin Nesech cannot be discerned in the water, the status of the mixture
depends on the order in which the liquids became mixed. If the water and
permitted wine were mixed first, and then Yayin Nesech fell into the
mixture, the mixture is prohibited (since the permitted wine becomes
prohibited by the Yayin Nesech, and the taste of the combined wines can be
discerned in the water). However, if the Yayin Nesech and water were mixed
first, and then the permitted wine was added, the mixture is permitted.
RASHI (DH Higdilo b'Heter) explains that this is because the Yayin Nesech
already became Batel through being mixed with the water, and the Isur cannot
Why, then, in the first case is the mixture prohibited? Why do we not apply
the same principle that Rashi applies in the second case, and say that if
the permitted wine that was mixed with the water cannot be discerned in the
water, then that wine is Batel and ceases to be considered wine? It cannot
be revived when Yayin Nesech is added, and it should not prohibit the
mixture of Min b'Mino with a Kol she'Hu!
(a) RASHI (DH uv'Ro'in) explains that there are different amounts of Yayin
Nesech and permitted wine. Although the taste of Yayin Nesech is not
discernible in the water, the taste of the permitted wine (which is more
abundant) *can* be tasted in the water. Therefore, it does not become Batel
when it is mixed with water.
(b) We may suggest another approach based on the RAN in Nedarim (52a, and
Teshuvos ha'Ran #3). The Ran writes that Bitul can occur only when there are
two different, opposing objects confronting each other. Since the objects
oppose each other, wine can overpower the other. However, if the objects are
similar to each other, one will not overpower the other. This, he explains,
is the reasoning of Rebbi Yehudah, who rules that a mixture of Min b'Mino is
not Batel. The Rabanan who disagree with Rebbi Yehudah maintain that Min
b'Mino is also considered to be two opposing objects; even though they are
of the same type of food, one is Heter and one is Isur and thus they oppose
However, in a mixture of Min b'Mino in which the object that is Asur is not
irrevocably Asur, but rather it can or will eventually become permitted
("Davar she'Yesh Lo Matirin"), there is not sufficient opposition between
the Isur and the Heter for the Isur to become Batel to the Heter, because
even the Isur has an element of Heter in it. This is the logic for the
ruling that a "Davar she'Yesh Lo Matirin" is not Batel in a mixture of Min
The Ran takes this further and says that based on this logical it might be
proposed that in a mixture of two objects that are completely Mutar, one
cannot be Mevatel the other, even if they are min b'she'Eino Mino. The
opposition between the physical characteristics of the foods is not enough
of an opposition; the objects must have a measure of opposition of Isur and
Heter in order for Bitul to occur.
Perhaps this can be applied to the case of our Gemara as well. When the
Yayin Nesech is mixed with water, Bitul will occur, and the Isur of Yayin
Nesech cannot be revived. When, however, permitted wine is mixed with water,
Bitul cannot occur because both objects are permitted. Therefore, when the
Yayin Nesech is then added, it will "find" the permitted wine that was mixed
with the water, prohibit it and combine with it, and together they will
prohibit the mixture.