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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Bava Metzia 89



(a) Ravina just taught us that the Torah compares the muzzler to the muzzled. In light of that, the Beraisa learns from the Pasuk "Lo Sachsom Shor *be'Disho*" - that the concession for a laborer to eat is confined to food that grows from the ground.

(b) Consequently, it will apply - neither to milking or cheese-milking nor to the manufacture of milk products.

(c) Despite the fact that the Torah has already written "Ki Savo be'Kerem Re'acha ... ve'El Kelyecha Lo Siten" (implying Mechubar), we nevertheless need "be'Disho" - to preclude from "Kamah", which implies 'Kol Ba'alei Kamah', including Talush.

(a) A second Beraisa learns from *be'Disho*" - that the concession for a laborer to eat is confined to G'mar Melachah.

(b) This precludes a laborer who is weeding a bed of garlic or onions. Note, that threshing is normally performed with crops that are Talush, so the reference to G'mar Melachah and to weeding is unclear (see Rashi, Maharam and Maharsha).

(c) We could not learn this too, from "ve'El Kelyecha Lo Yiten" (implying that the Pasuk is speaking about harvesting the fruit, when it is ready to eat) - because "ve'El Kelyecha Lo Yiten" could be speaking about a laborer who is pulling out the small onions from a bed of large ones (that will not grow any larger, but which are edible as they are), a Melachah which is performed before the harvesting season and which is not therefore not 'G'mar Melachah'.

(a) And a third Beraisa learns from "be'Disho", that the concession for a laborer to eat from Talush is confined to fruit that is not yet Nigmerah Melachto as regards Ma'aser. This comes to preclude - a laborer who separates dates and figs that are stuck together.

(b) And Rav Papa reconciles this Beraisa with another Beraisa 'ha'Bodel bi'Temarim u'vi'Gerogros, Po'el Ochel Bo' - by establishing the latter by 'Tuchleni' (a poor quality date that does not ripen on the tree, and that is pre-picked and placed in baskets, where it is left to ripen). Consequently, the laborer who does this is permitted to eat from the dates, since the G'mar Melachah will only occur later.

(c) Yet a fourth Beraisa learns from be'Disho", that it is confined to crops that are not yet Nigmerah Melachto as regards Chalah - precluding someone who kneads, bakes, or arranges the dough.

(a) The problem with the concession to eat from the crops during grinding and sifting for example (which fall under the category of 'Lo Nigmerah Melachto le'Chalah') is - that since these Melachos are Nigmeru Melachtan le'Ma'aser, how can the laborer be permitted to eat from them?

(b) We refute the suggestion that this latter Beraisa speaks about Chutz la'Aretz, where Ma'aser does not apply on the grounds - that if Ma'aser does not apply, neither does Chalah.

(c) We next try to establish the Beraisa - during the fourteen years that Yisrael conquered and distributed Eretz Yisrael, where Chalah applied (since the Torah wrote "be'Vo'achem el ha'Aretz" (rather than the more usual "Ki Sa'vo'u el ha'Aretz)", but not Ma'aser (since the Torah wrote there "ba'Makom Asher Yivchar").

(a) The basic misconception that currently causes us to differentiate between Nigmerah Melachto le'Ma'aser and Nigmerah Melachto le'Chalah is - that there can be two Nigmerah Melachtos with regard to the same crop, when in fact, the Torah mentions neither Ma'aser nor Chalah (only Nigmerah Melachto).

(b) Ravina therefore merges the last two Beraisos to read - 'Mah Dayish Meyuchad she'Nigmerah Melachto le'Ma'aser u'le'Chalah' (whichever is applicable).

(c) And the basic criterion by crops where both apply is - the latter one (i.e. Chalah, which is the ultimate Nigmerah Melachto, and until which the laborer is therefore permitted to eat).

(a) Based on the prohibition cited earlier, forbidding a laborer to salt the grapes, we ask whether a laborer is permitted to heat up kernels or grapes (to sweeten them) before eating them - seeing as, on the one hand, he is enhancing the flavor of the food, whilst on the other, he is not adding anything tangible to it.

(b) There no proof from the Beraisa which permits laborers to dip their bread in vinegar, to increase their appetite for the grapes that they are picking - because we are talking about enhancing the food that the laborer is picking, not the laborer's appetite.

(c) We also reject the proof from the Beraisa which forbids them to do precisely that, because nobody ever suggested that they should be allowed to waste their employer's time by heating fires - and we are talking about a worker whose wife and children are accompanying him (not to work as laborers, but) to prepare his food.

(d) When, on the other hand, the Tana permits the laborers to wait until they reach the corners of the rows (where the sweetest fruit is to be found, since it is open to the sun) - he is coming to teach us that they are permitted to desist from eating until they arrive at the spot where the fruit is the tastiest.




(a) The Beraisa - forbids a laborer to heat kernels that he picks in fire or in the ground, or to bruise them by banging them against a rock (to soften them).

(b) He permits however - bruising them from hand to hand.

(c) We have no proof from here that a laborer is forbidden to heat up kernels, because, as we just explained, the case involves wasting his employer's time. We try and prove that this must be the real reason of the Tana (and not because sweetening the fruit is forbidden) - since bruising fruit softens it but does not sweeten it (and softening fruit is certainly included in the prohibition of "Anavim", 've'Lo Davar Acher').

(d) Nevertheless, we conclude, the reason for the prohibition might still be the latter one (in which case the Beraisa would resolve our She'eilah) - because even though bruising fruit serves primarily to soften it, it is bound to sweeten it a little, too.

(a) The Beraisa - permits laborers who are picking figs, dates, grapes or olives to eat them without having to Ma'aser them.

(b) This not have the Din of a sale, which is Chayav Ma'aser mi'de'Rabbanan (as we learned above) - because it is not by virtue of any condition on the part of the employer that they eat, but because the Torah permits them to do so.

(c) The Tana forbids the laborers to eat fruit which they have picked together with their bread - because this causes them to eat more fruit.

(d) The Tana concludes by forbidding them to dip their fruit in salt. We initially compare dipping in salt to heating (thereby resolving our She'eilah) - because, unlike other foods, one eats the salt when it is absorbed in the fruit (and not as a separate entity).

(e) We counter that - by pointing out that, when all's said and done, salt is comparable to other foods, inasmuch as it is tangible, whereas heat is not.

(a) Another Beraisa draws a distinction between a laborer who ...
1. ... is hired to dig or to cover the roots with soil - who is forbidden to eat, and one who is hired to pick fruit - who is permitted.
2. ... fixed with the owner to pick one fruit at a time - who is permitted to eat, and one who fixed with him to pick two at a time - who is forbidden, because two is Chashuv and fixes the Goren, whereas one is not Chashuv.
(b) This latter distinction is mi'de'Rabbanan (because it is only forbidden due to its similarity to a sale, and a sale is only considered a Goren mi'd'Oraysa, as we explained above). mi'd'Oraysa - even two fruits at a time are permitted.

(c) The Tana concludes 've'So'fes ba'Melach ve'Ochel'. According to our current understanding (that salting the fruit is forbidden because of 'Anavim ve'Davar Acher'), this cannot refer to the Seifa ('Achas Achas, Yochal') - because, once the owner has permitted him to pick one at a time, it goes without saying that he may eat in whichever manner he sees fit.

(d) It must therefore refer to the Reisha - 'Sachro Li'lekot, Harei Zeh Ochel u'Patur, presenting us with a discrepancy (since the previous Beraisa forbade the laborer to salt the fruit that he eats).

(a) To resolve the discrepancy between the two Beraisos, Abaye establishes the former Beraisa in Eretz Yisrael, the latter, in Chutz la'Aretz. The basic change in our understanding of the prohibition of salting the fruit (enabling Abaye to give this answer) is - that we no longer attribute the reason for it to 'Anavim ve'Davar Acher', but to the fact that salting before the G'mar Melachah has taken place fixes the Goren (since the laborer has demonstrated that *this* is his G'mar Melachah).

(b) According to Abaye - the first Beraisa speaks in Eretz Yisrael, where T'rumos and Ma'asros are d'Oraysa. There, salting is considered Chashuv and fixes the Goren for Ma'aser; whereas the second Beraisa is speaking in Chutz la'Aretz, where T'rumos and Ma'asros are mi'de'Rabbanan, and where it does not.

(c) Rava objects to Abaye's explanation on the basis of the principle 'Kol de'Tikun Rabbanan, k'Ein d'Oraysa Tikun'. Consequently, if salting fixes the Goren in Eretz Yisrael mi'd'Oraysa, then it ought to fix it in Chutz la'Aretz mi'de'Rabbanan.

(a) Rava makes no distinction between Eretz Yisrael and Chutz la'Aretz. He therefore establishes the first Beraisa (which forbids salting) by two fruits, which salting makes a Goren (even without Katzatz, and the second Beraisa, by one fruit which it does not, even together with Katzatz (and it refers to the Seifa 'Katzatz Echad Echad', as we initially suggested).

(b) The laborer will be permitted to eat even two kernels at a time - if he neither fixed anything with the owner (in which case, it is not like a sale), nor did he salt them.

(c) Rav Masna learns from the Pasuk "Ki Kibtzam ke'Amir Gornah" - there is no Goren without gathering (implying at least two fruits). And this is the source for the above Halachah, which requires two fruits for the salting (or the fixing with the owner, see Tosfos DH 've'Tarti') to make it a Goren.

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