(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld

Ask A Question about the Daf

Previous daf

Chulin, 119


QUESTION: Rav (118b) teaches that an is not considered a "Shomer" with regard to the laws of Tum'as Ochlin when it is protecting an object that is smaller than a bean. The Gemara questions Rav's ruling from a Beraisa in which Tana d'Vei Rebbi Yishmael states that the husk of a grain of wheat, barley, or a lentil is considered a Shomer, even though those items are smaller than the size of a bean. The Gemara answers that Rebbi Yishmael is referring to a Shomer for an object that is a Biryah (an item that is whole and complete like it was when it was created). Rav agrees that a Shomer for such a food is considered to be a Shomer even when the food is smaller than a bean.

Why should the fact that the food is a Biryah determine whether or not its outer protective shell is considered a Shomer?


(a) In general, the significance of a Biryah comes from the fact that a whole entity is a more important item than a piece of something the same size. We find this concept in Makos (17a) with regard to the Isur of eating bugs. One who eats an entire bug transgresses the Isur of eating bugs, regardless of its size. In contrast, one who eats part of a bug is not punished unless he eats the amount of a k'Zayis. The Gemara there clearly states that this is because a Biryah (a whole bug) is considered important. Rebbi Shimon in Makos extends this to a grain of wheat, stating that one who eats a grain of wheat from which Terumos and Ma'aseros have not been separated has fully transgressed the prohibition of Tevel, even though he has eaten less than a k'Zayis.

However, this does not seem to be the opinion of RASHI here (119b, DH Chitim). The Gemara discusses whether or not two Shomrim can combine with the food to make a k'Beitzah. Rashi explains that the Gemara seeks to prove from Tana d'Vei Rebbi Yishmael that the husks (in the plural) of a grain of wheat or barley become part of the grain so that it can be Mekabel Tum'ah. This shows that two Shomrim can combine. The Gemara responds that these husks are not Shomrim, but rather Yados. Rashi explains that the Gemara could have answered this proof the same way it did previously, saying that although the husks are Shomrim, Tana d'Vei Rebbi Yishmael is referring to Shomrim of a Biryah, and it is only a Biryah that can have two Shomrim that combine.

The RASHASH and TIFERES YAKOV have difficulty with Rashi's explanation. Earlier, when the Gemara discusses how large a food must be in order for its Shomer to be considered a Shomer with regard to the laws of Tum'as Ochlin, the Gemara says that the food can be even smaller than a bean as long as it is a Biryah. In the Gemara here, where the issue is whether or not two separate Shomrim can be combined, what difference does it make whether the food that they protect is a Biryah or not? The question of two Shomrim seems to be whether or not a food can have two "guards." If it is possible to have two "guards," then even if the food is not a significant size, it should be able to have two Shomrim! If, on the other hand, it is not possible for an item to have two Shomrim, then even a Biryah should also not have two Shomrim. Why should the logic of Biryah make a difference in this case?

Due to this question, the TOSFOS HA'ROSH here explicitly argues with Rashi and says that this is the reason why the Gemara later (119b) does not give the answer of "Biryah." This also seems to be the reason behind the statement of the CHIDUSHEI HA'RAN who states that it is understandable why the Gemara (119b) does not give the answer of Biryah.

(b) The CHIDUSHIM U'VI'URIM suggests that Rashi understands that the logic of Biryah in the Gemara here is entirely different. When the Gemara answers that the Shomer of a Biryah is considered to be a Shomer even though the food is less than the size of a bean, this is not because a Biryah is important. The Gemara is saying that because the grain was created with a husk guarding it, the husk was "born to be a Shomer" for this grain. A food that has a protective covering that was not created with it must be the size of a bean in order for the covering to be considered a Shomer.

According to this explanation, we can understand the words of Rashi later (119b) when he says that when something is "created" with two husks, they are automatically called Shomrim as they were created as such.

However, the Chidushim u'Vi'urim himself rejects this possibility. The Mishnah in Ukztin (2:4; see BARTENURA there) teaches that an onion cannot have two Shomrim, even though its peels were created this way.

He concludes, therefore, that these words must have been inserted into Rashi's commentary and are not part of Rashi's commentary. This is consistent with the SHITAH MEKUBETZES who writes that he did not find this statement in Rashi's manuscript. (Y. Montrose)


Next daf


For further information on
subscriptions, archives and sponsorships,
contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf,