THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) HALACHAH: GIVING "REISHIS HA'GEZ" IN CHUTZ LA'ARETZ
OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that the Mitzvah of Reishis ha'Gez applies
both in Eretz Yisrael and in Chutz la'Aretz, whether the Beis ha'Mikdash
is standing or whether it is not standing.
2) REDEEMING "REISHIS HA'GEZ" OF "HEKDESH"
What is the Halachah?
(a) The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 333:1) rules that the Mitzvah of Reishis ha'Gez
applies only in Eretz Yisrael, and even when the Beis ha'Mikdash is not
(b) The REMA quotes an opinion (that of the RAMBAN and MAHARAM
MI'ROTENBURG, as cited by TUR) that rules that, mid'Oraisa, Reishis ha'Gez
must be given in Chutz la'Aretz as well. However, as the Tur and Rema
point out, it has become the widespread practice to give Reishis ha'Gez
only in Eretz and not in Chutz la'Aretz, based on the ruling of Rebbi
Ila'i (136b). (Regarding why Reishis ha'Gez is rarely given today even in
Eretz Yisrael today, see Insights to Chulin 130:2.)
QUESTION: The Gemara says that we learn from the word, "Tzoncha" (Devarim
18:4), that the wool of sheep of Hekdesh are exempt from Reishis ha'Gez.
The Gemara points out that had the verse not taught that sheep of Hekdesh
are exempt, the obligation of Reishis ha'Gez indeed would have applied to
them. How, though, could one give to a Kohen the shearings of an animal of
Hekdesh, when those shearings themselves are Hekdesh? The Gemara explains
that had the Mitzvah of Reishis ha'Gez applied to shearings of an animal
of Hekdesh, one would have been required to redeem them from Hekdesh and
give them to a Kohen.
3) A JOINTLY-OWNED SHEEP
What is the logic of obligating the shearings to be redeemed from Hekdesh?
Let them be given to Hekdesh and not to the Kohanim! (TOSFOS DH Reishis)
ANSWER: The TOSFOS HA'ROSH explains that the Gemara is discussing a
situation in which the person who sheared the animals did not know that
they were Hekdesh. Since he inadvertently sheared the wool of sheep of
Hekdesh, he is Chayav for Me'ilah. As in every case of Me'ilah, the
shearings automatically lose there status of Hekdesh and the person is
obligated to reimburse Hekdesh with their value. This is the "redeeming"
of the shearings to which the Gemara refers.
(The Gemara continues to question its assumption and asks how the
shearings can be redeemed if, in order to redeem something from Hekdesh,
it must have "Ha'amadah v'Ha'arachah" (it must be "stood up" before the
Kohen, which is not possible with a pile of wool). The Tosfos ha'Rosh
points out that, apparently, the Gemara is saying that Hekdesh which needs
Ha'amadah v'Ha'arachah does not lose its status of Hekdesh even through
QUESTION: Rebbi Ila'i derives from the word "Tzoncha" (Devarim 18:4) that
a sheep owned in partnership with another Jew is exempt from Reishis
ha'Gez. He derives from the words "Reishis Degancha" that when the animal
is owned in partnership with a Nochri, it is also exempt from Reishis
Why does Rebbi Ila'i require a separate source for each of these laws?
Once the verse teaches that an animal owned in partnership with a Jew is
exempt from Reishis ha'Gez, it is obvious that one owned in partnership
with a Nochri should be exempt!
ANSWER: If there had only been one source for these Halachos in the verse,
then Rebbi Ila'i would have learned that only partnership with a Nochri
exempts from Reishis ha'Gez. Since there are two sources in the verse, he
uses the second one to exempt a partnership with a Jew from Reishis ha'Gez
as well. (M. Kornfeld)
4) THE OBLIGATION TO PERFORM MITZVOS WITH JOINTLY-OWNED OBJECTS
QUESTION: Rebbi Ila'i (135a) derives from the word "Tzoncha" (Devarim
18:4) that a sheep owned in partnership with another Jew is exempt from
Reishis ha'Gez. Rava teaches that there are a number of places in which
the Torah discusses an object in the singular possessive form and,
nevertheless, the Mitzvah that applies to it applies even when it is
jointly owned. For example, the Mitzvos of Terumah, Pe'ah, Bechor, and
Ma'aser all apply to jointly-owned property. The Torah uses the singular
possessive form to teach that only when the object is partially owned by a
Nochri does the Mitzvah not apply to it (see previous Insight).
The Gemara lists another four Mitzvos for which the Torah uses the
singular possessive form, and which nevertheless apply to jointly-owned
objects. These Mitzvos are Mezuzah, Bikurim, Tzitzis, and Ma'akeh. The
Gemara explains that the reason why the Torah uses the singular possessive
form for these Mitzvos is to teach other laws. It does not answer, as it
did earlier, that the singular possessive form teaches that these Mitzvos
apply only to objects owned by Jews, and not objects partially owned by a
Why does the Gemara not give the same answer for all of the cases in which
a singular possessive form is used? It should say that in each case, the
word is teaching that when the object is partially owned by a Nochri, the
Mitzvah does not apply. Why does the Gemara need to give different
ANSWERS: CHIDUSHEI REBBI MEIR SIMCHAH answers that the second group of
Mitzvos (Mezuzah, Bikurim, Tzitzis, and Ma'akeh) differ from the first
group of Mitzvos (Terumah, Pe'ah, Bechor, and Ma'aser). There is no
logical reason to exclude an object partially owned by a Nochri from those
Mitzvos, while there is a logical reason to exclude such an object from
the first group of Mitzvos. What is this logical difference?
He explains that the difference is based on the purpose of the Mitzvah.
The Mitzvos of Terumah, Pe'ah, Bechor, and Ma'aser obligate a person to
*give* of one's possessions to others (Kohen, Levi, poor person). In
contrast, the Mitzvos of Mezuzah, Bikurim, Tzitzis, and Ma'akeh obligate a
person to *do* something with one's possessions (but not to give them to
someone). A Nochri's partial ownership of an object exempts the Jew from
his obligation to *give* the object to a Kohen (or Levi or poor person);
since he cannot give the entire object, he is exempt from giving any part
of it. This is what the Torah's use of the singular possessive form for
the object teaches.
In contrast, when a Mitzvah involves *doing* something with an object, and
not *giving* that object to someone, the Mitzvah applies as long as the
Jew has partial ownership of the object. There is no reason to exempt him
from the Mitzvah just because a person who is not obligated to do the
Mitzvah owns a portion of the object.
Accordingly, the Gemara does not explain that the singular possessive word
used for the Mitzvos of Mezuzah, Bikurim, Tzitzis, and Ma'akeh is
excluding an object that is owned in part by a Nochri, because it is not
logical that the Torah would make such an exemption. Therefore, the Gemara
gives a different answer for why the singular possessive form is used.
(Mordechai Zvi Dicker)