THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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MENACHOS 66 - dedicated by Moishe Schwerd of Kew Gardens Hills, NY. May he
and his family be blessed with good health and continued growth b'Ruchniyus
1) COUNTING THE DAYS AND WEEKS OF THE "OMER"
OPINIONS: Abaye and Ameimar argue about how to count the Omer. Abaye says
that it is a Mitzvah to count both the number of weeks and the number of
days. This was the practice of the Chachamim of the Beis Midrash of Rav
Ashi. Ameimar argues and says that only the days need to be counted. He
explains his practice by saying that counting the Omer, in the absence of
the Beis ha'Mikdash, is merely a remembrance for the Beis ha'Mikdash.
What is the underlying point of dispute between Abaye and Ameimar?
(a) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Temidin u'Musafin 7:24) writes that it is a Mitzvah
to count the Omer "in every place and at all times." Since the Rambam writes
that it applies "at all times," this implies that the Rambam maintains holds
that it is a Mitzvah d'Oraisa to count the Omer even when there is no Beis
ha'Mikdash. What is the source for the Rambam's view?
1. The KESEF MISHNEH and MAHARI KURKAS explain that the Rambam understands
that the argument between Abaye and Ameimar is whether or not the Mitzvah of
Sefiras ha'Omer in our day is a Torah obligation. Abaye maintains that it is
a Torah obligation, and, therefore, one must mention both the weeks and the
days. Ameimar maintains that the Mitzvah in our day is only mid'Rabanan, an
enactment made as a remembrance for the Mitzvah d'Oraisa that applies when
the Beis ha'Mikdash is standing, and therefore only the days need to be
counted. The Rambam rules like Rav Ashi, and therefore he says that this
Mitzvah applies "at all times," meaning whether or not there is a Beis
(b) TOSFOS (DH Zecher) and the RAN in Pesachim (28a of the pages of the Rif)
rule that the Mitzvah of Sefiras ha'Omer today is mid'Rabanan (this is the
way the TUR and SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 489) rule). They understand that this is
the view of all of the Amora'im in our Gemara as well. The argument between
Abaye and Ameimar is whether we should count only the days because the
Mitzvah is only mid'Rabanan, or whether we should do the Mitzvah as it was
done when it was a Torah obligation.
2. RAV CHAIM SOLOVEITCHIK (Chidushei ha'Shas, #343) explains that the Rambam
understands that both Abaye and Ameimar maintain that Sefiras ha'Omer is
mid'Rabanan, because they maintain that the Kedushah of the Beis ha'Mikdash
became annulled when the Beis ha'Mikdash was destroyed (see Megilah 10a).
However, the Rambam himself rules that the Kedushah endures even today.
Although we do not bring Korbanos today for other reasons (see Insights to
Shavuos 16:1), the Mitzvah of Sefiras ha'Omer is mid'Oraisa since the
Kedushah still exists. Therefore, the Rambam rules that the Mitzvah today is
a Torah obligation and applies "at all times."
(c) RABEINU YERUCHAM (Nesiv Chamishi #4) writes that the Mitzvah of Sefiras
ha'Omer today is mid'Oraisa, and that this is the view of all of the
Amora'im in our Gemara. He explains that when Ameimar says that the Mitzvah
is only a "remembrance" of the Beis ha'Mikdash, he means that when the Beis
ha'Mikdash was standing, the Mitzvah d'Oraisa was to count the days and the
weeks, and when the Beis ha'Mikdash is not standing, the Mitzvah d'Oraisa is
to count only the days.
The OR SAME'ACH (Hilchos Temidin u'Musafin 7:22) says that this view is also
found in the IGROS HA'RAMAH. He explains that the Torah attaches the Mitzvah
of counting weeks to the bringing of the Omer offering when it says,
"me'Hachel Chermesh ba'Kamah Tachel Lispor Shiv'ah Shavu'os" -- "Begin to
number the seven weeks from such time as you begin to put the sickle to the
grain" (Devarim 16:9). However, the Mitzvah to count the days is not
conditional on the bringing of the Omer offering. (Y. Montrose)
2) A NOCHRI PILING GRAIN
OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses whether or not a Nochri who piles grain or
smoothes a pile of grain (thereby performing the final action of harvesting
the grain, which normally makes the grain subject to the obligation to
separate Ma'aser; see RASHI DH Miru'ach) exempts the pile of grain from
Ma'aser. The Gemara says that this is the subject of an argument among the
In what case does the argument apply? Is the Gemara referring to a case in
which a Nochri is piling his own grain, or even to a case in which he piles
the grain of a Jew?
(a) RABEINU GERSHOM states that the case is when "a Nochri had a heap of
grain and he smoothed over the grain," implying that the Nochri is smoothing
over his own grain. When the grain is that of a Jew, the harvest is still
obligated in Ma'aser according to Torah law. This is also the opinion of the
RITVA and ME'IRI in Gitin (47a), as well as many other Rishonim.
HALACHAH: The opinion of the Rambam seems to present a problem for the
practice of separating Ma'aser from produce in Eretz Yisrael today.
According to the Rambam, we would have to be very careful to ensure that
that produce "finished" by Nochri workers (which is not obligated in
Ma'aser) is not used as Ma'aser for produce "finished" by Jewish workers
(which is obligated in Ma'aser). The DERECH EMUNAH (Hilchos Terumos 1:149)
quotes the CHAZON ISH who says that because Terumah today is only
mid'Rabanan, we may rely on the opinion of the Rishonim who argue with the
Rambam's ruling that all Jewish-owned produce is obligated in Terumah and
Ma'aser, even if the produce was "finished" by Nochri workers. (Y. Montrose)
(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Terumos 1:13) rules that if a Nochri finishes the
harvest of a Jew's grain, it is exempt from Ma'aser according to Torah law
(although it might be Chayav mid'Rabanan). The KESEF MISHNEH writes in the
name of the MAHARI KURKAS that the source for the Rambam's statement is the
verse, "Degancha" -- "your grain" (Devarim 18:4), from which our Gemara
derives that only the grain of a Jew is Chayav and not the grain of Nochrim.
The Rambam learns that this includes grain that Nochrim "finished." This is
also the opinion of the SHITAH MEKUBETZES (67a, #1), TOSFOS RID in Gitin
(47a), and others.
Rabeinu Gershom's opinion would seem to be the simple explanation. How does
the Rambam know that our Gemara is referring even to a case in which the
Nochri "finishes" the produce of a Jew?
The KEREN ORAH explains that the Rambam learns this way because he rules
that grain that is bought from a Nochri after it has been finished is exempt
from Ma'aser, since it is "Laku'ach" (purchased grain). Once we know that
grain bought from a Nochri is exempt from Ma'aser, why do we need a special
verse of "Degancha" to teach that grain finished in his possession is exempt
from Ma'aser? It must be that the case of a Nochri who smoothes a pile of
grain is referring to a case in which he smoothes the grain of a Jew. The
verse is teaching that even in such a case, when the grain belongs to a Jew,
it is exempt from Ma'aser according to Torah law.
The Keren Orah, however, asks that this does not seem to be the intention of
our Gemara. The Gemara later (67a) equates a Nochri's separating of Chalah
from dough to his act of finishing the grain. No one states that when a
Nochri kneads the dough of a Jew, the dough is exempt from Chalah. The
SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 330:1) rules that there is no Halachic relevance to who
kneads the dough. Rather, the obligation of Chalah depends on who owns the
dough. The Keren Orah also questions the Rambam's view from the Gemara
earlier that discusses Miru'ach of Hekdesh, which obviously refers to grain
that is in the possession of Hekdesh. Accordingly, "Miru'ach Oved Kochavim"
should also refer to grain that is owned by a Nochri.