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Menachos, 103

MENACHOS 103 (23 Teves) - dedicated in memory of Nachum ben Shlomo Dovid Mosenkis Z"L on his 64th Yahrzeit, by his son, Shlomo Dovid (Sid) ben Nachum Mosenkis of Queens N.Y.


QUESTION: The Mishnah states that a person who declares that he will bring a Minchah offering of barley must bring a Minchah offering of wheat. Since one cannot bring a Minchah offering of barley, his pledge to bring a Minchah offering requires him to bring wheat. The Gemara earlier (81b, quoting a Mishnah in Nazir) discusses a similar case in which a person declares that he is a Nazir from dried figs and fig cakes. Beis Hillel there says that such a person is not a Nazir at all. Why is he not a Nazir at all? He should become a Nazir with all of the laws of Nezirus, just as one must bring a Minchah of wheat when he pledges to bring a Minchah of barley!

Rebbi Yochanan explains that the Mishnah here and the view of Beis Hillel are not incompatible. In our Mishnah, the person must bring a Minchah, because when the person made his pledge, he knew that there is such a thing as a Minchah being brought from barley. He made a mistake in thinking that a *voluntary* Minchah offering may be brought from barley. The Mishnah is saying that when we inquire about his intent, the person tells us that had he known that one may not bring a voluntary Minchah of barley, he would have pledged to bring a Minchah of wheat. In contrast, when a person pledges to become a Nazir from figs, he knows that there is no such thing (see Nazir 9b), and he has no intention to become a real Nazir. A similar case regarding a Minchah would be when a person pledges to bring a Minchah offering of lentils. We would know that he is not serious, since everyone knows that there is no such thing at all as a Minchah consisting of lentils (see end of RASHI DH Nazir).

In our Gemara, it seems that Rebbi Yochanan holds that we do not even ask such a person about his intentions, as everyone knows that there is no such thing as a Nazir from figs, or a Minchah of lentils.

The RAMBAM (Hilchos Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos 17:9) does not learn this way. He understands that whether someone pledges to bring a Minchah of barley or of lentils, we ask him for the reasoning behind his remark. If he says that had known that there is no such thing, he would have pledged to bring a Minchah of wheat, then he is obligated to bring a Minchah. The Rambam's ruling is difficult to understands. Rebbi Yochanan clearly says that Beis Hillel holds that there is a difference between barley -- which people could mistakenly think can be brought as a voluntary Minchah offering, and lentils -- which no one would mistakenly think can be brought as a Minchah offering. According to the Rambam, there seems to be no difference at all, since, in either case, we ask the person what his intention was!


(a) The KESEF MISHNEH answers that the Rambam rules like the opinion of Ze'iri (103b), who argues with Rebbi Yochanan in this regard. Ze'iri states that the Halachah of the Mishnah applies when the person says that he wants to bring a "Minchah from the barley (Minchah Min ha'Se'orim)." We interpret his statement to mean that he wants to bring a Minchah offering, that happens to consist of barley. In contrast, if he says that he wants to bring a "Minchah of barley (Minchas Se'orim)," then we interpret his statement to mean that he wants to bring specifically a barley-Minchah. Since such a thing does not exist, he does not have to bring any Minchah at all. The Rambam understands that Ze'iri is teaching that when one says, "Minchah Min...," he means that he wants to bring primarily a Minchah, and he is then merely qualifying what it will consist of. Therefore, even if one says, "Minchah Min ha'Adashim (Minchah from the lentils)," we must ask him what he meant. This is why the Rambam writes that the cases involved are "Minchah Min ha'Se'orim O Min ha'Adashim."

The LECHEM MISHNEH says that this explanation is difficult. Why should the Rambam learn that Ze'iri is arguing with Rebbi Yochanan? The simple explanation of Ze'iri's words is that he is merely qualifying further the Mishnah's case of barley, and explaining the exact language used in the Mishnah. He may agree with the logic of Rebbi Yochanan that no person would mistakenly say a "Minchah from lentils!"

(b) The Lechem Mishneh therefore learns that the Rambam's cases of "Minchah Min ha'Se'orim O Min ha'Adashim" is actually one case. The Rambam rules like Rebbi Yochanan that we do not even have to ask about the intention from a person who says that he wants to bring a "Minchah Min ha'Adashim (Minchah from the lentils)." The only case we must inquire about regarding lentils is when one says that he wants to bring a Minchah from *either barley or lentils.* Since the person mentioned barley, which is subject to error, we must inquire about his intent even though he also mentioned lentils. This is why the Rambam writes that the case is "Minchah Min ha'Se'orim O Min ha'Adashim."

(c) The ZEVACH TODAH in fact takes out the word "Adashim (lentils)" from the Rambam's words and replaces it with the word "Kemach," which a person could easily think is brought for a Minchah, instead of Soles (see also MAHARI KURKAS). (Y. Montrose)


OPINIONS: The Gemara records the statement of Rebbi Zeira that "Kol ha'Ra'uy l'Vilah, Ein Bilah Me'akeves Bo; ve'she'Ein Ra'uy l'Vilah, Bilah Me'akeves Bo." This rule teaches that it is possible for an act which is not an integral part of a Mitzvah to still be an obstacle to the fulfillment of the Mitzvah. If part of the Mitzvah cannot apply at all in a certain case, then that component of the Mitzvah prevents the fulfillment of the entire Mitzvah. If that part can be done but just happens not to have been fulfilled, then it does not impede the fulfillment of the entire Mitzvah. The Gemara applies this principle here with regard to the "Belilah of a Korban Minchah. In general, the process of Belilah, mixing the flour and oil of a Minchah, does not make the Minchah become Pasul if it was not done. However, if the Minchah is one that cannot possibly be mixed, as is the case when there are sixty-one Esronim of flour, then the fact that the Minchah was prepared in a way which eliminated the possibility of mixing it makes it Pasul.

This rule is applied throughout the Gemara in many different situations. Does this rule also apply to a Halachah d'Rabanan, or does it apply only to a Halachah d'Oraisa?

(a) The ROSH in Ta'anis (4:40) discusses whether or not one should perform Havdalah (with a cup of wine) after Tish'ah b'Av which falls on Motza'i Shabbos. The Rosh quotes the RAMBAN who says that one does not recite Havdalah at all after Tish'ah b'Av. Even though the Halachah is that when a person did not recite Havdalah on Motza'i Shabbos, he may recite Havdalah on Sunday night, that applies only when it was possible for him to have made Havdalah on Motza'i Shabbos. When Tish'ah b'Av falls on Motza'i Shabbos, one is forbidden from reciting Havdalah, and thus we apply Rebbi Zeira's principle and say that since Havdalah could not be recited on Motza'i Shabbos, it cannot be recited at all.

(b) The Rosh quotes the BEHAG who argues with the Ramban and says that we indeed do recite Havdalah after Tish'ah b'Av that falls on Motza'i Shabbos. The Rosh cites that the practice follows the view of the Behag. Although the Rosh does not state so explicitly, we can understand that the Behag argues with the Ramban and does not apply Rebbi Zeira's principle to a situation where it is an Isur d'Rabanan that makes the act unfit.

The Behag's position is clarified further by the statement of TOSFOS in Sukah (38b, DH Shama v'Lo Anah). Tosfos discusses a case in which a person is in the middle of his silent Shemoneh Esreh when the rest of the worshippers begin saying Kedushah. What should he do? Tosfos quotes the Behag and RASHI who say that one should listen to the Shali'ach Tzibur's recitation of the Kedushah, thereby fulfilling the Mitzvah of Kedushah through the concept of "Shome'a k'Oneh". If Rebbi Zeira's principle applies even with regard to Mitzvos d'Rabanan, then how can the Behag say that one fulfills Kedushah through "Shome'a k'Oneh"? Since the person cannot actually respond to Kedushah at that point, since he is not allowed to interrupt his Shemoneh Esreh, he should not be able to fulfill his obligation at all! (Indeed, we find that there is an opinion in the Rishonim (see SHIBOLEI HA'LEKET #20 in the name of the RAVASH) that holds that one cannot fulfill Kedushah in this way because of the principle of Rebbi Zeira.) (TOSFOS in Berachos (21b, DH Ad she'Lo Yagi'a) quotes the RI and RABEINU TAM who argue with the Behag's ruling regarding listening to Kedushah. Their reasoning, though, seems to be that although a person could technically fulfill Kedushah by listening to the Shali'ach Tzibur, one should not attempt to fulfill Kedushah by listening because the principle of "Shome'a k'Oneh" would make it as if one is talking during his Shemoneh Esreh. Their reason is not appear that they hold that Rebbi Zeira's principle should be applied in this case. See also Shibulei ha'Leket loc. cit., and the RAN in Sukah (19b of the pages of the Rif), who clearly differentiate between the opinion of the Ri and the opinion that applies Rebbi Zeira's principle to an Isur d'Rabanan.)

There also seems to be a clear proof from the Gemara in Eruvin (38b) that Rebbi Zeira's principle does not apply in the case of an Isur d'Rabanan. The Gemara there discusses making an Eruv Techumin with one's feet on the second day of Yom Tov which falls on Erev Shabbos, in order to enable himself to walk farther on Shabbos. The Gemara at that point assumes that in order for such an Eruv Techumin to be effective, the person must declare, "Shevisasi b'Mekomi" ("my place of resting is in my present location"). The Gemara asks that making such a declaration on Yom Tov should be prohibited, since it is prohibited to prepare for Shabbos on Yom Tov. The Gemara answers that since the person could have said "Shevisasi b'Mekomi" if not for the problem of preparing for Shabbos on Yom Tov, it is considered as though he said it. This is despite the fact that he would have transgressed the prohibition of Hachanah had he made this declaration. The MAHARSHAM and NIMUKEI HA'GRIV in Eruvin say that this is a clear proof that we do not apply Rebbi Zeira's rule to an Isur d'Rabanan. (See, however, the explanation of the NACHAL ARAVIM to the Gemara in Eruvin. According to his explanation, it is possible to refute this proof and to defend the opinion of the Ramban and Ravash.)

HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 104:7, 556:1) and others rule like the Behag, both regarding listening to Kedushah and regarding making Havdalah on Sunday night after Tish'ah b'Av. Thus, the Halachah seems to be that Rebbi Zeira's principle does not apply to an Isur d'Rabanan. (Y. Montrose)
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