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Menachos, 107


OPINION: The Mishnah (106b) states that one who pledges to give a gift of gold to Hekdesh, but did not specify an amount, should not give less than a Dinar of gold. One who pledged silver should not give less than a Dinar of silver. Regarding both of these cases, the Gemara here asks why the Mishnah says that he should bring a Dinar of gold or silver, and not a bar of gold or silver. The Gemara answers that the Mishnah's case is when the person specified that he is pledging a *coin* of gold or silver (see previous Insight, in the name of the TZON KODASHIM). The Gemara implies that in a case in which the person did not specify that he wanted to give a coin of gold or silver, but merely said that he pledges to donate gold or silver, he indeed must give an entire bar of gold or silver. Is this indeed the Halachah?
(a) This inference in our Gemara is stated explicitly in the Yerushalmi in Shekalim (18b). The Yerushalmi also states that the case of the Mishnah is when the person says that he is dedicating a "Tzurah" (which the KORBAN HA'EDAH defines as a coin). If the person does not mention a Tzurah in his pledge, then he may fulfill his pledge by giving even a Tzinora (a small fork). TOSFOS (DH v'Dilma) explains that the Yerushalmi understands that the donation of a small fork fulfills his pledge to donate gold or silver, because, in the absence of an explicitly specified item, we assume that in his pledge he means to give at least a very small bar of metal. Tosfos proves from here that a bar of metal is of *less* value than a Dinar. This is apparent from the wording of the Yerushalmi, which states that if the person did not mention a coin in his pledge, he may fulfill his pledge "*even*" by bringing a small fork.

(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Erchin 2:10) seems to have a different opinion. He states that when one pledges to give gold or silver without mentioning a coin, he must give a bar of gold or silver. The bar that he gives must have a weight that reaches the maximum amount that he is believed to say that he intended to give. (That is, the weight of the bar should be an amount which he is certain he did not intend to dedicate.) Why does the Rambam ignore the opinion of the Yerushalmi?

1. The RADVAZ explains that the Rambam understands the Yerushalmi differently. The Rambam understands that when one pledges to give gold or silver and does not mention a coin, the Halachah is that he must give an amount that is as much as knows that he did not intend to give. Instead of understanding that the Yerushalmi is telling us *how much* he has to give, the Rambam understands that the Yerushalmi is telling us that there is a *limit* to his believability in describing his intent. The Yerushalmi is teaching that if a person makes such a pledge to give gold or silver and then states that his intention was to give less than a small fork of gold or silver, then he is not believed to say that this was his intention.

2. The TOSFOS YOM TOV writes that the Rambam understands that the Yerushalmi argues with our Gemara. The EIZEHU MEKOMAN quotes the CHIDUSHEI HA'GRIZ as explaining that the Rambam also understands that our Gemara implies that a person must bring a bar of metal if he did not specify the amount. However, he learns that a bar of metal is an ambiguous term, and it might mean an extremely large amount. This is why we must ask the person what he meant, and why he must give an amount that reaches the maximum amount that he would have intended to give. (Y. Montrose)


OPINIONS: The Mishnah (107a) records an apparent argument between the Tana Kama and Rebbi Elazar ben Azaryah regarding one who pledges to bring an Olah but does not specify which kind of Olah he wants to bring. We know that there are two possible types of Olos, an Olas Behemah and an Olas ha'Of. The Tana Kama says that one who makes such a pledge must bring a sheep, while Rebbi Elazar ben Azaryah says that he may bring a bird. The Gemara here states that there is actually no argument between them, but rather "each one [is saying] according to his place." What does this mean?

(a) The RAMBAM (in PERUSH HA'MISHNAYOS and in Hilchos Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos 16:3) and the BARTENURA explain that where the Tana Kama lived, when people would refer to an Olah without specifying which type of Olah, it was known that they meant an Olas Behemah. This is why the Tana Kama rules that one must bring an animal for an unspecified pledge to bring an Olah, but the least expensive Behemah -- a sheep -- suffices. Where Rebbi Elazar lived, the word "Olah" without any specification was used in reference to an Olas ha'Of as well. This is why Rebbi Elazar allows a person in his area to bring an Olas ha'Of for an unspecified pledge to bring an Olah. Both agree that the Halachah depends on the area in which the person who makes the pledge is located.

(b) RASHI (DH Mar Ki Asrei) and RABEINU GERSHOM explain that in the place of the Tana Kama, a sheep was worth less than a bird. In the area of Rebbi Elazar, a bird was worth less than a sheep. Each agrees that one may bring whichever animal is worth less.

The TAHARAS HA'KODESH and YAD BINYAMIN prove that this is also the view of TOSFOS (107a, DH Rebbi Elazar). Tosfos questions the Gemara's explanation of the argument. The place where people buy animals for Korbanos is Yerushalayim. Why, then, should the price of animals anywhere else (i.e. in the Tana Kama's city and in Rebbi Elazar's city) affect the value of the animals in Yerushalayim? The person who pledges to bring an unspecified type of Olah should have to bring whichever type of animal is less expensive in Yerushalayim!

This question is not a problem for the opinion of the Rambam and Bartenura. If the terminology used in the place of the pledge is what matters, then it is irrelevant what terminology is used where the animals are bought. Since Tosfos asks this question, therefore, it must be that Tosfos learns like Rashi, who explains that the person may bring the Korban which is the least expensive type of animal in the area where the pledge is made. (Tosfos answers that even though the Korbanos are bought in Yerushalayim, the mindset of the one making the pledge is based on the value of the animals and birds in his own city. See RASHASH for a different answer to Tosfos' question.)

The SEFAS EMES also assumes that Tosfos understands the Gemara like Rashi. Accordingly, the Sefas Emes questions the words of the TOSFOS YOM TOV on the Mishnah. The Tosfos Yom Tov quotes the explanation of the Bartenura, and then proceeds to ask the question of Tosfos and give the answer of Tosfos. As we mentioned above, Tosfos' question is irrelevant according to the explanation of the Rambam and Bartenura! Why, then, does the Tosfos Yom Tov ask this question after quoting the explanation of the Bartenura?

The Sefas Emes therefore suggests that it is possible that Tosfos does learn the Gemara like the Rambam and Bartenura. Tosfos' question is that if the Korbanos are bought in Yerushalayim, then we should determine the intent of the pledge by the terminology used in Yerushalayim, since the person probably had in mind the meaning of the word "Olah" as it is used in the place where the Korbanos are bought (and brought). Tosfos' answer is that this assumption is not correct. Rather, we follow the meaning of the terminology as it is used in the place of the pledge. (The Sefas Emes concludes that this requires further elucidation.)

(The RADVAZ (Hilchos Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos 16:3) explains that the Rambam does not learn like Rashi, because, according to the explanation of Rashi, a bird was worth more than a sheep in the location of Rebbi Elazar ben Azaryah. He says that nowhere in Eretz Yisrael is a birth worth more than a sheep. It could be that the Rambam was also not satisfied with the answer to Tosfos' question.) (Y. Montrose)

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