BACKGROUND TO THE DAILY DAF
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[88a - 19 lines; 88b - 44 lines]
1) [line 1] "BI'ARTI HA'KODESH MIN HA'BAYIS..." - "I have removed all of the holy things from my house... " (Devarim 26:13) - The "holy things" refer to the Ma'aser Sheni (see Background to Bava Metzia 52:3) and Neta Reva'i (see Background to Bava Metzia 55:19) that must be separated from one's crop in the years that they apply. The words in the remainder of this verse include other gifts that must be separated, such as Bikurim (see Background to Bava Metzia 52:37), Terumos, Ma'aser Rishon and Ma'aser Ani (see Background to Bava Metzia 52:3:a-c).
2) [line 2] AFILU CHATZER KOVA'AS - even bringing the produce into one's courtyard renders it "Hukba l'Ma'aser" (see Background to Bava Metzia 87:49)
3) [line 6] HA'MISHTAMER - that is able to safeguard its contents and keep outsiders from taking them (see Background to Bava Metzia 9:10:e)
4) [line 9] KARPIFOS - enclosed areas that are located outside of a settlement, used for storage and other such purposes
5) [line 9] REBBI CHANINA CHOZA'AH - Rebbi Chanina from Bei Choza'ei, a district of Bavel on the caravan road, along the Tigris River and its canals
6) [line 13] TE'ENAH - a fig tree
7) [line 13] GINAH - a garden [that is outside of one's Chatzer]
8) [line 13] NOFAH - its branch
9) [line 14] UL'MAN D'AMAR LA'BAYIS, LA'BAYIS - and according to the one who said [that the produce has to come] into the house [in order to be Hukba l'Ma'aser (i.e. Rebbi Yanai), the branch of the fig tree has to be leaning over] into the house
10) [line 17] CHANUYOS SHEL BEIS HINO - the shops of Beis Hini or Bethania, a town in the vicinity of Pumbedisa in Bavel
11) [line 18] SHE'HE'EMIDU DIVREIHEM AL DIVREI TORAH - [when they decided to be lenient with a Halachah in which the Rabanan were stringent,] they managed to find scriptures to support their lenient opinions
12) [line 2] ASMACHTA
(a) At times, when Chazal make a Derashah (extrapolate a Halachah or other teaching) from a word in the Torah, it happens that the Halachah or teaching is not mid'Oraisa at all, but rather mid'Rabanan. When this happens, the Gemara usually states that the Halachah is mid'Rabanan, and "Kera Asmachta b'Alma," i.e. that the verse is only cited as a "support" for the Halachah mid'Rabanan, but its source is not actually from the Torah. (TOSFOS to Bava Basra 66b DH Michlal d'She'ivah writes that in many instances, Derashos of Chazal in the Midreshei Halachah, such as Toras Kohanim, which appear to be from the Torah, are only Asmachta'os.)
(b) A second type of Asmachta applies even to a Halachah which actually is mid'Oraisa. When Chazal find a hint in the Torah to a Halachah that has its basis in the Oral Tradition, they call this an Asmachta as well (Eruvin 5a, Chulin 77a).
(c) The Rishonim argue as to the reason why Chazal, in these instances, used verses to support their teachings.
1. From the words of the RAMBAM (Introduction to his Perush ha'Mishnayos) it appears that Asmachta'os are only mnemonic devices. (It is possible that he writes this only with regard to the latter type of Asmachta, Asmachta'os for Isurei Torah.)
2. MAHARIL (in Likutei Maharil) writes that Chazal used the device of Asmachta in order to make people regard certain Halachos mid'Rabanan as if they were actually mid'Oraisa, so that they should not treat them lightly.
3. The RITVA (to Rosh Hashanah 16a, see Be'er ha'Golah of the MAHARAL, Be'er #1) states that when Chazal present an Asmachta, it means that the Torah meant to suggest that it is fitting to implement such a Halachah, but that it did not choose to make it obligatory. The Torah empowered the Chachamim to enact it should the need for it arise. Similarly, the SHELAH (in Torah she'Be'al Peh, entry titled "Rabanan") writes that when the Chachamim utilized a hint from a verse, it means that they learned a particular approach of reasoning from this verse. Accordingly, it appeared to them that there was a need to decree this particular Halachah.
4. The MESHECH CHOCHMAH (Parshas Shoftim) claims that when Chazal present an Asmachta, it means that after Chazal instituted a particular Halachah or enacted a particular decree, they studied the Torah and found that the Torah had already hinted to that future decree in its eternal wisdom.
(d) There are those who write that a Halachah mid'Rabanan that is learned from an Asmachta, and which has a hint in the apparent meaning of the verses, is more stringent than an Isur mid'Rabanan for which an Asmachta from the Torah is not offered. These Halachos were given the status of Halachos of the Torah in certain respects, for example, with regard to the requirement to be stringent in the case of a Safek (PRI MEGADIM, Introduction to Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 1:2:d)
13) [line 4] IM CHASAMTA (LAV D'CHASIMAH)
It is prohibited to muzzle an ox when it is threshing grain, as the Torah states, "Lo Sachsom Shor b'Disho" (Devarim 25:4). The Sugyos that follow delineate the various aspects of this Lav.
14) [line 6] EIZEHU GORNAN L'MA'ASROS? - At what stage are certain crops considered completed (like a pile of wheat on the threshing floor) to the extent that Terumos and Ma'asros must be separated?
15a) [line 6] KISHU'IM - cucumbers
b) [line 6] DELU'IM - gourds
16) [line 7] MISHE'YIPAKSU - when the flower at the end falls off
17) [line 20] ASHKECHAN ADAM BI'MECHUBAR V'SHOR B'TALUSH - [from the verses,] we find [permission for] a person [to eat when he is working] with produce that is still attached to the ground and [permission for] a bull (or other beast) [to eat when it is working] with produce that has already been cut
18) [line 28] ADAM, SHE'ATAH METZUVEH L'HACHAYOSO - a person, who you are obligated to insure his wellbeing, as the verse states, "v'Chei Achicha Imach" - "so that your brother may live with you" (Vayikra 25:36)
19) [line 36] SHE'SACHRO L'CHATEF - he hired him to carry [grapes]
20) [line 42] V'CHEI ACHICHA IMACH (Vayikra 25:36) - see above, entry #18
21) [line 42] RE'ECHA RE'ECHA - the word "Re'echa" in the verses referring to Kerem (Devarim 23:25) and Kamah (ibid. 23:26), brought in Background to Bava Metzia 87:32, 35, respectively
22) [last line] "LO SACHSOM SHOR B'DISHO." - see above, entry #13
Index to Background for Maseches Bava Metzia