INSIGHTS INTO THE DAILY DAF
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
OPINIONS: The Gemara asks what the Beraisa intends to teach with the apparently extra phrase, "All can join for a Zimun: Kohanim, Leviyim, and Yisraelim." Why does the Beraisa specify "Kohanim, Leviyim, and Yisraelim"? It is obvious that they may join to make a Zimun! The Gemara explains that the Beraisa refers to a case in which a Kohen is eating Terumah or Kodshim (which only a Kohen may eat), while the Yisrael with whom he is dining is eating food of Chulin. One might have thought that in order to join to make a Zimun, the three men must be eating food that they may share with each other, and they may not join to make a Zimun if their food is forbidden to any of the men in the group (such as in the case of the Beraisa, where the Yisrael may not eat the food that the Kohen is eating). The Mishnah therefore teaches that as long as any one of them can share his food, they may join to make a Zimun. Since the Yisrael can give his bread to the Kohen, they may make a Zimun together.
What is the Halachah in a case in which three people who swore not to derive benefit from each other are eating together at the same table? Each person is not allowed to eat from the food of the other. May they make a Zimun?
(a) TOSFOS (DH v'Hach) writes that from the Gemara here it appears that they may not make a Zimun, since they cannot share food with each other. However, Tosfos points out that the case of the Gemara and the case of three people who swore not to derive benefit from each other are not comparable. In the case of three people who are forbidden to benefit from each other, they are able to nullify their Nedarim with ease and become fit to make a Zimun with each other. In contrast, in the case of the Gemara, the Kohen is eating Terumah which cannot be made permissible to the Yisrael.
(b) Tosfos in Berachos (45a, DH Achal Tevel) quotes RABEINU YEHUDAH who rejects the reasoning of Tosfos here that because the three people can be Matir Neder, they may make a Zimun. Rabeinu Yehudah states that as long as they have not been Matir Neder, there is no basis to permit them to make a Zimun. This is also the opinion of the ROSH in Berachos (7:2).
The REMA (OC 196:3) writes that this Halachah does not always apply. It is possible that three people who may not benefit from each other may make a Zimun, such as when they are all the guests of a fourth person who served them a loaf of bread. Since they all share the same bread, they may make a Zimun.
This Halachah has practical implications. The MISHNAH BERURAH (OC 196:9) writes that one who has the custom to wait six hours after eating hard cheese before eating meat may not join a Zimun with people who are eating meat, since he may not eat from their bread. Similarly, one who follows the custom not to eat any meat during the nine days before Tish'ah b'Av even at a Se'udas Mitzvah may not make a Zimun when he eats together with people eating meat at a Se'udas Mitzvah. (Y. MONTROSE)
QUESTIONS: The Mishnah (2a) states that "all may make a pledge of Erchin... [including] Kohanim, Leviyim, and Yisraelim." The Gemara asks that it is obvious that Kohanim and Leviyim are included in the laws of Erchin. The Gemara answers that one might have thought that, according to Ben Buchri, Kohanim (and Leviyim, according to RASHI and TOSFOS; see, however, RAMBAN to Shemos 30:12) are not included in the laws of Erchin because they are not included in the obligation to give the Machatzis ha'Shekel, and the verse (Vayikra 27:25) uses the term "Shekel" with regard to Erchin.
Ben Buchri says that "any Kohen who gives the Machatzis ha'Shekel is not sinning." The Kohen is not obligated to give the half-Shekel, but if he does give it, he commits no wrongdoing. The Gemara asks that since a Kohen has no obligation to give the half-Shekel, a Kohen who gives it is sinning, because he is causing Chulin (the animal that is bought with his money) to be brought into the Azarah! The Gemara answers that the Kohen who wants to donate a half-Shekel to the Beis ha'Mikdash specifically stipulates that he is dedicating the half-Shekel to the public funds.
(a) The Gemara's question on Ben Buchri is difficult to understand. Even if the Kohen has no obligation to give the Machatzis ha'Shekel, when he gives the coin to the Beis ha'Mikdash he specifically designates it as Hekdesh (like everyone else who contributes a Machatzis ha'Shekel). Accordingly, it is no longer Chulin. Why, then, does the Gemara ask that a Kohen who gives a half-Shekel to the Beis ha'Mikdash sins by causing Chulin to be brought into the Azarah?
(b) Moreover, even if, for some reason, the coin remains Chulin when the Kohen gives it to the Beis ha'Mikdash, it should become Batel b'Rov when it is mixed with all of the other half-Shekel coins donated by all of the Jewish people. Why, then, is there a problem of bringing Chulin in the Azarah?
(a) When the Kohen donates the half-Shekel to the Beis ha'Mikdash, he does so with intention that he is fulfilling the Mitzvah of Machatzis ha'Shekel. However, since in truth the Mitzvah does not apply to him, his act of being Makdish the coin for the Mitzvah of Machatzis ha'Shekel is being done in error. It is considered "Hekdesh b'Ta'us" and, therefore, it does not become Hekdesh but remains Chulin.
The Gemara answers that when he gives the half-Shekel, he stipulates that he is donating it to the public funds. That is, he does not intend that his giving of the coin should fulfill the Mitzvah of Machatzis ha'Shekel, but rather he intends merely to give a donation to the public Hekdesh funds, and therefore the coin becomes Hekdesh. (HAR TZVI, cited by YOSEF DA'AS to Menachos 21b)
(b) The half-Shekel coin given by the Kohen does not become Batel b'Rov when it is mixed with all of the other half-Shekel coins given as the Machatzis ha'Shekel by the rest of the Jewish people. The mixture of the coins is not considered an actual mixture of Chulin with Hekdesh, because the Kohen can simply remove a coin worth a half-Shekel from the mixture, and he has effectively removed the value that he gave. Regarding monetary matters, a mixture is defined by the value of the money in the mixture, and not by the specific coins in the mixture, because all of the coins are the same (see TERUMAS HA'DESHEN #314, cited by the REMA CM 292). In addition, when the Kohen takes one coin from the mixture, even if it is a coin that was sanctified as Machatzis ha'Shekel by a Yisrael, the Kedushah of that coin simply transfers to the coin of Chulin that the Kohen put into the mixture. (ONEG YOM TOV #34, cited by YOSEF DA'AS here)
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes a Beraisa that teaches that when one pledges to give an unspecified sum of money as an Erech donation to the Beis ha'Mikdash, he must give the minimum Erech mentioned in the Torah (three Sela'im). The Gemara asks why the law of Heseg Yad is not applied in such a case, so that the person is required to give according to his means. The Gemara answers that when a person makes a pledge of Erchin but does not specify an amount, it is considered as though he specified ("k'Mefaresh Dami") that he will give three Sela'im to Hekdesh, because he knows that three Sela'im is the smallest Erech mentioned in the Torah. When a person specifies the amount that he will give, the law of Heseg Yad does not apply.
According to this logic, the law of Heseg Yad should not apply to any case of Erech! The Torah teaches that when a poor person makes a pledge of Erech and cannot afford to give the value of that Erech, we assess how much he is able to give, and he must give only according to his means. However, according to the Gemara here, the law of Heseg Yad should not apply. When a person pledges to give, for example, the Erech of himself, he knows what his gender and age are, and thus he knows the specific amount of money that he is obligating himself to give. Consequently, it should be as if he specified ("k'Mefaresh Dami") to give to Hekdesh that amount of money, and thus the law of Heseg Yad should not apply, even if he is poor and cannot afford to give his own Erech.
(a) RASHI (DH k'Mefaresh Dami) explains that when a person pledges the Erech of another person to Hekdesh, the law of Heseg Yad applies, because not everyone knows the age of the person that was Ne'erach. In contrast, when one pledges to give an unspecified Erech, he knows that the minimum Erech is three Sela'im.
(b) TOSFOS (DH Lomar) disagrees with Rashi's explanation. Even if people do not know the exact age of the Ne'erach, they know that he is over a month old. Why, then, should the Ma'arich not be obligated to pay at least five Sela'im (the Erech of a person at least one-month-old) to Hekdesh every time he pledges to give the Erech of another person? Why does the law of Heseg Yad apply in such a case?
Tosfos explains that one pays based on Heseg Yad in such a case simply because of a Gezeiras ha'Kasuv that states that the law of Heseg Yad applies only to Erchin, and not to pledges of specified values. (Similarly, the law of Heseg Yad does not apply to a pledge of an unspecified Erech, because such a pledge is like a pledge of a specified value.)
In defense of Rashi's explanation, we may suggest that even if a minimum value for the Erech can be determined, as long as a person's pledge is not explicit and the exact value is not clear to all it is considered a "weak" pledge and we do not apply that minimum value, but rather the value of Heseg Yad. An example of the application of such a rule (the requirement for clarity and explicitness in a verbal expression of an obligation) is found in the laws of Nezirus. According to Rebbi Tarfon (Nazir 32b), a person's oral declaration of Nezirus must be clear and explicit at the moment that it emerges from his mouth; if it is not clear, the Nezirus does not take effect at all.