1) 300 BARRELS OF "BIRUREI HA'MIDOS"
QUESTION: The Gemara relates that Aba Shaul ben Botnis once collected 300 barrels of wine from the "Birurei ha'Midos" of wine that he sold. (Each time he would pour wine into the buyer's jugs, the wine would foam up and prevent the full measure (for which he was paid) from being filled.)
According to one Girsa in the Mishnah (cited by Rashi), Aba Shaul ben Botnis used to fill up the jugs at night on Chol ha'Mo'ed so that the buyers who would come to take the jugs the following day would receive a full measure with no foamed-up wine (see Rashi DH Tana Af). According to that Girsa, he was very careful to avoid being left with "Birurei ha'Midos" and he made sure that every buyer received his full money's worth of wine. How, then, could he have filled up 300 barrels of wine from "Birurei ha'Midos"?
ANSWER: Even after all of his cautiousness, Aba Shaul ben Botnis still collected wine from "Birurei ha'Midos" from those who did not leave their jugs with him the night before, but who came during the day to buy wine from him and left immediately.
Alternatively, he became cautious only after this incident occurred -- when he discovered how much wine was actually accruing because of "Birurei ha'Midos."
2) HALACHAH: RE-SIFTING FLOUR ON YOM TOV
OPINIONS: The Beraisa records a dispute with regard to "Shonin" on Yom Tov -- re-sifting flour (which was sifted once before Yom Tov) in order to improve its appearance. The Beraisa says that everyone agrees that if a pebble or splinter fell into the flour, one is permitted to re-sift the flour in order to remove the object.
An Amora related to Ravina a Beraisa that says that if a pebble or splinter fell into the flour, one may remove it with his hand. Ravina responded that such an action certainly should be prohibited because it resembles the Melachah of Borer.
What is the Halachah in the case of "Shonin" (re-sifting flour on Yom Tov) and in the case of a pebble or splinter which fell into sifted flour?
(a) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Yom Tov 3:14) rules in accordance with the practice of the wives of Rav Yosef and Rav Ashi, who re-sifted their flour with a Shinuy. Accordingly, when one re-sifts he should either use the back of an upside-down sieve (as was the practice of Rav Yosef's wife) or sift the flour onto a table instead of into a mixing bowl (as was the practice of Rav Ashi's wife, according to Tosfos' explanation).
(b) The ROSH (3:16) asks why the RIF cites both the incident of Rav Yosef, who told his wife to re-sift the flour in the normal manner and not with a Shinuy, and the incident of Rav Ashi, who commended his wife for doing it with a Shinuy. The two incidents seem to be contradictory. Why does the Rif cite both when he records the Halachah?
The Rosh explains that both practices are correct. One who re-sifts flour on Yom Tov should not use a gross Shinuy, such as sifting with an upside-down sieve, because the flour will not be sifted well and the bread will not taste good. Nevertheless, one should use a slight Shinuy, such as sifting the flour onto a table.
(c) TOSFOS (DH Agav) cites the RASHBAM who says that a Shinuy helps not only for re-sifting flour but also for sifting flour for the first time on Yom Tov.
The Rishonim point out that the Rashbam's text of the Gemara differed from the text in our edition. Instead of the words, "Kamah Mahulta Hadran b'Neharde'a" -- "See how many sieves are going around Neharde'a" (i.e., which are used for re-sifting), his Girsa read, "Kamah Mahulta Rakdan b'Neharde'a" -- "See how many sieves are sifting in Neharde'a" (i.e., which are used for first-time sifting).
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 506:2) rules like the Rosh who says that flour may be re-sifted on Yom Tov as long as a slight Shinuy is used, such as sifting it on the top of a table.
The REMA permits sifting flour for the first time as long as it is done with a Shinuy, as the Rashbam writes, but he says that in practice one should rely on this opinion only if a Nochri sifts for him. The PRI CHADASH, cited by the MISHNAH BERURAH (506:16), says that one should not even have a Nochri sift flour for him with a Shinuy. The Mishnah Berurah adds that if the Nochri sifts with a gross Shinuy, such as with an upside-down sieve, then perhaps even the Pri Chadash would permit it.
With regard to the removal of a pebble or splinter which fell into flour on Yom Tov, there are grounds to permit one to sift the flour on Yom Tov since it was impossible to remove the object before Yom Tov. The same reasoning applies when one crushes Matzos on Yom Tov and wants to sift the crumbs to remove the clumps; he may sift the crumbs on Yom Tov since it could not be done before Yom Tov. The MISHNAH BERURAH (506:9) rules that one is permitted to remove the splinter with a sieve when he uses a Shinuy, since it is not the type of Melachah done for large quantities at one time and thus it is included in the allowance to perform Melachah on Yom Tov for Ochel Nefesh.
The REMA writes that some are stringent with regard to removing the pebble with one's hands because that is the manner in which the Melachah of Borer is usually done. Accordingly, one is permitted to remove the pebble with a utensil (a sieve) but not by hand. This is the opposite of the Halachah in many other places, where one is permitted to do the act by hand but not with a utensil. The reason for this difference is that it is the normal manner to sift flour by hand to remove a pebble. Since during the week Borer is normally done by hand, this act is considered the normal manner of Borer and is forbidden on Yom Tov.
The Girsa of the RE'AH and the ME'IRI, however, implies the opposite conclusion. According to their Girsa, Ravina told the Amora that separating the pebble from the flour with a sieve is forbidden because of Borer, and one should separate it by hand instead. According to this Girsa, the Gemara's ruling is consistent with the ruling in many other places: one may perform the act by hand but not with a utensil.