1) HALACHAH: "MATNOS KEHUNAH" IN CHUTZ LA'ARETZ
OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that the laws of Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah apply both in Eretz Yisrael and in Chutz la'Aretz. RASHI (DH ha'Zero'a) points out that the Mishnah teaches nothing new with this statement, and it mentions it only tangential to its discussion of where these Matnos Kehunah do not apply (i.e. Mukdashin).
REBBI AKIVA EIGER in Gilyon ha'Shas refers to Rashi later (138b, DH Levad), who explains that the reason why the Mishnah states that these Matnos Kehunah apply in Chutz la'Aretz is in order to exclude the opinion of Rebbi Ila'i, who maintains that the Matnos Kehunah apply only in Eretz Yisrael.
What is the Halachah with regard to giving Matnos Kehunah in Chutz la'Aretz?
(a) The TUR (YD 61) and SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 61:21) cite the opinion of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Bikurim 9:1) and MAHARAM MI'ROTENBURG (quoted by the ROSH 11:1) who rule that the obligation to give Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah to a Kohen applies at all times and in all places, including Chutz la'Aretz.
(b) The Tur and Shulchan Aruch also cite the opinion of RASHI (Chulin 136b, DH b'Reishis ha'Gez; Shabbos 10b, DH Haveh) who says that Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah are not given in Chutz la'Aretz. Rav Ila'i (Chulin 136b) rules that Reishis ha'Gez and Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah do not apply in Chutz la'Aretz. In the time of Rav Nachman, people started to conduct themselves in accordance with Rav Ila'i with regard to Reishis ha'Gez and no one protested. Similarly, Rashi says, we do not protest when people conduct themselves like Rav Ila'i with regard to Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah.
HALACHAH: The Shulchan Aruch (YD 61:21) rules in accordance with the opinion of Rashi.
2) HALACHAH: "MATNOS KEHUNAH" IN ERETZ YISRAEL
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that the laws of Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah apply both in Eretz Yisrael and in Chutz la'Aretz. While there are various opinions about the obligation to give these Matnos Kehunah in Chutz la'Aretz (see previous Insight), it is clear that in Eretz Yisrael even today these Matnos Kehunah must be given to a Kohen.
However, today almost no slaughterhouse in Eretz Yisrael sets aside these Matnos Kehunah for a Kohen. What is the basis for this practice?
It is the common practice to sell female cattle in whole or in part to a Nochri, thereby exempting their firstborn calves from the law of Bechor (see Insights to Bechoros 3:1
). Partial Nochri ownership of the female cattle also exempts these animals from the obligation of Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah.
However, male animals are not sold to Nochrim, and the Halachah prohibits selling them solely for the purpose of exempting the animals from Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah. (This practice was permitted only with regard to the laws of Bechor, because an animal that has Kedushas Bechor is subject to many difficult restrictions that must be observed.)
(b) One may suggested that no Kohen today is "Muchzak" (proven) to be a genuine Kohen with regard to the rights to collect Matnos Kehunah. Since no Kohen can prove that the Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah belong to him, the owner of the animal may keep them ("ha'Motzi me'Chaveiro Alav ha'Re'ayah").
However, if this logic is correct, then it also should apply to exempt a father from performing the Mitzvah of Pidyon ha'Ben. Since no Kohen can prove that he is genuinely entitled to the five silver Shekalim of Pidyon ha'Ben, the father should be able to keep the money for himself. Apparently, the Kohen's Chazakah that he is a Kohen is reliable enough to obligate the father to give him the five Shekalim. Why, then, should one not be obligated to give the Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah to a Kohen?
(c) RAV MOSHE STERNBUCH shlit'a explains that there is a basic difference between Pidyon ha'Ben and all other Matnos Kehunah. The obligation to redeem a firstborn son is independent of the five-Shekel payment to the Kohen. Even when the five Shekalim are not given to a Kohen, it is necessary to "remove the Kedushah" from a Bechor by separating five Shekalim as a Pidyon. Since it is necessary to separate five Shekalim regardless of whether it will be given to a Kohen, the father must give them to a Kohen even though the Kohen is not fully "Muchzak." In contrast, Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah (and Reishis ha'Gez) involve nothing more than a monetary obligation to the Kohen. There is no obligation to declare the Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah as sanctified, or to separate them from the animal, if they are not going to be given to a Kohen. Since one does not need to give them to a Kohen who is not "Muchzak," one also does not need to separate them from the animal.
(The notion that there is some form of actual redemption of Kedushah involved with Pidyon ha'Ben is not clear. The Mishnayos and Sugyos in Bechoros imply that Pidyon ha'Ben indeed is nothing more than a monetary obligation, like Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah, and that it does not need to be separated if the obligation is in question. However, other sources (ROSH
to Bechoros 47b, SHITAH MEKUBETZES
to Bava Kama 11b) do imply that Pidyon ha'Ben must be separated in a case of a Safek. See Insights to Bechoros 47:2
for further discussion of this matter. -M. KORNFELD
3) WHY IS "REISHIS HA'GEZ" CALLED "REISHIS"?
QUESTION: The Gemara explains that one cannot derive from the law of male animals of Chulin that the Halachah of Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah applies to Kodshim, because male animals of Chulin have a stringency that animals of Kodshim do not have: they have the obligation of Reishis ha'Gez, the Mitzvah to give the first shearings to a Kohen.
RASHI (DH Reishis ha'Gez) explains that "Reishis ha'Gez" is called "Reishis" ("first") in the Torah (Devarim 14:4) just as Terumah is called "Reishis Degancha" (ibid.).
What is Rashi's intention? Why does Rashi assume that one would have been bothered with the usage of the word "Reishis" in this context? The word "Reishis" obviously is appropriate, since the first shearings are given to the Kohen!
(a) Rashi's intention is to teach that the Mitzvah is called "Reishis ha'Gez" even though it is performed multiple times on the same sheep. Reishis ha'Gez does not apply only the first time in the sheep's life that it is shorn. One might have thought that the reason why it is called "Reishis" is that it applies only the "first" time that the sheep is born. Therefore, Rashi teaches that it is called "Reishis" just as Terumah is called "Reishis." Terumah is separated each year from the produce of the same field, and it is not limited to the first produce that a field ever produces. (See also RASHI to 135a, DH Reishis.)
(b) Rashi is also teaching that one should not mistakenly think that the words "Reishis ha'Gez" refer specifically to the first shearings from the flock. Terumah and Reishis ha'Gez may be separated from any portion of the shearings that the owner wants to give to the Kohen, whether it is the first or the last. "Reishis" means "the first of the Matanos that are separated from your produce or shearings." That is, the first amount of wool that is separated from all of the wool that is shorn must be given to a Kohen, but not that the first wool that is shorn must be given to a Kohen. Rashi (here, and 135a, DH Reishis) specifically writes that "a small amount of the shearings" must be given to the Kohen," and not "the first of the shearings."
Support for this interpretation may be found in the Tosefta (Chulin 10:1) which teaches that although it is better to give to the Kohen the first of the actual shearings, one is permitted to give whatever part of the shearings that one wants.
4) BRINGING "CHULIN" INTO THE "AZARAH"
OPINIONS: The Gemara (end of 130a) derives from the verse (Devarim 18:3) that the laws of Chazeh v'Shok apply only to Kodshim and not to Chulin. The Gemara asks that no verse is needed to teach that the laws of Chazeh v'Shok do not apply to Chulin. Chazeh v'Shok cannot apply to Chulin, because Chazeh v'Shok require Tenufah (waving) "Lifnei Hash-m," inside the Beis ha'Mikdash. Since it is forbidden to bring Chulin into the Azarah, Tenufah cannot be done with the Chazeh v'Shok of Chulin.
Does the rule that Chulin may not be brought into the Azarah apply to all types of Chulin, or only to specific types of Chulin? (See also Insights to Nedarim 9:2.)
(a) TOSFOS here (DH Iy) and in a number of other places (Pesachim 66b, DH Mevi'ah; Bava Basra 81b, DH v'Dilma) writes that the prohibition against bringing Chulin into the Azarah applies only to objects with which some form of Avodah is performed (such as Tenufah or Hagashah). Bringing an ordinary animal of Chulin into the Azarah is not prohibited unless one does Shechitah to the animal, which is a form of Avodah, or he does some other form of Avodah with it.
Tosfos proves this from the Gemara in Menachos (21b) that says that the Kohanim would bring spices and condiments into the Azarah with which to eat their Menachos. Moreover, Tosfos points out, the Kohanim were permitted to enter the Azarah (but not to perform Avodah) while wearing their Bigdei Chol, clothing of Chulin (see Yoma 30a).
(b) The RAN in Nedarim (9b) clearly disagrees with Tosfos and does not allow Chulin to be brought into the Azarah at all, even when no form of Avodah is done with it. (See also TOSFOS to Beitzah 20b, DH v'Hevi, and RASHI to Temurah 23a, DH Yochlu.) This is also the opinion of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Shechitah 2:3), who rules that one is not permitted to bring any Chulin into the Azarah, whether it is a live animal or whether it is merely meat, fruit, or bread.
How do the Ran and Rambam understand the Gemara in Menachos that says that the Kohanim were permitted to bring spices of Chulin into the Azarah?
The RASHBA here suggests that perhaps the Rambam, when he mentions "fruit and bread" of Chulin, is referring specifically to bread such as Lechem ha'Panim or fruits such as Bikurim, with which Tenufah and Hagashah are done, and he actually agrees with Tosfos. However, the Ran in Nedarim clearly is not of that opinion. How, then, does the Ran understand the Gemara in Menachos?
1. The RITVA suggests that the Mitzvah d'Oraisa not to bring Chulin into the Azarah is transgressed only when some form of Avodah is done with the Chulin, as Tosfos explains. However, even if an Avodah is not done with the Chulin, an Isur d'Rabanan still prohibits its entry into the Azarah unless it is needed for the performance of a Mitzvah (such as spices for eating Korbanos) or it is necessary for some other reason.
2. The MISHNEH L'MELECH (Hilchos Shechitah 2:3, DH v'Im Tomar) explains that spices are added only to Kodshim Kalim, which then may be eaten outside of the Azarah. Similarly, Rashi in Temurah says that the spices are eaten outside of the Azarah, and then immediately afterwards the Kohanim enter the Azarah to eat the Minchah.
3. Perhaps the Ran and Rambam learn that the prohibition applies only to items which could be brought upon the Mizbe'ach as offerings, such as animals, fruit (which are placed on the Mizbe'ach as Bikurim), and bread (such as the Minchah). Things that cannot be offered upon the Mizbe'ach are not subject to the prohibition against bringing them into the Azarah. (This also explain why Bigdei Chol are permitted in the Azarah.) (M. KORNFELD)
5) THE EXEMPTION FROM COMPENSATION FOR DAMAGING "MATNOS KEHUNAH"
QUESTION: Rav Chisda teaches that one who damages or eats Matnos Kehunah is exempt from compensation. The Gemara gives two reasons for Rav Chisda's ruling. The first reason is that the verse (Devarim 18:3) teaches that only the actual Matnos Kehunah must be given to a Kohen, but not compensation for them. The second reason is that there is no claimant (since no specific Kohen can claim the damages), and thus one is exempt from paying.
Is there any practical difference between these two reasons?
ANSWER: TOSFOS (DH v'Iy Ba'is Eima) explains that according to the second reason, there remains an obligation to pay compensation, but since there is no one who legally can claim the money, in practice the defendant is exempt from paying. However, the person must give the value of the damages to the Kohanim in order to fulfill his obligation in Shamayim ("la'Tzeis Yedei Shamayim").
According to the first reason, there is no obligation whatsoever to pay the Kohanim for damaged Matnos Kehunah, even "la'Tzeis Yedei Shamayim."
6) GIVING "MATNOS KEHUNAH" TO A "KOHEN AM HA'ARETZ"
QUESTION: Rebbi Yonasan rules that one may not give Matnos Kehunah to a Kohen who is an Am ha'Aretz. This ruling seems to contradict the Mishnah in Chalah (4:9). The Tana Kama in the Mishnah there states that one is allowed to give different types of Matnos Kehunah to any Kohen. Rebbi Yehudah disagrees and says that Bikurim may not be given to any Kohen. Rebbi Yonasan here seems to rule like neither the Tana Kama nor Rebbi Yehudah, since he rules that no Matnos Kehunah may be given to an Am ha'Aretz. How can Rebbi Yonasan's ruling be reconciled with the Tana'im in Chalah?
(a) TOSFOS (DH Minayin) and the CHIDUSHEI HA'RAN answer that Rebbi Yonasan agrees with the Tana Kama in the Mishnah in Chalah. The Tana Kama is discussing a case in which there is no Kohen who is a Chaver (who is careful to eat Matnos Kehunah while Tahor), or a case in which there is a Kohen who is a Chaver but he is not willing to accept the gift. In that case, one is permitted to give the Matnos Kehunah to a Kohen Am ha'Aretz. Rebbi Yonasan is discussing a case in which one has a choice to give the Matanos to a Kohen Chaver or to a Kohen Am ha'Aretz. In such a case, one should not give the Matanos to a Kohen Am ha'Aretz.
Tosfos apparently understands that Rebbi Yehudah in Chalah maintains that one is always forbidden to give Bikurim to a Kohen Am ha'Aretz, even when no other Kohen is available to receive the gift.
SEFER YOSHEV OHALIM (beginning of Ki Savo) points out that this explanation of the Mishnah in Chalah answers a question that the RAMBAN asks on RASHI in Chumash. When the verse says that one should take Bikurim to the Kohen "who will be in those days" (Devarim 26:3), Rashi comments that the verse is teaching that one may bring Bikurim only to the Kohen who is serving in his time. The Ramban there asks that the Torah earlier (Devarim 17:9, 19:17) uses the same terminology with regard to Dayanim (judges). With regard to Dayanim, it makes sense that the Torah must teach that disputes must be brought to the judges of today, because one might have refrained from going to the judges, thinking that there are no judges qualified to rule in the case. However, why does the Torah need to use this terminology with regard to Kohanim? Why would one have thought that he should not bring a gift to a Kohen? The only qualification that a Kohen needs is to be a descendant of Aharon!
Apparently, Rashi's intention is to teach that the Halachah does not follow the view of Rebbi Yehudah who says that one may never bring Bikurim to a Kohen Am ha'Aretz. Rather, Rashi explains, the verse is teaching that any Kohen ("who will be in those days") suffices.
(b) The RASH in Chalah (4:9) seems to understand that the Mishnah in Chalah is discussing an entirely different case. He explains that the Mishnah there is discussing the question of whether one is allowed to give his Matanos to a Kohen who is generally careful about Tum'ah and Taharah, but he is not careful to eat his Chulin b'Taharah. The Tana Kama says that one may give his Matanos to any Kohen of his choice, while Rebbi Yehudah says that one is not allowed to give Bikurim to such a Kohen. According to the Rash, Rebbi Yonasan is discussing a different case. He is not discussing different levels of stringency with regard to eating foods b'Taharah. Rather, he is saying that one may not give Matanos to a Kohen who is not learned in Torah.
The CHIDUSHIM U'VI'URIM says that this explanation seems more consistent with the wording of the Gemara. Rebbi Yonasan does not say that one should give preference to a Kohen Chaver over a Kohen Am ha'Aretz (as Tosfos explains), but rather he says simply that one may not give Matnos Kehunah to a Kohen Am ha'Aretz. Rebbi Yonasan does not contradict the Mishnah in Chalah, because both Tana'im there may agree that one may give Matanos only to a Kohen who is a Talmid Chacham.
(c) The LEV ARYEH points out that the RAMBAM does not mention this Halachah of Rebbi Yonasan. He suggests that the Rambam does not record the ruling of Rebbi Yonasan because the Rambam understands that Rebbi Yonasan follows the view of Rebbi Yehudah in Chalah, and the Halachah does not follow the view of Rebbi Yehudah.
(However, it is possible that the Lev Aryeh may have overlooked the ruling of the Rambam in Terumos (6:2), that one should give only Terumah that is Tahor, whether it is Terumah Gedolah or Terumas Ma'aser, to a Kohen who is a Talmid Chacham, since it is forbidden to eat Terumah that is Tamei. The KESEF MISHNEH writes that the source for the Rambam's ruling is the statement of Rebbi Yonasan! If the Lev Aryeh does not agree that this is the source of the Rambam, then he should have at least recorded his argument with the Kesef Mishneh. Hence, it seems that he may have overlooked the ruling of the Rambam there.) (Y. MONTROSE)
7) MAY A RICH MAN TAKE CHARITY MONEY?
OPINIONS: The Gemara quotes the Mishnah in Pe'ah (5:4) that says that if a wealthy person was traveling and became stranded with no money, he is considered to be "poor" and he may accept Leket, Shichechah, Pe'ah, and Ma'aser Ani. To what degree is the rich man considered poor and allowed to take charity?
(a) RAV CHAIM of VOLOZHIN (in Chut ha'Meshulash #17) suggests that in such a situation, the man may take ordinary charity money as well, and not only Matanos Aniyim.
(b) Rav Chaim of Volozhin adds, however, that the VILNA GA'ON pointed out to him that even when a rich man is on the road and penniless, he is not always considered to be "poor." As long as he can obtain loans, he is considered "rich" and should not take charity.
(c) The CHIDUSHEI CHASAM SOFER (#131) rules that when a wealthy person takes money from charity funds (such as Ma'aser Kesafim) when on the road, he is obligated to pay it back. He explains that this cannot be compared to the case of the Mishnah in Pe'ah. In that case, when one is permitted to eat Matnos Aniyim, he does not have to return the Matanos upon his return home, because the Matanos have been totally consumed. Ma'aser Kesafim, however, is transferable legal tender and therefore other money must be returned in its place.