1) TRANSGRESSING "ME'ILAH" WITH HUMAN HAIR
OPINIONS: The Gemara inquires about how many people are required for the appraisal of the value of human hair in a case in which a person pledged to cut off his hair and give it to Hekdesh and now wants to redeem it from Hekdesh. If the hair which is ready to be cut is considered as already cut and thus it is Metaltelin, a movable object, then it requires only three judges to appraise its value. If the hair which is ready to be cut is considered Karka, land, because it is still attached to the body (in the same way that Avadim are considered Karka), then it requires ten judges to appraise its value.
The Gemara suggests that the answer to this question is the subject of a dispute between the Tana Kama and Raban Shimon ben Gamliel in Gitin (39a). The Tana Kama states that if a person uses an Eved who was consecrated to Hekdesh, he does *not* transgress the Isur of Me'ilah. Raban Shimon ben Gamliel maintains that if he uses the Eved's hair, and that hair is ready to be cut, then he *does* transgress the Isur of Me'ilah. The Gemara does not explicitly state how this dispute relates to the question about whether hair that is attached but is ready to be cut needs three judges or ten judges to appraise its value.
(a) RASHI explains that the Tana Kama maintains that hair that is attached is like Karka (land) and therefore ten people are required to appraise its value in order for it to be redeemed from Hekdesh. Raban Shimon ben Gamliel maintains that such hair is like a movable object which requires only three people to appraise its value.
(b) RABEINU CHANANEL learns differently. He explains that the Tana Kama maintains that hair that is ready to be cut off is considered to have been cut already (and is Metaltelin), and thus it never became Hekdesh in the first place (when the master made his Eved into Hekdesh). That is why the Tana Kama says that one who uses the hair does not transgress the Isur of Me'ilah; his reasoning is not that the hair is considered Karka, but that the hair was never made Hekdesh. Raban Shimon ben Gamliel, on the other hand, maintains that hair that is ready to be cut is considered attached (and is like Karka), and therefore it becomes Hekdesh together with the body of the Eved. Accordingly, one who uses such hair for his own purposes transgresses the Isur of Me'ilah.
At the bottom of the page of the Vilna edition of the Gemara appears a footnote that questions this explanation of Rabeinu Chananel. Even if Raban Shimon ben Gamliel maintains that hair which is ready to cut is considered part of the body and becomes Hekdesh, there still should be no Isur of Me'ilah with that hair, because there is no Isur of Me'ilah with the body of the Eved since it is considered Karka! Why, then, does Raban Shimon ben Gamliel say that one who uses that hair transgresses the Isur of Me'ilah?
RAV MENACHEM ZEMBA zt'l Hy'd answers that Rabeinu Chananel does not say that Raban Shimon ben Gamliel maintains that one transgresses the Isur of Me'ilah when he uses the hair while it is still attached. The dispute between the Tana Kama and Raban Shimon ben Gamliel applies in a case in which one uses the hair *after* it has been cut off. According to the Tana Kama, since the hair was never made Hekdesh, one does not transgress Me'ilah. According to Raban Shimon ben Gamliel, the hair *did* become Hekdesh and thus, after it is cut off, one transgresses the Isur of Me'ilah with that hair. (TOSFOS in Me'ilah (13a, DH u'Mo'alin), the RASHBA, and the RITVA in Gitin (39a) state explicitly that the rule that one cannot transgress the Isur of Me'ilah by using an object that is attached to the ground applies only while the object is attached, and not after it becomes detached.)
Rav Zemba zt'l explains that Rabeinu Chananel's explanation is more consistent with the description of the case as "ha'Makdish Avdo," since the dispute between the Tana'im involves whether the person's act of consecrating the Eved also makes the hair Hekdesh or not. Had the case involved only hair that was made Hekdesh, according to Rabeinu Chananel the Tana Kama would agree that Me'ilah applies (after the hair is cut off). According to Rashi, though, why do the Tana Kama and Raban Shimon ben Gamliel discuss a case in which one was Makdish an entire Eved? The dispute should apply even in a case in which the person was Makdish only "Sa'ar Avdo," the hair of the servant! This is a weakness in Rashi's explanation. (Y. MONTROSE)
2) THE NUMBER OF JUDGES NEEDED TO JUDGE A CASE OF AN OX WHO CAME TOO CLOSE TO HAR SINAI
QUESTION: When the Torah was given at Har Sinai, the Jewish people were warned that any person or animal who approaches Har Sinai too closely will be punished by death. The Gemara asks how many judges would have been needed to pass a verdict against an ox that went too close to Har Sinai. Rami bar Yechezkel maintains that just as a man would have been judged by twenty-three judges, an ox would have needed the same number.
TOSFOS asks a question which the Gemara itself asks in other places. Since the case of the Gemara will never occur again, why does the Gemara discuss it? What practical difference does it make?
(a) TOSFOS answers that the Gemara's question is important because the answer will elucidate the verses in the Torah. The Gemara in Yoma (5a) discusses how Aharon and his sons donned the Bigdei Kehunah, the priestly garments. The Gemara there asks what practical difference results from the historical detail of how they donned their garments? The Gemara answers that there are verses which are difficult to understand without knowing the correct explanation of the order in which they donned the garments.
(b) TOSFOS in Chagigah (6b) answers differently. He explains that the point of the Gemara here is to discern whether or not Halachos may be derived from what happened in the past.
This answer seems difficult, however. The Gemara here implies the exact opposite: it is asking whether knowledge of what happened in the past may be derived from the present Halachah. The ARUCH LA'NER explains that Tosfos in Chagigah means that if what happened in the past indeed may be learned from the present Halachah, then this shows that there is a common Halachic thread between the two times. This commonality would enable one, in turn, to learn Halachah from past events as well.
(c) The RAN and ME'IRI answer that there are practical Halachic ramifications to the question of how many judges would have been needed to judge an ox who went too close to Har Sinai. The Me'iri says that if a person today makes a vow to clothe as many poor people as the number of judges who were needed to judge such an ox, then it is necessary to know how many judges were needed in order to know how many poor people he is obligated to help. Similarly, the Ran says that if a person swears that he will be a Nazir if twenty-three judges were needed to judge such an ox, then it is necessary to know how many judges there were in order to know whether or not he is a Nazir. The Gemara itself in Chagigah (6b) gives similar practical ramifications.
The Acharonim, however, have difficulty with this approach (see ARUCH LA'NER and MARGOLIYOS HA'YAM). If this is the reason why the Gemara asks this question, then why does the Gemara not give this answer in the other places where it is applicable, such as in the Gemara in Yoma (5a)? Tosfos in Menachos (52b) indeed apparently maintains that this is a valid answer in all such cases.
(d) The ME'IRI gives another practical ramification. The Mechilta learns that the verse that teaches the punishment for an ox that goes too close to Har Sinai also teaches the Halachah about an ox that wandered into the Mishkan or into the Beis ha'Mikdash (when not being brought as a Korban). (See, however, the VILNA GA'ON, who has a different reading of the Mechilta.) The number of judges used for the case of an ox that went too close to Har Sinai will be the number of judges used for the case of an ox that wandered into the Mishkan or Beis ha'Mikdash. (Y. MONTROSE)