THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) A MINORITY OF "KUSIM" WHO WORSHIP IDOLS
QUESTION: The Gemara explains that the reason why the Beis Din of Raban
Gamliel decreed that the Shechitah of a Kusi is prohibited is because it
was found that the Kusim were worshipping a statue of a dove atop Har
Gerizim. Even though the majority of Kusim do not worship the dove at Har
Gerizim, and we should follow the majority and assume that the Kusi who
slaughtered this animal is not an idol-worshipper, the Beis Din of Raban
Gamliel sided with the opinion of Rebbi Meir who maintains that we are
"Chayish l'Mi'uta." Rebbi Meir maintains that we do not follow the
majority when there is a Safek (a doubt), but rather we must be concerned
for the minority. Therefore, since a minority of Kusim worship Avodah
Zarah, we cannot follow the majority and accept the Shechitah of a Kusi.
2) HALACHAH: GIVING "KUSIM" THE STATUS OF "NOCHRIM"
The Gemara in Yevamos (119b), however, states that when there is a
Chazakah that supports the majority, then even Rebbi Meir agrees that we
follow the majority and we are not concerned for the minority. Since there
is a Chazakah and a Rov opposing the Mi'ut, we consider the Mi'ut to be a
"Mi'uta d'Mi'uta" (a minority of a minority), and even Rebbi Meir is not
concerned for a "Mi'uta d'Mi'uta."
Why, then, does the Gemara say that the Shechitah of every Kusi is not
acceptable, according to Rebbi Meir? A majority of Kusim do not worship
Avodah Zarah, and thus there is a Rov. Moreover, the Kusim initially were
proper, Torah-abiding Jews, and thus every individual Kusi should have a
Chazakah that he is a proper Jew and does not worship Avodah Zarah, unless
we have evidence to the contrary. Accordingly, the Chazakah and the Rov
together should relegate the Mi'ut to a "Mi'uta d'Mi'uta," and the
Shechitah of a Kusi should be acceptable, even according to Rebbi Meir!
Moreover, the case of our Gemara involves a minority that exists only in
an isolated area -- near Har Gerizim. It is illogical to assume that all
Kusim, in all places, are wicked because of a few fools who disgraced
themselves at Har Gerizim by worshipping a statue of a dove (as the Gemara
later (95a) says, "Because of this fool who acted improperly, are we to
prohibit meat of all the slaughterhouses?").
(a) The PNEI YEHOSHUA explains that the dispute between Rebbi Meir and the
Chachamim regarding whether or not we must be concerned for the Mi'ut does
not apply here in the same way that it applies in other places. Rebbi Meir
does not prohibit the wine of Kusim because of the Mi'ut that worships
Avodah Zarah, since that Mi'ut indeed is a "Mi'uta d'Mi'uta." However,
because he holds, in general, that we are concerned for a Mi'ut, here he
makes a Gezeirah that we must be concerned for a "Mi'uta d'Mi'uta." (The
Pnei Yehoshua suggests that even the Chachamim might agree to this
Gezeirah here. Even though they normally do not make Gezeiros due to
concerns about a minority, here, where they had an interest in
dissociating from the Kusim, they might agree that we make such a
This is implied by the Gemara itself here, which states that Rebbi Meir,
who prohibited the wine of Kusim, was following his own reasoning that we
are "Chayish l'Mi'uta," and "he enacted a decree prohibited the majority
due to the minority." Similarly, the Gemara says that Raban Gamliel
decreed that the Shechitah of Kusim is forbidden. Why did he need to make
a Gezeirah if Rebbi Meir already forbids it because of "Chayish l'Mi'uta"?
The answer is that Rebbi Meir does *not* forbid it because of "Chayish
l'Mi'uta," since it is a "Mi'uta d'Mi'uta." Rather, he forbids it because
of a secondary Gezeirah (see Tosfos 86b, DH Semoch).
(b) REBBI AKIVA EIGER answers that the concern in this case is that the
Kusi who performed the Shechitah is considered an idol-worshipper. If he
is an idol-worshipper, then his Shechitah is invalid even if he performed
a perfect Shechitah, because he has the status of a Nochri, whose
Shechitah is invalid. Even though the possibility that this Kusi is an
idol-worshipper is minute (because only a minority of Kusim worship
idols), nevertheless there is another Chazakah that joins this Mi'ut to
counter the Rov (that most Kusim do not worship idols) and the first
Chazakah (that this Kusi abides by the Torah). The opposing Chazakah,
which joins the Mi'ut, is that the animal has a Chazakah that it is
forbidden to be eaten, since, until the time of Shechitah, the living
animal was forbidden to be eaten (see 9a and RASHI there, DH Behemah).
TOSFOS in Beitzah (25a, DH b'Chezkas) maintains that the Chazakah that the
animal was forbidden while alive is actually a Chazakah that it has not
been slaughtered -- "Chezkas she'Einah Zevuchah." This Chazakah,
therefore, supports the Mi'ut that tells us that the Shechitah is invalid
(because the Kusi is an idol-worshipper). Accordingly, the concern that
the animal was not slaughtered properly is not merely a "Mi'uta d'Mi'uta,"
but it is a Mi'ut for which Rebbi Meir maintains we must be concerned. (D.
OPINIONS: The Gemara says that the Chachamim decreed that the Kusim have
the status of Nochrim.
3) THE TWO DECREES AGAINST THE "KUSIM"
Since the status of Kusim as Nochrim is only mid'Rabanan, does this mean
that regarding matters that are mid'Oraisa, we should treat Kusim like
Jews in order not to be lenient? For example, if a Kusi is Mekadesh a
Jewish woman, should we consider him to be a Jew, l'Chumra, and require
him to give her a Get, since mid'Oraisa he is a Jew? Similarly, may a Jew
lend money to a Kusi with interest?
(a) The SHULCHAN ARUCH (EH 44:10) rules that, indeed, we must be stringent
and consider the Kusim to be Jews with regard to matters that are
(b) The RAMBAM (Perush ha'Mishnayos), however, says that a Kusi is not
considered a Jew even when giving him the status of a Nochri will be
acting leniently (such by not requiring a Kusi to give a Get to a Jewish
woman whom he was Mekadesh). The SHACH (YD 159:5) also rules that a Kusi
does not have the status of a Jew at all, even l'Kula, and thus it is
permitted to lend money to a Kusi with interest.
What is the logic behind the Rambam's opinion? If a Kusi is a Jew
mid'Oraisa, then how can we be lenient and consider him a Nochri? (TOSFOS
YOM TOV to Nidah 4:7)
The CHASAM SOFER (Hagahos to OC 39) suggests a novel approach to answer
the question of the Tosfos Yom Tov. He writes that "the Jewish people have
the power to remove from their ranks an apostate, giving him a status of a
complete Nochri, even with regard to matters of leniency." This would
explain how the Gezeirah d'Rabanan could give all Kusim the status of
Nochrim, even with regard to being lenient. (See also ME'IRI, end of first
Perek of Yevamos (DH u'm'Kan Hayu Ketzas Rabosai Chochechim Lomar), who
quotes "a few of our teachers" who discuss the possibility that a Jewish
apostate has the status of a Nochri).
Perhaps we may suggest another approach. The Rambam understands the Gemara
here based on his opinion (in Hilchos Isurei Bi'ah 13:14-18) that when a
Nochri converts and we are uncertain of his sincerity, we wait to see how
he acts in the future. If he demonstrates genuine sincerity, then we may
assume that he fully accepted the Mitzvos upon himself and his Geirus was
valid. If his later actions demonstrate that he does not really fear
Hashem, then we assume that his intentions in converting were not sincere,
and his Geirus was not valid. Perhaps the Rambam maintains that when it
was found that the Kusim were worshipping a statue of a dove atop Har
Gerizim, the Chachamim decided that they never sincerely accepted Torah
and Mitzvos in the first place, and thus they are Nochrim even mid'Oraisa.
(See TOSFOS 3b, DH Kasavar.) (M. Kornfeld)
QUESTIONS: The Gemara relates that when Raban Gamliel and his Beis Din
decreed that the Shechitah of a Kusi is forbidden because some Kusim were
found to be idolaters, their decree was not accepted. When, much later,
Rebbi Ami and Rebbi Asi decreed that Kusim have the status of Nochrim,
their decree was accepted.
There are two obvious questions. First, why was the later decree of Rebbi
Ami and Rebbi Asi accepted, and not the earlier decree of Raban Gamliel?
Second, the decree giving Kusim the status of idolaters seems to be based
on the opinion of Rebbi Meir that we are "Chayish l'Mi'uta." However, the
Halachah follows the opinion of the Chachamim who maintain that we are not
"Chayish l'Mi'uta." Why, then, do we follow the decree giving all Kusim
the status of Nochrim?
(a) RASHI answers the first question and explains that the original decree
was not accepted because, at that time, the Kusim had not yet become
estranged from the mainstream populace. The Jews were friendly with the
Kusim and were unwilling to separate themselves from them. Later, in the
times of Rebbi and Rebbi Asi, contact between the Jews and the Kusim had
decreased considerably, and the Jews were able and willing to dissociate
from them entirely.
(b) The RAMBAN answers both questions. He explains that the original
decree was not accepted because it was based on Rebbi Meir's opinion that
we are "Chayish l'Mi'uta," which we do not follow as the Halachah. In the
times of Rebbi Ami and Rebbi Asi, *most* of the Kusim had already become
idolaters. The decree, at that time, was no longer based on "Chayish
l'Mi'uta" but rather on "Rov," and therefore it was accepted.
The TORAS CHAYIM adds that the Gemara itself alludes to this difference
between the Kusim in the times of Raban Gamliel and the Kusim in the times
of Rebbi Ami and Rebbi Asi. At the time of the first decree, the Chachamim
referred to the need to separate from the Kusim by quoting the verse, "...
Im Ba'al Nefesh Atah" (Mishlei 23:2), implying that it was merely a
stringency because of "Chayish l'Mi'uta." When describing the Gezeirah
made by Rebbi Ami and Rebbi Asi, though, the Gemara refers to the Kusim by
saying, "Leis Kan Shomrei Torah" -- none of the Kusim observe the Torah,
implying that the need to separate from them is not merely a Chumra, but
it is a requirement due to the fact that most Kusim worship idols. (Z.
4) THE RELIABILITY OF A PERSON SUSPECTED OF SINNING
OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses the Halachah regarding food that was given
to an Am ha'Aretz to prepare. Must we be concerned that perhaps the Am
ha'Aretz exchanged the permitted food with Demai, or exchanged Tahor food
with Tamei food?
5) HALACHAH: TERUMAH AND MA'ASER IN CHUTZ LA'ARETZ
The Rishonim write that the conclusion of the Gemara is that we do not
need to be concerned that an ordinary Am ha'Aretz exchanges food given to
him with his own food, unless he is one who is suspected of stealing.
Accordingly, one may entrust tithed food with an Am ha'Aretz without
concern that he will exchange it for his own food of Demai. Similarly, one
may entrust Kosher cheese with a person who is suspected of eating
forbidden cheese of Nochrim, and one may entrust Kosher bread with a
person who is suspected of eating bread baked by a Nochri.
Does this Halachah extent to other cases of entrusting a permitted object
with an Am ha'Aretz, who will process the object and return it to the
(a) The RASHBA writes that it should also be permissible to give hemp
thread to a Jewish tailor to use to sew woolen garments, and there is no
need to be concerned that he will replace it with linen thread (and
transgress the Isur of Sha'atnez), even though the tailor is suspected of
sewing garments of Sha'atnez. As long as he is not suspected of stealing,
we are not concerned that the Am ha'Aretz will replace the object that he
received with a different object. This is the ruling of the RAN (1b of the
pages of the Rif, DH Garsinan), who writes that as long as the Jewish
tailor is not suspected of stealing, one may give him hemp thread with
which to sew, because we do not suspect him of stealing the hemp thread
and replacing it with linen.
(b) However, the Rashba questions the application of this logic to the
case of a tailor, since it is easier to sew with linen than with hemp.
Consequently, perhaps we should be stringent in this case, since the
tailor treats the prohibition of Sha'atnez lightly, and thus he might sew
with linen in order to make his work easier. (Moreover, the Rashba in
Teshuvos (1:761) discusses the Halachah regarding giving hemp thread to a
Nochri tailor. He rules there that even if hemp thread is less expensive
than linen, we must suspect that the tailor might use linen, because it
will take him an hour to sew with linen what would take him an hour and a
half to sew with hemp.)
(c) The REMA (YD 302:2) rules that one may give hemp thread to a tailor
for a different reason. It is possible to test whether the threads he
actually used are hemp or linen by touching a piece of thread to fire.
Linen extinguishes the fire quickly, while hemp burns well. The SHACH (YD
302:4) adds that since it is possible to determine what type of thread he
used, a professional tailor will not risk ruining his reputation by using
a different type of thread. According to this reasoning, one may even give
his garment to a Nochri tailor to mend. (D. Bloom)
OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses whether or not one is obligated to separate
Terumos and Ma'aseros from produce of Beis She'an. If Beis She'an is
considered to be outside of Eretz Yisrael, then produce that grows there
is exempt from Terumos and Ma'aseros.
TOSFOS (DH v'Hitir) points out that there are a number of sources in the
Gemara that imply that Terumos and Ma'aseros must be separated from
produce of Chutz la'Aretz, mid'Rabanan. When is produce of Chutz la'Aretz
obligated in Terumos and Ma'aseros, and when is it exempt?
(a) RABEINU TAM says that produce of Chutz la'Aretz is exempt only when it
is Demai (when there is a doubt whether or not Terumos and Ma'aseros have
already been separated from the produce). Produce from which Terumos and
Ma'aseros were definitely not separated is obligated. In the incident
recorded in our Gemara, Rebbi permitted only produce of Demai in Beis
She'an to be eaten without separating Terumos and Ma'aseros.
HALACHAH: The widespread practice today is not to separate Terumos and
Ma'aseros from produce in Chutz la'Aretz. According to all of the opinions
cited above, why do we not separate Terumos and Ma'aseros from any produce
of Jewish-owned fields in Chutz la'Aretz?
TOSFOS here gives a number of reasons for why we do not separate Terumos
and Ma'aseros from produce in Chutz la'Aretz.
(b) TOSFOS says that Terumos and Ma'aseros must be separated in Chutz
la'Aretz only from wheat, grapes, and olives, the three species from which
we must separate Terumos and Ma'aseros mid'Oraisa. All other fruits and
vegetables in Chutz la'Aretz are exempt. This might be the intention of
RASHI (DH Es Beis She'an) as well.
(c) RABEINU DAVID of MELUN (cited by Tosfos in Avodah Zarah 59a) asserts
that Terumos and Ma'aseros must be separated from all produce of Chutz
la'Aretz. The only difference between produce of Chutz la'Aretz and
produce of Eretz Yisrael is that we allow certain leniencies for produce
of Chutz la'Aretz, such as permitting some of the fruit to be eaten before
Terumos and Ma'aseros are separated. This is what Rebbi permitted in Beis
She'an. (See also YOSEF DA'AS here.)
1. Tosfos writes that the only areas in Chutz la'Aretz in which one must
separate Terumos and Ma'aseros are those areas that are adjacent to Eretz
Yisrael. (See also RAMBAM, Hilchos Terumos 1:1.)
2. Since we pay property tax to the government, the land is not considered
to be owned by Jews, since the ruling power may confiscate it if the tax
is not paid.
3. The Amora'im annulled the Takanah d'Rabanan to separate Terumos and
Ma'aseros from produce of Chutz la'Aretz (as implied by the Yerushalmi,
4. Our practice is based on the conclusion of the Yerushalmi, which argues
with the Bavli and maintains that there is no obligation at all to
separate Terumos and Ma'aseros from produce of Chutz la'Aretz.
(It is interesting to note that the SEFER MA'ASEH RAV relates that the
VILNA GA'ON planted a small field in Vilna and separated Terumos and
Ma'aseros from his produce that grew there.)