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) THE "CHUMROS" OF TERUMAH AND BIKURIM OVER MA'ASER
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes a Mishnah in Bikurim that contrasts the laws of
Terumah and Bikurim with the laws of Ma'aser Sheni, showing the ways in which
Terumah and Bikurim are more stringent than Ma'aser, and the ways in which
Ma'aser is more stringent than Terumah and Bikurim. Among the Chumros of
Terumah and Bikurim are that one is Chayav Misah for advertently eating
Terumah and Bikurim, one must pay a Chomesh (a fifth) for inadvertently
eating them, and they are prohibited to a Zar (a non-Kohen).
Since the Mishnah states that a Zar is Chayav Misah for eating Terumah and
Bikurim, and that he must pay a Chomesh for eating them inadvertently, it is
obvious that Terumah and Bikurim are prohibited to a Zar! Why, then, does the
Mishnah mention, as an additional Chumra, that Terumah and Bikurim are
prohibited to a Zar? (TOSFOS, TOSFOS YESHANIM)
In addition, the Gemara in Yoma (73b) asks why the Mishnah there says that it
is prohibited to eat and drink on Yom Kipur. The Mishnah states that eating
and drinking are punishable with Kares, and thus it is inappropriate to say
that eating and drinking are just "prohibited." Why, then, does the Mishnah
in Bikurim say that Terumah and Bikurim are prohibited for a Zar to eat, when
a Zar is not just prohibited from eating them but is even punished with
(a) RASHI in Bava Metzia (53a, DH va'Asurim) answers that the Mishnah says
the words "Asurim l'Zarim" only because it wants to conclude "Mah sh'Ein Ken
b'Ma'aser," contrasting the laws of Terumah and Bikurim with Ma'aser. By
adding the words "Asurim l'Zarim," the Mishnah is teaching that Ma'aser is
different not only in that a Zar is not punished for eating it, but it is
even permitted l'Chatchilah for a Zar to eat it. "Asurim l'Zarim" teaches us
by inference that Ma'aser is permitted to Zarim.
TOSFOS (here and in Bava Metzia) rejects this explanation, because we find
the first half of this Mishnah, listing the Chumros of Terumah and Bikurim,
again in a Mishnah in Chalah (1:9) regarding the Chumros of Chalah and
Bikurim. There, however, the Mishnah does not end by contrasting the laws of
Chalah and Bikurim with the laws of Ma'aser, even though it begins by saying
that Chalah and Bikurim are "Asurim l'Zarim!" According to Rashi's
explanation, there is no point in saying "Asurim l'Zarim" there!
The RITVA here defends Rashi's explanation and says that occasionally a
Mishnah uses the same wording that it used elsewhere, even though it is not
fully appropriate in the present context. (See, for instance, Makos 2:8
"k'Yotzei Bo, Rotze'ach...," which is based on the wording of the Mishnah in
Shevi'is 10:8.) Accordingly, the Mishnah in Chalah is borrowing the wording
of the Mishnah in Bikurim, even though the words "Asurim l'Zarim" are
unnecessary in Chalah, since the Mishnah there does not contrast the laws of
Bikurim and Terumah with those of Ma'aser.
(b) RASHI in Yevamos seems to suggest another answer. When the Mishnah says
that one is punishable with Misah for eating Terumah and Bikurim, it is not
referring to a Zar who eats those items, but rather to a Kohen who is Tamei
who eats them. This also seems to be the approach of the Yerushalmi in
Bikurim (2:1) according to Rav. (See MAHARSHA; see also RASHASH (and also
ARUCH LA'NER) who suggests another reason why Rashi says that the Mishnah is
discussing a Kohen who is Tamei, and not a Zar.)
Why, though, does the Mishnah says that Terumah and Bikurim are "Asurim
l'Zarim" if it says already that one must pay a Chomesh for eating them? A
Kohen does not pay Chomesh for inadvertently eating Terumah or Bikurim while
*Tamei*! This question apparently does not bother Rashi. Perhaps Rashi
learned like the Me'iri, that the fact that one is obligated to pay a Chomesh
for eating Terumah does not necessarily show that he is prohibited from
eating it. One might have thought that it is permitted to eat it, but one has
to pay a Chomesh for doing so, and therefore the Mishnah must add that it is
prohibited to eat Terumah and Bikurim. (See, however, RASHI in Gitin 21b, DH
(c) The ARUCH (Erech Te'an) answers that "Asurim l'Zarim" teaches that
Terumah and Bikurim remain prohibited to a Zar even after Pidyon; that is,
it is not possible to redeem Terumah or Bikurim, while it is possible to
TOSFOS, however, rejects this answer, because Rav Ashi (74a) says that the
Mishnah *omitted* the Chumra that Terumah and Bikurim have no Pidyon, and it
was one of several Chumros that the Mishnah intentionally left out ("Tana
It could be that the Aruch understood that the other Amora'im in our Sugya
are arguing with Rav Ashi. They hold that "Ein Lahem Pidyon" was not omitted
from the Mishnah, but was included in the Mishnah in the words "Asurim
l'Zarim." He only meant to answer the wording of the Mishnah according to
those Amora'im, in his first answer.
(d) The ARUCH cites another answer from the Yerushalmi (Bikurim 2:1,
according to the opinion of Rebbi Yochanan there). The Yerushalmi suggests
that "Asurim l'Zarim" refers to the Isur to eat Chatzi Shi'ur (less than the
minimum amount that is necessary for receiving punishment), which is not
punishable with Misah, nor does it require a payment of Chomesh.
However, if Chatzi Shi'ur is Asur in all Isurim (Yoma 73b), why does the
Mishnah have to point out this Halachah specifically with regard to Terumah
The TOSFOS YESHANIM and other Rishonim answer that eating Terumah and eating
Bikurim are Isurim that are not "Shaveh ba'Kol," since they do not apply to
all Jews equally (i.e. they do not apply to Kohanim). We might have thought
that the Torah (or Rabanan, see Yoma 73b) did not prohibit Chatzi Shi'ur of
such Isurim. Therefore, the Mishnah teaches us that even Chatzi Shi'ur of
Terumah and Bikurim is Asur.
(e) The ME'IRI (in the name of "Yesh Mefarshim") says that "Asurim l'Zarim"
means that Terumah and Bikurim are Asur b'Hana'ah -- it is prohibited to
derive benefit from them, in addition to being prohibited to eat them.
Although we find that it is permitted to derive benefit from Terumah, it is
only permitted when the Terumah item will not be consumed in the process. It
is prohibited to derive benefit from Terumah in a manner that does not
preserve the Terumah itself. (See TOSFOS 66b, DH Lo.)
If one does derive benefit by destroying the Terumah, he is not punished with
Misah or Chomesh, but he does transgress an Isur. This is what the Mishnah is
teaching when it says that Terumah and Bikurim are "Asurim l'Zarim." (See
MITZPEH EISAN for another answer.)
2) HOW IS "MISAH B'YEDEI SHAMAYIM" MORE SEVERE THAN "KARES?"
QUESTION: The Gemara compares Terumah to Kodesh, and attempts to prove that
Kodesh is more Chamur. To show that Kodesh is more Chamur, the Gemara says
that one is punished with Kares (early death and childlessness) for eating
Kodesh while one is Tamei. The Gemara then counters that perhaps Terumah is
more Chamur, because one who eats Terumah while Tamei is punished with Misah
b'Yedei Shamayim (death at the hands of heaven).
In what way does the punishment of Misah b'Yedei Shamayim make Terumah more
Chamur than Kodesh? The punishment of Kares includes the death of one's
children, but Misah affects only the transgressor himself. In addition, when
being punished with Kares, a person dies between the ages of 50 and 60, but
when punished with Misah, although a person passes away before his destined
time, he can even be older than 60! (See Background to the Daf.) How, then,
can Misah b'Yedei Shamayim be more severe than Kares, when Kares itself
(a) TOSFOS (DH she'Ken) answers that the Gemara, when it mentions Misah, is
not referring to the punishment for eating Terumah while one is Tamei.
Rather, it is referring to the punishment for a *Zar*, a non-Kohen who eats
Terumah. The punishment for a Zar who eats Terumah is Misah b'Yedei Shamayim,
while a Zar who eats Kodshim is punished only with lashes (see also Rambam,
Hilchos Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos 11:8), and not with Misah or Kares. In this way,
Terumah is more Chamur than Kodshim.
However, Rashi (DH Pigul, DH Machpaz) explains that the Gemara is referring
to a *Tamei* who eats Terumah and Kodshim, and not to a *Zar*.
(b) TOSFOS RABEINU PERETZ (in Pesachim 32b) quotes RABEINU SHMUEL of Evreux,
who cites a Yerushalmi that states that Misah is more severe than Kares in
one respect. When one is punished with Misah, all of his possessions are also
destroyed. When one is punished with Kares, though, his possessions are
spared. This is also the opinion of RABEINU YONAH in Sha'arei Teshuvah
(section 3, level 6): when it comes to Misah, the punishment includes the
eventual destruction of a person's animals and possessions, as it says, "Alah
Maves b'Chaloneinu" (Yirmiyahu 9:20).
Perhaps this phenomenon may be understood as follows. The Gemara (Sanhedrin
48b) teaches that "when the court kills a person (who is deserving of the
death penalty), his belongings pass on to his legal heirs. However, when the
king kills someone for disobeying his word, the king takes the person's
property as well." Kares is a punishment meted out by the "heavenly court,"
often because the earthly courts are not able to deal with the matter (for
example, because the sinner was not given Hasra'ah). As part of the framework
of Torah punishments, it is in the same category as Misas Beis Din.
In contrast, Misah b'Yedei Shamayim, is punishment "at the hands of heaven" -
- that is, it is a direct punishment from Hashem for offending His majesty in
some manner, comparable to those killed for offending the king. It is
prescribed only to those who defile His chosen portion or sanctuary.
(Examples of this are a Zar who eats Terumah, Bikurim or Chalah, a Kohen
Tamei who eats Terumah, one who eats Tevel from which Terumah was not
separated, one who misuses Hekdesh according to Rebbi, improper behavior in
the Mikdash such as a Zar who performs the Avodah or a Kohen who enters the
Kodesh ha'Kodashim for no reason, as listed by the RAMBAN in Hilchos
Sanhedrin 19:2. Interestingly, even the instances of Misah b'Yedei Shamayim
"d'Rabanan" that Rabeinu Yonah (ibid.) lists fit neatly into this category.)
When Misah is administered, the person is, in a sense, being killed for
offending the King. Just as when one offends a king of flesh and blood, the
person's heirs lose the family fortune, so, too, Hashem, the King,
confiscates the guilty party's property and takes back what was always His.
(M. Kornfeld; see also Insights to Pesachim 32:2.)