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Steinsaltz

but a worker who was walking is considered like one who was performing his labor. Yet, since one who was performing labor on this vine may not eat from another vine, he would not be entitled to eat while walking if not for the ordinance of the Sages.

§ The mishna teaches: And with regard to a donkey, it is permitted to eat when it is being unloaded. The Gemara is puzzled by this statement: From where can it eat when it is being unloaded? Since the load is being removed from the animal at the time, how can the donkey eat from it? Rather, you should say: It may eat until it is unloaded. As long as it is bearing its load the donkey may eat from the food on its back. The Gemara comments: We learn in the mishna that which the Sages taught explicitly in a baraita: A donkey and a camel may eat from the load on their backs, provided that the owner of the animal does not take some of the food in his hand and feed them.

MISHNA: A laborer may eat cucumbers while he works, and this is the halakha even if the amount he eats is equal in value to a dinar; or he may eat dates, and this is the halakha even if the amount he eats is equal in value to a dinar. Rabbi Elazar Ḥisma says: A laborer may not eat more than the value of his wages, but the Rabbis permit it, according to the strict letter of the law. But one teaches a person not to be a glutton and thereby close the opening to other job offers in his face. When people hear of his greed they will be reluctant to hire him.

GEMARA: The Gemara asks: The statement of the Rabbis is identical to the statement of the first tanna. A mishna would not repeat the exact same opinion. The Gemara explains: The practical difference between them concerns the statement: But one teaches a person not to be a glutton. According to the first tanna, he does not accept the notion that one teaches a person not to be a glutton. According to the Rabbis, they do accept this principle that one teaches a person not to be a glutton.

If you wish, say instead that the practical difference between them concerns a halakha taught by Rav Asi. As Rav Asi says: Even if he hired him to harvest only one cluster, the laborer may eat. And Rav Asi further said: Even if he harvested only one cluster, he may eat it.

The Gemara comments: And it was necessary for Rav Asi to state both of these halakhot, despite their apparent similarity. As, had he taught us only this first one, one might have thought that he may eat because there is no other food to place in the homeowner’s vessels, as he was hired to harvest only a single cluster. The Torah permits him to eat, and if he is not allowed to eat that cluster, what else is there for him to eat? But if there is produce left over to place in the homeowner’s vessels, as in the second case, one might say that he should first place some in the vessels and then eat.

And had Rav Asi taught us only this second case, one might have said that the reason he may eat is that ultimately it is possible to fulfill the requirement to place produce in the owner’s vessels, i.e., he can eat and still perform the task. But in a situation where ultimately it is not possible to fulfill his task, since if he were to eat the only cluster he was hired to harvest there would be nothing left for him to do, one might say that he may not eat. Therefore, both halakhot are necessary.

The Gemara returns to the dispute of the mishna: If you wish, say that the practical difference between the opinions of the first tanna and the Rabbis concerns a halakha taught by Rav. As Rav says: I found a concealed scroll, a document that lists halakhot in shortened form so that they will not be forgotten. Rav discovered this document in Rabbi Ḥiyya’s house, and it was written in it: Isi ben Yehuda says that with regard to the verse: “When you come into your neighbor’s vineyard then you may eat grapes until you have enough at your own pleasure” (Deuteronomy 23:25), the verse is speaking of the entry of any person who passes alongside a vineyard, not only a laborer.

And Rav said in response: Isi has not left any livelihood for any entity, as many people might pass by and consume all the fruit of one’s vineyard. The first tanna agrees with Rav, while the Rabbis accept Isi ben Yehuda’s opinion that by right even one who is not a laborer may eat.

Rav Ashi said: I stated this halakha before Rav Kahana, and I suggested that perhaps Isi ben Yehuda was referring to laborers who perform labor for their meal; that is, they voluntarily enter his vineyard to perform labor and eat. In other words, Isi ben Yehuda did not mean that anyone may help themselves to produce. Rather, if one chooses to perform labor in the vineyard of another, he may eat from his grapes even if he was not hired by the owner. Rav Kahana said to me: Even so, a person prefers to hire laborers to pluck the fruit of his orchard, rather than have everyone come and eat it, as he fears that people he did not hire might not perform the work properly.

§ A dilemma was raised before the Sages: In the case of a laborer who eats while performing labor, does he eat from his own property, i.e., is the food he eats in addition to his wages and therefore considered his private property, or does he eat from the property of Heaven? In other words, perhaps the Torah granted him the right to eat the food with which he works as a special privilege, but it does not belong to him.

The Gemara asks: What is the practical difference raised by this dilemma? The Gemara answers: The difference is in a case where he says: I myself will not eat, but I will give the produce to my wife and children in my stead. If you say that he eats from his own property, we give them the food, as it belongs to him, but if you say that he eats from the property of Heaven, the Merciful One entitles the laborer himself to eat, but the Merciful One does not entitle his wife and children to do so. What, then, is the halakha?

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear a proof from the mishna: A laborer may eat cucumbers, and this is the halakha even if the amount he eats is equal in value to a dinar; or he may eat dates, and this is the halakha even if the amount he eats is equal in value to a dinar. If you say that he eats from his own property, is it possible that he was hired for one-sixth of a dinar and yet he may eat an amount worth a whole dinar? Would the Torah have granted him ownership over such a large sum relative to his wages? The Gemara refutes this argument: Rather, what then will you say? Will you say that he eats from the property of Heaven? Ultimately, in that case too he was hired for one-sixth of a dinar and yet in practice he may eat an amount worth a dinar. Rather, what have you to say? That the Merciful One entitles him to eat more than his wages. Here too, one can likewise say that the Merciful One entitles him to possess more than his wages.

The Gemara offers another suggestion: Come and hear a proof from another statement from the mishna: Rabbi Elazar Ḥisma says: A laborer may not eat more than the value of his wages, but the Rabbis permit it. What, is it not the case that they disagree with regard to this: That one Sage, Rabbi Elazar Ḥisma, holds that he eats from his own property, and therefore he may not eat an amount worth more than he earns, and one Sage, the Rabbis, holds that he eats from the property of Heaven?

The Gemara rejects this suggestion: No; it is possible that everyone agrees that he eats from his own property, and here they disagree with regard to the meaning of a term in the verse: “When you come into your neighbor’s vineyard, then you may eat grapes until you have enough at your own pleasure [kenafshekha]” (Deuteronomy 23:25). One Sage, Rabbi Elazar, holds that “at your own pleasure [kenafshekha],” which literally means: In accordance with your soul, is referring to a matter for which he hands over his soul, i.e., the laborer acquires the fruit by virtue of the risks he accepts upon himself as part of his work.

And one Sage, the Rabbis, holds that the term kenafshekha means: Like your own person. Just as with regard to your own person, i.e., the owner, if you muzzled yourself, you are exempt, as you yourself do not have to eat, so too, with regard to a laborer, if you muzzled him, i.e., you did not allow him to eat, you are exempt. This indicates that there are cases in which a worker is not entitled to eat.

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear a proof from a baraita: If a nazirite who is working in a vineyard says: Give the grapes to my wife and my children, as he is prohibited from eating them himself, they do not listen to him. But if you say that a laborer eats from his own property, why should they not listen to him? The Gemara answers: There, the reason is different, due to the well-known proverb concerning a nazirite: Go, go, we say to a nazirite, go round, go round; do not approach a vineyard. It is prohibited for a nazirite to eat any of the products of the vine. To keep a nazirite away from temptation, the Sages attempt to deter him from accepting work in a vineyard by not allowing him to give the fruit to his family. Consequently, this halakha is due to the concern about a possible transgression and has nothing to do with the rights of a laborer.

Come and hear a proof from a baraita: With regard to a laborer who said: Give the produce to my wife and my children, they do not listen to him. But if you say that he eats from his own property, why should they not listen to him? The Gemara refutes this argument: In this particular context, what is the meaning of a laborer? It means a nazirite laborer. The Gemara questions this response: But isn’t it taught in one baraita concerning the case of a nazirite, and isn’t it taught in another baraita concerning the case of a laborer? Apparently, these are two different halakhot. The Gemara rejects this suggestion: Were these baraitot taught alongside one another, such that one can deduce a halakha from the change in wording? These are two separate baraitot, and therefore no inference can be drawn from the difference in terminology, and both may be referring to a nazirite laborer.

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear proof from another baraita: From where is it derived with regard to a laborer who said: Give the produce to my wife and my children, that they do not listen to him? As it is stated: “But you shall not put any in your vessel” (Deuteronomy 23:25). And if you would say that so too, this is referring to a nazirite, if so, the reason is not due to the verse: “But you shall not put any in your vessel”; rather, it is due to the principle: Go, go, we say to a nazirite, do not approach a vineyard.

The Gemara refutes this proof: Yes, it is indeed so. This baraita is discussing a nazirite, and since it teaches the halakha by utilizing the language of a laborer, without specifying that he is a nazirite, it cites the verse that is stated with regard to a laborer. In fact, the actual source for the halakha is a decree due to naziriteship, while the practice is permitted to any other laborer.

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear a proof from a mishna (Ma’asrot 2:7): With regard to one who hires a laborer to prepare figs for drying,

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
אדם סלומון
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