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Steinsaltz

But they do not count from Shabbat, as there is no significance to the day of the week on which the tree was planted, and consequently no one remembers that the tree was planted on Shabbat.

Alternatively, the difference between Shabbat and the Sabbatical Year can be explained as follows: Jews are suspected of desecrating the Sabbatical Year, but they are not suspected of desecrating Shabbat. Therefore, Rabbi Meir imposes a penalty for the unintentional desecration of the Sabbatical Year, but he imposes no such penalty for the unintentional desecration of Shabbat.

The Gemara asks: What is the point of Rabbi Meir adding the second reason, introduced with the term alternatively? The Gemara answers: This is what Rabbi Meir is saying: And if you would say to contest the first reason: Jews also count from Shabbat, and unless the tree is uprooted, people will remember that it was planted on Shabbat, as at times the thirtieth day before Rosh HaShana falls on Shabbat. As, if he planted the tree on that day, the time from when he planted it counts for him as a full year with regard to the prohibition of fruit that grows during the first three years after the tree was planted. And if he did not plant it on that Shabbat, but rather on the next day, the twenty-ninth day before Rosh HaShana, it does not count for him as a full year. In such a case people will remember that the tree was planted on Shabbat, and they might come to think that planting a tree on Shabbat is permitted.

Consequently, Rabbi Meir adds: Come and hear that alternatively, the difference between Shabbat and the Sabbatical Year can be explained as follows: Jews are suspected of desecrating the Sabbatical Year, but they are not suspected of desecrating Shabbat. Therefore, Rabbi Meir imposes a penalty for the unintentional desecration of the Sabbatical Year, but not for the unintentional desecration of Shabbat.

The Gemara continues: And there is also no contradiction between one statement of Rabbi Yehuda with regard to the Sabbatical Year and the other statement of Rabbi Yehuda with regard to Shabbat. This is because in Rabbi Yehuda’s place the prohibition against desecrating the Sabbatical Year was regarded by them as a most serious one, and therefore there was no need to impose a penalty for its unintentional desecration, although it is a Torah law.

The Gemara adduces proof that this is true: It once happened that there was a certain person who said to another to insult him: Convert [dayyar], son of a convert. In anger the second person said to the first in response: At least I don’t eat produce of the Sabbatical Year as you do. This indicates that the Sabbatical Year was treated in that place as a very serious prohibition; therefore, Rabbi Yehuda deemed it unnecessary to impose a penalty for its unintentional desecration.

The Gemara proceeds to discuss another apparent contradiction between rulings of Rabbi Meir with regard to penalties imposed for the unintentional transgression of a rabbinic law: Come and hear what was taught in a baraita (Tosefta, Terumot 7:7): If one partook of teruma,which is the property of a priest, and it was ritually impure, he pays restitution with ritually pure, non-sacred produce. What is the halakha if he paid restitution with ritually impure, non-sacred produce? Sumakhos said in the name of Rabbi Meir: If he paid restitution with ritually impure, non-sacred produce unintentionally, his payment is valid. But if he did so intentionally, his payment is not valid. And the Rabbis say: Although both in this case and in that case his payment is valid, the Sages imposed a penalty and said that he returns and pays restitution a second time with ritually pure, non-sacred produce.

And we discussed the following question concerning the opinion of Rabbi Meir: In the case where he paid restitution with ritually impure, non-sacred produce intentionally, why is his payment not valid? On the contrary, blessing should come upon him, as he partook of something that is not fit for the priest to partake of even during the days of his impurity, since it is prohibited for a priest to partake of impure teruma, whether he himself is pure or impure, and he pays restitution to him with something, i.e., impure, non-sacred produce, which is at least fit for him to partake of during the days of his impurity.

And Rava said, and some say it is unattributed: The baraita is incomplete and this is what it is teaching: If one partook of ritually impure teruma, he can pay restitution with anything, even impure, non-sacred produce. If he partook of ritually pure teruma, he pays restitution with ritually pure, non-sacred produce. The baraita continues: What is the halakha if he paid restitution for ritually pure teruma with ritually impure, non-sacred produce? There is a tannaitic dispute about this. Sumakhos said in the name of Rabbi Meir: If he paid restitution with ritually impure, non-sacred produce unintentionally, his payment is valid. But if he did so intentionally, his payment is not valid. And the Rabbis say: Both in this case and in that case, his payment is valid, but the Sages imposed a penalty and said that he returns and pays restitution a second time with ritually pure, non-sacred produce.

And Rav Aḥa, son of Rav Ika, said: Here, the practical difference between Rabbi Meir and the Rabbis relates to the question of whether or not the Sages penalized an unintentional offender due to an intentional offender. Rabbi Meir holds that they did not penalize an unintentional offender due to an intentional offender, and the Rabbis say that they penalized him. Consequently, Rabbi Meir does not impose a penalty for an unintentional transgression of a rabbinic law, as by Torah law one can pay restitution to a priest with anything if he partakes of teruma. This contradicts what was stated previously, that in the case of a violation of rabbinic law, Rabbi Meir imposes a penalty even for an unintentional offense.

The Gemara answers: How can these cases be compared? There, the man intends to pay; should we arise and penalize him? It is specifically with regard to this case that Rabbi Meir holds that no penalty is imposed, as his mistake was made in the course of performing a laudatory action. By contrast, in cases where one rendered another’s produce impure and the like, there is a penalty, as the mistake was made while performing an action he should not have been performing.

The Gemara tries to bring proof concerning the previously stated opinion of Rabbi Meir that a penalty is imposed in a case of an unintentional transgression of a rabbinical law: Come and hear what was taught in a baraita: In the case of blood of an offering that became impure and a priest sprinkled it on the altar, if he did so unintentionally, the offering is accepted and achieves atonement for the owner of the offering. If he sprinkled the blood intentionally, the offering is not accepted. In any event, the tanna of this baraita did not penalize the unintentional offender due to an intentional offender, and this sprinkling of blood is prohibited by rabbinic law.

The Gemara answers: Rabbi Meir could have said to you: How can these cases be compared? There, the person intends to do a mitzva and atone; should we arise and penalize him? Here too, the mistake was made while performing a laudatory act. In such a case, even Rabbi Meir agrees that that an unintentional offender is not penalized due to an intentional offender.

The Gemara attempts to adduce further proof: Come and hear what was taught in a mishna (Terumot 2:3): With regard to one who tithes produce on Shabbat, which is prohibited by rabbinic law because it appears as though he were repairing an article that requires repair, if he did this unintentionally, he may consume the produce, as it has been tithed and rendered fit for consumption. But if he did this intentionally, he may not consume it. Apparently, the Sages did not penalize the unintentional offender due to an intentional offender, although tithing produce on Shabbat is prohibited by rabbinic law. The Gemara answers: How can these cases be compared? There, the man intends to do a worthy deed and repair the produce by tithing it; should we arise and penalize him? As above, Rabbi Meir would agree that in such a case the unintentional offender is not penalized.

The Gemara brings yet another proof: Come and hear what was taught in that same mishna (Terumot 2:3): With regard to one who immerses utensils in a ritual bath on Shabbat, which is also prohibited by the Sages because it appears as if he were repairing an article that requires repair, if he immerses them unintentionally, he may use them. But if he immerses them intentionally, he may not use them. Here too the Sages did not penalize the unintentional offender due to an intentional offender. The Gemara answers as before: How can these cases be compared? There, the man intends to do a praiseworthy act and purify the utensils; should we arise and penalize him? The same distinction stated previously applies in this mishna as well.

The Gemara discusses the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda: And they raised a contradiction between one statement of Rabbi Yehuda and another statement of Rabbi Yehuda with regard to matters that are prohibited only by rabbinic law. As it is taught in a baraita:

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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