בבא מציעא - הפרק הקשה במסכת:



In the case of one who increases tithes, i.e., he tithes two-tenths instead of one-tenth of his produce, the remainder of his produce is rendered fit for consumption, as he tithed it properly, but the tithes are ruined, as the additional tithe is neither a tithe nor tithed produce. Since it is unclear which of the two-tenths is the actual tithe and which is not, the entire two-tenths may be treated neither as a tithe nor as tithed produce. But according to Rabba’s opinion, why is this produce rendered fit for consumption? Let us say that any matters that cannot be accomplished sequentially cannot be accomplished even if one performs them simultaneously. Since one cannot designate a tithe of two-tenths sequentially, one-tenth followed by a second tenth, he should be precluded from simultaneously designating two-tenths of his produce as a tithe. Accordingly, it should be considered as though he had not designated any tithe at all, and his produce should not be regarded as tithed.

Rabba said to him: The case of tithe is different, as tithe status takes effect partially, i.e., on less than a unit of produce. As, if one said: Let half of each grain of wheat be designated as tithe, he has designated it. Just as one can designate an entire grain of wheat as a tithe, he can likewise designate a half a grain. In this case too, when one tithes two-tenths of the produce, the ruling is not that one-tenth is the actual tithe and the other tenth is untithed produce. Instead, half of each grain of the designated portion is tithe, while the other half of each grain is not. Accordingly, the remainder of the produce is tithed, as one-tenth of the total has been designated as first tithe. The portion designated as the tithe is ruined, because it is impossible to identify which part of each grain is designated.

The Gemara raises another objection to Rabba’s opinion: But isn’t there the case of animal tithe, which does not take effect partially, as one cannot consecrate half an animal for his tithe. And likewise there is no possibility to separate animals sequentially, as once one has designated one animal as animal tithe he cannot designate another animal for the same purpose. And Rava says: If two animals emerged from the enclosure together as the tenth, and he called them both the tenth, the tenth and eleventh animals are intermingled with each other. One is consecrated with the sanctity of animal tithe while the other remains a peace-offering, but there is no way to determine which is which. The question arises: If the principle that any matters that cannot be accomplished sequentially cannot be accomplished even if one performs them simultaneously is correct, neither animal is consecrated, as one cannot designate both the tenth and the eleventh animals as animal tithe, one after the other.

The Gemara rejects this: Animal tithe is different, as two animals can be designated as animal tithe one after the other in the case of an error. Although one cannot designate the tenth and eleventh animals as the animal tithe ab initio, if he did so in error they are both consecrated. As we learned in a mishna (Bekhorot 60a): If one erred and called the ninth animal the tenth, and erred again and called the tenth animal the ninth and the eleventh animal the tenth, all three animals are consecrated. The first is consecrated because it was designated as the tenth, the second because it actually is the tenth, and the third because it was designated as the tenth. Apparently, more than one animal can be consecrated as the animal tithe, if designated in error. In Rava’s example as well, a modicum of sanctity applies to the two animals that emerged together and were together designated as the tenth.

The Gemara raises another objection to Rabba’s principle. There is the case of the forty loaves that accompany a thanks-offering, which are not consecrated if they were designated in error, and are also not consecrated if two sets of loaves were designated for the same offering sequentially. And yet it was stated that amora’im disagreed with regard to a thanks-offering that was slaughtered accompanied by eighty loaves, twice the required amount. Ḥizkiyya said: Forty of the eighty loaves are consecrated, even though their identity cannot be determined. And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Not even forty of the eighty loaves are consecrated. It would appear that these amora’im disagree with regard to whether or not sanctity that cannot take effect in sequence can take effect simultaneously.

The Gemara rejects this contention: Wasn’t it stated with regard to this dispute that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: All, both Ḥizkiyya and Rabbi Yoḥanan, concede that anywhere that the one bringing the thanks-offering said: Let forty of the eighty loaves be consecrated, the forty are consecrated; and in a case where he said: Forty loaves should not be consecrated unless all eighty are consecrated, everyone agrees that they are not consecrated.

They disagree only with regard to a case where the one bringing the thanks-offering designates eighty loaves without specification of how many loaves he wants consecrated. One Sage, Ḥizkiyya, holds: Although he designated eighty loaves, he wants to consecrate only forty, and when he sets aside eighty loaves, he merely intends to ensure that he will have forty. He therefore brought the extra loaves so that if the first forty loaves are lost or become ritually impure the second forty will be consecrated in their place. Consequently, the first forty loaves are consecrated. And one Sage, Rabbi Yoḥanan, holds: He intends to bring a large offering of eighty loaves, and therefore none of the loaves are consecrated. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi’s explanation of the dispute accords with Rabba’s opinion.

The Gemara turns from its analysis of Rabba’s opinion to the original issue: And why does Rava explain the mishna in accordance with the opinion of Rabba? Let him derive the halakha in accordance with a principle of his own, as elsewhere (9a) he establishes that betrothal that is not given to consummation is not betrothal at all, and all of these cases are in this category. Any betrothal in which it is prohibited for the couple to engage in sexual intercourse is not considered betrothal at all. Following this principle, the ruling of the mishna can be explained as follows: Since both women would be forbidden to the man in the event that they were both betrothed to him, as each would be the relative of his betrothed, the betrothals are not given to consummation. Therefore, they do not take effect at all.

The Gemara answers: Rava could have explained the mishna this way, but he stated his explanation in accordance with the statement of Rami bar Ḥama. Rava should be understood as saying: Your opinion that the ruling of the mishna is derived from a verse is incorrect, as the verse is referring only to one who betroths the two sisters or the mother and daughter sequentially. Instead, you should explain the mishna as referring to one who betroths them at the same time, with the reason being that any matters that cannot be accomplished sequentially cannot be accomplished even if one performs them simultaneously.

§ It was stated that amora’im had a dispute: With regard to betrothal that is not given to consummation, Abaye says it is betrothal, since the prohibition against engaging in sexual intercourse does not affect the betrothal itself. Rava says: It is not betrothal. Rava says: The Sage bar Ahina explained to me that this halakha is derived from the verse: “When a man takes a woman and engages in sexual intercourse with her” (Deuteronomy 24:1), as it indicates that betrothal that is given to permitted consummation is betrothal, whereas betrothal that is not given to consummation is not betrothal.

The Gemara proceeds to analyze these two opinions. We learned in the mishna: In the case of one who betroths a woman and her daughter or a woman and her sister in one act of betrothal neither of them is betrothed. The Gemara analyzes this: But if he said he is betrothing only one of this pair, i.e., the woman or her daughter, or one of that pair, i.e., the woman or her sister, without specifying which of them, she is betrothed. Nevertheless, in practice it is prohibited for him to engage in intercourse with either of them, as it cannot be determined which woman he betrothed and which woman is the relative of his betrothed. But why should the betrothal take effect? These are each a betrothal that is not given to consummation, and should not be valid according to Rava. Shall we say this is a conclusive refutation to the opinion of Rava?

The Gemara answers: Rava could have said to you in response: And according to your reasoning that a betrothal that is not given to consummation is still betrothal, say the latter clause of the mishna: An incident occurred involving five women, and among them were two sisters. And one man gathered a basket of figs that were from their field, and the fruit was of the Sabbatical Year. And he said: You are hereby all betrothed to me with this basket, and one of them accepted it on behalf of all of them. And the Sages said: The sisters are not betrothed. This indicates that it is the sisters who are not betrothed, but the unrelated women, the other three women who are not related to each other, are betrothed.

The Gemara continues to explain what Rava could have said. What are the circumstances? If we say that he said: You are all betrothed to me, this is comparable to one who gives something to another and says: Let you and the donkey acquire this item. And in a situation where someone would say: Let you and the donkey acquire it, the recipient has not acquired the item. Since the donkey cannot acquire items the person does not acquire it either, because the owner linked the two acquisitions. Here too, since he tried to give the item of the betrothal to all of the women, some of whom, the sisters, he cannot betroth together, the betrothal should not take effect even with the other women despite the fact that they are suitable for him.

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)
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