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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Bechoros 17



(a) When Rav Oshaya arrived from Neherda’a, and cited a Beraisa ‘Rachel bas Eiz, ve’Eiz bas Rachel, Rebbi Meir Mechayev, va’Chachamim Potrim’, he asked Rabah to enquire from Rav Huna what the Beraisa is referring to. The Tana cannot be referring to the Din of ...
1. ... Bechorah – because Rebbi Meir would not dispute the D’rashah from ” Ach Bechor Shor”, that the baby must resemble its mother.
2. ... Reishis ha’Gez - because Tana de’Bei Rebbi Yishmael learns from the Pasuk “ve’Geiz Kevasai Yischamam” – that hard wool is not called ‘Gez’ (and the wool of a goat whose mother is a sheep is hard (so how can Rebbi Meir declare it Chayav)?
(b) He replied that the Beraisa was referring to Oso ve’es B’no – the Tana is speaking when the father is a goat, and they are arguing over whether ‘Oso ve’es B’no’ pertains to the father as well as to the mother (Rebbi Meir) or not (the Rabbanan).

(c) The problem with this is – why they do not then argue by a regular case of a goat whose mother and father are goats, and where he Shechted the father and the baby on the same day (like Chananyah and the Rabbanan in Chulin)?

(a) So we establish that they are arguing over the Bechorah, in one of two possible cases. Assuming that the Beraisa is speaking where the lamb resembles its ...
1. ... mother, but not its grandmother, Rebbi Meir holds – that since the baby resembles its mother, it is not a Nidmeh, whilst the Rabbanan hold that since it does not resemble its grandmother, it is.
2. ... grandmother and not its mother, Rebbi Meir holds – that its original status has returned, whereas according to the Rabbanan, the baby’s status is gauged by its mother, not by its grandmother (so it is a Nidmeh).
(b) In this latter case, ‘Rachel bas Eiz, ve’Eiz bas Rachel” – is really one case, and not two. It is a lamb, whose mother is a goat, but whose grandmother is a sheep.

(c) When the Tana talks about a ‘Rachel bas Eiz’ – he is referring to the species of Rachel (but to a male of that species, since a female animal would not be subject to the Bechorah).

(d) Rav Ashi establishes the case where the baby resembles its mother in one or two points, in which case, the Chachamim must be Rebbi Shimon – who exempts a Nidmeh from the Bechorah, unless it is ‘Rosho ve’Rubo’ like its mother (as we learned in the first Perek).

(a) According to Rebbi Yochanan, Rebbi Meir concedes that the Se’ir Chatas of Rosh Chodesh – must be a Sa’ir bas Sa’ir bas Sa’ir... going back to the creation.

(b) And he learns this from the Pasuk “u’Se’ir Izim Echad” – since that is what “Echad” (which is otherwise superfluous) implies. As a matter of fact, this applies to the Se’irei ha’Regalim as well, by all of which the Torah writes “Echad” (only the Sa’ir Rosh Chodesh happens to be the first one).

(c) From the Pasuk “Shor O Kesev” we preclude Kil’ayim from the realm of Korbanos, and from “O Eiz” – Nidmeh.

(d) We need two Pesukim to preclude Nidmeh. Despite having learned it from ...

1. ... “Shor O Kesev”, we nevertheless need “u’Se’ir Izim Echad” to teach us - that it is not sufficient for it to resemble its mother (which in other areas of Halachah, will suffice to take it out of the category of ‘Nidmeh’), but that it must resemble its grandmother ... (back to the creation) as well.
2. ... “u’Se’ir Izim Echad”, we need “Shor O Kesev” to teach us – that Nidmeh is also Pasul by Korban Nedavah, and not only by Korban Chovah. Note, that we only have Pesukim for the Se’irei Chatas of the Mo’adim and Korbenos Nedavah. It is not clear why the Sugya ignores other Korbenos Chovah, such as Olos and Ashamos.
(a) In connection with the wool of a Nidmeh ...
1. ... Rav Acha bar Ya’akov learns from the Pasuk “Lo Silbash Sha’atnez, Tzemer u’Fishtim Yachdav” – that the wool of a Nidmeh is not subject to Sha’ atnez (‘Mah Pishtim she’Lo Nishtaneh, Af Tzemer she’Lo Nishtaneh’).
2. ... Rav Papa learns from the Pasuk “Lo Silbash Sha’atnez ... Gedilim Ta’ aseh Lach” - that just as the wool of a Nidmeh is not subject to Sha’atnez, so too, is it not eligible to be used for Techeiles (which must be wool).
3. ... Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak learns from the Pasuk “be’Veged Tzemer O be’ Veged Pishtim” – that it is not subject to Tum’as Nega’im, either.
(b) In similar vein, Rav Ashi, based on the Pasuk “*Zevach u’Nesachim* D’var Tom be’Yomo” Darshens – that Nesachim, like Zevachim, may not be changed. Consequently, the wine from a vine that one placed on top of a fig-tree, may not be used for Nesachim.

(c) He knows that the Zevachim have not been changed – from the fact that Nidmeh is Pasul, as we just learned.

(a) Ravina queries Rav Ashi from planting flax seeds on top of a bush. The problem from there is – that if this is considered a change, as the latter considers a vine on top of a fig-tree to be, then the various D’rashos comparing wool to linen (which has not changed), make no sense.

(b) Rav Ashi replied that one cannot compare planting flax seeds on top of a bush with planting a vine on top of a fig-tree – since unlike the latter, the smell of the former is not affected by the bush.

(a) Rebbi Yossi ha’Gelili in our Mishnah rules that – if a sheep gives birth for the first time, to twins – the owner must give them both to the Kohen ...

(b) ... because the Torah writes “ha’Zecharim la’Hashem” – implying that sometimes one must give two firstborn animals (from the same mother) to the Kohen.

(c) The Chachamim say – ‘I Efshar Letzamtzem’ (it is impossible for the two heads to have emerged simultaneously), and since one of them must have been born first, the Kohen can only claim one.

(d) According to Rebbi Tarfon, the Kohen may pick the stronger of the two. Rebbi Akiva says ‘Meshamnin Beneihen’ (meaning that he may take only the weakest).

(a) According to Rebbi Akiva, the ...
1. ... second twin (that the Yisrael retains) – must be redeemed after it has obtained a blemish (‘Yir’eh’), after which it may be eaten by owner.
2. ... first twin (that the Kohen takes) – must likewise be redeemed (seeing as it too, is a Safek Bechor).
(b) This might speak even in the time when the Beis-Hamikdash is standing. Still, the Kohen cannot bring it directly on the Mizbe’ach – in case it is Chulin, and it is forbidden to bring Chulin into the Azarah (let alone on the Mizbe’ach).

(c) Nevertheless, the Tana refers specifically to the second one – because he wants to add the Din of Matanos (which we are about to discuss)

(a) The Tana Kama obligates the owner to give the Matanos of the second animal to the Kohen. Rebbi Yossi rules – that he is Patur.

(b) Should one of the two animals die, Rebbi Tarfon rules - that the owner and the Kohen must divide the remaining one – because he now holds that the Kohen owns half of each animal, as we will explain later.

(c) Rebbi Akiva holds – ‘ha’Motzi me’Chavero, Alav ha’Re’ayah’.

(d) The Tana finally rules in a case where one baby is a male and the other, a female – that the Kohen receives nothing, since here too, the onus lies on him to prove that the male was born first.




(a) de’Bei Rebbi Yanai commented that if Rebbi Yossi ha’Gelili holds ‘Efshar Letzamtzem bi’Yedei Shamayim’, then he certainly holds ‘Efshar Letzamtzem’ bi’Yedei Adam – because the person concerned makes a conscious effort to divide it equally, there is more chance that he will succeed than if something just happens ‘by chance’.

(b) They now ask – whether the Rabbanan, who hold ‘I Efshar Letzamtzem bi’ Yedei Shamayim’, will perhaps agree with Rebbi Yossi ha’Gelili, regarding ‘bi’Yedei Adam’.

(c) We try to resolve the She’eilah from the Chut ha’Sikra – which divided the Mizbe’ach in two, to distinguish between the blood that was sprinkled on the top half, and the blood that was sprinkled on the lower half. The problem if they made a mistake in measuring its location was – that it could well result in the blood being sprinkled in the wrong location and the Korban being Pasul, a proof that ‘Efshar Letzamtzem’.

(d) We refute the proof however – by suggesting that the Chut ha’Sikra may well have been fairly wide, thereby allowing for a small margin of error, since it was only above the thread and below it that was eligible for sprinkling.

(a) We refute the proof from the Mizbe’ach and the other Keilim in the Beis-Hamikdash, which had to conform with exact specifications – by suggesting that even if they did err it wouldn’t matter, since the Torah only expected them to build the Keilim according to the best of their ability (which is why the measurements were said to David verbally, and not given to him in writing).

(b) The criterion for a piece of broken earthenware oven to be Tamei is – that it must comprise the majority of the oven.

(c) The Mishnah in Midos rules that if an oven broke into two ‘equal’ pieces – they are both Tamei, because ‘I Efshar Letzamtzem (even bi’Yedei Adam)’.

(d) Rav Kahana refutes the proof from here that the Rabbanan hold ‘I Efshar Letzamtzem Afilu bi’Yedei Adam’. He maintains that an earthenware oven is different – inasmuch as when one breaks it, it does not break evenly, but each piece contains many jagged edges.

(a) Rebbi Eliezer rules in a Beraisa that if a murdered man is found between two towns at a spot that is equidistant from both of them – they must each bring an Eglah Arufah.

(b) He must hold ‘Efshar Letzamtzem bi’Yedei Adam’ – because if he held ‘I Efshar Letzamtzem’, there would be no reason why the two towns should not bring one calf between them and stipulate that whichever town is the nearest, will be Yotze with this calf.

(c) And he interprets the Pasuk “Vehayah ha’Ir *ha’Kerovah” el he’Chalal” – “K’rovah”, ‘va’Afilu K’rovos’ (when the Torah writes “K’rovah”, it does not mean to preclude two towns).

(d) We refute the proof from here that he holds like the Rabbanan, who clearly then concede that ‘Efshar Letzamtzem bi’Yedei Adam’ – by countering that he might well concur with Rebbi Yossi ha’Gelili, who holds ‘Efshar Letzamtzem’ even bi’Yedei Shamayim. And our She’eilah as to what the Rabbanan hold regarding ‘bi’Yedei Adam’ remains unresolved.

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