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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Bechoros 29



(a) Our Mishnah negates the ruling of a Chacham who takes payment for permitting the blemish of a Bechor - because we suspect him of permitting the blemish only for the money.

(b) His ruling will nevertheless be valid - if he is of the caliber of the pious Ila of Yavneh, whose integrity was beyond reproach

(c) Ila used to take four Isros (an Isar is a small coin) for examining a Beheimah Dakah - six for a Beheimah Gasah ...

(d) ... even if the Beheimah turned out to be a Tam.

(a) Ila took more for inspecting a Beheimah Gasah than for a Beheimah Dakah - because it requires more effort to throw it to the ground and to truss it up prior to the examination.

(b) Ila took the same payment for a Tam as for a Ba'al-Mum - so that people should not accuse him of permitting a Tam in order to receive payment (this implies that anybody else is forbidden to accept remuneration even under these circumstances [see Tif'eres Yisrael]).

(c) We are not afraid however, that whenever he ruled that it was a Tam, it would be having in mind to charge him again the next time the Bechor obtained a blemish - because even someone like Ila they only permitted to receive payment the first time it obtains a blemish, but not after that?

(a) The Tana rules that if a Dayan accepts payment for his rulings, or of a witness in order to testify - their respective ruling and testimony are invalid.

(b) Similarly, the Tana rules that someone who takes money in order to sprinkle the Mei Parah Adumah, his water is Mei Me'arah (cave-water), and someone who takes money in order to mix the ashes of the Parah Adumah - his ashes are 'Eifer Makleh' (burnt ashes [meaning S'tam ashes]).

(c) The Tana obligates the litigant to feed the Dayan (or the inspector of Bechoros ... ), give him to drink and anoint him - if he is a Kohen who is forced to become Tamei in the process (as we will explain shortly) ...

(d) ... to compensate the loss - that is incurred because he is now obligated to purchase Chulin, which is more expensive than Terumah (since it can be eaten by anybody, unlike Terumah, which is cheap because it can only be eaten by Kohanim).

(a) The Mishnah rules that if the examiner, the Dayan or the witness ...
1. ... is old - then one rents him a donkey.
2. ... who has to stop working and who therefore loses money by examining the Bechor, judging, testifying ... - then one compensates him like a Po'el Bateil (which we will explain shortly).
(b) We learn from the Pasuk ...
1. ... "Re'ei Limadti Eschem Chukim u'Mishpatim Ka'asher Tzivani Hashem Elokai" - that we should take our cue from Moshe, who taught Yisrael Torah free of charge, just as Hashem taught him free of charge (see Tosfos DH 'Mah Ani be'Chinam'), and the same applies to issuing rulings (see Cheishek Shlomoh on Rashi).
2. ... "Emes K'nei" - that if for whatever reason, teaching is not available without charge, one should be willing to pay in order to acquire Torah; but even if one did ...
3. ... "ve'Al Timkor" - it does not mean than one is entitled to recoup one's losses from one's own subsequent Talmidim, but the obligation to teach free of charge applies to him too.
(a) The Beraisa rules that if someone (even a Yisrael) betroths a woman with 'Mei Chatas' or with 'Eifer Chatas' - his Kidushin is effective.

(b) Abaye resolves the apparent discrepancy with our Mishnah, which disqualifies Kidush and Haza'ah for which one accepted payment - by differentiating between the actual Kidush (the mixing) and the Haza'ah ([our Mishnah] which are actually Mitzvos, and filling the water and bringing the ashes ([the Beraisa] which are not).

(c) And we extrapolate this - from the fact that the Beraisa changes from the Lashon 'Lehazos u'Lekadesh' used in our Mishnah, to 'Miluy ve'Hava'ah'.

(a) Our Mishnah discusses a Kohen becoming Tamei on his way to judge or to testify ... . The problem with that is - how to justify the Kohen contravening the La'av of "le'Nefesh Lo Yitama be'Amav" (Emor)?

(b) We answer that the Tana is talking about a Beis ha'Peras - a field where a grave was plowed up, and the bones strewn across it.

(c) According to Rav Yehudah Amar Rav, a Kohen is permitted to cross such a field - provided a. he is on his way to bring the Korban Pesach or to perform another Mitzvah (such as those listed in our Mishnah), and b. he blows away any small bones in his path (the big ones he can see easily and avoid). Bones that are larger than a barley are Metamei be'Maga and be'Masa, but not be'Ohel.

(d) The Chachamim allowed him to cross the field in this manner to bring a Mitzvah, as we just explained - but they did not permit him to eat Terumah, even after having done so.

(a) Rav Yehudah bar Ami in the name of Rav Yehudah rules that a Beis ha'Peras that has been well-trampled, becomes Tahor - which explains why the Chachamim are so lenient regarding the Kohanim passing through it, and do not show more concern regarding Tum'as Ohel.

(b) Alternatively (to avoid having to establish the Mishnah by a Beis ha'Peras) - we establish our Mishnah by other Tum'os (such as Neveilah or Sheretz), which are not forbidden to a Kohen.

(c) Our Mishnah permits someone who loses work on account of his ruling ... to get paid ke'Po'el Bateil, which Abaye explains to mean - 'ke'Po'el Bateil shel Osah Melachah', meaning that it depends on the work that he is losing as to how much he gets paid.

(d) This is assessed using two criteria 1. the type of work, and 2. the man's income. For example, a diamond-cutter, whose work is relatively light but who earns well, may accept only a twenty-five percent reduction to leave his job to go and examine a Bechor ... ; a carpenter on the other hand, whose income is less, but who works harder, might be happy to accept a seventy-five percent drop in salary to do the same.




(a) Our Mishnah forbids the purchase of venison from a Kohen who is suspect - of blemishing the Bechor himself.

(b) One may not purchase venison from him - because the meat resembles that of a calf, and we are therefore afraid that he will sell the meat of an unblemished calf, claiming that it is the meat of a deer.

(c) Neither may one purchase from him - un-tanned skins.

(d) Rebbi Eleizer permits the purchase of female skins - which are easily distinguishable from the male ones.

(a) The Tana also forbids buying from him bleached wool or Tzo'i - which means unbleached skins.

(b) The three commodities that the Tana permits purchasing from him are - spun wool, woven cloth and finished clothes.

(c) He precludes tanned skins from the prohibition - because knowing that the Chachamim might catch him and bury them, he will not go to the trouble of tanning them.

(d) Rebbi Eliezer permits the purchase of the skins of female animals because they are recognizable. The Chachamim argue - that the Kohen will cut away the Zachrus of the Bechor and say that it is the skin of a female and that mice ate away some of the womb.

(e) Even though spun wool is included in the prohibition, the Tana finds it necessary to mention clothes - because he is speaking about furs, that are not spun.

(a) Our Mishnah forbids purchasing flax from someone who is suspect on transgressing Shevi'is -either by sowing or by doing business with wild seeds that grew on their own.

(b) The prohibition - incorporates even combed flax (which entails less work than tanning skins).

(c) The Tana adds that one is permitted to purchase from him spun and woven flax (for the same reason as tanned skins). The problem with that is - that if spun flax is permitted, then woven flax (which has already been spun) certainly is.

(d) And we solve it - by establishing woven flax as 'Tichi' (which means 'plaited'), which is not previously spun.

(a) Rebbi Yehudah in our Mishnah forbids the purchase of even water and salt from someone who is suspect on selling Terumah as Chulin - in the form of a K'nas (a penalty).

(b) Rebbi Shimon - confines the prohibition to whatever is subject to Terumos and Ma'asros.

(c) When Rebbi Shimon says 'Kol she'Yesh Bo Zikas Terumah ... ", he means to include (with the word 'Kol') - even the innards of fish that contain olive oil (even though the oil is only secondary to the innards).

(a) A certain butcher used to sell Tarba de'Atma as entrails (which are Kasher). 'Tarba de'Atma' is - the Cheilev of the kidneys.

(b) Rava ruled there - that it was forbidden to purchase even nuts from him.

(a) Rav Papa (or Rav Ada bar Ahavah) initially establishes Rava like Rebbi Yehudah in our Mishnah - since nuts are not subject to Terumos and Ma'asros (in Chutz la'Aretz), in which case Rebbi Shimon would not have decreed on them.

(b) The problem he has with that is - that according to Rebbi Yehudah, even water and salt is forbidden (so why did Rava mention nuts).

(c) We therefore establish Rava like Rebbi Shimon, and this case fits the description 'be'Isura Gufa' - because nuts were used to achieve the Isur, as we shall now see.

(d) Rava was suspicious - that the butcher was giving the children of the other butchers (or of the Shochtim) nuts to steal the Cheilev of the Kelayos from the animals that their fathers had Shechted, and give them to him to sell as entrails.

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