1) WINE OF LOW QUALITY
OPINIONS: The Mishnah (93b) states that when a person buys a cellar of wine, he accepts that there will be up to ten barrels of inferior quality. The Gemara questions the Mishnah's ruling from a Beraisa which says that when a seller specifies that he is selling "this cellar of wine," he is permitted to give the buyer wine of low quality, which the Gemara calls "wine that is fit to be sold in a store."
What are the characteristics of wine that is considered low quality?
(a) TOSFOS (DH Nosen) explains that the Beraisa refers to wine that smells like vinegar but tastes like wine. This is the implication of the discussion of the Beraisa in the Gemara later (96a).
Tosfos asks, however, that this explanation is not consistent with the Gemara in Avodah Zarah (66b). The Gemara there discusses the definitions of "Min b'Mino" (a mixture of a forbidden item of a certain type with a permitted item of the same type) and "Min b'She'eino Mino" (a mixture of a forbidden item of a certain type with a permitted item of a different type). The Gemara there asks, what is the Halachic status of a liquid that smells like vinegar but tastes like wine? Abaye says that it is considered vinegar, while Rava says that it is wine. Tosfos asks that according to Abaye, the Beraisa here is difficult to understand; everyone agrees that the person sold wine, not something which has the Halachic status of vinegar. Tosfos quotes the RI who answers that although it is called "vinegar," it is still considered wine. The RITVA explains that it is still considered wine in business terminology.
Tosfos quotes the RASHBA who has difficulty with this answer. The Gemara in Avodah Zarah (66a) specifically discusses a case of wine that fell into vinegar. Abaye says that since wine which falls into a pitcher of vinegar is automatically classified as vinegar even before it hits the vinegar (because it has already started to smell like vinegar), the mixture is classified as "Min b'Mino" and is Asur b'Mashehu (even one drop of forbidden wine forbids the entire mixture). Rava argues that the wine which fell into the vessel of vinegar is considered wine, and therefore the mixture is judged as a case of "Min b'She'eino Mino," which is Asur b'Nosen Tam (the mixture is forbidden only if the forbidden item gives taste to the mixture).
The Rashba asks that if the Ri is correct that even according to Abaye the mixture is partially considered wine (with regard to its blessing, and what people call it) and partially vinegar (and it is a different Min from wine), why does the Gemara in Avodah Zarah say that Rava and Abaye argue about what exactly the mixture is called? The Gemara should explain instead that everyone agrees that the mixture is called vinegar, and they argue about something else. The Gemara earlier in Avodah Zarah (66a) explains that there is a basic disagreement between Rava and Abaye about whether a Min is determined by its name ("wine," even if two things called "wine" are very different), or whether a Min is determined by its taste (two things with different names may have the same taste and thus are considered a single Min). According to Abaye, the taste of the wine is the most important characteristic in determining its "type." According to Rava, the categorization (name) of the item is the most important factor in determining its "type." The Gemara here should say that because the smell of the wine gives it a vinegar taste, according to Abaye (see RITVA to Avodah Zarah 66a), the mixture is considered "Min b'Mino," and according to Rava it is "Min b'She'eino Mino" because people still call the wine "wine." Why does the Gemara need to say that they argue about what the mixture is called? Tosfos does not answer this question. (Y. MONTROSE)
2) WHAT IS A "TAVSHIL SHE'NISHTANEH TZURASO"?
OPINIONS: The Gemara records a Beraisa which says that for a "Tavshil she'Avrah Tzuraso" -- a "cooked dish whose form has passed," one does not recite the usual blessing for the cooked dish, but rather the blessing of "Shehakol." What is the definition of "a cooked dish whose form has passed"?
(a) The RASHBAM (DH she'Avrah) writes that this refers to a dish that has gone sour or bad. The MAGEN AVRAHAM and TAZ (OC 204:1-2) explain that this means that the cooked food became slightly spoiled. If it went totally bad, one does not recite a blessing on it at all.
(b) The RASH in Shevi'is (8:2) says in the name of the Yerushalmi that this refers to a cooked food that has been left overnight, which makes it inedible. This opinion is quoted by the DA'AS TORAH (OC 204:1).
RAV SHALOM SCHWADRON zt'l, in his notes to his grandfather's Sefer, DA'AS TORAH, asks that this opinion is perplexing. There is no known custom to recite "Shehakol" over food which was left overnight. Moreover, people do not refrain from eating something just because it was cooked the day before. It seems odd to call such a cooked dish inedible. Why is the fact that it was left overnight reason to downgrade its blessing to "Shehakol"?
Rav Shalom notes that he found further reference to this opinion in his grandfather's notes to the Yerushalmi, where he quotes a RASHASH in Berachos (40b). The Rashash suggests basis for defining "Avrah Tzuraso" as cooked food left overnight. The phrase, "Avrah Tzuraso," is used commonly with regard to Kodshim. When an item of Kodshim is questionably Pasul, it must be left overnight to become definitely Pasul, and then it may be burned (see Chagigah 22b). However, the Rashash notes that the Rashbam here gives a different definition, and that his definition is the one used by the SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 204:1). He therefore retracts his opinion.
After a lengthy inquiry, Rav Shalom concludes that the Rash himself clearly does not mean that such food is not fit for human consumption, but rather that it is no longer as good as regular food.
Since most commentaries do not bring his explanation, it seems that in practice one may recite the original blessing on a food which tastes good, even after it has been left overnight. (See Rav Shalom's notes at length regarding how this argument impacts the law of Shemitah.) (Y. MONTROSE)