1) SEPARATING BITTER CUCUMBERS AS TERUMAH FOR SWEET CUCUMBERS
QUESTION: Rebbi Yosi in the Beraisa states that since the center of a cucumber is more bitter than its outside, when a person separates Terumah (such as at a ratio of one cucumber for every fifty), there is a concern that he may take a bitter part as Terumah for a sweet part. Therefore, there is a requirement to separate an additional amount from the outer part of a cucumber in order to ensure that one part of sweet cucumber has been taken as Terumah for every fifty parts of sweet cucumber that are left behind.
Why is this necessary? In every cucumber, the center is bitter and the outer part is sweet, so it should suffice to take one cucumber as Terumah for every fifty cucumbers. The bitter part of this cucumber will serve as Terumah for the bitter parts of the other fifty cucumbers, while the sweet part of this cucumber will serve as Terumah for the sweet parts of the other fifty. Why does Rebbi Yosi require that an additional amount of sweet cucumber be separated? Why is he concerned that the amount of sweet cucumber left behind will be out of proportion to the amount taken as Terumah?
(a) The RASHBAM explains that Rebbi Yosi is concerned that the bitter part of the cucumber that was taken as Terumah may be greater than the bitter part in the other cucumbers. (Each cucumber may have a different ratio of bitter part to sweet part.) If the bitter part of this cucumber is greater than that of the others, then the amount of sweet cucumber taken as Terumah will not be sufficient to cover the amount of sweet cucumber left behind. Therefore, one must add additional sweet parts to the Terumah.
The TOSFOS HA'ROSH (cited by the Shitah Mekubetzes) rejects this explanation. He explains that the Rashbam's reason is not strong enough grounds to require the separation of additional Terumah. Mid'Oraisa, a person may separate a single kernel of wheat as Terumah for an entire pile of grain and thereby fulfill his obligation of Terumah ("Chitah Achas Poteres Es ha'Kri"). Since the d'Oraisa obligation of Terumah will have been fulfilled even if the bitter part of the Terumah cucumber is larger than its counterpart in the other cucumbers, it would not be necessary to act stringently in a case of doubt about whether a proper one-fiftieth of the grain was separated as Terumah.
(b) TOSFOS and the TOSFOS HA'ROSH explain that Rebbi Yosi made his ruling specifically in a case in which only the cucumbers that were separated as Terumah were found to contain a bitter part, while all the other cucumbers were completely sweet. Rebbi Yosi's statement refers to the Mishnah in Terumos (3:1) which states that if a person separated cucumbers as Terumah and then found that they were bitter, the cucumbers he separated have the status of Terumah but he must separate more cucumbers in order to permit the remaining ones. (This is because of a doubt about when the cucumbers he separated became bitter. If they became bitter after he separated them, then they became Terumah. If they were already bitter at the time he separated them, then they did not become Terumah and the remaining cucumbers remain prohibited.) Rebbi Yosi disagrees with the Mishnah's ruling and maintains that it suffices merely to add from the outer part of other cucumbers in order to reach the appropriate amount for Terumah. Rebbi Yosi's reasoning is that even cucumbers found to be bitter are not bitter on the outside to the extent that they are inedible. They therefore may be separated as Terumah for the other cucumbers (although not in a proportion of one to fifty, and that is why additional cucumbers must be added to the Terumah).
The Tosfos ha'Rosh adds that this approach also explains why Rav Sheshes attempts to use the Beraisa as support for his position in the case of a Kinyan made to a person and to a donkey. Rav Sheshes maintains that when a person makes a Kinyan to two recipients (such as a person and an animal), and one of the recipients (the animal) is not able to be Koneh, the recipient who is able to be Koneh acquires everything; the Kinyan takes effect in its totality for him. Rav Sheshes cites this Beraisa in support of his view, since the Beraisa implies that when a person intends for Terumah to take effect on an entire fruit, but the Terumah cannot take effect on part of the fruit (such as the bitter part), the rest of the Terumah nevertheless takes effect on the good part of the fruit. According to Tosfos and the Tosfos ha'Rosh, the proof of Rav Sheshes is clear; the case of the Beraisa is comparable to that of a Kinyan made to a person and a donkey. In the Beraisa's case, a person separates a cucumber as Terumah without being aware that it contains a bitter part, so he declares the entire cucumber to be Terumah. The status of Terumah, however, cannot take effect on the bitter part, yet his declaration causes it to take effect on the sweet part and to remove the status of Tevel from the remaining cucumbers. (He is required to add to the Terumah only mid'Rabanan, in order to make it a proper one-fiftieth.) This is similar to the position of Rav Sheshes, that when a person makes a Kinyan to two recipients, one of whom is unfit to be a recipient of the Kinyan, the Kinyan nevertheless takes effect for the one who is an eligible recipient.
(According to the way the Rashbam explains the case, there seems to be no proof from the Beraisa to the view of Rav Sheshes. In the case of the Beraisa, the person knows that part of the cucumber is bitter, and he does not intend for it to become Terumah. That is why the bitter part does not become Terumah and the sweet part becomes Terumah for all of the rest. If, however, he intends for whatever he separates (both bitter and sweet) to be Terumah, then the bitter part would not become Terumah and the sweet part would become Terumah only for half of the remaining cucumbers (in proportion to the quantity of sweet fruit in the pile). Accordingly, the Beraisa is in accordance with the ruling of Rav Nachman, and not that of Rav Sheshes. See also MAHARSHAL and MAHARSHA.) (I. Alsheich)
2) "MY PROPERTY SHALL BE GIVEN TO MY SONS"
QUESTION: The Gemara relates an incident in which a man declared that his estate should be given to his sons, but he had only a son and a daughter. The Gemara asks whether it is normal for a person to call one son "my sons," or whether he was referring to both his son and his daughter when he said "my sons." The Gemara cites the verse, "And the sons of Dan were Chushim" (Bereishis 46:23), as proof that it is normal to refer to an only son as "my sons," in the plural. Rava rejects the proof from the verse, because the Tana of Bei Chizkiyah derives from the verse that the sons of Dan were as numerous as the "Chushim" (strands or leaves) of reeds. Instead, Rava cites proof from the verse, "And the sons of Palu were Eli'av" (Bamidbar 26:8). Rav Yosef cites proof from a third verse, "And the sons of Eisan were Azaryah" (Divrei ha'Yamim I 2:8).
The Gemara's conclusion is clearly that a person does refer to an only son as "my sons."
If, however, the man in this incident meant that his son, and not his daughter, should receive all of his property, then why did he make this statement altogether? Even without such a statement, the laws of Yerushah dictate that his son -- and not his daughter -- should inherit all of his property. (TOSFOS and Rishonim)
(a) TOSFOS and the RASHBA answer that the man may have written a will document ("Daiteki") which granted his property as a gift to someone else, and he wished to retract that gift (which he has the power to do if he wrote the first document while he was a Shechiv Mera, because "Daiteki Mevateles Daiteki," as the Gemara teaches on 135b). In order to retract the gift, he would be required to make a new statement regarding to whom he wishes his property to be given, and that is why he made this statement. (Even a healthy person would be able to retract such a gift if he specifically wrote that he was giving it on condition that he not change his mind.)
(b) The MAHARSHAL points out that the words that have been removed from the text of the Gemara (contained within the parentheses) answer this question. Those words indicate that although the son would have inherited the entire estate anyway, the man specifically stated that he wanted his son to inherit all of his property because he wanted to prevent his daughter from receiving a tenth of the property. Although a daughter does not inherit any part of her father's estate when there are sons to inherit it, the Rabanan enacted that she receives a tenth of the estate upon her engagement, to provide for her needs for marriage. When the father declared, "All of my property shall be given to my sons," his intention was that a tenth of his estate should not be given to his daughter.
The MAHARSHA explains that Tosfos does not give this answer because it does not apply to the next case of the Gemara, in which a man said, "All of my property shall be given to my sons," and he had a son and a grandson. The Gemara concludes in that case as well that a man does not refer to a grandson as his son, and thus he meant to give all of his property to his son. The same question may be asked in that case: why did the father make this statement, if his son would inherit all of his property anyway? In that case, only the answer of Tosfos and the Rashba applies; the Maharshal's explanation does not apply (since, in that case, there is no daughter). (I. Alsheich)