BACKGROUND TO THE DAILY DAF
THE NEFF FAMILY MASECHES BERACHOS
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
[36a - 57 lines; 36b - 58 lines]
1) [line 22] אקרא חייא A'KARA CHAYA - over a raw gourd
2) [line 22] קמחא דשערי KIMCHA D'SA'AREI - and barley flour
3) [line 27] זמית ZAMIS - (a) (O.F. salmuire) brine (RASHI); (b) soup (ARUCH); (c) foam that collects at the top of a pot of cooked food (RAV HAI GAON); (d) salt water (TUR)
4) [line 29] קשה לקוקיאני KASHEH L'KUKYANEI - it is injurious in that it brings on parasite worms
5) [line 30] קורא KORA - the white heart or terminal bud of a palm tree that is the new growth of the year, which eventually hardens
6) [line 33] שיננא SHINENA - well-learned (sharp) person
7) [line 33] צנון TZENON - radish
8) [line 35] פוגלא PUGLA - a radish before it hardens, the soft tuber of the radish
9) [line 36] צלף TZLAF - caper-berry bush
10) [line 37] נצפה NITZPAH - identical to Tzlaf
11) [line 37] התמרות HA'TEMAROS - the date-like leaves that are soft and edible
12) [line 37] האביונות HA'EVYONOS - the caper-berries
13) [line 38] הקפריסין HA'KAFRISIN - the soft peels around the caper berry
14) [line 39] שותא SHUSA - the sproutings of the caper-berry bush, i.e. the leaves and Temaros
15) [line 39] קלסיה KALSEI - he (Shmuel) praised him (Rav Yehudah)
16) [line 40] ערלה ORLAH
(a) In the first three years after a fruit tree is planted, its fruits are called Orlah and are Asurim b'Hana'ah (it is prohibited to benefit from them), as it states in Vayikra 19:23.
(b) If a person eats a k'Zayis of Orlah fruit, he receives Malkus. If he derives benefit from Orlah (or any other food that is Asur b'Hana'ah), according to most Rishonim he is punished with Malkus (TOSFOS to Chulin 120a DH Ela), while according to others, he is only punished with Makas Mardus, a Rabbinic institution of Malkus (RAMBAM Hilchos Ma'achalos Asuros 8:16 - see also Mishneh l'Melech to Hilchos Yesodei ha'Torah 5:8). Deriving benefit from the fruit juice is forbidden also, but only in the case of wine and olive oil is the one who benefits punished with Malkus.
(c) Although it is forbidden to benefit from fruits of Orlah, if one transgresses and sells the fruits, the money that he receives in return is not forbidden, as the Gemara teaches (Menachos 69b).
17) [line 49] הני מילי גבי מעשר אילן HANEI MILEI GABEI MA'ASAR ILAN - That is, in Chutz la'Aretz. The Rabanan instituted Ma'aser in certain places in Chutz la'Aretz which were near Eretz Yisrael, or were centers of Judaism (RAMBAM, Hilchos Terumos 1:1).
18) [last line] ולוקח ובלבד שלא יראנו לוקט יורד YORED V'LOKE'ACH U'VILVAD SHE'LO YIR'ENU LOKET (SAFEK ORLAH)
The Halachah of Safek Orlah in Chutz la'Aretz is more lenient than in Syria. The Torah-observant Jew is allowed to buy produce from a Nochri farmer or a farmer who is suspected of selling Orlah fruits, as long as he does not actually see him picking from the trees that are less than three years old. In Syria, Safek Orlah fruits are only permitted if they are already picked (RASHI to Kidushin 38b DH u'Bilvad).
19) [line 3] שומר SHOMER
(a) Shomrim are those parts of plants or animals that serve to protect them (e.g. peels and skin). A Shomer combines with the food to make up the requisite k'Beitzah in order to receive Tum'ah (Uktzin 2:3).
(b) A Shomer also brings Tum'ah to the food if the Shomer was touched by something Tamei. If the food was Tamei and the Shomer touched food that was not Tamei, the Shomer transmits the Tum'ah to the other food (Uktzin 1:1).
(c) Shomrim of Orlah fruit also have the Din of Orlah (see above, entry #16).
20a) [line 9] פיטמא PITMA SHEL RIMON - (a) a hair-like flower that is surrounded by the crown-like protrusion at the top of a pomegranate (RASHI); (b) the point of a pomegranate, which lies diametrically opposite its stem (BARTENURA)
b) [line 9] נץ NETZ - (a) the protective shell of a pomegranate, which corresponds to the Kafrisin of the Tzlaf (RASHI); (b) the hair-like flower that surrounds the Pitma and which is surrounded by the crown-like protrusion at the top of a pomegranate (BARTENURA)
c) [line 9] מצטרפת [לכביתה לטומאת אוכלין] MITZTAREFES [LEK'BEITZAH L'TUM'AS OCHLIN] (TUM'AS OCHLIN: K'BEITZAH)
(b) All foods become Tamei if they touch a source of Tum'ah, but only after they first become wet. Making foods wet in a manner that enables them to become Temei'im is called "Hechsher." From then on, even after they dry, they can still become Tamei. Seven liquids can enable foods to become Tamei: water, dew, oil, wine, milk, blood, and bee's honey. Once food becomes Tamei, it cannot become Tahor by immersing it in a Mikvah.
(c) The food can become Tamei only if the owner of the food was pleased that his food became wet. This is learned from the verse, "v'Chi Yutan Mayim Al Zera..." - "If water has been placed on seed and then the dead body [of a Sheretz] fell upon it, the seed is Tamei" (Vayikra 11:38). The word "Yutan" in the verse is written without a Vav, just like the word "Yiten" - "he places." However, according to the Mesorah, it is read "Yutan" - "it was placed." From this we learn that when water or other liquids fall on the food it is considered Hechsher only if their presence is desirable to the owner of the food (i.e. it is as though he himself applied them).
(d) It is necessary only for the owner to desire the liquid; he need not desire that the liquid come into contact with the food. That is, even if the owner desires the liquid for an entirely different purpose, if the liquid later comes into contact with food it will enable the food to become Tamei. On the other hand, if the owner only intended to dispose of the liquid it does not enable the food to become Tamei, since only liquids that are significant can cause Hechsher.
(e) According to Torah law, the minimal amount of food that is able to become Tamei and make other foods Tamei is a k'Beitzah (but see ). A Shomer (see above, entry #19) combines with the food to make up the requisite k'Beitzah in order to receive Tum'ah (Uktzin 2:3). The modern equivalent of a Beitzah is 0.05, 0.0576 or 0.1 liter, depending upon the differing Halachic opinions.
21) [line 17] מתחלי MASCHELEI - the calyx (outer case) that surrounds a date in its early stage of development
22) [line 19] כופרא KUFRA - a date in its early stage of development
23) [line 21] סמדר SEMADAR - a grape in its budding stage
24) [line 24] מאימתי אין קוצצין את האילנות בשביעית? ME'EIMASAI EIN KOTZETZIN ES HA'ILANOS B'SHEVI'IS?- From when are we prohibited to trim trees during the Shemitah year? (SHEVI'IS)
(a) The Torah requires that farmers desist from working the land every seventh year, as described in Vayikra 25:1-7. The fruits that grow during the seventh (Shevi'is) year are holy to the extent that: 1. they must be considered ownerless; anyone may come into any field and pick the fruit that he intends to eat. 2. The fruits may not be bought and sold in a normal fashion (see ). 3. The Torah requires that the fruits of Shevi'is be used only for eating or drinking (in the normal manner of eating for that type of fruit) or for burning to provide light (in the case of oil). They may not be wasted or used for medicinal purposes or animal fodder, etc.
(b) One may not do any work that makes improvements to the land or to the trees growing from the land.
(c) When one sells fruit of Shevi'is, the Kedushah of the fruit is transferred to the money paid in exchange for it (the fruit itself remains Kadosh as well).
(d) The Shemitah year is meant to teach the Jewish people to rely on HaSh-m for their sustenance, a fact that is not always clear to them during the six years in which they work their own fields.
25) [line 26] החרובין HA'CHARUVIN - the carobs
26) [line 26] משישרשרו MISHE'YASHRISHU - from when the carob fruits appear as chains
27) [line 27] משיגרעו MISHE'YEGAR'U - from when they grow to the size of the white bean
28) [line 27] משיניצו MISHE'YANITZU - from when the flowers start to open
29) [line 28] הוא בוסר הוא גרוע הוא פול הלבן HU BOSER, HU GERU'A, HU POL HA'LAVAN - [the stage of] Boser is also [the stage known as] Geru'a [at which point the grapes are the size of] the white bean (lit. and this is also the white bean)
30) [line 28] משיוציאו MISHE'YOTZI'U - (a) from when they produce fruit (RASHI; see GILYON HA'SHAS); (b) from when the leaves begin to open (RASHI to Pesachim 52b)
31) [line 31] וקתני שאר כל האילנות משיוציאו U'KA'TANI, SHE'AR KOL HA'ILANOS MISHE'YOTZI'U - The Gemara means to ask that tiny Evyonos are also called fruit, so their rinds (the Kafrisin) should be called Shomer, according to Rava.
32) [line 36] פרחא דביטיתא PIRCHA D'VITISA - the rind of the caper-berry (RASHI)
33) [line 42] פלפלי PILPELEI - peppercorns
34) [line 44] כס KAS - to chew
35) [line 44] זנגבילא ZANGEVILA - ginger
36) [line 45] "... עץ מאכל וערלתם ערלתו את פריו ..." "…ETZ MA'ACHAL VA'ARALTEM ORLASO ES PIRYO ..." - "[And when you shall come into the land, and shall have planted all kinds of] trees for food, then you shall consider its fruit as Orlah (lit. uncircumcised); [three years shall it be Orlah to you; it shall not be eaten.]" (Vayikra 19:23)
37a) [line 49] רטיבתא RETIVTA - moist
b) [line 49] יבשתא YABESHTA - dry
38) [line 50] המלתא HIMALTA - (a) (O.F. letuarie) a medicinal powder made of sweet herbs; (b) ginger (ARUCH)
39) [line 51] בי הנדואי BEI HINDEVA'EI - India (Hindeva, or Hindeka, is normally translated as "India," as implied by Midrash Koheles Raba 2:5 (where we find that exotic spices grew in "Hindiki") and Targum to Megilas Esther 1:1 (where India is referred to as "Hindiya Raba"). This is indeed the way RASHI translates Hindeva in Avodah Zarah 16a DH b'Farzela. However, TARGUM YONASAN associates Hindeva with "Ethiopia" (see Targum Yonasan to Bereishis 2:11, 10:7, 25:18 and Divrei ha'Yamim I 1:9, where "Chavila" is translated as "Hindevin" - according to the text of the Aruch, Erech Hinduy, or "Hindeka" according to our texts; Targum Yonasan to Yirmeyahu 13:23 where "Kushi" is translated as "Hindeva'ah"; Targum Yonasan to Tzefanyah 3:10 where "Kush" is translated as "Hodu"). This is indeed the way Rashi translates Hindeva in Berachos 36b, Yoma 34b and 81b and Kidushin 22b. It is possible that both India and a region of Ethiopia were known by the same name (Hindeva in Aramaic, or Hodu in Hebrew), as might be implied from the Gemara in Megilah 11a). The Hindu-Kush mountain range to the immediate northwest of India was said to have been populated by African migrants from Ethiopia - M. Rosen.)
40) [line 52] חביץ קדרה CHAVITZ KEDEIRAH - a dish of flour, honey, and oil that congeals in a pot
41) [line 52] דייסא DAISA - a dish of pounded wheat; grits
42) [line 54] סמידא SEMIDA - fine flour