1) THE MITZVAH OF "BIKURIM" IN CHUTZ LA'ARETZ
QUESTION: The Gemara explains that the verse, "Asher Tavo me'Artzecha" (Devarim 26:2), written with regard to the Mitzvah of bringing Bikurim, teaches that one does not bring Bikurim from fruit grown in Chutz la'Aretz.
Why does the Gemara need to derive from a verse that the Mitzvah of Bikurim does not apply to fruit grown in Chutz la'Aretz? Bikurim should be no different from all of the other "Mitzvos ha'Teluyos ba'Aretz," such as Terumos and Ma'aseros, which apply only to fruit that grew in Eretz Yisrael (as the Gemara in Kidushin 37a teaches). (TOSFOS DH Ela)
(a) TOSFOS, in the name of the RASHBAM, explains that since the Mitzvah of Bikurim is written in the same verse as the Isur of meat and milk (Shemos 23:19, 34:26), one might have thought that the Mitzvah of Bikurim applies in all places, just as the Isur of Basar b'Chalav applies in all places. Therefore, a special verse is needed to teach that it applies only in Eretz Yisrael.
(b) TOSFOS in Bava Basra (81a, DH ha'Hu, in his second approach) answers in the name of RASHBA (the Rash mi'Shantz) that the Mitzvah of Bikurim is not a Mitzvah ha'Teluyah ba'Aretz. It is an obligation on the person who owns the fruit to bring it to the Mizbe'ach. It is not a Mitzvah on the produce of Eretz Yisrael requiring that a certain act be done with the produce before it is permitted to be eaten. He proves this from the fact that the rest of the fruit in the field is not prohibited from being eaten before Bikurim are separated (in contrast to Tevel, which may not be eaten before Terumah is separated), and from the fact that Bikurim may be separated even while the fruit is still attached to the ground, before it is picked (and is not yet considered "produce").
Accordingly, one might have thought that the Mitzvah applies in all places. Therefore, a special verse is needed to teach that it applies only in Eretz Yisrael.
HA'GAON RAV YISRAEL ZEV GUSTMAN zt'l inferred from the words of RASHI in Kidushin (37a, DH Chovas Karka) that Rashi is in agreement with Tosfos in Bava Basra. Rashi lists examples of "Chovas Karka," Mitzvos related to the land, that apply only in Eretz Yisrael. Rashi provides a comprehensive list of all the Mitzvos, but with one prominent omission -- the Mitzvah of Bikurim!
This approach answers another question. The Mishnah in Kelim (1:6) states that Eretz Yisrael has more Kedushah than all other lands. "In what way is it holier?" asks the Mishnah. The Mishnah answers, "[It is holier] because we bring from there the Korban ha'Omer, Bikurim, and Shtei ha'Lechem" which cannot be brought from any land outside of Eretz Yisrael.
Why does the Mishnah not mention that Eretz Yisrael is also holier because of the obligation to separate Terumos and Ma'aseros from produce that grows in Eretz Yisrael? (See Insights to Nedarim 22:1
According to the Rashba cited by Tosfos, the reason why the Mishnah does not mention the other Mitzvos ha'Teluyos ba'Aretz is that those Mitzvos are not an indication of the Kedushah of the land; rather, they are obligations that are obligatory upon the produce of Eretz Yisrael. That is, there is an Isur to eat fruit grown in Eretz Yisrael before separating Terumos and Ma'aseros, but the fact that Terumos and Ma'aseros must be separated is not a manifestation of the Kedushah of the land. The reason why the Mishnah lists the Korban ha'Omer and Shtei ha'Lechem is that the fact that these items may be brought to the Beis ha'Mikdash only if they grew in Eretz Yisrael demonstrates the Kedushah of Eretz Yisrael. The Mitzvah of Bikurim, too, is practiced in Eretz Yisrael not because it is a Mitzvah ha'Teluyah ba'Aretz, but rather because of the Kedushah of Eretz Yisrael. (See VILNA GA'ON in ELIYAHU RABAH there in Kelim, and see also Insights to Kidushin 37:1.) (M. KORNFELD)
2) THE "ETZAH TOVAH" FOR SEPARATING "REISHIS HA'GEZ" FROM ONE TYPE OF WOOL FOR ANOTHER
OPINIONS: The Mishnah (135a) teaches that when one who sells all of the wool of his dark sheep and keeps all of the wool of his white sheep, or he sells all of the wool of his male sheep and keeps all of the wool of his female sheep, the seller should separate Reishis ha'Gez from his remaining sheep, and the buyer should separate Reishis ha'Gez from the sheep he purchased.
The Gemara explains that the Mishnah obviously does not mean that the male and female sheep are considered two different species, and one may not separate wool of one species as Reishis ha'Gez for another species. Rather, the Mishnah is merely giving a piece of practical advice ("Etzah Tovah").
What is the "Etzah Tovah" that the Mishnah is teaching?
(a) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Bikurim 10:11), according to the MAHARI KURKUS, explains as follows. When one sells some of his sheep and keeps some for himself, the seller must separate Reishis ha'Gez because it is assumed that he does not intend to sell the Matnos Kehunah, but rather that he intends to separate Reishis ha'Gez for the animals that he sold and for the animals that he kept. However, when he sells all of one type of sheep, and he keeps one type for himself, it is assumed that he does sell the Reishis ha'Gez of the inferior wool to the buyer. This is because he does what is best for himself in order not to give more, or less, than necessary. When he sells all of the wool of one type of sheep, it is assumed that he does intend to sell the Matnos Kehunah that is mixed with the wool. Had he not sold the Matnos Kehunah, he would have had to separate more wool from the superior wool on behalf of the inferior wool that he sold. By selling the Matnos Kehunah and causing him and the buyer to each have to separate Reishis ha'Gez from their respective types, the amount given for each type will be exact, and the seller will not lose more superior wool than necessary.
The Mahari Kurkus points out that the Rambam does not write this Halachah specifically with regard to one who sells an inferior type of wool and keeps the superior type of wool for himself (which is the way the Gemara expresses this Halachah). Rather, the Rambam writes that "one sold one type, and kept the other type," implying that this Halachah applies even when one sells the superior wool and keeps the inferior wool for himself. Why, though, in such a case do we assume that the seller sold the Matnos Kehunah? He is not losing anything by having to separate Reishis ha'Gez from his inferior wool on behalf of the superior wool that he sold, or at least he is not losing any more than he would have lost had he sold some of the exact same type of wool that he kept (in which case the Mishnah states that he must give Reishis ha'Gez for the wool that he sold)!
The Mahari Kurkus explains that in a case in which one sells superior wool and keeps inferior wool, we assume that the seller sold the Matnos Kehunah, because if he would have to separate Reishis ha'Gez from his inferior wool on behalf of the superior wool that he sold, then this would constitute separating the bad quality on behalf of the good quality, and then the Kohen would be losing. It is only when one sells some of the same type of wool that he keeps that we assume that he retains the Reishis ha'Gez of the wool that he sold, since he will then be giving Reishis ha'Gez on behalf of the same type, and he will not be incurring an unnecessary loss. (See also TIFERES YAKOV and ARUCH HA'SHULCHAN who understand the Rambam like the Mahari Kurkus. See, however, the KESEF MISHNEH, who explains the Rambam differently.)
(b) RASHI (DH Ela) explains that the "Etzah Tovah" is as follows. The seller sold inferior-quality wool and kept the superior-quality wool for himself. He is obligated to give Reishis ha'Gez both for the wool that he kept and for the wool that he sold. The "Etzah Tovah" is that the seller should buy back some of the inferior wool from his customer in order to give wool to the Kohen as Reishis ha'Gez on behalf of the wool that he sold. In this way, he keeps all of the superior wool for himself while still fulfilling his obligation to give Reishis ha'Gez to the Kohen for the wool that he sold. This is also the explanation of the ROSH (11:3) and the TUR (YD 333).
Rashi's explanation, however, does not fit the words of the Mishnah, "This one gives for himself, and this one gives for himself." The Mishnah clearly implies that each person, the seller and the buyer, must separate his own Reishis ha'Gez! (Mordechai Zvi Dicker)
Perhaps Rashi understands the words, "This one gives for himself...," to be referring to the wool of each type of sheep, and not to the seller and the buyer. The Mishnah is saying that when the seller gives Reishis ha'Gez on behalf of the superior wool (that he kept for himself) and on behalf of the inferior wool (that he sold), he should buy back some of the inferior wool so that "for this wool (the superior wool), he gives from itself (from its own wool), and for this wool (the inferior wool), he gives from itself (from its own wool)"! (Y. SHAW)
3) THE OBLIGATION OF "MA'ASER BEHEMAH" FOR AN ANIMAL WITH A BROKEN LEG
QUESTION: The Gemara derives the law that the Mitzvah of Reishis ha'Gez does not apply to an animal that is a Tereifah through a Gezeirah Shavah ("Tzon, Tzon") from Ma'aser Behemah. Just as Ma'aser Behemah does not apply to a Tereifah, Reishis ha'Gez does not apply to a Tereifah. The Gemara explains that since a Tereifah is unable to "pass under the staff" (Vayikra 27:32), it is exempt from Ma'aser Behemah.
However, the law is that when an animal's leg is broken below the Arkuvah (Chulin 76a; see Insights there), the animal is not a Tereifah, even though it cannot walk. If the animal cannot walk and pass under the staff, then why does the obligation of Ma'aser Behemah apply to it?
(a) TOSFOS (DH Perat) suggests that perhaps such an animal indeed is exempt from Ma'aser Behemah.
(b) The TOSFOS HA'ROSH disagrees and says that it is not logical to suggest that the verse teaches that an animal with a break in its leg below the Arkuvah is exempt from Ma'aser, because it is in the same category as any other Ba'al Mum. The verse, therefore, must be exempting only a Halachic category from Ma'aser, such as the category of Tereifah.