ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler of Kollel Iyun Hadaf
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
(a) Fruit become eligible to be designated as Bikurim - from the time it becomes Boser (when it can be recognized as a fruit [see Tos. Yom-Tov]).
(b) We learn this from the Pasuk in Ki Savo (in connection with the Keri'ah) "Hinei Heivesi es Reishis P'ri ha'Adamah" - which implies that although it is (fully-grown) fruit at the time of bringing, it was not at the time that it was designated.
(c) When the owner sights the first 'fruit' on his fig-tree (see Tiferes Yisrael), vine or pomegranate tree - he ties a reed (or a piece of string) round it and declares it Bikurim.
(d) According to R. Shimon, he remains obligated - to repeat the declaration after it has been detached, as implied by the Pasuk "ve'Lakachto me'Reishis Kol P'ri ha'Adamah" (suggesting that it must also be a fruit at the time of designation [see Tos. Yom-Tov and Tiferes Yisrael]).
(a) They would bring their Bikurim to Yerushalayim in large groups according to the Ma'amados - twenty-four groups of Yisre'elim (corresponding to the twenty-four Mishmaros of Kohanim and Levi'im, who served in the Beis-Hamikdash) who stood by the Korban Tamid as representatives of the people (see also Tiferes Yisrael).
(b) All the towns incorporating each particular Ma'amad would gather in the city where the head of that particular Ma'amad resided (rather than each person simply making his own way to Yerushalayim) was - due to the principle 'be'Rov Am Hadras Melech'.
(a) The night after they had gathered (before setting out for Yerushalayim - they would all sleep in the open, before setting out for Yerushalayim with their Bikurim ...
(b) ... to avoid becoming Tamei, were they to have slept indoors and someone had died in the house.
(c) The head of the Ma'amad's wake-up call was - 'Arise and let us (all) go up to Tzi'on to the House of Hashem' (see Tiferes Yisrael).
(a) The difference between the Bikurim of those who lived near Yerushalayim and those who lived far is - that whereas the former brought fresh figs and grapes, the latter brought dried figs and raisins.
(b) The bull that walked in front of each owner - was brought as a Korban (as we learned in the second Perek, Mishnah 4).
(c) Its ...
1. ... horns - were overlaid with gold, whereas, on its
2. ... head - it wore a garland made of olive-branches.
(d) the choice of olive branches was either because the olive-tree, of all the fruit-trees that are subject to Bikurim, is the one that is mentioned closest to "Eretz" (Zeis-Shemen u'Devash), or because it is the most apt, with the freshest leaves for that purpose.
(a) The sound of the flute - accompanied them on their way to Yerushalayim.
(b) When they got close to Yerushalayim, after sending messengers to announce their imminent arrival - they arranged their baskets of fruit nicely, putting the nicest on top, and adding some fresh figs if they were bringing dried ones, and some grapes, if they were bringing raisins.
(c) Upon receiving the good news from the messengers - the heads of the Kohanim, the heads of the Levi'im and the treasurers of Hekdesh do when they would go out to meet them.
(d) The number of leaders who came out to meet them - would depend in the size of the group.
(a) When the group entered Yerushalayim - all the work-owners would stand up (as they walked past).
(b) Even though one is not obligated to stop working to acknowledge the arrival of a Talmid-Chacham, they did so for the group that brought Bikurim - to show respect to those who performed a Mitzvah in its right time.
(c) It is customary to do the same thing - when a coffin carrying a Meis passes by and when a baby is brought into the room for his B'ris Milah.
(a) The flautist stopped playing - when they reached the Har ha'Bayis ...
(b) ... at which stage, even King Agrippa (see Tos. Yom-Tov), assuming he was in the group, would be obligated - to take the basket and place it on his shoulder.
(c) This was necessary - in order to fulfil the Mitzvah of handing the basket to the Kohanim, once they reached the Azarah.
(d) As they entered the Azarah, the Levi'im would sing "Aromimcha Hash-m ki Dilisani" (Tehilim, ch. 30).
(a) The young birds (doves and pigeons) that were hanging from the back of the baskets (see Tiferes Yisrael) - would later be brought as Olos.
(b) When the Tana says that they gave what they were carrying to the Kohanim, he is either referring to birds that were not hanging from the baskets - or to the Bikurim.
(a) The owner reads the Parshah of Bikurim - whilst the basket of fruit is still on his shoulder.
(b) According to the Tana Kama, it remains there until he concludes the Parshah (Tiferes Yisrael). R. Yehudah maintains - that he lowers it from there when he reaches "Arami Oved Avi" (see also Tos. Yom-Tov and Tos. Anshei Shem).
(c) The Halachah is like the Chachamim.
(a) According to R. Yehudah, the owner then holds the basket at the top - whilst the Kohen holds it underneath (i.e. the basket is lying in his hands).
(b) Others explain - that the Kohen placed his underneath those of the owner, and in this way they both held the basket (see also Tos. Yom-Tov and Tiferes Yisrael).
(c) The change, says the Tiferes Yisrael was - in order to perform the Mitzvah of Tenufah (according to R. Yehudah).
(a) Upon completing the Parshah - the owner would place the basket beside the Mizbe'ach, prostrate himself before Hash-m and leave.
(b) He placed it - on the south-western corner of the Mizbe'ach (see Tos. Yom-Tov).
(c) According to the Mishnah, he would only waved the basket once (as the Tiferes Yisrael explained earlier). The Sifri disagrees, since it learns from ...
1. ... the Gezeirah-Shavah "ve'Lakach ha'Kohen ha'Tene mi'Yadecha" and "Yadav Tevi'enu es Ishei Hash-m" (in Tzav) - that just as a Korban Shelamim requires Tenufah, so too, does Bikurim during the K'ri'ah.
2. ... the Pasuk "ve'Hinachto Lifnei Hash-m Elokecha" - that it requires a second Tenufah after the K'ri'ah (since "ve'Hinachto" has connotations of waving).
(a) Originally, anyone who knew the Parshah by heart would read it by heart. To accommodate those people who did not (see Tos. Yom-Tov) - the Kohanim used to read the Parshah with them word for word.
(b) They changed that however - when the people who did not know the Parshah stopped bringing their Bikurim out of embarrassment.
(c) As a result - they initiated reading the Parshah with everybody.
(d) This is hinted in the Pasuk "ve'Anisa ve'Amarta" - in that "ve'Anisa" has connotations of saying something together with someone else.
(a) The wealthy owners would bring their Bikurim in boxes overlaid with gold. The poor ones - brought it in baskets of peeled willow branches.
(b) After the Kohanim had received the Bikurim - the former took their boxes back, the latter did not ...
(c) ... giving rise to the famous maxim - 'Poverty follows the poor man'.
(a) R. Shimon ben Nannes permits adorning the baskets with fruit not from the seven species (see Tos. R. Akiva Eiger). R. Akiva - prohibits it.
(b) They also argue over - whether fruit from Chutz la'Aretz may be used for that purpose (R. Shimon ben Nannes) or not (R. Akiva).
(c) The Halachah is like R. Akiva in both rulings.
(a) The Mishnah speaks of three levels of Bikurim ... the basic Bikurim - comprising the fruit around which the owner originally tied the red thread; supplementary Bikurim - fruit which he added after it was picked; and decorational Bikurim - comprising fruit with which he adorned the basket.
(b) The Halachic difference between supplementary Bikurim and decorational Bikurim regarding the way it is ...
1. ... brought is - that the former must consist of the same species as the basic Bikurim, whereas the latter need not.
2. ... eaten is - the former must be eaten be'Taharah and is not subject to Demai, whereas the latter is subject to Demai (see Tos. Yom-Tov).
(a) The Mishnah rules that Tosefes Bikurim that comes from Chutz la'Aretz is - not considered Bikurim.
(b) The author of our may be R. Shimon ben Nannes, who permits Itur Bikurim with fruit from Chutz la'Aretz (see Tos. Yom-Tov). However, we might establish the Mishnah even according to R. Akiva - by establishing the fruit that the Tana is disqualifying from Tosefes Bikurim - as having grown in Chutz la'Aretz (which is subject to Bikurim as we learned in the first Perek), whereas the Bikurim grew in Eretz Yisrael.
(a) The Mishnah now describes in what way Bikurim are the property of the Kohen. We learned (at the beginning of the previous Perek) that he may sell it to another Kohen and purchase with the proceeds whatever he pleases, even Avadim, land and non-Kasher animals. Likewise - According to the Tana Kama, a creditor may claim Bikurim for his debt or a woman for her Kesuvah (see Tos. Yom-Tov).
(b) Some add to the list a Seifer-Torah (see Tos. Yom-Tov), which (despite having permitted purchasing a Behemah Temei'ah with them), we might have thought that is forbidden - because one cannot sell it in order to obtain food (which we may have considered a criterion [see also Tiferes Yisrael]).
(c) Others have the text 'ke'Seifer-Torah' - which means that a creditor or a woman can claim them too in lieu of their debt (see also Tos. Yom-Tov, citing R. Yitzchak b'R. Malki Tzedek).
(a) R. Yehudah requires giving Bikurim 'le'Chaver be'Tovah', by which he means - that besides eating them, all a Kohen may do with Bikurim is to give them to a Kohen Talmid-Chacham free (as an act of Chesed) ...
(b) ... not to a Kohen Am ha'Aretz - because we suspect a Kohen Am ha'Aretz who is not actually performing the Avodah of abusing Kodshim (and eating them be'Tum'ah).
(c) The Chachamim maintain - that, to begin with, the owner (see Tos. Yom-Tov) gives Bikurim to the Kohanim of the Mishmar who are serving in the Beis Hamikdash, an they divide among themselves like Kodshei Mizbe'ach ...
(d) ... and the Halachah is like them.