1) "RISHON RISHON BATEL"
QUESTIONS: The Mishnah teaches that Yayin Nesech that falls into other wine prohibits the mixture "b'Kol she'Hu," in any amount. The Gemara quotes Rav Dimi who teaches that if Yayin Nesech falls into permitted wine, each drop of prohibited wine becomes Batel as it falls in ("Rishon Rishon Batel"), even if the Yayin Nesech is the majority of the resultant mixture, and the mixture is permitted. When the Mishnah says that Yayin Nesech prohibits whatever it falls into "b'Kol she'Hu," it refers to a case in which permitted wine is poured into Yayin Nesech. Even if there is only a minute amount of Yayin Nesech, it prohibits everything that falls into it, because each drop of permitted wine becomes Batel as it falls into the prohibited wine.
RASHI asks that according to Rav Dimi, Yayin Nesech should never prohibit other wine into which it falls, because every drop should become Batel as it enters the permitted wine. Where, according to Rav Dimi, is there a case of Yayin Nesech that falls into permitted wine and prohibits it (as the Mishnah says on 74a)? Rashi answers that Rav Dimi admits that the principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel" does not apply when a large barrel breaks and falls into a wine pit, causing the prohibited wine to enter the permitted wine all at once.
(a) The Gemara explains that according to Rav Dimi, when the Mishnah says that when wine falls into water the mixture is prohibited if the taste of Isur can be discerned in the mixture ("b'Nosen Ta'am"), it means that the water into which the wine falls is prohibited, and it prohibits the wine. Why, though, is the wine not prohibited if the forbidden taste cannot be discerned in the wine? The entire mixture should become prohibited because of "Rishon Rishon Batel"! Rashi answers that the case is one in which the wine falls into the water all at once, and thus "Rishon Rishon Batel" does not apply.
If, however, the wine falls into the water at one time, then how are we to understand the Gemara's next question? The Gemara asks that if the water mentioned in the Mishnah is prohibited water and the wine is permitted wine, then why -- in the case in which water falls into wine -- is the mixture prohibited? The mixture should be permitted because of "Rishon Rishon Batel"! According to Rashi, the end of the Mishnah is discussing a case in which the mixture was not caused by pouring one liquid into the other, but rather one liquid fell into the other all at once. Why does the principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel" apply to the case of water that fell into wine, if it fell in all at once? (MAHARSHA, KARNEI RE'EM; see also RITVA and RAN (on the Rif, 35b), who ask a similar question.)
(b) The Gemara then quotes Rav Yitzchak bar Yosef who qualifies this Halachah and states that the principle of "Rishon Rishon" applies only when the wine spills from a narrow-necked container into the pit of wine. If, in contrast, one pours wine from a barrel such that the flow is a broad column, then the wine that is poured into the pit does not become Batel to the permitted wine, and it prohibits the entire mixture.
The Gemara then quotes Ravin who says in the name of Rebbi Yochanan that when Yayin Nesech falls into a pit of permitted wine after a jar of water fell into the pit, and there is not enough Yayin Nesech alone to give a discernible taste to the water, the entire mixture is permitted.
RASHI (DH Amar Lach) writes that the Halachah does not follow the view of Rav Dimi, who says that "Rishon Rishon Batel" applies every time that Yayin Nesech falls into permitted wine, because Rav Yitzchak was Machmir and ruled that if the Yayin Nesech is poured from a barrel, the mixture is not permitted through "Rishon Rishon." Rashi adds that Ravin was also Machmir and prohibited the mixture when Yayin Nesech was poured into a pit of permitted wine, unless a jar of water was poured in first.
How does Rashi know that Ravin disagrees with Rav Dimi? Perhaps he agrees with the principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel," but here he is discussing a situation in which the Yayin Nesech falls into the pit all at one time, such that the principle of "Rishon Rishon" does not apply! (RAMBAN, RITVA, ROSH)
ANSWER: When Rashi writes that "Rishon Rishon Batel" does not apply when a barrel of Isur falls into Heter at one time, how much Isur is necessary to prohibit the mixture? Obviously, a "Kol she'Hu" will not suffice to prohibit the mixture, since "Rishon Rishon" will apply and be Mevatel such a small amount.
The Rishonim (RITVA, RAN) explain that if enough prohibited wine falls into the permitted wine such that had the permitted wine been water it would have been possible to discern the taste of the prohibited wine in that water, then the mixture is prohibited.
The CHIDUSHEI HA'RAN points out that this answers the second question. Ravin teaches that if the amount of prohibited wine does not give its taste to the jar (Kiton) of water that was poured into the pit, then the wine in the pit is permitted. Obviously, the amount of prohibited wine that fell into the pit must have been rather small, since it could not give any taste to even a jug of water. If the amount of permitted wine that was in the pit originally is more than a jug, then the prohibited wine will not be able to be "Nosen Ta'am" to change the taste of that wine (had it been water) in a noticeable way. Therefore, even if the prohibited wine falls into the pit all at once, the principle of "Rishon Rishon" still applies, since it was a small amount of prohibited wine that fell into a large amount of permitted wine. When Rashi writes that Ravin disagrees with Rav Dimi, perhaps he is assuming that there must be more than a Kiton-full of permitted wine in the pit, and therefore even if the prohibited wine falls into the pit at one time, "Rishon Rishon" still applies. (See also MAHARSHA.)
Perhaps we may expand this answer. It seems that Rashi maintains that even if there is enough prohibited wine to give the taste of wine to the mixture, and the prohibited wine falls in at one time, it will not prohibit the mixture unless there is more prohibited wine than permitted wine. This may be inferred from a number of comments of Rashi. Rashi (DH Rishon) writes that a barrel that falls into a wine pit prohibits it only when it is a "large" barrel. This implies that it does not suffice for the prohibited wine to give taste to the mixture; it must also comprise the majority (Rov) of the mixture. This is also evident from the words of Rashi (DH l'Gav Hetera) when he mentions Bitul b'Rov and he does not emphasize that the Bitul is b'Nosen Ta'am. Also, Rashi (DH Hachi Garsinan) writes that the Gemara attempts to refute Rav Dimi by proving that "Rishon Rishon Batel" does not apply when Isur falls into Heter, even when there is more Heter than Isur. What difference does it make if there is more Heter than Isur? "Rishon Rishon" applies even when there is very little Heter! Apparently, Rashi means that the case in the Mishnah is indeed one in which prohibited water falls into permitted wine all at once. Nevertheless, according to Rav Dimi, who accepts the principle of "Rishon Rishon," the mixture would be permitted, even when the prohibited water gives taste to the wine, since there is not a majority of the prohibited water in the mixture.
The logic for this distinction may be as follows. Rashi is consistent with his own opinion as expressed in Chulin (98b), where he writes that mid'Oraisa all mixtures are Batel b'Rov. The rule that an Isur prohibits a mixture when it gives its taste to the mixture is only mid'Rabanan. Accordingly, perhaps the Rabanan waived the prohibition of "Nosen Ta'am" when a prohibited food falls into a permitted food because of the principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel." The mixture will become prohibited only when there is a Rov, a majority, of prohibited food in the mixture, such that even mid'Oraisa the mixture becomes prohibited.
If this approach is correct, then the Gemara's question on Rav Dimi is now clear. Even though the prohibited water falls into the wine all at once, it does not prohibit the wine if there is less water than wine. There clearly is less water than wine if the water is merely "Nosen Ta'am," giving a taste, to the wine.
This answers the second question as well. According to Rashi, Yayin Nesech cannot prohibit a pit full of permitted wine when it falls in all at once, unless there is more Yayin Nesech than permitted wine. Since the Yayin Nesech is not able to give taste to a jug of water, it obviously is a much smaller quantity than a jug-full of Yayin Nesech. It certainly is logical, therefore, to assume that there is more permitted wine in the pit than there is Yayin Nesech falling into it. Consequently, the Yayin Nesech will not be able to prohibit the mixture, according to Rav Dimi.
2) HALACHAH: "RISHON RISHON BATEL"
OPINIONS: The Gemara records various opinions with regard to whether the principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel" applies in practice, and to what extent it applies. What is the Halachah?
(a) The RAMBAN, RITVA, and other Rishonim rule that the principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel" is not accepted in practice, l'Halachah, at all. They prove this from the Tosefta, cited by the Gemara earlier (58a), which states that if an "Agardemim" (a Nochri standards-inspector) tastes wine and pours the remainder back into the barrel, the entire barrel of wine becomes prohibited. If "Rishon Rishon Batel" applies, then the wine should be permitted, especially in this case in which the wine is being poured from a cup! It is evident from the Gemara there that "Rishon Rishon Batel" does not apply in practice. This also seems to be the opinion of TOSFOS (DH Ro'in). The Rishonim write that this is also the intention of RASHI (DH Ro'in).
(b) The RA'AVAD, cited by the Ritva and Ran, agrees with these Rishonim that the principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel" does not apply to permit a minute amount (Kol she'Hu) of Yayin Nesech that falls into a barrel. However, he writes that with regard to other types of prohibited foods, which prohibit a mixture only when they are "Nosen Ta'am" but not when there is a minute amount, the principle of "Rishon Rishon" does apply. Therefore, even if enough of the prohibited food falls into a permitted food such that it changes the taste of the permitted food, the principle of "Rishon Rishon" applies and the mixture is permitted.
The logic for this distinction appears to be that the principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel" has no effect on Yayin Nesech, since even the first drop that falls into the permitted wine suffices to prohibit the entire mixture, since the law is that Yayin Nesech prohibits with a Kol she'Hu (not like Rav Dimi). However, in a case in which the first drop of a prohibited liquid that falls into a permitted food cannot prohibit the mixture, every drop that falls in becomes Batel and can no longer prohibit the mixture even if more of the prohibited liquid is added such that it changes the taste of the mixture.
The TUR quotes the Ra'avad who says that "Rishon Rishon Batel" has an even further limitation. It applies only when a person pours the prohibited liquid into the permitted liquid in small amounts, bit by bit, and not in a steady flow. In such a case, each part becomes Batel before the next part enters the permitted liquid. (This is also the opinion of RABEINU TAM, as cited by Tosfos in Bava Kama 100b.)
(c) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Ma'achalos Asuros 16:28) rules that the principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel" does apply in practice. Therefore, if a prohibited wine or other liquid is poured into a permitted liquid, the prohibited liquid is Batel and the mixture remains permitted. However, he limits the application of this principle to cases in which the prohibited liquid is poured from a narrow-necked container. If it is poured from a barrel, which has a wide neck, the Rambam rules that "Rishon Rishon Batel" does not apply, following the opinion of Rav Yitzchak bar Yosef.
(d) The ROSH (5:28) rules like Rav Dimi, since the prohibition of a mixture into which a minute amount of Yayin Nesech fell is only mid'Rabanan. Therefore, when the Amora'im argue with regard to this prohibition, the Halachah should follow the lenient opinion because of the rule of "Safek d'Rabanan l'Hakel." In the Gemara here, Rav Dimi is the most lenient opinion, since he applies "Rishon Rishon Batel" even when wine is poured from a barrel into the pit, and therefore the Halachah follows Rav Dimi's ruling which permits a mixture in which Yayin Nesech was poured into permitted wine, because of "Rishon Rishon Batel."
However, the Rosh accepts the opinion of Tosfos (DH Ki Asa), who writes that "Rishon Rishon Batel" applies only until enough prohibited wine is poured into the mixture to change the taste of the mixture. That is, Yayin Nesech that is poured into permitted wine will not prohibit the mixture as long as there is only a minute amount of prohibited wine that does not give a taste to the mixture. When the prohibited wine gives a taste to the mixture, "Rishon Rishon Batel" can no longer permit the mixture. (This is basically the opposite of the ruling of the Ra'avad, who says that "Rishon Rishon Batel" does not work for an Isur created by a Kol she'Hu, but it does work for an Isur created by Nosen Ta'am.)
The Rosh points out that even though the Halachah follows Rav Dimi that "Rishon Rishon Batel," the ruling of the Mishnah -- that Yayin Nesech is more severe than other Isurim and can prohibit a mixture with a Kol she'Hu -- is also true. There are two other cases in which Yayin Nesech can prohibit a mixture with a Kol she'Hu, even according to Rav Dimi. The first case is when wine that is permitted is poured into Yayin Nesech. In this case, "Rishon Rishon Batel" applies and the drop of Yayin Nesech prohibits the mixture regardless of how much permitted wine falls into it. This applies, however, only to Yayin Nesech because of its severity, but not to other Isurim. For other Isurim, "Rishon Rishon Batel" applies only to permit the mixture (when the Isur falls into Heter), but not to prohibit the mixture (when the Heter falls into Isur, and there is not enough Isur to give its taste to the Heter).
The second case in which Yayin Nesech prohibits a mixture with a Kol she'Hu is when the Yayin Nesech is poured not from a jug or barrel, but from a tank ("Gigis") of wine. In such a case, even Rav Dimi agrees that the principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel" does not apply.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 134:1) cites the opinion of the Rambam and rules that the principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel" applies when Yayin Nesech is poured from a container with a narrow neck (such as a cup) into permitted wine. Therefore, the mixture remains permitted regardless of how much Yayin Nesech is poured (in this manner) into the permitted wine. In contrast, when Yayin Nesech is poured from a barrel, the principle of "Rishon Rishon Batel" does not apply and the Yayin Nesech prohibits the mixture with any amount, b'Kol she'Hu.
However, the Shulchan Aruch later (134:3) cites the opinion of the Rosh and Tosfos, who assert that if enough Yayin Nesech is poured into water such that the taste of the wine is discernible in the water, "Rishon Rishon Batel" does not apply. The REMA there points out that the this is a different opinion (see SHACH there, 134:17), and he concludes that the Halachic ruling should follow this second opinion. Thus, the Rema accepts both the stringency of the Rambam (that "Rishon Rishon Batel" does not apply when Yayin Nesech is poured from a barrel), and the stringency of the Rosh (that "Rishon Rishon Batel" does not apply when so much Yayin Nesech is added that its taste is discernible in the mixture).
The DERISHAH and TAZ explain that the Shulchan Aruch is not citing conflicting opinions. Rather, his intention is to differentiate between the application of "Rishon Rishon Batel" when Yayin Nesech is poured into wine, and when it is poured into water. When Yayin Nesech is poured into wine (Min b'Mino), he accepts the ruling of the Rambam, that "Rishon Rishon" permits the mixture regardless of how much Yayin Nesech is added. However, when Yayin Nesech is poured into water (Min b'she'Eino Mino), the Shulchan Aruch deems it logical to accept the ruling of the Rosh and Tosfos, who do not permit the mixture if the taste of Yayin Nesech can be discerned in the water. The reasoning behind this ruling is that it is illogical to allow -- on the mere basis that the mixture was formed in a manner of "Rishon Rishon Batel" -- a person to consume a mixture in which the prohibited food can be tasted easily. (See Tosfos to 73a, DH Ki Asa.)
The BI'UR HA'GRA (134:11) accepts this ruling as the Halachah. He adds that even when Yayin Nesech was poured into wine (Min b'Mino), the mixture is prohibited if so much Yayin Nesech was added that most (Rov) of the mixture is Yayin Nesech.
The SHACH (134:1) adds, based on the RAN, that if permitted wine is poured into a minute amount of Yayin Nesech, then the mixture is prohibited even when the permitted wine comes from a large barrel and falls into the Yayin Nesech all at once. The wine that is standing is considered to be more significant than the wine that is being poured, and therefore it is Mevatel the wine being poured. This is a stringency of the Rabanan that applies to Yayin Nesech because of its severity. (This ruling, however, applies only to a mixture of Min b'Mino, two similar foods. If a large amount of water falls into Yayin Nesech all at once, and there is enough water such that the taste of the Yayin Nesech cannot be discerned in the water, the mixture is permitted.)
3) "HIGDILO B'ISUR" AND "HIGDILO B'HETER"
QUESTION: Chizkiyah rules that if water, permitted wine, and Yayin Nesech are mixed together, and there is enough water such that the taste of the Yayin Nesech cannot be discerned in the water, the status of the mixture depends on the order in which the liquids became mixed. If the water and permitted wine were mixed first, and then Yayin Nesech fell into the mixture, the mixture is prohibited (since the permitted wine becomes prohibited by the Yayin Nesech, and the taste of the combined wines can be discerned in the water). However, if the Yayin Nesech and water were mixed first, and then the permitted wine was added, the mixture is permitted. RASHI (DH Higdilo b'Heter) explains that this is because the Yayin Nesech already became Batel through being mixed with the water, and the Isur cannot be revived.
Why, in the first case, is the mixture prohibited? Why does the principle which Rashi applies in the second case not also apply in the first case? If the permitted wine that was mixed with the water cannot be discerned in the water, then that wine is Batel and ceases to be considered wine. It cannot be revived when Yayin Nesech is added, and it should not prohibit the mixture of Min b'Mino with a Kol she'Hu!
(a) RASHI (DH uv'Ro'in) explains that there are different amounts of Yayin Nesech and permitted wine. Although the taste of Yayin Nesech is not discernible in the water, the taste of the permitted wine (which is more abundant) can be discerned in the water. Therefore, it does not become Batel when it is mixed with water.
(b) Another approach, based on the RAN in Nedarim (52a, and Teshuvos ha'Ran #3), may be suggested. The Ran writes that Bitul occurs only when there are two different, opposing objects confronting each other. Since the objects oppose each other, one can overpower the other. However, if the objects are similar to each other, one cannot overpower the other. This, he explains, is the reasoning of Rebbi Yehudah, who rules that a mixture of Min b'Mino is not Batel. The Rabanan who disagree with Rebbi Yehudah maintain that Min b'Mino is also considered two opposing objects; even though they are of the same type of food, one is Heter and one is Isur and thus they oppose each other.
However, in a mixture of Min b'Mino in which the forbidden object is not irrevocably Asur, but rather it can or will eventually become permitted ("Davar she'Yesh Lo Matirin"), there is not sufficient opposition between the Isur and the Heter for the Isur to become Batel to the Heter, because even the Isur has an element of Heter in it. This is the logic for the ruling that a "Davar she'Yesh Lo Matirin" is not Batel in a mixture of Min b'Mino.
The Ran takes this logic further and proposes that in a mixture of two items that are completely Mutar, one item cannot be Mevatel the other, even if they are Min b'she'Eino Mino. The opposition between the physical characteristics of the foods is not enough of an opposition; the objects must have a measure of opposition of Isur and Heter in order for Bitul to occur.
Perhaps this logic may be applied to the case of the Gemara here as well. When the Yayin Nesech is mixed with water, Bitul occurs, and the Isur of Yayin Nesech cannot be revived. When, however, permitted wine is mixed with water, Bitul cannot occur because both objects are permitted. Therefore, when the Yayin Nesech is then added, it "finds" the permitted wine that was mixed with the water, prohibits it and combines with it, and together they prohibit the mixture.