QUESTION: The Gemara derives from the unusual terminology of the verse regarding the redemption of Ma'aser Sheni, "v'Tzarta ha'Kesef" -- "And you shall bind the money" (Devarim 14:25), that Ma'aser Sheni may be redeemed only onto a coin that has a stamped form or image ("Tzurah"), and not onto a plain piece of metal.
What exactly constitutes a "Tzurah"? The RAMBAM (Hilchos Ma'aser Sheni 4:9) writes that one may redeem Ma'aser Sheni onto a coin "that has a picture or writing on it." The Rambam apparently understands that a "Tzurah" includes writing, even though the word "Tzurah" itself means an image. What is the Rambam's source for his ruling that the writing on a coin constitutes a "Tzurah"?
(a) The TORAH TEMIMAH (Devarim 14:25) answers this question based on the Gemara in Kidushin (11b) which teaches that one is allowed to redeem Ma'aser Sheni with Perutos, simple copper coins. TOSFOS there (11a, DH Kol Kesef) explains that a Perutah does not have a Tzurah. If a Perutah has no Tzurah, how can the Gemara there say that one may redeem Ma'aser Sheni with Perutos? It must be that although the Perutah has no image on it, it has writing on it, and the writing is considered enough of a Tzurah to allow the coin to be used to redeem Ma'aser Sheni.
According to this explanation, why does the Gemara here not mention explicitly that the coin used for the redemption of Ma'aser Sheni must have either a picture or writing? The Torah Temimah answers that the Gemara mentions the most common form of coins -- those that have a Tzurah. Most coins are distinguished by the images on them, and not merely by the writing.
(b) Perhaps another answer may be suggested based on the Rambam's frequent comparison of pictures with writing in the laws of Shabbos. The Rambam writes (Hilchos Shabbos 11:7) that one who draws pictures on a wall on Shabbos transgresses the prohibition of writing (Kosev) on Shabbos. Similarly, the Rambam writes (23:14) that a woman who puts on eye shadow transgresses the prohibition of Kosev. Although there is a separate Melachah of coloring (Tzove'a), the Rambam maintains that these cases constitute Kosev. The KEHILOS YAKOV (Shabbos #40) discusses at length the difference between Kosev and Tzove'a according to the Rambam. He concludes that when a person seeks to make something colored, he wants the actual object to have that color. (For example, when a person forms a vessel and dyes it blue, he does not make a cup that is colored blue, but rather he makes a blue cup.) In contrast, when one writes words on paper, his intention is not to transform the paper into a new and better entity, but to communicate a message via the means of the words written on the paper. Similarly, when a woman puts on eye shadow, she wants to give a little bluish look to that area of her face; she does not want to make herself look as though she has a blue face. Hence, such an act is more similar to the purpose of writing than to the purpose of coloring.
Accordingly, when the Torah says that a coin with a Tzurah is acceptable, it means that any kind of writing which is comparable to a Tzurah is acceptable. The purpose of the Tzurah on a coin is not to beautify the coin but to show that it is the currency of a certain government or kingdom. The Tzurah fulfills the same purpose as the writing on a coin. Perhaps this is why the Rambam is certain that if one may redeem Ma'aser Sheni with a coin that has a Tzurah, he also may redeem it with a coin that has writing. (Y. Montrose)


OPINIONS: The Gemara quotes the Mishnah in Terumos (6:1) which states that one who accidentally eats, drinks, or anoints himself with produce of Terumah must pay the amount which he used plus an additional fifth.
The Mishnah there equates anointing oneself with oil of Terumah with eating and drinking produce of Terumah. The Gemara in Yoma (76b) also equates rubbing oil on oneself on Yom Kippur with eating and drinking on Yom Kippur. The similarity between rubbing oil on one's body and drinking is known as "Sichah k'Shtiyah" -- "anointing is like drinking." Does this concept apply to all Torah prohibitions, or only to anointing oneself with oil of Terumah and anointing oneself with oil on Yom Kippur? For example, if one rubs on himself a mixture of meat and milk, is he considered as though he ate a mixture of meat and milk?
(a) TOSFOS in Yoma (77a, DH d'Tenan) quotes RABEINU TAM who says that a person is permitted to anoint himself with forbidden fats, since the concept of "Sichah k'Shtiyah" applies only with regard to Terumah, Yom Kippur, and certain specific Isurei Hana'ah. Rabeinu Tam adds that even in the cases of Terumah, Yom Kippur, and those Isurei Hana'ah, the prohibition against Sichah is only mid'Rabanan. When the Gemara quotes verses to show that these acts of Sichah are forbidden, those verses are only "Asmachtos."
It is interesting to note Rabeinu Tam as quoted by Tosfos in Nidah (32) is even more lenient. He states there is never a prohibition against anointing oneself, even in the cases of Terumah and Yom Kippur, with anything other than oil.
(b) The BEIS YOSEF (YD 123) quotes the RASHBA who rules that one may not bathe in a bath of a Nochri's wine because of "Sichah k'Shtiyah."
RAV YOSEF SHALOM ELYASHIV shlit'a (quoted in He'oros b'Maseches Bava Metzia) comments that most Rishonim do not seem to rule that "Sichah k'Shtiyah," and therefore the Halachah is that anointing is not like drinking. However, since some Rishonim, as well as the VILNA GA'ON, do rule that "Sichah k'Shtiyah" with regard to some prohibitions, it is preferable that one be stringent if possible. However, one need be stringent only when the material used for anointing is "Ra'uy l'Achilas Kelev," fit for the consumption of a dog. When it is not "Ra'uy l'Achilas Kelev" one definitely is permitted to rub it into one's skin.
RAV MOSHE FEINSTEIN zt'l (in IGROS MOSHE OC 3:62) quotes the ruling of the MACHANEH EFRAIM who writes that even those Rishonim who rule that "Sichah k'Shtiyah" agree that it applies only when one performs the Sichah for pleasure. When one performs the Sichah for medicinal purposes it is permitted. (See Teshuvah there with regard to the use of ointments mixed with Chametz on Pesach.) (Y. Montrose)