QUESTION: The Gemara suggests that there is a contradiction in the statements of Rebbi Shimon with regard to Bereirah. In one Beraisa (end of 36b), Rebbi Shimon maintains that Bereirah does not work -- "Ein Bereirah." The Beraisa discusses a case in which a person buys untithed wine and is unable to separate the tithes before he drinks it (for example, he has no other containers with which to separate the Terumah and Ma'aseros). According to Rebbi Meir, he may drink the wine now if he declares that a certain quantity of the wine that he will separate later will be Terumah and Ma'aseros. He is permitted to drink the wine now because of "Yesh Bereirah." "Yesh Bereirah" means that although the status of an object is not clear at the present time, a future occurrence can determine its status retroactively. Rebbi Shimon argues. He maintains that one may not drink the wine before he separates tithes, because "Ein Bereirah" -- when the status of an object is not clear at the present time, a future occurrence cannot determine its status retroactively.
However, in another Beraisa (37b), Rebbi Shimon maintains that Bereirah does work -- "Yesh Bereirah." The Beraisa discusses a case in which a person places his Eruv in a certain location with the intent to decide each Shabbos whether or not to use it for that Shabbos. If he decides after nightfall on Shabbos to use the Eruv, Rebbi Shimon maintains that the Eruv is valid, because Bereirah works to determine the status of the Eruv retroactively.
Rava explains that Rebbi Shimon generally maintains "Yesh Bereirah." The only reason why Rebbi Shimon says that Bereirah does not work in the case of the untithed wine is because when the person says, "The wine which I will separate tomorrow from the rest is now Terumah," the Terumah at present is not distinguishable from the rest of the wine. In order for Terumah to be separated effectively, it must be distinguishable from the rest of the produce (this is called "Reishis she'Sheyareha Nikarin"). If the Terumah is not observably separate from the rest of the produce, one's declaration to separate Terumah is meaningless.
Abaye challenges Rava's assertion that the Terumah must be distinguishable at the time that it is separated. If a person has two pomegranates of Tevel and he says that "the one on the left will be Terumah for the one on the right if it rains tomorrow, and the one on the right will be Terumah for the one on the left if it does not rain tomorrow," one of the two fruits is certainly Terumah, even though at the time of his declaration the fruit of Terumah is not distinguishable.
Why does Abaye direct his question towards Rava? Before Rava's explanation, the assumption is that the reason why Rebbi Shimon prohibits the wine before Terumah and Ma'aseros are physically separated is because he maintains that Bereirah does not work ("Ein Bereirah"). However, if Rebbi Shimon maintains "Ein Bereirah," then the same question from the case of the two pomegranates applies. Abaye's question applies not only to Rava's way of understanding Rebbi Shimon; it applies to any way of understanding Rebbi Shimon. (TOSFOS DH Ela)
(a) The TOSFOS HA'ROSH answers that the Gemara's assumption that Rebbi Shimon maintains "Ein Bereirah" applies only in a case in which the contingency depends on the person's own future action. When it depends on another person's action or on the weather (such as in the case of the pomegranates), then perhaps Rebbi Shimon agrees that Bereirah works. (The source for this distinction is the Gemara in Gitin 25b.)
(b) TOSFOS RABEINU PERETZ adds that even if Rebbi Shimon maintains "Ein Bereirah," that applies only in a case in which the person makes the event dependent on something that man can accomplish. When the person makes it dependent on a natural occurrence, such as rain, everyone agrees that Bereirah works.
(c) TOSFOS (DH Ela) answers in the name of the MAHARI that "Ein Bereirah" does not mean that the event does not take effect at all, regardless of whether or not the contingency occurs in the future. Rather, it does take effect, but in such a way that no one knows how or on what it takes effect. That is, even if one rules "Ein Bereirah," the change of status still takes effect now, but the details which depend on the outcome of the future event remain in doubt.
For example, in the case of the two pomegranates, most Rishonim explain that neither fruit becomes Terumah because "Ein Bereirah" dictates that a present status cannot take effect based on a future event. The Mahari, however, explains that one of the fruits is certainly Terumah, but exactly which fruit is Terumah remains in doubt. The change of status is effected, but the details that were dependent upon the future event remain in doubt, even after the future event occurs. In practice, a Kohen is permitted to eat both pomegranates, because one of them is Terumah and the other is Chulin, and neither one is Tevel anymore. (According to the opinion that Bereirah works, when tomorrow arrives and it rains or does not rain, it becomes known exactly which fruit is Terumah.)
However, if there is a requirement that fruit designated as Terumah must be distinguishable in order for it to be Terumah, then the Terumah does not take effect on either fruit at all. The requirement of "Reishis she'Sheyareha Nikarin" was not fulfilled, and both fruits remain Tevel (neither a Yisrael nor a Kohen may eat them).
This explains why Abaye's question applies only to Rava's explanation. According to Rava, in the case of the pomegranates the Terumah does not take effect at all. Both fruits remain Tevel and are forbidden even to a Kohen. Without Rava's explanation (and his requirement of "Reishis she'Sheyareha Nikarin"), one of the fruits is Terumah (even according to the opinion that maintains "Ein Bereirah"), but it is not clear which one (and a Kohen is permitted to eat both).
RASHI, in a number of places, clearly understands "Ein Bereirah" in this way as well. Rashi understands that the change that the person wants to take effect does occur, but it is unclear in which way it transpires. (This is clear from Rashi earlier (37a, DH l'Eizeh), in his explanation of the case of the Mishnah in Kinim. Rashi writes that according to the opinion of "Ein Bereirah," it is not true that both birds are neither a Chatas nor an Olah. Rather, it could be that the one that he thinks is a Chatas is really an Olah, and vice versa. Rashi says this even more clearly in Chulin 14a (DH Osrin), Gitin 24b (DH l'Eizo), and Gitin 73b (DH u'Meshani), among other places. See CHIDUSHEI REBBI AKIVA EIGER in Ma'arachah #4 to Eruvin 38a, DH v'Nir'eh d'Vein. See also Insights to Eruvin 37:1, Yevamos 67:1, Gitin 25:1, Gitin 73:2, Zevachim 3:1, and Chulin 14:3.)
However, according to the Mahari and Rashi, the Gemara earlier is difficult to understand. The Gemara proves that Rebbi Yosi cannot be of the opinion that "Ein Bereirah" from the case in which a person says, "The fruits of Ma'aser Sheni will be redeemed on whichever coin comes up in my hand from the purse." Rebbi Yosi rules that the redemption takes effect on whichever coin comes up. This proves that Rebbi Yosi maintains that Bereirah works -- "Yesh Bereirah." According to the Mahari and Rashi, though, how does the Gemara prove this? According to their explanation of "Ein Bereirah," even if Rebbi Yosi maintains that Bereirah does not work, the Ma'aser certainly is redeemed; it is just unknown on which coin it was redeemed. How does the Gemara prove from Rebbi Yosi's ruling that he maintains "Yesh Bereirah"?
The answer seems to be implicit in the words of Rashi himself. Rashi (DH Rebbi Yosi Omer) implies that when the person says "whichever coin comes up" will become Ma'aser Sheni, he does not mean that any coin in his purse can become Ma'aser and whichever one he happens to pick out is that one. Rather, he means, "I have a few coins in my purse that I want to use for the redemption of Ma'aser Sheni. If one of them comes into my hand first, then it should be used to redeem the Ma'aser. However, I have other coins in my purse which I do not want to use for Ma'aser at all. If one of those coins comes into my hand first, I do not want it to be used to redeem the Ma'aser."
Accordingly, the question is not only on which coin the Ma'aser becomes redeemed, but whether the Ma'aser becomes redeemed at all, since there is a possibility that he will take out a coin which he did not want to become Ma'aser. Since Rebbi Yosi maintains that redemption of the Ma'aser does take effect in this case, it must be that he indeed is of the opinion that "Yesh Bereirah." (M. KORNFELD)