1) "COOKING" INCLUDES ROASTING
QUESTION: Rebbi Yoshiyah cites proof from a verse in Divrei ha'Yamim II (35:13), "They cooked the Pesach with fire according to its law," that the word "Mevushal" (cooked) includes foods that are roasted as well as cooked. The verse refers to the Korban Pesach as "cooked," even though the Torah clearly states that the Korban Pesach must be roasted (Shemos 12:8-9).
REBBI AKIVA EIGER (in Gilyon ha'Shas) asks why Rebbi Yoshiyah cites a verse in Divrei ha'Yamim as support when an explicit verse in the Torah states, "You shall cook [the Korban Pesach] and eat it" (Devarim 16:7). In fact, the Mechilta (Parshas Bo, #6) indeed cites that verse as the source for Rebbi Yoshiyah's statement! Rebbi Akiva Eiger concludes, "There is what to answer." What is the answer to this question?
(a) The SHALMEI NEDARIM and PORAS YOSEF answer that perhaps Rebbi Yoshiyah cites the verse in Divrei ha'Yamim because he maintains that "we follow Lashon Bnei Adam" -- the words one uses in a Neder are interpreted based on popular usage and not on how they are used by the Torah, as the Gemara concludes (see RAN DH v'Af Al Pi she'Ein Ra'ayah).
Indeed, TOSFOS (55a, DH uch'Frotz) explains that the words used in Divrei ha'Yamim are the words used popularly and not the phraseology used by the Torah. Accordingly, Rebbi Yoshiyah does not cite the verse in the Torah that roasted foods are included in "Mevushal"; he is trying to bring support for the meaning of the word "Mevushal" based on popular usage and not based on how the Torah uses the word. (It is still only a "Zecher l'Davar" and not a full-fledged proof because the popular usage of a word might change in different times and different places.)
(See Rashi, beginning of Parashas Matos (Bamidbar 30:2), who explains that the reason why all other prophets introduced their prophecies with the words, "Ko Amar Hash-m" -- "Such did Hash-m speak...," while Moshe Rabeinu said, "Zeh ha'Davar..." -- "These are the words of Hash-m," is that all other Nevi'im, upon receiving their prophecies, expressed their prophecies in their own words, in "Lashon Bnei Adam." Moshe Rabeinu expressed his Nevu'ah with the exact words he heard from Hash-m.)
According to the Shalmei Nedarim, perhaps the Mechilta which cites the verse in Parshas Re'eh, and not the verse in Divrei ha'Yamim, as the source for Rebbi Yoshiyah's statement argues with the Gemara here about the view of Rebbi Yoshiyah. The Ran cites the Yerushalmi which argues with the Gemara and says that Rebbi Yoshiyah indeed maintains that a person's words are interpreted based on the way the Torah uses those words, when such an interpretation will create a stringency, a Chumra. Rebbi Yoshiyah follows "Lashon Bnei Adam" only when such an interpretation will be l'Chumra. The Gemara here, however, maintains that Rebbi Yoshiyah only follows "Lashon Bnei Adam" (even l'Kula). The Mechilta agrees with the Yerushalmi, and therefore it says that Rebbi Yoshiyah's source is the verse in the Torah and not the verse in Divrei ha'Yamim.
2) CLASSIFIED INFORMATION
QUESTION: The Gemara proves that a gourd ("Kara") is an unhealthy food from an incident involving Rebbi Yirmeyah. When Rebbi Yirmeyah fell ill, the doctor who came to treat him saw a gourd in his home and refused to treat him. The doctor exclaimed that the "Mal'ach ha'Maves is present in this house," a reference to the consumption of gourd.
The Gemara questions this assertion from the Beraisa which says that sick people eat soft guards with bread. The Beraisa implies that gourd is healthy and helps the sick recover.
Rava bar Ula answers that the soft part inside the gourd is healthy, while the hard rind on the outside is unhealthy. As support for his answer, he cites Rav Yehudah who says that the inside of a gourd is good when eaten with beets, and the inside of flax seeds is good when eaten with a milk dish called "Kutach." He adds, "And one is prohibited to say this in front of an Am ha'Aretz."
Why is one prohibited to say this in front of an Am ha'Aretz? The Gemara does not explain this cryptic statement.
(a) The MEFARESH explains that when the Gemara says that it is "good" to eat the gourd with beets and the flax seed with Kutach, it means that such food is a prophylactic, as the previous Beraisa implies. The reason one should not relate this information to an Am ha'Aretz is because one should not tell an Am ha'Aretz anything which could benefit him.
TOSFOS rejects this explanation. He argues that it does not make sense that one should be prohibited from helping an Am ha'Aretz recover from his illness. (See, however, Berachos 33a, "One is prohibited to have mercy on one who has no De'ah." See also HAGAHOS HA'YA'AVETZ here.)
(b) TOSFOS therefore explains that the reason why one may not relate this information to an Am ha'Aretz is that he will ridicule the Talmidei Chachamim for teaching their students such trivial information (or such obvious information, ROSH).
This answer is also problematic, however, because many statements of the Gemara teach medical information and general knowledge about the world, but no other Gemara mentions any warning against relating such information to an Am ha'Aretz.
(c) The RAN explains that if one tells this information to the Amei ha'Aretz, they might uproot all of the flax in order to use it for curative purposes, and consequently the flax crops will suffer.
This explanation is also problematic. If we are concerned about the damage to the flax crops, why does the Gemara specifically warn against telling it to an Am ha'Aretz? Anyone who knows that flax has medicinal properties will uproot it for that purpose! The Gemara should have said, "Do not teach this in public."
(d) The ROGATCHOVER GA'ON (Hilchos Kil'ayim 1:1) suggests an original explanation. The RASHBAM in Bava Basra (92a) explains that generally flax is not a food item. It is used for making ropes, fabric, and the like. Only for medicinal purposes is flax ever eaten, as the Gemara here mentions.
The Yerushalmi (Ma'aseros, end of fifth Perek) states that during the Shemitah year, one is permitted to buy flax from anyone, even from an Am ha'Aretz, because no one is suspected of planting or tending to flax during the Shemitah year, since it is inedible and not worth much. The Gemara here warns against telling an Am ha'Aretz how beneficial flax is for its medicinal properties, because if they find out that it has such properties they will grow it and cultivate it even during the Shemitah year. Consequently, no one will be able to purchase flax from an Am ha'Aretz and there will be a lack of supply of flax during Shemitah.
(e) RAV ELAZAR MOSHE HA'LEVI HOROWITZ suggests that the words, "And one is prohibited to say this in front of an Am ha'Aretz," are not part of Rav Yehudah's statement. Rather, they are part of Rava bar Ula's answer that there is a difference between the healthy inside of a gourd and the unhealthy rind of the outside of a gourd. The Chachamim prohibited one from teaching an Am ha'Aretz that part of a gourd is healthy out of fear that the Am ha'Aretz will confuse the healthy part for the unhealthy part, and consequently he will eat the harmful part of the gourd and become ill.
Rebbi Yirmeyah, who was a Talmid Chacham, knew this difference and kept a gourd in his house in order to eat the inside for its healing properties. The doctor did not know about the healing quality of the inside of the gourd. Rebbi Yirmeyah did not call the doctor to come back so that he could tell him that the inside of the gourd is healthy, because the doctor was an Am ha'Aretz and Rebbi Yirmeyah did not want the doctor to confuse the healthy part of the gourd with the harmful part.
(According to this explanation, Rava bar Ula's answer complements Rava's answer that Talmidei Chachamim who are weak like sick people eat the gourds with bread.)