And these are the four uncertainties with regard to a convert where the halakha is lenient: The first is an uncertainty with regard to the first sheared wool of one’s sheep, where it is uncertain whether they were shorn before or after his conversion. And the second is whether or not the obligation of giving the gifts of the foreleg, the jaw, and the maw applies to his animal. And the third is an uncertainty with regard to the obligation to give five sela for the mitzva of the redemption of the firstborn son, where it is uncertain if he was born before or after the owner’s conversion. And the last is an uncertainty with regard to the redemption of a firstborn donkey by means of a sheep or a goat, where it is uncertain if it was born before or after the owner’s conversion. In each of these instances, the uncertainty is only with regard to monetary matters, and therefore the halakha is that one is exempt.
In connection to the previous discussion between Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish and Rabbi Yoḥanan, the Gemara relates that when Ravin came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he said a slightly different version of the above discussion: Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish raised the contradiction to the opinion of Rabbi Meir from a baraita that states that Rabbi Meir exempts the standing crop of a convert from the obligation to leave gleanings for the poor when it is uncertain whether the crop was harvested before or after his conversion. This baraita is in contradiction to the baraita that likewise discusses the standing crop: Grain whose status as gleanings is uncertain is considered gleanings. Rabbi Yoḥanan resolved this contradiction by explaining that the second baraita is the opinion of Rabbi Meir only according to Rabbi Yehuda ben Agra.
§ With regard to gifts left for the poor, the Gemara relates that Levi sowed crops in his field in Kishar, but there were no poor people in Kishar to take gleanings from his field. Levi came before Rav Sheshet to ask what should be done with the gleanings. Rav Sheshet said to him: The verse states with regard to the mitzvot of pe’a and gleanings: “You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger” (Leviticus 23:22), and not for the ravens nor for the bats. Since there are no poor people to take the gleanings, you should take them for yourself.
The Gemara raises an objection from a baraita: The owner of a field does not need to expend the effort to bring teruma, neither from the threshing floor to the city nor from the wilderness to a settled area, in order to give it to a priest. Rather, the priest must travel to the field to receive the teruma. And if there is no priest there, at the threshing floor or in the wilderness, to receive the teruma, the owner must hire a cow and bring the teruma to the city, due to the loss of teruma that would occur if it were left in the field. According to this baraita, the owner of the field should likewise be obligated to do the same with gleanings.
The Gemara explains: Teruma is different, in that if it is not separated it causes the entire crop to be considered untithed, and it is therefore not possible for one not to separate teruma from the crop. By contrast, gleanings do not render the remaining crop prohibited for consumption, and therefore it is not necessary to set them aside and remove them.
The Gemara objects: But what about the case of the gifts of the priesthood, which do not render the rest of the animal untithed, i.e., they do not prohibit the entire animal in consumption before they are separated. And nevertheless it is taught in a baraita: In a place where they were accustomed to put the meat of slaughtered calves in boiling water in order to remove the hairs from the skin, and then eat the meat with the skin still attached to the flesh, one may not skin the foreleg before giving it to the priest. Rather, he gives it with its skin intact.
The baraita continues: Similarly, in a place where people are accustomed to skin the head of an animal, one may not skin the cheek of the jaw of an animal before giving it to the priest, but must give it with its skin intact so that the priest may use the skin as he wishes. And if there is no priest available to receive the gifts, the gifts are appraised by their monetary value, and the owner may eat them and gives their monetary value to a priest at the next available time, due to the loss that would otherwise be incurred by the priest. Evidently, one must expend effort to ensure that a priest receives the gifts despite the fact that they do not render the entire animal untithed. Why is the halakha different with regard to gleanings?
The Gemara responds: The halakha is different in the case of gifts of the priesthood, as a term of giving is written with regard to it: “That they shall give to the priest the foreleg, and the jaw, and the maw” (Deuteronomy 18:3). This teaches that one must actively give the gifts to a priest, whereas no equivalent term is written with regard to gleanings. The Gemara adds: Now that you have arrived at this explanation with regard to gifts of the priesthood, one can likewise explain that the reason teruma must be brought to a locale where there is a priest is likewise due to the fact that a term of giving is written with regard to it: “The first fruits of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the first sheared wool of your sheep you shall give him” (Deuteronomy 18:4), not because teruma renders the crop untithed.
The Gemara asks: But if so, why do I need the verse to state an extra term of leaving with regard to gleanings? One verse states: “Neither shall you gather the gleaning of your harvest, and your vineyard you shall not harvest completely, and the fallen fruit of your vineyard you shall not gather; you shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger” (Leviticus 19:9–10), and another verse states: “Neither shall you gather the gleaning of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger” (Leviticus 23:22). Doesn’t this additional mention of leaving indicate that even if there are no poor people to take the gleanings, the owner must collect them and ensure that a poor person can claim them?
The Gemara responds: No, the extra term of leaving is required for that which is taught in a baraita: With regard to one who declares his vineyard ownerless, and in the morning awoke and reclaimed the ownerless vineyard and harvested the grapes, he is obligated in the mitzva of leaving individual fallen grapes for the poor [peret], and in the mitzva of leaving incompletely formed clusters of grapes for the poor [olelot], and in the mitzva of leaving forgotten clusters, and in the mitzva of pe’a. And he is exempt from the obligation to separate the tithes from the grapes, as the vineyard had been ownerless. The baraita rules that he is obligated in the gifts for the poor despite the halakha that the obligation to leave these gifts does not apply to an ownerless vineyard. It is derived from the additional mention of leaving that the obligation of gifts to the poor applies even to an ownerless field of this type.
§ In relation to the discussion of a case where the owner of a field takes gifts left for the poor for himself, the Gemara relates that there was a certain sack of dinars that was brought to the study hall to provide financial assistance for the students. Rabbi Ami rushed and acquired them. The Gemara asks: And how can he act in this manner? But isn’t it written with regard to gifts of the priesthood: “That they shall give to the priest” (Deuteronomy 18:3), and the Sages derived from the verse that a priest should receive the gifts and he should not take them by himself. The same applies to gifts for the poor as well. The Gemara responds: Rabbi Ami too did not take the gifts for himself. Rather, he acquired them for the poor.
And if you wish, say instead that the halakha with regard to a distinguished person such as Rabbi Ami, who was the head of the yeshiva, is different, and he may acquire the gifts for himself. As it is taught in a baraita that the verse: “And the priest who is greater than his brethren” (Leviticus 21:10), indicates that the High Priest should be greater than his priestly brethren in beauty, in wisdom, and in wealth.
Others say: From where is it derived that if the High Priest does not have property of his own, his brethren the priests elevate him and render him wealthy from their own property? The verse states: “And the priest who is greater than his brethren,” i.e., they must elevate him from the property of his brethren. Since the members of the study hall are required to enrich Rabbi Ami from their own property, it is certainly permitted for him to take these gifts for himself.
MISHNA: What is the definition of the foreleg that is given to the priests as one of the gifts? It is the part of the leg from the joint of the lower knee until the rounded protrusion surrounding the thigh bone of the foreleg; and that is the foreleg mentioned in the Torah with regard to the nazirite: “And the priest shall take the foreleg of the ram when it is cooked” (Numbers 6:19). And the parallel in the hind leg is the thigh that is given to the priest from the peace offering, which is also from the joint of the lower knee until the rounded protrusion surrounding the thigh bone. Rabbi Yehuda says: The thigh is from the joint of the lower knee until the upper knee joint, which connects the middle and upper parts of the leg. What is the definition of the jaw? It is from the joint of the lower jaw beneath the temples and downward until the upper ring of the windpipe.
GEMARA: The Sages taught in a baraita: The verse states with regard to the gifts of the priesthood: “That they shall give to the priest the foreleg, and the jaw, and the maw” (Deuteronomy 18:3). “The foreleg”; this is the right foreleg of the animal. The baraita continues: Do you say that this is the right foreleg, or is it only the left foreleg? The verse states: “The foreleg.” The definite article indicates that the verse is referring to the right foreleg.
The Gemara asks: What is the biblical derivation for this, i.e., how is it understood from the definite article that the verse is referring to the right foreleg? The Gemara responds: It is derived like that which Rava said with regard to the verse: “Therefore the children of Israel do not eat the sciatic nerve which is upon the hollow of the thigh” (Genesis 32:33). The definite article indicates that this is referring to the most important thigh. Here too, the definite article in the term “the foreleg” indicates that the verse is referring to the most important foreleg, i.e., the right foreleg.
The Gemara continues: And in the term “and the jaw,” for what purpose does the definite article come, i.e., what halakha does it teach? It serves to include wool that is on the head of lambs and hair that is in the beard of goats in the obligation to give the jaw to the priest. And in the term “and the maw,” for what purpose does the definite article come? It serves to include fat that is on the maw and fat that is inside the maw in the obligation to give the maw to the priest. As Rabbi Yehoshua said: Priests behaved generously with fat that is on the maw and they gave it to its owner, i.e., they relinquished their right to receive it. The Gemara infers: The reason this fat was not given to the priests is that they behaved generously, but had they not behaved generously, the fat would be his, the priest’s.
The Gemara cites a homiletical idea with regard to the gifts of the priesthood: The interpreters of Torah symbolism [dorshei ḥamurot] would say with regard to the reason why the foreleg, the jaw, and the maw are given to the priests: The foreleg corresponds to the hand of Pinehas, son of Elazar the priest, who killed Zimri, son of Salu, thereby bringing an end to the plague that was ravaging the children of Israel. And it likewise states in the verse: “And he took a spear in his hand” (Numbers 25:7).
And the jaw corresponds to the prayer [tefilla] offered by Pinehas during the aforementioned incident. And so it states in the verse: “Then stood up Pinehas, and wrought judgment [vayefallel], and so the plague was stayed. And that was counted to him for righteousness, to all generations forever” (Psalms 106:30). The maw is as its plain meaning in the verses describing the incident, and it likewise states: “And he thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel” (Numbers 25:8).
The Gemara above cited a source for the halakha that the right foreleg is given to the priest. The Gemara notes: And the tanna of the following baraita cites this halakha from here: The verse states with regard to the gift to the priest from a peace offering: “And the right thigh you shall give to the priest as a gift from your sacrifices of peace offerings” (Leviticus 7:32). I have derived only that the right thigh of a peace offering is given to the priest. From where do I derive that the right foreleg of the sacrificial ram of the nazirite is given to the priest? The verse states: “You shall give to the priest as a gift.” And from where is it derived that the right foreleg of a non-sacred animal is also given as a gift to the priest? The verse states: “You shall give.”
§ The mishna taught: What is definition of the jaw? It is from the joint of the jaw beneath the temples and below until the upper ring of the windpipe. The Gemara objects: But isn’t it taught in a baraita that when one removes the jaw from the animal to give to the priest, he removes it and the area of slaughter on the throat with it? The area of slaughter is beyond the upper ring of the windpipe.
The Gemara responds: This is not difficult. Everyone agrees that the priest receives only the part until the upper ring of the windpipe, and the difference between the two rulings is that this mishna is in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis, and that baraita is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Ḥanina ben Antigonus.
The Gemara explains that this is as it is taught in a baraita: The slaughter of an animal in such a manner that the knife is diverted to an area above the place of slaughter on its throat is not valid. Rabbi Ḥanina ben Antigonus testified with regard to the slaughter of an animal when the knife is diverted that it is valid (see 18b). The baraita calls the area of the jaw until the upper ring of the windpipe the area of slaughter, in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Ḥanina ben Antigonus, who maintains that it is also a valid area for slaughter.
And if you wish, say instead that this mishna and that baraita are both in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis, and what does the baraita mean when it says: With it? It means that the area of slaughter remains with the animal, i.e., it remains with the owner and is not given to the priest.
הדרן עלך הזרוע והלחיים