The Talmud now goes back and asks how we would interpret the mishnah if we thought that coin could become an object of barter. To do this the Talmud basically rewrites the mishnah. The first part of the mishnah refers to coin, which can be used as barter, and the second half refers to produce (or what we could call edible products) which can also be used for barter. Note that prior to this we would not have thought that produce can be used for barter. If I want to trade you my Hershey bars for you Reeses cups, you would not take possession of the Hershey bars until you took them into your possession. But if it can be used as barter, then you would possess them as soon as I took the peanut butter cups.
The Talmud now alludes to a dispute about whether produce (and animals) can be used to effect barter. R. Sheshet says it can, but R. Nahman says it may not. We should note that this is a new problem, not related to the previous one. How can R. Nahman even understand the mishnah which does seem to say that produce and animals and not just vessels can be used for barter.
This is an entire reinterpretation of the mishnah such that the mishnah does not teach that produce or animals can effect barter. My explanation follows Rashi. The beginning of the mishnah states that money can sometimes be used to acquire through barter, even though the money was given as such and not as a form of barter. If Reuven sold Shimon an ox for a man, and Shimon drew the animal to him, he is now liable to give the maneh to Reuven. Reuven now says “Give me the cow instead of the money.” Shimon says yes. If Shimon says, “I am giving you this cow in place of the money” Reuven acquires the cow without having to pull it towards himself. We have now avoided the problem of produce effecting barter.
Generally speaking money cannot acquire—so why did this mishnah allow money to acquire (in this limited circumstance)? The answer is that from the Torah, money can acquire. The rabbis decreed that money does not acquire goods lest someone sell some wheat, take the money and then tell the other person that his wheat was burned. In other words, the law that money does not acquire was created for the protection of the buyer.
The rabbis decreed that money does not acquire things in unusual circumstances. But there was no reason to make such a decree for the rare case described above, since it is such a rare case.
Resh Lakish disagrees with R. Yohanan about what acquires. He holds that money does not acquire, and that even from the Torah only meshikhah acquires. The problem is that if he holds like R. Nahman that produce cannot effect barter, how can he understand the mishnah? So in the end, you have to say that he holds like R. Sheshet, who holds that produce can effect barter. So he can interpret the mishnah in the following manner quoted from above: “And produce too can effect a barter. How so? If one barters the meat of ox for a cow, or the meat of donkey for an ox, as soon as one party takes possession, the other assumes liability for what is given in exchange.”
Today’s section compares giving objects to another person with transferring them to the Temple.
Ordinary people cannot acquire movable property by using money (as we have learned already), but the Temple can use money to acquire movable property. So if the Temple’s treasurer wants to buy a cow, once he gives the cow’s owner money the cow is sanctified and belongs to the Temple.
Ordinary people can acquire through hazakah, which here seems to be used in the sense of taking physical possession.
A verbal declaration is not sufficient to transfer ownership. In other words, if I just pick up an object and say “This belongs to Reuven”, the object does not yet belong to Reuven. However, when it comes to dedicating something to the Temple, a verbal declaration is sufficient. If I state, “This cow belongs to the Temple,” the cow belongs to the Temple and is considered sacred. We can see through both of these sections that the Temple more easily acquires property than does an ordinary human being.
Today’s section explains the mishnah.
As I explained in my commentary on the Mishnah, the Temple can acquire by paying for things whereas an ordinary person needs to perform meshikhah (drawing it to him).
This illustrates the second half of the mishnah. The Temple acquires things when someone simply says they belong to the Temple. Ordinary people transfer objects by physically transferring them.