We cannot derive agency for terumah from agency from divorce because terumah is considered holy, whereas divorce is not an issue of holiness. Since these are different fields, we cannot derive one from the other.
The word “also” is read as including an agent in separating tithes and terumah.
Why can’t we derive agency in divorce and marriage from agency with regard to terumah? Because terumah can be given without an act, just by thinking “this produce will be terumah.” Marriage and divorce require acts, and therefore even if we knew that agency was valid with regard to terumah, we would not know it is valid with regard to marriage and divorce.
The Talmud continues to discuss the issue of agency—how do we know that one may appoint an agent to act on his behalf?
This source is from Mishnah Pesahim 9:9. The issue is related to the halakhah that one cannot eat from a pesah offering for which he is not registered. However, it is cited here only because the company appoints an agent to go slaughter a pesah on their behalf. How do we know that one may appoint an agent for such a matter.
Earlier we learned that one may appoint an agent to separate terumah on his behalf. But from this halakhah we cannot derive that one may also appoint an agent to separate a pesah offering, because pesah offerings are holier than terumah. Perhaps one cannot appoint an agent to perform such a sacred act?...
The Torah states that the whole assembly of Israel slaughters the pesah sacrifice, although it is obvious that only one person performs the act. From here we can derive that a person’s agent is as himself—it is as if all of Israel slaughtered the pesah.
Above the Talmud derived that one can appoint an agent to separate and eventually slaughter the pesah sacrifice. Today’s section asks the question that usually follows—if we know that one can appoint an agent for sacrifices, then why can’t we derive the other cases, marriage, divorce and terumah, from this case?
Sacrifices cannot serve as a paradigm for the ability to appoint an agent in other matters because most sacrificial actions are performed through an agent, usually a priest.
We have discussed four issues—marriage, divorce, terumah and sacrifices, and stated that the right to appoint an agent cannot be derived from one of them and therefore the Torah had to teach agency in all of them. But maybe we can derive from two of them that agency works in the others? If so, why would the Torah have to teach the efficacy of agency in the others? The Talmud will now test this out.
We could not derive agency in sacrifices from the other cases, because sacrifices are holy whereas the other matters are either not holy at all, or less so. Therefore, the Torah had to teach the efficacy of agency with regard to sacrifices.
We could not derive agency in divorce from agency sacrifices and terumah because sacrifices and terumah can be designated by thought only. This is not true of divorce—the man must give the woman a get. It is not sufficient for him to merely think that he wishes to divorce her.
The Talmud continues to discuss whether the Torah could have skipped teaching that agency was effective in one of the cases (marriage, divorce, terumah and sacrifice) and we could have derived that case from the others.
The Talmud now admits—the Torah need not have written agency in connection with terumah and we could have derived it from marriage and sacrifices together. But now we have a new issue—what do we do with the superfluous words “also you”?
These words are used by R. Yannai to teach that just as “you” are members of the covenant, i.e. Jews, so too your agent must be a Jew.
Why would I need a verse to teach that an agent must be Jewish? This law can be derived from logic and by extension from the laws of receiving a divorce document. A slave cannot receive the document because he is not subject to the laws of marriage and divorce.
Indeed, we do need the verse to teach us that a non-Jew cannot serve as an agent for terumah. We might have thought that since a non-Jew can separate terumah from his own produce (i.e. the terumah is considered terumah, even though he was not obligated to do so) he can also serve as an agent for a Jew. Therefore the verse teaches us that he cannot. The non-Jew is different from a slave vis a vis marriage, since a slave cannot marry a Jew at all.
R. Shimon rules that if a non-Jew separates terumah, it does not count as terumah. His opinion is found in a mishnah about forbidden mixtures. If a non-Jew cannot separate terumah, then why do we need a verse to teach us that he cannot serve as an agent? The non-Jew would be the same as the slave—anyone who cannot perform the action himself cannot be an agent for others.
We need the words “also you” to teach that an agent can separate terumah if appointed by the owner of the crops for otherwise I might have read the word “you” as also excluding an agent, just as it excludes many other categories from separating terumah (a sharecropper, a partner, a guardian, or anyone separating terumah from produce not his own).
Thus in the end we have solved why we need the midrash on the words “also you” even though we might think that we could have derived this law from other fields of halakhah.
On the previous daf, R. Yehoshua b. Korha stated that we can derive the rule of agency from Exodus 12:6 that states that all of Israel shall slaughter the pesah sacrifice. Since it is obviously impossible for every Israelite to slaughter the pesah, the verse must be referring to an agent who performs the sacrifice on behalf of others. But other rabbis use this verse for other purposes. So for these rabbis, how do they derive agency?
R. Yonatan uses the verse to teach that theoretically one pesah sacrifice would be sufficient for all of Israel to fulfill their obligation. Since he uses the verse for another derashah, how does he derive the notion of agency? From that same verse—if there is only one sacrifice, then obviously only one person is slaughtering on behalf of everyone.
The Talmud, however, notes that this is problematic. In this case, the slaughterer is also fulfilling his mitzvah to offer the sacrifice. But how do we know that one can appoint an agent to offer a sacrifice on one’s behalf when the agent is not obligated to offer that same sacrifice?