Another new mishnah opens this week’s daf.
There are two things which are permitted to one who is under a vow not to derive food benefit from his neighbor but are not permitted to one who may not benefit from his neighbor at all: walking on his property and the use of vessels not involved in the making of food (vessels in rabbinic literature includes pretty much anything made by human beings, including for instance clothing). For more information look at Mishnah Nedarim 4:1.
When it comes to the use of utensils used for preparing food, there is no difference between one who vows not receive any benefit and one who vows not receive benefit from food. In both cases, the one who has been vowed against cannot derive benefit.
The Mishnah stated that one who has been sworn not to derive any benefit from someone else may not even set foot on his property. The Talmud raises the problem that generally people don’t care if another person walks on their property. They don’t consider that giving benefit to another person. Therefore, it should not be prohibited in the case of a vow.
Rava says that the mishnah follows R. Elazar who says that even when someone normally doesn’t care if someone else derives benefit from him in a certain way, it is still prohibited. I’ll give you a potential example. I am an avid cyclist. I don’t care if people use my bike pump. In fact, if someone were to come over to my house, they could use it without even asking (not sure how they would get in, but that’s a different issue). I “excuse” this because it doesn’t cost me anything. According to R. Elazar it would still be forbidden for a person who is not allowed to derive benefit from me to use my bike pump.
Another new mishnah, again about vows.
Vowed offerings are stated using the language “Behold, I will bring an animal as an offering.” If a person sets aside an animal to be a vowed offering and the animal cannot for whatever reason be sacrificed (for instance, it gets lost or dies) he must bring a substitute. However, if he makes a freewill-offering using the language, “I will bring this animal as a sacrifice” and the animal is lost, he need not bring another. In all other respects, there is no difference between the two types of offerings.
No matter how one phrases his vow, he is still responsible for not delaying in bringing it. There are differences of opinion among tannaim as to how long one has to bring the sacrifice before he has transgressed the prohibition of “do not delay.”
This mishnah (taken from Kinim 1:1), like the mishnah in Megillah, explains the difference between a vow offering (a neder) and a freewill offering (a nedavah). A neder is when one promises to bring a certain type of offering, either an olah or a shelamim (wellbeing offering). For example if he promises to bring a bird olah, he must bring two birds as an olah. If he sets aside a bird and it is lost or stolen before it can be sacrificed, he must bring a replacement. The case of the nedavah is different. In this case, one points at an animal and promises to bring that animal as a sacrifice. For instance, he points at a sheep and promises to bring it. If the sheep is lost or dies, he is not responsible for its replacement because he was only responsible to bring that sheep as long as it was alive or available.
The Talmud now provides a prooftext for the mishnah’s halakhah. R. Shimon reads the verse from Leviticus as saying that any sacrifice he is liable to bring, he is responsible for if it is lost or stolen. But if he is not liable to bring it, then he is not responsible for it.
Yitzchak b. Avdimi explains that once a person says “I take it upon myself” to bring a certain sacrifice, it is as if it is already on his shoulders. In other words, just saying that one will bring a sacrifice is sufficient to make one obligated to bring it.
Today’s mishnah is about the difference between a man who has two unnatural genital discharges (meaning not semen) and one who has three.
A man who experiences an abnormal discharge for one or two consecutive days is impure for seven days after the discharge ends. If he sees the discharge for a third consecutive day, he must bring a sacrifice at the end of the seven day period. See Leviticus 15.
Both one who saw two “issues” and one who saw “three” issues defile anything they sit or lie on (even if they don’t touch it) and need to count seven days before they can become pure.
Leviticus 15:2 uses the word “zav” and its equivalent “zovo” which R. Simai interprets as two issues of unnatural discharge. After using this word twice, the end of the verse calls him impure. The next verse uses the word three times and also calls him impure. However, this is problematic. If he is already impure after two issues, why mention (midrashically) that he has a third?
The answer is that after two issues he is unclean, but after the third he is also liable for a sacrifice.
The Talmud now explores other ways of understanding why first the Torah refers to two issues and then three. Perhaps it means that after two he is unclean but that after three he brings a sacrifice and is not unclean!
Of course, this is not a serious suggestion. Before he can have three issues, he would have been unclean after having two. He stays unclean.
This is a slightly more plausible interpretation. After two issues he would be obligated to bring a sacrifice but not unclean. After three he would be unclean as well.
Of course, this does conflict with the simple meaning of the verse which in both verses call him impure.
This baraita derives the same halakhah we learned from R. Simai above. It focuses on the word “from his issue” which (to this midrash) implies that some zavim bring a sacrifice and some do not. Two issues does not entail bringing a sacrifice, but three does.
The Talmud points out that both midrashim were necessary. If we only had R. Simai we would not have known that after two he is unclean and after three he brings a sacrifice. We might have thought the opposite, as was stated in the difficulty above.
And if all we had was the latter baraita, we would have known that there was a difference between how many issues a zav had seen, but we wouldn’t have known that he was impure after two and brought a sacrifice after three. Therefore we need both midrashim.
Yesterday’s section contained a midrash on the word “from his issue.” Today’s section contains another instance where the word appears, asking how it is midrashically interpreted there.
Basically, this section is used to introduce another midrash on the issue of zavim, it too based on the word “from his issue” but this time from a different verse. The midrash goes through each word of the verse. “Cleansed” means the flow of discharge has stopped. “From his issue” means that he need only be clean from his genital discharge. If he also has leprosy (or some skin disease), he can still count clean days for his genital discharge. “Then he shall count” means that even if he has only had two discharges he begins to count seven days without discharge before he becomes clean.