The Talmud now finds support for the notion that the sabbatical year status of the etrog follows the time when it is picked. There are two slightly different versions of this baraita. The proof comes from the corrected version, the second one.
The first opinion belongs to Avtulmos who testifies that when it comes to tithing, the etrog follows the time it is picked. For the sabbatical year, its status follows the time that it blossoms. Our mishnah in Sukkah does not hold like this tanna.
However, our mishnah does agree with the rabbis who voted in Usha (a settlement in the Galilee where rabbis lived and thrived after the destruction of the Temple). These rabbis held that the status of an etrog is always determined by the time it is picked, both for tithing and for the sabbatical year. Therefore, an etrog picked just in time for Sukkot of the sabbatical year, is considered a sabbatical year etrog. In contrast, the lulav follows the time of its blossoming and it is not a sabbatical year lulav.
This week’s daf continues the discussion about sabbatical year produce. Last week we learned that if one wants to buy a lulav from an am haaretz on the sabbatical year, he can buy the lulav because the lulav of the sabbatical year blossomed in the sixth year. The implication is that if the lulav had blossomed during the seventh year, the sanctity of the sabbatical year would apply to it. Our daf begins by questioning this implication.
The Talmud cites a baraita according to which leaves that were gathered for firewood are not subject to the laws of the sabbatical year. Only produce that is eaten, even by animals, is liable to these halakhot. So then, why would a lulav ever possess the sanctity of the sabbatical year, even if it blossomed on the seventh year itself?
The Talmud cites a midrash on the verse concerning what type of produce is subject to the laws of sabbatical year sanctity—anything whose benefit and consumption come at the same time. This is true of food—when one eats food, one simultaneously benefits and consumes the product. But when it comes to something used for kindling, first it is consumed, the heat is produced and only then one benefits from it by cooking or heating up the house. Therefore, if he sets aside the leaves to burn them, they are not subject to the laws of sabbatical year produce.
Rashi explains that the normal use of a lulav is to sweep out the house—it was the ancient broom. The benefit one derives from it comes at the same time it is used. Thus it gets ruined simultaneous to its use. Therefore the laws of sabbatical year produce do apply.
The wood of the “oily tree” was used to light torches, not for cooking or heating. In this case it is consumed at the same time that one derives benefit from it. So why don’t the rules of the sabbatical year apply?
Rava answers that since wood is generally used for heating, all wood falls into this category. The sabbatical year rules never apply to wood, even if it is used for making torches.
The Talmud continues to discuss whether wood set aside for heating/kindling is subject to the sabbatical year laws. This section uses a baraita that only indirectly relates to the subject.
The Talmud cites a baraita, which it will now explain and then later connect to the issue about wood during the sabbatical year. In this baraita we see a dispute between the sages whether one can use produce gathered during the sabbatical year for steeping or washing. Rashi explains that this produce is wine—they would steep flax or launder clothes in wine. R. Yose says that the wine can be used for such a purpose, while the first opinion says it may not. Below we shall see why.
The Torah (Leviticus 25:6) says that one can use sabbatical year produce for food. The first opinion in the baraita learns from here that one cannot use this produce for other purposes—such as steeping or washing.
Rabbi Yose emphasizes a different word from the verse—”for you.” One can use the sabbatical year produce for any purpose, even to steep or launder.
The Talmud now asks what the first tanna who said that sabbatical year produce can only be used for food, does with the verse “for you.” The answer is that he compares it with “for food.” This is a similar notion to the one we saw in yesterday’s section—once can use sabbatical year produce only if it is consumed and benefit is derived from it at the same time. When one steeps or launders with wine, the product is first consumed (by being rendered undrinkable), and then the benefit is derived. Therefore, one cannot use it for such a purpose.
This opinion would therefore hold that wood is not subject to the sabbatical year restrictions because its benefit by definition comes after it has been consumed. Thus from this baraita the Talmud can conclude that there is a debate about wood, not just about using wine for steeping or laundering.
Today’s section is a direct continuation of yesterday’s section. R. Yose used the word “for you” to deduce that one could use sabbatical year produce even for steeping or for laundering. So, the question is, how does he understand the word “for food” which seems to limit the use of sabbatical year produce to food.
He needs that phrase to deduce, “for food”, but not for a salve, as it has been taught, “for food”, but not for a salve. You say “for food” but not for a salve; why not say, “[for food”] but not for washing? When it says, “for you” washing is included. So how then do I understand, “for food”? “For food”, but not for a salve.
R. Yose uses the word “for food” to teach that one may not use sabbatical year produce as a salve. The baraita cited here debates whether the word “for food” excludes using sabbatical produce for washing or for a salve, ultimately deciding that it excludes the latter.
I include washing since it is a requirement common to all men and exclude a salve since it is not common to all men.
The baraita now asks the obvious question—why allow one to use sabbatical year produce for washing but not for a salve.
The answer is that the Torah wished to allow one to use sabbatical year produce for things that everyone always needs. Washing is a need common to all people, assumedly at all times. A salve is probably used more often by those who can afford it and it is certainly not something that someone needs all of the time.