Who does this agree with? With R. Yose, for if it were the Rabbis, they also exclude steeping and washing.
The end of this section cites another baraita that also deals with what one can do with sabbatical year produce. There are three things one may not do—use it for a salve, for perfume or for an emetic (something that makes you throw up). All of these are not foods. The baraita accords with R. Yose and not the other rabbis, for they are even more stringent and wouldn’t allow one to use it for steeping and washing.
When one sells sabbatical year produce, the money takes on the sanctity of the produce. Note that the produce remains sacred (this is something we will learn in part six of this daf). Our sugya discusses whether there are other ways to redeem sabbatical year produce.
R. Elazar says that the only way to redeem sabbatical year produce is to sell it. R. Yohanan adds that one can intentionally exchange it–i.e. he takes some money and declares that it is in place of the produce.
R. Elazar derives his law from the juxtaposition of Leviticus 25:13 which mentions the Jubilee, a year that is similar to the normal sabbatical year, with the following verse which mentions selling. From this juxtaposition he derives the halakhah that sabbatical year produce is redeemed only by selling it.
Rabbi Yohanan notes that the Torah calls the sabbatical year “holy.” Just as holy things such as items dedicated to the Temple can generally be redeemed by exchanging them for money, so too sabbatical year produce can simply be exchanged for money.
In yesterday’s section, R. Elazar used the verse “And if you sell something to your fellow” to derive the halakhah that one can redeem sabbatical year produce only by selling it. R. Yohanan did not read the verse that way, for he allowed one to redeem the produce also by exchanging it. Our passage asks how R. Yohanan reads that verse.
R. Yohanan does not derive a halakhah from the juxtaposition of the verses. Rather, he reads it as a story. First comes the Jubilee year, representative of any sabbatical year. During the sabbatical year one should not do regular trade in produce. The idea is that one can eat the fruit of the land, and if there is extra one can sell the extra, but one shouldn’t make a business out of it. This is called “the dust of the sabbatical year” for the main prohibition of the sabbatical year is not to plant or work the field in any way.
In any case, if one does engage in business with sabbatical year produce, then the next verse will apply to him—he will grow poor as a punishment and end up selling his possessions. Note that this is a type of “measure for measure” punishment. One didn’t leave sabbatical year produce out in the fields so that anyone could take it, even the poor. In the end, that person himself will grow poor.
Rabbi Elazar uses the verse that calls the Jubilee year “holy” to teach a general halakhah about sabbatical year produce. When one sells something that is holy, such as something that has been dedicated to the Temple, the money now takes on the holiness of the sold object. That money would have to be given to the Temple just as the holy object would have had to have been given to the Temple. The same is true for sabbatical year produce—when one sells it, the money takes on the sanctity of the produce. In tomorrow’s section we will note that redeeming sabbatical year produce is different from redeeming holy things.
Today’s section continues to deal with the dispute between R. Elazar and R. Yohanan. As a reminder, R. Elazar says that sabbatical year produce becomes desacralized only by selling it. R. Yohanan says that it also may be redeemed, meaning a person can just take his own money and exchange it for his own sabbatical year produce. We shall also note that the two baraitot we see here establish the halakhah that redeeming or selling sabbatical year produce does not desacralize it. Sabbatical year produce can never be desacralized, unlike objects dedicated to the Temple that can.
After a brief introduction, the Talmud opens with a baraita that accords with R. Elazar. I have broken this baraita up into several pieces due to its length.
The first section teaches the same halakhah that we learned in yesterday’s section. When one redeems sabbatical year produce, the money used to redeem the produce assumes the same sanctity as the produce itself. The baraita will now continue and explain this.
The baraita explains that there is a difference between redeeming holy objects and redeeming sabbatical year produce. When one redeems holy objects, the objects are desacralized. The sanctity that used to reside in the object is now found only in the money itself. But when one redeems sabbatical year produce—the produce retains its sanctity, even though the money or object for which it is exchanged is now sacred as well.
The baraita now explains how the purchased item retains the sanctity of the original sabbatical year produce. One has sabbatical year wheat, for instance, and exchanges it for meat. The meat and the produce are now both holy and must be removed from one’s home when the time during the year comes at which one can no longer have sabbatical year produce in one’s home. If one now sells the meat for something else, the meat loses its sanctity and that which is purchased with the meat takes on that sanctity. This process basically continues ad infinitum. The last object acquired always takes on the sanctity and the original produce never loses its sanctity. This makes it different from normal holy things dedicated to the Temple. When such objects are redeemed they lose their sanctity and only the money (or that which is used for an exchange) becomes holy. Sabbatical year produce, in contrast, can never really be desacralized.
The Talmud now notes that since the baraita continually uses the word “purchase” it implies that one can never redeem sabbatical year produce for money. One has to sell it. This accords with R. Elazar’s opinion.
This baraita (which shall be discussed more thoroughly in next week’s daf) uses the word “redeemed” in relation to sabbatical year produce. This accords with R. Yohanan who allows one to “redeem” or “exchange” sabbatical year produce, without selling it.
Within the baraita there is a dispute over whether one can exchange sabbatical year produce for live animals or birds. The sages forbid this because the animal or bird used to redeem the produce will now be holy. The problem is that any of its offspring will be holy as well. The sages are concerned that one might raise entire flocks of holy animals. This will be confusing, people will forget that the animals are holy (and had to have been eaten by a certain time) and they will end up transgressing. Therefore, the sages rule one can exchange sabbatical year produce only for meat that has already been slaughtered.