Since this sugya comes at the beginning of a new daf and a new week, I am going to quote the baraita that appeared at the end of daf mem which serves as the basis for a lot of today’s section.
Both the produce of the Sabbatical Year and of Second Tithe may be redeemed with cattle, beast or fowl, whether live or slaughtered, the words of R. Meir.
But the sages say: With slaughtered [animals and birds] they may be redeemed, but not with live ones, lest one rear flocks from them.
For a commentary on the baraita, see 40, part 6. We now turn to this week’s daf. Again, I realize this is difficult material. Good luck!
According to Rava the dispute between the sages and R. Meir is only about male animals. In such a case R. Meir allows one to use males to redeem second tithe and sabbatical year produce because one doesn’t use male animals to raise flocks. Only one male is needed to impregnate large numbers of females. But when it comes to female animals even R. Meir agrees that one cannot use them to redeem second tithe and sabbatical year produce.
Rav Ashi refers to the dispute on the previous daf between R. Elazar, who allowed one to redeem sabbatical year produce only by selling it and R. Yohanan who was more lenient, allowing for redemption by sale and by exchange. R. Ashi says that this dispute is only over the actual sabbatical year produce itself. Such produce may be redeemed only through a sale, according to R. Elazar. But “secondary produce,” which refers to the money used to buy sabbatical year produce and now has the sanctity that the produce had, can be redeemed through exchange or sale.
On the previous page R. Elazar was supported by a baraita which used the word “sale” or “sold” to refer to redeeming sabbatical year produce. R. Ashi explains that the baraita repeatedly uses the word sale because of the sale of the original produce—this can only be redeemed by selling it (see the baraita there). The baraita could have used the word “exchange” after the first clause, but it didn’t because once it began to use the word “sale” it just continued to do so.
In this section Ravina uses a baraita to raise a difficulty on R. Ashi. The baraita describes a person who has a sela, a coin that he used to buy sabbatical year produce. The coin now has the sanctity of sabbatical year produce and cannot be used to buy a shirt. But the clever rabbis find a way for him to nevertheless purchase the shirt with the sela. He goes to a shopkeeper he knows and who knows what to do. He uses the sela to buy some produce. Now the sela is no longer sacred. Then he takes the produce and gives it back to the seller and the seller gives him back the sela coin. The sela now can be used to buy the shirt. [The produce will have the sanctity of the sabbatical year].
The problem for R. Ashi with this baraita is that the original sela is “secondary produce.” So why did he have to sell it to the shopkeeper? He could have just taken his own produce and exchanged it for the sela, making his own produce have the sanctity of sabbatical year produce. Why bother with the shopkeeper? This proves that even secondary produce can be redeemed only by way of sale and not by way of exchange.
Due to Ravina’s difficulty, R. Ashi modifies his original statement. Now he claims that R. Elazar holds that even secondary produce must be redeemed by way of sale and not by an exchange. R. Yohanan disagrees with regard to secondary produce, but when it comes to the original produce picked from the ground, it may be redeemed only by way of sale, not by exchange.
The problem that R. Ashi now faces is the baraita that was taught on daf 40 as a proof for R. Yohanan. This baraita (cited above in the intro) teaches that “Both the produce of the Sabbatical Year and of Second Tithe may be redeemed by exchange.” R. Ashi interprets “produce of the Sabbatical Year” to mean money used to buy produce of the Sabbatical Year. His proof for this interpretation is that the baraita also refers to “tithe.” If you interpreted this to mean second tithe produce, then the baraita would seem to say that you could exchange second tithe produce for animals. But the Torah says that second tithe produce can be exchanged only for money. Therefore, “tithe” must refer to “second tithe money.” So too, the words “Sabbatical Year produce” do not refer to the original produce itself but to money used to buy such produce.
Today’s section begins with a mishnah. My commentary on the mishnah itself is from Mishnah Yomit.
Leviticus 23:40 reads, “On the first day you shall take…and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days.” The beginning of the verse states “on the first day” and the end of the verse says, “seven days.” From here the rabbis derived that the mitzvah of taking the lulav is for a different amount of time in different places. They read the second half of the verse as applying to the Temple, “before the Lord your God.” Hence, the lulav should be taken up for seven days in the Temple. Outside of the Temple, or according to other commentaries, outside of Jerusalem, the lulav need be taken for only one day.
When the Temple still stood the lulav was taken in the Temple (or in Jerusalem) for seven days and outside of the Temple for only one day, as explained in the introduction.
However, when the Temple was destroyed, there was a problem. If people only observed the commandment for one day, they would soon forget that originally the commandment was observed for seven days, at least in some places. Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai, one of the leading rabbinic figures after the destruction of the Temple, decreed therefore that the lulav should be taken up for seven days in all places, in memory of the Temple.
Section three: Having related one of the decrees that Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai made after the destruction of the Temple, the mishnah now relates another, similar decree. We need to note a little bit of background to understand this. On the second day of Pesah, when the Temple still stood, the Omer offering of barley was harvested and brought to the Temple and waved by a priest. After this day, it was permitted to eat from the new grain harvest (see Leviticus 23:9-14). Since people outside of Jerusalem would not know precisely when the Omer had been offered, they would wait at least half of the day before they would eat from the new harvest. When the Temple was destroyed and they could no longer offer the Omer, the rabbis derived from the Torah that the new produce could be eaten as soon as the second day of Pesah began. In other words, without an Omer sacrifice the day itself allowed the new harvest. Again, Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai perceived a problem. If people would eat from the new harvest immediately on the 16th of Nissan, when the Temple is rebuilt they would forget that they need to wait until the Omer is offered. Therefore he decreed that the new produce could not be eaten for the entire day.
It is interesting to note that the rabbis who lived close to the destruction of the Temple believed that it would speedily be rebuilt. Just as they began working on the rebuilding of the First Temple only 70 years after its destruction, rabbis who lived in the first and early second century probably assumed that their Temple would also be rebuilt in a short time. However, after the Bar Kokhba revolt was crushed (135 C.E.), it probably began to dawn on many that the realistic chances of the Temple being speedily rebuilt were not good. The hopes of course never died, but this type of legislative activity—making decrees lest the Temple be rebuilt quickly, were more characteristic of the pre Bar Kokhba period.
R. Yohanan (the amora, not the tanna of the Mishnah) seeks a source for the notion that we should act religiously in such a way that we remember the Temple. He locates it in a verse from Jeremiah where the prophet laments that there are none who “seek Zion.” The fact that Jeremiah laments this situation implies that there is a need to “seek Zion” which R. Yohanan ben Zakai accomplished by enacting ceremonies to remember how things were done in the Temple.
This section deals with the second of R. Yohanan b. Zakkai’s “takkanot,” enactments. I explained this in yesterday’s section, but for convenience I am bringing it again here.
On the second day of Pesah, when the Temple still stood, the Omer offering of barley was harvested and brought to the Temple and waved by a priest. After this day, it was permitted to eat from the new grain harvest (see Leviticus 23:9-14). Since people outside of Jerusalem would not know precisely when the Omer had been offered, they would wait at least half of the day before they would eat from the new harvest. When the Temple was destroyed and they could no longer offer the Omer, the rabbis derived from the Torah that the new produce could be eaten as soon as the second day of Pesah began. In other words, without an Omer sacrifice the day itself allowed the new harvest. Again, Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai perceived a problem. If people would eat from the new harvest immediately on the 16th of Nissan, when the Temple is rebuilt they would forget that they need to wait until the Omer is offered. Therefore he decreed that the new produce could not be eaten for the entire day.
This takkanah of R. Yohanan was not intended to help people remember the Temple. Rather, it was meant to prevent halakhic mistakes from occurring should the Temple be rebuilt. The explanation here is as I explained in the intro and in yesterday’s section.
The question the Talmud asks is when might the Temple have been rebuilt such that people would mistakenly eat the new grain as soon as dawn broke. If it wasn’t rebuilt until the sixteenth of Nisan (or any time after), then when that day began it was permitted to eat from dawn in any case. Thus there would be no need to declare the entire day permitted.
And if it was rebuilt on the fifteenth, then only half of the day should be forbidden, because even when the Temple stood only half the day was ever forbidden. Those living far away from the Temple could always assume that the court would offer the first Omer sacrifice no later than the middle of the day. So at most R. Yohanan ben Zakkai should have said that the first half of the day was prohibited.