שני תבואות ימכר לך פעמים שאתה מוכר שלשה תבואות בשתי שנים
of years of the crops he shall sell to you” (Leviticus 25:15). The plural form of both “years” and “crops” indicates that the number of years does not necessarily correspond to the quantity of crops. Consequently, sometimes you might sell three yields of crops in two years. If one purchases a field in the summer, when the produce has not yet been harvested, and he harvests that yield and subsequently grows and harvests two more crops before the completion of the whole two years, he will have gained three yields in less than two years.
שש שנה שבעבד עברי מנלן אמר קרא (שמות כא, ב) שש שנים יעבוד ובשביעית ובשביעית נמי יעבוד
The Gemara asks: From where do we derive the halakha that the six years stated with regard to a Hebrew slave is calculated by whole years? The Gemara answers that the verse states: “Six years he shall work, and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing” (Exodus 21:2). The word “and” in the phrase “and in the seventh” indicates that he shall also work in the seventh calendar year, if six full years have not passed since he was sold. For example, if he was sold in the month of Nisan, it means that five years and six months have passed when Tishrei, the first month of the seventh year, arrives; he has not yet completed six years of service, and he must work in this seventh calendar year as well, until the date on which he was sold.
שבבן ושבבת למאי הלכתא אמר רב גידל אמר רב לענין ערכין ורב יוסף אמר לפרקין דיוצא דופן
The baraita mentions the years of a son and of a daughter among those calculated as full years. The Gemara asks: With regard to what halakha is this stated? Rav Giddel says that Rav says: With regard to valuations, i.e., the age of a valuated male or female is calculated in whole years from the date of his birth, not by calendar years. And Rav Yosef says: The halakha is stated with regard to the matters taught in our fifth chapter in tractate Nidda, which is named after its opening words: Yotze Dofen, meaning an offspring born by caesarean section. In other words, when a mishna in this chapter mentions years, it means full years, even when it does not state this explicitly.
א"ל אביי מי פליגת א"ל לא הוא אמר חדא ואנא אמינא חדא ולא פליגינן
Abaye said to Rav Yosef: Do you and Rav disagree with regard to this matter? In other words, as you interpreted the mention of a son and a daughter differently, does each of you reject the halakhic application of the other? Rav Yosef said to Abaye: No, he said one matter, and I said one different matter, but we do not disagree.
והכי נמי מסתברא דאי ס"ד פליגי מאן דאמר לערכין לא אמר ליוצא דופן והאמר רב הלכתא בכולה פרקין מעת לעת
The Gemara notes: And this, too, stands to reason, as if it enters your mind that they disagree with regard to this matter, then the one who said full years are required for determining valuations does not say that full years are necessary for the halakhot of this chapter, Yotze Dofen. But doesn’t Rav say, like Rav Yosef, that the halakha in this entire chapter with regard to all of the places where an age is mentioned in years is that even when the phrase: And one day, is not explicitly noted, they are all calculated from the time of year of birth until that same time of year in the age specified, not by calendar years?
אלא למ"ד לערכין מ"ט לא אמר ליוצא דופן דומיא דהנך מה הנך דכתיבן אף הני נמי דכתיבן
The Gemara asks: But if that is correct, then according to Rav, who is the one who said that full years are required for determining valuations, what is the reason that he does not say in his interpretation of the baraita that full years are required for the halakhot of Yotze Dofen? The Gemara answers: Rav maintains that the years of a son and of a daughter mentioned in the baraita are similar to those other cases mentioned in the baraita: Just as those numbers of years are written in the Torah, so too these years of a son and of a daughter are referring to matters where the years are written in the Torah, i.e., the years of valuations, unlike the topics discussed in Yotze Dofen, where the years are not mentioned explicitly in the Torah.
ואידך האי שבבן ושבבת שבזכר ושבנקבה מבעי ליה
The Gemara asks: And how would the other amora, Rav Yosef, respond to this contention? The Gemara answers: He would maintain that if the baraita were referring to the years of valuations, which are written in the Torah, then this expression in the baraita: Of a son and of a daughter, is unsuitable. Rather, the baraita should have stated: Of the male and of the female, which are the terms the Torah uses with regard to valuations, whereas the terms: Son and daughter, are used in Yotze Dofen.
אמר רב יצחק בר נחמני א"ר אלעזר הלכה כר' יוסי בן כיפר שאמר משום ר' אליעזר א"ר זירא אזכה ואיסק ואגמר לשמעתא מפומיה דמרא
§ Rav Yitzḥak bar Naḥmani says that Rabbi Elazar says: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei ben Keifar, who said his ruling in the name of Rabbi Eliezer, that a man nineteen years and thirty days of age who has not developed signs of puberty is deemed a sexually underdeveloped man. In this regard, the Gemara relates that Rabbi Zeira said: May it be God’s will that I merit to ascend to Eretz Yisrael, and that I learn this halakha from the mouth of its Master, Rabbi Elazar.
כי סליק אשכחיה לר' אלעזר אמר ליה אמרת הלכה כרבי יוסי בן כיפר אמר ליה מסתברא אמרי מדכוליה פירקין תני יום אחד והכא לא קתני שמע מינה מסתברא כותיה:
The Gemara recounts that when Rabbi Zeira eventually ascended to Eretz Yisrael he indeed found Rabbi Elazar and said to him: Did you say that the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei ben Keifar? Rabbi Elazar said to him: I said that it stands to reason that the halakha is in accordance with his opinion. He elaborated: From the fact that throughout the entire chapter the Mishna teaches: And one day, but here, in the last mishna, it does not teach this phrase, one can conclude from it that it stands to reason that there is a reason for this discrepancy, in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei ben Keifar.
הדרן עלך יוצא דופן
מתני׳ בא סימן התחתון עד שלא בא העליון או חולצת או מתיבמת
MISHNA: If the lower sign of puberty, two pubic hairs, appeared in a young woman before the upper sign, development of the breasts, appeared, then she is an adult, as the pubic hairs are an unequivocal sign. Therefore, if her childless husband died and she came before her husband’s brother [yavam] for levirate marriage, she either performs the ritual through which a yavam frees a yevama of her levirate bonds [ḥalitza] or enters into levirate marriage with her husband’s brother.
בא העליון עד שלא בא התחתון אף על פי שאי אפשר ר' מאיר אומר לא חולצת ולא מתיבמת
If the upper sign indicating puberty appeared before the lower sign appeared, i.e., the two pubic hairs are not visible, although that order of development is apparently impossible, Rabbi Meir says: In fact, it is possible for the breasts to develop before the growth of two pubic hairs, and the concern is that the two hairs did not grow and fall out but rather they never grew in the first place, which would mean that she remains a minor. Therefore, if her childless husband dies, she neither performs ḥalitza nor does she enter into levirate marriage with her husband’s brother.
וחכ"א או חולצת או מתיבמת מפני שאמרו אפשר לתחתון לבא עד שלא בא העליון אבל אי אפשר לעליון לבא עד שלא בא התחתון
And the Rabbis say: She has reached majority, and therefore if her childless husband dies she either performs ḥalitza or enters into levirate marriage with her husband’s brother. That is due to the fact that the Sages said: It is possible for the lower sign of puberty to appear before the upper sign appears; but it is impossible for the upper sign to appear before the lower sign appears.
גמ׳ אע"פ שאי אפשר והלא בא בא לר' מאיר אע"פ שאי אפשר לרבנן
GEMARA: The mishna teaches that Rabbi Meir and the Rabbis disagree with regard to the halakha when the upper sign of puberty appears before the lower sign. The mishna stated about that case: Although that order of development is impossible. The Gemara raises a difficulty: But the mishna explicitly states that it is referring to a situation where the upper sign did appear before the lower one. The Gemara explains: When the mishna states that it did appear, that is according to the opinion of Rabbi Meir, who maintains that such an occurrence is possible, whereas when the mishna teaches: Although that order of development is impossible, it is referring to the opinion of the Rabbis, who contend that it is not possible.
ולתני בא העליון ר"מ אומר לא חולצת ולא מתיבמת וחכ"א או חולצת או מתיבמת ואנא ידענא משום דאי אפשר הוא
The Gemara objects: But why is it necessary at all to mention the phrase: Although that order of development is impossible. Instead, let the mishna simply teach: If the upper sign of puberty appeared, Rabbi Meir says: She neither performs ḥalitza nor does she enter into levirate marriage with her husband’s brother; and the Rabbis say: She either performs ḥalitza or enters into levirate marriage with her husband’s brother. And I would know that the ruling of the Rabbis is due to the fact that it is impossible for the upper sign of puberty to appear before the lower sign.
אי לא תנא אע"פ שאי אפשר הוה אמינא רוב נשים תחתון אתי ברישא ומיעוט עליון אתי ברישא ורבי מאיר לטעמיה דחייש למיעוטא ורבנן לטעמייהו דלא חיישי למיעוטא
The Gemara explains: If the mishna had not taught: Although that order of development is impossible, I would say that with regard to most women the lower sign appears first, before the upper sign; but in a minority of women, the upper sign appears first. And Rabbi Meir, who rules that she is a minor who may not perform either ḥalitza or enter into levirate marriage, conforms to his standard line of reasoning, that one must be concerned for the minority. In other words, Rabbi Meir takes into account the minority of women in whom the upper sign appears first, and therefore he considers her to be a minor. And the Rabbis likewise conform to their standard line of reasoning that one need not be concerned for the minority, and therefore they consider the young woman to have reached majority.
והני מילי בסתמא אבל היכא דבדקן ולא אשכחן אימר מודו ליה רבנן לר"מ דעליון קדים
And this statement, that one can rely on the assumption that if a woman has the upper sign then she certainly has the lower sign, while the minority of cases are not taken into account, applies only in an ordinary case, where the woman was not examined to determine if she had the lower sign. But in a case where we examined her and did not find the lower sign, one might say that the Rabbis concede to Rabbi Meir that the upper sign appeared before the lower sign, and therefore she neither performs ḥalitza nor enters into levirate marriage with her husband’s brother.
קמ"ל דאי אפשר ודאי אתי ומנתר הוא דנתר
Therefore, the mishna teaches us that according to the Rabbis it is impossible for the upper sign to precede the lower sign, which means that even if she was examined and no lower sign was found, the assumption is that the two hairs of the lower sign had certainly appeared, but later they fell out.
בשלמא לר"מ היינו דכתיב (יחזקאל טז, ז) שדים נכונו ושערך צמח אלא לרבנן איפכא מבעי ליה ה"ק כיון ששדים נכונו בידוע ששערך צמח
The Gemara raises a difficulty: Granted, according to the opinion of Rabbi Meir, who holds that it is possible for the upper sign to precede the lower, that accounts for that verse which is written with regard to a maturing young woman: “And you increased and grew up, and you came to excellent beauty; your breasts were fashioned, and your hair was grown” (Ezekiel 16:7). This verse mentions the upper sign before the lower sign. But according to the opinion of the Rabbis, the verse should have said the reverse, first stating “your hair has grown,” and then stating “your breasts were fashioned.” The Gemara answers that this is what the verse is saying: Since your breasts were fashioned, it is known that your hair was already grown.
בשלמא לר"מ היינו דכתיב (יחזקאל כג, כא) בעשות ממצרים דדיך למען שדי נעוריך אלא לרבנן איפכא מבעי ליה
The Gemara raises a further difficulty: Granted, according to the opinion of Rabbi Meir, this accounts for that which is written: “When they from Egypt bruised your breasts for the sprouting forth of your young womanhood” (Ezekiel 23:21). This verse, which compares the Jewish people to a promiscuous girl, describes how, in her childhood, Egyptian men would play with her by pressing her breasts in order to engage in licentious sexual intercourse with her when she became a young woman, i.e., once the pubic hairs that indicate puberty developed. This indicates that it is possible for the upper sign to appear before the lower sign. But according to the opinion of the Rabbis, the verse should have said the reverse.
ה"ק כיון שבאו דדיך בידוע שבאו נעוריך ואיבעית אימא מאי שדי כולה בדדי כתיב וה"ק הקב"ה לישראל
The Gemara similarly answers that this is what the verse is saying: Since your breasts appeared, it is known that the pubic hairs, which are the sign of your young womanhood, have already appeared. Or if you wish, say instead: What is the meaning of the phrase: The sprouting forth of [shedei] your young womanhood? It is not speaking of the lower sign, but rather of the upper sign, i.e., the entire verse is written in reference to the breasts, shadayim in Hebrew. And this is what the Holy One, Blessed be He, is saying to the Jewish people: