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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Mezi'a

Baba Mezi'a 53a

they are forbidden to zarim,1  accounted as the priest's [personal] property,2  are neutralised by one hundred and one [times their quantity].3  and require washing of the hands4  and the setting of the sun.5  These provisions hold good of terumah and first fruits, which is not so in the case of [second] tithes.6  Now, what is meant by 'which is not so in the case of [second] tithes?' Surely one may deduce that a tithe is neutralised by a greater quantity [than itself]:7  but if Hezekiah's ruling is correct, it [the tithe] is an article which can become [otherwise] permitted, and whatever can become [otherwise] permitted is not neutralised even in a thousand [times its quantity]!8  — But how do you know that 'which is not so in the case of the [second] tithe' means that it is neutralised by a greater quantity [than itself]; perhaps it means that it cannot be neutralised at all?9  — You cannot say thus, because in respect of terumah only the stringencies of terumah are taught, not its leniencies.10  But he teaches '[they] are accounted the priest's property!11  — You cannot think so,12  because it was distinctly taught: The second tithe is neutralized by a greater quantity [than itself]. And of which second tithe was this said? Of a tithe which is not worth a perutah13  or which has once entered Jerusalem and gone forth again.14  But if Hezekiah's ruling is correct, let Hezekiah's [remedy] be employed by redeeming it with the earlier money!15  — It means that he has not [yet] redeemed [any other].16  Then let him bring the other tithe [produce] which he has and combine them?17  — That [which is tithe] by Biblical law and that which is [so] only by Rabbinic law cannot be combined.18  Then let him bring demai!19  — [We fear] lest he thereby bring certain [tithe].20  Then let him bring two Perutahs, redeeming the tithe [that he brings] with a perutah and a half, and this [the intermixed tithe] with the rest?21  — Do you think that one and a half perutah's worth of tithe consecrates22  two perutahs? That is not so; one perutah['s worth] consecrates one Perutah, whilst the half perutah['s worth] does not consecrate [anything]; so again there is [tithe by] Biblical law23  and [tithe by] Rabbinic law,24  and these two cannot be combined. Then let an issar be brought?25  — [That is forbidden,] lest he bring perutahs [for that purpose].

'Or which has once entered Jerusalem and gone forth again.' But why so?26  Let it be taken back again! — It refers to defiled [tithe]. Then let it be redeemed.27  For R. Eleazar said: Whence do we know if second tithe [produce] became defiled, that it is to be redeemed

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Zar (q.v.) pl. zarim. — This would appear obvious after the previous statement. Rashi observes that it is in fact unnecessary per se, but that its purpose is to mark the contrast with tithes, which, as the Mishnah proceeds to teach, is permitted to zarim. Tosaf., following J. Bik. II, explains: even half the minimum quantity, which involves no penalty of death or the addition of a fifth, is forbidden to zarim.
  2. In that he can employ them as kiddushin (q.v. Glos.) for betrothing a woman; v. infra n. 8.
  3. If a quantity of terumah or first fruits fell into hundred times as much hullin (common food) and cannot be distinguished therefrom, it is neutralised or annulled, and the whole is permitted to a zar.
  4. That is in respect of fruit. One's hands are normally said to be unclean with what is known as the second degree of uncleanliness — a low degree. This is insufficient to render the fruit of hullin or tithes unclean, and therefore these may be eaten with unwashed hands. But a stricter purity was demanded of terumah and first fruits; consequently it was enacted that the touch of ritually unclean hands imposes upon them third degree uncleanliness; therefore the hands must be washed before partaking of them. — This impurity is only Rabbinical, and therefore the washing of the hands alone was sufficient: for Biblical uncleanliness the immersion of the whole body in a ritual bath (mikweh) was necessary.
  5. If a priest became Biblically unclean, he required Immersion (v. n. 6) and then had to wait until sunset before he might eat of terumah or the first fruits (Lev. XXII, 7).
  6. (i) The (second) tithe may be eaten by a zar — consequently, of course, no penalty is involved therein; (ii) it is not the priest's property, as explained in n. 4., but sacred property given to the priests; hence it cannot be employed as kiddushin. — This is R. Meir's view (Kid. 52b); (iii) it does not require a hundred times its own quantity for neutralisation; (iv) the fruit may be eaten with unwashed hands; (v) when one becomes Biblically unclean, he may eat thereof immediately after immersion, without waiting for sunset (v. Hal. I, 9).
  7. If a quantity of the second tithe fell into a greater quantity of hullin it is neutralised and the whole ranks as hullin, 100 times the amount being unnecessary.
  8. This is a Talmudic principle with respect to the neutralisation of an object when intermixed with permitted commodities. Though normally a certain proportion of the latter is sufficient to neutralise the former, that does not operate if the former is destined to become permitted without recourse to neutralisation. E.g., if an egg is laid on a Festival, it is forbidden on that day, but not after. Now, if this egg was mixed up with no matter how many others on the day that it was laid, it is not neutralised, and all are forbidden on that day. For since it will be permitted on the morrow in any case, the principle of neutralisation is abandoned. Now, with respect to the second tithe, which is under discussion, since, as deduced, it can be annulled by a lesser quantity than is necessary for terumah, or indeed, since it can be annulled at all, it must refer to produce that cannot be otherwise made fit. Now, the remedy for ordinary second tithe that is mixed up with hullin is either to take the whole to Jerusalem, which can be easily done, as one has to eat the rest of the second tithe there in any case, and consume it there, or redeem the quantity that was intermixed. The only case in which these remedies cannot be employed is when the second tithe was unclean, so that the whole mixture may not be eaten, and is worth less than a perutah, and so not subject to redemption. But if Hezekiah's ruling that second tithe worth less than a Perutah can be redeemed by retrospectively including it in other redeemed produce is correct, the law of neutralisation cannot operate!
  9. In contradistinction to terumah, which is neutralised by 100 times its quantity.
  10. v. p. 313, n. 8. An examination of the various points shews that the object of the Tanna is to teach wherein terumah is more stringent than the tithe, not wherein it is lighter.
  11. Which is a leniency compared with the second tithe,
  12. That the second tithe cannot be neutralised at all,
  13. V, n. 2.
  14. This is explained below.
  15. This is a repetition, with a little more explanatory detail, of the difficulty already raised.
  16. So that he has no money with which it may be retrospectively redeemed.
  17. I.e., the tithe which is intermixed and that which he brings, and then redeem both.
  18. By Biblical law the tithe is certainly neutralised by a greater quantity than itself. Consequently, when it is thus intermixed, it is tithe only by Rabbinic law, whereas what is brought now is tithe according to Biblical law, and the two cannot be combined for the purpose of joint redemption, with the result that the tithe which he brings will remain unredeemed. But the retrospective combination permitted by Hezekiah is with produce that is already redeemed: hence it does not matter that the first was tithe by Biblical law and the second, sc. the mixed produce, only by Rabbinic law.
  19. V. Glos. This too is tithe only by Rabbinic law, and could be combined with the mixed produce.
  20. If he is permitted the remedy of demai, he may think that it is just the same if he brings certain tithe.
  21. I.e., let him first bring the other produce which he has to the value of a perutah and a half and redeem it all with the two perutahs; then declare that the half perutah's worth mixed up with hullin is redeemed by the two perutahs already used, in accordance with Hezekiah's teaching. — In the whole of this discussion, every suggestion that the mixed tithe should be capable of redemption on the basis of Hezekiah's ruling is a refutation of his views.
  22. Lit., 'seizes hold of.'
  23. Sc. this half.
  24. The mixed produce.
  25. And tithe produce to a lesser value be redeemed therewith, the excess being used for the redemption of the mixed tithe. For though one and a half perutahs' worth cannot consecrate two perutahs, that is because they are two separate coins, hence divisible, and so one can become consecrated whilst the other remains hullin. If a single larger coin, however, is employed, the whole becomes consecrated, whilst the excess can retrospectively redeem the mixed tithe.
  26. Why may the intermixed tithe be neutralised?
  27. It being assumed that this refers even to produce worth a perutah.

Baba Mezi'a 53b

even in Jerusalem?1  From the verse, When thou art not able se'etho ['to bear it'].2  Now, 'se'eth'3  can only refer to eating, as it is written, And he took and sent mase'oth ['messes'] unto them from before him!4  — But this refers to [commodities] purchased with the [redemption]money of the second tithe.5  But let that also, which is bought with the [redemption] money of the second tithe, be redeemed, for we learnt: If what was redeemed with the [redemption-]money of the second tithe became defiled, it is [itself] to be redeemed!6  — This agrees with R. Judah, who ruled: It must be buried. If so, why particularly if it has gone forth [again]: the same applies even if it has not gone forth? — But after all, this refers to undefiled [tithe]: and what is meant by 'gone forth'? That the walls [of Jerusalem] had fallen.7  But did not Raba say: The law of the walls [of Jerusalem], in that it [the second tithe] must be eaten within them, is Biblical; but that they have retaining power8  is merely Rabbinical: and [consequently] when would the Rabbis enact thus: only as long as the walls were standing, but not when they no longer existed [having fallen]!9  — The Rabbis drew no distinction whether the barriers were standing or not.10

R. Huna b. Judah said in R. Shesheth's name: A single clause is taught, [viz.,] Second tithe [produce] worth less than a perutah which has entered Jerusalem and gone forth [again].11  But why so? Let it be taken back and eaten! — It means that the walls had fallen. Then let it be redeemed, for Raba said: The law of the walls [of Jerusalem], in that it [the second tithe] must be eaten within them, is Biblical; but that they have retaining power is merely Rabbinical; and [consequently, ought we not to say] when would the Rabbis enact thus: only as long as the walls were standing, but not when they no longer existed [having fallen]! — The Rabbis drew no distinction. If so,12  why particularly if worth less than a perutah; even if worth a perutah, it is the same? — He [the Tanna] [implicitly] proceeds to a climax.13  [Thus:] If it contains [a perutah's worth], it is unnecessary to state that the walls retain it.14  But where it does not contain [a Perutah's worth], I might think that the walls do not retain it:15  therefore we are taught [otherwise].

Our Rabbis taught: And if a man will at all redeem aught of his tithes [he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof]:16  'of his tithes,' but not all his tithes,17  thus excluding second tithe [produce] worth less than a perutah.18

It has been stated: R. Ammi said, [This means] that [the tithe] itself is not [worth a perutah]; R. Assi maintained, Its fifth [is less than a perutah];19  R. Johanan said, That [the tithe] itself is not [etc.]; R. Simeon b. Lakish said, Its fifth is less [etc.]. An objection is raised. For second tithe worth less than a perutah it is sufficient to declare, 'That itself and its fifth are redeemed with the first money.'20  Now, on the view that [it does not require redemption even if] its fifth is worth less [than a perutah], it is correct; hence he [the Tanna] states 'it is sufficient,' viz., though that itself contains [the value of a perutah], yet since its fifth does not, it is well. But on the view that [the tithe] itself is worth less, what is [the appropriateness of] 'it is sufficient?'21  This is indeed a difficulty.

The scholars propounded: Is the fifth calculated on the inner sum [sc. the principal] or on the outer [sc. the principal plus the addition]?22  — Said Rabina: Come and hear: If the owners value it at twenty [sela's], the owners have priority, since they add a fifth. If a stranger declared, 'I accept it for twenty-one,'

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Where undefiled tithe cannot be redeemed.
  2. Deut. XIV, 24; The next verse says: Then thou shalt turn it into money..
  3. [H], 'to bear'.
  4. Gen. XLIII, 34. Thus he translates the first verse: If thou art not able to eat it — being defiled — then thou shalt turn it into money — i.e., redeem it.
  5. The original second tithe having been redeemed, the money was expended in Jerusalem upon commodities, which in turn became defiled. At this stage it is assumed that only the original tithe can be redeemed if defiled, but not that purchased with the redemption money.
  6. M. Sh. III. 10.
  7. After the second tithe was taken into Jerusalem. Now, the second tithe cannot be eaten there when the walls have fallen; on the other hand, having been brought there whilst the walls were standing, it is 'retained', i.e.,it cannot be redeemed.
  8. V. previous note.
  9. Hence the barriers having fallen, let the tithe be redeemed.
  10. But enacted a general measure that the walls have retaining power.
  11. This answers the objection against Hezekiah from the cited Baraitha (q.v. supra), the reason no resort can be had to Hezekiah's device being that the tithe has been 'retained' by the barriers, when redemption is no longer possible. — The Talmud proceeds to raise the same objections against this answer as against the previous explanation.
  12. That the reason of non-redemption is the 'retaining' power of the walls of Jerusalem.
  13. Lit., 'he teaches a case of it is unnecessary to state it.'
  14. And it cannot be redeemed. For since it is of sufficient value to require redemption, the barriers sanctify it.
  15. Since it is not subject to the law of redemption.
  16. Lev. XXVII, 31.
  17. I.e., of is a limitation, implying that in certain cases there can be no redemption.
  18. Such a small quantity cannot be redeemed, and if one does declare it redeemed with a perutah, that perutah does not receive the sanctity of the second tithe to have to be expended in Jerusalem.
  19. Even if the produce is worth more than a perutah, no redemption is possible if the fifth to be added is less than a perutah.
  20. In accordance with Hezekiah's ruling, q.v. supra 52b and notes. It need not be taken to Jerusalem, nor is it necessary to combine it with other produce and redeem the whole.
  21. Since I could not think that redemption is necessary in such a case. But 'it is sufficient' implies that a concession is made when the law might have been stricter.
  22. E.g., if the principal is worth 20 zuz, must one add 4 zuz, a fifth of the principal, or 5, a fifth of the total?