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Bava Metzia, 90
1) THE STAGE AT WHICH GRAIN BECOMES SUBJECT TO "MA'ASER"
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes two Beraisos which state that one does not
transgress the Isur of "Lo Sachsom" when he muzzles his cows that are
"Merachsos" -- stamping soaked barley grains to remove the chaff. RASHI (DH
ha'Merachsos) says that the reason is because the grain has already become
obligated to have Ma'aser removed from the time that the grain was threshed
("Dishah"), which is considered the final stage of processing ("Gemar
Melachah") with regard to Ma'aser.
2) FOOD FOR THE COW
Why does Rashi say that the grain becomes obligated in Ma'aser at the time
of threshing? All other produce becomes obligated in Ma'aser from the time
of "Miru'ach" -- the leveling of the pile of produce! (YAD DAVID)
(a) The YAD DAVID answers that the Beraisa here is referring to grains of
barley that were soaked in water and then oven-dried, and which are now
being stamped upon by the cows in order to remove the chaff, as Rashi
explains (89b, DH ha'Merachsos ba'Tevu'ah). It is not the manner to do this
process with a large quantity of barley, but rather with a small quantity,
and thus there is no "Miru'ach" since there is not enough grain to make a
pile. Consequently, the "Gemar Melachah" is the time of threshing.
(b) The RITVA (89b, DH Tanu Rabanan Paros) cites Rashi's explanation of the
process of "Merachsos." He then writes that the reason one does not
transgress the Isur of "Lo Sachsom" is "because the grain has already been
leveled in a pile and thus has become obligated in Ma'aser." According to
the Ritva, it is not the "Dishah" which is the "Gemar Melachah" that makes
the grain obligated in Ma'aser, but it is, indeed, the "Miru'ach," in
contrast to Rashi's explanation. (I. Alsheich)
OPINIONS: The Beraisa states that one does not transgress the Isur of "Lo
Sachsom" when he muzzles his cow that is threshing produce of Terumah and
Ma'aser. However, one should place a handful of the same type of produce
with which the cow is working into a feedbag and hang it around the cow's
neck so that people not suspect the owner of muzzling the cow unlawfully.
Raban Shimon ben Yochai rules that one should hang Karshinim (a type of
bean) around the cow's neck, "because Karshinim are the healthiest of all
foods" for the cow.
Is Raban Shimon ben Gamliel arguing with the Tana Kama, or is he explaining
the words of the Tana Kama?
(a) The RITVA in the name of his Rebbi (the RE'AH) writes that Raban Shimon
ben Yochai is explaining the words of the Tana Kama. Even though the Tana
Kama requires that one feed to the cow the same type of produce with which
the cow is working, and not a different type of produce, nevertheless one
may feed the cow Karshinim even though it is not working with Karshinim,
because of the superior health benefits of Karshinim.
He proves this from the Gemara later which asks whether it is permitted to
muzzle a cow which experiences digestive problems when it eats. Does the
Torah prohibit muzzling the animal because muzzling the animal is
detrimental to its health, and thus where *eating* would be detrimental to
its health it would be permitted to muzzle it, or does the Torah prohibit it
because the animal sees the food and experiences distress when it cannot eat
the food, and thus even when the animal would get sick by eating the food,
it is Asur to muzzle it since it sees the food and experiences distress? Rav
Sheshes answers this question from the words of Raban Shimon bar Yochai in
the Beraisa, who says that one should feed his cow Karshinim because it is
the healthiest food. From here we see that the Isur of "Lo Sachsom" is
because of concern for the animal's health.
If Raban Shimon ben Yochai is arguing with the Tana Kama, then how could Rav
Sheshes answer the Gemara's question with the view of Raban Shimon bar
Yochai? His view is a minority opinion with which the Chachamim argue, and
we would have to conclude that the Gemara's question is the subject of a
Machlokes Tana'im between the Tana Kama and Raban Shimon bar Yochai! It must
be, therefore, that Raban Shimon bar Yochai is explaining the view of the
Tana Kama, and no one argues.
(b) The ROSH (7:6) writes that the Tana Kama and Raban Shimon ben Yochai are
arguing. Raban Shimon bar Yochai holds that one should hang Karshinim around
the cow's neck because of its superior nutritional value. While the Tana
Kama agrees with Raban Shimon bar Yochai regarding the nature of the Isur of
"Lo Sachsom" (i.e. that it is for the sake of the health of the animal), the
Tana Kama argues and holds that one may *not* feed the cow Karshinim when it
is working with another type of produce, because others will suspect that he
is transgressing the Isur of "Lo Sachsom."
This also seems to be the view of TOSFOS (DH Amar), who writes that the
Rabanan (the Tana Kama) do not argue with Raban Shimon bar Yochai with
regard to the nature of the Isur of "Lo Sachsom." This implies that they
*do* argue with regard to another issue -- they hold that the owner may
*not* feed the cow Karshinim, but only the type of produce with which the
cow is working. The TOSFOS SHANTZ cited by the Shitah Mekubetzes writes this
explicitly. (See, however, the MINCHAS CHINUCH (Mitzvah 596).) (I. Alsheich)
3) MUZZLING WITHOUT AN ACTION
QUESTION: Rebbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish argue about a case in which one
prevents his cow from eating by yelling at it, without doing any action.
RASHI (DH Chasmah b'Kol) explains that refers to a when the animal was
bending down to eat and the owner yells at it and stops it from eating.
Rebbi Yochanan considers the movement of owner's mouth when he yells to be
an action (and thus it is a "Lav she'Yesh Bo Ma'aseh"), while Reish Lakish
exempts the owner because he holds that yelling is not considered an action.
RAV ELCHANAN WASSERMAN (in Kovetz Shemu'os) asks why is this form of
muzzling considered to be a "Lav she'Ein Bo Ma'aseh" according to Reish
Lakish? When the owner then guides the animal and threshes with it, he is
doing an action with the "muzzled" animal! The Isur of "Lo Sachsom" is that
it is prohibited to work with a muzzled animal, and the owner is now working
(threshing) with a muzzled animal! (He proves this from the fact that had
the owner muzzled the animal and someone else worked with the animal while
it was muzzled, the second person would transgress the Isur and not the
first. See TOSFOS RID (90a).)
ANSWER: Rav Elchanan Wasserman answers that the Gemara is discussing a case
in which someone else threshes with the animal while the owner yells at it
and prevents it from eating. This act is also prohibited by the Isur of "Lo
Sachsom." Just like it is prohibited to work with an animal that is muzzled,
it is also prohibited to muzzle an animal while it is working. Accordingly,
the owner transgresses the Isur of "Lo Sachsom" without performing any
action, but merely by yelling. (See also DARCHEI DAVID.) (I. Alsheich)