THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "TEVU'AH" AND "ALALTA"
QUESTION: The Mishnah says that the word "Tevu'ah" includes only the five
types of grain (wheat, barley, spelt, oat, and rye). However, Rava and Abaye
explain that the Aramaic word for Tevu'ah, "Alalta," refers to *any* type of
produce. The only produce that they question might not be included in
"Alalta" is produce that is totally external to the object that produces it,
such as earnings from rental residencies and rental boats. Therefore, when a
person leaves a will instructing that a certain person be given a certain
amount of money from the "Alalta," he means that the beneficiary may take
the money from any produce and not only from the five types of grain.
Since the word "Alalta" is nothing more than the Aramaic translation of the
Hebrew word "Tevu'ah," why should it have a different meaning that
(a) The RITVA explains that people only use the word "Tevu'ah" in the same
context in which the Torah uses the word. The Torah uses the word to refer
only to the five types of grain. The word "Alalta," on the other hand, is a
vernacular term in Aramaic, which people began to use to refer not only to
grains but to all types of produce.
(b) The ROSH explains that the word "Alalta" does not come from the same
root as the root of the Hebrew "Tevu'ah." Rather, it comes from the root of
the word "Me'uleh," which means "of high quality" or "praiseworthy."
Similarly, the RANBY in the Shitah Mekubetzes explains that the word
"Alalta" comes from the word "Ayal," which means "to bring up [to the
house]." Therefore, it includes all types of produce (that are "brought up"
to the house) and not just grains.
The RITVA asks that according to these explanations, "Alalta" should include
not just agricultural produce (produce that grows), but it should include
*all* objects, whether they produce something else or whether they are used
in their present state (since their usage is considered "produce"). It seems
from the RANBY that the Gemara indeed means to include all items in "Alalta"
and not just items that are actual produce. The reason Rava asks whether
rental fees are included is because obtaining the money of the rental
involves a slight depreciation in the value of the object being used, like
the Gemara says. Other objects, in contrast, either do not depreciate at all
and therefre are included in "Alalta," or they depreciate significantly and
therefore are not included in "Alalta."
(c) The RAN explains that the word "Alalta" means "to enter," or "come in"
(as in "income"), and therefore it includes all types of produce which come
into the world. However, it is not clear from the Ran why the word
"Tevu'ah" -- which comes from the word "Bo" which also means "to enter" or
"come in" -- does not also include the same objects as "Alalta." Perhaps the
Ran means what the Ritva says -- that the term "Tevu'ah" *could* include all
objects, but since it is used by the Torah only to refer to grain, when a
person uses that word he intends to use it in the same way that the Torah
uses it. (See MITZPEH EISAN who says that we find that the Torah uses the
word "Tevu'ah" to refer to other forms of produce and not just grain. He
cites the Gemara in Erchin (14b) which derives from the phrase "Shnei
Tevu'os" in the Torah (Vayikra 25:15) a Halachah with regard to fruit trees.
(Perhaps there the usage of the term "Tevu'ah" is different; see Menachos
37a and Chulin 88b and 139b)!