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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nedarim

Folio 58a

For everything [forbidden] which can become permitted, e.g., tebel,1  second tithe,2  hekdesh,3  and hadash,4  the Sages declared no limit.5  But for everything which cannot become permitted. e.g., terumah, the terumah of the tithe,6  hallah,7  'orlah,8  and kil'ayim of the vineyard,9  the Sages declared a limit.10  Said they to him, But seventh year produce cannot become permitted, yet the Sages set no limit to it. For we learnt: Seventh year produce of no matter what quality renders its own kind forbidden!11  He replied, my12  ruling too is only in respect of removal; but as for eating, [it renders it forbidden] only if sufficient to impart its taste thereto.13  But perhaps this too is different, since [the nullification] is in the direction of greater stringency. But solve it from the following: We learnt: Onions [of the sixth year] upon which rain fell, and which grew [in the seventh], — if the leaves are blackish, they are forbidden; if greenish, they are permitted.14  R. Hanina b. Antigonus said: If they can be pulled up by their leaves, they are forbidden.15  Conversely, on the termination of the seventh year they are permitted.16  This proves that the increase, which is permitted, nullifies that which is forbidden.17  But perhaps it refers to crushed [onions]?18  — But [it may be solved] from the following. For it was taught:

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. V. Glos. This is forbidden for use, 'but becomes permitted oil payment of the priestly dues.
  2. A tithe which had to be eaten in Jerusalem, but forbidden elsewhere. It could, however, be redeemed, by allocating its value, plus a fifth, to he expended in Jerusalem, after which it might be enjoyed anywhere.
  3. Anything dedicated to the Temple which cannot be offered as sacrifice may be put to secular use after it is redeemed.
  4. Lit., 'new'. The new crops which are forbidden until the offering of the 'Omer, v. Lev. XXIII, 10-14.
  5. If these are mixed up with permitted food, the Sages do not rule that if the latter exceeds the former by a certain ratio the whole is permitted, as in the next clause. The reason is, since it is possible to cancel the prohibition in itself, there is no need to have recourse to nullification through excess.
  6. Of the tithe which the Levite received from the Israelite, he had to give one tenth to the priest.
  7. V. Glos. The last three are forbidden to a lay Israelite, and the prohibition itself cannot be cancelled.
  8. V. Glos.
  9. V. Glos.
  10. If these became mixed with other permitted substances, the latter nullifies them, providing they exceed them by certain fixed amounts.
  11. If mixed with other produce of the same kind, not of the seventh year, the latter is forbidden.
  12. So cur. edd., also Rashi and Asheri. Ran.: their ruling, which is more suitable to the context.
  13. The seventh year produce might he kept by its owner for his personal use only as long as like produce is still growing in the fields, and available to wild beasts. Once the produce has ceased from the fields the gathered species of the same produce must be 'removed'. That time, the exact limits of which are given in Sheb. IX. 2 et seqq. is called the time of removal. Now R. Simeon answers the difficulty thus: If seventh year produce, of no matter what quality, is mixed with other produce before the time of removal, it all becomes as the former, and must be eaten before the time of removal. For, since it is permitted until then, there is no need to have recourse to nullification by excess. But if after the time of removal (and this has not been removed, so that it may not be eaten). He permitted produce is forbidden only if there is sufficient of the prohibited to impart its taste to the whole mixture. Of course, where they are both of the same kind, this is strictly speaking impossible, but it is calculated on the basis of two different kinds. Now what has been said with respect of a mixture of two lots of produce, seventh year and non-seventh year, also applies to a single plant which is partly seventh and partly non-seventh year produce. E.g., if a sixth year onion is planted and grows no matter how slightly in the seventh, the addition, even if but the smallest fraction of the original, renders the whole as seventh year produce, which is subject to the law of removal. This we see that the increase, though grown out of that which is permitted, is reckoned as distinct from the original, and can render it forbidden. Hence, contrariwise, if the increase is permitted and of sufficient quantity, it can nullify the prohibition attaching to the original.
  14. Whilst the onion is growing naturally from the soil, its leaves have a blackish tint. But sometimes, after its natural growth has ceased, the rain inflates it, giving it a sort of over-ripeness. Then its leaves bear a greenish and faded appearance. Hence in this case, if the leaves are blackish, it is a sign that the onion has naturally grown in the seventh year, and therefore the addition renders it all forbidden, i.e. 'imposes upon the whole the law of seventh year produce. But if they are greenish, it has grown of itself, and hence permitted.
  15. Even if the leaves are not blackish, yet if they are strong enough for the whole onion to be pulled up by them without their breaking off, it is a sign if normal growth, and so forbidden.
  16. If seventh year onions were left in the soil and grew in the eighth, if the leaves go blackish, it is a sign of natural growth in the eighth, and therefore the whole onion is permitted. — Asheri observes that the two cases are not exactly similar. For the sixth year onion is
  17. And this solves the problem.
  18. I.e., if the onions were crushed and grated, so that the forbidden part no longer preserves its separate identity; in that case it is nullified by excess. But the problem arises only if the onion is intact.
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Nedarim 58b

If [a workman] is engaged in weeding leek plants1  for a Cuthean,2  he may make a light meal of them and must separate the tithes from them as certain.3  R. Simeon b. Eleazar said: If [the labourer is employed by] an Israelite suspected of violating the laws of the seventh year,4  he may make a light meal thereof [if working] in the eighth year.5  This proves that the growth, which is permitted, nullifies [the original stock], which is rendered forbidden even by a slight increase in the seventh, whereas he seventh under the same conditions is rendered permitted only by an increase in the eighth at least greater than the original. Nevertheless, the general principle, that blackishness of the leaves indicates natural growth, is the same in both. forbidden. But perhaps it refers to a plant whose seed perishes [in the soil]? — But it is taught: The following are leek plants: The lof,6  garlic and onions.7  But Perhaps it refers to crushed plants?8  — This teaches of one who is suspected of violating the Sabbatical year.9  But perhaps it refers to a mixture?10  — This teaches of one who is engaged in weeding.11  Now, shall we say that this refutes R. Johanan and R. Jonathan?12  — Said R. Isaac: The Sabbatical year produce is different; since the interdict is through the soil,13  its nullification too is through the soil.14  But the prohibition of the tithe is likewise through the soil,15  yet it is not nullified by the soil. For it was taught: If a litra of tithe, itself tebel,16  is sown in the soil and it improves [i.e.. increases], and is the equivalent of ten litras, it [sc. the whole] is liable to tithe17  and [is subject to the laws of] the Sabbatical year,18  whilst as for the [original] litra, a tithe thereof must be seperated from elsewhere,19  according to calculation.20

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. The Talmud explains below what this is.
  2. V. Glos.
  3. If he wishes to make of them a regular meal. The obligation of tithing vegetables is Rabbinical only, not Biblical. When crops are tithed, and then resown, the new produce is again liable to the priestly dues. Nevertheless, a labourer engaged in working on crops may make a light meal of them. If, however, the crops originally sown were tebel (v. Glos.) one may not even make a light meal of their produce whilst working on them. Now, this Baraitha is to some extent self-contradictory, but in reality represents a compromise. Thus, the Cutheans disregarded their tithe obligations. Consequently, it must be assumed with certainty that they have not set aside the tithes from their produce, of which no regular meal may be made without tithing. This is not regarded as a doubtful tithe, viz., that it is not known whether the Cuthean fulfilled his obligations or not, but as a certain tithe. Yet since the entire obligation is Rabbinical only, the Rabbis did not carry through this assumption to its extreme logical conclusion and forbid a labourer engaged thereon to enjoy even a snack, but permitted it, as ordinary tithed plants which are resown. This leniency is based on another possible assumption, viz., only if crops are taken in through the front of the house they are tebel in the sense that one may not even make a light meal thereof before the priestly dues are rendered. Here it is possible that these crops were never thus taken in (Tosaf.).
  4. I.e., that he planted them in the seventh year.
  5. Lit., 'the termination of the Sabbatical year'. Though the original is forbidden as seventh year produce, the increase nullifies it, and hence it is permitted to the labourer.
  6. A plant similar to colocasin, with edible leaves and roots, and bearing beans; and it is classified with onions and garlic (Jast.).
  7. Thus proving that it applies even to those plants whose original stock remain.
  8. The crushing obliterates the original stock.
  9. He would not trouble to crush it in order to evade the prohibition.
  10. I.e., the labourer may eat it only when it is mixed up with other plants, the excess of which nullifies the original forbidden stock.
  11. The labourer may eat while engaged in the act of weeding, though there is no mixture. Thus this definitely proves that the increase nullifies the original.
  12. V. supra 57b.
  13. Lev. XXV, 2: Then the land shall feet a sabbath unto the Lord
  14. But 'orlah is prohibited through immaturity, and 'diverse seeds' (kil'ayim) through mixture.
  15. I.e., by replanting. For if one sows tithed grains the produce in tebel: thus, by putting it into soil, it becomes prohibited.
  16. I.e., the tithe of which had not been given, v. p. 183, n. 9.
  17. Although itself a tithe, the ordinary law of tebel applies to it, and it must be retithed (and terumah too must be given).
  18. If it grew in that year.
  19. I.e., a tithe — the terumah of the tithe due in the first place — must be given to the priest. This tithe must not be taken out of the resultant crop, but from the previous year's, of which the litra was part, because one must not tithe one year's grain with another's.
  20. This proves that the forbidden nature of the untithed tithe remains, in spite of the fact that it was sown in the soil.
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