Makos 19a (2) Shiur by Alex Heppenheimer

Makkos 19a (2)

Special Thanks to Alex Heppenheimer.

The Gemara mentions that a ger, when he brings bikkurim, can’t make the accompanying declaration (מקרא ביכורים), because he can’t say אשר נשבע ה’ לאבותינו. This in turn is based on a Mishnah in Bikkurim which says so (with the proviso that if his mother is Jewish, he can say it).

This turns out to be not so simple. There are actually two possible issues with a ger’s מקרא ביכורים: the lack of a portion in Eretz Yisrael, and that he’s not descended from אבותינו.

Now, there was indeed one group of gerim who did get a portion in Eretz Yisrael. בני קיני, the descendants of Yisro, were given a fertile area of 500 x 500 amos near Yericho to live in until the Beis Hamikdash would be built (at which time it would be given to whatever shevet provided the equivalent area for the Har Habayis).

(Incidentally, they didn’t stay there for long; they needed a rebbe, and so they wound up leaving this area and traveling to Arad, in a desolate part of the Negev, to study under Osniel ben Kenaz. Their reward was that some of their descendants served in the Sanhedrin.)

So the Yerushalmi mentions בני קיני, and then goes on to quote a baraisa that R. Yehudah holds that a ger can recite מקרא ביכורים because Avraham is the father of all nations, and a psak by R. Abbahu that the halachah is like R. Yehudah.

Tosafos (in Bava Basra) discusses what this means. According to Rabbeinu Tam, the Mishnah (R. Meir) is saying that any kind of ger (בני קיני or anyone else) can say מקרא ביכורים as long as his mother is a born Jew, while R. Yehudah holds that you need to be בני קיני as well as אמו מישראל. (Although he asks: how does a ger say ארמי אובד אבי וגו’, which seemingly refers to Yaakov?) Ri understands that there’s no real machlokes between R. Meir and R. Yehudah – both agree that only בני קיני who are also אמו מישראל can bring bikkurim and say the pesukim.

On the other hand, Rambam states that any ger (no distinction whether אמו מישראל) can say מקרא ביכורים, because he understands R. Yehudah to be saying that אב המון גוים makes it possible even for a ger to say לאבותינו. He also adds a detail: “the promise was first given to Avraham that his children would inherit the land.” Now, what does that mean? Also, why then does the Rambam differentiate between מקרא ביכורים and וידוי מעשר – the latter, he says, a ger can’t say? (The question is actually on the Mishnah and the Yerushalmi – no variant opinion is given about וידוי מעשר.)

Ramban explains that in theory gerim could have been בני ירושה because of Avraham, but practically speaking they didn’t get a portion simply because Eretz Yisrael was divided only among those who left Egypt. But just as those who were children at יציאת מצרים didn’t get a portion of their own but yet, when they do eventually inherit, can say מקרא ביכורים, so it is with gerim – they are essentially בני נחלה. (As for Rabbeinu Tam’s question about ארמי אובד אבי, Ramban answers that once the ger is considered a descendant of Avraham, then by extension he has the same relationship to the other Avos.)

Kesef Mishneh takes a different tack. When Hashem promised the land to Avraham he wasn’t yet אב לגרים – that came only afterwards, and by that time his biological children were entitled to it. But it’s not that intrinsically gerim can’t inherit Eretz Yisrael.

Shaagas Aryeh, in the course of a long teshuvah about milah for בני קטורה (they are obligated – Rambam, Hil. Melachim 10:8), discusses the idea that the Rambam’s point about the promise to Avraham is that even though Yitzchak and Yaakov aren’t called “fathers” of gerim, since Avraham is, that’s good enough. (Which means, he says, that Rambam would necessarily disagree with Ramban’s answer about ארמי אובד אבי. One of the other mefarshim on Rambam suggests that maybe he would understand that posuk as Rashbam does, “My father (Avraham) was a wandering Aramean.”)

Incidentally, he points out that בני קיני are in fact biologically descended from Avraham (since Midian was one of the sons of Keturah); but because of כי ביצחק יקרא לך זרע,

they’re excluded (which is why R. Meir says that there needs to be אמו מישראל to be able to recite מקרא ביכורים). Also incidentally, he points out why in Nedarim (recent Daf Yomi) we are told that even circumcised בני קטורה are considered uncircumcised – because while they are obligated in milah, they don’t have the mitzvah of periah, and מל ולא פרע כאילו לא מל.

As for the difference between מקרא ביכורים and וידוי מעשר, there are several explanations, most of which focus on the difference in wording between the two.

Radvaz notes that by מקרא ביכורים the expression is אשר נשבעת לאבותינו לתת לנו, which can be understood as נשבעת לאבותינו – to Avraham – and therefore לתת לנו, it pertains to the whole Jewish people, gerim included. Whereas by וידוי מעשר the expression is אשר נתת לנו, and it wasn’t given to the gerim; כאשר נשבעת לאבותינו there refers to זבת חלב ודבש.

Mishneh Lamelech quotes R. Moshe ibn Chaviv, who points out that Yechezkel states that gerim will get a portion in Eretz Yisrael in Moshiach’s times; therefore they can well say לתת לנו in future tense. (A logical reason for this is that gerim who joined the Jewish people after Yetzias Mitzrayim, when we were at the highest heights, may not have been totally sincere; not so with those who became gerim during the years of galus.) Whereas אשר נתת לנו is in past tense.

A couple of mefarshim on Rambam bring an idea from R. Shmuel Primo, אמרי שפר - פרימו, יהודה שמואלthat the expression ארץ זבת חלב ודבש is never found in Chumash Bereishis (addressed to the Avos), only in Shemos (addressed to the Jews in Egypt) and afterwards. So if in וידוי מעשר the expression כאשר נשבעת לאבותינו refers to ארץ זבת חלב ודבש, then אבותינו there necessarily means the Jews who were in Egypt – and the ger isn’t descended from them.

(This R. Shmuel Primo – probably no relation of the hatter – was an interesting character. He was a youngish talmid chacham when Shabsai Tzvi appeared on the scene, and he became his secretary – and even after Shabsai Tzvi’s shmad he continued to believe in him. He later became rav of one of the important communities in Turkey, wrote a couple of sefarim, and is quoted respectfully by the Chida and others.)

Yet another answer, from Mirkeves Hamishneh, is that מקרא ביכורים must be said in lashon hakodesh, and there אבותינו can mean “masters” (as in וישימני לאב לפרעה); whereas וידוי מעשר can be said in any language, and in other languages “av” means only “father.”


All of this, in turn, brings up the question about what a ger says in davening. Can he say אלקי אבותינו, and can he say in bentching שהנחלת לאבותינו?

The Mishnah there in Bikkurim says that a ger should say אלקי אבות ישראל, and in shul he should say אלקי אבותיכם (unless אמו מישראל, in which case he can say אבותינו because of her). On the other hand, we have the opinion of R. Yehudah mentioned earlier, and the Yerushalmi stating that R. Abbahu paskened like R. Yehudah (which necessarily would have to refer to davening, since in R. Abbahu’s times there were no bikkurim).

In the Tosafos mentioned above, Rabbeinu Tam decides according to the Mishnah, and therefore says that a ger can’t lead a mezuman, because he can’t say על שהנחלת לאבותינו. Whereas Ri argues that the halachah is like R. Yehudah, and therefore that he can.

Similarly, Mordechai tells how in Wurzburg they prevented a ger from being chazzan because of the problem with him saying אלקי אבותינו, but that Rabbeinu Yoel allowed it based on R. Yehudah.

Yossele Rosenblatt (not a ger)

Rambam, too, writes in a teshuvah to R. Ovadiah the ger that he should daven like everyone else, because all gerim are children of Avraham.

So this is accepted as halachah. The Alter Rebbe summarizes it as follows: with women there is a safek whether they are chayav in ברכת המזון מדאורייתא, since they don’t get a portion in Eretz Yisrael (and they are עם בפני עצמן, so not necessarily included with the men). With Kohanim and Levi’im, the only reason they are chayav is because they have ערי מקלט, but otherwise they are important enough to have a status of their own. Whereas gerim can be considered an appendage (נטפל) to the Jewish people.

One last detail we talked about: isn’t being a chazzan a type of שררה, and gerim are not allowed that? The answer is that a chazzan is not telling anyone what to do, just saying kaddish and Borchu and so forth, to which everyone answers.

Makos 20a Shiur 06/16/2015

Makos 20a

1- We continued talking about Ma’aser Sheini, the obligation to bring a tenth (1/10) of one’s produce to Yerushalayim and eat it there.

[If one lives too far from Yerushalayim then one can “transfer” the value of the fruit or grain to money, travel with the cash to Yerushalayim, purchase fresh food and eat it there.]

Once the food enters Yerushalayim it cannot be ‘transferred’ to cash.

fruit at jaffa gate

The Gemara poses a question – what if the farmer, traveling with the fruit in his backpack, enters Yerushalayim and stops right at the gate – positioning himself inside the city but with the fruit remaining outside the city walls: Do we consider the fruit in or out?

2- We mentioned Reb Yirmeyah – who is known for these type of quirky questions. In Bava Basra 23b he posed a question which caused him to be ousted from the Beis Hamidrash!  (see here for Adin Steinzaltz’s take on this).

However on page 165b it relates that during the time he was ousted his colleagues could not solve a Talmudic issue and they sent the question out for his opinion. His reply pleased them so they readmitted him.

Now – for our quirky question – for how long was Reb Yirmeyah outside the Beis Hamidrash?

Well, that depends… if that Beis Midrash was a Litvisher Yeshiva where they only cover 5-10 ‘dafim’ a year…..then that would be a long time.

On the other hand if it was a Chasidisher Yeshiva (or they were Daf Yomi followers…) his ouster was short lived….

In Nida 23a we find the ultimate humorous question by Reb Yirmeyah:

He asked Rav Zeira a question about a very unusual case. According to Rebbi Meir, who says that a woman who miscarries a form that resembled an animal is tamei with Tum’as Yoledes as if she gave birth to a human, meaning that we consider the infant as human!

woman and her baby horse

Now a father can marry off his daughter if she is under the age of 12.

A happy couple in their spacious cave

So what is the law in a case in which one gives money to the father of such a creature in order to be Mekadesh the creature during the pregnancy? May he marry the animal’s sister afterwards?

Rav Acha bar Yaakov explained that Rav Yirmeyah was merely trying to get Rav Zeira to laugh, but he did not succeed.

That’s not funny.

What was Reb Yirmeyah’ s motivation for trying to amuse Rav Zeira and make him laugh?

The Maharatz Chayes there explains that it is possible that many of the unusual questions throughout the Gemara that Rav Yirmeyah posed to Rav Zeira can be attributed to Reb Yirmeyah’ s desire for Rav Zeira to laugh.


Maharatz Chayes

Rav Zeira was of a very serious nature and his student Reb Yirmeyah was attempting to get a laugh out of his teacher.

3- We spoke about the concept that all produce which is about to be “tithed’ – Truma and Ma’aser to be taken out of it – is in an abstract sense as if they were already taken out.

Following this logic the Gemara concludes that produce, although un-tithed, which was in Yerushalayim we consider the Maaser Sheini that is in the pile separated and designated as Maaser Sheini.

This concept is called “”Matanos she’Lo Hurmu k’Mi she’Hurmu Damu”.

3- We continued discussing the issues one would encounter if Jews were to bring a Korban Tzibur prior to the coming of Moshiach. In the previous Shiur we mentioned some potential problems and how they were addressed by Reb Tzvi Hirsh Kalisher.

Moshe Rosenfeld suggest this site for a quick overview.

One issue is that Korbonos Tzibur must belong to the Tzibur. The Machatzis Hashekel was collected for this purpose. Once donated it becomes “public funds”. One cannot donate, say, ten sheep, for the Korban Tamid and still consider himself a ‘noted donor’.

For example: The “kupa’ cannot accept from the “The Joseph S. Gruss Sheep Fund”……(Mr Gruss A”H was a great Bal Tzedoka. ULY on Albany was donated by him. His fund distributes over $15,000,000 a year to Yeshivos!!)\\

One may donate individually into this pot of Tzibur money on the condition that his name is not associated with his donation at all.


Joseph and Caroline Gruss

So in theory, we can indeed create a “Klal Yisroel Animal…Fund” and accept individual donations that lose their individuality by becoming part of the fund.

Image result for animal fund

Or can we? How do the trustees represent Klal Yisroel? Who appoints them? Do we need at least 50% participation to be considered representing Klal Yisroel?

What of the millions of Jews that are unaware of this fund?  Can we donate on their behalf?

What if there are some who oppose this fund?

We mentioned the famous Rav from Yerushalayim, Rabbi Yechiel Michel Tukatchinsky, that wrote extensively on this topic.

Makos 19b Shiur 06/9/15

Makos 19b

Thanks to Eli Chitrik

  1. Our Gemora touched on the subject of a Be’chor- first born animal and the rules associated with it. Once a Be’chor develops a ‘blemish’ it loses its sanctity and can be consumed much like all other livestock. A blemish is defined as only such defects which are permanent – and cannot be healed.

An expert needs to certify whether or not the blemish is indeed a irreversible ‘Mum’- blemish.

We mentioned the story of why Reb Moshe Feinstein would involve himself in controversial topics. He replied with the following:

The Gemara in Sanhedrin (5b) tells the story of when Rav decided to leave Eretz Yisrael and go to Bavel he requested from Rebbi, [Reb Yehuda Hanosi] who was his teacher, to write him a letter of rabbinic certification.

Rebbi wrote on the Smicha the following:

“Rav is certified for Yoreh Yoreh (Yore Deah), Yodin Yodin (Choshen Mishpat) however he ‘does not have rabbinic permission to pasken in the Halchos of what is considered a Mum on an animal which is a Bechor’. 

Why did he not give him permission to rule on this particular Halacha of what is a Mum?

The Gemora explains Rebbi knew that Rav spent 18 months (!) on a farm to study what type of Mum is permanent and thus became an expert regarding what exactly is a Mum which allows normal (non-Kedusha) consumption.

Image result for old macdonald

Therefore, Rebbi was concerned that Rav may come to a town that for many years the general consensuses was that a particular Mum was not permanent. Rav, being an expert, would proclaim that it is indeed a Mum. This would cause people to think and extrapolate, incorrectly, on other types of a Mum that eventually would self-heal.

Reb Moshe asked, why did Rebbi have to write on his Smicha that he should not Pasken in a certain area, he could have just told him privately “Listen, please don’t Pasken regarding Mummim so people won’t think you are being too lenient in Halacha”?

Reb Moshe answered, this shows that when a Rov is familiar with a particular topic and he is asked to rule on it he must rule! He cannot withhold his opinion. 

Thus, Rav, could not have withheld his opinion about a Mum if he was asked to rule on it. The only way to avoid this is by Rebbi not giving him Semicha on this subject! By not having Semicha on the laws of a Mum he was not obligated to rule.

​2. ​We mentioned the famous Reb Zvi Hirsch Kalischer who was an Orthodox German rabbi who viewed the importance of Jewish re-settlement of the Land of Israel movement from a religious perspective.

הרב צבי הירש קלישר.jpg


See here for the Neturei Karta view on him. 


See here an article by Rabbi Pinto. (Not our dear Pinto!)

Another Rabbi Pinto

His most famous book he called Drishas Le’tzion see here.

One of the issues discussed by Reb Zvi Hirsch was the possibility to bring a Korban Pesach despite there being no Beis Hamikdash.

A few weeks ago (shiur) we mentioned the Jewish world traveler Reb Ishtori Ha’parchi who penned a very fascinating travelogue.

[He is the one that tells the story of meeting one of the Rambam’s grandchildren that related to him the custom of the Ramban to add after his signature ‘he who transgresses 3 prohibitions daily for living in Mitzrayim’.]

Anyway, another interesting story Reb Ishtori writes is that the famous Ba’al haTosfos, Reb Yechi’el of Paris, wanted to do exactly that!! Travel to Eretz Yisroel and bring a Korban Pesach.

This was the basis of Reb Tzvi Hirsh’s drive to bring about the sacrificing of the Korban Pesach.


Modern Samaritans preparing to sacrifice Paschal Lamb.

To accomplish that one of the many issues one would need to overcome is the lack of ‘certified Kohanim’ which is a must in any Korban.

We briefly touched upon this issue of the status of Kohanim in our times. More bl”n next week.

[Reb Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer. We mentioned that originally when he started giving out his pamphlets his teacher R’ Akivah Eiger was not very pleased that he was arguing with the Rambam who maintains that there is no such thing as a certified Cohen these days. As well as many other Rishonim etc.

It is said that after he published his book he explained that his teacher towards the end of his life retracted his criticism in a private letter to the author]

​3. On the topic of whether there is such a thing as a true Kohen in our times we mentioned an interesting story that is brought in Sefer Chasidim see here. (Some dispute the validity of this story).

Someone once asked Eliyahu Hanavi when Moshiach will come, he replied when you surround Har Hazeisim with Kohanim.

Upon hearing this, the man took many Kohanim and surrounded Har Hazeisim, and as we know, sadly Moshiach did not come!

When Eliyahu met him he explained, that out of all the Kohanim that you took to surround Har Hazeisim only one of them was a real Kohen m’yuchas from Aharon Hakohen!

  1. ​Reb Zalman Duchman was once by Yechidus and tells the Rebbe that he heard a story and he would like the Rebbe to verify it if it is a true:

Being that these days we do not really know who is a Kohen or not, it is said that Reb Hilel Paritcher,  every time he would meet a Kohen he would give him 5 Seloim to redeem himself for Pidyan Haben as he was a Bechor.

(This Minhag is known and was practiced by many. See here footnote 42)

The Rebbe went over to the book shelf and took down one of Reb Hillel Paritcher’s books and on the first page it said “Hillel Halevi” thus the story could not be true because a Levi does not need a Pidyon Haben.

We asked a simple question: The reason why he would give every Kohen he met the 5 coins is because we are not sure who is a Kohen. Surely we are not sure who is a Levi either.

Therefore, why can’t it be that R’ Hillel Paritcher was not sure if he was a Levi either and would give the 5 coins to a Kohen anyway….?

Image result for solid answers

Some chevra suggested solid answers. To be continued….

Makos 19a Shiur 06/02/15

Makos 19a

Special thanks to Eli Chitrik.

  1. We mentioned the famous Rabbeinu Tam, Tosafos Kiddushin 36b, reason (twelve lines from the bottom) as to why there is no obligation to give Terumos and M’asros on fruits which grow outside of Eretz Yisrael: “because essentially the land does not belong to us… it belongs to the governing body of the land. The only place where a person actually owns the physical land is in Eretz Yisrael”.

Rabbeinu Tam

  1. We discussed the Rambam regarding the holiness of Eretz Yisrael:

To see the Rambam in full see here Halacha 15 onward.


The history of the conquering and settlement land of Israel (and subsequent exiles) is split into two:

1- The original conquering by the children of the generation that left Egypt. That came to a bitter end at the first exile into Bavel (Babylon).

2- The second settlement movement and the rebuilding of the Second Temple by Ezrah the Scribe. That era too ended with the exile by the Romans.

What happened to the sanctity of the land and the Beis Hamikdash as a result of these two exiles? What was the status of Eretz Yisroel for the seventy years of the first exile and what is the status today?

Did the land retain its holiness? If yes, then the laws pertaining to it still apply – in practical terms one must give Teruma and Maaser on the produce grown in Israel.

Similarly the question is also on the state of Holiness of Yerushalayim and the area where the Beis Hamikdash was standing. Did the Kedusha of the Beis Hamikdash disappear after Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it? What about the destruction by Titus?


If the sanctity on the Beis Hamikdash remains unchanged then one would be prohibited to enter that area unless one was “Tahor” – something not practical today.

We find various opinions on both of the above questions in Shas.

3- The Rambam has an original take on the above. His ruling:

1- In regards to the land –

A- The first and original sanctification was nullified at the onset of the first exile.

B- The second sanctification by Ezrah was not be nullified; it is eternal.

2- In regard to Yerushalayim and the area of the Beis Hamikdash:

The first sanctification by Dovid and Shlomo Hamelech was never nullified. Even when most Jews were in Babylon the area of the Temple Mount retained its status.

In short, the Rambam maintains that anything which was conquered originally does not maintain the Kedusha of E”Y, however anything which was taken over subsequently by Ezra does maintain it’s holiness to this day.

Why? What is his rationale?

When they first entered Eretz Yisrael they did through means of “conquest”. Therefore once they were driven out of the land their “conquest” was nullified.

However when they came back for the second time they took it through “Chazakah” (occupation, or right of possession) and a Chazakah is something which is maintained for eternity.

This Rambam seems to be very problematic on many accounts.

Firstly the Kesef Mishnah asks two questions:

  1. On what basis is Chazakah considered a more effective means of acquisition than conquest?



  1. After the initial conquest of Eretz Yisrael, the Jewish people manifested their ownership over it and thus, effected a Chazakah. If so, why is Ezra’s Chazakah, which was not preceded by conquest, more effective than the Chazakah which followed the original conquest? Why should the conquest detract from the consecration of the land?

The Rebbe in a lengthy and complicated Sicha explains this Rambam:

(To see the Sicha in full see here, to see a shorter synopsis see here)

​​From Avraham’s time onward Eretz Yisrael became the property of the Jewish people. Though the land was possessed by the Canaanites, the Jews were already its legal owners.

Despite this claim of ownership, the sanctity of Eretz Yisrael came about only after the Jewish people entered the land, after the redemption from Egypt. At that time, they were commanded to conquer the land and take it forcefully from the Gentiles.

Since G-d made the consecration of the land dependent on its conquest by Israel, it follows that conquest by a Gentile nation can indeed nullify that holiness.

In contrast, Ezra was not commanded to reconquer Eretz Yisrael, but rather to settle it. Actually, there was no need to “conquer” since the had explicit permission granted to them by a decree of King Koresh (Cyrus) .

In this instance, G-d made the sanctity of the land dependent upon the Jewish people manifesting their ownership over the land which had been given to them as an eternal inheritance.

Since Eretz Yisrael remains our land, regardless of how many times it has been conquered by Gentiles, the sanctity effected by that manifestation of ownership is also eternal.

4- As to the sanctity of the Yerushalayim and the Beis Hamikdash the Ramban comes up with a fascinating explanation as to why once consecrated by Dovid and Shlomo it can never be annulled.


In his own words:

Since the sanctity of the Temple and Jerusalem stems from the Shechinah, and the Shechinah can never be nullified.

5- We mentioned that although the Rambam’s opinion is that the land of Israel, after the return of the Babylonian exile sanctified the land in a manner that cannot be nullified, nevertheless his opinion (as opposed to others) is that the laws of Teruma and Maaser are only applicable today mid’Rabanan. Not De’oraisa.

Why? Because in order to for the laws of Teruma etc. be applicable the majority of the Jewish worldwide population needs to be living in Israel!

We mentioned that the well-known religious Zionist Rabbi Eliezer Melamed who writes that he can’t wait for the majority of Jews to settle in Israel and then the Mitzvah of Teruma and Maaser will be De’oraisa.

Since we don’t need all Jews, but just a simple majority, this can/will occur with a single new individual that will make “aliya” or a new child born in Israel to tip the balance of the majority of Jews.

But he admits that it would be a challenge to know exactly when that will occur because to ascertain the precise number of Jews worldwide is not practical.

Nevertheless he is hopeful that the time will come that enough Jews will live in Israel to be certain of a majority. At that time Teruma and Maaser will be De’oraisa.




Makos 18b Shiur 05/26/15

Makos 18b

1 – Kol ha’Ro’uy l’Bilah, Ein Bilah Me’akeves Bo; v’she’Ein Ra’uy l’Bilah, Bilah Me’akeves Bo.

כל הראוי לבילה אין בילה מעכבת בו

What does this classic statement mean?

Basically – when one brings a Mincha offering the ratio of flour to oil needs to be a maximum of 60:1. This is because the Torah says that the ingredients need to be mixed. If additional flour is added, then the blending of the two will not be accomplished properly.

Paradoxically, when all the ingredients are placed in one pan and the schlemiel [prior to the Kemitza and placement upon the Mizbeach] forgets to blend the mixture of flour and oil, the Mitzvah is considered done (albeit B’dieved).

So if the mixing is not important why should we care if the ratio is, say, 70:1? It needs not to be blended anyway (Be’Dieved)?

Good question. The answer is given in multiple places in Shas by Reb Zeira:

A Mincha needs to have the possibility and the option to be mixed. Thus a 60:1 Mincha can in theory be mixed properly even if ultimately the mixing never occurs.

Conversely if too much flour is added then it could have never have been properly mixed – it has lost the possibility.
So in the Shiur we see the Gemara utilizing this concept with regards to Bikkurim.

Performing the Mitzvah of Bikkurim, once arriving in Yerushalayim, is a multi-step process.

  1. The Reading of the verses mentioned in the Torah; thanking G-d for the blessings bestowed and enabling the farmer to harvest his produce.
  2. The Placing of the fruit next to the Mizbeach.

What if one does A and not B? Or the reverse, B and not A?

We find two contradictory statements that address this question:

One states that the Bikkurim fruits must be placed next to the Mizbeach in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of Bikkurim.

In contrast, the Reading of the Parshah of Bikkurim, although it is a Mitzvah, is not essential to fulfilling the Mitzvah of Bikkurim; if one fails to read the Parshah of Bikkurim, one still fulfills the Mitzvah of Bikkurim.

In a different statement we find that if a person prepares his Bikkurim before Sukkos but does not bring the fruit to the Beis Hamikdash until after Sukkos, he should leave them to rot.

Apparently, this is because one cannot read the Parshah of Bikkurim after Sukkos. This statement implies that the Reading of the Parshah is an integral part of the Mitzvah, and without it one cannot fulfill the Mitzvah of Bikkurim at all.

The Gemara reconciles these two statements using the above principle of “Kol ha’Ro’uy l’Bilah, Ein Bilah Me’akeves Bo; v’she’Ein Ra’uy l’Bilah, Bilah Me’akeves Bo.”  כל הראוי לבילה אין בילה מעכבת בו

As above, this rule teaches that it is possible for an act which is not an integral part of a Mitzvah to still be an obstacle to the fulfillment of the Mitzvah. If part of the Mitzvah cannot be applied in a certain case, then that component of the Mitzvah prevents the fulfillment of the entire Mitzvah. If that part can be done but just happens not to have been fulfilled, then it does not impede the fulfillment of the entire Mitzvah.

This explains the above seemingly contradictory statements.  In the first statement, the reading of the Parshah is integral to the Mitzvah of bringing Bikkurim, but if one does not do it he nevertheless fulfills the Mitzvah because he can do the reading.

However, if a person is in a situation in which he cannot read the Parshah, such as when he delayed the bringing of the Bikkurim until after Sukkos (as discussed above), then the inability to read the Parshah does indeed impede the fulfillment of the entire Mitzvah.

2- We spoke about the question posed to the Rebbe in 1944 by Rabbi Yeshaya Horowitz from Tzfas/ Winnipeg Canada.

He was one of the first to urge the Rebbe to accept the ‘Nesius’ in 1950…..and was sharply rebuked……

Open this link to see his most interesting history and photo.

Also see here page 12.

Background: On Shavuos in addition to the Yom Tov offerings there is a unique Mitzva to bring the Shtei Halechem – two loaves of bread made of Chametz accompanied by animal offerings.   These loaves were distributed to the Kohanim to eat.

Surprisingly the Zohar states that the Shtei Halechem were “burned upon the Mizbe’ach”!!!

Rabbi Horowitz asked the Rebbe for an explanation since it is obvious that these breads were Chometz (and as we say daily at the end of Ketores “anything with Chometz or honey is prohibited to be placed on the Mizbeach” and were entirely consumed by the Kohanim.

The Rebbe quotes at length the history of all the attempts to reconcile this difficult passage in the Zohar. Interestingly, no less than Reb Chaim Vital suggests an answer… which he himself admits is a stretch!

In short: The Rebbe’s answer is, one may humbly say, disarmingly simple.

The Rebbe quotes a Gemara that states the laws of placing ‘remnants’ on the Mizbeach.

The Torah requires that certain parts of the Karbanos be offered on the Mizbeach. These parts are collectively termed “Eimurim.”

It is prohibited to offer any other part (remnants of what was already placed on the Mizbeach) of the Korban on the Mizbeach.

The Gemara enumerates examples of placing on the Mizbeach “other parts”. One of them is Shtei Halechem!

The Gemara asks: Shtei Halechem? How are they “other parts”? They are not remnants of any part that was placed already on the Mizbeach since no part of them ever reached the Mizbeach!?

The Gemora answers that the Shtei Halechem are part and parcel of the accompanying animal offerings. They are inseparable parts of the total package. So despite the Shtei Halechem never reaching the Mizbeach they are considered “remnants” of this total Korban.

Thus, after placing the parts of the Eimurim (animal parts) on the Mizbeach, nothing else remaining from this Korban can be added. Not the remaining animal parts nor the Shtei Halechem themselves.

So in a sense the Shtei Halechem and the animal offerings are deemed to be placed on the Mizbeach!

And concludes the Rebbe that is what the Zohar meant. The Shtei Halechem was an integral part of the korban that needs to be brought upon the Mizbeach.

See there entire letter as the Rebbe continues his explanation as to the Chasidisher explanation of all the above.