Tractate Peah, Chapter 3
When did they (i.e. the Rabbis)2 say [that] standing crops [that have not been forgotten] disqualify3 a sheaf [that was forgotten next to those standing crops from being considered Shikcha (forgotten sheaves)]? At the time when [the standing crops] were not taken in the middle (i.e. between the time when the sheaf was forgotten and remembered by the farmer), but if [the standing crops] were taken in the middle (i.e. prior to the farmer remembering that he forgot that sheaf) then it does not disqualify [that sheaf from being considered Shikcha, and the farmer cannot go back and take it for himself].4 “The standing crops of his (i.e. the farmer’s) friend [that were not forgotten] disqualify his (i.e. the farmer’s) [own standing crops that were forgotten from being considered Shikcha], [the standing crops] of wheat [that were not forgotten disqualify the standing crops] of barley [that were forgotten from being considered Shikcha], [the standing crops] of a non-Jew [that were not forgotten disqualify the standing crops] of a Jew [that were forgotten from being considered Shikcha].” These are the words of Rebbi Meir. But the Chachamim (Sages) say, “[Standing crops that were not forgotten] do not disqualify [other standing crops that were forgotten], unless they were his (i.e. the farmer’s and not someone else’s) [own] and [they were] of the same kind [of crops].”5 Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel says, “Just like standing crops [that were not forgotten] disqualify a sheaf [that was forgotten from being considered Shikcha], so too the sheaf [that was not forgotten] disqualifies standing crops [that were forgotten from being considered Shikcha].6 And [the reason for this law] is a Kal Vechomer (derivation from minor to major) [which goes as follows]. Since standing crops by which the power of the poor person is weak7 [have the capability to] disqualify a sheaf [from being considered Shikcha], then for sure a sheaf by which the power of the poor person is strong should [have the capability to] disqualify standing crops.”8 They (i.e. the Chachamim) said [back] to him (i.e. Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel), “Rebbi! [That is not correct, because the reverse argument can be made as well, as follows.] Just like standing crops can disqualify a sheaf by which the power of the poor person is strong [from being considered Shikcha], so too the sheaf should disqualify the standing crops by which the power of the poor person is [also] strong [for a different reason as explained in the next Tosefta] [from being considered Shikcha].”9, 10
מסכת פאה פרק ג
אֵימָתַי אָמְרוּ קָמָה מַצֶּלֶת אֶת הָעוֹמֶר? בִּזְמָן שֶׁלֹּא נִיטְּלָה מִבִּנְתַּיִם, הָא אִם נִיטְּלָה מִבִּנְתַּיִם הֲרֵי זוֹ אֵין מַצֶּלֶת. קָמַת חֲבֵירוֹ מַצֶּלֶת עַל שֶׁלּוֹ, שֶׁל חִטִּין עַל שֶׁל שְׂעוֹרִין, שֶׁל נָכְרִי עַל שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל, דִּבְרֵי רבי מֵאִיר. וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרים אֵין מַצֶּלֶת אֶלָּא עַל שֶׁלּוֹ וּמִמִּין עַל מִינוֹ. רַבָּן שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן גַּמְלִיאֵל אוֹמר כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהַקָּמָה מַצֶּלֶת אֶת הָעוֹמֶר כָּךְ הָעוֹמֶר מַצִּיל אֶת הַקָּמָה, וְדִין הוּא מָה אִם קָמָה שֶהוּרַע כֹּחַ עָנִי בָּהּ הֲרֵי הִיא מַצֶּלֶת אֶת הָעוֹמֶר עוֹמֶר שֶׁיִּיפָּה כֹּחַ עָנִי בּוֹ אֵינוֹ דִּין שֶׁיַּצִּיל אֶת הַקָּמָה. אָמרו לוֹ, רבי! מָה לַקָּמָה שֶׁמַּצֶּלֶת אֶת הָעוֹמֶר שֶׁהֲרֵי יִיפָּה כֹּח עָנִי בּוֹ יַצִּיל עוֹמֶר אֶת הַקָּמָה שֶׁהֲרֵי יִיפָּה כֹּחַ עָנִי בָּהּ.
Mishna Peah 6:8 states that regular standing crops in any amount (even a single stalk) that have not been forgotten by the farmer and thus are not Shikcha themselves disqualify other standing crops and sheaves that are located next to them from becoming Shikcha if they were forgotten by the farmer. However, sheaves in any amount (even one) that have not been forgotten by the farmer do not disqualify standing crops or other sheaves that have been forgotten by the farmer from becoming Shikcha. The Mishna does not explain the reason for this law. Our Tosefta comes to explain the reason for the law and clarify some of its details.
It is clear from the wording of the Tosefta that this law is a Rabbinical enactment and not a Torah law. If the Tosefta would have thought that it was a Torah law it would have said “When did the Torah say …” instead of “When did they (i.e. the Rabbis) say … ”. However, Talmud Yerushalmi (Peah 6:6, Daf 30b) quotes Rebbi saying that the reason for this law is the verse in the Torah (Devarim 24:19), which says “When you harvest your harvest in your field and you forget a sheaf in the field, you should not go back to take it …”. The verse repeats the word “field” twice, the second time being superfluous. Rebbi says that from this expression we see that the forgotten sheaf is only considered Shikcha when it is located in the field full of harvested stuff, but not of still unharvested, standing crops. The second time “field” is mentioned in the verse with regard to the forgotten sheaf is coming to teach you that the field where the sheaf was forgotten must be the same type of field as described by the first part of the verse, namely a harvested field, where the crops have been cut down, and not a field of standing crops.
Literally means “saves”, meaning that it saves the crops for the farmer from being given away to the poor.
The Tosefta clarifies that although the Rabbis have enacted this law in favor of the farmer they still put a break on it in favor of the poor. This way they have enacted a balanced rule which sometimes protects the farmer from losing too much crop to the poor and sometimes benefits the poor. This goes along well with their intent to protect poor farmers who may be desperate for every bit of crop they can get. See above, Tosefta Peah 2:17, note 1, and Peah 3:1, note 3.
Rabeinu Shlomo Sirillio (Commentary on Talmud Yerushalmi, Peah 6:6, Kamat Chaveiro Matzelet Et Shelo) explains that the reason for the argument between Rebbi Meir and the Chachamim is a technicality in the verse which is cited is the source for this law by Rebbi Ilah, which I already mentioned above in note 2. The verse mentions the word “field” twice. The first time it says “your field” and the second time is just says plainly “field”. Rebbi Meir chose the second mentioning of “field” as the main source for this law and therefore since it is mentioned plainly it implies that this can be any kind of field, regardless of what is planted there or who the field belongs to. However, the Chachamim chose to use the first mentioning of the word “field”, which states “your field”, and therefore a field that belongs to your friend or to a Non-Jew will not qualify. It is obvious, that this explanation does not fit in very well with the case of barley and wheat, since “your field” does not imply that this has to be a field planted with the same kind of crops. This problem can be possibly explained away by stating that “your field” means that the second type of standing crops has to be the same as the standing crops in “your field” (i.e. the same kind as the first type standing crops).
Be as it may be, I tend to believe that the real source for the argument between the Chachamim and Rebbi Meir is a difference in tradition regardless the original enactment of this Rabbinic law. The verse is merely used as an Asmachta as I already explained above in note 2, and therefore is not the original source of the argument. Rebbi Meir holds that when the Rabbis enacted this law they did not put wide limits on it, because they did intended to protect poor farmers to an extreme extent and therefore in all of these odd cases the second set of standing crops is disqualified from being Shikcha and therefore still belongs to the farmer. However, the Chachamim held that the Rabbis tried to limit this law as much as possible in in order to protect the poor who are collecting Shikcha, and therefore they held that in all of these cases the second set of standing crops remains Shikcha and therefore belongs to the poor.
Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel extends this law from standing crops affecting adjacent standing crops to sheaves and vice versa. He clearly argues on the Mishna which explicitly states that this law only applies to standing crops affecting standing crops, and not to sheaves which cannot disqualify adjacent standing crops or other sheaves from being Shikcha.
Meaning that the poor are capable to take more produce as their gifts when they are taking sheaves, as opposed to when they are taking standing crops. See the next note for clarification.
- The next Tosefta states that both standing crops and sheaves give a special power to the poor over them, as far what they can collect in different cases. All three gifts to the poor, Leket, Shikcha and Peah, apply to standing crops, whereas only Shikcha and Peah apply to sheaves (see above Tosefta Peah 1:6), but not Leket, which be definition only applies to single stalks. This is a clear indication that standing crops give more power to the poor as far as what they can take than sheaves do. However, there is one specific law regarding sheaves where the poor can take more produce by volume as sheaves than standing crops. If a sheaf is two Seahs in volume or more it is too big to be considered Shikcha and the poor cannot take it. See Mishna Peah 6:6. However, standing crops that are even less than two Seahs in volume growing together, but could have been two Seahs in volume in a different year (due to better growth that year) are not considered to be Shikcha. See Mishna Peah 6:7. This shows an odd case where the poor actually get more crops by volume with a sheaf than with standing crops.
- The Chachamim simply responded that he does not have to look at the odd case of two Seahs only, where the power of the poor is greater with a sheaf. He can also look at the regular case of the three gifts to the poor verses two gifts by standing crops. And since there are two cases which show that both the sheaf and the standing crops give power to the poor, Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel’s Kal Vechomer does not work. It also makes sense that the next Tosefta would state the Chachamim’s logic of both cases. It is even possible that the next Tosefta is a part of their response and not a separate statement, which makes sense as well.
I have stated the response of the Chachamim to Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel based on the reading in the Vienna manuscript. The Erfurt manuscript changed the reading based on how it appears in Talmud Yerushalmi, and replaced the word יִיפָּה in the last sentence with the word שהורע, changing the reading of the last sentence to: “… so too the sheaf should disqualify the standing crops by which the power of the poor person is weak.” However, that reading requires changing the statement of Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel like it appears in the Yerushalmi also, as Rash Mishantz proposed. I have chosen to keep the text of the Tosefta as is without any emendations since its logic can be easily worked out as I have shown.
There are two possible ways how we can look at Rebbi’s reasoning in the Yerushalmi. He could be in agreement with the Tosefta that this law is Rabbinical and his derivation from the verse in the Torah is merely an Asmachta (a reference from the Tanach for a Rabbinical law). Or he could be arguing on the Tosefta and hold that this is not a Rabbinical law, but rather a Torah law with this verse being as its real source. I think the key to this question lies in the fact who actually made the statement of this derivation from the verse. In the printed editions of the Yerushalmi, as well as the Leiden manuscript, it is Rebbi who makes this statement. Rebbi without a name always refers to Rebbi Yehuda Hanassi, the author of the Mishna. It is common for him to reject statements in the Tosefta in favor of other traditions and therefore if he is really the author of this statement then I would tend to believe that he is arguing on the Tosefta and holds that this is a true Torah law. However, in the Yerushalmi edition of Rabeinu Shlomo Sirillio (printed in the back of the Vilna Yerushalmi) the text reads “Rebbi Ilah” (רבי אילא) instead of just “Rebbi”. There are a few people in the Talmudic literature with this name, so we cannot be totally sure which one of them the Yerushalmi is quoting, but it would be most likely that he is a 3rd generation Amorah, also known as Rebbi Ilai II (רבי אלעאי), who studied under Rav, Rav Yochanan and Reish Lakish and was a contemporary of Rebbi Zeira. See Talmud Yerushalmi (Sotah 9:11, Daf 44b), (Sukkah 1:1, Daf 1b), and (Gittin 5:1, Daf 27a). If he is the author of this derivation then it is most likely that it is an Asmachta and the law is Rabbinical as the Tosefta says, since he would have no authority to argue on the Tosefta without a supporting Beraita, which he does not quote. Therefore most probably he made this derivation based on his own logic and not based on an earlier tradition, which is very common among Amoraim. Based on the context and the type of statement made it is my opinion that the correct reading in the Yerushalmi is Rebbi Ilah as printed in Rash Sirillio’s edition and not Rebbi as in the Leiden manuscript.
Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel in his Kal Vechomer chose to use this odd case as an indication that poor people have more power with sheaves than with standing crops. For some reason, he completely ignored that in most cases the poor have more power with standing crops than with sheaves, since only two of the three gifts are applicable to sheaves, but all three gifts are applicable to standing crops.
This ignorance of the more common case makes this Kal Vechomer very strange. Due to this problem Saul Lieberman in Tosefta Kifshuta wrote that there must be a mistake in the wording of the Tosefta, and instead of the word עני (poor person), it was originally written בעב"י, an abbreviation that stands for בעל בית (Master of the House, or in this case owner of the field). Such a change would reverse the meaning that the owner of field has more power with sheaves than with standing crops, since by sheaves he does not have to give Leket and gets to keep more crops for himself. I have to admit that such an emendation of the text is preposterous. First of all there is no indication of any kind in any manuscript or early commentator that there ever was such a reading. Secondly, it does not make any sense that suddenly Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel would discuss the power of the owner of the field, when this Tosefta until this point and the next Tosefta only discuss the power of the poor. It does not even make sense to discuss the power of the owner since the subject matter is gifts to the poor and it is the poor whose power we are concerned with, not the owner.
Rash Mishantz in his commentary on the Mishna (Peah 6:8) solves this problem by a different emendation. He simply says that the text of the Tosefta should be corrected based on the text of Talmud Yerushalmi, which switches the words “sheaf” and “standing crops”, thus Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel says that the poor person has more power with standing crops than with sheaves. This, of course, refers to the more common case of the next Tosefta and the odd case of two Seahs is simply ignored.
This change does not seem plausible to me either based on the response of the Chachamim to Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel, at least according to the Vienna manuscript reading. See note 10 below. Their response implies that he intended to use the odd case of two Seahs only in hi Kal Vechomer, and they pointed out to him that it is not that simple, and that really there two cases that can look at it either way, and therefore his Kal Vechomer does not work.