|Tractate Peah, Chapter 2
Tosefta 131[There are] four gifts [to the poor that apply] in a vineyard: Peret (individual fallen grapes),2 Shikcha (forgotten sheaves),3 Peah (corners of the field),4 and Olelot (incompletely formed grape clusters).5 And [there are] three [gifts to the poor that apply] by grain: Leket (fallen stalks),6 Shikcha,7 and Peah.8 And [there are] two [gifts to the poor that apply to fruit] on a tree: Shikcha and Peah.9 Favoritism is not applicable to all of these [gifts to the poor, and therefore] even the poorest person among the Jews10 may take11 what is [rightfully] his from his (i.e. the owner’s) hand [despite the fact that the owner may have set these gifts aside for someone else].12 Favoritism is not applicable to Maaser Ani (tithe of the poor),13 [and therefore] even the poorest person among the Jews may take what is [rightfully] his from underneath14 his (i.e. the owner’s) hand [despite the fact that the owner may have set the Maaser Ani aside for someone else].15 Favoritism is applicable to the gifts of the Kohanim (priests)16 and the Leviim (Levites),17 such as the foreleg [of every slaughtered animal],18 the cheeks [of every slaughtered animal],19 and the stomach [of every slaughtered animal,20 as well as Maaser Rishon (first tithe)],21 and [the owner] can give them to whichever [Kohen or Levi] he wants to [without another Kohen or Levi being able to ask for them first].22
מסכת פאה פרק ב
ארבע מתנות בכרם: הפרט, והשיכחה, והפיאה, והעולילות. ושלש בתבואה: הלקט, והשיכחה, והפיאה. ושתים באילן: השיכחה, והפאה. כל אילו אין בהן משום טובה, אפילו עני שבישראל מוציא את שלו מידו. מעשר עני אין בה משום טובה, אפילו עני שבישראל מוציא את שלו מתחת ידו. מתנות כהונה ולויה כגון הזרוע, והלחיים, והקיבה יש בהן משום טובה, ונותן לכל כהן שירצה.
- The first part of the Tosefta outlines all of the different gifts to the poor as they apply to different types of crops. It is not related to any Mishna. The second part of the Tosefta regarding favoritism is related to Mishna Peah 4:9 which quotes an argument between Rebbi Eliezer and the Chachamim (Sages) regarding if the owner of the field is able to set aside Peah for a particular poor person or if he must give it to the first poor person who comes to him. This Tosefta expands on that case and follows the opinion of the Chachamim who hold that Peah must be given to the first poor person who comes to collect it.
- For the definition and explanation of Peret see above Tosefta Peah 1:13, note 5. The Torah explicitly states that Peret applies only in a vineyard. See Vayikra 19:10.
- For the definition and explanation of Shikcha see above Tosefta Peah 1:13, note 6. Since a grapevine is a tree Shikcha applies to it in the same way as it applies to all fruit trees. For the details of how Shikcha is defined by trees see note 9 below. Talmud Bavli (Chulin 131a) states that Shikcha by a grapevine is learned out from an extra word אַחֲרֶיךָ, “after yourself”, in the verse in the Torah by Olelot (Devarim 24:21), however that seems to be a superfluous derivation, since Peah equally applies to all trees, as the Tosefta states.
- Since a grapevine is a tree Peah applies to it in the same way as it applies to all fruit trees. For the details of how Peah is defined by trees see note 10 below. Talmud Bavli (Chulin 131a) states that Peah by a grapevine is learned out from a Gezeira Shavah (Derivation by Equal Decree) from the word אַחֲרֶיךָ, “after yourself”, between the verses of olives (Devarim 24:20) and grapes (Devarim 24:21). However, that seems to be a superfluous derivation, since Peah equally applies to all trees, as the Tosefta states. See Tosafot (Chulin 131a, Gamar) who points out that this particular Gezeira Shavah seems to be very problematic for various reasons. For a description of how a Gezeira Shavah works in general see Tosefta Berachot 6:2, note 5.
- For the definition and explanation of Olelot see above Tosefta Peah 1:13, note 7. The Torah explicitly states that Olelot apply only in a vineyard. See Vayikra 19:10 and Devarim 24:21.
- To an untrained eye, or someone reading the translation of the Torah and not the original, it does not seem to explicitly state that Leket applies only to grain. See Vayikra 19:9 and 23:22. All the Torah there says is וְלֶקֶט קְצִירְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט, “and the fallen [stalks] of your harvest you should not pick up”. However, the Hebrew word קציר, (Ketzir) does not just mean the harvest of anything, but specifically refers to grain. Hence the verse explicitly says that Leket applies only to grain and not to anything else.
- The Torah explicitly states that Shikcha applies to grain as implied by the word קְצִירְךָ, “your harvest”, as I already explained in the previous note. See Devarim 24:19. There are two possible ways how Shikcha can occur by grain. Either the owner can forget actual bundles of already cut grain lying in the field, which is the classic case of Shikcha, or the owner can forget to harvest some of his crops leaving them still standing in the field after the harvest. In the latter case the way it is noticeable that these standing stalks are Shikcha and not Peah is because Peah would generally be left at the end of the field where the farmer finished harvesting the whole field, as was already explained above in Tosefta Peah 1:5, where as Shikcha would be left in the middle of the field where the farmer simply forgot to harvest particular stalks of grain. The law of Shikcha applying to standing stalks is not mentioned explicitly in the Torah. There are a few possible sources for it. The Sifri (Ki Teitze 283) learns it out from a Kal Vechomer (derivation from minor to major) from the Torah law of Shikcha with regard to forgotten sheaves. The Kal Vechomer goes as follows. Since Shikcha applies to sheaves, which are heavy and difficult to carry, as explicitly stated by the Torah (Devarim 24:19-21), then for sure it should apply to individual standing stalks which are much lighter and easier for the poor person to carry away than big heavy sheaves. A second possible source is implied by Talmud Yerushalmi (Peah 4:4, Daf 22a), as explained by Rash Sirillio (ibid, Veshachachta Omer). The Torah says by Shikcha (Devarim 24:19) as follows:
כִּי תִקְצֹר קְצִירְךָ בְשָׂדֶךָ וְשָׁכַחְתָּ עֹמֶר בַּשָּׂדֶה …
When you will harvest your harvest in your field and you will forget a sheave in the field …
The verse repeats the word “field” twice, even though the second time seems to be superfluous. The Torah could have easily written “When you will harvest your harvest in your field and you will forget a sheave …” without saying again “in the field”. From this extra wording the Yerushalmi implies that the law of Shikcha applies not only to sheaves, but also to standing crops. In other words, whatever is forgotten in the field is considered to be Shikcha, whether it is sheaves or just standing crops.
Since by forgotten sheaves there is a clearly defined upper limit of three sheaves that the owner is allowed to go back and take for himself, it makes sense that there should be an upper limit for the amount of forgotten standing stalks above which the owner should be allowed to go back and cut them off for himself. However, there is no clear definition of what that maximum amount is. Mishna Peah 6:7 seems to imply that the upper limit for Shikcha of standing stalks is two Seahs. Seah is a measure of volume, equal to 6 Kavs. Since one Kav is equal to roughly 0.5 gallons, 6 Kavs roughly equal to 3 gallons. Therefore 2 Seahs is approximately 6 gallons (22.7 liters). The reason for this upper limit is explained in the Sifri (ibid.) and Talmud Yerushalmi (Peah 6:5, Daf 30a). The Torah says by Shikcha (Devarim 24:19), לֹא תָשׁוּב לְקַחְתּוֹ, “you should not go back to take it”, implying that Shikcha needs to be able to be carried away by one person and the amount of 2 Seahs is simply too big for that. Although this reason is stated by the upper limit of the size of an individual sheave to which Shikcha applies, it seems to be the same for the standing crops, the idea being that if the poor person would cut them off he needs to be able to carry them away in one shot. It is not clear from the Mishna how to measure this volume of standing stalks. Should it be measured before the grain is cut, which would be a much smaller amount or should it be measured after the grain is cut and bundled, which would results in a much larger amount since the in a sheave the stalks are pressed together? This issue is up for discussion. The Rambam (Commentary on Mishna Peah 6:7) seems to imply that this measurement of two Seahs applies to stalks after they are cut off and piled and not while they are standing. However, this is a difficult opinion to accept, because the owner needs to decide whether to leave these stalks standing as Shikcha or cut them off for himself and he needs to measure them while they are still attached to the ground and not after they are cut off and piled.
- The Torah explicitly states that Peah applies to grain as implied by the word קְצִיר, “harvest”, as I already explained in note 6. See Vayikra 19:9 and 23:22.
- Talmud Bavli (Chulin 131b) says that the source for this law, that Peah and Shikcha apply to all fruit trees, is the following verse. The Torah says (Devarim 24:20):
כִּי תַחְבֹּט זֵיתְךָ, לֹא תְפַאֵר אַחֲרֶיךָ, לַגֵּר לַיָּתוֹם וְלָאַלְמָנָה, יִהְיֶה.
When you beat your olive tree, do not remove all of its beauty after yourself; it should remain for the convert, the orphan, and the widow.
It is obvious from the verse that it is referring to the fact that the farmer should not beat the olive tree down to the last olive, but rather should leave some olives on the tree for the poor people to take. However, the expression “do not remove all of its beauty after yourself” is vague and it is not clear to which type of a gift to the poor it is referring to, Peah, Shikcha or something else. Talmud Bavli (Chulin 131b) states that the word אַחֲרֶיךָ (Acharecha), “after yourself”, is referring specifically to Shikcha, but it does not explain why. This is difficult to understand, because the expression “after yourself” does not imply to be something that the farmer forgot by accident, but rather that the farmer should leave some olives on the tree for the poor on purpose which sounds more like Peah than Shikcha. A possible resolution to this question is proposed by the Malbim in his commentary on the Torah (Devarim 24:20) that the Gemara feels that the word Acharecha is extra and was not needed to be said. The preceding expression of the verse, לֹא תְפַאֵר (Lo Tefaer), “do not remove all of its beauty” refers to something that the farmer should leave on purpose, namely Peah, and the following expression, אַחֲרֶיךָ (Acharecha), “after yourself”, is coming to add that the farmer should also leave something that he forgot by accident, namely Shikcha. This derivation is so farfetched that even not all of the Tannaim agreed to it. Mishna Peah 7:1 quotes the opinion of Rebbi Yossi who says that the law of Shikcha does not apply to olives at all. Talmud Yerushalmi (Peah 7:1, Daf 31b) concludes that Rebbi Yossi does not hold of this derivation from the word Acharecha. Our Tosefta however, as well as the opinion of the Tanna Kama in Mishna Peah 7:1, follow the view of Rebbi Akiva who holds of the derivation from the word Acharecha. It is not clear where this derivation is quoted in the name of Rebbi Akiva. To confuse the matter further the Sifri (Devarim 284) states that both laws of Shikcha and Peah by olives are derived from the word Acharecha and not from the two separate parts of the verse as was suggested by the Malbim. Talmud Yerushalmi (Peah 1:4, Daf 7b) provides an alternative source that all fruit trees are obligated in Peah. It derives it from the word שָׂדְךָ (Sadcha), “your field”, in the main verse regarding Peah (Vayikra 19:9 and 23:22). It is not clear how this word implies a reference to trees. It is possible that it generally includes everything that can possibly grow in a field including trees.
The other obvious issue with this derivation is that the verse is specifically talking about olives and not any other kind of fruit. However, the Gemara uses it to refer to Shikcha and Peah of all fruit trees. How it arrives at that conclusion is not clear. Due to this problem the Rash Mishantz in his commentary on the Mishna (Mishna Peah 1:4, Vehatvua) writes that by Torah law Peah applies only to grain, grapes and olives, all of which have explicit verses to back it up, however, other fruit trees are only obligated in Peah by a Rabbinical decree. According to that explanation this Tosefta is stating both Torah and Rabbinical obligations in Peah and Shikcha. The Rash rejects all of the derivations from verses quoted in various sources that I already mentioned as mere Asmachtot (references from verses in Tanach for Rabbinical decrees) and not true Derashot (deravations). On the other hand, the Rambam implies in his Mishneh Torah (Hilchot Matnot Aniyim 1:6, 1:7 and 1:14) that trees are obligated in Shikcha and Peah by Torah law and all of the above mentioned Derashot are real and not just Asmachtot, since the Rambam quotes verses as the source for the stated laws and then concludes that all of them are of Torah origin. For a discussion of this argument between the Rash and Rambam see the commentary on Talmud Yerushalmi, Mareh Hapanim (Peah 1:4, Daf 8a, Yomar Zayit).
- The Tosefta uses the term “the poorest of the Jews” in order to emphasize that even a person who may not be respected in society and does not wield much power, still has his rights upheld and can demand the gifts to the poor to be given to him.
- I have quoted the text as it appears in the Erfurt manuscript, which has the word מוציא (Motzi), “he takes out”, referring to the poor person who can take the produce away from the owner. However, in the Vienna manuscript the reading is מוציאין (Motziin), “we take out”, referring to the big we, meaning the Bet Din (court). According to that reading the explanation of the Tosefta would be different than the way I explained it in the main text. It would be referring to a poor person who is the owner of the field himself and he wants to keep the gifts to the poor for himself. This is the way Saul Lieberman explains this reading in the Tosefta in Tosefta Kifshuta based on the explanation of a similar Beraita in Talmud Bavli (Chulin 131b). I have chosen the reading of the Erfurt manuscript, because it does not require this explanation, since it is really farfetched to say that there is a poor person who would want the gifts for himself who at the same time owns a whole field, or even some produce. If he has his own produce he should not need the gifts to the poor.
- The farmer is not allowed to set aside the produce from any of the gifts to the poor for a specific poor person, because that would be favoritism. He must give these gifts to the first poor person who asks for them. Obviously, when the Tosefta says that the poor person can come and take what is rightfully his it does not mean that the poor person can come and take Peah without the permission of the owner of the field, because it was already mentioned earlier in Tosefta Peah 2:7 that the poor person is not allowed to take it until he verifies that the owner set it aside for Peah. All the Tosefta means is that the owner is not allowed to deny the poor person the set aside gifts, because the owner wants to give them to someone else, but rather he must give them to the first poor person who asks for them. However, if the poor person asks the owner if this produce is set aside for Peah and the owner says yes, but he is holding it for a specific poor person, then the poor person who showed up first is allowed to take it anyway despite the owner protesting.
There two potential sources for this law. One source for this law is derived in the Sifra (Kedoshim, Parshitta 1, Perek 2) from the verse in the Torah (Vayikra 19:9-10 and 23:22) by reading that verse out of context. The verse says:
… וּפֶרֶט כַּרְמְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט, לֶעָנִי וְלַגֵּר תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָם …
… and you should not pick the single grapes of your vineyard; you should leave them for the poor person and the convert …
The Sifra takes the following words out of this verse and reads them a single flowing text without a comma in between: לֹא תְלַקֵּט לֶעָנִי, which if translated as a stand-alone text would mean “do not rip off the poor person”. The Sifra interprets this to mean that the owner should not help one poor person at the expense of other poor people. I would like to suggest that this Derasha (derivation) is merely an Asmachta (a reference from the Tanach for a Rabbinical law) and not a true derivation of a Torah law, because the verse is completely read out of context. According to the Sifra the law itself was a Rabbinical enactment in order to make sure that all poor people will have equal rights to get the gifts to the poor without the owners of fields holding the set aside produce for their friends. Talmud Bavli (Chulin 131b) states that the reason for this law is because the Torah says (Vayikra 19:9-10 and 23:22) by all gifts to the poor the expression of עזיבה (Aziva), “forsaking” or “leaving”. This implies that the owner should leave the produce for the poor and not have any say in what happens to it after he set it aside for them. Therefore the owner should not be able to somehow put a hold on the gifts and reserve them for a specific poor person. This explanation is a direct derivation of the Torah verses and not and Asmachta, and therefore according to the Talmud Bavli this law is a Torah law, and not a Rabbinical law. As I will explain below in note 15 it seems to me that the Tosefta holds that this law is a Rabbinical enactment and not a Torah law.
- For an explanation of what Maaser Ani was, see above Tosefta Peah 1:6, note 7.
- It is not clear why the Tosefta adds the word “underneath” in this case. It does not seem to have any significance.
- The reason why favoritism does not apply to Maaser Ani just like it does not apply to Leket, Shikcha and Peah depends on the source of this law, as I explained above in note 12. If this is a Rabbinical enactment then we can easily understand that the Rabbis enacted it as a protection against favoritism in the same way as they did by the other gifts to the poor, so that all poor people will have equal rights in accessing these gifts. However, if it is a Torah law then it becomes much more difficult to understand why it is so. By Maaser Ani the Torah does not use the expression of עזיבה (Aziva), “forsaking” or “leaving”. Rather the Torah uses two different expressions, one of הנחה (Hanacha), “putting down” (see Devarim 14:28-29), meaning the owner should put it down so that the poor can come and take it themselves, and also the expression of נתינה (Netina), “giving” (see Devarim 26:12), meaning that the owner should give this tithe to the poor. Neither expression implies that once the owner puts it down he does not have any say anymore to whom it should go. In fact, Talmud Bavli (Chulin 131b) quotes a Beraita that says the exact opposite of the law of our Tosefta, that favoritism applies to Maaser Ani and the owner can hold it for a poor person of his choice, due to this precise reason that the Torah uses the expression of “giving” by Maaser Ani, meaning that he can give it to whomever he wants to. Due to this I am further inclined to say that our Tosefta holds that the law of non-applicability of favoritism to all gifts to the poor is a Rabbinical enactment. The question of applicability of favoritism to Maaserot (tithes) in general, and to Maaser Ani in particular, is discussed in Talmud Yerushalmi (Nedarim 11:3, Daf 37b). There two Amoraim argue about it and bring various proofs to their opinions from verses in the Torah. It is clear from their argument that this law has not been settled for a while after the Tosefta has been completed.
- Tosefta Chala 2:8 lists 24 gifts to the Kohanim given to them by the Torah. Out of these 24 gifts, 14 of them are parts of sacrifices and are therefore not given by the public to the Kohanim as a part of their daily lives. Our Tosefta is only referring to the remaining 10 gifts which are given to the Kohanim by the public, and even then not to all of them, because some of them are not given to the Kohanim voluntarily by the owner, but rather they revert to the Kohanim without the owner’s consent as I will explain. These 10 gifts are:
1) Terumah (heave offering). For an explanation of what Terumah is, see above Tosefta Peah 1:6, note 7.
2) Terumat Maaser (heave offering of the tithe). For an explanation of what Terumat Maaser is, see above Tosefta Peah 1:6, note 7.
3) Chalah (dough offering). The Torah commands that every time a person bakes bread he has to separate a portion of his dough to give to the Kohen. See Bemidbar 15:17-21.
4) Reishit Hagez (first sheared wool). The Torah commands that the first portion of wool sheared of every sheep by the herder has to be given to the Kohen. See Devarim 18:4.
5) Zeroah (foreleg), Lechayayim (cheeks), and Hakevah (stomach), known together as the Matanot (gifts). The Torah commands that every time a person slaughters an animal for food he has to give the foreleg (front leg), the cheeks, and the stomach, in particular the last of four stomachs of a ruminating animal, such as a cow, a sheep or a goat, known as the abomasum, to the Kohen. See Devarim 18:3. I will explain each of these gifts in more details below.
6) Pidyon Haben (redemption of the firstborn son). The Torah commands that the father has to redeem his firstborn son from the Kohen, by giving the Kohen five silver shekels. See Shemot 13:13 and Bemidbar 15:18.
7) Pidyon Peter Chamor (redemption of the firstborn donkey). The Torah commands that the owner of a firstborn donkey has to redeem this donkey from the Kohen by giving the Kohen a sheep in order to be able to use the donkey. See Shemot 13:13 and Bemidbar 15:18.
8) Charamim (taboo properties). The Torah commands that anything that a person declares to be a Cherem (taboo property) without specifying that it should belong to the Temple (Bedek Habait) then it automatically belongs to the Kohanim. See Bemidbar 18:14 and Mishna Arachin 8:6. Talmud Bavli (Arachin 28b) states that the owner has to give it to any Kohen who is on duty in the Temple that week, but not to any other Kohen. It is not clear if this Tosefta agrees to that or not.
9) Sadeh Achuzah (inherited field). The Torah commands that a person who inherited a field from his relatives and then consecrated it to the Temple and did not redeem it before Yovel (Jubilee year), and then the field got redeemed from consecrated property by one of his relatives and remained in their possession when the Yovel began then on the Yovel this field automatically goes out from the possession of the relative who owns it and becomes the property of the Kohanim. See Vayikra 27:16-21. This specific gift is not given to the Kohanim by the owner, but rather reverts to them automatically. Since the owner cannot chose which Kohen to give it to it automatically belongs to all of the Kohanim who are on duty in the Bet Hamikdash (Temple) during the first week of the Yovel and they can divide it equally between themselves or can keep it as partners. See Talmud Bavli (Arachin 28b).
10) Gezel Hager (property stolen from a convert). The Torah commands that if property was stolen from a convert who does not have any Jewish relatives at all and the convert died before the thief was able to return him his stolen object, then the thief has to return the stolen property to the Kohanim. See Bemidbar 5:8 and Tosefta Bava Kama 10:9. Since the owner of the property is already dead this gift is given to the Kohen by the thief. Talmud Bavli (Arachin 28b) states that the owner has to give it to any Kohen who is on duty in the Temple that week, but not to any other Kohen. It is not clear if this Tosefta agrees to that or not.
Our Tosefta is referring to all gifts mentioned on this list except for number 9, Sadeh Achuzah, and also possibly except for number 8, Charamim, and number 10, Gezel Hager, as I already explained.
- The Torah gave the Leviim only one gift and that is Maaser Rishon (first tithe). See Bemidbar 18:21-24. For an explanation of what Maaser Rishon is, see above Tosefta Peah 1:6, note 7.
- See above, note 16, gift number 5. The Torah says (Devarim 18:3) that one leg should be given to a Kohen, but it does not specify which of the two front legs of an animal should be given to a Kohen. Tosefta Chulin 9:3 learns out from a Meh Matzinu (comparative derivation) that specifically the right front leg is given to the Kohen and not the left front leg. Talmud Bavli (Chulin 134b)
- See above, note 16, gift number 5. The Torah says (Devarim 18:3) that the לחיים (Lechayayim), literally “cheeks”, of each slaughtered animal have to be given to the Kohen. Since the Torah says “cheeks” in plural, both cheeks have to be given to the Kohen. Mishna Chulin 10:4 and Tosefta Chulin 9:3 explain that it does not just include the cheeks but rather both lower jaws and even a part of the neck of the animal. The exact boundaries of these “jaws” are disputed between the Mishna and the Tosefta. The Hebrew word for “jaw” is לסת (Leset), which is a contraction of its original spelling לעסת, which is in turn derived from the root לעס, which means “chew”. So the word Leset literally means a part of the body with which one chews. Since both the jaws and the cheeks move during chewing it would make sense that the word Leset could refer to either one of them. Unfortunately that word is not mentioned in the Tanach, so we do not really have any reference for its early usage. In the language of the Talmudic literature the precise difference between the words Lechi and Leset was not clearly defined and the words were used interchangeably, sometimes referring to the cheek and sometimes referring to the jaw. For various uses of these words throughout the Talmudic literature see Marcus Jastrow, “Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Bavli, Yerushalmi and Midrashic Literature”, 2nd Edition, 1926, p. 702, entry לחי and p. 713, entry לסת.
- See above, note 16, gift number 5. The Torah says (Devarim 18:3) that the קבה (Keiva), literally “stomach”, of each slaughtered animal have to be given to the Kohen. However, ruminants (animals that chew their cud) have a very complex stomach, which is divided into 4 different chambers: rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum. In the first two chambers, the rumen and the reticulum, the food is mixed with saliva and separates into layers of solid and liquid material. Solids clump together to form the cud. The cud is then regurgitated, chewed slowly to completely mix it with saliva and to break down the particle size. Even though the rumen and reticulum have different names they represent the same functional space as digesta can move back and forth between them. Together these chambers are called the reticulorumen. The degraded digesta, which is now in the lower liquid part of the reticulorumen, then passes into the next chamber, the omasum, where water and many of the inorganic mineral elements are absorbed into the blood stream. After this the digesta is moved to the abomasum. The abomasum is the direct equivalent of the monogastric stomach, such as a human stomach, and digesta is digested here in much the same way. Digesta is finally moved out of the stomach and into the small intestine, where the digestion and absorption of nutrients occurs. The Hebrew word Keiva, although when used in reference to humans refers to the stomach, in ruminants it refers to the abomasum, which is the last chamber of the ruminant’s stomach and is equivalent to the human stomach. This usage of the word was apparently very well defined, because when the Tosefta (Chulin 9:3) explains what it is all it says is that “Keiva is meant literally”.
- Rumen – כרס (Keres). The word כרס was originally spelled כרש (see Yirmiyahu 51:34). It seems to have the connotation of not just a stomach, but a place which gets stuffed with food. The word Keres was used to refer to the rumen which is the stomach in which the animals stuffs its food right after swallowing.
- Reticulum – בית הכוסות (Beit Hakosot). Beit Hakosot literally means “the house of cups”. The reticulum is called so because its inner lining looks like cups.
- Omasum – מסוס (Masos) or מסס (Masas). The omasum is called Masos from the root מס (Mas) or מסס (Masas), which means “to melt”. I would like to suggest that the reason it is called that is because that is where the water is absorbed from the cud into the blood stream. Since melting of ice looks like water is leaking away from it, it is as if the cud melts away in the omasum by losing its water content. The way that the ancients knew that is probably by inspection of the food that was found inside a slaughtered animal. They noticed that the food that was inside the abomasum was completely dry, where as the food inside the omasum still had some wetness to it.
- Abomasum – קיבה (Keiva). This word is spelled in the Torah (Devarim 18:3) קבה and seems to come from the root קב (Kav) or קבב (Kavav) which mean “hollow”. The abomasum is probably called Keiva because it was commonly inflated like a balloon and then dried in order to be eaten or turned into rennet in order to make cheese. Since people used it in a way that it had a large hollow space inside it was called Keiva (i.e. an object with hollow space inside). It should be noted that the rumen can be inflated as well, but it probably was not as common to do so and therefore this name was not applied to the rumen.
- The Tosefta mentioned a gift to the Levi, but did not list what it is in its list of examples, so therefore I have added it (Maaser Rishon) to the list for clarity. As was already implied earlier in note 16 this list of examples that the Tosefta mentions is not exhaustive and there are other gifts to the Kohanim to which favoritism applies, allowing the owner to select the Kohen to whom to give the gifts to.
- The reason that favoritism applies to the gifts to the Kohanim and the Leviim is the same as was mentioned in note 15. The Torah always uses the expression of נתינה (Netina), “giving” in various verses that discuss these gifts. The expression of giving implies that the owner can give the gifts to whichever Kohen or Levi he chooses and does not have to give it to anyone who comes to demand them.
Ruminant digestive system.
The four stomachs of a suckling kid (goat). Photo: Dr. David B. Fankhauser of University of Cincinnati Clermont College.
The Hebrew names of the four stomachs correspond to either the way they look or the function that they perform. In Talmudic Hebrew the four chambers of the stomach are known as follows (see Mishna Chulin 3:2 with Rashi’s commentary on it (Chulin 42a, Ubet Hakosot)):
Inner lining of the rumen. Photo: Dr. Mohammed Khalil of Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Inner lining of the reticulum. Note it looks like cups. Photo: Dr. Mohammed Khalil of Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Inner lining of the omasum. Photo: Dr. Mohammed Khalil of Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Inner lining of the abomasum. Note the folds (plica) in its inner wall. Photo: Dr. David B. Fankhauser of University of Cincinnati Clermont College.