Monday, May 12, 2008

Berya - qualitative or quantitative shiur

In a previous post (in the context of bitul chameitz) we touched on the issue of kamus vs. eichus, quantity vs. quality, a chakira discussed in many places by the Rogatchover and R’ Yosef Engel. I would like to pose the same chakira with respect to the din of berya. The Mishna tells us that even though one normally does not get punished for eating a prohibited food ft the amount consumed is less than a k’zayis, if one consumes an entire insect, even though it is very small, one would get malkos. Since a bug is a whole complete entity, a berya, it is considered a significant enough act of eating to warrant punishment.

Is berya a shiur of kamus or eichus, quality of quantity? Is the chiddush of berya that a whole insect has the quality of being a whole living discrete entity and therefore significant, or is the chiddush that the quantity of living matter in a berya is significant enough to warrant punishment?

I think perhaps this is the issue behind the gemara’s question in the recent daf (Nazir 51b) whether one is chayav for eating a bug which has a part ripped off but can still live. If berya is a qualitative shiur, then the fact that the bug can live as-is proves it still has the quality of berya. But if berya is a quantity, then if the bug is missing any part, even an insignificant part, it lacks the necessary shiur.


  1. So maybe this is the machlokes Bavli and Yerushalmi that Tosfos in Brachos 39a brings about whether there's a din bracha achrona on a birya like an olive or a grape? The Yerushalmi that holds there's a chiyuv, and that birya is not necessarily beriyas neshama, holds that birya is a din of kamus, while the Bavli, which limits it to beriyas neshama, holds it's a din of eichus, which wouldn't apply to fruit and things.

  2. I was thinking of this same safeik in Tosfos but for some reason could not convince myself the chakira works there. Now that I read the way you formulated it I am more convinced that it works.

  3. Anonymous1:08 AM

    I updated
    וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה בְּהַר סִינַי לֵאמֹר דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם וְשָׁבְתָה הָאָרֶץ שַׁבָּת לַיהוָה שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים תִּזְרַע שָׂדֶךָ
    What is the significance of seven years? The Matteh Moshe has an interesting answer. The solar Year is 365 days .Within this time period there are 52 Shabbosim. Therefore it comes out that the number of Shabbosim in a Shmitah cycle is 364 days rounded you get the Shmitah year. The Chida has a more exact answer. The Gemara in Brachos says Rava told his students during Nissan and Tishrei don’t come to Yeshiva to learn, work the fields so you have the means to learn for the rest of the year. If you do the math over the six years it adds up to twelve months. Therefore the seventh Year is Shemita.
    וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֶת-חֻקֹּתַי וְאֶת-מִשְׁפָּטַי תִּשְׁמְרוּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם וִישַׁבְתֶּם עַל-הָאָרֶץ לָבֶטַח
    Why does the torah change the language from the חוקים to the משפטים by the חוקים it says עֲשִׂיתֶם and by the משפטים it says תִּשְׁמְרוּ? Rabbi Frand offers an interesting Pshat. The difference between a חוק and a משפט is that a חוק is without logic we do it because Hashem told us too. A משפט is a logical law like not murdering or stealing. Now the change in the Posuk makes sense. A חוקwhich we do without logic and are done without reflection into its logical reasoning we say to do it ַעֲשִׂיתֶםor to continue doing it. Then there are משפטים which are logical, but here we are thrown a loop if the logic does not make sense to our modern sensitivities we are no longer so sure. The advocacy for euthanasia is a simple case in point as is abortion, so maybe murder is not so simple after all the a person is suffering, and the child will just be a drain on society. Stealing is also not so simple we all grew up on Robin Hood. His motto was steal from the rich and give too the poor this makes perfect sense to most of us .Now it becomes clear that when it comes to משפטים we have to watch them and make sure we don’t loose our torah Ethics to our modern Sensibilities.
    וְכִי תֹאמְרוּ מַה-נֹּאכַל בַּשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת הֵן לֹא נִזְרָע וְלֹא נֶאֱסֹף אֶת-תְּבוּאָתֵנוּ.
    The question seems to be wrong, in the seventh year we eat the crop of the sixth year so what is the posuk asking what will be in the seventh year, it is the wrong question? The Sefer Peh Kodesh has an amazing Psychological insight. The Gemara in Yoma says
    אינו דומה מי שיש לו פת בסלו למי שאין לו פת בסלו .That means that a person who knows that he is provided for in the future is more psychologically fulfilled. Now we understand the Posuk easily. It is talking about the seventh year but since in his mind he is concerned about the upcoming year he is unfulfilled so Hashem in the next posuk
    says וְצִוִּיתִי אֶת-בִּרְכָתִי לָכֶם so he knows this year and next year he will be fulfilled.
    כִּי-לִי בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבָדִים עֲבָדַי הֵם אֲשֶׁר-הוֹצֵאתִי אוֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם
    Why does the Posuk have a double wording עֲבָדִים עֲבָדַי? There is a din in the Rambam that a slave immerses himself and he has in mind for his freedom he goes out free. The din only applies when he was sold by his previous owner, but if was sold by the government "גבהו הגוי בחובו" his intention by the immersion does not affect the status of the Slave and he does not go free. In our Posuk Hashem is saying I bought you as Slaves but you can't immerse to be free like the din of a slave because I bought you as a governmental purchase מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם.
    אֶת-כַּסְפְּךָ לֹא-תִתֵּן לוֹ בְּנֶשֶׁךְ וּבְמַרְבִּית לֹא-תִתֵּן אָכְלֶךָ. אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר-הוֹצֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם לָתֵת לָכֶם אֶת-אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן לִהְיוֹת לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים
    The Yalkut says on this Pasuk whoever lends with interest it is as if he is saying he has nothing to do with Yetizas Mitzrayim. What is the connection between Yetizas Mitzrayim and interest? The first answer is if someone gives you a lot of money and tells you my gift is conditional. The condition is if any of my children need money in the future you will lend it to them without interest so to says the Chasam Sofer Hashem when we left Mitzrayim Hashem took us out with great wealth. There was a condition in the torah lending without interest to Jews who are Hashem's children. This is the connection between Yetizas Mitzrayim and interest The Darash Vihaiyun has another answer. They ask why where the Mitzrayim Punished for enslaving the Jews after all Avraham was told in Golus the Egyptians would ועבדום וענו אותם the Ravad answers they added the work was בפרך and now we understand the connection between Yetizas Mitzrayim and Interest that is the Egyptians worked us בפרך hence taking interest.
    וּבַשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן יִהְיֶה לָאָרֶץ שַׁבָּת לַיהוָה שָׂדְךָ לֹא תִזְרָע וְכַרְמְךָ לֹא תִזְמֹר
    The Har Tzvi points out a inconsistency in our Parsha. When talking about Yovel all the Issurim are written in plural לא תורעו ולא תקחו .Then by Shmitah it speaks in singular. The answer is simple the Din of Yovel is Only when most Jews are in Israel the din of Shmitah is if even one Jew is there he must keep Shemita. Therefore the Posukim are exactly to this point.
    וְקִדַּשְׁתֶּם, אֵת שְׁנַת הַחֲמִשִּׁים שָׁנָה, וּקְרָאתֶם דְּרוֹר בָּאָרֶץ, לְכָל-יֹשְׁבֶיהָ; יוֹבֵל הִוא, תִּהְיֶה לָכֶם, וְשַׁבְתֶּם אִישׁ אֶל-אֲחֻזָּתוֹ, וְאִישׁ אֶל-מִשְׁפַּחְתּוֹ תָּשֻׁבוּ
    The Pnei Yeshouah asks what does it mean לְכָל-יֹשְׁבֶיהָ.It is only the slaves are going free? He answers based on a Gemara in Kiddushin. The Gemara says "whoever buys himself a Jewish slave Buys Himself a Master". This is Because Halacha says if there is one pillow in the house the servant gets it, and the servant must be served food of equal or greater quality then his master. Therefore now the Posuk is clear לְכָל even the masters of the slaves.
    לֹא-תַעֲשׂוּ לָכֶם אֱלִילִם וּפֶסֶל וּמַצֵּבָה לֹא-תָקִימוּ לָכֶם וְאֶבֶן מַשְׂכִּית לֹא תִתְּנוּ בְּאַרְצְכֶם לְהִשְׁתַּחֲו‍ֹת עָלֶיהָ כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֶת-שַׁבְּתֹתַי תִּשְׁמֹרוּ וּמִקְדָּשִׁי תִּירָאוּ
    The Chasam Sofer asks if Hashem dislikes stone floors why did he command that the Beis Hamikdash be made with them and what is the connection to Shabbos? The answer is simple stone floors in the Beis Hamikdash are needed because of the blood of the Korbanos would muddy a sand floor. The connection to Shabbos is because on Shabbos you would need to clean it up. That would mean you would be Desecrating Shabbos it is this very reason that Hashem wants the stone floors. Therefore the Parsha ends talking about the stone floors and Shabbos.

  4. I thought about it some more and am less convinced. Perhaps a grape is a berya because it has the quality of wholeness?

  5. There are three applications of the din Berya; Bitul, bracha achrona, and malkos. Bitul and Malkos for sure the din Berya only applies to briyas neshomo, as in YD 100 and Nazir. Brochos is a machlokes Bavli and Yerushalmi. It stands to reason that the Yerushalmi that broadens it by Bracha Achrona holds either a different approach to Berya or to Chiyuv Bracha Achrona. This reminded me of the din that a kli doesn't have to be shoveh prutah, because of chashivus. So I thought that the pshat in the Yerushalmi was a din of achshevei, which, to me, means kamus that you inflated in significance, while the Bavli held it was a din of a different metzius, of eichus.

    You can always ask Mr. Anonymous Drush Dropper what he thinks.

  6. >>>This reminded me of the din that a kli doesn't have to be shoveh prutah, because of chashivus.

    Isn't the pshat in achshivei that something which is a kli is qualitatively different than money? Money is quantifiable; the kli is evaluated based on a different scale.