114b – Shnei Tavshilin

  • Rav Ezra Bick

            When I originally initiated this shiur, I planned to limit it to 50 students. I thought that simple emails, lecture style, would never suffice to teach the skill of learning gemara, and of necessity the shiur would have to include interaction, with me reading the answers to questions and commenting. In the end, I did not limit the registration, and, when I saw how many people registered in the first two weeks, it did not seem right to turn away so many eager students.

            So, it is with mixed feelings that I checked how many students bothered to check their answer to the question at the end of the last shiur against the one posted on the website. On the one hand, 48 unique hits represent more or less the number of students I had planned on. On the other hand, having 300 students who had not checked in is a bit disappointing. So, I would like to reiterate why this shiur, unlike any other in the VBM, has a small measure of necessary "homework" on your part.

            The Introduction to Talmud shiur is not a lecture series. It is an attempt to use the internet, at least in some small measure, to mirror what would take place in a classroom trying to teach how to learn Gemara. Reading the shiur is close to useless in this respect - you have to think on your own, and learn how to work things out, to master the technical skills in learning Talmud, and learn to unravel the logical processes in the Talmudic sugya.

            With 380 students, I cannot have a genuinely interactive shiur. For this reason, the shiur is filled with questions, and a "pause" (indicated by the dotted line), while I "wait" for you to answer. It is imperative, if the shiur will succeed, that you actually do these exercises in thinking and reading. If we were "real," I would patiently wait while the answers came in, and we could all hear the answers and my comments. On email, this is not to be, so I rely on each of you to do it for yourself. Sometimes, this will call for you to use your browser to see what has been posted on the webpage. I hope that more will really accept the challenge and try and exploit the shiur to the fullest.

And now (having finished with the mussar), back to business.

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            In the last two weeks, we have learned a "sugya" dealing with "mitzvot tzrichot kavana" (mitzvot require intention).  We have not yet finished this sugya, and will, in fact, come back to it next week.  But first we shall be discussing a different issue raised in the mishna.

As usual, you should try and answer the questions in the shiur before progressing past the dotted line.

The webpage for this week's shiur is found at

http://www.vbm-torah.org/talmud/05.htm

This includes

1. Scan of the daf

2. Glossary of Aramaic in the Rashbam

3. Graphical representation of the sugya

4. Answer to the question about the logical progression in the sugya.

            We are beginning at line 24 on 114b, at the words, "mai shnei tavshilin." This is marked on the scan of the daf on the website.

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A. Shnei tavshilin

Mai shnei tavshilin - What are the two cooked foods?

            If you do not understand the gemara's question, looking in the Rashbam will not help you. He expects this line to be obvious.

            One of the problems with learning at the pace that we are, one short shiur a week, is that it is hard to remember what we learned three weeks ago. "Two cooked foods" is a quote from the mishna, where, after dipping the karpas, we were told that "they brought before him matza, lettuce, charoset, and two cooked foods." The gemara is asking what are "the two cooked foods."

What are the two cooked foods?

Rav Huna said: Beets and rice. Rava used to make an effort to use beets and rice, since they were mentioned by Rav Huna.

Rav Ashi said: We may learn from Rav Huna's statement that we do not worry about the position of Rav Yochanan b. Nuri; as is learned:

R. Yochanan b. Nuri says: Rice is a type of grain; one receives karet for its leavening, and one may use it to fulfill one's obligation (for matza) on Pesach.

Chizkiya said: Even fish and the egg on it.

Rav Yosef said: One needs to have two kinds of meat; one in memory of the pesach (sacrifice) and one in memory of the chagiga (sacrifice).

Ravina said: Even a bone and its boiling.

            Some points may not be clear here, and we will immediately look in Rashi and the Rashbam for assistance. But first, divide the section into two parts by removing the parenthetical statement that occurs in the middle. There are four answers to the original question, and, in the middle of these answers, there appears an aside based on one them, that, while important in its own right, is NOT an answer to the original question and has nothing to do with it. What is that statement? Mark off the beginning and the end of it.

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            Removing the parenthetical comment, the sugya looks like this. I have numbered the different answers to the original question. (For a better graphical representation of the sugya, see:

http://www.vbm-torah.org/talmud/05sugya.htm.

What are the two cooked foods?

1.   Rav Huna said: Beets and rice. Rava used to make an effort to use beets and rice, since they were mentioned by Rav Huna.

[note: Rav Ashi said…. ]

2.   Chizkiya said: Even fish and the egg on it.

3.   Rav Yosef said: One needs to have two kinds of meat; one in memory of the pesach (sacrifice) and one in memory of the chagiga (sacrifice).

4.   Ravina said: Even a bone and its boiling.

[Note:

Rav Ashi said: We may learn from Rav Huna's statement that we do not worry about the position of Rav Yochanan b. Nuri; as is learned:

R. Yochanan b. Nuri says: Rice is a type of grain; one receives karet for its leavening, and one may use it to fulfill one's obligation (for matza) on Pesach.]

            The first opinion, that of Rav Huna, is "beets and rice." The Rashbam comments:

Silka - beets, and this is an innovation, but surely (he accepts the use of) two kinds of meat.

            How does the Rashbam know this? "Two kinds of meat" is the opinion of Rav Yosef (no. 3 above).  Why does the Rashbam assume that Rav Huna agrees with R. Yosef but is only adding that beets and rice may ALSO be used? Why is the use of two kinds of meat a more obvious - and presumably preferable - solution?

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            Reading over the four answers to the question, it is immediately apparent that the third contains an element absent in the other three. Rav Yosef required that there be two kinds of meat, and, apparently, no vegetables or fish. Unlike the other opinions, his is explained - the two cooked foods are in memory of the two sacrifices brought on the fourteenth day of Nissan and eaten at the seder meal, the pesach sacrifice, and the chagiga sacrifice.  Nowhere else is any other explanation given for the two cooked foods mentioned in the mishna.

            Apparently, the Rashbam concluded that the explanation given in Rav Yosef's ruling is accepted by all opinions. The only argument is how similar do the foods in memory of the sacrifices need to be to the sacrifices themselves. Rav Yosef required meats; the reason being that he demanded maximum similarity to the original. The other opinions are more lenient. Hence, the Rashbam concludes that Rav Huna definitely agrees with Rav Yosef that meats are preferable; he is adding that any cooked vegetables, SUCH AS beets and rice, are also acceptable.

            We now understand the additional statement about Rava appended to Rav Huna's opinion. Rav made a special effort to use beets and rice, because Rav Huna had specifically mentioned them. The point is that meats are logically preferable, given the reason for the two cooked foods. Nonetheless, Rava used those foods mentioned by Rav Huna, out of reverence for the foods mentioned by the great scholar, Rav Huna.

            Since the Rashbam is arguing that there is no basic disagreement, and Rav Huna has already ruled that any two vegetables may be used, he now needs to explain what Chizkiya is telling us. He writes:

Even fish and the egg on it - For they used to coat fish with eggs, and this is the innovation, that even though it looks like one cooked food, it is considered to be two cooked foods.

            If you understand his point, he does not even have to explain the "innovation" of the last opinion, that of Ravina. All he has to do is to tell you what it means, and then he relies on you to figure out the new point.

Rashbam: A bone and its boiling - A piece of meat and the sauce it was cooked in.

            The point is that this is considered to be TWO foods, although it is really one dish, in culinary terms.

            Assignment: Line up the four opinions in the gemara in the logical order implied by the Rashbam, so that each one adds an "innovation" to the previous one. What is the innovation ("chidush," in rabbinic Hebrew) of each one.

            The answer is at

 http://www.gush.net.org/talmud/05answer.htm

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B. Rice

            Now we quickly return to the two lines we took out of the gemara and skipped over.

Rav Ashi said: We may learn from Rav Huna's statement that we do not worry about the position of Rav Yochanan b. Nuri; as is learned:

R. Yochanan b. Nuri says: Rice is a type of grain; one receives karet for its leavening, and one may use it to fulfill one's obligation (for matza) on Pesach.

            Rav Huna had stated that the two cooked foods were beets and rice. As we saw from the Rashbam, this was merely a suggestion, the point being that any two different foods could be used and not just two kinds of meat. Rav Ashi, however, focused specifically on the suggestion that rice could be used.

            Matza is a form of bread. Bread (for the purpose of making the hamotzi blessing and birkat hamazon, as well as the laws of challa) and cake (for the blessing of mezonot) are made from grains. The mishna (Pesachim 35a) lists five grains. R. Yochanan b. Nuri adds a sixth grain - rice. Accordingly, he treats rice bread and rice matza in the same way as regular bread, which means that if it is leavened it is prohibited on pesach and if not, it can be used for matza.

            Rav Ashi therefore derived from Rav Huna's suggestion that rice can be used for one of the two cooked foods that rice is not a grain. According to Rav Yochanan b. Nuri, COOKED (i.e., boiled) rice should not be eaten on Pesach, since it is likely chametz. According to the Chachamim (the anonymous position preceding R. Yochana's in the mishna; lacking a name, it is attributed to "chachamim;" that is, "the Sages"), apparently leavened rice is NOT chametz and not forbidden.

[Note: Most of you do not eat rice on Pesach. This is not because of the position of R. Yochanan b. Nuri. As our gemara indicates, " we do not worry about the position of Rav Yochanan b. Nuri." There is a custom deriving from the later geonic period (8-11th centuries) not to use any produce that might either contain wheat or flour within it, or from which a form of flour could be made, which might lead to confusion. This prohibition is called "kitniyot" (which actually means "legumes," i.e., peas and beans), and includes rice. Not all communities observe this custom].

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C. Two meats

            Rav Yosef said that we should use two kinds of meat for the two cooked vegetables, where one was in memory of the pesach sacrifice and one in memory of the chagiga sacrifice. As we saw, the Rashbam indicated that the reason given by Rav Yosef is correct and uncontested. It follows that according to all opinions, having two kinds of meat would be preferable.

            What does the word "kind" mean here? What are "kinds" of meat?

The Rashbam (s..v. "shnei") comments:

Shnei minei basar: Two kinds of meat - roast for the pesach (sacrifice) and boiled for the chagiga - this was the explanation of Rabbeinu Chananel of Rome.

            "Kinds" of meat refers to different cooking methods. As is well known, the pesach sacrifice was specifically required to be spit-roasted, so it makes sense that a food in memory of the pesach would be roasted. Rabbeinu Chananel suggested that the other food be boiled, and it would be in memory of the chagiga.

            Tosafot (s.v. "shnei") finds this strange, as the chagiga, which accompanies the pesach sacrifice, also must be roasted.

Shnei mini basar: The Rach (Rabbeinu Chananel) explained that roast for the pesach, and boiled for the chagiga. This makes no sense, as we accept the opinion of Ben-Teima (above 70a), that the chagiga is eaten only roast, as a mishna explicitly follows his opinion (116a). Therefore it would seem that both should be boiled, as is suggested by the term "tavshilin."

[Note: the word "tavshil" comes from the root BShL - bishel. This commonly means to cook, but also refers specifically to cooking in a water medium; i.e., boiling].

            The two cooked foods used by nearly everyone today are a shankbone (or, in most cases, a chicken bone), in memory of the pesach, and an egg, in memory of the chagiga. But, as we see from the sugya, any two cooked foods may be used.

A note on page-references in Tosafot (and other places). In my translation above, there appear two references, one to ben-Teima - "above, 70a"), and one to the mishna that Tosafot says supports Ben-Teima's position - "116a." Now look in the printed Tosafot. The first appears in parentheses. The second is not in the Tosafot at all, but appears in the right margin.

            Actually, in the original manuscript from which the Tosafot were printed, neither reference appeared. I can be sure of this, since page numbers were unknown to Tosafot. It was only after the Talmud was printed that the page numbers became standardized. The first reference was added by the printers of an early version of the Talmud. In the later edition of which your daf is a photostat (all modern gemaras are based on the Vilna edition printed between 1860 - 1870), they did not change the text from the previous editions, but added additional references in the margin. So there is no real difference between these two references.

            Unfortunately, these references are not always accurate. But these two are. So, for a final assignment, see if you understand why the mishna on 116a supports Ben-Teima. I shall not post the answer this week, as we will undoubtedly be there soon - in about two months.

Webpage for this shiur: http://www.gush.net/talmud/05.htm