Beitzah 28 - 34
- Weighing meat and sharpening knives on Yom Tov
- What repairs may be done on Yom Tov
- How to order meat from the butcher and eggs from the grocer
- Providing wine or oil in proper fashion
- Carrying things in a non-weekly manner
- When reproof can be counterproductive
- Removing sticks from the succah
- Which wood can be used for burning
- How can the wood be chopped
- Collapsed houses, closed pits and vessels
- Things forbidden because they are considered creating a vessel
- The importance of being merciful
- What cannot be done to aid the cooking process
- Avoiding anything that simulates building
- The problem of leading an animal with a stick
- Making toothpicks and creating fire
- The impact of Shabbat on non-tithed products
The Unwanted Leftovers
- Beitzah 29a
"We would like you to use these three hundred barrels of wine and three hundred barrels of oil for any of the needs of the Beit Hamikdash."
This was the offer made by Abba Shaul ben Botnit and his fellow merchants.
Both the wine and the oil were the accumulation of what remained by the sellers of these commodities after they measured out to the buyers the amount they paid for. The foam which formed when the wine was poured caused the buyer's vessel to have the appearance of being filled, while in actuality he was receiving less than a full measure. In the case of the oil, it was the amount of oil sticking to the bottom and sides which created the false impression of a full vessel.
The Beit Hamikdash trustees understood that these donors were concerned that they might have unwillingly acquired these leftovers in a dishonest fashion. The donors therefore informed them that this was not so because their customers were well aware that they were not receiving full measure, but because the buyers didn't want to devote the time necessary for guaranteeing full measure they willingly forgave the sellers for the amount left behind.
When the donors insisted that they did not wish to benefit from something which should have belonged to others, they were advised to dedicate it for some public project. Just as the rule is that someone who actually stole from somewhere and is unaware of the victim's identity when he wishes to return the stolen property is advised to do something for the general public,
so too these merchants who so righteously felt uncomfortable about owning wine and oil acquired in a questionable manner could made amends by devoting these items to the public good.
Maharsha points out that the trustees did not accept the wine and oil for Beit Hamikdash use despite the assurance they gave the donors that they were legally theirs because they hesitated to use something that had even the slightest hint of dishonesty for sacred purposes. Although they told the merchants that they could rightly assume that the buyers had forgiven them, their failure to verbalize this in advance disqualified it for sacred use.
What the Sages Say
"Whoever fails to show mercy towards people is not from the seed of the Patriarch Avraham."
- Shabtai bar Marinas - Beitzah 32b