For the week ending 5 November 2011 / 7 Heshvan 5772

Chullin 135 - 142

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • The mitzvah of giving the kohen the first shearing of the flock – where and when it applies
  • Why it does not apply to animals of the Sanctuary
  • Partnership with a Jew or non-Jew in regard to a number of mitzvot
  • Comparison of the mitzvah of first shearing with terumah and other mitzvot
  • To which animals does this mitzvah apply and what is the minimum amount of such animals
  • How much must the sheared wool weight
  • Shearing purchased from a Jew or non-Jew
  • The mitzvah of sending away the mother bird before taking her offspring
  • When it does not apply and why
  • A nest on the sea, on the head of a man, or of a bird forbidden to eat
  • If the mother bird is only hovering over the nest or if the nest contains only one bird or egg
  • Is the offender who takes the birds without first sending the mother liable for lashes
  • The reward for this and other mitzvot

Minimum and Maximum

The mishna in Mesechta Peah quoted in the last perek of our mesechta lists the mitzvot which do not have a Torah designated minimum requirement. The mitzvah of tithing terumah does not appear in this list despite the fact that as regards Torah law one can fulfill his obligation by giving the kohen one kernel of grain and it is only by Rabbinic law that he is required to give more.

Rashi explains this omission by pointing out that the amount of tithing established by the Sages is hinted at in certain passages and therefore does not fit in with the other mitzvot for which there are no such scriptural hints.

Tosefot cites the Talmud Yerushalmi's approach to the problem which is to point out that all the mitzvot mentioned in the mishna (peah, bikurim, raion) have neither minimum requirements nor maximum limits. Terumah, on the other hand, has a maximum limit, for if one wishes to give away his entire harvest as terumah, it will not become terumah. This is so because tithing means giving away a portion of your crops but not the entirety.

  • Chullin 137b

What the Sages Say

"Those who are involved in the performance of a mitzvah will be safe from any danger."

  • Rabbi Elazar - Chullin 142a

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