Waving Bikurim

Bikurim (3:6) | Yisrael Bankier | 5 years ago

Previously (2:4) we learnt that one of the laws that sets Bikurim apart from terumot and maaserot was the requirement of tenufah. In other words, when one brought the bikurim to Yerushalaim they were waved, in a similar manner to a lulav and etrog. This week we studied the third perek that described how the bikurim were brought. The Mishnah (3:6) taught:

While the basket (containing the bikurim) was on his shoulders, he would recite from “ve’higadeti ha’yom” until he complete the entire parasha. R’ Yehuda explains that he would recite until “arami oved avi”. When he reached “arami oved avi”, he would then take the basket down from his shoulders and hold them by the rim; and the kohen would then place his hands under the basket and wave it. He would recite from “arami oved avi” until he ends the parasha, leave the basket by the side of the mizbeach and then leave.

From a simple reading of the Mishnah the requirement of tenufah is debated, with the first opinion omitting it. Considering that the earlier Mishnah simply stated that tenufa is required, is the Tana Kama in our Mishnah arguing with the earlier one?

The Tosfot Yom Tov however explains that the Mishnah is presenting the universal opinion from the point where the Mishnah discusses what happened from arami oved avi. That being the cases it is unclear what the Tana Kama and the R’ Yehuda are arguing about. The Tosfot Yom Tov presents two possibilities.

According to both possibilities, he explains that the debate is whether the Kohen is handling the bikurim along with the owner as he recites arami oved avi. According to the Chachamim the Kohen first takes the bikurim at arami oved avi and waves them alone. Then the owner takes the bikurim, recites the parasha and performs tenufah alone (see Rashi Devarim 26:4,10). According to R’ Yehuda however, the Kohen holds the basket along with the owner from arami oved avi and one tenufa is performed at the end together. The Tosfot Yom Tov’s second suggestion, based on the Mizrachi, reverses the explanation of two positions.

The Mishnah Rishona suggests that everyone maintains that the waving was performed during the recital. The debate is whether they paused during the recital for the waving, with the Tana Kama maintaining that he would recite the parasha from “beginning to end” without a break.

Returning to the Tosfot Yom Tov, he continues that his original suggestions were based on the opinions of the Rambam and Bartenura that rule according to the opinion of R’ Yehuda. Implicit in their ruling is the assumption that the Mishnah records a debate. The Tosfot Yom Tov however continues that in Mishnayot, the second opinion recorded is sometimes explaining the first opinion in more detail. That being the case, it is possible that in our Mishnah as well, R’ Yehuda is simply explaining the opinion of the Tana Kama and there is no argument regarding tenufah.

Common to the explanations thus far, the Tana Kama agrees that tenufa is required. The Tosfot Anshei Shem however directs our attention to the Tosfot (Makkot 18b). The Gemara there discusses whether reciting the parasha (keriya) and/or hanacha (placing the bikurim down by the mizbeach) is me’akev (critical). The Gemara explains that keriya is debated between R’ Shimon and the Rabanan while hanacha is debated between R’ Yehuda and the Rabanan. R’ Yehuda maintains that hanacha is not me’akev. The Gemara explains that despite the fact the pesukim that describe bikurim refer to hanacha twice, one of these is understood to be referring to tenufa. Since hanacha is then only understood to be mentioned once, it is not me’akev. The Gemara then asks which opinion disagrees with R’ Yehuda. The Gemara cites the opinion of R’ Eliezer that learns the requirement of tenufa from a different pasuk (“ve’lakach ha’kohen ha’tena miyadecha). This would presumably thereby leave both references of hanacha to teach that hanacha is me’akev.

The Tosfot however comment, based on the Sifri, that R’ Eliezer requires the two reference of “hanacha” to refer to tenufa as the source that the bikurim are waved twice. R’ Eliezer only argues with R’ Yehuda regarding the source of the obligation of tenufa. The Tosfot however explains that it is the Tana Kama in our Mishnah that understands the term hanacha to be literal in both cases. The Tana Kama is the one that argues with R’ Yehuda and maintains that hanacha is meakev. In other words, according to the Tana Kama there is no source for tenufa for bikurim and they must indeed be arguing with the earlier Mishnah.

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