Jugs for Maaser Sheni

Maaser Sheni (3:12) | Yisrael Bankier | a year ago

The Mishnah (3:12) teaches that if one "lent" jugs, to contain maaser sheni wine, even if those jugs were sealed, the jugs do not have kedushat maaser sheni. In other words, since the person stated that the jugs would be used temporarily to store maaser sheni, the jugs do not require redemption. If however the wine was poured into the jugs without express intent as to the jug's usage, then it would depend on whether the jugs were sealed. The details of which are the subject of debate.

The Bartenura explains that if the jug was sealed prior to designating the contents as being maaser sheni then the jug would have kedushat maaser sheni.1 This is indeed how the Yerushalmi explains the Mishnah, how Rash understands the Mishnah and how the Rambam rules in the Mishnah Torah (Maaser Sheni 8:5).

The Tosfot Yom Tov however questions this explanation since it explains the two cases in the Mishnah differently. In the first case, in which the jugs were lent, maaser sheni is poured into the jug. According to the Bartenura, the continuation of the Mishnah is where tevel is poured into the jugs and then declared as maaser sheni.

The Tosfot Yom Tov prefers the explanation the Rambam provided in his commentary to the Mishnah. He explains that the Mishnah is teaching that if maaser sheni wine is poured into those jugs without any intent, the jugs are not affected as long as the jugs are not sealed.

The Mishnah Rishona understands the Mishnah like the Bartenura, however asks why the jugs should attain the kedushat maaser sheni? The jugs are only containing maaser sheni. This case cannot be compared to the case where one purchased open barrels of wine, in which the barrel attains kedushat maaser sheni, since in that case maaser sheni money was being used to purchases the wine and the jugs. In our case, how do the jugs adopt the kedushah?

The Rash cites the Yerushalmi that does indeed link our Mishnah to the early Mishnah but to the case where one purchases a sealed barrel with maaser sheni money. A simple understanding is that when sealed, the jugs is considered batel annulled to the wine and therefore in our case, it adopts the kedushat maaser sheni.

The Mishnah Rishona is at first unsure of the comparison considering that in that case, the sealed jugs does not have kedushat maaser sheni. The Mishnah Rishona therefore explains that with wine, one would ordinarily seal the barrel immediately after the wine was poured in, in order to preserve the quality of the wine. Consequently, when sold sealed, the barrel was certainly part of the sale, secondary to the wine and not sold separately. The barrel is therefore chulin. If however the barrel was not sealed. Then the intention was to sell the wine alone. Therefore, purchasing the barrel would be considered a separate transaction with maaser sheni money.

In our case, if one declared the contents as maaser sheni prior to sealing it, then it is if it was stipulated that the jugs were only be lent for that purpose; otherwise, the jug would have been sealed immediately. If however it was sealed first, it is clear that the jug was given over fully for its contents (unless otherwise stated). The Mishnah Rishona explains that really that alone would not be enough to give the jugs kedusha. Nevertheless, the Chachamim made a gezeira in this case, otherwise people might be confused in the case of a sale. In other words, the gezeira makes it clear that an (immediately) sealed jug is given over, is batel, to the maaser sheni contents. Consequently, when one purchases sealed maaser sheni jugs, it will similarly be clear that it was batel to the wine and, and in that case, not be considered as purchased with maaser sheni money.

The Mishnah Rishona continues that this explains why the Yerushalmi rule that the distinction of whether the barrels have been sealed only applies when the contents are wine. For oil, honey, or wine, even if it was sealed, the rule would be the same as if it was unsealed. Based on the explanation above it makes sense. For wine in particular, it was important to seal the barrels quickly to preserve the quality. Doing so would indicate the barrels are intended to be sold with the wine and therefore batel to the contents.2

1 The Melechet Shlomo cites R' Yohosef who explains that the jugs only have kedusha until the contents are consumed. [ע״ש]{dir="rtl"}

2 The Gra on the Yerushalmi explains why wine is different in a similar manner.


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