Machshirin - Water From a Tree

Machshirin (1:2) | Yisrael Bankier | 8 years ago

This week we began Masechet Machshirin. Before food become susceptible to tumah they must come into contact with one of the seven liquids. The first Mishnah teaches that becoming wet is not enough. Firstly, the water must be detached, i.e. no longer in the ground. Furthermore, if the liquid that falls on the (detached) food is tahor, the “beginning” or “end” must be “le’ratzon” – with approval of the owner. Last cycle (volume 6, issue 61) we analysed the debate regarding the meaning of “beginning” and “end”. This year however we shall look at the second Mishnah.

The Mishnah (1:2) teaches that if one shakes a tree so that the fruit or tumah caught in the tree falls, the rain water that falls from the tree does not affect hechsher. If however one shook the tree in order for the water to fall everyone agrees that the water that falls does affect hechsher. Beit Shammai argues however that even the water that remains in the tree would also cause hechsher while Beit Hillel disagrees.

The Bartenura explains that when the person shook the tree, achshuvei achshevinhu, he considered the water and it is as if he detached it le’ratzon. Consequently, it is irrelevant if it fell on the food later against his ratzon and it is nevertheless machshir since its “beginning” was le’ratzion.

The Mishnah Achrona however questions this reasoning. When the person shook the tree it was to remove the water from the tree and not because he wanted the water. If the tree was not wet, he would have been just as happy. How is such a case considered achsuvei?

The Mishnah Achrona cites the Tosfot (Keritut 15b) who explain that even though he did not want the water, since he intentionally and physically removed it (be’yadayim), it is considered achshevinhu.

A Mishnah (4:5) that we will learn however presents a difficulty. If one pours out water from a trough that filled from a gutter (delef), Beit Hillel maintains that that water is not machshir. This is despite the fact that it was intentional and be’yadayim.

The Mishnah Achrona leaves this as a difficulty for the Tosfot and sees it as a support for the position of the Rambam. Returning to our article from last cycle, according to most rishonim the beginning referred to in our Mishnah is when the water was detached, while the end referred to when it fell on the food. If either of those points was le’ratzon then it is machshir. According to the Rambam however the beginning referred to the point when the water came into contact with the food and the end is the time when the food is still wet. According to the Rambam however, the time at which the water is detached is not covered by the first Mishnah. If it was not detached le’ratzon then then it is not machshir irrespective of what happens later; it is as if the water is still attached to the ground.

The Mishnah Achrona understands that according to the Rambam we can differentiate between our case and the case of the delef. In our case, the water resting in the tree is being detached le’ratzon even though he is happy for it to fall to the ground. Consequently, the water can be machshir provided that during the time the food is wet it was le’ratzon. In the case of the delef however it was never detached le’ratzon – the water travelled on its own to trough. Consequently, when the person takes it to pour it out, it is not considered le’ratzon.

It seems that according to the Mishnah Achrona within the opinion of the Rambam, there are two type of le’ratzon. At the time of detachment, the ratzon is one of willingness – the act need be intentional. However, the ratzon required at the time the water is contact with the food, beginning or end, is a question of benefit.


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