Mixtures of Kodesh (5)

Trumot (5) | Yehuda Gottlieb | 17 years ago

The fifth perek of Masechet Trumot addresses the issue of meduma. The din of meduma, as presented in Masechet Trumot refers solely to mixtures of trumah and chulin. However, the Gemara (Chagigah 25b) speaks about a case where there may be meduma by kodesh.

The Mishnah in Chagigah states that an Am ha'Aretz is trusted with regard to the taharah of barrels of wine and oil that are meduma, not only during the season of pressing but even seventy days before it. The Gemara asks - what are the contents of these meduma barrels for which an Am ha'Aretz is trusted? Does the Mishnah refer to a mixture of chulin and trumah or a mixture of chulin and kodesh? The Gemara explains that it cannot be talking about meduma of kodesh, because there is no such thing as meduma for kodesh! Yet the Gemarah cannot accept that it is referring to trumah as an Am ha’Aretz is not trusted with protecting barrels of trumah form impurity. The Gemara answers that the Mishnah refers to a case where the Am ha'Aretz prepared his tevel in order to take nesachim (kodesh) from it, in which case he protects it from tum'ah more carefully, just like he can be trusted to protect actual kodesh from becoming tamei.

The Gemara's question seems to be that the term meduma is never used for anything except for trumah mixed into chulin. It does not refer to kodesh mixed with something, and therefore the term, when used by the Mishnah, must refer to trumah mixed with chulin, and not to kodesh.

If this is the Gemara's question, what does the Gemara means when it answers that the Am ha'Aretz designated part of the contents of the barrel to be brought as nesachim? How can the kodesh that is mixed into the barrel be called meduma?

Rashi explains that the Gemara's answer (that the Am ha'Aretz planned to separate kodesh from the barrel), is referring to a case where the contents of the barrel are chulin, trumah, and kodesh. Why does Rashi mention that the barrel has trumah mixed into it? After all, the simple explanation of the Gemara has nothing to do with trumah; the Gemara is looking for a case of chulin and kodesh mixed together, and not for trumah mixed in with it. Granted that the Gemarah explains that the produce is tevel, yet meduma is a term used to refer to a mixture of originally separated trumah and chulin and is not interchangeable with the term tevel.

The Tosfot Rid explains that Rashi apparently understood the question of the Gemara differently. According to Rashi, the Gemara was asking how the Mishnah can call kodesh mixed with chulin, "meduma," when the only item of issur that is called "meduma" refers to trumah mixed with something else.

The Gemara answers that since it is tevel it is as if trumah is also mixed into this mixture of chulin and kodesh, and that is why the entire mixture is called "Meduma." The Am ha'Aretz sets aside his tevel in order to separate kodesh from it to be used for nesachim. It is called "Meduma" because it still contains trumah that has not yet been separated from the tevel. The Am ha'Aretz guards the entire mixture because it has kodesh designated in it.

Why, though, should the Mishnah mention meduma and say that there is trumah mixed in with the tevel, if the trumah has nothing to do with why the Am ha'Aretz is guarding the barrel from tum'ah (he apparently guards it because it contains kodesh, and not because it contains trumah)? The answer is that the Am ha'Aretz is trusted only if he intended to separate kodesh from the produce at the very start of its production, from the time that it was harvested. Therefore, the Mishnah calls it "meduma or tevel with trumah still in it, to show that it has been guarded from the beginning of its production.

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