Shlichut in Trumot

Trumot (1:1) | Yisrael Bankier | 18 years ago

[Based on a shiur by Rav Moshe Taragin]

Masechet Trumot opens with a list of five people who cannot separate trumah. Amongst them is “one who separates trumah that does not belong to him”. Kehati explains that one cannot separate someone else’s trumah without the owner’s permission. If the owner however, elects this person as a shaliach (messenger) then he can separate trumah for the owner. This is learnt from the pasuk: “And you shall also take trumat Hashem” (Bamidbar ). Kehati’s claim is supported as the concept of shlichut and is discussed in further detail later in the masechet (4:4).

Shlichut in other domains is understood as being more than just granting permission for another to perform a particular act. The Ktzot (195:2) explains that the Rishonim debated whether to consider a shaliach as merely acting for the sender or actually replacing him giving the shaliach more independence. One may ask whether the “shlichut” required in trumot is the same as in other areas.

The Mishnah in Nedarim writes that if someone vows against deriving benefit from someone, that person can still separate trumah for him. The Gemarah (36b) explain that due to the neder the person cannot act as a shaliach. Nevertheless, the Gemarah continues, this person (the mudar) can still separate trumah in a situation where the owner publicly declared that anyone can separate trumot for him. Consequently, it appears that shlichut is not required and the owner’s permission alone would suffice. Nevertheless the Gemarah in Kiddushin seems to suggest that genuine shlichut for trumah is learnt from the pasuk (like Kehati described). How does one reconcile these two sources?

There are three different approaches. The Tosfot (Gittin 66a) explains that in the case described in Nedarim the person is still acting as a shaliach. By the owner publicly announcing and not directly approaching the mudar, he is not considered to be benefiting from the person ensuring that the vow is not compromised.

The Rashba admits that the case described in Nedarim does not require shlichut. Nevertheless, he maintains that the case is an exception since the mudar is a separating trumah from his own produce to act as trumah for the other person’s produce. Consequently, he has the power to render his own produce as trumah. Shlichut however is still required when separating trumah from the owner’s produce for the owner’s produce.

Finally the Ramban (Gittin 66a) argues that shlichut is not required for separating trumah (like the original suggestion). The original question therefore resurfaces – how does one treat the Gemarah in Kiddushin?

Rav M. Taragin writes that the Gemarah proves that shlichut applies to trumot from the Mishnah 4:4 (cited earlier). Yet, earlier Mishnah 3:4 makes reference to the ability of one separating for another:

When do we say that [a partner cannot separate for the other]? When they didn’t speak, but if he gives permission to a member of his household… they can separate trumah.

Why does the Gemarah not make reference to this earlier Mishnah as the source for shlichut?

Rav Taragin explains that the Ramban could hold that there are two independent paths that one can take in order to separate trumah for another. The first path is when the owner simply agrees or gives permission. This path is the one described in Nedarim and in Mishnah 3:4. The second is if the person is made a shaliach. Here the shaliach takes the place of the owner and can operate with more independence. This path is described in Mishnah 4:4 (quoted in Kidushin) where the Mishnah rules that if the shaliach is unaware of the amount the owner wishes to separate, he may assume the normal amount. This level of independence can only be justified if the person has been made a shaliach.


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