Bikkurim, Chapter Four, Mishnah One

 

Introduction

As I noted in the introduction to the tractate, chapter four of Bikkurim is not an original part of Mishnah Bikkurim. It was appended to some manuscripts and some printed editions of the Mishnah, but its origins are in the Tosefta, a tannaitic companion to the Mishnah. It was not commented upon in the Yerushalmi, nor was it commented upon by the classic mishnaic commentators. I have included it here because some Mishnah Yomit schedules include it.

The topic of the chapter is the hermaphrodite, known in Hebrew/Greek as the “androgynus,” a person who has the signs of being both a man and a woman. It is discussed here as an appendix to chapter two, which discussed things that don’t fit neatly into one category, such as the koy. The hermaphrodite does not fit neatly into the category of either man or woman, and hence the rabbis find it interesting to clarify in what ways a hermaphrodite is like a man and it what ways he/she is like a woman.

 

Mishnah One

The hermaphrodite is in some ways like men, and in other ways like women.

In other ways he is like men and women, and in others he is like neither men nor women.

 

Explanation

This mishnah is patterned after 2:8 which discussed the koy. It serves as an introduction for the rest of the chapter without really providing any information.

 

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