Bikkurim, Chapter One, Mishnah One

 

Introduction

There are two mitzvoth when it comes to bikkurim: bringing them and making the formal declaration. Our mishnah clarifies that some people are obligated to bring the fruits and make the recitation, whereas others bring the fruits but don’t make the declaration and there are yet other types of people who need not bring bikkurim at all.

 

Mishnah One

There are some who bring bikkurim and recite [the declaration]; others who only bring, but do not recite; and there are some who neither bring nor recite.

1)      The following are those that do not bring: one who plants [a vine] on his own property, but buries [a shoot in the ground] so that [it] grows on property belonging to [another] individual or to the public.

2)      And similarly if one buries [a shoot in the ground] of another person’s private property or in public property, so that it grows on his own property;

3)      Or, if one plants [a vine] on his own [property] and [buries it in the ground] so that it still grows on his own property, but there is a private or public road between, such a one does not bring [bikkurim.] 

4)      Rabbi Judah says: such a one has to bring bikkurim.

 

Explanation

Section one: The mishnah describes a practice of grape-farmers to bury a vine into the ground in one place and then bring it up in another place. This would give the vine another place to derive water and nutrients from the ground without having to plant a whole new vine. The “new” vine looks new because it is coming out of the ground. However, it is not in reality new—it is just the same vine as before coming up in a new place.

If a person puts a vine that begins on his property into the ground and then brings it up on property that is not his, he does not bring bikkurim. We will learn the reason why not in mishnah two.

Section two: The same is true if the vine begins on another’s property or on public property and he then brings it up out of the ground on his property. Even though the grapes will be harvested from his own property, he does not bring bikkurim.

Section three: In this case, the vine begins on his property, travels underneath another person’s private property or public property and then is brought up again on his property. The sages say that even though the vine begins and ends on his property he still does not bring. Rabbi Judah disagrees in this case (but not in the cases in sections one and two) and says that he does bring. Some commentators explain that Rabbi Judah disagrees only concerning a case where the vine traveled underneath public property. Rabbi Judah holds that a person can use the ground underneath public property for his own private use and therefore this is like a case where the entire vine grew on his property. The other rabbis hold that one cannot use the ground underneath public property and therefore, this is a case where the vine grew on property that did not belong to him. Rabbi Judah agrees that if the vine traveled underneath another’s private domain, he cannot bring bikkurim.

 

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