Oktzim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Two
1) All kinds of pits can be defiled and defile but do not join together.
2) The pits of fresh dates, even when detached [from the edible part], do join together; but those of dried dates do not join together.
3) Accordingly, the stems of dried dates do join together, but that of fresh dates do not join together.
4) If only part of a pit is detached, then only that part near the edible portion joins together.
5) [Similarly] with a bone on which there is flesh, only that part that is close to the edible part joins together.
6) [If a bone] has flesh only upon one of its sides:
a) Rabbi Ishmael says: we take it as though [the flesh] encompasses it like a ring;
b) But the sages say: [only] that part close to the edible part is included [as is the case] for example with savory, hyssop and thyme.
Section one: Pits are part of the fruit in which they are found and therefore they defile and can be defiled. But since they fall out and are not really attached to the fruit, they do not join together to make the requisite amount.
Section two: People suck on the pits of fresh dates. Therefore, they count fully as part of the date. But dried dates are like other pits, they are not counted with the date.
Section three: The stem of a dried date is considered to be something that protects the pit from falling out. Therefore, it is fully considered part of the date. But a person doesn’t care if the pit of a fresh date falls out, because it’s part of the date. Therefore, the stem does not “guard” the fruit and the stem doesn’t count.
Section four: If part of a fresh date pit has become detached, only the part next to the date still counts. I really can’t imagine how one could actually determine how big the date is, but theoretically it makes sense.
Section five: The same thing is true when determining the volume of meat. The bone is part of the meat, but only the part of the bone on which there is still some flesh.
Section six: The sages debate a case in which there is meat on only one side of the bone. Rabbi Ishmael says that we look at the flesh as if it was a string and if there is enough to go around the bone, it joins together. This would mean even the part of the bone that is not under the flesh would join together.
The sages disagree and say that only the part of the bone that has flesh on it joins with the flesh. The other part does not.
This is like these three spices that have thin stalks and the spices are on only one side. Whatever has spices on it joins together and whatever does not have spices on it, does not count.