Torah Sparks

United Synagogue (USCJ) is proud and delighted to bring you Torah Sparks, with insights and learning materials on the Parasha (Torah portion) of the week. Torah Sparks is produced by the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Each week there will be a Dvar Torah - a discussion on some aspect of the reading, by CY faculty, alumni and friends; a Vort - a short thought from Chasidic rebbes or other thinkers about some point in the text; and Table Talk - questions to stimulate discussion on the Parsha around the Shabbat table. Torah Sparks is available here on the Conservative Yeshiva's Shiurim Online Beit Midrash website, as well as by subscription to weekly graphical emails. Please select the Parasha you would like to see - it will display articles from each year. A printable PDF is linked at the end of each week's presentation.

Kilayim

Introduction to Kilayim

Introduction to Kilayim   The word “kilayim” means mixture, either a mixture of seeds, plants, cross-bred animals or even cross-yoked animals.  The Torah twice prohibits kilayim.   Leviticus 19:19 You shall not let your cattle mate with a different kind (kilayim); you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed (kilayim); you shall […]

Kilayim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 1

Kilayim, Chapter One, Mishnah One   Introduction Our mishnah teaches that if two types of seeds, either grains or beans, are very similar to one another then they are not “kilayim” and one can plant a field with both of them mixed.  Kilayim is prohibited only in cases of two distinct species of seed; if […]

Kilayim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 2

Kilayim, Chapter One, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah continues listing pairs of seeds that do not constitute kilayim one with the other. While this admittedly may not be the most exciting topic of study, we should recognize how important these laws would have been to the farmers observing them.  A farmer simply had to […]

Kilayim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 3

Kilayim, Chapter One, Mishnah Three   Introduction Again, the mishnah deals with pairs of seeds that may be grown together.   Mishnah Three Turnips and the cabbage turnip, cabbage and cauliflower, beet and rumex do not constitute kilayim one with the other. Rabbi Akiva added: garlic and small wild garlic, onion and small wild onion, […]

Kilayim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 4

Kilayim, Chapter One, Mishnah Four   Introduction This mishnah begins to deal with kilayim in trees, meaning which trees may not be grafted one onto the other. Note that this section does not deal with planting, because there is no prohibition of planting different trees in juxtaposition. The only prohibition is grafting.  The first section […]

Kilayim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 5

Kilayim, Chapter One, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah returns to discussing kilayim in vegetables.  In the earlier mishnayot (1-3) the mishnah listed vegetables that were similar enough not to be kilayim one with the other, and therefore permitted to plant together.  In today’s mishnah we learn of vegetables that are similar but not similar […]

Kilayim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 6

Kilayim, Chapter One, Mishnah Six   Introduction This is the final mishnah which lists species that are close to one another and yet nevertheless still constitute kilayim.  This time the mishnah deals with animals, which means that they may not be cross-bred, nor may they be yoked together or put together to perform any labor.  […]

Kilayim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 7

Kilayim, Chapter One, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah discusses the prohibition of grafting.    Mishnah Seven 1)      They may not graft from one tree to another, or from one vegetable to another, or from a tree to a vegetable, or from a vegetable to a tree. 2)      Rabbi Judah permits it from a vegetable […]

Kilayim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 8

Kilayim, Chapter One, Mishnah Eight   Introduction This mishnah forbids certain practices because they are considered grafting or close enough to it.  These examples demonstrate cases in which a person might have “grafted” a vegetable onto a tree, a tree onto a vegetable or one vegetable onto another.  I should note that “vegetable” in rabbinic […]

Kilayim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 9

Kilayim, Chapter One, Mishnah Nine   Mishnah Nine 1)      One who buries turnips or radishes beneath a vine, if some of their leaves are uncovered,   he need not have fear [of having transgressed] kilayim, or the sabbatical year, or tithes and they may also be pulled up on Shabbat.   2)      One who plants a [grain […]

Kilayim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 1

Kilayim, Chapter Two, Mishnah One   Introduction Our mishnah deals with a seah (=6 kav) in which a quarter of a kav (1/24 of the seah) of at least one different species of seed has been mixed.  If the other species is at least 1/24 of the main species, it is forbidden to plant this […]

Kilayim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 10

Kilayim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Ten   Introduction The first part of our mishnah is a continuation of yesterday’s mishnah.  Yesterday we learned that if a person wishes to sow his field with different species he must leave an empty plot in between the sown plots. The empty plot must be the size of a bet […]

Kilayim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 11

Kilayim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Eleven   Introduction Our mishnah discusses whether stalks of one species that lean over stalks of another species constitutes kilayim.   Mishnah Eleven 1)      Stalks of grain which are leaning over other stalks of grain, or vegetable [plants] on other [] vegetable plants, or stalks of grain over vegetables plants or […]

Kilayim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 2

Kilayim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Two   Introduction Today’s mishnah is a direct continuation of yesterday’s mishnah.  In sections two and three it brings up some exceptions to the general rule that 1/24 of a different seed(s) will forbid a mixture.    Mishnah Two 1)      To what does this refer?  To [an mixture of] grain [occurring] […]

Kilayim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 3

Kilayim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah deals with a person who had planted his field with wheat and then changed his mind and decided that he wanted to plant barley. What must he do so that he can plant barley? Note that I have explained this mishnah according to Albeck.  There are […]

Kilayim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 4

Kilayim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Four   Introduction This mishnah continues to deal with a situation in which a person has planted his field with one type of seed and then changes his mind and wishes to plant it with another.   Mishnah Four 1)      [His field was] sown [with grain, or pulse, or garden-seed], and […]

Kilayim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 5

Kilayim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah deals with a field in which other species grew on their own and whether or not this is a case of kilayim.    Mishnah Five 1)      His field was sown cumin or with arum, he must not sow on top of them, since they produce crops […]

Kilayim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 6

Kilayim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah deals with a person who wants to plant his field in long rows, each row containing a different species. The mishnah describes how he might do this while avoiding the problem of kilayim.   Mishnah Six One who wants to lay out his field in long […]

Kilayim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 7

Kilayim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah begins to discuss the issue of adjacent fields planted with different types of species.  In the previous mishnah we learned that there must be a separation between fields or rows planted with different species.  In today’s mishnah we learn that sometimes it is okay to have […]

Kilayim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 8

Kilayim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Eight   Introduction In yesterday’s mishnah we learned that it is permitted to plant one row of flax next to a field of grain.  In today’s mishnah we learn that one is not allowed to do so with mustard or safflower.   Mishnah Eight 1)      They may not sow mustard or […]

Kilayim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 9

Kilayim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Nine   Introduction This mishnah teaches how many different species of seed one might sow within one field the size of a bet seah (a field large enough to produce a seah’s worth of grain).   Mishnah Nine 1)      One who wishes to make his field into square plots [each sown] […]

Kilayim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 1

Kilayim, Chapter Three, Mishnah One   Introduction In previous mishnayot we learned that vegetables must be separated by a space of six handbreadths to prevent a problem of kilayim. In today’s mishnah we learn that this is only so in a case of a field of vegetables. When it comes to smaller furrows, the rabbis […]

Kilayim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 2

Kilayim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah is a direct continuation of yesterday’s mishnah.   Mishnah Two 1)      They may not sow different species of seeds in one bed, but they may sow different species of vegetables in one bed.   2)      Mustard and small polished peas are a species of seed; large peas […]

Kilayim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 3

Kilayim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah deals with potential problems of kilayim in vegetable fields.  Note that I have explained this mishnah according to Albeck’s commentary.   Mishnah Three 1)      If the point of an angle of a vegetable field overlaps into a field of another vegetable, it is permitted because it […]

Kilayim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 4

Kilayim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Four   Introduction This mishnah deals with a person who wishes to plant several types of vegetables within one field.   Mishnah Four 1)      Planting two rows of cucumbers, two rows of gourds, and two rows of Egyptian beans is permitted. 2)      [But planting] one row of cucumbers, one row of […]

Kilayim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 5

Kilayim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah teaches that one can sometimes plant two different species in one hole, as long as it doesn’t look like kilayim.   Mishnah Five 1)      One may plant a cucumber and a gourd in one hole, as long as this [species] inclines in one direction, and the […]

Kilayim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 6

Kilayim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah deals with a person who has sown his field with onions and now wishes to plant some gourds there as well.   Mishnah Six His field was sown with onions, and he wishes to plant in it rows of gourds: 1)      Rabbi Ishmael says: he pulls […]

Kilayim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 7

Kilayim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah deals with how close one may sow gourds to other species of vegetables or grain.   Mishnah Seven 1)      A gourd [sown] among a [different] vegetable [must be separated by as much] as any other vegetable.   2)      [A gourd sown] among grain—he must give it [a […]

Kilayim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 1

Kilayim, Chapter Four, Mishnah One   Introduction Our mishnah and the next two mishnayot deal with empty patches within a vineyard and with the question of how large these empty patches must be before one can sow seed in them. There are two kinds of empty patches. The first is in the middle of the […]

Kilayim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 2

Kilayim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Two   Introduction In yesterday’s mishnah we learned about two types of empty space within a vineyard—the karahat, found in the middle of the vineyard, and the mehol, found on the sides. In both cases if the empty space is large enough, one can sow seeds there without creating kilayim. Today’s […]

Kilayim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 3

Kilayim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Three   Introduction In today’s mishnah Rabbi Judah disagrees with the definition of a “mehol” found in yesterday’s mishnah.   Mishnah Three 1)      Rabbi Judah says: this is nothing but the fence of the vineyard fence.   2)      What then is a mehol of a vineyard? [A space] between two vineyards.   3)      […]

Kilayim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 4

Kilayim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Four   Introduction Our mishnah continues to discuss what constitutes a legal partition in order to separate seeds on one side from a vineyard on the other.  If the partition is sufficient, it will be permitted to sow seeds on one side and a vineyard on the other.   Mishnah Four […]

Kilayim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 5

Kilayim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Five   Introduction In today’s mishnah Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai dispute how many rows of vines are necessary for the vines to be considered a “vineyard” and not simply a row of vines.   Mishnah Five 1)      One who has planted a row of [at least] five vines: a)      Bet […]

Kilayim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 6

Kilayim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah deals with various formations of vines that either do or do not constitute a vineyard.    Mishnah Six 1)      One who plants two [vines] opposite two [other vines], and one [other vine] forming a “tail”—behold this is a vineyard. 2)      Two [vines] opposite two [other vines], […]

Kilayim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 7

Kilayim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah deals with a person who plants one row of vines on his own land and one row on another’s. The question is whether these two rows combine to be a vineyard.   Mishnah Seven 1)      One who has planted one row [of vines] on his own […]

Kilayim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 8

Kilayim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Eight   Introduction This mishnah deals with a case of a person who planted two or three rows of vines and left a significant gap unplanted in between them—how big does the gap have to be for him to be allowed to plant seeds there?   Mishnah Eight 1)      One who […]

Kilayim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 9

Kilayim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Nine   Introduction This mishnah deals with a person who intentionally leaves large gaps between the rows of vines in his vineyard so that he can plant seed in the spaces in between.   Mishnah Nine 1)      One who plants his vineyard sixteen cubits, sixteen cubits [separating each row], he may […]

Kilayim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 1

Kilayim, Chapter Five, Mishnah One   Introduction This mishnah deals with two vineyards that potentially do not count as vineyards. The first is a vineyard that has been partly ruined, and the second is a vineyard that was not planted in the way in which vineyards are normally planted.   Mishnah One 1)      A vineyard […]

Kilayim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 2

Kilayim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah deals with a vineyard where the vines have been planted less than four cubits one from the other, which is less than appropriate for a properly structured vineyard.   Mishnah Two A vineyard that has been planted with less than four cubits [in between rows of […]

Kilayim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 3

Kilayim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah deals with either a trench, a winepress or a mound that is found in a vineyard. The question asked is whether this space can be considered a separate domain such that it would be permitted to sow seeds there.   Mishnah Three 1)      A trench passing […]

Kilayim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 4

Kilayim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Four   Introduction In yesterday’s mishnah we discussed a case where of a winepress or a trench going through a vineyard.  In today’s mishnah we learn of an opposite situation, where a vine is found in the winepress.   Mishnah Four 1)      A vine planted in a winepress or in a […]

Kilayim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 5

Kilayim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Five   Introduction Our mishnah begins to discuss what happens if seeds are planted in a vineyard.  Deuteronomy 22:9 reads, “You shall not sow your vineyard with a second kind of seed (kilayim), else the crop—from the seed you have sown—and the yield of the vineyard may not be used (pen […]

Kilayim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 6

Kilayim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Six   Introduction As we learned in yesterday’s mishnah, kilayim is caused not just when a person plants seeds in a vineyard, but also when one sees seeds and allows them to continue to grow.  Our mishnah discusses how immediately a person must uproot the seeds that he sees growing in […]

Kilayim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 7

Kilayim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah deals with various situations where seeds get into a vineyard without a person having intentionally planted them there.   Mishnah Seven 1)      If he was passing through a vineyard, and seeds fell from him, or [seeds] went [into the field] with manure, or with [irrigation] water, […]

Kilayim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 8

Kilayim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Eight   Introduction Our mishnah returns to discuss what types of species are considered to be kilayim in a vineyard.   Mishnah Eight 1)      One who allows thorns to remain growing in a vineyard: a)      Rabbi Eliezer says: he [thereby] prohibits [the vineyard]. b)      But the sages say: he does not […]

Kilayim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 1

Kilayim, Chapter Six, Mishnah One   Introduction In mishnah 4:5 we learned that according to Bet Hillel, there need to be two rows of vines for their to be a vineyard, whereas Bet Shammai held that only one row was necessary.  As a reminder, if something is considered a vineyard, he will have to distance […]

Kilayim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 2

Kilayim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah deals with an aris grown on a terrace, and the vines are draped over a field below.  Do the vines above cause it to be prohibited to sow seeds in the fields below?   Mishnah Two 1)      An aris which projects from a terrace: a)      Rabbi […]

Kilayim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 3

Kilayim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah deals with one who hangs vines over a trellis—the question is can he plant seeds under the parts of the trellis not covered with vines.   Mishnah Three 1)      One who suspends vines over papyrus-ropes [of a trellis], he may not bring seed beneath the remainder […]

Kilayim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 4

Kilayim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Four   Introduction In yesterday’s mishnah we learned about a person who trains vines over non-fruit bearing trees.  In today’s mishnah we learn about training vines over fruit bearing trees and whether one can sow seeds underneath other parts of the trees.   Mishnah Three 1)      One who suspends [branches of] […]

Kilayim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 5

Kilayim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Five   Introduction Our mishnah defines what is a non-fruit bearing tree, termed in Hebrew serak, with regard to the halakhot which we learned above in mishnayot three and four.   Mishnah Five What is a serak (non-fruit bearing) tree? 1)      Any tree which does not yield fruit. 2)      Rabbi Meir […]

Kilayim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 6

Kilayim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Six   Introduction Our mishnah returns to discuss the aris (espalier), the vines trained to grow on either a fence, another tree or in a ditch.   Mishnah Six 1)      Gaps in an aris must be eight cubits and somewhat more [in order to be able to sow seeds in the […]

Kilayim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 7

Kilayim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah continues to deal with the laws of an aris.   Mishnah Seven 1)      An aris which turns away from a wall where it forms an angle, and comes to an end, they give it space to work it and they may sow the rest.   2)      Rabbi […]

Kilayim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 8

Kilayim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Eight   Introduction This mishnah deals with reed canes that protrude from an aris but that don’t have vines hanging on them.   Mishnah Eight 1)      Canes which protrude from the aris and one is too concerned for them to cut them short, it is permitted to sow directly beneath them. […]

Kilayim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 9

Kilayim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Nine   Introduction The final mishnah of chapter six continues to deal with things that extend from the aris.   Mishnah Nine 1)      A blossom which protruded from the aris, it is regarded as if a plumb line were suspended from it, directly beneath it, it is prohibited [to sow].   2)      […]

Kilayim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 1

Kilayim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah One   Introduction The first three mishnayot of our chapter deal with an ancient vineyard farming technique called “bending” or “havracha” in Hebrew. Basically one takes a vine bends it into the ground and then takes the other head of the vine out of the ground in another place from where […]

Kilayim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 2

Kilayim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Two   Introduction The first section of this mishnah continues to discuss laws related to vines which have been bent into the ground, and then their heads brought up elsewhere to start new vines. The following three sections discuss three instances where it is prohibited to sow seeds but if he […]

Kilayim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 3

Kilayim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah continues to deal with situations in which it is prohibited to plant seeds, but if the seeds are planted there, they do not become kilayim.   Mishnah Three The following are forbidden, but they do not prohibit [the seed sown there]: 1)      The remainder of a […]

Kilayim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 4

Kilayim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Four   Introduction In this mishnah and the two that follow, we learn about what happens if one person sows seed in someone else’s vineyard or someone puts a vine over someone else’s grain. Does this make the grain into kilayim?   Mishnah Four 1)      One who causes his vine to […]

Kilayim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 5

Kilayim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah is a continuation of yesterday’s mishnah.   Mishnah Five Rabbi Yose said: It happened that a man sowed [seed in] his vineyard in the sabbatical year,   and the matter came before Rabbi Akiva, who said: a person does not prohibit [as kilayim] that which is not […]

Kilayim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 6

Kilayim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah deals with a case where a person was forced off of his property by another person, called an anas, a term which I have translated as “forceful occupier.” Evidently, this was a problem in the tannaitic period, and there are a number of halakhot that deal […]

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