Pesahim 45a-b - Using flour in the preparation of
Flour is not only used in cooking and baking but in other processes, as well. The Gemara on our daf (page) discusses a case where flour is used in preparation of leather or other products made from animal skins.
The Sages taught [in a baraita]: With regard to tanners' bowls into which one placed flour in the production process of leather, if the flour was placed within three days of the start of Passover, one is obligated to remove it, as it is still considered edible leaven. However if one added the flour prior to three days before Passover, one is not obligated to remove the contents of the bowl, as the flour will have already been rendered inedible by the odor of the vessel before the beginning of Passover, and is no longer considered edible.
Rabbi Natan comments on the baraita, saying that the three day rule is only true if animal skins had not been put into the trough. If, however, the process of preparing the hides had already begun, then there is no longer any need to clean the trough, since the smell of the skins would make it impossible to eat the flour. Rava rules like Rabbi Natan, arguing that even if the hides were put in a short time before Pesah, the flour is already considered inedible and there is no need to destroy it.
The halakha follows this opinion, which is not only quoted in the Gemara by these amoraim, but also appears as one position in the Tosefta(Pesahim,Chapter 3).
With regard to the process of tanning leather, there were a
number of different methods used in the time of the Mishnah and Talmud, depending
on the types of skins and the desired end-product. Generally speaking, flour
was one of the ingredients used when preparing skins for use as parchment. The
leavening process itself played a role in transforming the skin into that
material. Tanning with flour was only the beginning of the process, and it
still needed to be worked on further before it was ready to use.
Pesahim 46a-b - Deaf dough
Today the custom is to make sure that the entire process of baking matza takes less than 18 minutes from beginning to end. As we will see, this ruling stems from a discussion in the Gemara on our daf (page). Nevertheless, in the time of the Mishnah, dough was usually considered hametz when it showed certain signs of leavening (see daf 48).
Mishna: Deaf dough [batzek ha-heresh ] is dough for which it is difficult to determine if it has been leavened. It is comparable to a deaf-mute, who cannot communicate. If there is dough similar to it in that water was added to both at the same time, which became leavened, the deaf dough is prohibited. Although it has not shown external signs of becoming leavened, it can be presumed that the deaf dough has also become leavened.
Rashi explains the expression batzek
ha-heresh as dough that does not clearly indicate
whether it has become hametz and is difficult
to understand, like a deaf person who has ears, yet we cannot tell whether or
not he can hear.
According to the Rambam, dough that has become hametz makes a certain noise when you drum on it. The case in the Mishnah is one when no such noise is heard, so it is "mute."
The Ramban explains that just as a deaf person has trouble hearing, similarly this dough is having trouble rising.
According to the Ge'onim the expression stems from the perception of people at that time that a deaf person could not be educated and was considered "retarded." This dough that did not follow the normal development pattern was compared to that situation.
The Gemara's question is: What should be done if no other dough was made at the same time so that there is nothing to compare it to?
Rabbi Abahu quotes Resh Lakish as saying that the amount of time that it takes to become hametz is the length of time that it takes to walk a mil – the distance from Tiberias to Migdal Nunia.
The opinions on the definition of this amount of time range from 18-24 minutes. Given the severity of the prohibition of hametz the usual practice, as mentioned above, is to arrange for baking to be completed within 18 minutes.
Pesahim 47a-b - Preparing food on Yom Tov for Shabbat
One of the topics discussed in our perek (chapter) is how one can prepare for Shabbat when Yom Tov occurs on Friday. Rabbah suggests that we rely on a legal fiction called ho'il - since guests might come to visit on Yom Tov, one can prepare food on Yom Tov (which is permissible when done for that day) with these theoretical guests in mind. When it turns out that there is food left over for Shabbat, Shabbat is thus prepared for. Rav Hisda argues that on a Biblical level one can prepare for Shabbat on the Friday on which Yom Tov occurs; the prohibition is a Rabbinic one, lest someone prepare for a regular weekday on Yom Tov. The Sages instituted an eruv tavshilin, which clarifies that the preparations can be done only for Shabbat.
Rabbah challenges Rav Hisda's ruling from the law regarding the lehem ha-panim – the showbread of the Temple.
The laws of the Temple showbread appear in Vayikra 24:1-9 and are discussed at length in the Talmud in Massekhet Menahot. Twelve loaves were baked every week, which were placed on the shulhan in the heikhal on Shabbat. They remained there until the following Shabbat, when they were replaced by freshly baked loaves. The loaves were then distributed among the groups of kohanim who were working in the Temple.
The Mishnah in Menahot (11:9) teaches that ordinarily the lehem ha-panim was eaten nine days after it was baked (baked on Friday and eaten the following Shabbat). When Yom Tov fell on Friday, it was eaten ten days after it was baked; when Rosh ha-Shanah fell on Thursday and Friday, it was eaten eleven days after it was baked. Clearly the Mishnah believes that the baking cannot be done on Yom Tov in preparation for Shabbat, seemingly against Rav Hisda's ruling.
Rav Hisda responds by pointing out that, in this case, the preparation is not for the immediately upcoming Shabbat, as the bread was not eaten for more than a week! Preparation for a week later would be permitted on Yom Tov. When Shabbat immediately follows Yom Tov, however, food preparation for Shabbat would be permitted.
Pesahim 48a-b - When dough becomes hametz
As we learned earlier (daf 46), the custom today is to make sure that the entire process of baking matza takes less than 18 minutes from beginning to end. Nevertheless, in the time of the Mishnah, dough was considered hametz when it showed certain signs of leavening.
The first Mishnah on our daf (page) teaches about the approved baking process. Rabban Gamliel rules that three women can prepare and bake simultaneously using one oven. The hakhamim say that all three must be involved in different baking activities in order to ensure that the dough does not become hametz - one kneads, one shapes and one bakes. Rabbi Akiva objects to the application of objective standards, arguing that we need to anticipate that the women will work at different speeds and that the fuel and ovens will be at different temperatures.
Some understand Rabban Gamliel's ruling as stating that there is enough time to bake three rounds of matza before leavening takes place. Others argue that this would only be the case if the women are continuously kneading the dough throughout the baking process. The Rambam rules that in such a case, as long as the kneading continues, the dough will never become hametz, and Rabban Gamliel was giving an example, but, in fact, even more than three women could be involved in the baking simultaneously.
The second Mishnah on our daf focuses on when dough is thought to have become hametz.
Dough at the beginning of the leavening process [siur], must be burned, but one who eats it is exempt from the punishment of karet because the dough had not become fully leavened. Dough that has reached the stage of cracking must be burned, and one who eats it intentionally is liable to receive karet, as he has intentionally eaten leavened bread during Passover.
According to Rabbi
Yehuda, si'ur - the beginning of the
leavening process, which is indicated by the dough turning a pale color and
developing cracks - is not yet considered hametz,
although it must be destroyed. Siduk - cracks appearing in the dough that intersect one another - is considered to have become hametz. Hakhamim
rule that once any cracks appear, the dough has become hametz,
and eating it on Pesah would make one liable for karet
The Mishnah describes the cracks under discussion as ki-karnei hagavim - like the antennae of locusts. The comparison between the cracks on the dough and the antennae appears to refer to both the shape of the antennae and their size - about 12-15 millimeters.
Pesahim 49a-b - The importance of family weddings
If a person leaves his/her home just before Pesah and remembers that hametz was left behind at home, what should he/she do?
According to the Mishnah on our daf (page), if the person is traveling for personal reasons, he should really go home and destroy the hametz properly. If, however, the trip was for a mitzvah - like to sacrifice the korban Pesah, to perform a circumcision on his son or to attend the celebration of a wedding at his in-laws' home - then, if he cannot return home to destroy the hametz, he is allowed to do bitul ba-lev, to nullify the hametz in his heart.
The Jerusalem Talmud points out that we learn from this Mishnah how important it is to keep peace within the family, since the Mishnah chooses to categorize attendance at a family wedding celebration together with circumcision and the Passover sacrifice as important mitzvot.
The Gemara uses this line in the Mishnah as a springboard for a wide-ranging discussion of celebrations and marriage. One baraita quoted by the Gemara encourages a person to sell all of his worldly possessions in order to arrange to marry the daughter of a Torah scholar or to arrange for his daughter to marry a Torah scholar. The baraita then gives a metaphor:
This type of marriage can be compared to grapes of a vine that become intertwined with grapes of a vine, something which is beautiful and acceptable to God and man. And one should not marry the daughter of an ignoramus. This type of marriage can be compared to grapes of a vine that have become intertwined with berries of a bramble, which is something unseemly and unacceptable.
The sneh, which is also referred to in the Talmud as vardina, is, apparently, what is known today as the bramble or Rubus Sanctus, a crawling or climbing plant that grows wild, usually on river banks or other damp places throughout Israel. The plant has leaves, many sharp thorns and white or purple flowers of about 2 centimeters in diameter. It also has berries - referred to by the baraita as invei ha-sneh - which are edible, although they are usually small and have little juice in them.