Audio by Shimi Berger

Note:  As previously explained, מסכת בכורים is actually comprised of only three פרקים; what is printed in most משניות is actually based on the תוספתא from פרק ב.  In fact, there are several different נוסחאות printed for this פרק; significant differences between the editions will be noted, but for the main text for this edition we have elected to follow the version commonly labeled נוסחת הרש"ש (though it is not entirely clear who this רש"ש was, tis version closely follows the ר"ש, who is the only ראשון to have provided any commentary on this chapter.)


תניא It was taught [in a beraisa]
אנדרוגינוס a hermaphrodite
יש בו דרכים has ways
שוה לאנשים in which it is like men
ויש בו דרכים and it has ways
שוה לנשים in which it is like women
ויש בו דרכים and it has ways
שוה לאנשים ולנשים it is like men and women
ויש בו דרכים שאינו שוה and it has ways that it is not like
לא לאנשים ולא לנשים neither men nor women


שוה לאנשים כיצד He is like men how?
מטמא בלובן כאנשים he becomes tamei with a white discharge like men
ונושא אבל לא נישא and he may marry (a woman) but not be married (by a man)
כאנשים like men
ואינו מתייחד עם הנשים and he may not be sequestered with women
כאנשים like men
ואינו נזון עם הבנות and he is not supported (from a deceased parent's estate) like daughters
כאנשים like men
ואינו נעטף and he does not wrap his head [like women]
ומספר כאנשים and must groom himself like men
ואינו מטמא למתים and [if a kohen] he may not become tamei  to corpses
וחייב בבל תקיף and he is obligated in the prohibition of not rounding [the corners of one's hair]
ובבל תשחית and the prohibition against destroying [one's beard]
כאנשים like men
וחייב בכל מצוות and he is obligated in all commandments
האמורות בתורה that are stated in the Torah
כאנשים like men

Aside from differences in phrasing and syntax, the נוסחת הגר"א adds to the second 'mishna' the phrase "ואמו יושבת עליו בדם טוהר כאנשים", however that will be dealt with in our version of the fourth 'mishna'.  The נוסחת הגמרא adds "וזוקק ליבום כאנשים" to the second, a matter dealt with in our version of the third.



משנה ב

מטמא בלובן כאנשים - As the hermaphrodite, who is born with both male and female genitalia, is treated as a ספק, we adopt חומרות of both.  As such, in the case of a white emission (similar in color to the white of an unfertilized egg), the אנדרוגינוס contracts טומאת זב, while a woman would not become tamei from a similarly colored discharge.  ונושא אבל לא נישא - The תפארת ישראל says that the אנדרוגינוס has the option of entering into such a marriage, and that the קדושים are קדשי ספק, implying that an אנדרוגינוס has no obligation to be married, although others may differ on that point.  אבל לא נישא - The תפארת ישראל says that this would be akin to המוציא זרעו על עצים ואבנים while the פירוש printed under נוסחת הגר"א says it is an issue of being בועל a man.  ואינו נזון עם הבנות - Daughters have priority over sons in  the support they are entitled to from a decedent's small estate. 


Click here for the hebrew/english of Perek 3 from

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