Audio by Dr. Michael Sokolow

פרק ב - משנה ז

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היה ראש תור חיטים If a ראש תור (a type of crop formation) of wheat
 נכנס לתוך של שעורים entered [a field] of barley
מותר it is permissible
מפני שהוא נראה כסוף שדהו because it looks like the end of his field;
שלו חיטים ושל חברו מין אחר if his [field] was of wheat and his colleague' was of another species
מותר לסמוך לו מאותו המין it is permissible for him to put next to it [his wheat field] from that species
שלו חיטים ושל חברו חיטים if his [field] was of wheat and his colleague's was of wheat
מותר לסמוך לו תלם של פשתן it is permissible for him to put next to it a furrow of flax
ולא תלם של מין אחר  but not a furrow of another species;
רבי שמעון אומר R' Shimon says:
אחד זרע פשתן ואחד כל המינין either flax or any species;
  רבי יוסי אומר R' Yose says:
 אף באמצע שדהו also in the middle of his field
 מותר לבדוק בתלם של פשתן it is permissible to test with a furrow of flax
פרק ב - משנה ח
אין סומכין לשדה תבואה One may not put next to a field of grain
חרדל וחריע mustard and safflower
 אבל סומך לשדה ירקות but next to a field of vegetables
חרדל וחריע [one may plant] mustard and safflower
וסומך לבור and [one may place mustard and safflower] next to barren land,
לניר לגפה לדרך plowed land, a stone wall, a path
ולגדר שהוא גבוה עשרה טפחים or a fence that is ten טפחים high
 ולחריץ שהוא עמוק עשרה ורחב ארבעה and to a ditch that is ten [טפחים] deep and four [טפחים] wide
ולאילן שהוא מסך על הארץ and to a tree that is hanging over the ground
 ולסלע שהוא גבוה עשרה ורחב ארבעה and to a rock that is  ten [טפחים] high and four [טפחים] wide


משנה ז

ראש תור - There are several interpretations of this phrase and what shape it indicates.  The רע"ב says a תור it is a type of triangular women's jewelry, and it is used to connote the corner of the wheat field which protruded into the neighboring field of barley (fig.1).  The רמב"ם also says ראש תור connotes a triangular shape, meaning that the part of the wheat field that comes into contact with the barley field is a corner; however he appears to hold that the point of the ראש תור merely touches the edge of the barley field, not that it actually extends into it (fig. 2, see also תוספות אנשי שם regarding this distinction; see also fig. 3 which is an illustration provided by the ב"ח who seems to follow the same interpretation of ראש תור as a corner, albeit situated differently).  The ר"ש and מהר"י בן מלכי צדק on the other hand, seemingly read the ת of תור to be a ש as in שורה, or row, and interpret our משנה as referring to the last row in the wheat field, which has extended into the barley field (fig. 4).  The רא"ש also changes the ת to a ש, but he reads it as ראש שור, or the head of an ox.  According to him, our משנה is referring to where the ox which plowed the wheat filed reached the end of a row turned around to plow the next row.  While turning the plow behind it, the ox's head extended into the barley field, creating an obliquely shaped protrusion of the wheat field into the adjacent field of barley (fig. 5). 

מפני שהוא נראה כסוף שדהו - Due to it's distinctive shape, the רע"ב says it is clear to all observers that this wheat was planted separately from the barley. 

מותר לסמוך לו מאותו המין - Two fields owned by two different people may be planted with different crops even though they are adjacent to each other; the רמב"ם says that this is because the פסוק  says שדך לא תזרע כלאים, which implies that the אסור only applies to one person's field.  The משנה is adding that because of this, if one can plant another species next to their wheat in such a way that it looks like it is merely a part of his neighbor's field (according to the רמב"ם, by connecting it to his neighbor's field - see fig. 6), that too is permissible.

מותר לסמוך לו תלם של פשתן - According to the רמב"ם and the רע"ב single row of flax is not profitable, and so an observer would realize that is was planted not for the benefit of the crop, but rather to test the field's suitability for a future crop of flax; the רא"ש says the observer will come to this conclusion because flax harms crops that are adjacent to it.  In addition, תוי"ט notes that this must be his actual intent, and, as shown by R' Yose at the end of the משנה, the ת"ק allows this only at the edge of the field.

ולא תלם של מין אחר - Because any other crop is profitable even when there is only one row, even if it was planted with the intent to test the field for that crop, since it appears as if it is for the benefit of the crop, it is forbidden.

ר"ש אומר אחד זרע פשתן ואחד כל המינין - According to the רמב"ם and the רע"ב, R' Shimon is being stricter than the ת"ק and forbidding flax as other species are forbidden; according to theר"ש and the רא"ש he is being lenient, and allowing test rows of other crops just as the ת"ק allows a test row of flax.

משנה ח

חרדל וחריע - The רע"ב and the רמב"ם explain that these are normally harmful to other crops, and so an observer would be led to believe that the בעל השדה wanted to maintain them there in violation of the prohibition against being מקיים כלאים, or else he would have  had them removed.  On the other hand, when סומך לשדה ירקות, an observer will think that they are someone else's that the בעל השדה allowed to remain in their place because they caused no harm to his vegetables.  However the תוי"ט asks on this why then in the previous משנה are other species (besides flax) forbidden to be planted next to wheat, if they are not harmful?  Furthermore, asks the תוי"ט, why would flax be any different than the ספיחי אסטיס (residual isatis) of משנה ה, which is also harmful to crops?  The תוי"ט therefore learns that one may plant a foreign species on the border of another's field and it would not be כלאים, except, or משנה says, in the case of mustard and safflower nest to grain, as in that case observers would think that the בעל השדה would not have allowed someone else to plant those species , and is therefore maintaining a forbidden mixture.  The רא"ש actually sees this as an elaboration and illustration of the previous משנה where it said that only flax, and no other species, could be planted next to a different crop, and then in only one row, and only at the edge of the field.  Now the משנה is telling me that this holds true for mustard and safflower, except next to vegetable which would be damaged by them, similar to how flax would damage wheat. 

לבור - The רדב"ז translates this not as barren land but as a pit, and says that it must be four טפחים wide and ten טפחים deep.  The רע"ב and several others say that this and a ניר must be at least a בית רובע wide, which is consistent with the שיעור given in משנה י  for the space that must be left between different crops; however the רמב"ם does not require this שיעור, presumably because he held the separating items were substantial enough on their own, whereas in משנה י which dealt with merely empty land, and greater separation was needed. 

לגפה - This is a wall of stones made without cement.

לדרך - this is a private path, presumably narrower than a public road, apparently it can be as little as four אמות wide.

ולגדר שהוא גבוה עשרה טפחים - The תפארת ישראל notes that this, which is a cemented wall, has a minimum height requirement but may be of any width.  He also notes that it was not mentioned by the תנא immediately after the גפה, as the latter, being necessarily substantially thicker as it is uncemented, does not need to be as tall to constitue a sufficient barrier.

מסך על הארץ - This tree's branches hang less than three טפחים from the ground, and it acts to insulate what is planted beneath its braches from what is outside that canopy.

ולסלע שהוא גבוה עשרה ורחב ארבעה - There is a difference of opinion as to what is meant by רחב, width .  The ר"ש says that by a ditch the width referred to is actually width of the ditch, in that even if the ditch runs for several אמות parallel to the crops, it must be at least four טפחים wide to constitute a sufficient separation.  However a rock or a wall can be of any thickness, but must run at least four טפחים parallel to the crops.   תוי"ט however disagrees, and states that all of these barriers must be four טפחים wide.  תיס' רעק"א points out, however, that there would be no חידוש if that were the case, as why would a stone be any different than a stone wall?  Rather he says, the point is that even a stone, which is regarded as the best possible separator between two different crops (רע"ב), has must be a minimum of four טפחים in width or thickness. 



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