Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Menachot 68: When Can We Eat from the New Crop?

The rabbis teach that Vayikra (23:14) describes two ways to allow the new crop.  It says that "neither bread, nor parched corn, nor fresh ears can be eaten until that same day; until you have brought the offering of your G-d".  Does the day itself permit the crop, or must we wait until after the omer offering has been brought?

Rav and Shmuel interpret the meaning: when the Temple stood and the omer was brought on the 16th day of Nisan, the second day of Pesach, the new crop was permitted after the omer offering.  After the Temple was destroyed, the crop was permitted on the second day of Pesach.

The Mishna teaches that people assumed that the omer had been brought by mid-day.  Many lived far from the Temple and could not know otherwise.  The were permitted to eat from the new crop.  Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai ruled that after the destruction of the Temple, people should not eat form the new crop until the morning of the 17th of Nisan.  He explained that when the Temple is rebuilt, people might think that they could eat from the new crop on the morning of the 16th of Nisan - they would do this because in the past, they could eat on the morning of the 16th because there could be no omer offering.  

Both Rabbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish disagree with Rav and Shmuel.  They argue that when the Temple stood, the new crop was permitted when the sun rose on the 16th of Nisan.  It was a special mitzvah to wait until after the omer offering to eat from the new crop.