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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Half a Tree (Part 3: Svara)

The halacha of orlah applies to trees which have the property of being "fruit trees". We will investigate this property by first distinguishing between two types of properties:

(A) a property intrinsic in an object.  For example, we can talk about a dog being a carnivore.  The property of eating meat has to do with the inherent characteristics of the dog.

(B) a relative property of an object as it exists relative to man.  For example, we can talk about a dog having the property that it is a pet. The concept of a pet has no meaning independent of a relationship to an owner.  A pet exists under man's care, while a stray dog does not.

These same two possibilities can be applied regarding how the Torah defines a tree as a fruit tree, and thereby subjects it to the prohibition of orlah.  If it were defined based upon the intrinsic properties of the object (A), then all trees which grow fruit should be included, irrespective of why man planted it.  But this is not the halacha.

Rather, a fruit tree is defined relative to man (B).  It is a tree which man utilizes for producing fruit. Thus, if a person plants a fruit tree for a fence, it is not defined as a fruit tree relative to man, but as a fence which happens to grow fruit. Such a tree is not included in the prohibition of orlah.

With this in mind, we're ready to take up our second question from the previous post and define the machlokes.  Besides for trying to understand the conceptual basis for the machlokes, we asked specifically about the position of RY.  If you plant a tree, half for fruits and half for a fence, is it a fruit tree or not?  How can orlah apply to only half of a tree?

32 comments:

  1. We think our approach in this post is similar to that offered by Matt in post 1 and Michael in post 2. We'd be interested to hear if you think there are any significant differences between them.

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    1. I think that this is in line with what I was saying in post 2. I find this to be a clearer presentation though.

      As to the machlokes, I think that the question is how to define the relationship between the farmer and the tree. Is the essence of the mitzvah the gavra's relationship with the tree or is the essence the thing which the gavra relates to - the cheftza.

      If we define the mitzvah in terms of the cheftza then we need to consider the intention of the gavra to define the tree and a wall will be excluded. However, in the case of a half-tree the elements of gavra relating to the thing are present - thus the issur is chal. Since the issur is rooted in the cheftza we look at the half-tree categorically and with the extant element of a gavra relationship the issur presents itself.

      The other side maintains that this is a gavra-centric mitzvah and that we look to the gavra to define its scope. Therefore in the case of a tree-wall the intention of the gavra clearly removes the issur. However in the case of the half-tree the relationship of the gavra extends to half of the tree and not the other half. Since the mitzvah is rooted in the gavra intention is key and determines the scope.

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    2. Michael

      I understand your last paragraph that the essence of orla is established from the gavras perspective therefore he can relate to the tree as both eitz machil and non-eitz machil and half will be chayiv and half won't.(This is how I'm understanding you)

      Your 2nd paragraph: If we define the mitzvah in terms of the cheftza then we need to consider the intention of the gavra to define the tree and a wall will be excluded. However, in the case of a half-tree the elements of gavra relating to the thing are present - thus the issur is chal. Since the issur is rooted in the cheftza we look at the half-tree categorically and with the extant element of a gavra relationship the issur presents itself.

      If orla is rooted in the definition of the cheftza-the tree-from the gavras perspective, and that perspective makes half of it an eitz machil, why should that eitz machil status categorically extend to the rest of the tree(since orla stems from the cheftza)? I'm not sure if I understand this paragraph, can you clarify it a bit more.

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    3. From your question I think that I'm going to tweak my overall answer a little bit. My formulation is clunky - according to both I'm creating a cheftza shel issur through a relationship of the gavra but one side says the gavra controls and the other says that the cheftza operates categorically in some way.

      I want to say better:

      Rather, say that both agree that a cheftza shel issur is being created. The point of disagreement is where the address of the cheftza is - is it the fruit or the tree. Slightly more philosophically, what is the nature of the relationship of the farmer to his fruit trees? - does it go by the tree and the fruits are tafel to his definition of the tree or are the fruits the primary and define the extent of the issur?

      Halakha always speaks categorically - there is no such thing as half a tree. But there is an idea of distinct fruits.

      If the nature of the farmer relationship that we are after is rooted in the fruit production, then of course he can decide to not farm some of the fruits - farming is dependent upon his intent.

      But if the essence of the farmer relationship is the tree, then dividing the tree is nonsensical - he may have intention to burn the inner fruits, but that doesn't change the way he's relating to the tree as a farming cheftza when he chooses to farm half of the fruits.

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    4. Can't you say that the tree is a farming cheftza in so far that he is farming it for the tree branches, and as such you could say that all the fruit is not orla(we would deem the tree as an non-eitz machil)? Why are you saying that the fact that he can farm the fruit means that the tree(the farming cheftza) is an eitz machil which causes all of the fruit to be orla?

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    5. I'm not very clear on your question but I would agree with you that if someone was "farming" the tree for its branches the fruits would be patur from orlah - that would be the case of the wall-tree.

      I'm not saying "that the fact that he can farm the fruit means that the tree(the farming cheftza) is an eitz machil which causes all of the fruit to be orla". I'm saying that TK is saying that the tree is the essential cheftza being defined by this mitzvah - therefore if the gavra relates to the cheftza as a farming tool at all then all fruits of it are assur. RY maintains that the fruits are the essence of the farming relationship - therefore his intention is tied to their production rather than the tree itself.

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    6. So I'm just confused about"I'm saying that TK is saying that the tree is the essential cheftza being defined by this mitzvah - therefore if the gavra relates to the cheftza as a farming tool at all then all fruits of it are assur"because the farmer can also relate to the cheftza as a farming tool because of the wood it produces in 50/50-why should the fruit be assur if it is a farming tool for the wood as well.

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    7. I don't think I'm being clear in my last comment...if you could just clarify the farming tool concept a little more...

      Are you saying so long as the tree is a farming tool then all the fruit are assur? If yes, I don't fully understand the connection...

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    8. I'm saying that the mitzvah of orlah is reacting to the farmer-produce relationship. Planting a tree for a wall or for wood is not farming - if it were then those benefits would also be issur orlah. The farmer relationship is purely based upon fruit production.

      Both TK and RY see the mitzvah as applying to the farmer's relationship to the farming production; the only question is whether the farming relationship is rooted in the trees or in the fruits. Dependent upon which category the halakha attaches itself, a half-tree is either possible or not.

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    9. So basically the issur orla is dependent on the farmer-produce relationship. If the main cheftza of that relationship is the produce-meaning the farmers whole intent is for the produce, then the issur orla is chal on the produce.

      If the farmer-produce relationship is a function of creating a tree- or farming tool-to produce some fruit, so then the issur orla is chal on all fruit which comes out of the tree.

      If this is what you are saying, I'm not sure if I understand the idea that the issur orla attaches itself to tree-or farming tool-and thus anything which comes out of the tree is assur because of orla.

      And if this is not what you're saying, then I just don't understand the idea.

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    10. Yes, that is my idea.

      Is there some particular problem you have with saying that the essential farmer-produce relationship is rooted (awesome tree pun) in the tree? Or is your problem how that extends to the fruit of such a tree?

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    11. I could understand how the farmer-produce relationship is a function of creating a tree-or farming tool-to produce fruit. I could understand that general concept. My question is, how is the issur orla attaching itself to the fruit. What's the next step the issur orla takes after you've established this tzad of a farmer-produce relationship. How does the issur orla than become chal on all the fruit?

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    12. Try looking at it this way:

      TK: The issur orlah is "Don't use the fruit of an 'orlah-tree'"

      RY: The issur orlah is "Don't use the 'orlah-fruits' of a tree"

      Just because the definition of the issur is rooted in the tree doesn't effect its application to the fruits.

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    13. To clarify a little more: you're saying that the issur orla is chal on the essential cheftza of the farmer-produce relationship. So if it's produce, some will be orla and some won't. But the second tzad according to you is, that the essential cheftza of the relationship is the tree-or farming tool-in which he will farm some fruits. My question is: the issur orla seemingly is chal on the tree-or farming tool-itself(the essential cheftza of the relationship). It doesn't seem from your second tzad that the orla should be chal on all the fruit, which is produce from the main cheftza(the tree) of the farmer-produce relationship.

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    14. Wrote previous comment, before reading the 1:46pm comment. I think I understand what you're saying.

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    15. Note: levi was also on this same track.

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    16. I hadn't read all of the comments on post 1 yet but I checked and Levi was very much on this same track and I feel Matt crystallized it.

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    17. How is a tree the essential component of a farmer-produce relationship, when the the point of the tree is to produce the actual fruit? I'm not sure if I'm clear on that idea.

      You seem to be saying because it is a farming tool, I'm not sure how that makes it the essential component.

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    18. That's funny. I find the other side to be the more difficult position.

      Imagine the role of the farmer - he cares for the trees, prunes them, lines them up, covers their branches, cuts off dead branches... a million other things I don't know cause I'm not an apple farmer. It's true that the goal of all farming is the fruit, but the essence of the farming is the tree. Just as the ground is the essence of farming for wheat or corn. That's where the relationship is and that's where the issur attaches. Since the entire mitzvah is designed around the farmer relationship, it's this aspect which orlah attaches itself to.

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  2. For clarification: are you saying that the farmers daas is koveh in a tree both the status of an eitz machil and non eitz machil from the 50/50 case. Or are you saying something different?

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    1. In this post we are not discussing the 50/50 case. That in fact was the essential methodology point of the previous post.

      It is important to understand how the simple case of planting the tree for a fence removes the tree from the prohibition of orlah. From that case (100/0) alone we are saying this idea: that the fruit tree is defined as an entity relative to man.

      This is the key methodology point that allows you to take the next step in defining the more difficult case of 50/50.

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  3. I understand that; but I'm still wondering if his daas is koveh a eitz machil/non-eitz machil status in the tree. Based on what you're saying in this post(which happens to be the 100% case) that it is relative to the planter's mindset that would seem to be the case. But as Matt said in the first thread, which I would agree with, it seems awkward to have a tree have both statuses.

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  4. RAZ/REF

    I think based on your formulation of the two ways to categorize an object, the question becomes even stronger. How can halacha formulate the tree that is not for fruit at all as a non-eitz machil. It has the intrinsic characteristic of producing fruit, the same way a carnivore eats meat.

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    1. I'm not sure if I understand how one can relate to a 'fruit tree' as a fence which happens to produce fruit. It's not a fence it's a tree...(which will eventually become a fence)

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    2. I think that you need to re-read this post and think about it:

      "These same two possibilities can be applied regarding how the Torah defines a tree as a fruit tree, and thereby subjects it to the prohibition of orlah. If it were defined based upon the intrinsic properties of the object (A), then all trees which grow fruit should be included, irrespective of why man planted it. But this is not the halacha.

      Rather, a fruit tree is defined relative to man (B). It is a tree which man utilizes for producing fruit. Thus, if a person plants a fruit tree for a fence, it is not defined as a fruit tree relative to man, but as a fence which happens to grow fruit. Such a tree is not included in the prohibition of orlah."

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    3. Michael-
      Are you sayng the same svara as Matt (post 1)? It seems like he was trying to take the fruit side a bit further. Would you agree with that step? If so, can you answer JeffB's question? If not, would you take it further differently from Matt?

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    4. Michael
      Let's say a farmer makes a tree fence to protect his other fruit trees.

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    5. JeffB's Question:

      >>Matt:

      I actually came up with a sevara that I now see is very similar to yours. However, I think there is one more thing you have to account for. If the issur of orlah is chal on a fruit that you relate to as a food, why doesn't it automatically become assur the moment you pick it off the tree to eat it? In other words, in the case where the tree is half and half, according to RY you can eat the fruit from the half that is functioning as the fence. Why doesn't the fruit become prohibited as orlah the moment you pick it to eat it? The answer to this, I believe, may answer the question someone raised on how this shita flows from the passuk.

      I will not publish my answer just yet to let you respond...
      _________________________________________

      To both your and Jeff's question I would say that the issur is not chal on fruit but a farming relationship. Methodologically, this is why it is first necessary to define the area (Post 2) and then move on to defining the machlokes (this Post).

      The farmer is not a farmer when he picks an apple - if you were to say this to an apple farmer he would laugh in your face or be offended. There are months of labor necessary to bring up that fruit. If his daas is only to certain fruits then those are the fruits he will care for and farm. A wall is exactly nothing in the mind of the farmer - something he doesn't need to farm or care for.

      The real question is on where his daas attaches. If the true farmer relationship relies upon the tree then ANY amount of produce from a tree will trigger the farming relationship and all the fruits are chayiv. if the fruits are the focus then the farming relationship is based entirely on which fruits the farmer farms. But no one would say simply those which are picked.

      I feel that Matt's food supply point is not necessary and clouds the issue of "farmed-fruits". Any fruit is part of the supply once it is picked. In that sense it is weaker because it falls prey to Jeff's question. I see my svara as incorporating the svara of Post 2 and focusing on the farmer relationship.

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  5. I have a slightly different thought for RY than the one I proposed in post #1. It might be a better read with the pasuk. It also might be similar to Michael's approach but I can't say that I fully understand the idea that the issur is chal on a "farming relationship" so I'm not sure.

    TK held simply that the fruits of an eitz ma'achal are prohibited. He will have to say that when you plant the tree for a fence it is not an eitz ma'achal and therefore the fruits are petur from orlah. However, from the formulation of the Rambam (who poskins like RY) when he describes the case where one plants the tree for a fence he calls the tree an eitz ma'achal. It seems that the Rambam (/RY) holds that a tree is an eitz ma'achal by virute of the fact that it produces fruits. The person's daas cannot redefine the tree. The question now becomes if the tree is an eitz ma'achal how is the issur orlah formulated such that its fruits are not prohibited. Maybe RY holds that the prohibition is on a certain action of harvesting. I think there's an idea of a farmer merely picking an apple versus harvesting his apples as his crop. The move (which you can buy or not) is that what determines whether or not the farmer is harvesting or not is whether he relates to the fruit as part of his food supply or as part of his fence. Even he plucks off an apple in a hefker way and not part of his designated harvesting activities if the apple is part of his food supply this will be considered an act of harvesting and therefore prohibited. I think this is a clearer way of saying the food supply point I mentioned in post #1.

    I think it is also a better read with the pasuk. The pasuk states that when you plant an eitz ma'achal you shall "block" its fruits for the first 3 years. RY learns that this is not teaching you that an eitz ma'achal assurs its fruits but rather that it is prohibited to harvest these trees for the first 3 years.

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  6. If the question here is what is mechayiv orla, and the answer is a netiyah of an etz maachal for achila then maybe the machlokes is whether the chalos of the isur is chal on the peiros or on the etz. According to R’Yose the category of the isur emerges from the planting of an etz maachal, but since the isur is chal on the peiros and not on the tree we can define the status of the perios (i.e parts of the tree). Each of these is a self contained and independent thing which can have its own designation (l’achila or l’syug). Whereas according to the TK since the category of the isur emerges from the netiyah of an etz maachal it is the etz itself that needs to be defined as either an etz maachal or syug. And since a tree cannot have two designations he holds that the etz must be entirely mutar or asur.

    -Brought to you by the Rinde/Zoldan chevrusa. An international duo committed to the maintenance

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  7. ...and flourishing of good friendship and ideas.

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    1. Wow! The Blogoshiur's first international chavrusa. Good distinction.

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