[Avodah] Kitniyot

Zev Sero zev at sero.name
Mon Mar 25 09:16:30 PDT 2013

On 25/03/2013 8:30 AM, Ben Waxman wrote:
> On 3/25/2013 3:54 AM, Zev Sero wrote:
>> Really?!  The Rambam didn't have olives?!  All the geonim and rishonim
>> that give shiurim (and there are many listed in RACN's Shiurei Torah and
>> Shiurei Mikveh) didn't have olives?!  How can that be?

> And then if you take this idea to its logical conclusion (Rishonim got a
>  measurement wrong because they didn't have X) you would have to cast doubt
>  on every single explanation that Rashi and Tosophot give when explaining
>  some word, food, structure, etc from the Middle East. In short, you'd have
> to rewrite the Halacha as we know it.

No, it's quite possible that Rashi and Tosfos got it wrong about things
they didn't have in France.  We know they got EY geography wrong.  We know
they didn't have the kosher species of grasshoppers, and so had no way of
identifying them.  Their uncertainty about the identity of orez and dochan
is easily explained by the agriculture of their time.  The baalei tosfos
even realised that the common identification of "tzvi" with deer must be
wrong, but they didn't know which animal it did mean, because they didn't
have any gazelles. They probably didn't have olives, so if they were the
rishonim we relied on for shiurim the point RLL is championing would have
been easily defensible.  But they're not.  We have many many sources for
shiurim, almost all of whom did have access to olives.

(The Tzlach, who is the source for the oversized "Chazon Ish" shiurim,
probably didn't have olives, but he did have eggs, and deliberately
decided to ignore them; presumably he'd have done the same for olives,
so his presumed lack of them is irrelevant.  The problem with his shita
isn't the contradiction from eggs and olives, it's the contradiction from
the geonim and rishonim, and from the continuous practise in many diverse

Zev Sero               A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and
zev at sero.name          substantial reason' why he should be permitted to
                        exercise his rights. The right's existence is all
                        the reason he needs.
                            - Judge Benson E. Legg, Woollard v. Sheridan

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