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The Ambiguity of אַף הֶחָדָשׁ
The Mishnah at the top of Kiddushin 37a, discussing which mitzvot are dependent on being situated in the land, lists exceptions, then notes:
חוּץ מִן הָעׇרְלָה וְכִלְאַיִם. רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר: אַף הֶחָדָשׁ.
This is apart from the mitzvot of orla and diverse kinds, which apply even outside of Eretz Yisrael. Rabbi Eliezer says: This is the halakha even with regard to the prohibition to eat from the new crop before the omer offering has been brought on the sixteenth of Nisan.
In the gemara, the (savoraic) Talmudic Narrator wonders whether Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus’ disagreement is a leniency or a stringency, and then brings evidence from Abaye, a fourth-generation Amora, as to which is is. Thus:
חוּץ מִן הָעׇרְלָה וְהַכִּלְאַיִם. אִיבַּעְיָא לְהוּ: רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר לְקוּלָּא פְּלִיג אוֹ לְחוּמְרָא פְּלִיג?
§ The mishna teaches that all mitzvot that are dependent on the land apply only in Eretz Yisrael, apart from orla and the prohibition of diverse kinds. Rabbi Eliezer says: This is the halakha even with regard to the prohibition to eat from the new crop. A dilemma was raised before them: Does Rabbi Eliezer disagree with the first tanna with the intent to rule more leniently or does he disagree with the first tanna with the intent to rule more stringently?
This is based on an ambiguity in the Mishnah. And I am focusing on it because we love to focus on ambiguities here on Scribal Error. The word af is ambiguous, as to whether it is part of the inclusion or part of the exclusion.
It seems obvious to me, from the structure and wording, that Rabbi Eliezer means to add an exclusion, and thus introduces a leniency. In which case the Sages, representing the majority, would have the stringent position regarding chadash. But that is the very opposite of the gemara’s conclusion.
The ambiguity stems in large part from the fact that it states af hechadash, and not af min hechadash. With min, it seems clear that Rabbi Eliezer meant to add to the exclusions. But this is in fact a girsological question.
Our printed Vilna text, as well as all manuscripts at Hachi Garsinan don’t have the word min.
However, look to the stand-alone Mishnah on Sefaria, and you will see the word min present. Regardless of how they translate it to keep the ambiguity:
כָּל מִצְוָה שֶׁהִיא תְלוּיָה בָאָרֶץ אֵינָהּ נוֹהֶגֶת אֶלָּא בָאָרֶץ. וְשֶׁאֵינָהּ תְּלוּיָה בָאָרֶץ נוֹהֶגֶת בֵּין בָּאָרֶץ בֵּין בְּחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ, חוּץ מִן הָעָרְלָה וְכִלְאָיִם. רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, אַף מִן הֶחָדָשׁ:
Any mitzva that is dependent on the land [aretz] applies only in Eretz Yisrael, and any mitzva that is not dependent on the land applies both in Eretz Yisrael and outside of Eretz Yisrael. This is apart from the mitzvot of orla and diverse kinds, which apply even outside of Eretz Yisrael. Rabbi Eliezer says: This is the halakha even with regard to the prohibition to eat from the new crop before the omer offering has been brought on the sixteenth of Nisan.
The Yerushalmi parallel of the Mishnah does not have the word min:
משנה: כָּל־מִצְוָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ תְּלוּיָה בָאָרֶץ נוֹהֶגֶת בֵּין בָאָרֶץ בֵּין בְּחוּצָה לָאָרץ. וְכָל־שֶׁהִיא תְלוּיָה בָאָרֶץ אֵינָהּ נוֹהֶגֶת אֶלָּא בָאָרֶץ חוּץ מִן הָעָרְלָה וְהַכִּלְאַיִם. רִבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר אַף הֶחָדָשׁ.
MISHNAH: Any commandment which does not refer to the Land is obligatory both in the Land and outside the Land. But any commandment which does refer to the Land is obligatory only in the Land, except ‘orlah and kilaim. Rebbi Eliezer says, also new grain.
So too as it is quoted in Yerushalmi Orlah 3:4:
הֶחָדָשׁ אָסוּר מִן הַתּוֹרָה בְּכָל־מָקוֹם. מַתְנִיתָא דְּרִבִּי לִעֶזֶר. דְּתַנִּינָן תַּמָּן כָּל־מִצְוָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ תְלוּיָה בָאָרֶץ נוֹהֶגֶת בָּאָרֶץ וּבְחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ. וְכָל־שֶׁהִיא תְלוּייָה בָאָרֶץ אֵינָהּ נוֹהֶגֶת אֶלָּא בָאָרֶץ חוּץ מִן הֶעָרְלָה וּמִן הַכִּלְאַיִם. רִבִּי לִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר אַף הֶחָדָשׁ. מָה טַעֲמָא דְּרִבִּי לִיעֶזֶר בְּכָל־מָקוֹם. בְּכָל־מוֹשְׁבוֹתֵיכֶם בֵּין בָּאָרֶץ בֵּין בְּחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ. מָה מְקַייְמִין רַבָּנִין טַעֲמָא דְּרִבִּי לִיעֶזֶר בְּכָל־מוֹשְׁבוֹתֵיכֶם. בֶּחָדָשׁ שֶׁכָּן שֶּׁיָּצָא בַחוּץ.
“New grain is forbidden everywhere from the Torah.” The Mishnah is Rebbi Eliezer’s as we have stated there: “Any commandment not connected with the Land applies both inside and outside the Land. But any connected with the Land applies only inside the Land except for ‘orlah and kilaim. Rebbi Eliezer says, also new grain.” What is the reason of Rebbi Eliezer? Everywhere, (Lev. 23:14) “in all your dwelling places,” both inside and outside the Land. How do the rabbis explain the reason of Rebbi Eliezer, “in all your dwelling places”? New grain from here which was exported.
Ktav Yad Kaufmann does not have the word min:
Two printings do include min, namely Venice and Costa:
The other evidence to the Mishnah’s language, in manuscripts and printings, would be in the (Geonic) piska, the quote from the Mishnah between the colons, showing what the gemara is about. But here, none of the manuscripts / printings contain the quote of af or af min, ending just before:
the exception being the Guadalajara printing, which has af hechadash, but which anyway had the same in the Mishnah. It seems clear that the (slightly more) ambiguous af is the correct reading.
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