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Bavli, M'nachos 70 amud 1:

בעי ר׳ אבהו שבולת שמרחה בכרי ושתלה וקרא עליה שם במחובר מהו כיון דמרחה טבלא לה כי קרא עליה שם קדשה לה או דלמא כיון דשתלה פקע ליה טבלא מינה אמרי ליה רבנן לאביי אם כן מצינו תרומה במחובר לקרקע ותנן לא מצינו תרומה במחובר לקרקע אמר ליה כי תניא ההיא לענין איחיובי מיתה וחומש דאי תליש ואכיל תלוש הוא ואי גחין ואכיל בטלה דעתו אצל כל אדם

In my own loose translation (based on Rashi):

Rabbi Abahu asked:

[Suppose] someone smoothed a stalk [of grain] in a heap [thereby passing it into a stage of tithing obligation], then transplanted it and named it [as t'ruma] while it was attached to the ground. What is the rule? By smoothing it, he made it tevel [i.e., obligated in tithing], and, when he named it, he made it t'ruma; or, perhaps, by transplanting it he removed the tevel state from it [so naming it t'ruma had no effect]?

The rabbis told Abaye:

If [by naming it t'ruma he in fact made it t'ruma], then we have a case of t'ruma attached to the ground, and tanaim taught "there is no t'ruma attached to the ground".

He told him:

That statement, ["there is no t'ruma attached to the ground",] was taught about the penalty of death or a one-fifth fine [for someone who eats the t'ruma who should not have. That is, it means not that there cannot be t'ruma attached to the ground, but only that there is never a penalty for eating t'ruma attached to the ground]. For if he detaches it and eats then it's not attached, and if he bends over and eats it [attached to the ground] then his view [that it's considered eating] is voided by everyone else's [and no penalty attaches].

  1. Why did the rabbis tell their statement to Abaye? What does he have to do with anything?
  2. The last statement is preceded by "He told him". Who told whom, and why?
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Wikipedia claims Abbahu and Abaye were contemporaries. –  Double AA May 5 '13 at 16:44

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