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The last mishna of the sixth chapter of N'darim reads, in part:

מן המקפה אסור בשום

This means that if someone declared that mikpa is forbidden for own his use as sacrificial offerings are, then he can't use garlic either. The commentaries explain that mikpa was a cooked dish of legumes or something like that, and it customarily contained garlic for taste.

I don't understand why the garlic is forbidden. Just because mikpa customarily contained it? If someone forbade chicken soup for his own use, would he not be allowed garlic or onion — or water? I suspect I'm missing something here.


(The Rav (Bartinura) explains:

רגילים היו לתת שום בכל מקפה כדי שיתן טעם והשום הוא המקפה

They were accustomed to put garlic in every mikpa to provide taste, and the garlic is the mikpa.

I suspect that in those last words lies the answer to my difficulty above, if I could but understand them, but I can't.)

  • 2
    It seems from the words that the Shum is YIkar Hamikpa because mikpa without shum has no taste – kouty Jun 13 at 9:58
  • Also have a look at the מלאכת שלמה - sefaria.org.il/… – Danny Schoemann Jun 13 at 11:54
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I think that the Bartenura follows the Pshat of the Rosh (here 4th line from the end).

The Rosh words are below.

דלא תימא כי היכי דנודר מן המקפה אסור בשום משום שדרך ליתן שום במקפה, הוא הדין נמי כי נדר מן המקפה יהא אסור בגריסין משום שדרך לעשות הגריסין מקפה קא משמע לן דלא דמי משום דשום דרך ליתן בכל מיני מקפה כי נותן טעם והשום הוא המקפה אבל אין עושין מגריסין לבדן מקפה אלא מכמה מינים עושין מקפה

The Rosh explains that the Tana wants to underline the difference between garlic and half beans. The garlic is present in many kinds of Mikpa because he is the component which gives the taste, the garlic "is the Mikpa". But they don't make Mikpa with half beans only, they make Mikpa with other species (of starchy).

In summary the Mikpa is a dish made with some starch with a taste of garlic.

The Nimuke Yosef on Rif adds:

אף על פי שלא שם אותם במקפה דהוה ליה כאילו נדר ממה שעושין מקפה

Despite that he doesn't put it in the Mikpa, there is as if he made a vow regarding the ingredient with which people make Mikpa.

Now we can read the Bartenura without difficulty:

רגילים היו לתת שום בכל מקפה כדי שיתן טעם והשום הוא המקפה

They was accustomed to put garlic in every Mikpa in purpose that gives taste. So, the Garlic is the Mikpa.

Mikpa is as a jelly (1), a jelly is almost tasteless. There are ingredients intended to give a solid structure. Those ingredients are not the main ingredient, the main ingredient is intended to give the taste of the Mikpa (this second name for garlic is a metonymy).

(1): See Bartenura in Succa 2.9

משתסרח המקפה - משתקלקל לו המקפה. כל תבשיל שאינו לא רך ולא קשה אלא קפוי קרוי מקפה. ורוב בני אדם מואסין תבשיל כזה, ובמעט מים מתקלקל לגמרי. ומקפה של גריסין של פול היא ממהרת להתקלקל בגשמים יותר משאר מקפות, ואם ירדו גשמים עד שאילו היה לפניו מקפה של גריסין היתה מתקלקלת, מותר לפנות מיד

All meal that is between solid and liquid state is called Mikpa. Most people are disgusted by this kind of meal...

  • So mikpa was a flavoring? Like a starchy garlic, used as an additive elsewhere? – msh210 Jun 13 at 13:29
  • Mikpa is not good if it is not at jelly form, see the Mishna in the 2th chapter of Succa. – kouty Jun 13 at 13:53
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    Interesting. Many thanks. It may help future readers if you edit the additional info from your comments into the answer. – msh210 Jun 13 at 14:18
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I don't understand what Rav is saying, but here are a couple of other approaches:

Ran on Nedarim 53a:

משום דמקפה כולל כל דבר קפוי ועבה ושום נמי קרוי מקפה על שם שממחין אותו במעט מים ונאכל בכך:‏

Because mikpa refers to anything congealed and thick, and garlic is also called mikpa because they make it into a paste with a little water and eat it like that.

R. Steinsaltz on Nedarim 53b:

הנודר מן המקפה — אסור בשום שבתוכה שהוא חלק מהמרכיבים של המקפה

One who makes a neder not to eat mikpa is forbidden from eating the garlic in it, which is one of the ingredients of the mikpa.

So according to R. Steinsaltz, he is not forbidden from eating all garlic, only garlic which was cooked as part of the mikpa. I think "Rashi" on Nedarim 53b may be the source for this interpretation.

  • +1, and many thanks. – msh210 Jun 13 at 11:04

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