There appears to be an interesting contradiction in the Bartenura's peirush on the Mishna. In Maaser Sheni 2:1, the mishna notes that if we improve the flavour of maaser sheni wine by adding honey or spices, the extent to which the wine increases in value must be reckoned against a calculation based on the value of the honey and the spices which were chullin. But if we heat maaser sheni dough over a fire, the value of the dough rises as a result and we need subtract nothing for the value of the wood. The Bartenura explains the difference between these two cases as follows (s.v. השבח לשני):

ופודה את הפת בשויו, ואין חולקין השבח לעצים של חולין, אלא כל השבח למעשר שני, לפי שאין שבח עצים ניכר בפת

We can redeem the bread at its full value, and need not apportion out the value of the wood of chullin. Rather, all of the profit is maaser sheni since the improvement conferred by the wood is not recognised in the bread.

Contrast that with what he has to say on the mishna in 'Orlah 3:4! There, the mishna observes that if we cook a stew using husks of 'orlah, the stew needs to be destroyed. The gemara (Pesachim 26b) understands this mishna to be referring to an oven that is lit with husks of 'orlah and that the reason that it is forbidden is because the husks improve the taste. Note the Bartenura (s.v. ידלק):

דיש שבח עצים בתבשיל, וכן בפת

Since wood confers an improvement on stew, and also on bread.

Am I to assume that the Bartenura recognises that the quality of the wood improves the taste of the bread, but in a manner incommensurate with the value of the wood? That makes little sense to me, since the cost of wood is a good indicator of its quality. How else might the contradiction between these two passages be resolved?

1 Answer 1


The Tosfos Yom Tov (in both places) notes this apparent contradiction in the Mishnayos. His answer is that the improvement made by olrah wood is different because then the benefit came from something prohibited, as opposed to by Maaser Sheni where the wood was something permitted.

I think that this answers your question, because the issue with orlah is not because of deriving monetary benefit from the orlah, but because the taste of the food is improved, and orlah is prohibited from being eaten, not just from an increase in value. (I think it's plausible to say that the difference of improvement in the bread's taste by being baked by a wood-fueled fire as opposed to a different fire isn't significant, but at the same time, there's still flavor given to the bread. This flavor is prohibited to be eaten if it came from orlah.)

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