Sunday, July 11, 2004

Berachos 58a

Gemara: "He (Ben Zoma) used to say: Adam HaRishon had to work so hard to make bread to eat! He had to plow, and plant, and harvest..." This gemara is problematic because of the gemara in Shabbos 73b, where the gemara says that in Israel (where the ground was hard) the custom was to plant first, and then to plow (in order to bring the seeds under the surface of the earth); while in Babylon the common practice was to first plow, and then to plant seeds. If so, why did Ben Zoma, who lived in Israel say that, "He had to plow, and plant," he should have said, "He had to plant, and plow."

I'd love to hear any suggestions...

Addition: I found a Chidushei HaRan in Shabbos 73b who specifically says that in Israel they plowed twice, once before and once after the seeding. I didn't understand that way from Rashi and the Ritva, but now that I saw the Ran It could be that they mean that, too. If that's the case, then it makes a lot of sense that Ben Zoma should say plowing first, because that was the first step in the bread-making process. He didn't repeat it after he said seeding, because he had already said it once.


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11/7/04 10:36 PM  

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