Resources for Kesubos daf 26

1.     The גמרא brings the מחלוקת רבי עקיבא and רבי אלעזר בן עזריה brought in יבמות about who gets מעשר ראשון. ר"ע says its goes to the לוי and ראב"ע says it goes to the כהן or לוי. Our גמרא says that according to ראב"ע, after עזרא fined the לויים for not coming back to ארץ ישראל then it can only be given to a כהן. The ריטב"א brings רש"י (which we don’t have) as saying that the reason ראב"ע says that מעשר ראשון can even go to the כהן is because of עזרא’s קנס. The ריטב"א says that is impossible since our גמרא says עזרא’s קנס is the reason it can only be given to כהנים. Rather, the ריטב"א explains that ראב"ע holds that מדאורייתא a כהן can get מעשר ראשון since כהנים are also called לויים, and after עזרא it is only the כהנים who can get מעשר ראשון due to the קנס. However, ר"ע disagrees. תוספות in ד"ה אין בתר explains that ר"ע  holds that מדאורייתא  only לויים get מעשר ראשון. Therefore, theקנס  of עזרא  tells us that מעשר ראשון can even go to a כהן. The ריטב"א disagrees with this as well and says that according to שיטת ר"ע even after תקנת עזרא only לויים can get מעשר ראשון. One of his proofs is the גמרא in יבמות דף פּ"ו ע"ב that says that when רבי עקיבא saw ראב"ע giving מעשר to כהנים from his garden he blocked the entrance with a בית הקברות. You see he felt כהנים were not allowed to eat מעשר שני. He also argues that in סברא it doesn’t make sense to say that עזרא  would have made a תקנה  which goes against a דין דאורייתא permanently. Theרמב"ם  has a fourth and fascinating שיטה. In הלכות מעשר פּרק א׳ הל׳ ה he says that עזרא made a קנס for the לויים in his day that they could not get מעשר ראשון. The inference is that nowadays לויים can eat מעשר. According to the רמב"ם  it makes sense why ראב"ע blocked כהנים from eating מעשר ראשון because, as the כסף משנה points out, the רמב"ם  paskended like ר"ע that only לויים  get מעשר but even ר"ע only said the קנס for his day and not for all time. The מנחת חינוך in מצוה של"ה אות ט"ו says that the proof to theרמב"ם  (similar to the ריטב"א) from the following question: He asks how could חז"ל have completely uprooted a מצוה מן התורה? Even by not blowing שופר on שבת the אחרונים explain that חז"ל could only uproot it because you can blow שופר on other years where ראש השנה doesn’t fall out on שבת. In our case, if עזרא fined the לויים forever, then he would have totally uprooted two of the תרי"ג מצוות (מצות נתינת מעשר ללוי ווידוי מעשר)! He answers that this is a proof to the רמב"ם ’s שיטה that it was only a temporary ban. However, he understands that when theרמב"ם  says “בזמנו” he means during the entire time of בית שני when תרומות ומעשרות are only דרבנן. However, once the בית שלישי is rebuilt במהרה בימינו then it will be דאורייתא again and עזרא’s קנס will be נתבטל. The חתם סופר has a basic question on the רמב"ם : if it’s true that עזרא’s קנס was only for his generation, why is our גמרא saying that someone who got מעשר שני must be a כהן? That certainly isn’t true in the time of the גמרא!  He answers that it must refer to someone who said he could prove he was a כהן since his great grandfather had eaten מעשר in עזרא’s day.

2.     The גמרא says that a כהן חלל can’t get מעשר ראשון. This is surprising since there is no concept of a חלל by a לוי so why would it apply to a כהן חלל in regards to מעשר? The קובץ שיעורים in אות ע says an important יסוד: we see from here that כהן is not a לוי by יחוס. Even though they are theoretically from the same שבט, they are considered a different שבט. However, they have as much קדושה as a לוי and then some which is why they can eat מעשר ראשון. Nonethless, if he loses his קדושת כהונה he has no קדושה left.

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