Shabbat Parashat Shoftim| 5764
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - Kilayim - V - What Species are Included in the Prohibition of Mixed Sowing? - Part 1 - From Eretz Hemdah II, 1: 6
All different varieties of plants that grow edible produce are included in the prohibition of kilei zeraim (mixed sowing). This includes grains, legumes, and vegetables. Thus, it is forbidden to plant seeds from two different species from within this broad category of zeraim (literally, seeds).
However, the Tosefta (Kilayim, perek 1) seems clear that the seeds of trees are not included in the prohibition. The Yerushalmi (ibid. 1:4) explains that the Torah prohibits only that type of vegetation which is categorized as zeriah (sowing), not that which is considered netia (planting). The Chatam Sofer (Shut, Yoreh Deah 287) explains in a different manner. He says that the requirement of a field, as described by the pasuk, is not realized in a tree, as the fruit is not considered to grow from the ground. But the more classical sources do not seem to concur with this approach.
The Rambam rules that just as there is no kilayim between different types of seeds of trees, so too there is no kilayim when planting the seed of zeraim in proximity to that of a tree. The Ra’avad argues and forbids mixing the seed of a tree among that of grains, etc. As the version we have of the Tosefta seems to prove the Rambam’s ruling clearly, it is likely that the Ra’avad had a different text of the Tosefta, as we know exists. The Chazon Ish (3,11) writes that the Ra’avad could only have been referring to a rabbinic prohibition.
The Tur says that it is permitted to mix the seed of a tree among those of zeraim and sow them together, because the Torah forbade in chutz la’aretz only grafting. The implication is that in Eretz Yisrael there would be a prohibition of mixing in the seed of a tree. The Beit Yosef rejects this possible distintion, because Shmuel (Kiddushin 39a), who was talking about Eretz Yisrael, forbade by trees only grafting. So too the G’ra asked on the Tur from a gemara in Bechorot (54a). However, the G’ra does not ask from this gemara on the Ra’avad, who seems to say the same thing as the Tur. Apparently, he understood the Ra’avad as the Chazon Ish did, only on the level of d’rabbanan, and thus the gemara in Bechorot, which seems to be talking on the level of the Torah, is not difficult for him. From the Tur, on the other hand, it sounds like the prohibition in Eretz Yisrael would be on the Torah level.
However, there is a possibility that the Tur forbade the sowing of tree seeds with zeraim in Eretz Yisrael only rabbinically. In Eretz Yisrael, where the prohibition of kilei zeraim exists from the Torah, the Rabbis extended it to include mixing in a tree seed. However, in chutz la’aretz, where there is no Torah prohibition in the realm of sowing, only of grafting, the Rabbis felt no need to extend the prohibition to mixing the seed of trees with zeraim.
As far as practical halacha, since the matter is a question on the rabbinic level, one can be lenient (see Shulchan Aruch YD 295 with commentaries).
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