Today’s daf Makkot 21 presents an interesting idea of Kilayim. Kilayijm is the prohibition of planting with mixed plants and seeds. In today’s daf Rabbi Akiva holds that one transgresses the prohibition of “kilayim” when one has mixed plants growing on his field even if they are not purposefully planted. This means that according to Rabbi Akiva, one is under an obligation to actively inspect one’s field to ensure that this “kilayim” is not present. Even if you did not plant it, just having it is a problem according to Rabbi Akiva.
This is reminiscent of the famous book Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. In Catch 22, there is a character named Major Major. He is also a Maj0r in the army. In his pre -war job, Major Major is an Iowa corn farmer. Heller describes that as an Iowa corn farmer the government pays Major Major not to grow corn. Therefore, Heller describes how Major Major “Would wake up at the crack of noon to ensure that no corn was growing on his farm. The more money the government paid him, the more corn he would not grow.”
This satirical idea touches us because it evokes an image of how someone who is properly incentivized, ie not grow corn and get paid, will be diligent. Major Major’s diligence in not growing corn to obtain government grants should inspire us as well. The Torah admonition regarding Kilayim is not just to grow it, but to ensure it is not slowly growing according to R. Akiva.
The Shikkerdovid would like to learn something from this. It is often easy to look the other way with small things. It is easy to not “see the Kilayim”. It is easy to miss things and think we are getting away with it. It is difficult to pro actively find the imperfections, the small weeds which sprout up in our existence. Our small imperfections, or the small deeds that are easy to overlook. However, like Major Major who was paid not to grow corn, the reward for being careful with the little things, can be significant.
Maybe this lesson should have been on Makkot 22. LOL.