Menachos 103: Speech

In Menachos page 103 there is a Mishna that ostensibly seems rather dry. If somoene says,  I take on myself to bring a mincha (wheat  offering) of barely, what do we do? The mishna assumes the reader knows that a Mincha is wheat. Do we reform the words? According to Rabbi Shimon   we vitiate the whole statement.

The Talmud asks what do we do if somoene says I will bring a mincha of beans.  According to the Talmud this is too far afield.  Barely to wheat is possible according to the main reading of the Mishna… beans is too far. The Talmud goes through an analysis of parsing words or interpreting words that would make Justice Scalia smile.  The big question is what do our words mean when we dont speak precisely. Rashi gives a little insight. He says “nobody expresses words that has no meaning.” He uses the expressesion “Butal” or void.

The Shikkerdovid would like to chime in.  The  Shikkerdovid has  a terrible habit of saying stupid, silly and sometimes hurtful things.  It just comes out. Especially at the Thanksgiving table, surrounded by family and having had too many drinks.      The Mishna and Talmud’s lesson should resonate,  words have meaning. Words influence the world. Nothing is batul.

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