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Mishnayos Niddah Perek 5 Mishnah 7

נדה פרק ה׳ משנה ז׳


The Sages stated a parable based on the development of the fruit of a fig tree with regard to the three stages of development in a woman: Minority, young womanhood, and grown womanhood. An unripe fig, a ripening fig, and a ripe fig. An unripe fig represents the stage when she is still a child and has not yet developed the signs of puberty; a ripening fig represents the days of her young womanhood, when she reaches twelve years and one day and has developed two pubic hairs. With regard to the periods both during this stage, minority, and during that stage, young womanhood, the Sages said that her father is entitled to any lost object that she finds that cannot be returned to its owner, and to her earnings, and to nullification of her vows. A ripe fig represents the stage of grown womanhood: Once she has reached her majority, her father no longer has authority over her. He can no longer nullify her vows, and he does not have a claim to lost objects found by her and her earnings belong to her.

מָשָׁל מָשְׁלוּ חֲכָמִים בָּאִשָּׁה. פַּגָּה, בֹּחַל וְצֶמֶל. פַּגָּה, עוֹדָהּ תִּינוֹקֶת. בֹּחַל, אֵלּוּ יְמֵי נְעוּרֶיהָ. בָּזוֹ וּבָזוֹ, אָבִיהָ זַכַּאי בִּמְצִיאָתָהּ וּבְמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיהָ וּבַהֲפָרַת נְדָרֶיהָ. צֶמֶל, כֵּיוָן שֶׁבָּגְרָה, שׁוּב אֵין לְאָבִיהָ רְשׁוּת בָּהּ:


פגה – סמדר/in the budding stage, like (Song of Songs 2:13): “The green figs form on the fig tree/התאנה חנטה פגיה, [The vines in blossom/סמדר give off fragrance] Such is the young female child that lacks a sign, neither in the breasts nor in the hair.

בוחל – the fruit that is close to ripening. And it is the language of the Sages. The figs are subject to tithes when they are in that state of ripening called בוחל (see Tractate Maaserot, Chapter 1, Mishnah 2 and Tractate Niddah 47a – which is defined as when their heads grow white). Such is the case when she (i.e., the woman) has the sign of breasts slightly = when it is known that she has brought forth two [pubic] hairs, and she is a young woman/נערה.

צמל – it is the language of an abbreviation/acrostic, that she has fully blossomed/come forth completely. That she has a clear sign in her breasts that she is an adult woman.

בזו ובזו – even when she is a young woman, her father is in possession of everything, as it is written (Numbers 30:4): “while still in her father’s household by reason of her youth.”

פגה. סמדר. כמו התאנה חנטה פגיה (שיר ב׳). כך התינוקת שאין לה סימן לא בדדין ולא בשערות:

בוחל. הפרי הקרוב להתבשל. ולשון חכמים הוא, התאנים משיבחילו חייבים במעשר. כך כשיש לה סימן דדין קצת, בידוע שהביאה שתי שערות ונערה היא:

צמל. לשון נוטריקון יצתה מלאה. שיש לה סימן מובהק בדדיה והיא בוגרת:

בזו ובזו. אפילו כשהיא נערה, אביה זכאי בכל. דכתיב (במדבר ל׳) בנעוריה בית אביה, כל שבח נעוריה לאביה: