Resisting the Plain Meaning

For the past few days the dapim have promoted delicate and careful speech. Today, looking at a Scriptural phrase whose meaning is apparently plain, the rabbis sense a disconnect between the text and its intent.

Daf 328 (Pesachim 5a-5b)

The gemara seeks to determine when the Biblical prohibition on eating leavened bread goes into effect and when the chametz must be burned. Leviticus 23:39 states, “On the first day you shall eliminate leaven from your homes.” Is the first day the day of the festival or the day before the festival (which begins that night)?

More questions: Is a gentile who lives in the general vicinity of a Jewish resident permitted to keep chametz? Is it different if the gentile is “dominated” by the Jew (e.g., his employee)?

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