And when you shall come into the land, and shall have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count its fruit as uncircumcised; three years shall it be uncircumcised unto you; it shall not be eaten. (Lev. 19:23)
Now of all the questions that could be asked about this verse – here we look at two words:
what is the purpose of ‘unto you’?
Remember, according to standard rabbinic exegesis, nothing in the Torah is superfluous. Every word is an opportunity for a lesson. This one, though, is not so clear:
For what was taught: ‘unto you’: this is to include what is planted for the public.
R. Judah said: It is to exclude what is planted for the public.
What is the reason of the first Tanna (that it includes the public)? Because it is written, ‘and ye shall have planted;’ [this] implies [a law] to the individual, but it does not imply [a law] for the public ; [therefore] the Merciful One wrote, ‘unto you’, to include what is planted for the public.
While R. Judah [argues]: ‘and ye shall have planted’ implies [a law] both to the public and to the individual, and ‘unto you’ [too] implies both for the public and for the individual: thus it is an extension after an extension, and an extension after an extension has no [other significance] save to limit.
That is: a double positive (extension) is a negative (limitation)!