Q. The Gemara says (Horayos 13b) that one of the things that causes one to forget one’s learning is one who is “Rogil” with olives.
Since I do not understand the way this works, I do not even know for sure how to formulate the question. Basically, I wish to know the parameters of this statement. A smattering of my doubts involve knowing:
1) Who would forget their learning? Anybody? Perhaps only someone who possessed a lot of learning.
2) What kind of olives? All types or only raw, cooked, pickled in salt, pickled in vinegar, baked, etc.
3) What is meant by Rogil? How often? How many? Does it make a difference in which climate one is? What time of the month, week or day? Does eating them on Shabbos cause this forgetting as well? At a Seudas Mitzvah? In the Sukkah? As Shirayim from a Rebbe?
4) Does it make a different if they are lightly chewed or well-chewed? Does it make a difference if they are eaten by themselves or with garlic or in something (e.g. cottage cheese)?
Could the Rav please define the parameters? It is very important to me. You see, they are a very healthy snack and I nosh on them when I’m learning and sleepy, and chewing helps keep me awake. But if I am going to forget what I’m learning anyway, maybe I need to find something else.
A. On question 452 and 2550 regarding the eating of olives, we wrote: “Talmud (Horayos 13b) teaches that five things cause forgetting the Torah one has learned; one of them is eating olives regularly.
Poiskim differ whether this is an actual prohibition (Divrei Malkiel 4: 1, Hisorerus Teshuvo 367, Lehoros Nossan 1: 59. See Piskey Teshuvos 170: 18) or if it is only good advice and a recommendation (Yabia Omer Y.D. 3: 8 :4, Sefer Hazikaron – Siach Hassode, introd.)
Many Poiskim opine that the Talmud is only referring to raw or fresh olives not the ones that have been pickled or salted (Mor Uk’tzio 170, Kaf Hachaim 157: 27 et. al.) Others maintain that adding olive oil (which is beneficial for memory) to the olives, removes their detrimental effect (Salmas Chaim 501), However, Sefer Hazikaron (11) disagrees. How much oil should be added? Halichos Shlomo (Tefiloh 2, note 103) mentions even a very small amount others disagree. Some suggest immersing them in olive oil (Shemiras Hanefesh, notes), others sustain that it does not help (Oisrei Laggefen p. 347)
What exactly qualifies as being “roggil” or regular is also in dispute. Sefer Hazikaron (p. 10) maintains that even eating olives once in thirty days meets the criteria, (as in Brochos 40a – on eating lentils). Others (Vein Lomo Michshol p. 345) argue that “roggil” is every day (as in Brochos 6b – on attending shul). Maim Chaim (O.H. 190) rules that even eating olives every day if the amounts are small, is not called being regular. There is also one opinion that asserts that only black olives can cause forgetting not the green ones (Toras Yaakov 3, quoting Avrohom Ezkor).
Finally, the Arizal (quoted in Kaf Ha’Chayim 24:43) writes that olives cause amei haaretz to forget, but if one eats them with the right kavanah or intention, on the contrary they help one to remember. We should intend ‘Kel Elokim Matzpatz’, which has the same Gematriya (417) as zayis, and this intention counters the forgetting power of olives
Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit”a opinion is that there is no prohibition on eating olives and “roggil” could be even less than thirty days.”
We can add to the above that Sefer Hazikaron (Siach Hassodeh 2: 11) quotes from Mogen Avrohom (170: 19), similarly to the above in the name of the Arizal. He mentions that all the Tanaim and Amoraim that consumed olives, did so with the right kavanah and intention, and therefore, on the contrary it helped them remember.”
The Rov added that the above would definetly apply when eating a seudas mitzva.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as advised by Horav Shlomo Miller and Horav Aharon Miller Shlit’a