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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Maaser - Chapter 10, Maaser - Chapter 11, Maaser - Chapter 12

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Maaser - Chapter 10

1

When a person makes a commitment to be considered trustworthy1 with regard to the tithes [so that] his produce will not be considered as demai, he must tithe [the produce] he eats,2 that which he sells, and that which he purchases,3 and he must not accept the hospitality of a common person. He must make these commitments in public.4 When trustworthy witnesses5 [testify] that he made these commitments in public and that he continually observe these practices, he is considered trustworthy [and his word is accepted if] he says that his produce has been tithed.

א

המקבל עליו להיות נאמן על המעשרות ולא יהיו פירותיו דמאי צריך להיות מעשר את שהוא אוכל ואת שהוא מוכר ואת שהוא לוקח ואינו מתארח אצל ע"ה וצריך שיקבל עליו דברים אלו ברבים וכשיבואו עדים נאמנין שקיבל דברים אלו ברבים ושהוא רגיל בהם תמיד הרי זה נאמן על פירותיו לומר מעושרין הן:

2

Every Torah scholar is always considered trustworthy. There is no necessity to investigate his [conduct]. His children, the members of his household, his servants, and his wife, are given the same status. When a Torah scholar dies and leaves produce, even if it was gathered on the day of his death, we assume that [the appropriate separations were made].6

ב

כל תלמיד חכם לעולם נאמן ואינו צריך בדיקה אחריו ובניו ובני ביתו ועבדיו [ואשתו] הרי הם כמוהו ת"ח שמת והניח פירות אפילו כנסם באותו היום הרי הן בחזקת מתוקנין:

3

When the daughter of a common person or his wife7 marries a chavair or the servant8 [of a common person] was sold to a chavair, they must accept the [above] requirements as at the outset.9 When the daughter of a chavair or his wife marries a common person or the servant [of a chavair] was sold to a common person, we assume that they maintain their observance10 until they act in a manner that arouses suspicion. A son or a servant of a chavair who would frequently visit a common person must formally accept [the above requirements].11When a son or a servant of a common person would frequently visit a chavair, as long as he is in his domain, he is considered like a chavair. When he departs, he is considered as a common person.12

ג

בת עם הארץ או אשתו שניסת לחבר ועבדו שנמכר לחבר צריכין לקבל עליהם בתחלה ובת חבר או אשתו שניסת לע"ה ועבדו שנמכר לע"ה הרי הן בחזקתן עד שיחשדו בנו או עבדו של חבר שהיו למודין אצל עם הארץ צריכין לקבל בנו או עבדו של ע"ה שהיו למודים אצל חבר כל זמן שהן אצלו הרי הן כחבר יצאו הרי הן כע"ה:

4

When a person himself is not considered as trustworthy, but one of his sons or servants or another member of his family is, food may be taken from him based on their statements.13 We do not harbor suspicions concerning the matter.

ד

מי שאינו נאמן והיה אחד מבניו או מעבדיו נאמן או אחד ממשפחתו לוקחין ממנו ואוכלין על פיהן ואינן חוששין לדבר:

5

If a person was considered trustworthy, but his wife was not considered trustworthy,14 we may purchase produce from him,15 but we do not accept his hospitality. If his wife is trustworthy and he is not, we may accept his hospitality, but we do not purchase produce from him. May a curse be visited on one whose wife is trustworthy, but he is not.

ה

היה הוא נאמן ואשתו אינה נאמנת לוקחים ממנו ואין מתארחין אצלו [היתה אשתו נאמנת והוא אינו נאמן מתארחין אצלו ואין לוקחין ממנו ותבא מארה למי שאשתו נאמנת והוא אינו נאמן]:

6

A chavair should not serve as a waiter at a drinking party or a feast of a common person unless all [the food and drink] have been tithed and the appropriate separations made under his supervision.16 Therefore if one sees a chavair serving at a drinking party or a feast of a common person, he can operate under the presumption that the tithes and other separations have been made.17

If we see such a person eating together with a common person, we cannot assume that the food served at the feast has been tithed. Perhaps the chavair is relying on the stipulations made in his heart.18

ו

לא ישמש חבר לא במשתה עם הארץ ולא בסעודתו אא"כ היה הכל מעושר ומתוקן מתחת ידו לפיכך הרואה חבר משמש במשתה ע"ה או בסעודתו הרי הכל בחזקת מתוקן ומעושר ראוהו מיסב עם עמי הארץ אין הסעודה בחזקת מעושרת שמא החבר על התנאים שבלבו הוא סומך:

7

Just as a person may eat with a common person and rely on the conditions in his heart, so too, he must make a stipulation with regard to what his son eats.19 [This applies] even if his son is in another place.20 He does not have to make a stipulation with regard to another person aside from his son even if that person was together with him at the feast.

Therefore if the son of a chavair is present at a feast with a common person, we cannot assume that the food was tithed, for perhaps [the chavair] made a stipulation for [the food] his son ate.21

ז

כשם שאדם סועד אצל ע"ה וסומך על תנאו כך הוא צריך להיות מתנה על בנו ואפילו היה בנו במקום אחר אבל אינו צריך להיות מתנה על אחר חוץ מבנו ואפילו היה עמו במשתה לפיכך בן חבר שהיה מיסב במשתה ע"ה אין הסעודה בחזקת מעושרת שמא אביו התנה עליו:

8

When a common person gives a meah22 to a chavair and tells him: "Buy me a bunch of vegetables or a cake," he may purchase it for him without any qualification and is not obligated to tithe it.23 If [the agent] exchanged the meah, he is obligated to tithe [the produce he purchased].24

If the chavair was explicit and did not buy the produce without explanation, but instead said: "This bunch of produce that I am purchasing from you is being bought for my colleague and this bunch is being bought for myself," he is obligated to tithe [only] the produce that he took for himself. He does not have to tithe [the bunch he purchased for his colleague].25If these [two batches of produce] became intermingled, even if one measure [belonging to the chavair] becomes mixed with 100 [belonging to the common person], he must make the separations as if the entire quantity was demai.26 [Only] afterwards27 may he give the produce to the colleague who sent him to purchase them for him.

ח

עם הארץ שנתן מעה לחבר ואמר לו קח לי אגודת ירק אחת או גלוסקא אחת לוקח לו סתם ופטור מלעשר ואם החליף את המעה חייב לעשר ואח"כ יביא לו ואם פירש החבר ולא לקחן סתם אלא אמר לחנוני אגודה זו שאני לוקח ממך לחבירי אני קונה אותה וזו לעצמי אני קונה אותה זו שלקח לעצמו חייב לעשרה וזו שלקח לחבירו א"צ לעשרה ואם נתערבו אפילו נתערבה אחת שלו בק' של חבירו מתקן הכל דמאי ואחר כך יתן לחבירו ששלחו ליקח לו:

9

When five people tell one person: "Bring us five bunches of vegetables," and [the agent] brings each person one bunch individually, the chavairim among [the recipients] are required to tithe only their portions.28 If [the agent] brought [the entire quantity] mixed together, the chavairim among [the recipients] are required to separate tithes for the entire amount.29

ט

חמשה שאמרו לאחד צא והבא לנו חמש אגודות של ירק והביא לכל אחד ואחד בפני עצמו חברים שבהן אין צריכין לעשר אלא על חלקן בלבד הביא להן בערבוב חברים שבהם צריכין לעשר הכל:

10

When a common person tells a chavair: "Collect figs for me from my fig tree," the chavair may snack from them30 and tithe them as one tithes demai.31

If a chavair told a common person to gather figs for him and another chavair heard him, the latter may partake [of the figs] without tithing them. [The rationale is that] a chavair will not release produce from his domain unless the appropriate separations were made. [Thus] we can assume that [the owner] separated [terumah and the tithes for this produce] from other [produce]. Although [generally] we do not suspect that a chavair will separate terumah from produce that is not in the same place as the terumah,32 he may do so to prevent the common person from confronting a spiritual stumbling block.33

י

ע"ה שאמר לחבר צא ולקט לי תאנים מתאנתי אוכל מהן החבר עראי ומעשרן [דמאי] ואם אמר החבר לע"ה ללקוט לו ושמע חבר אחר זה האחר אוכל ואינו צריך לעשר שאין החבר מוציא דבר שאינו מתוקן מתחת ידו וחזקתו שהפריש עליה ממקום אחר אעפ"י שלא נחשדו חברים לתרום שלא מן המוקף כדי לסלק המכשול מלפני ע"ה תורמין:

11

It is permitted to feed34 demai to the poor and to guests.35 They must, however, be notified of such. If the poor person or the guest desire to make the appropriate separations, they should.

יא

מותר להאכיל את העניים ואת האורחים דמאי וצריך להודיען והעני עצמו והאורח אם רצו לתקן מתקנין:

12

The collectors of charity collect from all people36 without clarifying [whether separations have been made] and they divide the donations without specifications. If one desires to make the appropriate separations, he should.

יב

גבאי צדקה גובין סתם מכל אדם ומחלקים סתם והרוצה לתקן יתקן:

13

When a doctor who is a chavair is feeding a common person who is sick37 from the produce of a common person, he should place [the food] in his hand, but not in his mouth.38 If the demai belonged to the doctor, he should not even place it in his hand. And similarly, if he knows that it is definitely tevel,39 it is forbidden to place it in his hand.

יג

רופא חבר שהיה מאכיל לחולה ע"ה מפירות ע"ה נותן לתוך ידו אבל לא לתוך פיו ואם היה הדמאי של רופא אפילו לתוך ידו לא יתן וכן אם ידע שהוא טבל ודאי אפילו לתוך ידו אסור:

Footnotes
1.

Such a person is called a chavair. In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Demai 2:3), the Rambam explains that this term is used because, as indicated by the following halachah, the term refers to Torah scholars. Chavair means "friend." This term is appropriate to be used with regard to Torah scholars, because since their friendship is based on the Torah, it is true friendship, for its motivation is for the sake of heaven.

2.

Whether his own produce or produce he is given by others.

3.

Both produce that he purchases for his own consumption and that which he purchases for commercial purposes.

4.

From Hilchot Tumat Mishkav UMoshav 10:5, it appears that he must make these statements in the presence of three people who are themselves considered as trustworthy in this regard.

5.

I.e., witnesses who meet the criteria for acceptable witnesses spelled out in Hilchot Edut.

6.

I.e., we assume that he separated the tithes from the produce before he died, for "We can presume that a chavair will not release anything from under his hand unless the appropriate separations have been made" (Pesachim 9a).

7.

I.e., after she is divorced or widowed from the common person.

8.

I.e., a Canaanite servant, for a Jewish servant is not sold to another master (Hilchot Avadim 4:10).

9.

I.e., if a woman or servant does not have a history of non-observance, it is assumed that when they become part of a chavair's home, they will accept the standards of the home. In this instance, however, because they have a history of non-observance, they must formally accept the chavair's standards.

10.

This applies even when they are in the common person's domain.

11.

I.e., since he freely associates with the common people, we suspect that he has accepted certain dimensions of their lifestyle.

12.

Rambam LeAm compares the final two clauses of this halachah and draws an ethical lesson. It is more likely that a person with proper habits will become lax due to the bad habits of a friend than a person with improper habits will change to the better due a friend's positive influence.

13.

I.e., if they state that the appropriate separations have been made from the produce, we accept their word.

14.

The Jerusalem Talmud (Demai 2:2) compares this to dwelling with a snake in its den.

15.

For the sale of produce will be under his direct supervision.

16.

I.e., he cannot rely on the common person's word that the separations have been made. He must supervise the separations himself.

17.

To cite a contemporary application of this concept: If one sees a mashgiach, kashrut supervisor, in a restaurant, one may assume that the food is kosher.

18.

As explained in Chapter 9, Halachot 7-11, a chavair may eat at a common person's home and separate the tithes by leaving over portions of food. He separates the tithes for his portion alone and not for all the food served. If he is serving the meal, the responsibility for the kashrut of the food is his. If he is merely dining, he has no general responsibility as stated in the following halachah.

19.

I.e., just as the previous halachah explains how the chavair must make stipulations for himself, so too, he must make stipulations for his son.

20.

The son was eating together with a common person, but the father was not.

21.

As the previous halachah stated with regard to his own self.

22.

A silver coin of little value employed in the Talmudic era.

23.

I.e., as stated in Halachah 1, a chavair must tithe what he buys and sells. Nevertheless, in this instance, he is not considered as buying or selling, but merely as acting as an agent for the common person.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Demai 6:12), the Rambam elaborates in his description of this situation, explaining that we are speaking about a situation where the seller of the produce is also a chavair and knows that the other chavair has been sent by the common person to purchase produce. If the chavair who is the agent asks to purchase produce without qualifying his statements and explaining who he is purchasing it for, the seller must give him tithed produce. For he knows that the agent is purchasing for the common person and he does not want to cause the common person to sin.

24.

If the seller sees that the agent uses his own money, he might suspect that he is purchasing the produce for himself and not for the common person. Hence, the seller might not tithe the produce (Kessef Mishneh).

25.

The seller will not give him untithed produce for the common person, because he fears that he will partake of it without tithing it. He may, however, give the chavair untithed produce, for he knows that the chavair will not partake of it without tithing it (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah loc. cit.).

26.

We do not apply the principle of bereirah and say that the produce that the agent takes as his own was in fact the produce from which he separated the tithes.

All the above applies if the purchaser does not ask the seller if the produce was tithed. If, however, he asks the seller and the seller states that the produce was tithed, the agent does not have to make any separations, since the seller is also trustworthy (ibid.). Kin'at Eliyahu questions the very basis of the Rambam's assumption. For if the seller is a chavair, he would always tithe his produce and there would be no obligation to tithe produce purchased from him. See also the Radbaz who understands the halachah as speaking about a seller who is a common person.

27.

I.e., after he separated the tithes.

28.

We do not require them to separate tithes for the entire amount. They are not responsible for the portion of the other individuals.

29.

Since the portion belonging to the common person is not distinct, we do not apply the principle of bereirah (Radbaz). Thus when making the division, it is as if each person is selling to the other (Kessef Mishneh). Alternatively, the agent indeed purchased the produce for all five individuals and then the entire mixture became intermingled (Rav Yosef Korcus).

30.

Without tithing. Since a present is not like a sale (Chapter 5, Halachah 6), he is not considered to have purchased the figs from the common person. That would have required him to tithe (Radbaz).

31.

If he desires to eat a significant meal of them. He cannot be certain that the produce is untithed, because it is possible that the common person separated the tithes from other produce (ibid.). The Kessef Mishneh, by contrast, explains that there is an error in the text and he is in fact making separations from produce that is definitely untithed.

32.

See Hilchot Terumah 3:17 with regard to the great terumah, ibid.:20 with regard to terumat ma'aser.

33.

For we fear that the common person will partake of the produce without separating the tithes and thus without separating terumat ma'aser. We do not, however, fear that the common person will partake of produce without separating the great terumah.

34.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Demai 3:1), the Rambam explains that this wording implies that the poor are given only one meal's worth of food. If they are given a substantial amount, they must make the appropriate separations. Support for this leniency can be derived from the fact that the majority of the common people do in fact separate the tithes.

35.

Without separating tithes from it. This is a leniency instituted so that people will give charity and show hospitality (ibid.).

Although guests may themselves be wealthy, since they are required to accept hospitality, they are considered as poor (Meiri, Sukkah 35b).

36.

I.e., even common people.

37.

But not in mortal danger. Needless to say, if the sick person is in mortal danger, any prohibition can be violated to save his life. A person who is not dangerously ill is generally not permitted to partake of any substance that is forbidden by Rabbinic decree (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 155:3). Nevertheless, since the prohibition against demai is more of a safeguard than an outright ban, leniency was granted.

38.

So that he will not be directly responsible for feeding him demai.

39.

Even if it belongs to the common person.

Maaser - Chapter 11

1

It is forbidden to sell demai to a common person or to send demai [as a present to a common person], because one assists him in partaking of forbidden food. It can, however, be sold or sent to a Torah scholar, for a Torah scholar will not partake of it until he tithes it or until a trustworthy person tells him that it has been tithed.1

א

אסור למכור את הדמאי לע"ה או לשלוח לו דמאי מפני שהוא מסייע לזה לאכול דבר האסור אבל מוכרין ומשלחין אותו לתלמידי חכמים שאין תלמיד חכם אוכל עד שיעשר או עד שיודיעו אדם נאמן שזה מעושר:

2

All of those who add to the measure when they sell in large quantities, e.g., wholesalers and grain merchants are permitted to sell and send demai [as a present].2 Since they add to the measure,3 our Sages ordained that the purchaser or the recipient be the one who separates the tithes from the demai.4 When, by contrast, people measure with a small measure, since the seller is the one who profits, he should make the separations. [Hence,] he should not sell or send [produce] unless the appropriate separations have been made.

ב

כל המשפיעין במדה גסה כגון הסיטונות ומוכרי תבואה מותרין למכור את הדמאי ולשלחו מפני שהן מוסיפין על המדה התקינו חכמים שיהיה הלוקח או זה שנשתלחו לו הוא המפריש מעשר דמאי אבל המודדין במדה דקה הואיל והמוכר משתכר הוא מפריש ולא ימכור ולא ישלח אלא מתוקן:

3

What is meant by a large measure? With regard to dry measure, half a se'ah;5 with regard to liquid measure, something that holds a dinar's6 worth of the said liquid.

ג

וכמה היא מדה גסה ביבש חצי סאה ובלח מדה שמחזקת שוה דינר מאותו דבר הלח:

4

Even though a person sells baskets of olives and grapes or containers of vegetables by estimation,7 he is forbidden to sell them as demai.8

ד

סלי זיתים וענבים וקופות של ירק אף על פי שהוא מוכרן אכסרה אסור למוכרן דמאי:

5

If one of them, [either the seller or the buyer] - whether the sale is made with a small measure or a large measure9 - says: "Come let us make the separations for this produce," the seller should separate terumat ma'aser and the purchaser should separate the second tithe.10 This is an edict of the court.

ה

אמר אחד מהן בוא ונתקן הפירות האלו בין שהיה מוכר בדקה או בגסה המוכר מפריש תרומת מעשר והלוקח מפריש מעשר שני ודבר זה תנאי ב"ד הוא:

6

When a chavair and a common person inherit [the estate] of their father who was a common person,11 [the chavair] may say: "Take the wheat in this-and-this place and I will take the wheat in this-and-that place. Take the wine in this-and-this place and I will take the wine in this-and-that place."12 He should not say: "Take wheat and I will take the barley. Take the produce that is fresh and I will take what is dry," for this is considered as selling demai.13

ו

חבר וע"ה שירשו את אביהן ע"ה יכול הוא לומר טול אתה חיטים שבמקום פלוני ואני חיטים שבמקום פלוני אתה יין שבמקום פלוני ואני יין שבמקום פלוני אבל לא יאמר טול אתה חיטים ואני שעורים טול אתה הלח ואני היבש מפני שזה מוכר דמאי:

7

When a person is carrying [a load of] vegetables,14 his load becomes heavy for him and he desires to cast some vegetables on the road to lessen his burden, he should not cast them away until he tithes them.15 [This is necessary] so that it shall not create a stumbling block for the common people who consume demai.

ז

מי שהיה נושא ירק וכבד עליו משאו ורצה להשליך ממנו על הדרך כדי להקל ממשאו לא ישליך עד שיעשר כדי שלא תהא תקלה לעמי הארץ שאוכלין אותו בדמאי:

8

When a person purchases vegetables16 from the market and draws them into his possession, even though he did not weigh them, measure them, or pay for them, if he changes his mind and returns them to the owner of the store,17 he should not return them until he tithes them.18

ח

הלוקח ירק מן השוק ומשך אף על פי שלא שקל ולא מדד ולא נתן דמים ונמלך להחזיר לבעל החנות לא יחזיר עד שיעשר:

9

[The following laws apply when a person] discovers produce on the way. If the majority [of the local populace] bring the produce to their homes, he is not required to tithe it, for the obligation to tithe has not yet taken effect.19 If, however, the majority bring it to sell in the marketplace, it is considered as demai.20 If the ratio is half and half, it is considered as demai.21

ט

המוצא פירות בדרך אם רוב מכניסין לבתיהן פטור מלעשר שעדיין לא נקבע למעשר ואם רוב מכניסין למכור בשוק הרי אלו דמאי ומחצה למחצה דמאי:

10

If a person took [the produce]22 with the intent of partaking of it and changed his mind [and decided to] store it, he should not keep it until he tithes it, so that it will not present a stumbling block to others.23 If he took it originally only so that it would not perish,24 he can store it25 until he desires to partake of it, send it [as a present], or sell it. At that point, he should tithe it as demai.

י

נטלן לאוכלן ונמלך להצניע לא ישהא אותן עד שיעשר כדי שלא יהיה תקלה לאחרים ואם נטלם מתחלה שלא יאבדו הרי זה מותר לשהותן אצלו עד שירצה לאוכלן או לשולחן או למוכרן ויעשר אותן דמאי:

11

The extremities of vegetables that are found in a garden26 are exempt from [the laws of] demai.27 Those that belong to a homeowner and found in his home28 are obligated [to be tithed].29 Those on a dung heap - wherever it is found - are permitted.30

יא

קניבת ירק הנמצאת בגינה הרי זו פטורה מן הדמאי ושל בעל הבית הנמצאת בבית חייבת שעל גבי האשפה בכ"מ מותרת:

12

When a person gives [produce] to a female inn-keeper to cook or bake for him,31 he must tithe what he gives her - lest it present a stumbling block to others32 - and what he receives from her,33 for she is suspect to exchange produce belonging to one person for that belonging to another. He may, by contrast, give produce to his mother-in-law - whether her daughter is his arusah or his wife34 - or to his neighbor to cook or bake for him and he need not show concern, neither for tithes, nor for produce of the Sabbatical year,35 because [these individuals] are not suspect to exchange produce.36

When does the above apply? When he [also] gave her yeast for a dough and spices for a cooked dish. If he did not, we must show concern because of the tithes and because of [produce of] the Sabbatical year.37 Therefore in the Sabbatical year, [the bread] is forbidden, for perhaps the yeast came from produce that grew in the Sabbatical year.

יב

הנותן לפונדקית לבשל לו ולאפות לו מעשר את שהוא נותן לה כדי שלא יהיה תקלה לאחרים ומעשר את שהוא נוטל ממנה מפני שהיא חשודה להחליף של זה [בזה] אבל הנותן לחמותו בין שנשא בתה בין שאירס או לשכנתו פת לאפות ותבשיל לבשל אינו חושש לא משום מעשר ולא משום שביעית מפני שאינה חשודה להחליף במה דברים אמורים בזמן שנתן לה שאור לעיסה ותבלין לקדרה אבל אם לא נתן חושש משום מעשרות וחושש משום שביעית ולפיכך אם היתה שנת שמיטה אסור שמא השאור מספיחי שביעית הוא:

13

When a person brings wheat38 to a miller who is a common person he may assume that their status is unchanged.39 He is not suspect to exchange it [for other wheat].40If he brought them to a gentile miller, they are demai; [we suspect] that he exchanged it for the wheat of a common person.41 Similarly, if one entrusts [produce] to a common person for safe-keeping, it is permitted. He is not suspect to exchange the produce entrusted to him.42

יג

המוליך חטיו לטוחן עם הארץ הרי הן בחזקתן שאינו חשוד להחליף הוליכן לטוחן עכו"ם הרי הם דמאי שמא החליפן בחיטים של עם הארץ וכן המפקיד אצל עם הארץ הרי הן בחזקתן שאינו חשוד להחליף הפקדון:

14

When a common person is managing a store belonging to a chavair, it is permitted [to partake of the produce].43 We do not suspect that he exchanged it. [This applies] even if the chavair [only] goes in and out [of the store from time to time].44

יד

עם הארץ שהיה משתמש בחנותו של חבר אף ע"פ שהחבר יוצא ונכנס הרי זה מותר ואינו חושש שמא החליף:

15

When produce was entrusted to a gentile for safekeeping, [the produce one receives is] considered as the gentile's produce, for we assume that he exchanged it for his own produce.

What are laws that govern it? If the tasks necessary to prepare the produce were not completed as of yet and they were completed by the Jew after he took back the produce he entrusted, he must separate the tithes as we explained.45 If the produce that he entrusted was tevel and the tasks necessary for its preparation were completed, he is obligated to separate the tithes, for perhaps the gentile did not exchange it. For this reason, it appears to me, that the status of the tithes he separates is doubtful.46

If he entrusted ordinary produce from which the required separations were made, he is not obligated to separate anything, for even if the gentile exchanged [it for his own], it is exempt. As we explained in Hilchot Terumot,47 [the obligation to tithe] is on "your grain," and not the grain of a gentile.48

טו

המפקיד פירותיו אצל העכו"ם הרי הן כפירותיו של עכו"ם שחזקתו להחליף הפקדון והיאך דינם אם היו פירות שעדיין לא נגמרה מלאכתן ונגמרו ביד ישראל אחר שלקח הפקדון מפריש מעשרותיו כמו שביארנו ואם היו פירות שהפקיד טבלים ונגמרה מלאכתן חייב להפריש שמא לא החליף העכו"ם ולפיכך יראה לי שהמעשרות שיפריש ספק אבל אם הפקיד חולין מתוקנין אינו צריך להפריש כלום שאפילו החליף העכו"ם פטורין כמו שביארנו בהלכות תרומות דגנך ולא דגן עכו"ם:

Footnotes
1.

Produce which definitely has not been tithed may not be sent even to a Torah scholar. It may, however, be sent to him in a pressing situation (Chapter 6, Halachah 6).

2.

I.e., to Torah scholars, but not to common people, as stated in the previous halachah.

3.

And the purchaser receives more than what he deserves [the Rambam's Commnentary to the Mishnah (Demai 2:4)].

4.

Hence, the purchaser must assume that the produce is untithed.

5.

A se'ah is 8.3 liter in modern measure according to Shiurei Torah and 16.2 liter according to Chazon Ish.

6.

A dinar is a silver coin of significant value.

7.

I.e., instead of weighing the produce, the seller gives the purchaser a full basket or container, whatever its weight might be. One might think that since the seller is selling by estimation, he is considered as being generous like the wholesalers mentioned above. The Rambam (based on Demai 2:5) teaches us that this is not so.

The Ra'avad questions the Rambam's ruling, noting that the mishnah quotes Rabbi Yossi as exempting the seller in this situation and does not mention a differing opinion. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh explain that the wording of the mishnah indicates that Rabbi Yossi's view is being cited as a minority opinion and not as a view accepted by all.

8.

I.e., he must make the required separations first.

9.

I.e., the individual who would not be obligated to make the separations suggests that they be made as a joint effort, thus obligating himself even though he would otherwise be exempt (Radbaz in response to the Ra'avad).

10.

I.e., the separations are not made equally.

11.

And thus we cannot assume that the produce was tithed beforehand.

12.

I.e., it is not considered as if he is exchanging one batch of produce for another and he is not required to separate tithes for his brother's portion. The rationale is that with regard to matters concerning Rabbinic Law, including demai, we apply the principle of bereirah, and retroactively - after the division of the property has been made - we consider that from the outset, it was as if the estate had originally been bequeathed to each of the sons separately, according to this division.

13.

For we do not apply the principle of bereirah with regard to two different types of produce.

14.

I.e., produce that is demai which had reached the stage where the tithes were required to be separated from it.

15.

If produce is declared hefker, ownerless, before the obligation to tithe becomes incumbent upon it, there is no need to tithe it afterwards. If, however, that obligation has already taken effect, declaring produce ownerless does not remove that obligation (see Chapter 3, Halachah 20; Radbaz).

16.

I.e., produce that is demai which had reached the stage where the tithes were required to be separated from it.

17.

I.e., the owner of the store must consent to accept the produce, for as explained in the following note, the purchaser has already acquired the produce. See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Demai 3:2).

18.

According to Rabbinic Law, once a person draws movable property (the vegetables) into his possession, he acquires it. The fact that he does not perform any of the other activities mentioned does not detract from his acquisition. Hence, by returning it to the seller, he is in effect selling it back to him. Hence, he is required to tithe it.

19.

Since the obligation to tithe will take effect when the person brings it home, we assume that he tithed it. Hence, the person who discovers it is not required to tithe it again [(the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Machshirin 2:10)]. It must be noted that the Radbaz and many other commentaries offer different interpretations of this law. Indeed, the Rambam in Chapter 3, Halachah 22, appears to operate according to another perspective.

20.

The person bringing his produce to the marketplace may not tithe it until he reaches there, because until that point it is not common to partake of it in an substantial manner only as a snack. Hence, it is possible that it is tevel (ibid.). Nevertheless, the possibility also exists that the tithes have been separated and hence it is considered as demai.

21.

As a safeguard. One might ask: Seemingly, the situation is a sefek-sefeikah, a situation where the doubt is compounded, i.e., perhaps it came from those who bring it home. Even if it came from those who bring it to the marketplace, perhaps these individuals tithed it. Nevertheless, extra stringency is shown with regard to the prohibition against demai than is shown with regard to other prohibitions (Kessef Mishneh to Halachah 13).

22.

I.e., produce discovered in a community where it is customary to bring produce to the marketplace.

23.

I.e., the members of his household who might partake of it under the impression that it has been tithed.

24.

I.e., he took it without the intent of acquiring it as his own, but only to protect it from enemy armies, a fire, or the like [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Demai 3:3)].

25.

Without tithing it. Since he did not acquire it as his own, he is under no obligation to tithe it.

26.

I.e., the leaves pruned by a gardener. Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ediot 3:3). Compare to Hilchot Terumah 11:10.

27.

For they discard produce that is really unsuitable for ordinary consumption.

28.

The tops and the stems of vegetables that are discarded by a homeowner when preparing the vegetables to be served.

29.

For even though the homeowner may not desire to serve them, they are still fit to be eaten.

30.

For they are no longer considered as food.

31.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Demai 3:5), the Rambam explains that guests would give the mistress of an inn flour and meat and she would prepare meals for them. As the Rambam states, this woman is suspect to exchange the food given for other food of the same type, but of lesser quality. She rationalizes that since she cooks for her guests for little or no payment, she is entitled to make this exchange (Chullin 6b).

32.

I.e., he must tithe the produce he gives her, lest she give it to others and they partake of it without tithing it.

33.

Lest she have given him untithed produce.

34.

According to Jewish Law, marriage is a two-staged process involving erusin, "consecration," and nisuin, "marriage." After erusin, the marriage bond has been established and the woman cannot marry another man without a divorce. Nevertheless, the couple do not begin living together as man and wife until the second stage, nisuin. The Rambam is clarifying that even if the couple have not begun living together, he still trusts his mother-in-law.

35.

I.e., we do not suspect that he gave produce from the sixth year and these women exchanged it for produce of the seventh year which is forbidden.

36.

This appears to represent a reversal of the Rambam's ruling in his Commentary to Mishnah (Demai 3:6). The Radbaz explains that the Rambam's ruling here is based on the Jerusalem Talmud.

37.

For even though she is not suspect to exchange, we fear that she used forbidden yeast or spices.

38.

From which the tithes have already been separated.

39.

Both with regard to tithes and the prohibitions of the Sabbatical year.

40.

Though we suspect that he is lax in his observance of the mitzvah of tithing, we do not suspect that he will commit a transgression that involves a colleague's money (see Gittin 61b).

41.

Who also gave him wheat to grind without separating the tithes from it [the Rambam's Commentary to Mishnah (Demai 3:6)]. We do not know whether he tithed them. Therefore, they are considered as demai.

The Ra'avad questions the Rambam's ruling: Seemingly, the situation is one of compounded doubt (sefek-sefeikah). Perhaps the gentile did not exchange the grain. Even if he exchanged it, perhaps he exchanged it with grain from a common person which need be tithed only because of a doubt. (The Ra'avad himself accepts the Rambam's ruling, but uses it as support for his thesis that there is an obligation for a Jew to tithe produce belonging to a gentile if it comes into his possession, for he maintains that the possibility is that the gentile exchanged it with his own produce.)

The Kessef Mishneh does not accept that thesis and instead offers a resolution, explaining that extra stringency is shown with regard to the prohibition against demai than is shown with regard to other prohibitions. He supports that contention based on Shabbat 23a which states that the majority of the common people separate tithes and yet our Sages imposed stringencies.

42.

With regard to produce given to a gentile for safekeeping, see Halachah 15.

43.

Without tithing.

44.

And is not involved in the management of every particular of its operation. This reflects a general principle with regard to questions involving the kashrut of a person's produce. As long as the owner makes his presence known from time to time, his workers - even gentiles - are not suspected to exchange his produce with other produce.

Implied is that if the owner does not enter from time to time, we would suspect that the worker would exchange the produce. The Radbaz notes that the previous ruling implies that a Jew who is a common person would not be suspect to exchange the produce even if the owner did not enter from time to time. He therefore suggests that this phrase be omitted from the text. There are, however, other commentaries who offer explanations why a manager is judged more stringently than the bailee mentioned in the previous halachah. After all, he is working on an ongoing basis.

45.

Hilchot Terumot 1:11.

46.

I.e., since it is possible that the gentile did exchange, it is possible that there is no obligation to tithe.

47.

Hilchot Terumot, loc cit..

48.

We do not suspect that the gentile exchanged the grain with grain belonging to a Jew who did not separate the tithes, because it is not that common for people to entrust their produce to others. In contrast, people do bring containers of grain to a miller. Hence as mentioned in Halachah 13, we fear that the miller exchanged one person's grain with another's (the Radbaz and Kessef Mishneh in resolution of the Ra'avad's objections).

Maaser - Chapter 12

1

When a person purchases produce from a person upon whom we do not rely with regard to the tithes1 and forgot2 to tithe it before the commencement of the Sabbath or a festival - upon which he may not tithe it3 - he should ask that person regarding their status. If he tells him that it is tithed, he may rely on his word on [that] Sabbath.4

Similarly, if another person upon whom we cannot rely tells him that it was tithed, he may partake of it because of his word on that Sabbath.5 [This applies] even if he possesses other produce of that type from which the separations have been made. [The rationale is that] the awe of Sabbath affects the common people and they will not violate a transgression on that day.

א

הלוקח פירות ממי שאינו נאמן על המעשרות ושכח לעשרן ונכנסה שבת או יום טוב שאינו יכול לעשר הרי זה שואלו ואם אמר לו מעושרין הן אוכל על פיו בשבת וכן אם אמר לו אחד שאינו נאמן מעושרין הן אוכל על פיו באותה שבת ואפילו היו לו פירות אחרות מתוקנין מאותו המין מפני שאימת שבת על עמי הארץ ואינו עובר בה עבירה:

2

Even though one relies on the word of a common person to eat on the Sabbath, he should not partake of that produce after the conclusion of the Sabbath until he separates the tithes as appropriate for demai for the entire amount, what he ate on the Sabbath and what remains. For the leniency [to] trust him was granted only out of necessity for that Sabbath.6

If the Sabbath and a festival followed in succession,7 if one asked [a common person concerning produce] on one, he may partake of it on the other,8 because he did not have the opportunity to tithe in the interim. Similar laws apply with regard to the two days [for each festival celebrated] in the Diaspora.

ב

אע"פ שהוא אוכל על פיו בשבת הרי זה לא יאכל מאותן הפירות למוצאי שבת עד שיעשר דמאי על הכל על שאכל בשבת ועל הנשאר שלא הקלו והאמינוהו אלא לצורך אותה שבת היתה שבת ויו"ט סמוך לה ושאלו באחד מהן אוכל אף בשני מפני שלא נראה לעשר בינתיים וכן בשני ימים טובים של גליות:

3

When a person takes an oath9 that a colleague partake of his hospitality on the Sabbath, but [the guest] does not trust [the host] with regard to tithes, he may ask him10 and eat based on his statements the first Sabbath. On the second Sabbath, even though he took an oath not to benefit from him unless he accepts his hospitality, he should not eat until he tithes as one does for demai.

ג

הנשבע על חבירו שיאכל עמו בשבת והוא אינו מאמינו על המעשרות שואל ואוכל על פיו בשבת הראשונה בלבד אבל בשבת שנייה אף על פי שנדר ממנו הנאה אם לא יאכל אצלו לא יאכל עד שיעשר דמאי:

4

When we see a person who is not trustworthy11 [with regard to the separation of tithes] separate terumat ma'aser from produce belonging to him that is demai and we saw that it later fell back in, whether to that [store of produce] or another and he said: "I separated it,"12 we accept his word - even during the week - and may partake of the produce on that basis. Just as the common people are in dread of the Sabbath,13 so too, they are in dread of dimua,14 and they are not suspect to cause others to partake of such produce.15

ד

מי שאינו נאמן שראינוהו שהפריש תרומת מעשר מפירותיו שהן דמאי וראינוהו שחזרה ונפלה בפנינו בין למקום אחר בין למקומה וחזר ואמר הפרשתיה נאמן אפילו בחול ואוכל על פיו כשם שאימת שבת על עמי הארץ כך אימת דימוע עליהם ואינן חשודין להאכיל את המדומע:

5

When we see that a person who is not trustworthy separates the first tithes from such produce and he says that he separated the second tithes, his word is accepted.16 If he separated the second tithe in our presence and said that he separated the first tithe, his word is not accepted, because the second tithe belongs to him.17 [Thus] one who is trusted with regard to the second tithe is not trusted with regard to the first, but one who is trusted with regard to the first is trusted with regard to the second.

Accordingly, when a person who is not trusted brings produce from his home and says: "This is the first tithe," his word is accepted18 and there is no need to separate terumot19 and tithes20 from [the produce separated].21 If he says: "This is the second tithe," his word is not accepted. [The produce separated] is considered as demai and we must separate terumat ma'aser from it. It appears to me that he must redeem the entire amount.22

ה

מי שאינו נאמן שראינוהו שהפריש מע"ר מפירות אלו ואמר שהפריש מהן מעשר שני נאמן הפריש מעשר שני בפנינו ואמר שהפריש מעשר ראשון אינו נאמן שהשני שלו והנאמן על השני אינו נאמן על הראשון והנאמן על הראשון נאמן על השני לפיכך מי שאינו נאמן שהוציא פירות מביתו ואמר אלו מע"ר נאמן ואין מפרישין מהן תרומות ומעשרות ואם אמר אלו מעשר שני אינו נאמן והרי הן דמאי ומפרישין מהן תרומת מעשר ויראה לי שהוא פודה את כולם:

6

When one tells a person whose word is not accepted with regard to the tithes: "Purchase [produce] for me from someone who tithes." And that person went and brought him produce, his word is not accepted.23 If he told him: "Purchase [produce] for me from so-and-so," the other person's word is accepted if he says that he purchased it from him, for he will fear [to lie], lest [the principal] ask that person.24 If he went to purchase [the produce] from the person who was named, but said: "I could not find him, so I purchased it for you from another person who is trustworthy," his word is not accepted.

ו

האומר למי שאינו נאמן על המעשרות קח לי ממי שהוא מעשר והלך ולקח והביא לו אינו נאמן ואם אמר לו קח לי מאיש פלוני ה"ז נאמן לומר ממנו לקחתי שהרי מתיירא שמא ישאלנו הלך ליקח לו מאותו פלוני ואמר לא מצאתיו ולקחתי לך מאחר שהוא נאמן אינו נאמן:

7

[The following rules apply when a person] enters a city where he does not know anyone and asks: "Who is trustworthy? Who tithes?" If someone answers: "I am," his word is not accepted.25 If he says: "So-and-so," his word is accepted26 and [the wayfarer] may purchase [produce] from that person and eat on that basis. If [the wayfarer] went and purchased from that person and asked him: "Who here sells vintage wine?" and the person answers: "The one who sent you," his word is accepted even though it appears that they are in collusion.27

ז

הנכנס לעיר ואינו מכיר אדם שם ואמר מי כאן נאמן מי כאן מעשר ואמר לו אחד אני אינו נאמן אמר לו איש פלוני ה"ז נאמן ולוקח מאותו פלוני אע"פ שאינו מכירו והולך ואוכל על פיו הלך ולקח ממנו ושאל לו מי כאן מוכר יין ישן אמר לו זה ששלחך אצלי אף על פי שהן כגומלין זה את זה הרי אלו נאמנין:

8

When does the above apply? When [the wayfarer] is not familiar with any person in that place.28 If, however, he is familiar with people there, he should purchase only from a person [with an established reputation] for observance.29 If he stays in that place for 30 days, even if he is not familiar with anyone there, he should purchase produce only from an expert.30

ח

בד"א בזמן שאינו מכיר אדם שם אבל אם מכיר אדם שם לא יקח אלא מן המומחה ואם שהה שם שלשים יום אע"פ שאינו מכיר אדם שם לא יקח אלא מן המומחה:

9

These leniencies were granted only with regard to terumot and the tithes,31 but with regard to produce of the Sabbatical year and questions of ritual purity, one should purchase only from a person [with an established reputation] for observance.32

ט

ולא התירו דברים אלו אלא בתרומות ומעשרות אבל לענין פירות שביעית או לענין טהרות לא יקח אלא מן המומחה:

10

When donkey-drivers33 enter a city and one says: "The appropriate separations have not been made from my produce, but they have been made from my colleague's produce," his word is not accepted. [We fear that] perhaps they are colluding in deception.34

י

החמרין שנכנסו לעיר ואמר אחד מהן פירות אלו אינם מתוקנים ופירות חבירי מתוקנין אינו נאמן שמא קנוניא עשו ביניהן:

11

When a person sells produce in Syria35 and says that it comes from Eretz Yisrael,36 the purchaser is required to tithe it.37 If he says that it has been tithed, his word is accepted.38 [The rationale is that] the same person whose words aroused our suspicion also allayed it.39

If he says: "They are mine,"40 [the purchaser] is obligated to tithe it.41 If he says that it has been tithed, his word is accepted. [The rationale is that] the same statement that aroused our suspicion also allayed it. If it is known that [the seller] owns land in Syria and most [of the produce] he sells is from his own field, one who purchases from him is obligated to tithe,42 for we assume that he brought the produce from his own field.

יא

המוכר פירות בסוריא ואמר משל א"י הם חייב הלוקח לעשר מעושרין הן נאמן שהפה שאסר הוא הפה שהתיר משלי הן חייב לעשר מעושרין הן נאמן שהפה שאסר הוא הפה שהתיר ואם ידוע שיש לו קרקע בסוריא והיה רוב ממכרו משדהו חייב הלוקח ממנו לעשר שחזקתו שמשדהו הביאם:

12

When poor people43 say: "This produce is from leket, shichachah, and pe'ah,44 their word is accepted as long as there are granaries in which leket, shichachah, and pe'ah can be found and provided [a poor person] is close enough to the granary so that he can go [to it] and return on the same day.

If they said: "They are from the tithes given to the poor,"45 their word is accepted throughout those years.46 The word of these individuals is accepted only with regard to objects which people would ordinarily give [to the poor].

יב

עניים שאמרו פירות אלו של לקט שכחה ופאה הרי אלו נאמנין כל זמן הגרנות שהלקט והשכחה והפאה מצויים והוא שיהיה קרוב מן הגורן כדי שיצא ויבא בו ביום ואם אמרו של מעשר עני הם הרי אלו נאמנין כל השנה כולה ואינן נאמנין אלא על דבר שדרך בני אדם ליתנו:

13

What is implied?47 [Poor people say:] "This wheat is from leket, shichachah, and pe'ah,"48 their word is accepted.49 [If they say:] "This flour50 from leket, shichachah, and pe'ah," their word is not accepted.51 Needless to say, their word is not accepted when they say that bread comes from presents to the poor. Instead, [such articles] should be tithed as demai is.

יג

כיצד חיטים אלו לקט שכחה ופאה הם הרי אלו נאמנים קמח זה של לקט שכחה ופאה הוא אינם נאמנין ואין צריך לומר שאין נאמנין על הפת לומר ממתנות עניים הוא אלא מתעשרין דמאי:

14

Similarly, their word is accepted with regard to kernels of rice [while in their husks]. Their word is not accepted, however, with regard to husked kernels or cooked ones.52 Their word is accepted with regard to beans [in their kernels]. Their word is not accepted, however, with regard to raw, husked beans or cooked beans.

Their word is accepted when they say that oil was from the tithe for the poor. Their word is not accepted, however, if they say it comes from leftover olives.53 Their word is accepted with regard to raw vegetables, but not with regard to cooked vegetables unless we are speaking about a small quantity. For it is customary for homeowners to give a poor person some vegetables from their pot. And since he can say: "A homeowner gave it to me," he can say: "I cooked it from the presents given me."54

יד

נאמנין על השעורה של אורז ואין נאמנין עליו בין חי בין מבושל נאמנין על הפול ואין נאמנין על הגריסין בין חיין בין מבושלין נאמנין על השמן לומר של מעשר עני הוא ואין נאמנין לומר של זיתי ניקוף הם נאמנין על הירק חי ולא מבושל אלא אם כן היה דבר מועט שכן דרך בעלי בתים ליתן מעט ירק מבושל מקדרתו לעני ומתוך שיכול לומר הבעל הבית נתנו לי יכול לומר אני בשלתיו ממתנותי:

15

Similarly, the word of a Levite55 who says: "This produce is from the first tithe from which terumah was separated" is always56 accepted with regard to terumat ma'aser,57 just as the word of an Israelite is always accepted with regard to the great terumah.58 [The Levite's59 word] is not accepted, however, with regard to exempting [the grain] from the second tithe.60

טו

וכן בן לוי שאמר פירות אלו ממעשר ראשון שניטלה תרומתו הם הרי זה נאמן לעולם על תרומת מעשר כשם שישראל נאמן על תרומה גדולה אבל אינו נאמן עליו לפוטרו ממעשר שני:

16

All of the above61 applies with regard to a common person who is neither suspect [to violate these prohibitions], nor trustworthy [in their observance]. If, however, someone is suspected of selling terumah as ordinary produce, it is forbidden to purchase anything from him that has a connection to terumah and the tithes.62 Even the intestines of fish [may not be purchased from him] because oil is mixed with them.63 It is, however, only forbidden to purchase the produce that is being sold by such a person at that time. It is, by contrast, permitted to purchase from his storehouse, because he will fear to mix terumah into his stores [of produce], lest the matter become known and he lose everything.64

Similarly, it is forbidden to purchase anything that has a connection to tithes from a person who is suspect of selling the second tithe65 as ordinary produce. All of this is a penalty [imposed] by Rabbinic decree.

טז

אין כל הדברים האלו אמורין אלא בעם הארץ שאינו לא חשוד ולא נאמן אבל מי שהוא חשוד למכור תרומה לשם חולין אסור ליקח ממנו כלל דבר שיש בו זיקת תרומה ומעשר אפילו קרבי דגים מפני שנותנין בהם שמן ואין אסור אלא כל שלפניו אבל אצרו מותר ליקח ממנו מפני שהוא מתיירא לערב תרומה באוצרו שמא יודע הדבר ויפסיד הכל וכן החשוד למעשר שני למוכרן לשם חולין אין לוקחין ממנו דבר שיש עליו זיקת מעשר וכל זה קנס מדבריהם:

17

When a person who is suspect to transgress attests [to the tithes being separated from produce] belonging to another person, his word is accepted.66 [The rationale is that we operate] under the presumption that a person will not sin without receiving any benefit. Needless to say, this applies with regard to a common person.67 Therefore, if a common person says: "[This produce] is tevel and this is terumah. This is definitely untithed and this is demai," his word is accepted, even with regard to his own produce.68 If he said: "The required separations have been made from this produce," his word is accepted with regard to the produce of others69 provided it does not appear that they are acting in collusion, as we explained.70

יז

חשוד שהעיד על של אחרים נאמן חזקה אין אדם חוטא ולא לו ואין צריך לומר ע"ה לפיכך עם הארץ שאמר זה טבל וזה תרומה זה ודאי וזה דמאי אפילו בשלו נאמן אמר אלו פירות מתוקנין בשל אחרים נאמן והוא שלא יראו כעושה קנוניא כמו שביארנו:

18

When a person sells produce to a colleague and, after the produce leaves his hand, he tells the purchaser: "The produce I sold you is tevel. The meat is meat from a firstborn animal.71 And the wine is wine that was poured as a libation to a false deity.72 The letter of the law dictates that the seller's word should not be accepted, even if he is a chavair.73 A person who is eager should be stringent with himself. If he accepts his word, [his conduct] is praiseworthy, even if [the seller] is a common person.

יח

המוכר פירות לחבירו ואחר שיצאו מתחת ידו אמר ללוקח פירות שמכרתי לך טבלים הן הבשר בשר בכור היה היין יין נסך שורת הדין שאינו נאמן אפילו היה המוכר חבר והזריז מחמיר על עצמו ואם האמינו הרי זה משובח אפילו היה המוכר עם הארץ:

Footnotes
1.

From Halachah 16, it is apparent that here the Rambam is speaking about a common person whose level of observance is a matter of doubt. If, however, it is known that a person is lax with regard to the separation of tithes, his word is not accepted even on the Sabbath.

2.

The Jerusalem Talmud (Demai 4:1) emphasizes that this leniency is granted only when a person failed to tithe out of forgetfulness. If he intentionally did not tithe the produce, there is no leniency upon which he can rely to partake of it on the Sabbath.

3.

Hilchot Shabbat 23:9, 14; Shvitat Yom Tov 4:26.

4.

Because of the holiness of the day, the common people regard transgressing on the Sabbath as more severe than transgressing on other days [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Demai 4:1)].

5.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (ibid.), the Rambam notes that there is a general principle (Kiddushin 63b) that a person will not sin unless he personally benefits. Thus one might think that we could rely on this person's word, even during the week. Hence, it is necessary to explain that we rely on his statements only on the Sabbath. The rationale is that the presumption that he will not lie applies to most people. There are, however, some that will lie even on the Sabbath [the Jerusalem Talmud (Demai 4:1)].

6.

The Rambam is clarifying that the statement made in Halachah 2: that we trust that the common person will not lie on the Sabbath is conditional. It is a leniency accepted to allow a person to honor the Sabbath alone.

7.

I.e., the festival fell on Friday or on Sunday.

8.

This leniency is granted even though the two days are not considered as a single continuum of holiness (see Hilchot Eruvin 8:5).

9.

I.e., he takes an oath that he will never benefit from him unless he partakes of his hospitality [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Demai 4:3)]. (Although the mishnah speaks of taking a vow, the Rambam speaks of an oath.) The oath is taken to emphasize to the colleague that the failure to accept his hospitality is a sign of serious enmity between them. Hence, this leniency was granted to encourage feelings of closeness.

Kaftor VePerach, ch. 39, states that we are speaking about a situation where the oath was taken on the Sabbath itself. Otherwise, the guest could make a stipulation allowing for a retroactive separation as described in Chapter 9, Halachah 7. The Radbaz, by contrast, states that we are speaking about a situation where the interaction took place during the week. Otherwise, there would be nothing new taught by this halachah, everything could be understood from the previous one.

10.

Whether the tithes were separated or not.

11.

From Halachah 16, it is apparent that here the Rambam is speaking about a common person whose level of observance is a matter of doubt. If, however, it is known that a person is lax with regard to the separation of tithes, his word is not accepted even on the Sabbath.

12.

I.e., the terumat ma'aser fell in a manner in which it was distinct and could easily be separated from the store of produce.

13.

As stated in Halachah 2.

14.

Produce into which terumah or terumat ma'aser has been mixed. The rationale is that partaking of such substances is punishable by death at the hand of Heaven.

15.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh offer interpretations that substantiate the Rambam's ruling.

16.

The Jerusalem Talmud (Demai 4:1) explains the logic: If he is willing to separate the first tithe which is given to a Levite, he is certainly willing to separate the second tithe which remains his own (but must be eaten in Jerusalem). See Halachah 15.

17.

While the first tithe must be given away as above.

18.

The Ra'avad objects to this ruling, stating that it is not necessarily a logical continuation of the ruling in the previous clause.

19.

I.e., terumahand terumat ma'aser, if he said that he made these separations (Kessef Mishneh).

20.

I.e., both the first tithe and the second tithe.

21.

This bracketed addition represents the resolution offered by the Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh to the Ra'avad's objection.

22.

I.e., even the amount separated as terumat ma'aser. For although we are stringent and do not accept his word, we do not reject his statements entirely. Certainly, he himself must bear their consequences and consider the separated produce as if it is required to be redeemed (Radbaz).

23.

Since he is not trustworthy in this regard, his word is not accepted with regard to others as well. Even though one might say that he would not lie since his falsehood could easily be revealed, for it is possible to ask the identity of the seller and determine if he is trustworthy, the agent could always excuse himself saying: "I thought he was trustworthy" (Radbaz).

Although one might argue that there is no reason for him to sin, for he will not benefit from it, that argument is not accepted. For the ease the person experiences in bringing the produce from a close person could be considered enough of a benefit to influence him to lie.

24.

And the lie be detected.

25.

Because he would personally benefit from the wayfarer's acceptance of his statements.

The Ra'avad clarifies the Rambam's ruling, noting that his text of the Jerusalem Talmud (Demai 4:5) states: "In the presence [of the person being recommended], his word is not accepted. Outside his presence, his word is accepted." The Radbaz states that this concept is implied by the Rambam's words, since "so-and-so" implies that the person is not present. The Kessef Mishneh interprets the standard version of the Jerusalem Talmud as follows: "If he says he is not trustworthy, in his presence, he is not considered trustworthy (for he would not say so unless it was true). If he says so outside his presence, he is considered trustworthy (for the other person's statements are considered as slander)." This interpretation fits the Rambam's ruling.

26.

Because we follow the principle that a person will not sin unless he personally benefits (Kiddushin 63b). This, however, is a leniency, granted to the person, because he is a wayfarer [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Demai 4:7)].

27.

And thus could be lying. See parallels in Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 20:11.

28.

The Ra'avad qualifies the Rambam's ruling, stating that it applies only when the person he knows is trustworthy. If he is not trustworthy, his recommendation cannot be relied upon. Rav Yosef Korcus states that this is also the Rambam's intent.

29.

In the present age, this problem is solved by Rabbis and/or institutions giving kashrut certificates that are hung in the respective stores or institutions.

30.

For after 30 days have passed, the person has had ample time to familiarize himself with the place and there is no need for further leniency. He will certainly have found a place that will offer him hospitality (Radbaz).

31.

The rationale for the leniency is that the majority of the common people do separate tithes. The laws of demai are merely an additional stringency.

32.

For the common people are generally lax in observance of these prohibitions.

33.

Who bring produce from other places to a city for sale.

34.

The Radbaz asks: Why are we more suspicious here than in the situation mentioned in Halachah 7. In resolution, he explains that people coming to sell their merchandise from another place are more likely to act in collusion than two businessmen in a city.

35.

As explained in Hilchot Terumot1:3, the status of Syria is an intermediate level between that of Eretz Yisrael and the Diaspora. There terumah and the tithes have to be separated because of Rabbinic decree, but not because of Scriptural Law. For this reason, our Sages did not enforce the restrictions of demai on such produce [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Demai 6:11)].

36.

And was purchased from a common person so that the restrictions associated with demai apply.

37.

The fact that they have been taken out of Eretz Yisrael is not significant.

38.

And tithing is not required.

39.

This is a general principle applicable in many areas, both in Jewish business law and with regard to the Torah's prohibitions. When our suspicions are based only on one person's statements, if that person makes a statement that allays those suspicions, we accept it. For our knowledge of the suspicious factor stems from his statements alone; there is no other evidence of such (ibid.). The rationale is that had he desired to lie, he would not have mentioned the factor that arouses the suspicions at the outset.

40.

I.e. "from my field in Syria;" i.e., a place from whose produce tithes must be separated according to Rabbinic decree and he does not say that he tithed the produce.

41.

Were he not to have said that they were from his own field, there would be no obligation to tithe the produce, because we would have assume it came from a gentile's field.

42.

I.e., even if he does not say specifically that they are his.

43.

Even if they are common people whose word is not ordinarily accepted with regard to tithes.

44.

Presents given the poor that are exempt from the obligations to tithe (Chapter 2, Halachah 9).

45.

In which instance we would assume that the terumot and the first tithe were also separated.

46.

I.e., in the third and sixth years of the seventh year agricultural cycle.

47.

I.e., what is meant by the last statement that the ruling depends on whether it is common for people to give such articles as leket, shichachah, pe'ah, or as tithes to the poor.

48.

Pe'at HaSadeh states that the Rambam's words are chosen carefully. It is customary to give leket, shichachah, and pe'ah in the field. Hence, it is not likely that they were given as flour. The tithes for the poor, by contrast, are generally given from the home (see Hilchot Matanot Aniyim 6:10). Hence it is possible that flour was given to a poor person in fulfillment of that mitzvah.

49.

For it is common for people to leave grain as leket, shichachah,and pe'ah, but not to process the grain any further before giving it [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Pe'ah 8:3)].

50.

I.e., if he says that a homeowner gave him flour, his word is not accepted. If, however, he says that he was given grain and he had it ground into flour himself, his word is accepted.

51.

Because it is not common for a person to have grain ground into flour and then give the flour to the poor.

52.

For it was customary for people to give presents from rice while the kernels are still in their husks and not when they have been processed [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (ibid.)]. Our interpretation of the following clauses is also based on that source.

53.

Which are left for the poor. We do not accept their word in this instance, for it is not common for a sufficient quantity of such olives to be left to make oil.

54.

I.e., we accept his word based on the principle of miggo; were he to have desired to lie, he could have chosen a more plausible falsehood.

55.

Even if he is a common person.

56.

In contrast to leket, shichachah, pe'ah and the tithe for the poor concerning which the poor person's word is accepted only at certain times.

57.

I.e., the Levite's word is accepted if he says that he separated terumat ma'aser from the tithes that he was given.

58.

Chapter 9, Halachah 1. In both cases, the transgression is punishable by death at the hand of Heaven.

59.

Unless he is a chavair.

60.

I.e., if an Israelite purchases produce from a Levite who is not a chavair and the Levite states that the produce has been tithed and also the second tithe has been separated, the Levites word is not accepted. Although an Israelite's word is accepted regarding the second tithe when we see that he has separated the first tithe (Halachah 5), this does not hold true for a Levite. The rationale is that an Israelite makes a sacrifice when separating the first tithe, but a Levite does not.

61.

I.e., that produce could be purchased from a common person and the separations made afterwards. This concept applies also with regard to the subsequent laws mentioned in this chapter. See similar concepts in Hilchot Shemitah VeYoval 8:14.

62.

For if terumah was mixed with the produce, the prohibition is much more severe.

63.

And we fear that the oil might be terumah or mixed with terumah.

64.

I.e., if the Rabbis would discover that such a mixture would be made, they would declare his entire store of produce forbidden.

65.

That has not been redeemed.

66.

The Ra'avad differs and maintains that the word of a person who is suspect is never accepted even when he testifies with regard to the produce of another person. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh support the Rambam's view.

67.

For his word is accepted more readily than that of one who is suspect.

68.

For in these instances, his statements do not enable ordinary produce to be eaten.

69.

But not with regard to his own.

70.

In Halachah 10.

71.

Which was slaughtered before it was clarified that it possessed a disqualifying blemish. Thus it is forbidden to partake of it and it must be buried.

72.

And is hence, forbidden and must be destroyed.

73.

I.e., the seller claims that the sale was made in error. He wants to nullify the sale so that he can fulfill the mitzvah of tithing the produce and destroying the forbidden produce. Since the objects have already left the seller's hand, his word is not accepted whether he is a chavair or not.

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in the one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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