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Bikkurim - Chapter 3, Bikkurim - Chapter 4, Bikkurim - Chapter 5

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Bikkurim - Chapter 3

1

The first fruits are given to the men of the priestly watch1 [on duty at that time]. They divide them among themselves like the Temple sacrifices.2 We have already explained that [the first fruits] are called terumah.3 Therefore a non-priest who partakes of the first fruits anywhere4 is liable for death at the hand ofheaven,5 provided he partook of them after they entered the walls of Jerusalem.6

א

הבכורים נותנין [אותן] לאנשי משמר והן מחלקים אותן ביניהן כקדשי המקדש וכבר בארנו שהן קרויין תרומה ולפיכך זר שאכל בכורים בכ"מ חייב מיתה בידי שמים והוא שיאכלם מאחר שנכנסו לחומת ירושלים:

2

If a portion [of the first fruits] were inside Jerusalem and a portion were outside,7 [a non-priest] is liable for death for the portion that is inside and it is considered as consecrated property in all contexts. The portion that is outside is considered as ordinary property in all contexts.

ב

היו מקצתן בפנים ומקצתן בחוץ זה שבפנים חייבין עליו מיתה והרי הוא הקדש לכל דבריו וזה שבחוץ הרי הוא חולין לכל דבריו:

3

When a priest partakes of the first fruits outside of Jerusalem after they have entered inside [the city's] walls, he is liable for lashes according to Scriptural Law, as [Deuteronomy 12:17] states: 'You may not eat within your gates...8 the terumah of your hand.' [The latter term] refers to the first fruits,9 as we explained in Hilchot Terumah.10

Similarly, if a priest partakes of them in Jerusalem before they are placed in the Temple courtyard,11 he is liable for lashes according to Scriptural Law, as if he partook of them outside ofJerusalem,12 because [the first fruits] must be placed down in the Temple Courtyard as [ibid. 26:10] states: 'And you shall place them before the altar of God your Lord.'

ג

כהן שאכל בכורים חוץ לירושלים מאחר שנכנסו לפנים מן החומה לוקה מן התורה שנאמר לא תוכל לאכול בשעריך וגו' ותרומת ידך והם הבכורים כמו שבארנו בהלכות תרומה וכן אם אכלן הכהן בירושלים קודם הנחה בעזרה לוקה מן התורה כמי שאכלן בחוץ לפי שהן טעונין הנחה בעזרה שנאמר והנחתו לפני מזבח י"י אלהיך:

4

After the person bringing [the first fruits] places them down in the Temple Courtyard, they are permitted to the priest even though the former has not recited the declaration over them. When the first fruits were taken out of their place13 and then returned, they are permitted to be eaten.14

ד

ומשיניחם המביאם בעזרה הותרו לכהן ואף על פי שעדיין לא התודה עליהן שאין הקריאה מעכבת אכילתן ובכורים שיצאו חוץ למחיצתן וחזרו מותרין באכילה:

5

[The laws applying to] partaking of the first fruits are identical [to those applying] to partaking of terumah in all of their details. In addition, [the following stringencies apply with regard] to first fruits. They are forbidden to one in the acute state of one in mourning.15 They must be brought to [Jerusalem]. And a priest who is ritually pure who partook of the first fruits that were impure receives lashes like an Israelite who is ritually pure who partook of the second tithe that became impure.16 [These concepts] do not apply with regard to terumah.17

ה

אכילת בכורים כאכילת תרומה לכל דבריו יתר בבכורים שהן אסורין לאונן וטעונין הבאת מקום וכהן טהור שאכל בכורים טמאים לוקה כשם שלוקה ישראל טהור שאכל מעשר שני שנטמא מה שאין כן בתרומה:

6

What is the source which teaches that the first fruits are forbidden to an onein?18 With regard to these fruits, [Deuteronomy 26:11] states: 'And you shall rejoice in all the good.'19 Implied is that they have to be eaten in a state of happiness and not in a state of acute mourning. One who partakes of [these fruits] in a state of acute mourning is liable for stripes for rebellious conduct.20

ו

ומניין שהבכורים אסורין לאונן שהרי נאמר בהן ושמחת בכל הטוב מכלל שהוא חייב לאוכלן בשמחה לא באנינות והאוכלן באנינות מכין אותו מכת מרדות:

7

The first fruits must [be brought in] a container, as [ibid.:2] states: 'And you shall place them in a container.' The most preferable way of performing the mitzvah is to bring each type of fruit in a separate container. If one brings them [all] in one container, he has fulfilled his obligation. [Even in such an instance,] he should not bring them mixed together. Instead, he should bring the barley below,21 wheat on top of it, olives on top of it, dates on top of them, pomegranates on top of them, and figs on the top of the container. There should be a substance, e.g., palm leaves, wild grass, or leaves, or the like, that intervenes between each type of produce. One should surround the figs with clusters of grapes from the outside.

ז

הבכורים טעונין כלי שנאמר ושמת בטנא ומצוה מן המובחר להביא כל מין ומין בכלי בפני עצמו ואם הביאם בכלי אחד יצא ולא יביאם בערבוב אלא שעורים מלמטה וחטים על גביהן וזיתים על גביהן ותמרים על גביהן ורמונים על גביהן ותאנים למעלה מן הכלי ויהיה דבר אחד מפסיק בין מין ומין כגון הוצין וחלף או עלין וכיוצא בהן ומקיף לתאנים אשכולות של ענבים מבחוץ:

8

When a person brings the first fruits in a metal container, the priest takes them and returns the container to its owner. If he brings them in a reed or grass basket or the like, both the first fruits and the basket should be given to the priests.22 If the first fruits become impure, the baskets should not be given to the priests.23

ח

הביאם בכלי מתכות נוטל הכהן הבכורים וחוזר הכלי לבעליו ואם הביאם בכלי ערבה וחלף וכיוצא בהן הרי הבכורים והסלים לכהנים ואם נטמאו הבכורים אין הסלים לכהנים:

9

When they would bring the first fruits, they would also bring turtle doves and doves in their hands. Similarly, they would hang turtle doves and doves from the sides of the baskets24 in order to adorn the first fruits. Those that were with the baskets would be offered as burnt offeringS25 and those they would bring by hand would be given to the priests [as presents].26

ט

כשהיו מביאין את הבכורים היו מביאין בידם תורין ובני יונה וכן היו תולין מצידי הסלים תורין ובני יונה כדי לעטר את הבכורים אלו שעם הסלים היו קרבים עולות ואלו שבידיהן היו ניתנין לכהנים:

10

It is a positive commandment27 to make a declaration in the Temple concerning the first fruits when they are brought. One should begin and say [Deuteronomy 26:3-10]: 'I am making a statement to God your Lord that 1 have come to the land... An Aramean [sought] to destroy my ancestor...' until he completes the entire passage, concluding: '...You gave me, 0 God.' [This declaration] may only be made in the Holy Tongue, as it states: 'And you shall respond and say.'28

י

מצות עשה להתודות במקדש על הבכורים בשעה שמביאם מתחיל וקורא הגדתי היום ליי' אלהיך כי באתי אל הארץ וגו' ארמי אובד אבי עד שיגמור כל הפרשה עד אשר נתת לי יי' ואין קורין אותה אלא בלשון הקדש שנאמר וענית ואמרת בלשון הזאת:

11

At first, those who knew how to read would read [the passage themselves] and those who did not know how to read would read after one who read for them. [As a result,] those who did not know how to read would refrain from bringing [the first fruits] so that they would not be embarrassed.29 [Hence] the court ordained that the passage would be read for one who knows how to read like it is read for one who does not know.30

יא

בראשונה, כל מי שהיה יודע לקרות — קורא, וכל מי שאינו יודע לקרות — מקרין אותו. נמנעו אלו שאין יודעין לקרות מלהביא, כדי שלא יכלמו. התקינו בית דין, שיהיו מקרין את מי שהוא יודע כמי שאינו יודע.

12

A person who brings the first fruits is permitted to give them to his servant or his relative [to carry] throughout the journey until he reaches the Temple Mount.31When he reaches the Temple Mount, even if he is a king of Israel,32 he must place the basket on his own shoulder33 and proceed until he reaches the Temple Courtyard. He should read [the declaration,] 'I am making a statement to God your Lord today...,' while the basket is still on his shoulder. He then removes the basket from his shoulder. While he holds it by its edge, the priest puts his hand below it and raises it [up and down and to all four directions].34 He then reads: An Aramean [sought] to destroy my ancestor and he descended to Egypt...' until he completes the entire passage.' He then places the first fruits at the side of the altar, at the southwest comer, on the south side of the altar.35 He then prostrates himself36 and departs.

What is the source which teaches that the first fruits must be raised [up and down and to all four directions]? [The above prooftext states:] 'And the priest shall take the basket from your hand,' including [an obligation to] raise the first fruits [up and down and to all four directions]. Just as [the first fruits] must be raised [up and down and to all four directions], so to they require that a peace offering be brought with them and song [accompany their offering], for with regard to them, [ibid.:9] states: 'And you shall rejoice in all the good.' [Now,] with regard to the festivals, [ibid. states: 'And you shall rejoice on your festivals.' [An association is drawn between the two:] Just as the happiness of the festivals is marked by peace offerings, so too, peace offerings [are required] here. [Nevertheless,] these offerings are not absolute requirements.37

יב

המביא את הבכורים — יש לו רשות לתנם לעבדו וקרובו בכל הדרך עד שמניע להר הבית. הגיע להר הבית — נוטל הסל על כתפו: הגדתי היום ליי' אלהיך וגו', ומוריד הסל מעל כתפו ואוחזו בשפתיו, והכהן מניח ידו תחתיו ומניף, וקורא: ארמי אבד אבי וירד מצרימה וגו', עד שגומר כל הפרשה, ומניחו בצד המזבח בקרן דרומית מערבית בדרומה של קרן, וישתחוה ויצא. ומנין שהן טעונין תנופה? שנאמר: ולקח הכהן הטנא מידך — לרבות את הבכורים לתנופה. וכשם שטעונין תנופה, כך טעונין קרבן שלמים [ושיר]. שנאמר בהן: ושמחת בכל הטוב, וברגלים אומר: ושמחת בחגך; מה שמחת החג — בשלמים, אף כאן — בשלמים. ואין הקרבן מעכב.

13

When is a song pronounced over them? When they reach the Temple courtyard. The Levites would begin proclaiming:38 'I will exalt You God, for You have drawn me up...' (Psalms 30:2).39

יג

ואימתי קורין בשיר עליהן? משיגיעו לעזרה הלוים היו מתחילין וקורין: ארוממך יי' כי דליתני.

14

[When bringing] the first fruits, it is necessary that one remain [in Jerusalem] overnight.

What is implied? When a person brought his first fruits to the Temple, made the declaration, and offered his peace offerings, he should not depart from Jerusalem that day to return home.40 Instead, he should stay in Jerusalem overnight and return to his city on the following day, as [Deuteronomy 16:7] states: 'And you shall turn back in the morning and return to your tent.' [That verse41 teaches a general principle:] All occasions when you turn from the Temple when you visit it should only be in the morning.42

Thus the first fruits require seven factors: a) that they be brought to [Jerusalem], b) [in a] container, c) that the declaration be recited, d) that they be accompanied by a peace offering, e) and song, f) that they be raised [up and down and to all four directions], and g) that the person stay overnight [in Jerusalem].

יד

הביכורים טעונים לינה. כיצד? הביא בכוריו למקדש וקרא והקריב שלמיו — לא יצא באותו היום מירושלים לחזר למקומו, אלא ילין שם ויחזר למחר לעירו; שנאמר: ופנית בבקר והלכת לאהליך — כל פונות שאתה פונה מן המקדש לכשתבוא לו לא יהיו אלא בבקר. נמצאת אומר, שהבכורים טעונין שבעה דברים: הבאת מקום, וכלי, וקריאה, וקרבן, ושיר, ותנופה, ולינה.

Footnotes
1.

The priests were divided into 24 watches. Each one would serve in the Temple for a week at a time.

2.

See Hilchot Ma'aseh Korbanot10:15.

3.

HilchotTerumah15:20, Chapter 2, Halachah 19 above, et al.

4.

I.e., within Jerusalem or outside the city.

5.

The punishment a non-priest incurs for partaking of terumah (Hilchot Terumah 6:6).

6.

It is forbidden to partake of the first fruits in all situations. One does not, however, become liable for this severe penalty unless they first entered the holy city. The rationale is that since a priest may not partake of them until they are brought to Jerusalem, the prohibition against a non-priest partaking of them does not apply until then.

7.

The Aruch LeNer states that there is a difference of opinion among the Rabbis if this law applies when the produce is carried in a single container or only when it is carried in two containers.

8.

I.e., in cities outside of Jerusalem.

9.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 149) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 449) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

10.

Hilchot Terumah 15:20.

11.

Nevertheless, as indicated by the following halachah, the person bringing the first fruits need not make the declaration for them to be permitted.

12.

I.e., this is included in the same negative commandment.

13.

I.e., Jerusalem, the place where they may be eaten.

14.

Sacrificial meat, by contrast, would be disqualified if this happened.

15.

See the following halachah.

16.

See Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 3:1.

17.

Although a priest is not allowed to partake of impure terumah, such a transgression is not punishable by lashes. It is only a prohibition that results from a positive commandment (Hilchot Terumah 7:3).

18.

Aninut refers to the state of severe mourning experienced on the day of the death of one's relative. See Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 3:6.

19.

From this phrase, it is derived (Halachah 13) that it is necessary to bring peace offerings together with the first fruits. However, the two teachings are not exclusive.

20.

Since the prohibition is not stated as a negative commandment in the Torah, one is not liable for lashes as prescribed by Scriptural Law. The Radbaz and others question this ruling, because, as Yevamot 73b teaches, an association is established between the first fruits and the second tithe. Hence just as one is liable for lashes for partaking of the second tithe in a state of acute mourning, so too, one should be liable for partaking of the first fruits.

21.

This order is prescribed by the Tosefta, Bikkurim 2:8. The commentaries explain that the rationale for this order is that the produce that is most perishable is placed on top and that which is preserved best on bottom.

22.

Bikkurim 3:8 relates that the rich would bring their first fruits in gold and silver containers, while the poor would bring them in wicker baskets. The rich would thus be allowed to keep their containers, while the poor would have to give them to the priests.

The rationale is that the metal containers are significant and thus cannot be considered to be ancillary to the fruits. Hence they must be returned to their owners. The wicker baskets, by contrast, are not significant and thus are considered to be ancillary to the fruits. Therefore they may be kept by the priests. In this regard, Bava Kama 913 states, 'Poverty pursues the poor,' i.e., because they were too poor to afford expensive containers, they were required to forfeit even their simple baskets.

23.

Since the first fruits themselves are not given to the priests (see Chapter 4, Halachah 10), they do not acquire the containers either.

24.

They were not placed on the baskets themselves, lest they soil the fruit [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Bikkurim 3:5)].

25.

For fowl that were given as a free-will offering were sacrificed only as burnt offerings.

26.

The Ra'avad offers a different interpretation of the above mishnah, explaining that only the first fruits were given to the priests, the fowl would be offered as burnt offerings. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh support the Rambam's interpretation. Nevertheless, Rashi (Menachot 58a) and Rav Ovadiah of Bartenura follow the Ra'avad's understanding.

27.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 132) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 606) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

28.

Sotah 32a understand this phrase as indicating that the passage should be recited exactly as it is written in the Torah.

29.

I.e., the fact that they did not know the Holy Tongue would be an embarrassment for them. In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Bikkurim 3:7), the Rambam explains that this practice was instituted in the early age of the Second Temple era when many of those who returned to Zion did not know the Holy Tongue, as indicated by Nechemiah 13:24.

30.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit.), the Rambam explains that there is a support for this in the Biblical verse cited above: 'And you shall respond and say.' Anita, translated as 'respond,' has the connotation of repeating what someone else says.

31.

As stated in Chapter 2, Halachah 21, a person should not send his first fruits to Jerusalem via an agent and if he does so, he may not make the declaration (Chapter 4, Halachah 8). Nevertheless, if he himself is bringing them, he may lighten his burden by having another person carry them. All of this applies before he reaches the Temple Mount At that point, he must carry them himself.

32.

The Mishnah (Bikkurim 3:4) cites as an example, the conduct of King Aggripas.

33.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit.), the Rambam states that the Torah explicitly requires the person to bring the first fruits to the priest by hand.

34.

This practice, referred to as tenufah, is required when bringing the peace offerings and other sacrifices.

35.

The side which is before the entrance to the Sanctuary, for the first fruits must be Elaced down 'before God' (Radbaz).

36.

As required by Deuteronomy 26:10.

37.

After the fact, the first fruits are acceptable even if the sacrifices were not brought. The rationale is that the offering is not explicitly mentioned in the Biblical passage (Radbaz to Halachah 14). This concept also applies with regard to the song that should accompany them.

38.

See Chapter 4, Halachah 17.

39.

This psalm relates to the theme of thanksgiving, and was also recited over the thanksgiving offering (Sh'vuot 15b).

40.

The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh clarify that even if the person does not bring a sacrifice, he is still required to stay in Jerusalem overnight because of the first fruits.

41.

Which speaks about the pilgrimage festivals, not bringing first fruits.

42.

The commentaries question why, since, this is a general theme, the Rambam mentions it only here and not in other places.

Bikkurim - Chapter 4

1

Whenever anyone brings the first fruits, it is necessary that a [peace] offering be brought, song [be recited], they be raised [up and down and to all four directions] and the person remain in Jerusalem overnight.1 The declaration, however, is not a universal requirement. There are some who are obligated to bring the first fruits, but who do not recite the declaration over them.

א

כל המביא בכורים טעון קרבן ושיר ותנופה ולינה אבל הוידוי אינו שוה בכל לפי שיש שחייבין להביא בכורים ואינן קורין עליהם:

2

The following must bring [the first fruits], but may not recite the declaration: a woman, a tumtum2 and an adrogynus3 - for there is a doubt whether they are considered as a female;4 none of these can say "[the land] which You gave me,"5 and similarly, a guardian, a servant, and an agent, because they cannot say "which You gave me."6

ב

ואלו מביאין ולא קורין: האשה והטומטום והאנדרוגינוס לפי שהן ספק אשה ואינן יכולין לומר אשר נתת לי יי' וכן האפוטרופין והעבד והשליח לפי שאינן יכולין לומר אשר נתת לי יי':

3

A convert, by contrast, may bring the first fruits and make the declaration, for [Genesis 17:5] states with regard to Abraham: "I have made you a father to a multitude of nations." Implied is that he is the father of all those who enter under the shelter of the Divine presence.7 The oath that his descendants would inherit the land was given to Abraham first.8 Similarly, the priest and the Levites bring [first fruits] and make a declaration, because they have cities in which to dwell.9

ג

הגר מביא וקורא שנאמר לאברהם אב המון גוים נתתיך הרי הוא אב כל העולם כולו שנכנסין תחת כנפי שכינה ולאברהם היתה השבועה תחלה שיירשו בניו את הארץ וכן כהנים ולוים מביאין וקורין מפני שיש להן ערי מגרש:

4

A person who purchases two trees in his colleague's field10 must bring [the first fruits], but may not recite the declaration.11 [The rationale is that] there is a doubt whether he has a right to the land [on which the trees stand] or not.

What should he do? He should first12 consecrate them to the Temple treasury13 for it is possible that they are ordinary produce14 and non-consecrated food is not brought into the Temple Courtyard.15 The priest then redeems them from the Temple treasury and partakes of them.

He must separate terumah and the tithes from them, because of the possibility that they are ordinary produce. He must give the tithes from them to the priests,16 because it is a possibility that they are first fruits and forbidden to non-priests. He should not bring them himself, but instead, send them via an agent17 so that [the fact] that the declaration [is not recited] will not prevent them from being eaten. For whenever a declaration concerning [first fruits] is not fit to be made because of a doubt concerning their status, [the fact that] a declaration [is not recited] prevents it [from being eaten].18

ד

הקונה שני אילנות בתוך [שדה] של חבירו מביא ואינו קורא לפי שהדבר ספק אם יש לו קרקע או אין לו וכיצד עושה מקדיש אותם תחלה לבדק הבית מפני שהן ספק חולין ואין מכניסין חולין לעזרה והכהן פודה אותן מיד ההקדש ואחר כך אוכלן ומפריש מהן תרומה ומעשר מפני שהן ספק חולין ונותן המעשרות שלהן לכהנים שמא בכורים הם ואסורין לזרים ואינו מביא אותן בעצמו אלא משלחן ביד שליח כדי שלא תעכב אותן הקריאה מלאוכלן שכל שאינו ראוי לקריאה מפני הספק הקריאה מעכבת בו:

5

If one set aside his first fruits and then sold his field, he should bring them, but not make the declaration, because he cannot say: "[the land] which You gave me,"19 since it no longer belongs to him. The purchaser is not required to separate other first fruits, because the seller has already separated them.20 If, however, he does separate them, he should bring them, but not make the declaration.21 From another species [of produce], he should set aside the first fruits, bring them, and make the declaration.22

ה

הפריש בכוריו ומכר שדהו מביא ואינו קורא שאינו יכול לומר אשר נתת לי יי' שהרי אין לו והלוקח אינו חייב להפריש בכורים אחרים מאותו המין שכבר הפריש ממנו המוכר ואם הפריש מביא ואינו קורא אבל ממין אחר מפריש ומביא וקורא:

6

When a person sells [the right to harvest] the produce of his field, the purchaser should bring [the first fruits], but not make the declaration. [The rationale is that] the acquisition of the produce is not equivalent to the acquisition of [the land] itself.23 When, however, one brings first fruits from the property of his wife,24 he makes the declaration even though he does not own the actual land, as [implied by Deuteronomy 26:11]: "which God, your Lord, has given you and your household."25Even if his wife dies after he has set aside [the first fruits] and he is in the midst of his journey [to Jerusalem], he should bring [the first fruits] and make the declaration.26

ו

המוכר שדהו לפירות הלוקח מביא ואינו קורא שקנין פירות אינו כקנין הגוף אבל מביא אדם מנכסי אשתו בכורים וקורא אע"פ שאין לו גוף הקרקע שנאמר אשר נתן לך יי' אלהיך ולביתך אף על פי שמתה אשתו אחר שהפריש והוא בדרך מביא וקורא:

7

When a person sells his field or sells trees and the land around them in the era when the Jubilee year is observed,27 [the purchaser] should bring [the first fruits] and make the declaration in the first Jubilee.28 [The rationale is that] the seller has not taken for granted that the land will be returned to him.29 If, however, he sold it again in the second Jubilee, [the purchaser] should bring [the first fruits], but should not make the declaration. For he is certain that he will receive only the produce,30 and the acquisition of the produce is not equivalent to the acquisition of [the land] itself.31

ז

המוכר שדהו או שמכר אילנות וקרקען בזמן שהיובל נוהג ה"ז מביא וקורא ביובל ראשון בלבד שעדיין לא סמכה דעתו של מוכר שתחזור לו הקרקע אבל אם חזר ומכרה ביובל שני ה"ז מביא ואינו קורא שהרי סמכה דעתו שאין לו אלא הפירות וקנין פירות אינו כקנין הגוף:

8

When a person set aside his first fruits and became mortally ill,32 the one who is fit to inherit his [estate] should bring the first fruits without making the declaration.33 When a person set aside his first fruits and sent them with an agent, but the agent died in the midst of the journey, even if the owner brought them, he should not make the delaration. [The rationale is that the phrase (Deuteronomy 26:2):] "And you shall take... and you shall bring" does not apply unless the taking and the bringing are as one.

ח

הפריש בכורים וחלה והרי הוא מסוכן זה שראוי ליורשו מביא ואינו קורא הפריש בכוריו ושלחן ביד אחר ומת השליח בדרך אע"פ שחזר הוא והביאן אינו קורא שנאמר ולקחת ובאת עד שתהיה לקיחה והבאה כאחת:

9

When a person set aside his first fruits, but they were lost34 before they reached the Temple Mount and therefore he separated others instead of them,35he should bring the second fruits, but should not make the declaration. [The rationale is that] he cannot say [that he is bringing] "the first fruits of the land," for those that he is bringing are not the first fruits. One is not liable for an additional fifth [for partaking of] the produce separated second, as [he would had he partaken of] the first fruits.36

ט

הפריש בכוריו ואבדו קודם שיגיע להר הבית והפריש אחרים תחתיהן מביא השניים ואינו קורא לפי שאינו יכול לומר את ראשית כל פרי האדמה לפי שאינן ראשית ואלו השניים אין חייבים עליהן חומש כבכורים:

10

When a person brings his first fruits and they become impure in the Temple Courtyard, he should spill out the basket there.37 He does not make the delaration.38

י

הביא בכוריו ונטמאו בעזרה נופצם שם ואינו קורא:

11

If a person brought his first fruits from one species and made the declaration and afterwards brings first fruits from another species, he should not make the declaration for them. [This is derived from the phrase (Deuteronomy 26:3):] "I am making a statement today." [Implied is that] he makes one statement and not two.

יא

הביא בכוריו מאחד מן המינים וקרא וחזר והביא ביכורים ממין אחר אינו קורא עליהן שנאמר הגדתי היום פעם אחת בשנה הוא מגיד ולא שתים:

12

If a person separated his first fruits and then the spring [that served as his field's water supply]39 dried up or the tree [from which they were reaped] was cut down, he should bring them, but should not make the declaration. [The rationale is that] he is like someone who no longer possesses the land, because it has been ruined.40

יב

הפריש בכוריו ויבש המעיין או שנקצץ האילן מביא ואינו קורא לפי שזה כמי שאין לו קרקע שהרי אבדה:

13

When a person brings his first fruits between Sukkot and Chanukah41- even if he set them aside before Sukkot - he should bring them without making the declaration, [as implied by Deuteronomy 26:11]: "You shall rejoice in all the good." [Implied is that] the declaration should be made only in a time of happiness, [i.e.,] between Shavuot and the end of Sukkot.42 All individuals other than these43 must bring their first fruits and make the declaration.

יג

המביא בכורים מאחר חג הסכות ועד חנוכה אף על פי שהפרישן קודם החג מביא ואינו קורא שנאמר ושמחת בכל הטוב ואין קריאה אלא בשעת שמחה מחג השבועות עד סוף החג ושאר המביאין חוץ מאלו מביאין וקורין:

14

The first fruits, the terumot,44 challah, the principal and the fifth,45 and the presents given when slaughtering an animal46 are a priest's private property. He may use them to purchase servants, land, or a non-kosher animal. A debtor47 of his may collect them as payment for his debt and a woman may take them in lieu of the money due her by virtue of her ketubah. And they may be used to purchase a Torah scroll.48

יד

הבכורים והתרומות והחלה והקרן והחומש ומתנות בהמה הם נכסי כהן יש לו לקנות מהן עבדים וקרקעות ובהמה טמאה ובעל חוב נוטלן בחובו והאשה בכתובתה וקונה בהן ספר תורה:

15

The first fruits and the terumot are forbidden to be eaten by non-priests. [Generally,] when the first fruits are mixed with ordinary produce, they are permitted if there is 101 times the original amount as is the law with regard to terumah.49 Nevertheless, if they become mixed with the same species50of ordinary produce in Jerusalem, [the mixture] is forbidden even if the slightest amount of [the first fruits are mixed in] as [is the law regarding] the second tithe.51[The rationale is that] since [they are located in Jerusalem,] the place where one partakes of them, they are considered like52 an entity that could become permitted.53Although the first fruits are forbidden to non-priests even in Jerusalem, nevertheless, even the slightest presence of them in a mixture causes it to be forbidden.

Even if one sowed the first fruits after they were brought to Jerusalem,54 even the slightest amount of produce that grows from them causes a mixture to become forbidden.55 If, however, one sows the first fruits before they were brought to Jerusalem, the produce that grows from them is ordinary produce.56

טו

אע"פ שהבכורים והתרומות אסור להאכל לזרים ואף על פי שהבכורים עולין באחד ומאה כתרומה אם נתערבו בחולין בירושלים אסורין בכל שהן במינם כמעשר שני מפני שהוא מקום אכילתן עשאום כדבר שיש לו מתירין ואע"פ שהבכורים אסורים לזרים אף בירושלים הרי הן אוסרין בכל שהן אפילו זרע הבכורים אחר שנכנסו לירושלים הרי הגידולין אסורין ואוסרין בכל שהן אם נתערבו בירושלים אבל הזורע בכורים קודם שיכנסו לירושלים הגידולין חולין:

16

How are the first fruits brought to Jerusalem? All of [the inhabitants of] the towns in a regional area57 gather in the central town of the regional area, so that they will not ascend to Jerusalem as individuals, for [Proverbs 14:28] teaches: "The glory of the King is among the multitude of people."58

They come and sleep in the city's thoroughfare, but they do not enter the homes lest they contract impurity because of being under the same shelter as a corpse.59 In the morning, the leader calls out: "Arise and let us ascend to Zion, to God our Lord."60 An ox with its horns glazed with gold leads the procession. A crown of olive [branches]61 are placed on its head, to publicize that the first fruits come from the seven species [for which Eretz Yisrael is praised]. A flute plays before them until they arrive close to Jerusalem. They walk the entire way and proclaim: "I rejoiced when it was told me: 'Let us go to the house of God.'

They would travel for only two thirds of the day.62 When they arrived close to Jerusalem they sent emissaries to notify the inhabitants of Jerusalem and they adorned their first fruits63 and beautified them. If they had [some] produce that was fresh and other produce that was dried, the fresh produce was placed on top.64 The leaders of the Israelites and of the priests65 and the Temple treasurers would go out from Jerusalem to greet them. [The size of the welcoming party] was proportionate to the number of people who come. If many people come, many go out to greet them; if few, few. When they have all entered the gates of Jerusalem, they begin declaring: "Our legs were standing in your gates, O Jerusalem" (ibid.).

טז

כיצד מעלין את הבכורים כל העיירות שבמעמד מתכנסות לעירו של מעמד כדי שלא יעלו יחידים שנאמר ברוב עם הדרת מלך ובאים ולנים ברחובה של עיר ולא יכנסו לבתים מפני אהל הטומאה ובשחר הממונה אומר קומו ונעלה ציון אל יי' אלהינו והשור הולך לפניהם וקרניו מצופין זהב ועטרה של זית בראשו להודיע שהבכורים משבעת המינין והחליל מכה לפניהם עד שהם מגיעין קרוב לירושלים והם הולכין בכל הדרך וקורין שמחתי באומרים לי בית יי' נלך ולא היו מהלכין ביום אלא שתי ידות בלבד הגיעו קרוב לירושלים שלחו לפניהם שלוחין להודיע לאנשי ירושלים ועטרו את בכוריהם ופרכסו אותן ואם היה להם לח ויבש מראין את הלח מלמעלה והפחות והסגנים והגזברים יוצאין לקראתן מירושלים לפי הבאים הם יוצאין אם באו אנשים הרבה יוצאין לקראתן רבים ואם מעט מעט ומשיכנסו כולן בשערי ירושלים יתחילו לקרות עומדות היו רגלינו בשעריך ירושלים:

17

All of the artisans in Jerusalem would stand in honor of them66 and would greet them: "Our brethren, the inhabitants of so-and-so, you have come in peace." They proceed through Jerusalem while the flute is sounded until they reach the Temple Mount. When they reach the Temple Mount, each one should carry the first fruits on his shoulders67 and say: "Halleluyah. Praise God in His holiness" [Psalm 150:1] until [the conclusion of that psalm]: "May all the souls praise You." They proceed through the Temple Mount until they reach the Temple Courtyard. When they reach the Temple Courtyard, the Levites open with the song [Psalm 30]: "I will exalt You, for You have drawn me up..."68

יז

כל בעלי אומניות שבירושלים עומדין מפניהם ושואלין בשלומן אחינו אנשי מקום פלוני בואכם בשלום והם מהלכין בתוך ירושלים והחליל מכה לפניהם עד שהם מגיעים להר הבית הגיעו להר הבית נוטל כל אחד ואחד סלו על כתיפו ואומרין הללויה הללו אל בקדשו וכו' עד כל הנשמה תהלל יה הללויה והם מהלכים בהר הבית וקוראין עד שמגיעין לעזרה הגיעו לעזרה דברו הלוים בשיר ארוממך יי' כי דליתני וגו':

Footnotes
1.

As explained in the concluding halachot of the previous chapter.

2.

A person whose genital area is covered with a mass of flesh and whose gender is impossible to detect.

3.

A person with male and female sexual characteristics.

4.

With regard to an androgynus, the doubt concerns the individual's halachic status. With regard to the tumtum, the doubt concerns the actual facts: Which gender is covered by the mass of flesh?

5.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Bikkurim 1:5), the Rambam explains that Eretz Yisrael was given as an ancestral heritage only to males who are free men. Thus this disqualifies all of those mentioned in this clause and also the servant mentioned in the following clause.

6.

For the first fruits they are bringing are not from their own land. They are acting on behalf of others.

7.

For he taught all mankind faith [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit.:4)].

8.

I.e., all future converts are considered as Abraham's seed and thus have a share in the land "that God swore to [give] to your ancestors." Indeed, based on Ezekiel 47:22, Kapot Temarim states that in the Messianic era, converts will be given a share of the Holy Land.

9.

As related in Numbers, ch. 35, in addition to the six cities of refuge, the Levites were given 42 cities that were scattered throughout the entire land of Eretz Yisrael. Although the land was given them from the tribal inheritances of the other tribes, it is still appropriate for them to speak of the land which God gave them, because the gifts were given as a result of God's command (Radbaz). See also Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 11:17.

10.

He does not purchase the land on which the trees grow. Nevertheless, since he purchased two trees, our Sages (Bava Batra 81b; see Hilchot Mechirah 24:6) question whether or not he is given the right to the land around the trees. If, however, he purchases three trees, all agree that he has the right to the land.

11.

Bava Batra 82a questions: Reciting the declaration is no more than reciting verses from the Torah. Even if he is not obligated to do so, what would be wrong with reciting these verses? In resolution, it explains that a) it appears that he is lying (because he is praising God for giving him land which in fact may not be his); or b) by bringing them as first fruits, he will prevent the terumah and the tithes from being separated from them.

12.

I.e., before bringing them to the Temple Courtyard.

13.

The consecration has a questionable status, because a person may not consecrate property that does not belong to him (Hilchot Arachin VaCharamim 6:16). And if the produce is first fruits, it does not belong to him.

14.

For if the land does not belong to him, they are not considered as first fruits.

15.

This is a general principle. See Hilchot Shechitah 2:3.

16.

According to Scriptural Law, tithes must be given to the Levites. Nevertheless, when the Levites failed to return to Zion with Ezra in large numbers, he punished them and decreed that they should not be given the tithes. Afterwards, according to many views, it was possible to give the tithes either to the priests or the Levites. Nevertheless, in this instance, the tithes must be given to the priests for the reason stated by the Rambam.

17.

For when an agent brings first fruits, a declaration should not be made, as stated in Halachah 2.

18.

Bava Batra, loc. cit., explains that when there would be no difficulty in making the declaration, the fact that it is not made does not disqualify the first fruits from being eaten. When, however, it is required to be made, but cannot be made for a particular reason, the failure to make it disqualifies the offering.

19.

Praising God for giving him the land.

20.

And first fruits should be brought only once for each species. In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Bikkurim 1:7, based on the Jerusalem Talmud), the Rambam states that this is derived from Deuteronomy 26:3 which states: "I am making a statement to God your Lord today," implying that the statement can be made only once (see also Halachah 11).

21.

For the concept derived above applies primarily to making the declaration and not actually bringing the first fruits.

22.

Since they are being brought by two individuals, the fact that one species has been brought already does not disqualify the first fruits brought by the other person. If, however, they were being brought by the same person, he would not make the declaration again, as stated in Halachah 11.

23.

And thus he cannot rightfully praise God for giving him the land.

24.

This refers even to property which the husband receives as nichsei milog (see Hilchot Ishut 16:1-2), i.e., the property itself belongs to the woman, but he is entitled to derive benefit from it.

25.

"Your household" can be interpreted as referring to one's wife. Thus even though the land belongs to his wife, he should make the declaration.

26.

The husband inherits his wife's property. Thus now he owns both the land and the produce.

27.

And ancestral property is returned to its original owner. See Hilchot Shemitah VeYoval, ch. 11.

28.

For he is the owner of the land and the produce. Although he is required to return the land in the Jubilee year, that is a result of the Torah's decree and does not diminish the purchaser's ownership of the land.

29.

Since the owner does not have the experience of having his land returned to him, he does not consider it a surety that it will be returned to him. In his mind, it is sold (Radbaz). The Rambam's source is Gittin 48a. Rashi interprets the passage differently.

30.

And he knows that the land will be returned. Accordingly, it is as if he purchased only the produce and not the land.

31.

As stated in Halachah 6.

32.

This reflects the Rambam's version of the Jerusalem Talmud (Bikkurim 1:5). The version in the standard published text is slightly different (Radbaz, Kessef Mishneh).

33.

While the owner of the produce is alive, the person fit to inherit the estate is considered as an agent, and hence may not make the declaration. Even though he was not explicitly appointed, we assume that this is the owner's desire. According to the Rambam's conception, if the owner is ill, but is not in mortal danger, another person cannot serve as his agent unless he is appointed as such.

34.

In any manner, as indicated by Chapter 2, Halachah 20.

35.

For he is required to replace them (ibid.).

36.

As stated in Chapter 3, Halachah 5, the first fruits are considered as terumah. And as stated in Hilchot Terumah 6:6, one who partakes of terumah inadvertently must make restitution and add a fifth.

37.

Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Bikkurim 1:8). The Ra'avad maintains that the produce should be left in the Temple Courtyard until it rots. From Chapter 2, Halachah 19, some have inferred that according to the Rambam, the impure produce should be burnt. Kin'at Eliyahu maintains that this approach is far more appropriate than leaving it to rot in the Temple Courtyard.

38.

For the declaration is made as a statement of thanksgiving after the first fruits are successfully offered and that is not possible in the present situation.

39.

The bracketed additions are based on the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Bikkurim 1:6).

40.

In its present state, the land is not able to produce fruit. Hence, it is as if he no longer possesses it (ibid.; according to Rav Kappach's text).

41.

After Chanukah, he may not bring them at all.

42.

This is the harvest season when a person feels happy with the bounty God has granted him.

43.

I.e., those mentioned from Halachah 5 and onward.

44.

I.e., both "the great terumah" and terumat ma'aser.

45.

I.e, when a non-priest partakes of any of the above mentioned substances, he is obligated to pay the principal and a fifth as restitution.

46.

See Chapter 9.

47.

Even a non-priest.

48.

The Radbaz questions why a Torah scroll is mentioned. If he is allowed to purchase a non-kosher animal with these objects, seemingly, it is obvious that he should be able to use them to purchase a Torah scroll. He explains that one might think that it is preferable that a person write a Torah scroll himself than purchase one. The Ma'aseh Rokeach explains that in contrast to other types of property, a Torah scroll may never be sold. Hence, if he uses the money from these objects to purchases it, he will never be able to derive physical benefit from these substances.

49.

Hilchot Ma'achalot Asuurot 15:3; Hilchot Terumot 15:20-21.

50.

If, however, they become mixed with a substance of another species, the presence of the first fruits can be nullified. See Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 15:12.

51.

See Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 6:14-15.

52.

This refers even to first fruits belonging to an Israelite. Hence, they are considered only "like an entity that could be permitted," but are not actually in that category (Radbaz).

53.

For the entire mixture could be eaten by priests in a state of ritual purity. With regard to the law that the entire mixture is forbidden when even the slightest amount of a forbidden substance becomes mixed with it, see Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 15:10.

54.

And thus the forbidden fruit itself no longer exists.

55.

This is a penalty imposed upon him because the mixture could have - and the produce that grows could - be given to the priests. See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Bikkurim 2:2).

56.

Since the first fruits may not be eaten outside of Jerusalem, the mixture is not judged with the severity that applies to a mixture containing a forbidden entity that could become permitted. Instead, it is considered as an ordinary mixture and the presence of the first fruits can be nullified.

57.

See Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash 6:1 for more particulars concerning the Hebrew term.

58.

Thus coming as a group is a greater act of Divine glorification.

59.

I.e., the first fruits must be brought in a state of ritual purity, and if a person bringing them enters a home, he may unknowingly contract ritual impurity, because he was under the same shelter as a corpse.

61.

For of the seven species, olive branches are the most attractive [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Bikkurim 3:3)].

62.

This would impress them and the inhabitants of the towns through which they passed with the importance of their pilgrimage. Also, it allowed for people of many regions to congregate and ascend to Jerusalem together.

63.

See Chapter 3, Halachot 7 and 9.

64.

Because fresh produce is more attractive.

65.

The Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit.).

66.

Kiddushin 33a notes that this is a grat mark of respect for those who bring the first fruits. After all, artisans are not required to stand before Torah scholars and yet they would stand before the people who brought the first fruits.

67.

See Chapter 3, Halachah 12.

68.

See Chapter 3, Halachah 13.

Bikkurim - Chapter 5

1

It is a positive commandment to separate a portion that is raised up1 from the dough [and given] to a priest,2 as [Numbers 15:20] states: "Raise up the first of your dough, the challah,3 as an offering...." According to Scriptural Law, this first portion does not have a minimum measure. Instead, even if one set aside a portion the size of a barley corn, he has absolved the entire dough. When a person designates his entire dough as challah, his deeds are of no consequence unless he leaves a portion of it [for himself].4

א

מצות עשה להפריש תרומה מן העיסה לכהן שנאמר ראשית עריסותיכם חלה תרימו תרומה וראשית זו אין לה שיעור מן התורה אפילו הפריש כשעורה פטר את העיסה והעושה כל עיסתו חלה לא עשה כלום עד שישייר מקצתו:

2

According to Rabbinic Law, one should separate one twenty-fourth of the dough, so that there will be a [significant] present for the priest. [This is derived from Deuteronomy 14:4 which] states: "Give him," i.e., give him something that is fit to be called a gift.

A baker who makes a dough to be sold in the market place should separate one forty-eighth. [The rationale is that] since his dough is larger,5 this measure contains [enough] to be a [significant] present.

ב

ומדברי סופרים שמפרישין אחד מארבעה ועשרים מן העיסה כדי שיהיה בה כדי מתנה לכהן שנאמר תתן לו תן לו דבר הראוי ליתנו מתנה והנחתום העושה למכור בשוק מפריש אחד משמונה וארבעים לפי שעיסתו מרובה יש בשיעור זה כדי מתנה:

3

Even when a private person makes dough for [the wedding] celebration of his son, he should separate one twenty-fourth even though it is large, so as not to make a distinction in [the requirements of] a dough made by a private person.6 [Conversely,] when a baker makes a small dough, [he must separate only] one forty-eighth, so as not to make a distinction in [the requirements of] a dough made by a baker.

ג

העושה עיסה למשתה בנו אף על פי שהוא מרובה מפריש אחד מעשרים וארבעה שלא לחלק בעיסת בעל הבית והנחתום שעשה עיסה קטנה אחד מארבעים ושמונה שלא לחלק בעיסת הנחתום:

4

If a dough became impure unknowingly or because of forces beyond one's control, one need not separate more than one forty-eighth.7 If he purposefully made it impure, he must separate a twenty-fourth, so that the sinner will not benefit.8

Impure challah is permitted to be used by a priest as kindling fuel like impure terumah.9

ד

נטמאת העיסה בשוגג או באונס מפריש אחד מארבעים ושמונה ואם טמאה בזדון מפריש אחד מכ"ד כדי שלא יהיה חוטא נשכר וחלה טמאה [מותרת] (לכהן) להסקה כתרומה טמאה:

5

According to Scriptural law, we are only obligated to separate challah in Eretz Yisrael, as [Numbers 15:19] states: "When you partake of the bread of the land...," and only when the entire Jewish people are located there, as [ibid.:18] states: "When you enter," i.e., when you all enter and not only when a portion of you enter. For this reason, in the present era - and even in the era of Ezra10in Eretz Yisrael - [the observance of] challah is only a Rabbinic decree, as we explained with regard to terumah.11

ה

אין חייבין בחלה מן התורה אלא בא"י בלבד שנאמר והיה באכלכם מלחם הארץ וגו' ובזמן שכל ישראל שם שנאמר בבואכם ביאת כולכם ולא ביאת מקצתכם לפיכך חלה בזמן הזה אפילו בימי עזרא בארץ ישראל אינה אלא מדבריהם כמו שביארנו בתרומה:

6

When the produce of the Diaspora is brought to Eretz [Yisrael], challah must be separated from it.12 When produce from Eretz [Yisrael], are brought to the Diaspora, they are exempt.13 [This is derived from ibid.:] "to which I will bring you." [Implied is that in that land,] you are liable, whether for the produce of the land itself or for that of other lands.

ו

פירות ח"ל שנכנסו לארץ חייבין בחלה ופירות הארץ שיצאו חו"ל פטורין שנאמר אשר אני מביא אתכם שמה שמה אתם חייבין בין על פירות הארץ בין על פירות חו"ל:

7

Challah should also be separated in the Diaspora by Rabbinic decree so that the Jewish people will not forget the laws of challah. Challah from the Diaspora should not be brought to Eretz Yisrael, just as terumah14and first fruits15 from there should not be brought [to Eretz Yisrael]. If one should bring [such challah], it should be left to the day before Pesach and burned16like terumah.

ז

מפרישין חלה בח"ל מדברי סופרים כדי שלא תשתכח תורת חלה מישראל ואין מביאין חלות חו"ל לארץ כשם שאין מביאין תרומה ובכורים משם ואם הביא מניחה עד ערב הפסח ותשרף בתרומה:

8

There are three different sets of laws that apply to challah in three different lands. In the entire area that was settled by those who returned from Babylonia until Kziv,17 one challah should be separated according to the appropriate measure18 and the priests may partake of it. In the remaining portions of Eretz Yisrael that were settled by the Jews who came out of Egypt, but not by those who returned from Babylonia - i.e., from Kziv until Amanah19 - two challot should be separated. One should be burnt and one should be eaten.

Why do we separate two challot there? Because the first challah is impure, because this land was not sanctified in the time of Ezra and the first sanctification was nullified after the Jews were exiled.20 [Nevertheless,] since [the land] is from Eretz Yisrael, a challah - one forty-eighth [of the dough] is separated and is burnt. A second challah is also separated and given to a priest to eat, so that people will not say that pure terumah should be burnt. For the first challah was burnt even though it did not contract impurity in a manner that was known to all.21 This second challah does not have a minimum measure. Instead, one may separate whatever he desires, because it is a Rabbinic ordinance.

In all of the lands from Amanah and beyond, whether in Syria22 or other lands, two challot should be separated: One is burnt so that people should not say we saw impure terumah being eaten23 and one is eaten so that the laws of challah will not be forgotten by the Jewish people. [Since] both of these are Rabbinic institutions, it is preferable to make the one that is eaten larger.24Accordingly, there is no minimum measure for the one that is burnt. Even the slightest amount [is acceptable]. The one which is eaten should be one forty-eighth [of the dough]. It is permitted to be eaten by zavim and zavot25- and needless to say, other people who are ritually impure.26

ח

שלשה דינין לחלה בשלש ארצות כל הארץ שהחזיקו בה עולי בבל עד כזיב מפרישין בה חלה אחת כשיעור והיא נאכלת לכהנים ושאר א"י שהחזיקו בה עולי מצרים ולא עולי בבל שהיא מכזיב ועד אמנה מפרישין בה שתי חלות האחת נשרפת והאחת נאכלת ומפני מה מפרישין בה שתי חלות מפני שהחלה הראשונה טמאה שהרי לא נתקדשה אותה הארץ בימי עזרא וקדושה ראשונה בטלה משגלו והואיל והיא א"י מפרישין בה חלה אחד מארבעים ושמונה ושורפין אותה ומפרישין חלה שנייה ונותנין אותה לכהן לאכלה כדי שלא יאמרו תרומה טהורה נשרפת שהרי נשרפה הראשונה אע"פ שלא נטמאה טומאה ידועה לכל וזו שנייה אין לה שיעור אלא כל שרוצה מפריש מפני שהיא מדבריהם וכל הארץ מאמנה ולחוץ בין בסוריא בין בשאר הארצות מפרישין שתי חלות אחת לשריפה כדי שלא יאמרו ראינו תרומה טמאה נאכלת ואחת לאכילה כדי שלא תשתכח תורת חלה מישראל והואיל וזו וזו מדבריהם מוטב לרבות בנאכלת לפיכך של שריפה אין לה שיעור אלא כל שהוא ושל אכילה אחד ממ"ח ומותרת לזבים ולזבות ואין צריך לומר לשאר טמאים:

9

In the present age when there is no pure dough,27 because of the impurity [imparted] by a human corpse,28 one challah - one forty-eighth [of the dough]29 - is separated in all Eretz Yisrael [in the present era]. [This applies even though] it is burnt, because it is impure, since the fundamental obligation to separate it is Scriptural.30 As was the law in previous ages, from Kziv to Amanah, a second challah is also separated for a priest to eat.31 There is no mimimum measure for it.

ט

בזמן הזה שאין שם עיסה טהורה מפני טומאת המת מפרישין חלה אחת בכל א"י אחד ממ"ח ושורפין אותה מפני שהיא טמאה ויש לה שם מן התורה ומכזיב עד אמנה מפרישין שנייה לכהן לאכילה ואין לה שיעור כשהיה הדבר מקודם:

10

Although challah from the Diaspora is impure, since its fundamental requirement is a Rabbinic ordinance,32 it is forbidden to be eaten only by priests who are impure because of impurity that result from a physical condition.33 These include [priests] who had a seminal emission, zavim, zavot, niddot,34 women who give birth, and people afflicted by tzara'at.35Others who are impure because they have been in contact with other sources of impurity, even those who are impure because of contact with a corpse, are permitted to partake of it.

Accordingly, if there was a priest who was a minor in the Diaspora - whether in Syria or in other lands - and one desired to separate [only] one challah, he could separate one forty-eighth of the dough. It could be eaten by a priest who is a minor who never had a seminal emission or a female from the priestly family who never menstruated. The person need not separate a second [challah].36

י

חלת חו"ל אף על פי שהיא טמאה הואיל ועיקר חיובה מדבריהם אינה אסורה באכילה אלא על כהן שטומאה יוצאה עליו מגופו והם בעלי קריין וזבים וזבות ונדות ויולדות ומצורעין אבל שאר הטמאים במגע שאר הטומאות אפילו טמאי מת מותרים לאכלה לפיכך אם היה שם כהן קטן בחוצה לארץ בין בסוריא בין בשאר ארצות ורצה להפריש חלה אחת מפריש אחד ממ"ח ונאכלת לקטן שעדיין לא ראה קרי או לקטנה שעדיין לא ראתה נדה וא"צ להפריש שנייה:

11

Similarly, if a priest who was an adult immersed himself [in a mikveh and thus purified himself from the impurity resulting from] the emission of semen or zivut may partake of this first challah. Then [the one who separated it] need not separate a second challah in the Diaspora. [This applies] even though the sun has not set [after he immersed himself]37 and although he remains ritual impure due to the impurity imparted by a corpse.38Anyone who separates challah should recite the blessing: "[Blessed are You...] Who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to separate challah."39 [This applies both] in Eretz Yisrael and in the Diaspora.40 Just as one recites a blessing when [separating challah that] is ritually pure, he should recite a blessing when separating the impure.

Therefore a naked man should not separate challah, because he may not recite the blessing.41 A naked woman who is sitting with her entire genital area covered by the ground may separate challah and recite a blessing.42

יא

וכן אם היה שם כהן גדול שטבל משכבת זרעו או מזיבתו אע"פ שלא העריב שמשו ואף על פי שהו' טמא מת ה"ז מותר לאכול החלה הראשונה ואינו צריך להפריש שנייה בחו"ל כל המפריש חלה מברך תחלה אקב"ו להפריש חלה בין בארץ בין בחו"ל וכשם שמברך על הטהורה כך מברך על הטמאה לפיכך אין האיש ערום מפריש חלה שאינו יכול לברך אבל האשה הערומה שישבה וכל פניה טוחות קרקע מברכת ומפרשת חלה:

12

A niddah and the like43 may recite a blessing and separate challah in the Diaspora. For she is not cautioned against touching the challah,44 only against partaking of it. If there is a priest who was a minor or [an adult] priest who immersed himself who is permitted to partake of it as we explained,45 he may partake of it, [eating] together with a non-priest at the same table. [The rationale is that] it is does not create a forbidden mixture,46 even if there are equal quantities of it and ordinary food.47 It may be given to an unlearned priest48 because [the woman] is impure because of the air of the Diaspora, and the prohibition against a priest actively seeking to receive his presents49 does not apply in this instance.

If a person desires to eat first and then separate the challah in the Diaspora, he is permitted, for the fundamental obligation is Rabbinic in origin.50

יב

הנדה וכיוצא בה מברכת ומפרשת חלת חו"ל שאינה מוזהרת על מגעה אלא על אכילתה ואם היה שם כהן קטן או כהן שטבל שהיא מותרת לו לאכילה כמו שביארנו ה"ז מותר לאכלה עם הזר על שולחן אחד לפי שאינה מדמעת ואפילו נתערבה שוה בשוה ונותנין אותה לכהן ע"ה מפני שהיא טמאה באויר ארץ העמים [ואין בה משום כהן המסייע במתנותיו שהוא אסור ואם רצה לאכול תחלה] ואח"כ יפריש החלה בחוץ לארץ מותר שאין עיקרה אלא מדבריהם:

13

Challah is called terumah. Therefore it may only be separated from [dough] in the same location51 like terumah.52 And as an initial preference, one may not separate pure [dough as challah] for impure dough.53

יג

החלה נקראת תרומה לפיכך אינה ניטלת אלא מן המוקף כתרומה ואינה ניטלת מן הטהור על הטמא לכתחלה:

14

All of those individuals concerning whom it was said they should not separate terumah and if they separate it, the separation is invalid,54 are governed by the same laws with regard to challah. In all situations concerning which it was said that terumah should not be separated from this type of produce for another,55 challah should also not be separated. Whoever may not partake of terumah,56 may not partake of challah. Whoever may partake of terumah57 may partake of challah.

יד

וכל שאמרנו בתרומה לא יתרום ואם תרם אינה תרומה כך בחלה וכל שאמרנו בתרומה לא יתרום מזה על זה כך בחלה וכל שאינו אוכל תרומה אינו אוכל חלה וכל האוכל תרומה אוכל חלה:

15

A blind person and an intoxicated person58 may separate challah as an initial preference. For with regard to dough, there is no inferior or superior portions that he must distinguish and separate from the superior portion.59

טו

הסומא והשכור מפרישין חלה לכתחלה שאין בעיסה רע ויפה כדי שיכוונו ויפרשו מן היפה:

Footnotes
1.

This phrase translates the Hebrew terumah, for that term is also applied to challah in certain contexts. For that reason several of the laws that apply to terumah also apply to challah.

2.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 133) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 385) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. The Rambam considers separating the dough and giving it to the priests as two parts of the same mitzvah. The Ramban, by contrast, considers them as separate mitzvot.

3.

The heading of this set of halachot is "The Laws of the First Fruits and the Other Presents [Given] to Priests in the Outlying Areas." In the first four chapters, the Rambam discussed the first fruits. Now he proceeds to explain the other presents. He begins with challah because it also involves grain and is also called terumah. See Radbaz.

4.

By calling it "the first," the Torah is implying that there is a second, i.e., that something is left over [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Challah 1:9), based on the Jerusalem Talmud]. See also Hilchot Terumah 3:5 and note the contrast to Chapter 2, Halachah 17.

5.

The Jerusalem Talmud (Challah 2:7) gives another reason for the difference in measures. Ideally, the requirement would only be one forty-eighth. Nevertheless, generally, the one separating challah from the dough is a woman and women are by nature tightfisted. If they are told to give one twenty-fourth, they will ultimately give a forty-eighth. The Siftei Cohen 322:2 gives another reason for reducing the measure required of a baker. He is preparing the dough for profit and our Sages did not desire to cause him a loss.

6.

Our Sages desired that their laws be uniform out of fear that once distinctions were made, individuals would ultimately give less than the desired amount.

7.

Challah which is impure may not be eaten by a priest and may be used only as fuel. An ordinary person may, however, partake of a loaf made from impure dough. Hence, rather than waste the dough, it is preferable to give a smaller portion as challah.

8.

I.e. the person separating the dough would benefit from it becoming impure, because he will have to give a smaller portion to the priest.

9.

See Hilchot Terumah 11:1. At present, since all dough is impure, theoretically, this is the measure which should be given (Siftei Cohen 322:3). In practice, however, at present, even impure challah is not given to a priest.

10.

Who led the return to Zion after the Babylonian exile.

11.

See Hilchot Terumah 1:5, 26. Even the Ra'avad, who differs with the Rambam with regard to terumah, finds this position acceptable with regard to challah. See also Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 20:3.

12.

Provided the dough is made in Eretz Yisrael. The converse applies with regard to the following clause. The dough must be made in the Diaspora (Radbaz).

13.

The Ra'avad maintains that challah must be separated from such dough by Rabbinic decree. The Kessef Mishneh states that this is obvious from the following halachah.

14.

See Hilchot Terumah 2:17. Since the Diaspora is ritually impure by Rabbinic decree, any dough brought from there to Eretz Yisrael would be consigned to destruction. However, it should not be burnt immediately, because we do not know that it definitely contracted ritual impurity in Eretz Yisrael, and it is forbidden to burn challah unnecessarily. Nor may it be returned to the Diaspora, lest people think it is permitted to take challah from Eretz Yisrael to the Diaspora [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Challah 4:10)].

15.

See Chapter 2, Halachah 1.

16.

Since the dough is chametz, "leavened," it must be destroyed before the onset of the Pesach holiday.

17.

See Hilchot Terumah 1:8.

18.

See Halachah 2.

19.

See Hilchot Terumah 1:7.

20.

Thus in a strict halachic sense, this land has the status of the Diaspora.

21.

Since this land was once Eretz Yisrael, not everyone knows that it is impure like the Diaspora.

22.

Where certain of the agricultural laws that must be observed in Eretz Yisrael are observed. See Hilchot Terumah 1:4.

23.

For everyone knows that the Diaspora is impure.

24.

So that food is not wasted.

25.

A man becomes a zav when he has an emission from his urinary tract similar, but not identical to that which results from gonorrhea. A woman becomes a zavah when she experiences vaginal bleeding at times other than would be expected due to her menstrual cycle. In both cases, the individuals are ritually impure. See Leviticus, ch. 15.

26.

In certain instances, a distinction is made between impurity that results from a physical condition in one's body - such as the above - and other types of impurity (see Halachah 10). However, no such distinction is made here.

The Ra'avad differs with this ruling and maintains that the challah is forbidden to any priest who is ritually impure, citing his statements in Hilchot Terumah 7:8.

The Rambam's ruling here appears to differ from his ruling in that source. The Kessef Mishneh explains that the leniency here applies only after the priests have immersed in a mikveh. The Radbaz explains that here we are speaking about two challot, with one being burnt. Hence the one given to the priest may be eaten.

27.

The shifting of this phrase from the previous halachah to this halachah is based on authoritative manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah and also makes from an easier reading of the text.

28.

Which affects everyone in the present age, for we do not have a red heifer to purify ourselves.

29.

As is the law with regard to challah that became impure because of factors beyond one's control (Halachah 4).

30.

At present the obligation to separate challah in Eretz Yisrael is Rabbinic in origin (Halachah 5). Nevertheless, since the original obligation there was Scriptural, the challah that is separated must have a minimum measure even though it is burnt.

31.

Although at present, everyone knows that all the people living there are ritually impure, no deviation was made from the original ruling.

32.

For according to Scriptural Law, there is no need to separate it.

33.

Because there is a more serious dimension to their ritual impurity [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Challah 4:8)]. See also Hilchot Terumot 7:8-9. As mentioned there, the Ra'avad differs with this ruling.

34.

A woman who is impure because of menstrual bleeding.

35.

A skin malady resembling - but not entirely similar to - leprosy which renders a person ritually impure.

36.

To be burnt. Since he is not separating a second challah, the law is more stringent than in Halachah 8, which can be eaten by priests with this level of impurity (Radbaz).

37.

And a priest who immersed himself to emerge from ritual impurity could not partake of terumahuntil sunset of the day he immersed himself (Hilchot Terumah 7:4).

The Rambam's ruling is quoted by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 322:5). The Rama cites the opinion of Rabbenu Nissan who requires the priest to wait until sunset.

38.

For purification from such impurity requires the ashes of the Red Heifer and those were not available after the destruction of the Temple.

The Ra'avad differs with this ruling as well and maintains that even after immersing, such a priest may not partake of challah. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 322:3-5) quotes the Rambam's rulings in all the above matters. The Rama writes that since at present, it is not customary to partake of challah in any place, even in Eretz Yisrael, only one challah is separated. There is no minimum measure to it (although it is desirable that it be the size of an olive). This challah is burnt.

39.

The Ra'avad states that one should conclude "to separate terumah," for challah is also referred to as terumah. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 328:1) quotes the Ra'avad's ruling. The Rama states that the Rambam's version of the blessing is also acceptable. The Turei Zahav and the Siftei Cohen 328:1 speak of a conclusion that combines both terms "to separate terumah, challah."

40.

Even though the obligation to separate challah in the Diaspora is only Rabbinic in origin, it is appropriate to recite a blessing, as it is appropriate to do so when fulfilling other Rabbinic commandments (Radbaz).

41.

And it is not fitting to observe a mitzvah without reciting a blessing.

42.

For her nakedness is covered by the ground. A man's, by contrast, projects outward.

43.

I.e., the individuals who are impure because of a physical condition mentioned in Halachah 10.

44.

Although her touch would render an article ritually impure, it is ritually impure regardless because we are all impure due to contact with a human corpse. Hence, there is no difficulty with her touching it.

45.

See Halachot 10-11.

46.

The term midama'at used by the Rambam refers to a mixture of terumah (or challah of Scriptural status) with other substances.

47.

I.e., according to Scriptural Law, the presence of a forbidden substance is nullified when it is mixed with a greater quantity of permitted substances (bittul berov). In this instance, it is not necessary to have a majority of permitted food, half and half is sufficient, for this challah is forbidden only as a Rabbinic injunction.

The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh explain that although Bechorot 27a indicates that a majority is necessary, the Rambam's ruling is based on the Jerusalem Talmud (Challah 4:8), from which it is evident that half and half is acceptable. Moreover, the Tur (Yoreh De'ah 323) states that according to the Rambam's understanding that at the outset, it is permitted to nullify a Rabbinic prohibition, one may intentionally make such a mixture.

The Rambam's ruling is cited by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 323:1). The Tur and the Rama cite Rabbenu Asher's view that, like terumah, there must be 101 times the forbidden amount before the challah is nullified.

48.

As stated in Hilchot Terumah 6:2, an unlearned priest is unfamiliar with and/or careless in the observance of the laws of ritual purity. Hence, he is not given terumah, lest he cause it to become impure.

49.

Our translation is slightly loose. The literal meaning of the Rambam's words, quoted from Bechorot 27a is "[the decree against] a priest helping in the granary does not apply to him." As stated in Hilchot Terumah 12:19, our Sages forbade that because it would appear that he is working for the terumah. Instead, the terumah should be given him in a manner that connotes respect and reverence.

50.

When the obligation is Scriptural in origin, partaking of the food on the basis of a stipulation that one will separate challah (or terumah) afterwards is forbidden. As explained in Hilchot Terumah 1:21, the principle of bereirah - that retroactively, an action performed afterwards is considered as if it was performed at the outset - applies only with regard to matters of Rabbinic Law and not with regard to matters of Scriptural Law.

The Siftei Cohen 323:1 emphasizes that the leniencies in this halachah apply only with regard to challah from the Diaspora, for there never was an obligation to separate it according to Scriptural Law. Although, at present, separating challah in Eretz Yisrael is also a Rabbinic obligation, since originally the obligation was Scriptural, none of these leniencies are granted.

51.

Our translation is taken from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Challah 1:9).

52.

See Hilchot Terumah 3:17.

53.

See Hilchot Terumah 5:7. After the fact, however, the separation is effective.

54.

A deaf-mute, a mentally or emotionally unstable person, a minor, a gentile who separated terumah from produce belonging to a Jew, even with his permission, and a person who separate terumah from produce that does not belong to him without the owner's permission (Hilchot Terumah 4:2).

55.

See Hilchot Terumah, ch. 5.

56.

A non-priest and an impure person.

57.

A priest, his wife, and his servants.

58.

We are speaking of a person who is still in control of his faculties, but whose judgment is slightly blurred. If he loses control of his faculties entirely, he is considered as an emotionally unstable person. See Hilchot Mechirah 29:18.

59.

I.e., with regard to terumah, such individuals are told not to separate terumah as an initial preference, because terumah must be separated from the superior produce and they are incapable of making that distinction (Hilchot Terumah 4:4). Nevertheless, this rationale does not apply with regard to challah.

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