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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Maaser - Chapter 1, Maaser - Chapter 2, Maaser - Chapter 3

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Maaser - Chapter 1

Introduction to Hilchos Maaser

They contain one positive commandment: To separate the first tithe [from the crops] in each of the years [when crops] are sown and give it to the Levites. This mitzvah is explained in the ensuing chapters.

הלכות מעשר - הקדמה

הלכות מעשר מצוה אחת והוא להפריש מעשר ראשון בכל שנה ושנה משנת הזריעה וליתנו ללוים וביאור מצוה זו בפרקים אלו:

1

After separating the great terumah,1 one should separate one tenth of the remaining produce2 and this is called the first tithe. Concerning it [Numbers 18:24] states: "For the tithes of the children of Israel that they will separate to God."3

These tithes are given to Levites, males and females, as [ibid.] states: "And I gave the Levites all of the tithes of the children of Israel as an inheritance."

א

אחר שמפרישין תרומה גדולה מפריש אחד מעשרה מן הנשאר וזהו הנקרא מעשר ראשון ובו נאמר כי את מעשר בני ישראל אשר ירימו ליי' וגו' והמעשר הזה ללויים זכרים ונקבות שנאמר ולבני לוי הנה נתתי כל מעשר בישראל לנחלה:

2

An Israelite is permitted to partake of the first tithe. And it may be eaten in a state of ritual impurity, because it is not holy.4 Whenever the term "holy" or "redemption" is used with regard to the tithes, the intent is the second tithe.5

What is the source from which we learn that the first tithe is ordinary produce? [Ibid.:27] states: "And your terumah will be considered for you as grain from your grainheap and the fullness of the vat." Just as a grainheap and a vat [contain] ordinary produce, so, too, once terumat ma'aser has been separated from the first tithe,6 it is ordinary produce in all regards. For this reason, when the daughter of a Levite has been taken captive7 or she engaged in forbidden relations, she can be given tithes and she may partake of it. When, however, there was a report that a woman's husband died or one witness testified that he died, she married8 and then her husband appeared, our Sages penalized her and ruled that she is forbidden to partake of the tithes.9

ב

מעשר ראשון מותר באכילה לישראל ומותר לאכלו בטומאה שאין בו קדושה כלל וכ"מ שנאמר במעשרות קדש או פדייה אינו אלא מעשר שני ומניין שמעשר ראשון חולין שנאמר ונחשב לכם תרומתכם כדגן מן הגורן וכמלאה מן היקב מה גורן ויקב חולין לכל דבר אף מעשר ראשון שניטלה תרומתו חולין לכל דבר לפיכך בת לוי שנשבית או שנבעלה בעילת זנות נותנין לה המעשר ואוכלת אבל מי ששמעה שמת בעלה או העיד לה עד אחד וניסת ואח"כ בא בעלה קנסו אותה חכמים שתהיה אסורה במעשר:

3

The Levites and the priests should separate the first tithe so that they can separate terumat ma'aser from it.10 Similarly, the priests must separate other types of terumah11 and tithes12 for themselves.13 Since the priests receive all types of agricultural gifts, is it possible for them to partake of the produce without these separations having been made? [Numbers 18:28] states: "And so shall you separate, also you...." "You" includes the Levites. "Also you" includes the priests.

ג

לויים וכהנים מפרישין מעשר ראשון כדי להפריש ממנו תרומת מעשר וכן הכהנים מפרישין שאר תרומות ומעשרות לעצמן ולפי שהכהנים נוטלין מן הכל יכול יאכלו פירותיהן בטבלן ת"ל כן תרימו גם אתם מפי השמועה למדו אתם אלו הלוים גם אתם לרבות את הכהנים:

4

We do not expropriate the tithes from the priests, as [ibid.:26] states: "When you take from the children of Israel...."14 Similarly, none of the presents given to the priests must be given from one priest to another priest.15

Ezra penalized the Levites in his time16 because they did not ascend to Jerusalem with him17 and ordained that the first tithe should be given solely to the priests.

ד

אין מוציאין המעשר מיד הכהנים שנאמר כי תקחו מאת בני ישראל וכן כל מתנות כהונה אין מוציאין אותן מכהן לכהן ועזרא קנס את הלוים בזמנו שלא יתנו להן מעשר ראשון אלא ינתן לכהנים לפי שלא עלו עמו לירושלים:

5

When a person partakes of his produce while it is tevel18 or a Levite partakes of the tithes while they are tevel,19 although they are liable for death at the hand of Heaven,20 they are not liable to make reimbursement to the owners.21 [This is derived from ibid.:24:] "...that they will separate to God." [Implied is that the recipients] do not have any share in them until they have been separated.

In the Diaspora,22 it is permitted for a person to continue eating and afterwards, separate terumah and the tithes.23

ה

האוכל פירותיו טבלין וכן לוי שאכל המעשר בטבלו אעפ"י שהן חייבין מיתה לשמים אין משלמין המתנות לבעליהן שנאמר אשר ירימו לה' אין לך בהן כלום עד שירימו אותן ובחוצה לארץ מותר לאדם להיות אוכל והולך תחלה ואחר כך מפריש תרומה ומעשרות:

6

We can separate tithes from produce in one place for produce in another place. They need not be grouped together.24 We do not, however, separate tithes from one species for another species,25 nor from produce for which we are obligated to separate tithes for produce from which we are exempt from separating, nor from produce for which we are exempt from separating tithes for produce from which such a separation is required.26 If one made a separation in any of the above instances, [the produce separated] is not considered as tithes.27

ו

מעשרין ממקום זה על מקום אחר ואינו צריך לעשר מן המוקף אבל אין מעשרין ממין על שאינו מינו ולא מן החייב על הפטור ולא מן הפטור על החייב ואם עישר אינו מעושר:

7

Whenever we said with regard to terumah, that terumah may not be separated from one type of produce for another,28 tithes may not be separated from one such type of produce for another such type. And whenever we said that the separation of terumah from [one type of produce] is acceptable [after the fact],29 if one separated tithes from such produce, it is acceptable. Whenever produce is exempt from the obligation to have terumah separated,30 it is also exempt from the obligation to have tithes separated. All those individuals who may separate terumah may separate the tithes. And all those concerning whom it was said that they should not separate terumah, but if they did separate it, the separation is effective,31 so too, if they separate the tithes, the separation is effective. And whenever a person's separation of terumah is not effective,32 his separation of tithes is also not effective.

ז

כל שאמרנו בתרומה אין תורמין מזה על זה כך במעשר אין מעשרין מזה על זה וכל שאמרנו בתרומה אם תרם תרומתו תרומה כך במעשר אם הפריש מעשרותיו מעשרות וכל שהוא פטור מן התרומה פטור מן המעשר וכל התורם מעשר כל שאמרנו בהן לא יתרומו ואם תרמו תרומתן תרומה כך אם עשרו מעשרותיהן מעשרות וכל שאין תרומתו תרומה כך אין מעשרותיהן מעשרות:

8

When a person tells a colleague: "I will tithe through your agency," he does not have to stand with him to see whether he tithed or did not tithe.33 If [the agent] tells a colleague: "Tithe using me as an agent," he must stand with him.34

ח

האומר לחבירו הריני מעשר על ידיך אינו צריך לעמוד עמו עד שיראה אם יעשר או לא יעשר ואם אמר הוא לחבירו עשר על ידי צריך לעמוד עמו:

9

The obligation to tithe carobs is only Rabbinic in origin,35 for they are not eaten by most people.36 Bitter almonds, whether large or small,37 are exempt, for they are not considered food.38

ט

החרובין אינן חייבין במעשרות אלא מדבריהם לפי שאינן מאכל [רוב] אדם והשקדים המרים בין בגדלן בין בקטנן פטורין לפי שאינן אוכל:

10

A tree that is planted inside a house is exempt from the obligations of the tithes, as [indicated by Deuteronomy 14:22]: "You shall certainly tithe all the produce of your crops that grow in the field."39 It appears to me that tithes must be separated from this produce according to Rabbinic Law, for one is required to tithe the fruit of a fig tree that stands in a courtyard if it was harvested at one time.40

י

אילן שנטעו בתוך הבית פטור ממעשרות שנאמר עשר תעשר את כל תבואת זרעך היוצא השדה ויראה לי שהוא חייב במעשרות מדבריהם שהרי תאנה העומדת בחצר חייב לעשר פירותיה אם אספן כאחת:

11

When onions [stored in a home] grew roots next to each other, even if they grew roots in the earth of a loft, they are exempt from tithes.41 If a landslide covered them,42 and they are thus open [to the skies], it is as if they have been planted in the field and one is obligated to tithe them.

יא

בצלים שהשרישו זה בצד זה אפילו השרישו בקרקע עלייה פטורין מן המעשרות נפלה עליהן מפולת והרי הן מגולין הרי אלו כנטועין בשדה וחייבין במעשרות:

12

[The following laws apply when someone is] protecting his field because of grapes43 and another person comes and collects the figs that remain in that field or he was guarding his field because of the zucchini and squash44 and another person came and gathered the grapes which were scattered in the field. When [it is known] that the owner of the field is concerned with the leftover produce, it is forbidden to take it; [doing so] is stealing.45 Hence, tithes and terumah must be separated from the crops. If the owner of the field is not concerned with it, it is permitted [to take it;46 it is not] theft. Hence, they are exempt from the tithes.47

יב

המשמר שדהו מפני ענביו ובא אחר ואסף את התאנים הנשארות באותה שדה או שהיה משמר שדהו מפני המקשאות והמדלעות ובא אחד ואסף את הענבים הנשארים שם המפוזרים בשדה בזמן שבעל השדה מקפיד עליהן אסורין משום גזל ולפיכך חייבין במעשר ובתרומה אין בע"ה מקפיד עליהן מותרין משום גזל ופטורין מן המעשר:

13

Only the most choice produce should be separated as tithes,48 as [Numbers 18:30] states: "When you separate the choice portion from it, and it will be considered for the Levites49 as the produce of the grainheap and the produce of the vat." Just as the Levites must separate the choicest portions of the tithes, the Israelites who separate from the grainheap and the vat separate the choicest portions.

יג

אין מעשרין אלא מן המובחר שנאמר בהרימכם את חלבו ממנו ונחשב לכם כתבואת גורן וכתבואת יקב כשם שמעשר שמפרישים הלוים מן החלב שבו כך מעשר שמפרישים ישראל מן הגורן ומן היקב מן החלב שבו:

14

We may not separate tithes by estimation.50 Instead, one must do so through measuring,51 weight, or number.52 One who is precise in the measurement is praiseworthy. When one gives an extra amount as the tithes, his tithes are flawed, because untithed produce is mixed with them.53 [The remainder of] his produce has, however, been made fit for use.

יד

אין מעשרין באומד אלא במדה או במשקל או במנין וכל המדקדק בשיעור משובח והמרבה במעשרות מעשרותיו מקולקלין שהרי הטבל מעורב בהן ופירותיו מתוקנין:

15

When a person separates a portion of the tithes, they are not considered as tithes. Instead, it is as if someone divided the grainheap. He must, however, separate from the portion set aside the tithes that are appropriate for it.

What is implied? A person had 100 se'ah. He set aside five se'ah as the tithes. [These five se'ah] are not considered as tithes.54 He cannot separate tithes for [these five se'ah] from another source.55 Instead, he should separate half a se'ah from them. It is their tithes.

טו

המפריש מקצת מעשר אינו מעשר אלא כמי שחלק את הערמה אבל צריך [להפריש] מזה החלק שיוציא מעשר שלו כיצד היו לו מאה סאה הפריש מהם חמשה לשם מעשר אינו מעשר ואינו יכול להפריש על החמש סאין מעשר במקום אחר אלא מפריש מהן חצי סאה שהיא המעשר שלהן:

16

When a person separates the [first] tithe, he should recite a blessing first, as one recites a blessing [before observing] any of the mitzvot.56 Similarly, he should recite a blessing [before separating] the second tithe, the tithe given to the poor, and the tithe of a tithe.57 He should recite a blessing for each one individually. If he made all the separations one directly after the other without speaking in between, he should include them all in one blessing, [praising God who commanded us] "to separate the terumot and the tithes."58

טז

המפריש מעשר זה מברך תחלה כדרך שמברכין על המצות וכן מברך על מעשר שני ועל מעשר עני ועל מעשר מן המעשר מברך על כל אחד בפני עצמו ואם הפריש הכל זה אחר זה מיד ולא סח ביניהן כוללן בברכה אחת ומברך להפריש תרומות ומעשרות:

Footnotes
1.

This is the preferable course of behavior. If, however, one separates the tithes before terumah, the separation is binding.

2.

Thus it is not a tenth of the entire crop.

3.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 127) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 395) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

4.

I.e., unlike terumah where these restrictions apply.

5.

Which must be eaten in Jerusalem in a state of ritual purity.

6.

Until terumat ma'aser has been separated from it, however, we may not partake of it (Radbaz).

7.

And we fear that she was raped by her captors. With regard to terumah, by contrast, once the daughter of a priest engages in forbidden relations, she is forbidden to partake of it (Hilchot Terumah 6:7). Our Sages did not decree that a Levite's daughter who engages in forbidden relationships should not be allowed to partake of terumah, for it is uncommon for a woman to engage in forbidden relationships (Yevamot 91a).

8.

If, however, she did not marry, she is not forbidden, even if she was consecrated by another man.

9.

I.e., this is a Rabbinic decree, enacted to maintain the moral level of the Jewish people.

10.

I.e., since the priests and the Levites are allowed to keep the tithes, one might ask: Why is it necessary for them to separate it at the outset? The Rambam answers that the separation is necessary, because until terumat ma'aser is separated from the tithes, it is forbidden to partake of them.

11.

With the expression "other types of terumah," the Rambam includes challah and bikkurim. See Hilchot Terumah 15:20.

12.

The intent is only the first tithe. The second tithe and the tithe for the poor are not given to the priests.

13.

They may not, however, partake of the produce without making these separations as the Rambam proceeds to explain.

14.

I.e., from an Israelite and not from a priest.

15.

A priest must separate the presents. He need not, however, give them to another priest, but instead may keep them for himself.

16.

There are some who interpret the Rambam as implying that the penalty was applied only in Ezra's era, but not in subsequent generations. Indeed, we find that even Sages gave their tithes to Levites (Ma'aser Sheni 5:9). For this reason, it appears that Ezra's penalty was that if there was both a priest and a Levite present, the tithes should be given to a priest, but they could also be given to a Levite (Radbaz). Alternatively, in Ezra's generation, the tithes should be given only to the priests. Subsequently, however, when more Levites ascended and settled in Eretz Yisrael, the decree was rescinded and tithes could also be given to the Levites. Nevertheless, in order not to nullify Ezra's words entirely, it was still possible to give the tithes to the priests (Kessef Mishneh). [Note, however, the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aser Sheni 5:15) which indicates that the tithes were given to the priests in the generations after Ezra as well. See also Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 11:14.] All agree that the Levites themselves were never required to give the tithes to the priests.

The Minchat Chinuch (Mitzvah 395) asks: How was it possible for Ezra to nullify the Torah's command? For the Scriptural obligation is to give the tithes to the priests. He answers that in Ezra's time, the mitzvah to tithe was only Rabbinic in origin (see Hilchot Terumot, ch. 1). Hence, it was possible for him to make the priests the recipients.

17.

See Ezra 8:15 which states that the descendants of the Levites were not found among the people who returned to Israel from Babylon. There were many among the Jewish people who had achieved financial security and comfortable living circumstances in Babylon and did not want to give this up to live in the Holy Land. Nevertheless, aside from the Levites, there was no distinct group that did not return to Israel in significant numbers.

18.

I.e., before terumah and the tithes have been separated.

19.

I.e., before terumat ma'aser has been separated.

20.

Se Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 10:19.

21.

I.e., the priests (or the Levites) who would be given the terumah or the tithes. With regard to terumah, by contrast, when a person partakes of terumah unknowingly, he is required to make restitution. See Hilchot Terumah 6:6.

22.

In the lands directly bordering on Eretz Yisrael where our Sages ordained that the agricultural laws be observed. See Hilchot Terumah 1:6.

23.

Since the obligation to make these separations from the crops is Rabbinic in origin, our Sages granted this leniency. See Hilchot Terumah 1:21.

24.

In contrast to terumah, in which instance, the initial preference is to separate the terumah from the same produce for which it is being taken (Hilchot Terumah 3:17).

25.

This holds true for terumah as well, as stated in Hilchot Terumah 5:3.

26.

This also applies with regard to terumah, see ibid.:2, 12.

27.

It need not be given to a Levite and if necessary, new tithes must be separated.

28.

E.g., produce that has been reaped for produce that is attached to the ground (ibid.:9), produce reaped in one year for produce reaped in another year (ibid.:11), or produce from the Diaspora for produce from Eretz Yisrael (ibid.:12).

29.

I.e., instances where a separation of terumah is undesirable, nevertheless, after the fact, it is acceptable. For example, one separated produce for which all the work concerning it was not completed (ibid.:4); one separates lower grade produce as terumah for higher grade produce (ibid.:8); or one unknowingly separated impure produce as terumah for pure produce.

30.

For example, produce not fit for human consumption (ibid. 2:1); produce that was leket, pe'ah, or the like (ibid.:9).

31.

A person who is deaf, but not mute, a mute who can hear, but not speak, a person who is naked, a person who is drunk and a blind person (ibid. 4:4).

32.

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 (ibid.:2).

33.

Since he willingly appointed him as an agent, we assume that he relies on him and can follow the accepted presumption that an agent will carry out the task assigned to him. [Our translation and commentary follow the gloss of the Radbaz. Others offer different interpretations.]

34.

Since he did not appoint him voluntarily, we are not certain that he will carry out the agency in good faith.

35.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam and maintains that according to Scriptural Law, the only trees from which we are required to separate the tithes are grapes and olives. As explained in the notes to Hilchot Terumah 2:1, this is a difference of opinion involving many authorities.

36.

Based on Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 1:3, it appears that here the Rambam is speaking of carobs that grow in Tzalmona or other species that are usually not eaten. The carobs that grow commonly and are eaten by many must be tithes according to Scriptural Law.

Those that grow in Tzalmona and the like are also eaten by some people. Hence the Rabbis ordained that they be tithed. Species of produce that are not usually consumed by people are exempt, as stated in the following clause.

37.

When such almonds are small, they are not bitter. Nevertheless, they are still unfit to be eaten because they have not fully matured (see Rashi, Chullin 25b).

38.

Even though some may partake of them, the majority do not. Indeed, the minority is so insignificant that we do not require a separation of terumah even according to Rabbinic Law.

39.

It is produce of the field from which we must tithe (the Jerusalem Talmud, Orlah 1:2).

40.

If, however, the fruit is picked one by one, a person is not obligated to tithe it.

This law is stated in the Mishnah (Ma'aserot 3:8). Now a courtyard is not considered a field. Hence in order that this law not contradict the law cited from the Jerusalem Talmud, we must assume that the Mishnah is speaking according to Rabbinic Law, while the Jerusalem Talmud is speaking according to Scriptural Law. The Ra'avad differs with this ruling and differentiates between produce growing in a courtyard and that which grows in a house. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh support the Rambam's ruling.

41.

I.e., they are exempt according to Scriptural Law, and even according to Rabbinic Law, there is no obligation to separate tithes, because the person would not desire to have the plants grow (Or Sameach).

42.

Destroying the roof of the loft.

43.

The Rambam is speaking about an instance where the figs and the other fruits growing in the field have for the most part been harvested. There were, however, a few figs left growing in scattered places around the field. The grapes, however, grow later than the other crops and hence, had not been harvested yet. The owner was protecting his field for the sake of his grapes. The question is: Are the other fruits considered as ownerless because the owner is no longer primarily concerned with them? Or do we say that since he is guarding his field because of the grapes, he is also guarding the other produce?

44.

Which grow even later than grapes.

45.

Even though it has little value. We are forbidden to take even the slightest amount of a colleague's property against his will.

46.

It is as if he has declared them ownerless (Radbaz). See a parallel ruling in Hilchot Ishut 5:8.

47.

For ownerless produce need not be tithed. Similarly, terumah need not be separated from it (Radbaz, based on Hilchot Terumah 2:11).

48.

The same concept applies with regard to terumah, as stated in Hilchot Terumah 2:4,6.

49.

This is both the correct wording of the verse and the manuscript copies of the Mishneh Torah. The standard printed text is in error.

50.

See Avot 1:16. In contrast terumah should be separated in this manner (Hilchot Terumah 3:4).

51.

The volume of the produce.

52.

The order of preference is number, volume, weight. See Terumot 4:6.

53.

For the extra amount of produce is not tithes, because the tithes represent an exact sum. Nor is it considered ordinary produce from which tithes were separated, because it was placed with the tithes. Instead, it is considered as ordinary produce from which tithes were not separated.

54.

For giving them does not fulfill the requirement.

55.

Although usually, one may set aside tithes from one collection of produce for another (Halachah 6), an exception is made in this instance, because he originally separated this produce with the intent that it be tithes [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Terumot 4:1)]. it would appear that one is separating tithes from produce for which one is required to separate tithes for produce for which one is not obligated to make such a separation (see notes to Halachah 7). The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam concerning this ruling, advancing a different interpretation of Terumot 4:1.

56.

See Hilchot Berachot 11:6, 12; Hilchot Terumah 2:16.

57.

I.e., terumat ma'aser.

58.

This applies if one sets aside terumah and tithes for his own produce. If he sets it aside for others, he should conclude the blessing "concerning the separation of tithes" (Hilchot Berachot 11:12-13).

Maaser - Chapter 2

1

A person is not obligated to tithe his produce by Scriptural Law unless he completes [the work associated with its preparation1 with the intent of] partaking of it himself.2 If, however, he completes those tasks with the intent of selling it, he is exempt according to Scriptural Law.3 He is, however, obligated by Rabbinic decree.4 [This is derived from Deuteronomy 14:22:] "And you shall certainly tithe... and you shall partake...." One is obligated only when he completes the tasks with the intent of partaking.

א

אינו חייב להפריש מן התורה אלא הגומר פירותיו לאוכלן לעצמו אבל הגומרן למכרן פטור מן התורה וחייב מדבריהם שנאמר עשר תעשר וגו' ואכלת אינו חייב אלא הגומר תבואתו לאוכלה:

2

Similarly, one who purchases such produce is exempt according to Scriptural Law, [for ibid. states]: "the produce of your crops."5 He is, however, obligated according to Rabbinic Law.

When does the above apply? When he purchased it after the work necessary to prepare it was completed while was in the possession of the seller. If, however, these tasks were completed while it was in the possession of the purchaser, he is obligated to tithe according to Scriptural Law.6

ב

וכן הלוקח פטור מן התורה שנאמר תבואת זרעך וחייב מדבריהם בד"א בשלקחן אחר שנגמרו מלאכתן ביד מוכר אבל אם נגמרו ביד לוקח חייב לעשר מן התורה:

3

Produce which is not fit to be eaten because it is too small, e.g., unripened produce7 and the like, is not required to be tithed8 until it grows and becomes food, as [implied by Leviticus 26:30 which states that we must tithe:] "From the crops of the earth, from the fruit of the trees," i.e., [there is no requirement to tithe the crops] until they grow and become fruit. Similar concepts apply with regard to grain and legumes, as [implied by Deuteronomy 14:22:] "the produce of your crops," i.e., [there is no obligation] until it becomes produce.

This refers to the "phase of tithing."9 Before grain and fruit reach this phase, one is permitted to eat as much as one wants from them,10 in any manner he desires.11

ג

פירות שאינן ראויים לאכילה מקטנן כגון הבוסר וכיוצא בו אינן חייבין במעשר עד שיגדלו ויעשו אוכל שנאמר מזרע הארץ מפרי העץ עד שיהיה פרי וכן התבואה והקטניות שנאמר את כל תבואת זרעך עד שתעשה תבואה וזו היא עונת המעשרות וקודם שתגיע התבואה והפירות לעונה זו מותר לאכול מהן כל מה שירצה ובכל דרך שירצה:

4

Produce that is fit to be eaten when it is small, e.g., zucchini or cucumbers, but is left [to grow] only in order to increase its bulk, is required to be tithed while it is small, [for] they are fit to be eaten at the outset. As soon as they emerge, they are considered to have reached "phase of tithing."

ד

פירות שהן ראויין לאכילה בקטנן כגון הקשואים והמלפפונות שאין מניחין אותן אלא כדי להוסיף בגופן בלבד אבל ראויין הן מתחלה לאכילה הרי אלו חייבין במעשר בקוטנן שמתחלת יציאתן באו לעונת המעשרות:

5

When is "the phase of tithing"? When the produce will reach a stage that it produces seed [that could] grow, each species according to its nature.12

What is implied? For figs, it is when they become soft enough to be fit to be eaten within 24 hours after they have been harvested.13 For grapes and biushim, i.e., thin wild grapes, it is when their seeds can be seen from the outside.14 For pomegranates, it is when their seed15 will be crushed easily between one's fingers and produce liquid. For dates, it is when they swell like yeast.

For peaches, it is when red strands appear within them.16 For nuts, it is when the fruit becomes distinct from its outer shell. For sweet almonds, it is when their external shell becomes distinct. Bitter [almonds] are always exempt.17 For other fruits with shells, e.g., acorns, chestnuts, and pistachios, it is when the lower shell that is next to the fruit forms.

For olives, when they produce one ninth of the amount of oil that they will produce when they are entirely ripe;18 this is one third of their growth. For apples and esrogim, it is when they become round,19 for they are fit to be eaten when they are small. For berries and sumac, it is when they become red. Similarly, for every fruit that becomes red, it is when it becomes red.

For carobs, it is when black spots begin to appear. Similarly, for any fruit that becomes black, it is when spots begin to appear. For pears, small pears,20 quince, and thorn apples,21 it is when their hairs begin to fall off.22 Similarly, for any fruit that becomes light-colored, it is when white lines appear.

For grain, it is when it reaches a third of its growth. For chilba, it is when its seed is fit to grow if it would be planted. With regard to vegetables, we are required [to tithe] zucchini, squash, watermelon, cucumbers and the like when they are small, as we explained.23 Other vegetables which are not fit to be eaten until they grow large and are not required [to be tithed] until they are fit to be eaten.

When even one grape on a cluster has reached the stage when it must be tithed, because of their connection, the entire [cluster is required to be] tithed.24 It is as if the entire cluster reached that stage of development. [Indeed,] not only that cluster, but the entire side of the vine on which that cluster grew [is considered to have reached the stage when the tithes must be separated]. Similarly, when even one seed of a pomegranate reaches the appropriate stage, the entire [side of the tree]25 is considered as connected to it.

ה

אי זו היא עונת המעשרות משיגיעו הפירות להזריע ולצמוח הכל לפי מה שהוא הפרי כיצד התאנים משיעשו רכים עד שיהו ראויים לאכילה אחר כ"ד שעות משעת אסיפתן הענבים והבאושים והם הענבים הדקים המדבריות משיראה החרצן שלהם מבחוץ הרמונים משימס הפרח שלהן בין האצבעות ויצא ממנו מים התמרים משיפתחו כשאור האפרסקין משיטילו גידים אדומים האגוזים משיתפרש האוכל מהקליפה החיצונה השקדים המתוקים משתתפרש קליפתן החיצונה המרים פטורין לעולם ושאר כל בעלי קליפות כגון האצטרובולין והלוט והבטנים משיעשו קליפה התחתונה הסמוכה לאוכל הזיתים משיעשו שמן אחד מתשעה ממה שהן ראויין לעשות כשיגמרו וזה שליש שלהן התפוחים והאתרוגים משיתעגלו מפני שהן ראויין לאכילה כשהם קטנים התותים והאוג משיאדימו וכן כל שדרכן להאדים משיאדימו החרובין משיעשו נקודות נקודות שחורות וכן כל שדרכן להשחיר משינקדו האגסים והקרוסטמלין והפרישים והעוזרדין משיעשו קרחות קרחות לבנות וכן כל שדרכן ללבן משיקרחו קרחות התבואה משתביא שליש התלתן משתהיה זרעה ראוי לצמיחה אם נזרע ובירק הקישואין והדלועין והאבטיחין והמלפפונות וכל כיוצא בהן חייבין בקוטנן כמו שביארנו ושאר הירק שאינו ראוי לאכילה עד שיגדיל אינו חייב עד שיהא ראוי לאכילה אשכול שהגיע בו אפילו גרגיר יחידי כולו חיבור למעשרות וכאילו הגיע כולו ולא אותו אשכול בלבד אלא כל הרוח שיש בה אותה הגפן שיש בה האשכול וכן רמון שהגיע בה אפילו פרידה אחת כולה חיבור:

6

After produce has reached the "phase of tithing," a person should not sell it to someone who is not trusted with regard to tithes.26 If [a portion of] the produce ripened,27 he should remove that [portion] which ripened. It is then permitted to sell the remainder that has not reached the "phase of tithing."28

Similarly, a person should not sell olive dregs and grape dregs to someone who is not trusted with regard to tithes to extract [oil or wine] from them,29 for the liquids extracted from these dregs must be tithed. Nor should he sell straw so that grain can be picked from it to someone who is not trusted, for the grained picked from the straw must be tithed.

ו

לא ימכור אדם פירותיו משבאו לעונת המעשרות למי שאינו נאמן על המעשרות ואם בכרו נוטל את הבכורות ומותר למכור השאר שעדיין לא הגיע לעונת המעשרות וכן לא ימכור אדם את גפתו ואת זגיו למי שאינו נאמן על המעשרות להוציא מהן משקין שהמשקין היוצאין מהם חייבין במעשרות ולא את תבנו ללקוט ממנו תבואה למי שאינו נאמן שהתבואה שתלקט מן התבן חייבת במעשר:

7

[The following laws apply when a person] mixed water with wine dregs and filtered the mixture. If he mixed in three measures of water and received four measures, [the mixture is considered wine] and he must separate tithes for this extra measure from another source.30 He does not have to separate terumah, for when one separates terumah, he has the intent to separate terumah for the entire amount, as stated above with regard to terumah.31 If he received less than four measures, he is exempt, even if he received more than he mixed in and even if the mixture has the flavor of wine.32

ז

שמרי יין שנתן עליהם מים וסננן אם נתן שלשה ומצא ארבעה מוציא מעשר מזה היתר ממקום אחר ואינו מפריש עליו תרומה שהתורם בתחלה בלבו על הכל כמו שביארנו בתרומה מצא פחות מארבעה אף על פי שמצא יתר על מדתו ואע"פ שיש בהן טעם יין פטור:

8

When a person consecrated his produce when it was attached to the ground, before they reached the "phase of tithing," and then redeemed them, and after he redeemed them, it reached that stage of development, he is obligated to tithe them.33 If the produce reached the "phase of tithing" while it was in the domain of the Temple treasurer and he redeemed it afterwards, he is exempt.34

ח

המקדיש פירותיו כשהן מחוברין עד שלא באו לעונת המעשר ופדאן ואחר שפדאן הגיעו חייבין במעשר ואם באו לעונת המעשרות והם ביד הגזבר ואחר כך פדאן פטורין:

Footnotes
1.

At which point the obligation to tithe takes effect (Chapter 3, Halachah 1).

2.

Rabbi Akiva Eiger and the Minchat Chinuch (mitzvah 395) explain that even if the person changes his mind and desires to sell the produce afterwards, he remains obligated to tithe.

3.

If the person changes his mind and desires to partake of the produce himself afterwards, he is not obligated according to Scriptural Law. Since he was not obligated at the time of the initial requirement, he does not become obligated afterwards (ibid.).

4.

Our Sages adopted this measure as a safeguard. Ignoring it can have serious repercussions as Bava Metzia 88a states the shopping area of Beit Hino was destroyed three years before Jerusalem because they did not tithe produce that was sold in the marketplace.

5.

I.e., crops that you made ready for use.

6.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam, maintaining that the purchaser of the produce is never liable to tithe according to Scriptural Law. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh cite interpretations of Talmudic passages that support the Rambam's position, but explain that there are other Rishonim who follow the Ra'avad's position.

7.

Our translation is taken from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 4:8).

8.

Even according to Rabbinic decree.

9.

See the following halachot and Chapter 3 which discusses this subject in detail.

10.

For this is not considered as the ordinary way of eating.

11.

I.e., he may even salt them and roast them, even though these actions bring about the obligation to tithe when fruit has matured (Chapter 3, Halachah 3).

12.

Our Rabbis interpreted this as meaning reaching a third of its natural growth. All the examples mentioned in the continuation of the halachah refer to this stage of growth as it applies to each individual species.

13.

Thus if one partakes of them within 24 hours from their harvest without tithing them, he is not liable, for they are not ready to be eaten yet (Ma'aseh Rokeach).

14.

That indicates that their shell has softened and the fluid has been generated within the fruit. See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aserot 1:2).

15.

Our translation is based on authentic manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah and is reinforced by the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (ibid.). The standard printed text reads slightly differently.

16.

This is a sign that they have begun to ripen (ibid.).

17.

See Chapter 1, Halachah 9, and notes.

18.

The Ra'avad questions the Rambam's ruling based on a different version of Sh'vi'it 4:7. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh support the Rambam's ruling.

19.

Although Ma'aserot 1:4 states that we are required to separate tithes from apples when they are small, it does not mention a stage of development. The Kessef Mishneh questions the source for the Rambam's statements.

20.

This is the common translation of these terms. In his notes to the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Kilayim 1:4), however, Rav Kapach suggests that the two terms may refer to apricots and peaches.

21.

Our translation is based on Rav Kapach's notes to the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Demai 1:1).

22.

When these fruits are unripened, they are covered by a fuzz of hair. As they ripen, the hairs fall off.

23.

I.e., based on Halachah 4, which states that produce that is fit to be eaten while small must be tithed.

24.

The Radbaz explains the rationale for this ruling. Since one grape has already ripened sufficiently, the others will ripen shortly thereafter.

25.

This addition is made on the basis of the gloss of the Kessef Mishneh.

26.

Lest that person fail to tithe it and the seller thus be liable for "placing a stumbling block in the path of the blind."

27.

I.e., reached a stage when it was required to separate the tithes.

28.

The Radbaz notes that this clause appears to be in contradiction with the final clause of the previous halachah, for seemingly if part of the crop has become obligated in the tithes, the entire crop has. He explains that if the grapes are growing on different vines, the stringency mentioned in the previous halachah does not apply.

29.

I.e., the purchaser stated that he was purchasing them for this purpose. If, however, such a statement of intent is not made, these may be sold, for it is most likely they will be used as fuel for a fire.

30.

The bracketed addition is made on the basis of the gloss of Rabbi Ovadiah of Bartenura to Ma'aserot 5:6. For there is no reason why that produce itself cannot be used for the tithes.

31.

Hilchot Terumah 4:21. The Radbaz explains that this proviso is made with regard to terumah and not with regard to the tithes, because terumah is given by estimation, while the tithes must be measured exactly.

32.

As long as the wine is not one fourth of the new mixture, it is not considered as significant.

33.

Because at the time the obligation to tithe them took effect, the crops were ordinary produce.

34.

Because at the time the obligation to tithe them took effect, the crops were consecrated property and there is no obligated to tithe consecrated property.

Maaser - Chapter 3

1

When produce has reached the "phase of tithing,"1 it was detached [from the earth], but the work preparing it was not completed, e.g., grain that he harvested and threshed, but [the reaper] did not winnow it or straighten the grain pile, he may partake of it as a snack2 [without tithing] until those tasks are completed. Once those tasks are completed, it is forbidden to partake of it as a snack [without tithing].

א

פירות שהגיעו לעונת המעשרות ונתלשו ועדיין לא נגמרה מלאכתן כגון תבואה שקצרה ודשה ועדיין לא זרה אותה ולא מרחה מותר לאכול מהן אכילת עראי עד שתגמ' מלאכתן ומשתגמר מלאכתן אסור לאכול מהן עראי:

2

When does the above apply? When one is completing the work [necessary to prepare] the produce to be sold in the market place. If, however, his intent was to bring it to his home,3 he may partake of it as a snack [even] after the work involving it is completed until a situation occurs which obligates the separation of tithes.4

ב

במה דברים אמורים בגומר פירותיו למכרן בשוק אבל אם היתה כוונתו להוליכן בבית ה"ז מותר לאכול מהן עראי אחר שנגמרה מלאכתן עד שיקבעו למעשר:

3

Six situations5 obligate the separation of tithes from produce:6 [bringing it into] a courtyard,7 a transaction,8 [subjecting it to] fire,9 salting it,10 separating terumah,11 and [the commencement of] the Sabbath.12 These situations require the separation of tithes only when the work necessary to prepare the produce has been completed.

ג

אחד מששה דברים קובע הפירות למעשרות החצר והמקח והאש והמלח והתרומה והשבת וכולן אין קובעין אלא בדבר שנגמרה מלאכתו:

4

What is implied? One may eat a snack from produce which he intends to bring home [without tithing], even though the work necessary to prepare it has been completed until he enters his home. Once he enters his home,13 the obligation to separate tithes takes effect and he is forbidden to partake of it14 until he tithes it.

Similarly, if he sold it, cooked it by fire, pickled it in salt, separated terumah from it, or the Sabbath commenced, he may not partake of it until he separates the tithes even though it has not reached the house.

If he brought the produce into his home before he completed the work associated with it, he may continue to snack from it.15 If he began to complete the work associated with its completion, he is obligated to tithe the entire amount.16

What is implied? A person brought zucchini and squash home before he rubbed them [to remove the hairs on their surface]. Once he begins rubbing one of them, he is obligated to tithe all of them. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

Similarly, when one separates terumah from produce for which all the tasks necessary to prepare it have not been completed, it is permitted to snack from them with the exception of a basket of figs.17 If one separates terumah from them before the work associated with preparing them is finished, the obligation to tithe takes effect.

ד

כיצד פירות שדעתו להוליכן לבית אעפ"י שנגמרה מלאכתן אוכל מהן אכילת עראי עד שנכנסו לבית נכנסו לבית נקבעו למעשרות ואסור לאכול מהן עד שיעשר וכן אם מכרן או בשלן באור או כבשן במלח או הפריש מהן תרומה או נכנסה שבת עליהם לא יאכל עד שיעשר אעפ"י שלא הגיעו לבית הכניסן לבית קודם שתגמר מלאכתן ה"ז אוכל מהן עראי התחיל לגמור מלאכתן מאחר שנכנסו לבית חייב לעשר הכל כיצד הכניס קישואין ודילועין לבית קודם שישפשף משיתחיל לשפשף אחת נקבעו הכל למעשר וכן כל כיוצא בזה וכן התורם פירות שלא נגמרה מלאכתן מותר לאכול מהן עראי חוץ מכלכלת תאנים שאם תרמה קודם שתגמר מלאכתן נקבעה למעשר:

5

[The following laws apply if] figs branches to which figs were still attached or date fronds to which dates where still attached18 were brought home. If children or workers brought them [to a person's home], the obligation to tithe does not yet take effect.19 If the owner of the home brought them, he is obligated to tithe them.20

If he brought in stalks of grain to make dough, the obligation to tithe does not take effect.21 If he intended to eat them as kernels, it does take effect.22 When does the above apply? With regard to grain. With regard to legumes, the obligation to tithe does not take effect [in that instance].23

ה

המביא לבית סוכי תאנה ובהם תאנים מכבדי תמרה ובהם תמרים אם הכניסום תינוקות או פועלים לא נקבעו למעשר ואם הכניסן בעל הבית חייב במעשר הכניס שבלים לעשות מהן עיסה לא נקבעו לאכלן מלילות נקבעו למעשר במה דברים אמורים בתבואה אבל בקטניות לא נקבעו למעשר:

6

It is permitted to be crafty and bring [grain that has been harvested] into one's home while it still has its outer shell24 so that one's livestock can partake of it25 and thus it is exempt from tithes.26 One may then winnow a small portion of it after it has been brought into one's home.27 He is thus exempt from [the obligation to separate] terumah and tithes forever, since he has not begun to complete [the tasks necessary to prepare] the entire [harvest].

ו

מותר להערים על התבואה להכניסה במוץ כדי שתהיה בהמתו אוכלת ופטורה מן המעשר וזורה מעט מעט אחר שהכניס לביתו ופטור לעולם מן התרומה ומן המעשרות שהרי אינו מתחיל לגמור הכל:

7

When a person completes the task necessary to process a colleague's produce without his knowledge or he brings the produce to one of the six situations28 that establish an obligation to tithe without [the owner's] knowledge, [this produce] incurs the obligation to be tithed.29

ז

הגומר פירותיו של חבירו שלא מדעתו וכן הקובע פירותיו באחד מן הששה דברים שקובעים למעשר שלא מדעתו הרי אלו טבלו למעשר:

8

What is meant by completing the work associated with produce? For zucchini, squash, and watermelon, it is when one rubs them with his hands and removes the golden hairs upon them. If he does not rub them,30 it is when he makes a pile. For a watermelon,31 it is when he arranges them in a designated place, one watermelon next to another. If one rubs the fruit one by one, when he completed [rubbing] all that he needed, that [specific produce] is considered as if the tasks necessary to prepare it were completed.32 We may separate terumah from zucchini and squash even though the hairs have not been removed from it.33

ח

אי זהו גמר מלאכתן של פירות הקישואין והדילועין והאבטיחין משישפשף בידו ויסיר הציהוב שעליהן כמו שער דק ואם אינו משפשף משיעמיד ערימה ובאבטיח משיסדיר אותו במוקצה אבטיח בצד אבטיח היה משפשף אחת אחת כיון שגמר כל צרכו נגמרה מלאכתן ותורמין קישואין ודילועין אע"פ שלא הסיר הציהוב מעליהן:

9

For vegetables that are [sold while] bound together,34 it is when they are bound together. If the vegetables are not bound together, it is when the container is full. If he does not fill the container, he may snack from the produce until he gathers all that he needs.

ט

הירק הנאגד משיאגוד אם אינו אוגד משימלא את הכלי [אם] אינו ממלא הרי זה אוכל עראי עד שילקט כל צרכו:

10

For a basket [of produce], it is when the produce will be covered by leaves, straw, and the like.35 If he does not cover it, it is when the container is full. If he does not fill the container, it is when he gathers all that he needs.

י

כלכלה משיחפה הפירות שבה בעלים ובהוצין וכיוצא בהן אם אינו מחפה משימלא את הכלי אם אינו ממלא עד שילקט כל צורכו:

11

[When a person is gathering produce] in a large container, but he desires to fill only a portion of it, once he fills that portion, [the produce] must be tithed. If he intends to fill the entire container, [the produce is] not required to be tithed until he fills the entire container. If he has two containers and desires to fill both of them, [the produce is] not required to be tithed until he fills both of them.

יא

כלי גדול שדעתו למלאות את חציו כיון שמילא חציו נטבל היה בדעתו למלאות את כולו אינו נטבל עד שימלא את כולו היו שנים ובדעתו למלאות את שניהם לא נטבלו עד שימלא שניהם:

12

When a person made a large weave of vegetables in the field, the obligation to tithe takes effect36 even though he intended to [undo the larger weave and] make a smaller weave for the marketplace.

Dried pomegranate seeds, raisins, and carobs, [become obligated to be tithed] when a person sets up a pile on top of his roof. Onions [become obligated] when one removes the leaves and shells that he would generally discard. If he does not remove them, [there is no obligation to tithe the onions], until one stores them in a pile.

יב

אגד הירק אגד גדול בשדה אף על פי שבדעתו לאוגדו אגודות קטנות לשוק ה"ז נטבל הפרד והצימוקין והחרובין משיעמיד ערימה בראש גגו והבצלים משיסיר העלים והקליפות שדרכו להשליכם מעליהן ואם אינו מסיר עד שיעמיד ערימה:

13

Grain [becomes obligated] when one is mimareach it. What is meant by mimareach? When one straightens the surface of the grainheap with a pitchfork at the conclusion of the entire process, as one would do when he concludes all his work.37 If a person is not mimareach, [the obligation takes effect], when he makes a pile.

Legumes [become obligated] when one sifts them38 and takes them from under the sifter and partakes of them. If he does not sift them, [the obligation takes effect when] he is mimareach.

Even though he is mimareach, it is permitted to take from the scattered stalks,39 those on the side, and the kernels that are in the straw, and partake of them.40

יג

התבואה משימרח ואי זהו ממרח זה המיפה פני הכרי של תבואה ברחת בסוף כל דבר כדרך שעושין כשגומרין כל מעשיה אם אינו ממרח עד שיעמיד ערימה הקטניות משיכבור ונוטל מתחת הכברה ואוכל [אם] אינו כובר עד שימרח ואע"פ שמירח מותר ליטול מן הקוטעים ומן הצדדין וממה שבתוך התבן ואוכל:

14

Wine [becomes obligated] when it is stored in a barrel and the peels and seeds are removed from the top of the barrel. When, however, it is in the vat and one takes out some to put it in a barrel, one may drink from it casually.41 Similarly, he may collect [wine] from the upper vat,42 from a conduit, or from any place and drink it [without tithing].

יד

היין משיניחנו בחביות וישלה הזגין והחרצנין מעל פי החבית אבל כשהוא בתוך הבור כשיגביהנו להעמידו בחבית שותה עראי וקולט מן הגת העליונה ומן הצינור ומכל מקום ושותה:

15

Oil [becomes obligated] when it descends to the vat.43 Even though it has descended, one may take from the rope basket,44 the stone [used to grind the olives], the boards or stones of the olive press. One may place [untithed] oil into cooked food in a small dish or a large pot even though [the food] is hot, because it will not cook in a secondary vessel.45 If [the food] was very hot, so much so that one's hand would burn, he should not put [untithed oil] into it, because it will be cooked.46

טו

השמן משירד לעוקה אף על פי שירד נוטל מן העקל ומן הממל ומבין הפסין ונותן לקערה קטנה ולתמחוי לתוך התבשיל אעפ"י שהוא חם מפני שאינו מתבשל בכלי שני ואם היה חם ביותר כדי שיכוה את היד לא יתן לתוכו מפני שהוא מתבשל:

16

A cake of dried figs [becomes obligated] when it is smoothed. Dried figs [become obligated] when they become crushed [into the container in which they will be stored].47 If they were placed in a storage container, [they become obligated] when one smoothes out the surface of the storage container by hand. If one was crushing dried figs into a jug or into a cake at the opening of a storage container and the jug becomes broken or the storage container is opened, he should not partake of [the figs] until they are tithed.

טז

העיגול של דבילה משיחלקנו הגרוגרות משידוש ואם הכניסם למגורה משיעגיל בידו ע"פ המגורה היה דש הגרוגרות בחבית או העיגול ע"פ המגורה [נשברה החבית או שנפתחה המגורה] ה"ז לא יאכל עד שיעשר:

17

When figs and grapes have been set aside [to dry], it is permitted to snack from them in the place where they were set aside.48 If, however, he took some from the place where they were set aside, he should not snack from them, because the tasks involved [in their preparation] have been completed, even though they have not dried out totally.49

יז

תאנים וענבים שבמוקצה מותר לאכול מהן עראי במקומן אבל אם נטל מן המוקצה והוליך למקום אחר לא יאכל מהן עראי שהרי נגמרה מלאכתן אע"פ שלא יבשו כל צרכן:

18

Carobs [become obligated] when he collects them on top of the roof to dry.50 He may take some down [from the roof] for fodder for his livestock. He is exempt [from tithing],51 because he will put back what is left over. He is thus using it as fodder as a temporary measure.

יח

החרובין עד שלא כנסן לראש הגג מוריד מהן לבהמה ופטור מפני שהוא מחזיר את המותר לייבשו ונמצא מאכיל עראי:

19

When a person separated the first tithe while the produce was still in stalks,52 it is forbidden to partake of it until terumat ma'aser is separated from it.53 If he partook of it, he is given stripes for rebellious conduct.54

What is meant by partaking of food as a snack? If a person was peeling barley kernels and eating them, he may peel them one by one.55 If he peeled several and held them in his hand, he is required to tithe them.56 If he was crushing the shells of wheat kernels, he may sift the chaff from hand to hand and partake of them.57 If he sifted them into his bosom, he is required to tithe them.58 Needless to say, if he sifted them with a utensil, [he is required to tithe them], for this is not a temporary measure.

Similarly, one may take wine and put it into a cold cooked dish in a bowl and partake of it. One may not, by contrast, put it into a pot59 even if it was cold, because it is considered like a small cistern.60 Similarly, one may squeeze olives onto his skin [without tithing],61 but not into his hand. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

יט

מע"ר שהקדימו בשבלים אסור לאכול ממנו עראי קודם שיפריש תרומתו ואם אכל מכין אותו מכת מרדות כיצד היא אכילת עראי כגון שהיה מקלף שעורים ואוכל מקלף אחת אחת ואם קלף וכנס לתוך ידו חייב לעשר היה מולל מלילות של חיטים מנפה מיד ליד ואוכל ואם נפה לתוך חיקו חייב לעשר ואין צ"ל אם ניפה בכלי שאין זה עראי וכן נוטל מן היין ונותן לקערה לתוך תבשיל צונן ואוכל אבל לא לתוך הקדרה אעפ"י שהיא צוננת מפני שהיא כבור קטן וכן סוחט זיתים על בשרו אבל לא לתוך ידו וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

20

Just as it is permitted to partake of produce as a snack when the work [involved in its preparation] has not been completed,62 so too, it is permitted to feed such produce to animals, livestock, and fowl as one desires. Similarly, one may declare as much of this produce ownerless as he desires.63

If he completed those tasks, even when the obligation to tithe was not established,64 he may not declare the produce ownerless, nor may he feed it to livestock, animals, and fowl in a significant manner until he tithes it. It is permitted to feed an animal tevel in an insignificant manner, even in one's home.65 One can feed [an animal] rolls of chilba66 until one bundles them as packages.67

כ

וכשם שמותר לאכול עראי מפירות שלא נגמרה מלאכתן כך מותר להאכיל מהן לחיה ולבהמה ולעופות כל מה שירצה ומפקיר מהן כל מה שירצה קודם שיעשר ואם גמרו אעפ"י שלא נקבעו למעשר לא יפקיר ולא יאכיל לבהמה ולחיה ולעופות אכילת קבע עד שיעשר ומותר להאכיל לבהמה עראי מן הטבל ואפילו בתוך הבית ומאכיל פקיעי עמיר עד שיעשם חבילות:

21

When a person discovers fruits68 on the road - even if he finds them next to an orchard of that fruit - they are exempt from the tithes.69 When one found dried figs, if most people already crushed their dried figs [into larger masses], he is obligated to tithe [what he found], for we assume that it came from produce for which the work involved in its preparation was completed. Similarly, if he found broken pieces of cakes of dried figs, it should be considered as if they came from produce for which the work involved in its preparation was completed.

כא

המוצא קציצות בדרך אפילו בצד שדה קציצות הרי אלו פטורין מן המעשר מצא גרוגרות אם דרסו רוב הגרוגרות רוב האדם חייב לעשר שחזקתן מדבר שנגמרה מלאכתן: וכן אם מצא פלחי דבילה שידוע שהם מדבר הגמור:

22

When a person finds sheaves of wheat in a private domain, he is obligated to tithe them.70 [If he finds them] in the public domain, they are exempt.71 Larger sheaves are required to be tithed wherever they are found.72

If one finds [bundles of] grain that have been straightened,73 one may separate them as terumah74 and tithes for other produce.75 One need not be concerned [that the owners separated tithes for this produce already].76

[If one finds a] basket [of fruit] that is covered, 77 he is required to tithe it.78 If he finds a basket [of fruit] in a place where most people take it to the marketplace, he is forbidden to snack from it79 and he should make the appropriate separations as if it were demai.80 [In a place where] most people bring it home, he may snack from it and he must certainly make the appropriate separations.81 If half [bring home] and half [bring to the marketplace], it is considered as demai.82 If he brings it home, he must certainly make the appropriate separations.

When does the above apply? With regard to a type of produce that does not have a specific phase at which the tasks associated with its preparation are completed. If, however, the produce does have a phase when the tasks associated with its preparation are completed, even though he must certainly separate tithes, he does not have to separate terumah. For we can assume that terumah was separated when those tasks were completed.

כב

מצא כריכות ברה"י חייב לעשר ברה"ר פטורות והאלומות בכל מקום חייבות במעשר מצא תבואה מרוחה עושה אותה תרומות ומעשרות על פירות אחרות ואינו חושש מצא כלכלה מחופה חייבת במעשרות מצא כלכלה במקום שהרוב מכניסין לשוק אסור לאכול ממנה עראי ומתקנה דמאי ובמקום שהרוב מכניסין לבתים אוכל ממנה עראי ומתקנה ודאי מחצה למחצה דמאי ואם הכניסה לבית מתקנה ודאי במד"א בדבר שאין לו גמר מלאכה אבל בדבר שיש לו גמר מלאכה אף ע"פ שהוא מעשר ודאי אינו צריך להפריש תרומה שחזקתן שהפריש מהן תרומה בשעה שנגמרה מלאכתן:

23

When there are ant holes that existed overnight next to a pile of grain that is required to be tithed, the kernels found there are required to be tithed. For it is obvious that the ants have been taking from produce that was completely prepared throughout the night.

כג

חדרי הנמלים שלנו בצד הערימה החייבת הרי הנמצא בהן חייב למעשרות שידוע שמדבר גמור היו גוררין כל הלילה:

24

When a person finds olives under an olive tree or carobs under a carob tree,83 he is required to tithe them, for we assume that they fell from this tree.84 If he found figs under a fig tree, there is a doubt whether they fell from this tree or from figs that are already tithed, because their appearance changes and they become soiled with the dust.85

כד

המוצא זיתים תחת הזית וחרובין תחת החרוב חייבין במעשר שחזקתן שמאילן זה נפלו מצא תאנים תחת התאנה הרי הם ספק שהרי משתנות ומתלכלכות בעפר שמא מתאנה זו נפלו או מתאנים שנתעשרו:

25

When a person consecrates produce that has been detached86 and redeems it before the tasks associated with its preparation are completed, one is obligated to tithe it.87 If [these tasks] were completed while [the crops ] were in the domain of the Temple treasury and then he redeemed them, they are exempt from tithes.88 When a person consecrated standing grain for meal offerings, it is exempt from the tithes.89

כה

המקדיש פירות תלושין ופדאן קודם שתגמר מלאכתן חייב לעשר ואם נגמרה מלאכתן ביד ההקדש ואח"כ פדאן פטורין מן המעשרות שבשעת חובתן הוו פטורין מן המעשרות המקדיש קמה למנחות פטורה מן המעשרות:

Footnotes
1.

See Chapter 2, Halachot 3-5, which also dwell on this subject.

2.

According to Scriptural Law, there are no restrictions at all on partaking of this produce. Nevertheless, our Sages only allowed one to partake of it as a snack. They, however, did not allow him to partake of it as part of a significant meal (Rashi, Berachot 31a).

3.

The difference between the two instances can be explained as follows: If he intends to sell it, then he will sell it when he meets a purchaser even before taking it to the marketplace. And the produce must be tithed before it is sold. Hence, as soon as the work associated with it is completed, he must tithe it. In contrast, when he intends to bring the produce home, everything is dependent on his own intent. Hence, he is given this leniency [the Jerusalem Talmud (Ma'aserot 1:5)].

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam's ruling, maintaining that since the Torah mentions grain from the grainheap and wine from the vat, the obligation to tithe these types of produces takes effect when they are in the grainheap and the vat. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh support the Rambam's ruling and it is cited as halachah by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 331:82).

4.

The definition of such acts is the subject of the following halachot.

5.

The Ra'avad asks why the Rambam does not mentioning pickling, for that is also cited by the Mishnah (Ma'aserot 4:1). According to the Rambam, that act is including in salting, because he interprets the mishnah as meaning pickling in brine (see his Commentary to the Mishnah). It is, nevertheless, difficult why the mishnah mentions salting and pickling as separate activities. Note, however, Chapter 5, Halachah 14, which could also be interpreted as referring to pickling in vinegar.

6.

Accoridng to Rabbinic Law. With regard to Scriptural Law, see the following chapter.

7.

A courtyard that is protected (Chapter 4, Halachah 8). Here the intent of mentioning a courtyard is to refer to any dwelling as explained in Chapter 4.

8.

See Chapter 5, Halachah 1ff.

9.

See Chapter 5, Halachah 14.

10.

Ibid.:18.

11.

Ibid.:19.

12.

Ibid.:20.

13.

Or even, as indicated in the previous halachah, it is brought into a courtyard that serves the home.

14.

Even partaking from it as a snack is forbidden.

15.

See Halachah 6.

16.

Not only the portion for which he completed the work.

17.

Neither here, nor in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aserot 2:4), does the Rambam explain why figs are singled out from other fruit. The Radbaz quotes the gloss of Rabbenu Shimshon as stating that the intent is not only figs, but all fruit that is set aside for drying. Even though one's original intent is that the fruit be dried, since it is home and it is in a basket, it may be served at any time. Therefore, it is necessary to tithe it.

18.

Since the fruit was not removed from the branches, it is considered as if the tasks preparing this fruit are not completed.

19.

Since the produce is not their own, their intent in bringing the branches in is not significant.

20.

For the fact that he brings them home indicates that from his perspective, all work has been completed.

21.

For he will be performing further work to prepare the grain for produce.

22.

In such an instance, the kernels are basically ready to be eaten and bringing them home is considered as collecting them in a grainheap.

23.

For the kernels of legumes are generally not collected to be eaten at this stage of preparation and hence, there is no obligation to tithe.

24.

I.e., without having threshed it or winnowed it.

25.

Feeding one's livestock is considered equivalent to eating a snack. Note, however, Halachah 20 which could qualify this statement (Kessef Mishneh).

26.

Since the work to prepare it for human consumption has not been completed.

The reason for this leniency is that according to Scriptural Law, there is no obligation to tithe until all the tasks associated with the produce are completed and it is brought within a home. Hence since only a Rabbinic prohibition is involved, there is room for leniency.

27.

I.e., he need not feed it to his livestock with its chaff. Moreover, he can perform this activity several times. Different laws apply with regard to humans. They may snack from such produce, but may not partake of a significant amount of it (Siftei Cohen 331:114).

28.

I.e., those described in Halachah 3. In particular, the Radbaz asks questions concerning two of those situations: selling the produce and the commencement of the Sabbath. Seemingly, a sale cannot be made without the owner's consent and the Sabbath is not dependent on the other person's activity. The Radbaz explains that with regard to a sale, we are speaking about an instance where afterwards the owner consented to the sale. And with regard to the Sabbath, we are speaking about a situation where the other person completed the work associated with the produce before the Sabbath commenced. Thus when the Sabbath commenced, the produce was fit to be ready to be obligated in the tithes.

29.

For the produce has reached the stage when it is necessary to tithe it. This is not dependent on the owner's intent.

30.

For there are those who do not make these preparatory steps, but rather sell the fruit as is.

31.

For it is not common to make a pile of watermelons.

32.

And it alone must be tithed (Radbaz).

The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh note that in Halachah 4, the Rambam states that as soon as he rubs the hair off one fruit or vegetable, the entire quantity is required to be tithed, while in this halachah, he states that only those he seeks to use immediately must be tithed. Among the resolutions they offer are:

a) in Halachah 4, the person's intent is to prepare the entire quantity of produce. Therefore, as soon as he begins, that entire quantity must be tithed. Here, he only desires to prepare a limited quantity. Hence, it is only the quantity that he actually prepares that must be tithed.

b) Halachah 4 speaks about an instance when he prepares them in his home, while this halachah speaks about preparing them in the field to bring home.

33.

I.e., this is allowed as an initial preference. The Radbaz explains that although the Rambam mentions only the separation of terumah, he also means the separation of the tithes, because it is unfeasible to think that terumah should be separated but not the tithes.

34.

E.g., like garlic or onions that are woven together.

35.

From the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aserot 1:5), it appears that after reapers would gather fruit, they would cover it with leaves or straw to protect it from the sun.

36.

For the work in the field associated with their preparation has been completed.

37.

I.e., it is obvious that the person's intent is not to add other sheathes to the grain heap. Significantly, the Rambam's definition here is slightly different than the definition he gives in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Pe'ah 1:6).

38.

For it is common for pebbles to become mixed together with legumes and the legumes are sifted to remove them.

39.

Our translation is taken from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aserot 1:6).

40.

This is considered as a snack and hence, tithes are not required.

41.

I.e., drink the equivalent of a snack. The Kessef Mishneh states that when one takes the wine before it reaches the storage vat, one may drink from it without tithing even though he removes the peels and seeds.

42.

I.e., the place where the grapes were crushed to produce wine (ibid.:7).

43.

The storage pit (ibid.).

44.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (ibid.), the Rambam explains that a basket was made of ropes and olives were placed within. Afterwards, they would press the olives in that basket. The translation of the two terms that follow are also from the same source.

45.

The term "secondary vessel" refers to a utensil in which hot food was placed after it was removed from a fire. The Rambam is referring to the following difficulty. As stated in Halachah 3, subjecting produce to fire establishes an obligation to tithe. Thus as the Rambam states in Chapter 5, Halachah 16, if a person places oil into a pot that is on the fire or just removed from the fire, the obligation to tithe is established. In the instance described in our halachah, that is not the case, because food will not cook in a secondary vessel.

46.

And an obligation to tithe will have been established. The Radbaz explains that this clause is not speaking about a secondary vessel, because a secondary vessel never cooks (Shabbat 40b). Alternatively, the laws of cooking are different with regard to the establishment of an obligation to tithe than with regard to the Sabbath laws or the laws of Kashrut. In this instance, when a secondary vessel is very hot, it can be considered as having cooked.

47.

Our translation is taken from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aserot 1:8).

48.

Since they have not been dried out, it is considered as if the tasks necessary to prepare them have not been completed.

49.

I.e., moving them causes it to be considered as if the tasks have been completed.

50.

Since he will ultimately do so, until he does so, the tasks associated with their preparation have not been completed.

51.

Even though he has brought the produce into his courtyard.

52.

Before it was threshed.

53.

There is, however, no necessity to separate the great terumah. See Hilchot Terumot 3:13.

54.

The punishment given for the violation of Rabbinical commandments or other transgressions that are not punishable by lashes according to Scriptural Law.

55.

Without having to tithe them.

56.

For this is considered as if he was partaking of the meal in a significant manner, not merely snacking. Alternatively, because this represents the conclusion of the tasks associated with preparing the grain.

57.

Even though he has brought the produce into his courtyard.

58.

Before it was threshed.

59.

Which had been cooked on a fire.

60.

I.e., just as when wine is placed in a cistern, the work involved in its preparation is considered to have been completed, so too, when it is placed in a cooked dish, the work involved in its preparation is considered to be finished.

61.

Applying oil is considered equivalent to eating (Chapter 13, Halachah 16). Nevertheless, such an application is considered as equivalent to merely partaking of a snack.

62.

See Halachah 1.

63.

I.e., giving them a large amount, not merely a snack.

64.

E.g., he intended to bring the produce home and hence, the obligation to tithe is not established until he does so.

65.

The Ra'avad questions this ruling based on the Jerusalem Talmud (Ma'aserot 1:6) which quotes Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar as stating that once produce is brought into a person's courtyard (i.e., his residence), it cannot be fed to an animal without tithing. The Radbaz explains that according to the Rambam, our Sages differ with Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar on this point and do not require tithing. The rationale is that since the entire obligation to tithe animal fodder is Rabbinic in origin, this obligation was instituted only when the animal was fed a significant amount.

66.

Our translation is based on the Rambam LeAm. Generally, amir is translated as "straw." In this instance, we have facored this translation, because straw is not found for humans.

67.

For this represents the completion of the tasks associated with the preparation of this produce. Although chilba is occasionally used as food for humans, it is primarily considered as animal fodder.

68.

Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aserot 3:4). There he explains that the term ketzitzot refers to "individual fruits that have been detached from any species of fruit." Often, the term is used to refer to fresh figs.

69.

For we assume that the owners despaired of their return when the fruit fell outside their property. This is considered equivalent to declaring them ownerless. When produce was declared ownerless before the work involved in its preparation was concluded, there is no obligation to tithe.

70.

Taking those sheaves is considered as theft and forbidden (see Hilchot Gezeilah ViAvedah 15:8-10), because the owners will not despair of their recovery. Hence, they are not considered as ownerless and must be tithed. See also Hilchot Terumot 4:11.

71.

Since the owner will have no way of retrieving them, he relinquishes his ownership. And since they were ownerless, there is no obligation to tithe them.

72.

Because of their size, they are not considered ownerless even in the public domain.

73.

Straightening the surface of the bundle causes the obligation to tithe to be established with regard to it, as stated in Halachah 13. Hence, even if the owner despairs of the recovery of the grain, since the obligation to tithe was established before the produce became ownerless, it is not rescinded.

74.

Based on the Jerusalem Talmud (Ma'aserot 3:3), we must assume the intent is terumat ma'aser, for once grain has been moved from its original grainheap, we assume that terumah was separated.

75.

Although it is forbidden to use produce to separate tithes and terumat ma'aser if these separations have already been made from it, we are not concerned that perhaps that has happened as the Rambam continues to explain.

76.

Even though tithes are required to be separated from it, we assume that the owner would not tithe produce until he brought it to his home.

77.

See Halachah 9. As stated there, covering the fruit establishes the obligation to tithe.

78.

Here also, once the obligation to tithe has been established, it is not rescinded if the fruit becomes ownerless.

79.

See Halachah 2.

80.

We are uncertain whether or not the owner separated the tithes from it, but we are certain that he separated terumah, as explained in Chapter 9.

81.

Since there is no obligation to separate terumah and the tithes until the produce is brought home, we assume that none of the separations were made.

82.

In this instance, however, he must also separate terumah lest it not have been separated beforehand.

83.

The Radbaz states that this applies not only to olives and carobs, but to any fruit that is recognizable as coming from the tree under which it is found.

84.

Based on Bava Metzia 21b, it appears that we are speaking about olives and carobs that resemble the olives and carobs on the trees. Hence, we assume that they fell from the tree and have not yet been tithed. See also the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aserot 3:4). Since the fruit has fallen under the tree and can be recognized as coming from the tree, the owner does not consider them ownerless and taking them is considered as theft.

85.

Thus unlike the olives and carobs mentioned above, it cannot be determined whether they fell from the tree under which they were found. Hence, the owner despairs of their recovery. It is not forbidden to take the fruit and there is no obligation to tithe it. It is, however, necessary to tithe it as one tithes demai (ibid.).

86.

After it reached the stage that the tithes were required to be separated (see Chapter 2, Halachah 8). This is indicated by the expression "detached produce" (Radbaz).

87.

For at the time the obligation to tithe took effect, the produce was privately owned and not in the possession of the Temple treasury.

88.

For there is no obligation to tithe produce owned by the Temple treasury. The Jerusalem Talmud (Ma'aserot 1:1) teaches that Deuteronomy 12:17 speaks of tithing "your grain." This can be understood as an exclusion, "your grain," i.e., that owned by a private person, and not that owned by the Temple treasury.

89.

The intent is that not only the grain that is used for the meal offerings is not obligated to be tithed, but also the remainder that is not used for that purpose, but is instead, redeemed and used for private purposes. Even so, the person who redeems it is not obligated to tithe it, as explained in the conclusion of ch. 2.

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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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