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Bechorot - Chapter 7

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Bechorot - Chapter 7


When a person possesses ten lambs and he separates one as the tithes or he possesses 100 and he separates ten as the tithes, these are not tithes. What, instead, should he do? He should gather all of the lambs or all of the calves born that year in a corral. He then makes a small entrance so that two cannot emerge at the same time. He positions their mothers outside the corral and they bleat so that the lambs will hear their voices and leave the corral to meet them. This is necessary, as implied by Leviticus 27:32 which states: "all that passes beneath the staff," i.e., they must pass on their own initiative; one should not remove them by hand.

As they leave the corral one by one, the owner begins to count them with a staff: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. The tenth animal that departs, whether male or female, whether unblemished or blemished, should be painted with red paint, and the owner should say: "This is the tithe."

If he did not paint the animals designated as the tithes with red paint, did not count them with a staff, or counted them while they are lying down or standing, the tithing takes effect. Since he counted them ten by ten and consecrated the tenth, it is considered a tithe.


מִי שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ עֲשָׂרָה טְלָאִים וְהִפְרִישׁ אֶחָד מֵעֲשָׂרָה. הָיוּ לוֹ מֵאָה וְהִפְרִישׁ עֲשָׂרָה לְמַעֲשֵׂר. אֵין אֵלּוּ מַעֲשֵׂר. אֶלָּא כֵּיצַד עוֹשֶׂה. כּוֹנֵס כָּל הַטְּלָאִים אוֹ כָּל הָעֲגָלִים לַדִּיר. וְעוֹשֶׂה לוֹ פֶּתַח קָטָן כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יֵצְאוּ שְׁנַיִם כְּאֶחָד. וְאִמּוֹתֵיהֶן מַעֲמִיד מִבַּחוּץ. וְהֵן גּוֹעוֹת שֶׁיִּשְׁמְעוּ הַטְּלָאִים קוֹלָן וְיֵצְאוּ מִן הַדִּיר לִקְרָאתָן. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כז לב) "כּל אֲשֶׁר יַעֲבֹר תַּחַת הַשָּׁבֶט". שֶׁיַּעֲבֹר מֵעַצְמוֹ וְלֹא שֶׁיּוֹצִיאוֹ בְּיָדוֹ. וּכְשֶׁיֵּצְאוּ מִן הַדִּיר זֶה אַחַר זֶה. מַתְחִיל וּמוֹנֶה אוֹתָן בַּשֵּׁבֶט. א' ב' ג' ד' ה' ו' ז' ח' ט'. וְהַיּוֹצֵא עֲשִׂירִי בֵּין זָכָר בֵּין נְקֵבָה בֵּין תָּמִים בֵּין בַּעַל מוּם סוֹקְרוֹ בְּסִקְרָא וְאוֹמֵר הֲרֵי זֶה מַעֲשֵׂר. לֹא סְקָרוֹ בְּסִקְרָא וְלֹא מְנָאָן בַּשֵּׁבֶט אוֹ שֶׁמְּנָאָן רְבוּצִים אוֹ עוֹמְדִים הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מַעֲשֵׂר הוֹאִיל וּמְנָאָם עֲשָׂרָה עֲשָׂרָה וְקִדֵּשׁ עֲשִׂירִי הֲרֵי זֶה מַעֲשֵׂר:


It is not necessary to collect every animal born in a person's domain to one corral. Instead, the reckoning is made for every herd alone. If a person owned five lambs in Jerusalem and five in Acre, they are not combined into a single herd. Instead, they are all exempt from the tithes.

What is the distance required to be between two herds for them to be combined? Sixteen mil.


אֵין צָרִיךְ לְצָרֵף כָּל בְּהֵמָה שֶׁנּוֹלְדָה בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ לְדִיר אֶחָד אֶלָּא מְצָרֵף כָּל עֵדֶר וְעֵדֶר לְבַדּוֹ. הָיוּ לוֹ חֲמִשָּׁה טְלָאִים בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם וַחֲמִשָּׁה טְלָאִים בְּעַכּוֹ אֵין מִצְטָרְפִין וְכֻלָּן פְּטוּרִין מִן הַמַּעֲשֵׂר. וְכַמָּה יִהְיֶה בֵּין אֵלּוּ לְאֵלּוּ וְיִצְטָרְפוּ שִׁשָּׁה עָשָׂר מִיל:


If there are three herds and there are sixteen mil between each one, the three are combined. What is implied? There were nine on one side, nine on the other side, and one in the center, all three herds are brought into the corral together to be tithed.


הָיוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה עֲדָרִים בֵּין כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד שִׁשָּׁה עָשָׂר מִיל הֲרֵי שְׁלָשְׁתָּן מִצְטָרְפִין. כֵּיצַד. הָיָה תִּשְׁעָה מִכָּאן וְתִשְׁעָה מִכָּאן וְאֶחָד בְּאֶמְצַע הֲרֵי שְׁלָשְׁתָּן נִכְנָסִין לַדִּיר לְהִתְעַשֵּׂר:


Tithes are not taken from sheep for cattle, nor from cattle for sheep. One must, however, tithe sheep for goats and goats for sheep. This is derived from Leviticus 27:32: "All the tithes of your cattle and tzon." Implied is that all light, domesticated animals are included as one category, for they are both referred to with the term seh and they are like one species.


אֵין מְעַשְּׂרִין מִן הַצֹּאן עַל הַבָּקָר וְלֹא מִן הַבָּקָר עַל הַצֹּאן. אֲבָל מְעַשְּׂרִין מִן הַכְּבָשִׂים עַל הָעִזִּים וּמִן הָעִזִּים עַל הַכְּבָשִׂים. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כז לב) "וְכָל מַעְשַׂר בָּקָר וָצֹאן" מַשְׁמָע כָּל צֹאן אֶחָד שֶׁשְּׁנֵיהֶם נִקְרָאִים שֶׂה וַהֲרֵי הֵם כְּמִין אֶחָד:


We do not tithe animals born in one year with animals born in another year just as we do not tithe the crops from the new year for the crops from the past year nor the crops from the past year for the crops of the new year, as Deuteronomy 14:22: "Which are produced by the field year for year."

It appears to me that if one tithed animals from one year for animals of another year, the tithing is binding because of the severity of consecrated animals. For the Torah did not explicitly emphasize that the tithing of animals must be from the same year.


אֵין מְעַשְּׂרִים מִן הַנּוֹלָדִים בְּשָׁנָה זוֹ עַל הַנּוֹלָדִים בְּשָׁנָה אַחֶרֶת כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאֵין מְעַשְּׂרִין בְּזֶרַע הָאָרֶץ מִן הֶחָדָשׁ עַל הַיָּשָׁן וְלֹא מִן הַיָּשָׁן עַל הֶחָדָשׁ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יד כב) "הַיֹּצֵא הַשָּׂדֶה שָׁנָה שָׁנָה". וְיֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁאִם עִשֵּׂר בְּהֵמָה מִשָּׁנָה עַל שָׁנָה הֲרֵי זֶה מַעֲשֵׂר מִפְּנֵי חֻמְרַת הַקֳדָשִׁים שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא הִקְפִּידָה תּוֹרָה עַל מַעֲשַׂר בְּהֵמָה בְּפֵרוּשׁ שֶׁיִּהְיֶה שָׁנָה שָׁנָה:


All of the offspring born from the first of Tishrei until the twenty-ninth of Elul are combined and are tithed for each other. If five lambs are born on the twenty-ninth of Elul and five on the first of Tishrei of the following year, they are not combined. If an animal gave birth to offspring in its first year of life, it and its daughter should be brought into the corral together to be tithed.


כָּל הַנּוֹלָדִים בְּאֶחָד בְּתִשְׁרֵי עַד עֶשְׂרִים וְתִשְׁעָה בֶּאֱלוּל מִצְטָרְפִין וּמְעַשְּׂרִין מֵאֵלּוּ עַל אֵלּוּ. נוֹלְדוּ חֲמִשָּׁה טְלָאִים בְּעֶשְׂרִים וְתִשְׁעָה בֶּאֱלוּל וַחֲמִשָּׁה בְּאֶחָד בְּתִשְׁרֵי אֵין מִצְטָרְפִין. יָלְדוּ תּוֹלָדוֹת בְּתוֹךְ שְׁנָתָן הֲרֵי הִיא וּבִתָּהּ נִכְנָסִים לַדִּיר לְהִתְעַשֵּׂר:


The lambs which are born are not like tevel from which one may not eat until one tithes as explained in its place. Instead, one may sell or slaughter all the offspring one desires until one tithes. The animal designated as the tithe offering will be consecrated and must be eaten according to law, as explained above.


אֵין הַטְּלָאִים הַנּוֹלָדִים כְּמוֹ הַטֶּבֶל שֶׁאָסוּר לֶאֱכל מִמֶּנּוּ עַד שֶׁיְּעַשֵּׂר כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בִּמְקוֹמוֹ אֶלָּא מֻתָּר לִמְכֹּר וְלִשְׁחֹט כָּל מַה שֶּׁיִּרְצֶה עַד שֶׁיְּעַשֵּׂר וְיִהְיֶה הַמַּעֲשֵׂר קֹדֶשׁ וְיֵאָכֵל כְּהִלְכָתוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:


Our Sages established three fixed times for the tithing of one's animals. When one of these dates arrives, it is forbidden for a person to sell or slaughter the offspring of his animals until he tithes. If he slaughters, the meat is permitted.

These are the three dates: the fifteenth day before the Paschal sacrifice, the fifteenth day before Shavuot, and the fifteenth day before Sukkot. Each of these times is called a "threshing floor" for the tithing of animals. Thus the "threshing floor" for the tithing of animals is on the last day of the month of Adar, on the thirty-fifth day of the Counting of the Omer, and on the last day of the month of Elul.

Why were the "threshing floors" established on these dates? So that the animals would be available to the festive pilgrims. For even though it is permitted to sell animal offspring before they were tithed, as we explained, the people would refrain from selling them until they would tithe them and perform the mitzvah.


קָבְעוּ חֲכָמִים שְׁלֹשָׁה זְמַנִּים בְּשָׁנָה לְמַעֲשַׂר בְּהֵמָה וּמִשֶּׁיַגִּיעַ זְמַן מֵהֶן אָסוּר לוֹ לִמְכֹּר אוֹ לִשְׁחֹט עַד שֶׁיְּעַשֵּׂר וְאִם שָׁחַט הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן הַשְּׁלֹשָׁה זְמַנִּים. בְּיוֹם חֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר קֹדֶם הַפֶּסַח וּבַיּוֹם חֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר קֹדֶם עֲצֶרֶת וּבַיּוֹם חֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר קֹדֶם הֶחָג. וְכָל זְמַן מֵאֵלּוּ נִקְרָא גֹּרֶן מַעֲשַׂר בְּהֵמָה. נִמְצֵאתָ אוֹמֵר שֶׁהַגֳּרָנוֹת שֶׁל מַעֲשַׂר בְּהֵמָה בְּיוֹם אַחֲרוֹן מֵחֹדֶשׁ אֲדָר וּבַיּוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים וַחֲמִשָּׁה מִסְּפִירַת הָעֹמֶר וּבְיוֹם אַחֲרוֹן מֵחֹדֶשׁ אֱלוּל. וְלָמָּה קָבְעוּ הַגֳּרָנוֹת בַּיָמִים אֵלּוּ כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּהְיֶינָה הַבְּהֵמוֹת מְצוּיוֹת לְעוֹלֵי רְגָלִים. שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמֻּתָּר לִמְכֹּר קֹדֶם שֶׁיְּעַשֵּׂר כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ הָיוּ נִמְנָעִים לִמְכֹּר עַד שֶׁיְּעַשְּׂרוּ וְיַעֲשׂוּ הַמִּצְוָה:


When a person brought all his sheep or cattle into a corral and began to sanctify the tenth animal that departs until there remained less than ten in the corral, those should be left for the next "threshing floor" and they are joined together with those born and tithed and all are collected in one "threshing floor." Even though one knows that some will remain in the corral, he is obligated to bring them all into the corral and the remainder will be left over.


הִכְנִיס כָּל הַצֹּאן אוֹ הַבָּקָר לַדִּיר וְהִתְחִיל לִמְנוֹת וּלְקַדֵּשׁ עֲשִׂירִי עַד שֶׁנִּשְׁאֲרוּ בְּתוֹךְ הַדִּיר פָּחוֹת מֵעֲשָׂרָה הֲרֵי זֶה מַנִּיחָן לְגֹרֶן אַחֵר וְהֵן מִצְטָרְפִין לְאֵלּוּ שֶׁיִּוָּלְדוּ וְיִתְעַשְּׂרוּ הַכּל בְּגֹרֶן אֶחָד. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁאֵלּוּ יִשָּׁאֲרוּ בַּמִּנְיָן חַיָּב לְהַכְנִיס הַכּל לַדִּיר וְהַנִּשְׁאָר יִשָּׁאֵר:

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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 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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