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ב"ה

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Maaser Sheini - Chapter 11, Bikkurim - Chapter 1, Bikkurim - Chapter 2

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Maaser Sheini - Chapter 11

1

It is a positive commandment to make a declaration1 before G‑d2 after all the presents3 from the agricultural products.4 This is called the declaration of the tithes.

א

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לְהִתְוַדּוֹת לִפְני ה' אַחַר שֶׁמּוֹצִיאִין כָּל הַמַּתָּנוֹת שֶׁבְּזֶרַע הָאָרֶץ וְזֶהוּ הַנִּקְרָא וִדּוּי מַעֲשֵׂר:

2

This declaration is made only after the year in which the tithe for the poor is separated,5 as [Deuteronomy 26:12-13] states: "When you complete tithing, and you shall declare before God your Lord: 'I have removed all the sacred substances from the house...'"

ב

וְאֵין מִתְוַדִּין וִדּוּי זֶה אֶלָּא אַחַר הַשָּׁנָה שֶׁמַּפְרִישִׁין בָּהּ מַעֲשַׂר עָנִי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יב) "כִּי תְכַלֶּה לַעְשֵׂר" (דברים כו יג) "וְאָמַרְתָּ לִפְנֵי ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ בִּעַרְתִּי הַקֹּדֶשׁ מִן הַבַּיִת":

3

When is this declaration made? On the afternoon of the last festival6 of the Pesach holiday7 of the fourth and seventh year, as [the prooftext] states: "When you complete tithing...," i.e., on the festival when all the tithes are completed. Pesach of the fourth year will not arrive before all of the produce - both those that grow from the earth and those that grow from trees - have been tithed.

ג

אֵימָתַי מִתְוַדִּין. בְּמִנְחָה בְּיוֹם טוֹב הָאַחֲרוֹן שֶׁל פֶּסַח שֶׁל רְבִיעִית וְשֶׁל שְׁבִיעִית. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יב) "כִּי תְכַלֶּה לַעְשֵׂר". בְּרֶגֶל שֶׁכָּל הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת כָּלִים בּוֹ. וְאֵין הַפֶּסַח מַגִּיעַ מִשָּׁנָה רְבִיעִית אֶלָּא כָּל פֵּרוֹת שְׁלִישִׁית נִתְעַשְּׂרוּ בֵּין פֵּרוֹת הָאִילָן בֵּין פֵּרוֹת הָאָרֶץ:

4

The declaration may only be made during the day.8 The entire day9 is appropriate for this declaration. Whether the Temple is standing or not,10 he is obligated to remove [all the agricultural presents from his possession] and make the declaration.11

ד

אֵין מִתְוַדִּין אֶלָּא בַּיּוֹם. וְכָל הַיּוֹם כָּשֵׁר לְוִדּוּי הַמַּעֲשֵׂר. וּבֵין בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת וּבֵין שֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת חַיָּב לְבַעֵר וּלְהִתְוַדּוֹת:

5

This declaration may be made in any language,12 as [indicated by the prooftext]: "You shall declare before God your Lord," i.e., in any language in which you declare.

Each person should make this declaration individually.13 If many desire to recite it together, they may.14

ה

וִדּוּי זֶה נֶאֱמַר בְּכָל לָשׁוֹן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יג) "וְאָמַרְתָּ לִפְנֵי ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ" בְּכָל לָשׁוֹן שֶׁאַתָּה אוֹמֵר. וְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד אוֹמְרוֹ בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ. וְאִם רָצוּ רַבִּים לְהִתְוַדּוֹת כְּאֶחָד מִתְוַדִּין:

6

[The proper way of performing] the mitzvah is to recite the declaration in the Temple, as [implied by] the phrase: "before God." [Nevertheless,] if he made the declaration in any other place, he fulfilled his obligation.

ו

וּמִצְוָתוֹ בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יג) "לִפְנֵי ה'". וְאִם הִתְוַדָּה בְּכָל מָקוֹם יָצָא:

7

A person may not make this declaration until he has disposed of all the agricultural presents in his possession.15 For in the declaration he states: "I have removed all the sacred substances from the house."16 On the day before the final day of the Pesach festival,17 one must remove [the last of the presents] and on the following day, the declaration is made.

ז

אֵינוֹ מִתְוַדָּה עַד שֶׁלֹּא יִשָּׁאֵר אֶצְלוֹ אַחַת מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת. שֶׁכֵּן הוּא אוֹמֵר בַּוִּדּוּי (דברים כו יג) "בִּעַרְתִּי הַקֹּדֶשׁ מִן הַבַּיִת". וְעֶרֶב יוֹם טוֹב הָאַחֲרוֹן הָיָה הַבִּעוּר וּלְמָחָר מִתְוַדִּין:

8

What must one do? If he has terumah or terumat ma'aser in his possession, he should give them to a priest. The first tithe should be given to a Levite and tithe of the poor to the poor. If produce that was definitely from the second tithe or neta reva'i18 or money from their redemption remained in his possession, he must destroy it and cast it in the sea or burn it.19 If the second tithe of demai remains in his possession, he is not obligated to destroy it.20 If the first fruits remain in his possession, they may be destroyed in any place.

ח

כֵּיצַד הוּא עוֹשֶׂה. אִם נִשְׁאָר אֶצְלוֹ תְּרוּמָה וּתְרוּמַת מַעֲשֵׂר נוֹתְנָהּ לַכֹּהֵן. מַעֲשֵׂר רִאשׁוֹן נוֹתְנוֹ לְלֵוִי. מַעֲשַׂר עָנִי נוֹתְנוֹ לָעֲנִיִּים. נִשְׁאֲרוּ אֶצְלוֹ פֵּרוֹת מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי שֶׁל וַדַּאי אוֹ נֶטַע רְבָעִי אוֹ מְעוֹת פְּדִיָּתָן הֲרֵי זֶה מְבַעֲרָן וּמַשְׁלִיךְ לַיָּם אוֹ שׂוֹרֵף. נִשְׁאָר אֶצְלוֹ מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי שֶׁל דְּמַאי אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְבַעֲרוֹ. נִשְׁאָר אֶצְלוֹ בִּכּוּרִים הֲרֵי הֵן מִתְבַּעֲרִין בְּכָל מָקוֹם:

9

When does the obligation to burn and remove apply? When there remains in his possession [fresh] produce that one cannot consume before the commencement of the holiday. If, however, cooked food from the second tithe or neta reva'i remain, it need not be removed, for cooked food is considered as if it was removed.21 Similarly, wine and spices are considered as if they were removed.22

ט

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים שֶׁשּׂוֹרֵף וּמְבַעֵר כְּשֶׁנִּשְׁאֲרוּ אֶצְלוֹ פֵּרוֹת שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לֶאֱכל כֻּלָּן קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּכָּנֵס יוֹם טוֹב. אֲבָל אִם נִשְׁאָר תַּבְשִׁיל שֶׁל מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי וְנֶטַע רְבָעִי אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְבַעֲרוֹ שֶׁהַתַּבְשִׁיל כִּמְבֹעָר. וְכֵן יַיִן וְתַבְלִין הֲרֵי הֵן כִּמְבֹעֲרִין:

10

Produce that has not reached the "phase of tithing"23 by the time the removal [of the agricultural presence] arrives does not prevent a person from making a declaration, nor is he obligated to remove them from his possession.24

י

פֵּרוֹת שֶׁלֹּא הִגִּיעוּ לְעוֹנַת הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת בִּשְׁעַת הַבִּעוּר אֵין מְעַכְּבִין אוֹתוֹ לְהִתְוַדּוֹת וְאֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְבַעֲרָן:

11

When produce belonging to a person was distant from him [when] the time for its removal arrived,25 he should designate the presents [appropriately]26 and transfer them to their owners by giving them together with land.27 Alternatively, [he may give them to] someone who will acquire them for their owners. He may then recite the declaration the following day.

[The rationale is] that transferring movable property to a person together with landed property is a present that has been strengthened. He may not, however, transfer [the produce from] the tithes to them via an exchange,28 because it resembles a sale and [the Torah] speaks of giving, not selling, the tithes, terumah, and the other presents.29

יא

מִי שֶׁהָיוּ פֵּרוֹתָיו רְחוֹקִין מִמֶּנּוּ וְהִגִּיעַ יוֹם הַבִּעוּר הֲרֵי זֶה קוֹרֵא שֵׁם לַמַּתָּנוֹת וּמְזַכֶּה לָהֶן לְבַעְלֵיהֶן עַל גַּב קַרְקַע אוֹ לְמִי שֶׁזּוֹכֶה לָהֶן לְבַעֲלֵיהֶן וּמִתְוַדֶּה לְמָחָר. שֶׁנְּתִינַת הַמִּטַּלְטְלִין עַל גַּבֵּי קַרְקַע אֵינָהּ אֶלָּא מַתָּנָה שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ חִזּוּק. אֲבָל אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַקְנוֹת לָהֶם הַמַּעֲשֵׂר בַּחֲלִיפִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּרְאֶה כִּמְכִירָה. וְהַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת וְהַתְּרוּמוֹת וְהַמַּתָּנוֹת נֶאֱמַר בָּהֶן נְתִינָה לֹא מְכִירָה:

12

What source teaches that he cannot recite the declaration until he removes all the presents [from his possession]? [It is written:] "I have removed all the sacred substances from the house." "The sacred substances" refers to the second tithe and neta reva'i which are called "sanctified."30 "From the house" refers to challah, for it is a present given to the priests in one's home.31 [The prooftext continues:] "I gave it to the Levite" - this refers to the first tithe. "And I also gave it" - this implies that it was preceded by another present, i.e., the great terumah and terumat ma'aser. "To the stranger, the orphan, and the widow" - this refers to the tithe given to the poor, leket, shichachah, and pe'ah. [The latter three are mentioned] even though [the failure to give them] does not prevent recitation of the declaration.32

יב

וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִתְוַדּוֹת עַד שֶׁיּוֹצִיא כָּל הַמַּתָּנוֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יג) "בִּעַרְתִּי הַקֹּדֶשׁ מִן הַבַּיִת". הַקֹּדֶשׁ זֶה מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי וְנֶטַע רְבָעִי הַקָּרוּי קֹדֶשׁ. מִן הַבַּיִת זוֹ חַלָּה שֶׁהִיא הַמַּתָּנָה שֶׁל כֹּהֲנִים בַּבַּיִת. נְתַתִּיו לַלֵּוִי זֶה מַעֲשֵׂר רִאשׁוֹן. וְגַם נְתַתִּיו מִכְּלָל שֶׁקְּדָמַתּוּ מַתָּנָה אַחֶרֶת וְהִיא תְּרוּמָה גְּדוֹלָה וּתְרוּמַת מַעֲשֵׂר. לַגֵּר לַיָּתוֹם וְלָאַלְמָנָה זֶה מַעֲשַׂר עָנִי וְלֶקֶט שִׁכְחָה וּפֵאָה. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין לֶקֶט שִׁכְחָה וּפֵאָה מְעַכְּבִין אֶת הַוִּדּוּי:

13

The presents must be separated according to the desired order33 and afterwards, the declaration is made, as [implied by the continuation of the verse:] "according to all Your mitzvot which You commanded me." Thus if he gives the second tithe before the first tithe, he cannot recite this declaration.34

If a person's tevel is burnt, he cannot make this declaration, for he did not separate the presents or give them to the people designated. In the era when the first tithe was given to the priests,35 the declaration was not made, [because it contains the words:] "I gave it to the Levite."

יג

וְצָרִיךְ לְהַפְרִישׁ הַמַּתָּנוֹת עַל הַסֵּדֶר וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִתְוַדֶּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יג) "כְּכָל מִצְוָתְךָ אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתָנִי". הָא אִם הִקְדִּים מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי לְרִאשׁוֹן אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִתְוַדּוֹת. נִשְׂרַף טִבְלוֹ אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִתְוַדּוֹת שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא הִפְרִישׁ מַתָּנוֹת וְלֹא נְתָנָן לְבַעֲלֵיהֶן. וּבִזְמַן שֶׁהָיוּ נוֹתְנִין מַעֲשֵׂר רִאשׁוֹן לַכֹּהֲנִים לֹא הָיוּ מִתְוַדִּין שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יג) "וְגַם נְתַתִּיו לַלֵּוִי":

14

When a person possesses only the second tithe, he should make the declaration, for the fundamental dimension of the declaration concerns the [second] tithe.36 Similarly, if he possesses only the first fruits, he should make the declaration, for [the prooftext] states: "I removed the holy substances" and the first type of produce that is holy is the first fruits.37 When, however, a person only possesses terumah, he does not recite the declaration,38 because terumah [in and of itself] does not require a declaration except as part of all the presents [together].

יד

מִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי בִּלְבַד מִתְוַדֶּה. שֶׁעִקַּר הַוִּדּוּי בַּמַּעֲשֵׂר הוּא. וְכֵן אִם לֹא הָיָה לוֹ אֶלָּא בִּכּוּרִים בִּלְבַד מִתְוַדֶּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יג) "בִּעַרְתִּי הַקֹּדֶשׁ". הַקֹּדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁהוּא הַבִּכּוּרִים. אֲבָל מִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא תְּרוּמָה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמָהּ אֵינוֹ מִתְוַדֶּה שֶׁאֵין הַתְּרוּמָה טְעוּנָה וִדּוּי אֶלָּא בִּכְלַל שְׁאָר הַמַּתָּנוֹת:

15

[The prooftext continues:] "I did not violate your commandments,"39 i.e., he did not separate from one species for another, nor from produce that has been reaped for produce that is still attached to the ground, nor from produce that is attached to the ground for produce that has been reaped, nor from produce from the present year for that of the previous year, nor from produce of the previous year for that of the present year.40

[The prooftext continues:] "I did not forget," I did not forget to bless Him and recall His name with regard to them.41 "I did not partake of it in a state of acute mourning";42 thus if he partakes of it in a state of acute mourning, he does not recite the declaration. "I did not partake of it in a state of impurity," thus if he separates it in a state of acute mourning, he does not recite the declaration. "I did not give of it to a corpse." This implies that he did not use [money from the redemption of the tithes] for a coffin or shrouds, nor did he give it to other people in a state of mourning. "I heeded the voice of God my Lord," i.e., I brought it to the Temple.43 "I performed everything that You commanded me," I rejoiced. And I shared that rejoicing with others with it, as [Deuteronomy 26:11]: "And you share rejoice in all the good."

טו

(דברים כו יג) "לֹא עָבַרְתִּי מִמִּצְוֹתֶיךָ" שֶׁלֹּא הִפְרִישׁ מִמִּין עַל שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִינוֹ. וְלֹא מִן הַתָּלוּשׁ עַל הַמְחֻבָּר. וְלֹא מִן הַמְחֻבָּר עַל הַתָּלוּשׁ. וְלֹא מִן הֶחָדָשׁ עַל הַיָּשָׁן. וְלֹא מִן הַיָּשָׁן עַל הֶחָדָשׁ. וְלֹא שָׁכַחְתִּי שֶׁלֹּא שָׁכַח מִלְּבָרְכוֹ וּמִלְּהַזְכִּיר שְׁמוֹ עָלָיו. לֹא אָכַלְתִּי בְאֹנִי מִמֶּנּוּ הָא אִם אֲכָלוֹ בַּאֲנִינוֹ אֵינוֹ מִתְוַדֶּה. וְלֹא בִעַרְתִּי מִמֶּנּוּ בְּטָמֵא הָא אִם הִפְרִישׁוֹ בְּטֻמְאָה אֵינוֹ מִתְוַדֶּה. וְלֹא נָתַתִּי מִמֶּנּוּ לְמֵת שֶׁלֹּא לָקַח מִמֶּנּוּ אָרוֹן וְתַכְרִיכִין וְלֹא נְתָנוֹ לְאוֹנְנִים אֲחֵרִים. שָׁמַעְתִּי בְּקוֹל ה' אֱלֹהָי שֶׁהֱבִיאוֹ לְבֵית הַבְּחִירָה. עָשִׂיתִי כְּכָל אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתָנִי שֶׁשָּׂמַח וְשִׂמֵּחַ בּוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יא) "וְשָׂמַחְתָּ בְכָל הַטּוֹב":

16

[The passage continues:] "Look down from Your holy habitation heaven... as You swore to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey." This is a prayer that the fruits be flavorful.

טז

(דברים כו טו) "הַשְׁקִיפָה מִמְּעוֹן קָדְשְׁךָ מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם" עַד (דברים כו טו) "כַּאֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ" זוֹ בַּקָּשָׁה שֶׁיִּתֵּן טַעַם בַּפֵּרוֹת:

17

Israelites and mamzerim44 may make this declaration, but not converts and freed slaves, because they do not have an ancestral portion in Eretz Yisrael45 and in the declaration one says: "And the land that You gave us." Priests and Levites may make the declaration. Although they did not receive a portion in the division of the land, they were granted cities in which to dwell.46

יז

יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמַמְזֵרִים מִתְוַדִּים. אֲבָל לֹא גֵּרִים וַעֲבָדִים מְשֻׁחְרָרִים מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם חֵלֶק בָּאָרֶץ וַהֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר (דברים כו טו) "וְאֶת הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר נָתַתָּ לָנוּ". כֹּהֲנִים וּלְוִיִּים מִתְוַדִּים שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נָטְלוּ חֵלֶק בָּאָרֶץ יֵשׁ לָהֶם עָרֵי מִגְרָשׁ: סְלִיקוּ לְהוּ הִלְכוֹת מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי וְנֶטַע רְבָעִי בְּסִיַעְתָּא דִּשְׁמַיָּא

Blessed be God who grants assistance.

סליקו להו הלכות מעשר שני ונטע רבעי:

Footnotes
1.

In other contexts, the term used by the Rambam here (and by the previous Rabbinic sources) usually means "confession." Among the reasons why this term is used is because the fact that the terumah and the tithes are given to the priests and Levites is a result of the Jews' sin. Had that not occurred, these agricultural separations would have been given to the firstborn.

2.

I.e., in the Temple.

3.

See Halachah 12.

4.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 131) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 607) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

5.

The third and the sixth years of the seven year cycle.

6.

Rashi and others, by contrast, maintain that this declaration should be made on the first day of the Pesach holiday. The Rambam's opinion is based on the Jerusalem Talmud (Ma'aser Sheni 5:10) which states that the Jews were given the opportunity to partake of the second tithe throughout the Pesach holiday so that they would have ample resources with which to celebrate and partake of this food. For that same reason, the declaration is delayed until the afternoon.

7.

For on Sukkot, there are still many fruits from the sixth year in the field (Radbaz; Siftei Cohen 331:159).

8.

A declaration made at night is unacceptable.

9.

From sunrise to sunset. The above statement that it is made in the afternoon was a leniency intended to provide a person with latitude.

10.

For, as stated in Hilchot Terumah 1:1, the laws of terumah and the other agricultural requirements apply even if the Temple is not standing.

11.

The Ra'avad differs and maintains that the mitzvah to make a declaration applies only in the Temple. The Radbaz supports the Rambam's ruling, explaining that it is based on Halachah 6. Since, after the fact, one fulfills his obligation if he makes the declaration outside the Temple, when there is no Temple, there is no choice but to accept that alternative.

12.

It must, however, be an exact translation. Note the contrast to the declaration made when bringing the first fruits (Hilchot Bikkurim 3:10).

13.

I.e., this is the desirable manner of performing the mitzvah (Siftei Cohen 331:161).

14.

Not the Minchat Chinuch (Mitzvah 607) which states that the Rambam is speaking about a situation where one person speaks out loud and the others fulfill their obligation by listening.

15.

The Minchat Chinuch and others question why the removal of the presents from one's property is not considered as an independent mitzvah.

16.

And if he still possessed these presents, he would be lying. See the following halachot.

17.

The standard published text of Ma'aser Sheni 5:6 states "The day before the first holiday of the Pesach festival." The Rambam apparently had a different version of that mishnah. The Kessef Mishneh justifies the Rambam's version, explaining that on the passage from the Jerusalem Talmud cited above which explains that the declaration was delayed so that the people would be able to partake of the presents during the festival indicates that they would not have to remove the presents from their possession until the festival's conclusion.

18.

This halachah is based on Ma'aser Sheni 5:6. That mishnah does not mention neta reva'i. Nevertheless, the Rambam adds it because all the laws that apply to the second tithe apply to it (Kessef Mishneh).

19.

Thus there are two types of biur, removal of agricultural presents: giving presents to those to whom they are supposed to be given and destroying, those which one keeps for oneself (ibid.).

20.

Since the obligation to separate it was imposed only because of a doubt, we rule leniently.

21.

For if it is left for any significant amount of time, it will spoil [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aser Sheni 5:6)].

22.

For they also will spoil if left for any significant amount of time.

23.

One third of its growth, as stated in Hilchot Ma'aserot 2:5.

24.

Since the produce has not reached this stage of development, there is no obligation to tithe it. Hence, it need not be removed or included in the declaration.

25.

Ma'aser Sheni 5:9 relates that once when the time to remove produce arrived, Rabban Gamliel was on a sea journey and could not physically give the produce to anyone else. He therefore transferred the presents to other sages in the manner described here. Since Rabbi Elazar ben Arach was a priest, he gave him terumah, Rabbi Yehoshua was a Levite and so he gave him the tithes, and since Rabbi Akiva was a collector of gifts for the poor, he gave him the tithes for the poor.

26.

And specify in which portion of the grainheap they are located.

27.

See Hilchot Mechirah, ch. 6, which describes how this transfer of property operates. This means of transfer is used, because this is the only way the ownership of the produce can be given to these individuals without an actual physical transfer.

28.

The term "exchange" is translated from the Hebrew kinyan chilipin, a legal act that formalizes a transaction. See Hilchot Mechirah, ch. 5, for a description. Although this legal act is frequently employed, it is not appropriate in this instance, because the gift would resemble a sale and not a present.

29.

As stated in Deuteronomy 26:13.

30.

See Chapter 9, Halachah 1.

31.

I.e., it is not given until the grain is made into dough [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aser Sheni 5:10)].

32.

The commentaries have pointed out a difference between leket, shichachah, and pe'ah and the other presents. For the Torah does not prescribe giving the latter three to the poor, but rather leaving them for them.

33.

See Hilchot Terumah 3:23 with regard to the desired order of the presents.

34.

For he cannot say: "As You commanded me," since by deviating from the desired order, he did not fulfill the mitzvot "as commanded." Indeed, he committed a transgression.

35.

When Ezra led the Jews back to Eretz Yisrael after the Babylonian exile, by and large, the Levites did not accompany him. Therefore, he punished them, decreeing that the tithes should be given to the priests instead (Hilchot Ma'aser 1:4). From the Rambam's statements here and also in that source, some have inferred that Ezra's decree applied only in his generation and not in later eras. This conclusion is not, however, borne out by his Commentary to the Mishnah (ibid. 5:15)].

36.

Of them all, it is the only one that must be destroyed as stated in Halachah 8.

37.

And it must also be removed from one's possession.

38.

The Kessef Mishneh states that the same rule applies to the first tithe. For neither of them must be removed from one's possession at a given time.

39.

Although the Rambam explains the details of this declaration, the intent is not that one should explain it while reciting it. Instead, he should merely read the passage as it is stated in the Torah [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aser Sheni 5:13)].

40.

See Hilchot Terumah 5:18; 5:9, 5:11, and Hilchot Ma'aser 1:12 which explains that separating the presents in such a manner is forbidden.

41.

Some interpret this as referring to the recitation of a blessing when making the separations. The commentaries question these interpretations, however, because the blessings were instituted by the Rabbis and here we are speaking of the exegesis of a Biblical verse. Others maintain that it refers to reciting grace after partaking of the grain, for that is a Scriptural command.

42.

See Chapter 3, Halachah 5ff.

43.

This refers to the first fruits. The second tithe need not be brought to the Temple.

44.

A child born out of an adulterous or incestuous union. Even though they are forbidden to marry, they are considered heirs and are granted their ancestral heritage.

45.

Although they may purchase land in Eretz Yisrael, they were not granted an ancestral heritage when the land was divided among the tribes and thus there is no portion of Eretz Yisrael that is theirs in an ultimate sense. For during the Jubilee year, any purchased land will return to its owner. Note the contrast to the declaration concerning the first fruits which they are required to make (Hilchot Bikkurim 4:3).

46.

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.

Bikkurim - Chapter 1

Introduction to Hilchos Bikkurim

They contain nine mitzvot: eight positive commandments and one negative commandment. They are:

1) To set aside the first fruits and bring them to Jerusalem;
2) For a priest not to eat the first fruits outside of Jerusalem;
3) To read [the declaration when bringing] them;
4) To separate challah and [give it] to a priest;
5) To give a priest the foreleg, the jaw, and the maw [of an animal slaughtered];
6) To give him the first shearings [of one's flocks];
7) To redeem one's firstborn son and [give that money] to a priest;
8) To redeem one's firstling donkey and [give a lamb or kid] to a priest;
9) To behead a firstling donkey if one does not desire to redeem it.

These mitzvot are explained in the ensuing chapters.

הלכות בכורים - הקדמה הלכות בכורים עם שאר מתנות כהונה שבגבולין יש בכללן תשע מצות שמונה מצות עשה ואחת מצות לא תעשה וזהו פרטן: (א) להפריש בכורים ולהעלותן במקדש
(ב) שלא יאכל הכהן בכורים חוץ לירושלים
(ג) לקרות עליהן
(ד) להפריש חלה לכהן
(ה) לתת לכהן זרוע ולחיים וקיבה
(ו) ליתן לו ראשית הגז
(ז) לפדות בכור הבן וליתן פדיונו לכהן
(ח) לפדות פטר חמור וליתן פדיונו לכהן
(ט) לערוף פטר חמור אם לא רצה לפדותו ביאור מצות אלו בפרקים אלו:

1

There are 24 presents that are given to the priests.1 All of them are explicitly mentioned in the Torah. A covenant was established with Aaron over all of them.2 Any priest who does not acknowledge them3 does not have a portion in the priesthood and he is not given any of these presents.

א

עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבַּע מַתָּנוֹת נִתְּנוּ לַכֹּהֲנִים וְכֻלָּן מְפֹרָשִׁין בַּתּוֹרָה. וְעַל כֻּלָּן נִכְרְתָה בְּרִית לְאַהֲרֹן. וְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁאֵינוֹ מוֹדֶה בָּהֶן אֵין לוֹ חֵלֶק בַּכֹּהֲנִים וְאֵין נוֹתְנִין לוֹ מַתָּנָה מֵהֶן:

2

Every [priest] who partakes of one of the presents [given to the priests] that is sanctified4 should recite a blessing: '[Blessed are You].. who sanctified us with the sanctity of Aaron and commanded us to partake of...' [mentioning the particular type of present he is eating].5

ב

וְכָל הָאוֹכֵל מַתָּנָה שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ קְדֻשָּׁה מְבָרֵךְ אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בִּקְדֻשָּׁתוֹ שֶׁל אַהֲרֹן וְצִוָּנוּ לֶאֱכל כָּךְ וְכָךְ:

3

Eight of the presents may be eaten by the priests only in the Sanctuary, within the walls of the Temple Courtyard.6 Five of them may be eaten only in Jerusalem within the walls of the city.7 According to Scriptural Law, there are five presents that are acquired [by the priests] only in Eretz Yisrael.8 There are five presents that they acquire both in Eretz Yisrael and in the Diaspora.9 And there is one present that that they acquire from the Temple's [property].10

ג

שְׁמוֹנֶה מַתָּנוֹת מֵהֶם אֵין אוֹכְלִים אוֹתָן הַכֹּהֲנִים אֶלָּא בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ לְפָנִים מֵחוֹמַת הָעֲזָרָה. וְחָמֵשׁ מַתָּנוֹת אֵין אוֹכְלִין אוֹתָן אֶלָּא בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם לְפָנִים מֵחוֹמַת הָעִיר. וְחָמֵשׁ מַתָּנוֹת אֵין זוֹכִין בָּהֶן מִן הַתּוֹרָה אֶלָּא בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּלְבַד. וְחָמֵשׁ מַתָּנוֹת זוֹכִין בָּהֶן בֵּין בָּאָרֶץ בֵּין בְּחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ. וּמַתָּנָה אַחַת זוֹכִין בָּהּ מִן הַמִּקְדָּשׁ:

4

What are the eight that may be eaten only in Temple? The meat of the sin offering - this includes both sin-offerings of fowl and sin-offerings of animals,11 the meat of a guilt-offering,12 whether a definite guilt-offering or a guilt-offering brought because of doubt,13 communal peace offerings,14 [the portion of] the omer offering that remains,15 [the portion of] an Israelite's meal offering that remains,16 the two loaves [offered on Shavuot],17 the show bread,18 and the log of oil brought by a metzora.19 [All of] these may be eaten only in the Temple.

ד

מַה הֵן הַשְּׁמוֹנֶה שֶׁאֵין נֶאֱכָלִין אֶלָּא בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ. בְּשַׂר הַחַטָּאת אֶחָד חַטַּאת הָעוֹף וְאֶחָד חַטַּאת הַבְּהֵמָה. וּבְשַׂר הָאָשָׁם בֵּין תָּלוּי בֵּין וַדַּאי. וְזִבְחֵי שַׁלְמֵי צִבּוּר. וּמוֹתָר הָעֹמֶר. וּשְׁיָרֵי מְנָחוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל. וּשְׁתֵּי הַלֶּחֶם. וְלֶחֶם הַפָּנִים. וְלוֹג שֶׁמֶן שֶׁל מְצֹרָע. אֵלּוּ אֵינָן נֶאֱכָלִין אֶלָּא בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ:

5

What are the five that are eaten only in Jerusalem? The breast and the leg of the peace offering,20 the portion granted [the priests] from the thanksgiving offering,21 the portion granted [the priests] from the ram brought by a nazirite,22 the firstborn of a kosher animal,23 and the first fruits.24 [all of] these may be eaten only in Jerusalem.

ה

וּמַה הֵן הֶחָמֵשׁ שֶׁאֵינָן נֶאֱכָלִין אֶלָּא בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם. חָזֶה וְשׁוֹק שֶׁל שְׁלָמִים. וְהַמּוּרָם מִן הַתּוֹדָה. וְהַמּוּרָם מֵאֵיל נָזִיר. וּבְכוֹר בְּהֵמָה טְהוֹרָה. וְהַבִּכּוּרִים. אֵלּוּ אֵינָן נֶאֱכָלִין אֶלָּא בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם:

6

What are the five [that are given] in Eretz Yisrael? Terumah, terumat ma'aser, and challah - these three are sanctified,25 the first shearings,26 and an ancestral field [that was consecrated]27 - these are ordinary property. [The priests are granted] these according to Scriptural Law only in Eretz Yisrael.28 Terumot and challot from Eretz Yisrael may be eaten only in Eretz Yisrael.29

ו

וּמַה הֵן הֶחָמֵשׁ שֶׁבְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל. הַתְּרוּמָה. וּתְרוּמַת מַעֲשֵׂר. וְהַחַלָּה. וּשְׁלָשְׁתָּן קֹדֶשׁ. וְרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז. וּשְׂדֵה אֲחֻזָּה. וּשְׁנֵיהֶן חֻלִּין. אֵלּוּ אֵינָן זוֹכִין בָּהֶן מִן הַתּוֹרָה אֶלָּא בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל. וְאֵין אוֹכְלִין תְּרוּמוֹת וְחַלּוֹת שֶׁל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶלָּא בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל:

7

What are the five that the priests acquire in all places? The presents [given when slaughtering animals],30 [the money given for] the redemption of a firstborn [son],31 [the lamb given for] the redemption of a firstborn [donkey],32 [property] stolen from a convert [who died heirless],33 and dedication offerings.34 These five are ordinary property.

ז

וּמַה הֵן הֶחָמֵשׁ שֶׁזּוֹכִין בָּהֶן הַכֹּהֲנִים בְּכָל מָקוֹם. הַמַּתָּנוֹת. וּפִדְיוֹן הַבֵּן. וּפֶטֶר חֲמוֹר. וְגֵזֶל הַגֵּר. וְהַחֲרָמִים. וַחֲמִשְּׁתָּן חֻלִּין לְכָל דָּבָר:

8

The present that they acquire from the Temple's property35 is the hides from the burnt-offerings.36 This also applies to the hides from other sacrifices of the most holy order. They are all given to the priests.

ח

וְהַמַּתָּנָה שֶׁזּוֹכִין בָּהּ מִן הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הִיא עוֹרוֹת הָעוֹלוֹת. וְהוּא הַדִּין לִשְׁאָר עוֹרוֹת קָדְשֵׁי הַקָּדָשִׁים כֻּלָּן לַכֹּהֲנִים:

9

The eight presents that may be eaten only in the Sanctuary are all sacrifices of the most holy order. They may be eaten only by male priests, as will be explained in the appropriate place.37 Concerning them, [Leviticus 6:22] states: 'All males among the priesthood shall partake of it.

ט

הַשְּׁמוֹנֶה מַתָּנוֹת שֶׁאֵינָן נֶאֱכָלִין אֶלָּא בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ כֻּלָּן קָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים הֵן וְאֵינָן נֶאֱכָלִים אֶלָּא לְזִכְרֵי כְּהֻנָּה כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בִּמְקוֹמוֹ. וּבָהֶן נֶאֱמַר (ויקרא ו כב) "כָּל זָכָר בַּכֹּהֲנִים יֹאכַל אֹתוֹ" וְגוֹ':

10

The five [presents that may be eaten only] in Jerusalem are all sacrifices of lesser sanctity.38 [Both] males and females [of the priestly family] may partake of them.39 Concerning them, [Numbers 18:11] states: 'To you, and your sons and your daughters with you have I given them as an eternal decree.' [Although a woman may partake of them,] they are granted only to the males of the priestly family. For they are given to the men of the watch [serving in the Temple].40

The fat and the blood of the firstborn [of kosher animals] was offered and only a male was allowed to offer it.41 Similarly, the hides of the sacrifices of the most sacred order, an ancestral field, dedication offerings, and the stolen property of a convert, are acquired only by the men of the priestly watch [of that week], as will be explained.

Similarly, the redemption of firstborn [sons is given] only to males of the priestly family, for concerning it, [Numbers 3:48] states: 'And you shall give the money to Aaron and his sons.' [Similarly, the redemption of] a firstborn donkey [is given] to males of the priestly family, for all the laws of the firstborn are parallel. [The redemption is given] to males and not females.

י

הֶחָמֵשׁ שֶׁבִּירוּשָׁלַיִם הֵן קָדָשִׁים קַלִּים וְנֶאֱכָלִין לִזְכָרִים וְלִנְקֵבוֹת וּבָהֶן נֶאֱמַר (במדבר יח יא) "לְךָ נְתַתִּים וּלְבָנֶיךָ וְלִבְנֹתֶיךָ אִתְּךָ לְחָק עוֹלָם". וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן אֵין נִתָּנִין אֶלָּא לְזִכְרֵי כְּהֻנָּה שֶׁהֲרֵי לְאַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר הֵן. וְהַבְּכוֹר מַקְרִיבִין חֶלְבּוֹ וְדָמוֹ וְאֵין מַקְרִיבוֹ אֶלָּא אִישׁ. וְכֵן עוֹרוֹת קָדְשֵׁי הַקָּדָשִׁים. וּשְׂדֵה אֲחֻזָּה. וְהַחֲרָמִים. וְגֵזֶל הַגֵּר. אֵין זוֹכִין בָּהֶן אֶלָּא אַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר. וְכֵן פִּדְיוֹן הַבֵּן לְזִכְרֵי כְּהֻנָּה שֶׁכֵּן נֶאֱמַר בּוֹ (במדבר ג מח) "וְנָתַתָּ הַכֶּסֶף לְאַהֲרֹן וּלְבָנָיו". וּפֶטֶר חֲמוֹר לְזִכְרֵי כְּהֻנָּה. שֶׁדִּין הַבְּכוֹרוֹת כֻּלָּן שָׁוֶה לִזְכָרִים וְלֹא לִנְקֵבוֹת:

11

Thus you have learned that the presents given [directly] to females like males are five: terumah,42 terumat ma'aser, challah,43 the presents given when slaughtering an animal,44 and the first shearings.

What is the source that teaches that the first shearings may be given to a woman of the priestly family? 'The first of your grain, your wine, and your oil, and the first shearings of your flock shall you give to him' [Deuteronomy 18:4]. [The verse establishes an equivalence:] Just as [terumah,] the first of the grain, may be given to females as well as males, so too, the first shearings.

יא

הִנֵּה לָמַדְתָּ שֶׁהַמַּתָּנוֹת שֶׁנִּתָּנִין לִנְקֵבוֹת כִּזְכָרִים חָמֵשׁ מַתָּנוֹת. תְּרוּמָה. וּתְרוּמַת מַעֲשֵׂר. וְחַלָּה. וּמַתְּנוֹת בְּהֵמָה. וְרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז. וּמִנַּיִן אַתָּה אוֹמֵר שֶׁרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז נִתֶּנֶת לַכֹּהֲנוֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ד) "רֵאשִׁית דְּגָנְךָ תִּירשְׁךָ וְיִצְהָרֶךָ וְרֵאשִׁית גֵּז צֹאנְךָ תִּתֶּן לּוֹ". מָה רֵאשִׁית דָּגָן נִתֶּנֶת לִנְקֵבוֹת כִּזְכָרִים אַף רֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז:

12

Our Sages45 reckoned these presents in another manner, stating: 24 presents for the priests were given to Aaron. They are 10 in the Temple, 4 in Jerusalem, and 10 in the outlying areas.

יב

מָנוּ חֲכָמִים מַתָּנוֹת אֵלּוּ עַל דֶּרֶךְ אַחֶרֶת וְאָמְרוּ עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבַּע מַתְּנוֹת כְּהֻנָּה נִתְּנוּ לְאַהֲרֹן וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. עֶשֶׂר בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ. אַרְבַּע בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם. וְעֶשֶׂר בַּגְּבוּלִין:

13

The ten in the Temple are: a) an animal brought as a sin-offering, b) a fowl brought as a sin-offering, c) a guilt-offering, d) a guilt-offering brought because of doubt, e) the communal peace-offerings, f) the log of oil brought by a nazirite, g) the two breads, h) the show bread, i) the remnants of the meal offering, and j) the remnants of the omer offering.

יג

עֶשֶׂר בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ. חַטַּאת בְּהֵמָה. וְחַטַּאת הָעוֹף. אָשָׁם. וְאָשָׁם תָּלוּי. זִבְחֵי שַׁלְמֵי צִבּוּר. וְלֹג שֶׁמֶן שֶׁל מְצֹרָע. שְׁתֵּי הַלֶּחֶם. וְלֶחֶם הַפָּנִים. שְׁיָרֵי מְנָחוֹת. וּמוֹתַר הָעֹמֶר:

14

The four in Jerusalem are: a) the firstborn [kosher animal], b) the first fruits, c) the portion granted [the priests] from the thanksgiving offering and the portion granted [the priests] from the ram brought by a nazirite, and d) the hides of the sacrifices.46

יד

אַרְבַּע בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם. הַבְּכוֹר. וְהַבִּכּוּרִים. וּמוּרָם מִתּוֹדָה וְאֵיל נָזִיר. וְעוֹרוֹת קָדָשִׁים:

15

The ten in the outlying areas are: a) terumah, b) terumat ma'aser, c) challah, d) the first shearings, e) the presents given when slaughtering an animal, f) the redemption of a firstborn [son], g) the redemption of a firstborn donkey, h) a field that was designated as a dedication offering, i) an ancestral field, and j) the stolen property of a convert.

According to this reckoning, all of the portions given the priests from sacrifices of lesser sanctity are considered as one present. This includes: the breast and the leg that is given [the priest] from every peace offering, together with the bread that is given with them if [the peace offering] was a thanksgiving offering47 and the foreleg given the priest from the nazirite's ram, with the bread given with it, and the breast and the leg.48 Since they are all peace offerings, all of the portions given the priests are considered as one present.

טו

עֶשֶׂר בַּגְּבוּלִין. תְּרוּמָה. וּתְרוּמַת מַעֲשֵׂר. וְחַלָּה. וְרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז. וְהַמַּתָּנוֹת. וּפִדְיוֹן הַבֵּן. וּפִדְיוֹן פֶּטֶר חֲמוֹר. שְׂדֵה חֲרָמִים. וּשְׂדֵה אֲחֻזָּה. וְגֵזֶל הַגֵּר. וּלְפִי חֶשְׁבּוֹן זֶה חַשֵּׁב כָּל הַמּוּרָם מִקָּדָשִׁים קַלִּים מַתָּנָה אַחַת. וְהֵן חָזֶה וְשׁוֹק הַמּוּרָם מִכָּל זֶבַח שְׁלָמִים עִם הַלֶּחֶם הַמּוּרָם עִמָּהֶם [אִם הָיָה תּוֹדָה. עִם הַזְּרוֹעַ הַמּוּרֶמֶת מֵאֵיל נָזִיר עִם הַלֶּחֶם הַמּוּרָם עִמָּהּ] עִם חָזֶה וְשׁוֹק. הוֹאִיל וּשְׁלָשְׁתָּן שְׁלָמִים הֵן חֲשֹׁב הַמּוּרָם מֵהֶם מַתָּנָה אַחַת:

16

AIl of the presents that are dependent on the sacrifices will be explained in their appropriate places in the laws of sacrifices.49 Similarly, [the laws pertaining to] the stolen property of a convert will be explained in Hilchot Gezeilah.50 We have already explained the laws governing an ancestral field and dedication offerings in Hilchot Arachin51 and the laws of terumah and terumat ma'aser in Hilchot Terumah. In the present halachot, I will explain the laws of the [priestly] presents that are not dependent on the sacrifices: the first fruits,52 challah,53 the presents given when slaughtering an animal,54 the first shearings,55 the redemption of a firstborn son,56 the redemption of a firstborn donkey.57

טז

כָּל הַמַּתָּנוֹת שֶׁהֵן תְּלוּיוֹת בַּקָּרְבָּנוֹת תִּתְבָּאֵר כָּל אַחַת וְאַחַת בִּמְקוֹמָהּ בְּהִלְכוֹת קָרְבָּנוֹת. וְכֵן גֵּזֶל הַגֵּר יִתְבָּאֵר בְּהִלְכוֹת גְּזֵלָה. וּכְבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ דִּין שְׂדֵה אֲחֻזָּה וְדִין הַחֲרָמִים בְּהִלְכוֹת עֶרְכִין. וְדִין תְּרוּמָה וּתְרוּמַת מַעֲשֵׂר בְּהִלְכוֹת תְּרוּמוֹת. וּבַהֲלָכוֹת אֵלּוּ אֲבָאֵר מִשְׁפְּטֵי הַמַּתָּנוֹת שֶׁאֵין תְּלוּיִין בְּקָרְבָּנוֹת. וְהֵן: הַבִּכּוּרִים. וְהַחַלָּה. וְהַמַּתָּנוֹת. וְרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז. וּפִדְיוֹן הַבֵּן. וּפֶטֶר חֲמוֹר:

Footnotes
1.

The Rambam specifies and categorizes them in this chapter.

2.

Numbers 18:19 speaks of 'an eternal covenant of salt.' It is called a covenant of salt, because just as salt never spoils, so too, this covenant will endure forever (Rashi).

3.

The Kessef Mishneh notes that Menachot 18b, the Rambam's apparent source, states: 'Any priest that does not acknowledge the priestly service does not receive a portion of the priesthood.' The Kessef Mishneh questions why the Rambam changes the wording of his source.

4.

E.g., like terumah or the first fruits which are referred to as 'holy.'

5.

These presents also include elements of the sacrificial offerings. The Rambam speaks about the mitzvah to partake of these sacred foods in Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 10:1-2. And see Hilchot Terumah 15:22 which describes partaking of terumah.

6.

See Halachah 4. The division of the presents into these categories is not found in a prior Rabbinic source, but instead, was made by the Rambam himself (Kessef Mishneh).

7.

See Halachah 5.

8.

See Halachah 6.

9.

See Halachah 7.

10.

See Halachah 8.

11.

In Halachah 13, however, the Rambam considers these two as separate presents. As the Radbaz clarifies, there is a difference in the procedure involved in these two offerings. See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbonot 1:1; 10:3.

12.

See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 9:1, 10:3.

13.

In Halachah 13, however, the Rambam considers these two as separate presents. As the Radbaz clarifies, there is a difference in the procedure involved in these two offerings. See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbonot 1:1; 10:3.

14.

See Hilchot Ma'asehHaKorbanot1:4, 9:4.

15.

I.e., the portion that remains after a handful is taken to be offered on the altar. See Hilchot Temidim UMusafim 7: 12.

16.

I.e., the portion that remains after a handful is taken to be offered on the altar. An Israelite's offering is mentioned in contrast to that of a priest which is offered on the altar entirely. See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 10:2-3, 12:9.

17.

See Hilchot Temidim UMusafim 8:11.

18.

See Hilchot Temidim UMusafim4:9.

19.

SeeHilchot Mechusrei Kapparah 4:3.

20.

SeeHilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 10:4-5.

21.

See ibid. 9:12.

22.

See ibid. 9:12.

23.

See Hilchot Bechorot 1:2.

24.

See Chapter 3, Halachah 3.

25.

And must be eaten in a state of ritual purity.

26.

See Chapter 10, Halachah 1.

27.

See Hilchot Arachin VaCharamim 4:1-2, 19.

28.

According to Rabbinic Law, terumah and challah are also separated in the Diaspora.

29.

On the contrary, if they are taken to the Diaspora, they become impure (see Hilchot Terumah 2:17).

30.

The foreleg, the jaw, and the maw; see Chapter 9, Halachah 1.

31.

See Chapter 11.

32.

See Chapter 12.

33.

See Hilchot Gezeilah 8:5.

34.

See Hilchot Arachin VaCharamim6:4.

35.

The Rambam puts this present in a category of its own, because unlike all of the above which were given by individuals, this present comes from the Temple's property (Radbaz). Once the hides are given to the priests, they are considered as ordinary property and may be used for mundane purposes.

36.

See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 5:19. Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashim 19:9.

37.

Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 9:1, 10:3, 12:3.

38.

See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 1:17 with regard to the sacrifices of lesser sanctity. Chapter 3, Halachah 1, equates the first fruits with those sacrifices.

39.

See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 10:17.

40.

As explained in Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash 4:3, the priestly family was divided into 24 watches. Each one would serve in the Temple for a week. During that week, its members had the rights to all the sacrifices offered during that time.

41.

This sacrifice is not given to the priests of the weekly watch, but instead to the priest of the owner's choice [Hilchot Bechorot 1:15; the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Challah 4:9)]. That priest in turn offers it on the altar and may give its meat to whichever members of the priestly family, males and females, he desires to (see Radbaz).

42.

See HilchotTerumah 12:22.

43.

For the laws applying to terumah apply to both of these.

44.

The foreleg, the jaw, and the maw; see Chapter 9, Halachah 1.

45.

Tosefta, Challah 2:7.

46.

Although these hides are not eaten in Jerusalem, but instead, can be sold and the proceeds used for any purpose, the Rambam places them in this category, because the priests would not take them out of the holy city. Instead, as a token of respect for their holiness, they would sell them there and use the proceeds to partake of food that was eaten in that holy place (Radbaz, gloss to Halachah 5).

47.

A thanksgiving offering is one type of peace offering.

48.

I.e., from the nazirite's ram, the priest is given a foreleg, a hindleg, and the breast. And he is also given a portion of bread that is offered with that sacrifice.

49.

See the sources given above.

50.

See Hilchot Gezeilah 8:5.

51.

Hilchot Arachin, chs. 4-8.

52.

See chs. 2-4.

53.

See chs. 5-8.

54.

See ch. 9.

55.

See ch. 10.

56.

See ch. 11.

57.

See ch. 12.

Bikkurim - Chapter 2

1

It is a positive commandment to bring the first fruits to the Temple.1 [The obligation of] the first fruits applies only while the Temple is standing, and only in Eretz Yisrael, as [implied by Exodus 23:19]: 'Bring of the first ripened fruit of your land2 to the house of God your Lord.'3 According to Rabbinic decree, one should bring first fruits even from the cities of Sichon and Og4 and from Syria.5 For a person who purchases land in Syria is like one who purchases in Jerusalem. We do not bring the first fruits from the lands of Ammon and Moab6 and Babylon, even though they are liable for terumah and tithes according to Rabbinic decree.7 If one brings the first fruits from the Diaspora, they are not considered as first fruits.8

א

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לְהָבִיא בִּכּוּרִים לַמִּקְדָּשׁ. וְאֵינָם נוֹהֲגִין אֶלָּא בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת וּבְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּלְבַד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כג יט) (שמות לד כו) "רֵאשִׁית בִּכּוּרֵי אַדְמָתְךָ תָּבִיא בֵּית ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ". וּמְבִיאִין בִּכּוּרִים שֶׁל דִּבְרֵיהֶם מֵעָרֵי סִיחוֹן וְעוֹג וּמִסּוּרְיָא. שֶׁהַקּוֹנֶה בְּסוּרְיָא כַּקּוֹנֶה בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם. [אֲבָל עַמּוֹן וּמוֹאָב וּבָבֶל] אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן חַיָּבִין בִּתְרוּמָה וּבְמַעַשְׂרוֹת מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם אֵין מְבִיאִין מֵהֶן בִּכּוּרִים. וְאִם הֵבִיא בִּכּוּרִים מִחוּץ לָאָרֶץ אֵינָן בִּכּוּרִים:

2

The first fruits are brought only from the seven species which are mentioned when relating the praise of Eretz Yisrael.9 They are: wheat, barley,10 grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates. If one brought fruit from other species, it is not sanctifted.11

ב

אֵין מְבִיאִין בִּכּוּרִים אֶלָּא מִשִּׁבְעַת הַמִּינִין הָאֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁבַח הָאָרֶץ. וְהֵם הַחִטִּים וְהַשְּׂעוֹרִים וְהָעֲנָבִים וְהַתְּאֵנִים וְהָרִמּוֹנִים וְהַזֵּיתִים וְהַתְּמָרִים. וְאִם הֵבִיא חוּץ מִשִּׁבְעַת הַמִּינִין לֹא נִתְקַדְּשׁוּ:

3

We do not bring [first fruits] from the dates in the mountains, nor from the fruit from the valleys, not from oil-producing olives that are not of the highest quality, but rather from dates from the valleys and fruit from the mountains, for they are of the highest quality. If a person brought first fruits of inferior quality, e.g., dates from the mountains, figs that were perforated and had oil applied to them,12 dusty and smoked grapes,13 they are not consecrated.

ג

אֵין מְבִיאִין לֹא מִתְּמָרִים שֶׁבֶּהָרִים. וְלֹא מִפֵּרוֹת שֶׁבָּעֲמָקִים. וְלֹא מִזֵּיתֵי שֶׁמֶן שֶׁאֵינָן מִן הַמֻּבְחָר. אֶלָּא מִתְּמָרִים שֶׁבָּעֲמָקִים וּמִפֵּרוֹת שֶׁבֶּהָרִים לְפִי שֶׁהֵן מִן הַמֻּבְחָר [וְאִם הֵבִיא שֶׁלֹּא מִן הַמֻּבְחָר] כְּגוֹן תְּמָרִים שֶׁבֶּהָרִים וּתְאֵנִים סוּרוֹת וּמְרֻקָּבוֹת וַעֲנָבִים מְאֻבָּקוֹת וּמְעֻשָּׁנוֹת לֹא נִתְקַדְּשׁוּ:

4

We may not bring liquids as the first fruits14 with the exception of [oil from] olives and [wine from] grapes, as [implied by Deuteronomy 26:2 which speaks of]: 'the fruit of the land,' i.e., [the fruit and] not a beverage. If one brought beverages, they are not accepted.15

ד

אֵין מְבִיאִין בִּכּוּרִים מַשְׁקִין חוּץ מִזֵּיתִים וַעֲנָבִים בִּלְבַד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו ב) (דברים כו י) "פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה" [וְלֹא מַשְׁקֶה]. וְאִם הֵבִיא מַשְׁקִין אֵין מְקַבְּלִין מִמֶּנּוּ:

5

People who are close to Jerusalem should bring fresh figs and grapes.16 People who are distant should bring dried figs and raisins.17

ה

הַקְּרוֹבִים לִירוּשָׁלַיִם מְבִיאִין תְּאֵנִים וַעֲנָבִים לַחִים. וְהָרְחוֹקִין מְבִיאִין אוֹתָן גְּרוֹגָרוֹת וְצִמּוּקִין:

6

The first fruits should not be brought before Shavuot, for that holiday is referred to as 'the harvest festival, the first fruits of your work.' If one brings [them at that time], we do not accept them from him. Instead, they should be left there18 until Shavuot, at which time, he should make the declaration concerning them. Similarly, the first fruits should not be brought after Chanukah.19 For first fruits that ripen after Chanukah are considered as being of the coming year. They should be left until Shavuot.

ו

אֵין מְבִיאִין בִּכּוּרִים קֹדֶם לַעֲצֶרֶת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כג טז) "וְחַג הַקָּצִיר בִּכּוּרֵי מַעֲשֶׂיךָ". וְאִם הֵבִיא אֵין מְקַבְּלִין מִמֶּנּוּ אֶלָּא יַנִּיחֵם שָׁם עַד שֶׁתָּבוֹא עֲצֶרֶת וְיִקְרָא עֲלֵיהֶן. וְכֵן אֵין מְבִיאִין בִּכּוּרִים אַחַר חֲנֻכָּה. שֶׁהַבִּכּוּרִים שֶׁבִּכְּרוּ אַחַר חֲנֻכָּה הֵן חֲשׁוּבִין מִשָּׁנָה הַבָּאָה. וְיַנִּיחֵם עַד אַחַר עֲצֶרֶת:

7

The first fruits may not be brought from produce of the present harvest for produce of the previous harvest or from produce of the previous harvest for produce of the present harvest.20

What is implied? One should not bring produce that budded before the 15th of Shvat21 as first fruits for produce that budded after the 15th of Shvat. [This applies] both to produce that is planted and produce that grows on its own, as [implied by Numbers 18: 13]: 'The first fruits of everything in their land.'22

ז

אֵין מְבִיאִין בִּכּוּרִים לֹא מִן הֶחָדָשׁ עַל הַיָּשָׁן וְלֹא מִן הַיָּשָׁן עַל הֶחָדָשׁ. כֵּיצַד. לֹא יָבִיא מִפֵּרוֹת שֶׁחָנְטוּ קֹדֶם חֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר בִּשְׁבָט עַל פֵּרוֹת שֶׁחָנְטוּ אַחַר חֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר בּוֹ. אֶחָד הַנָּטוּעַ וְאֶחָד הָעוֹלֶה מֵאֵלָיו שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יח יג) "בִּכּוּרֵי כָּל אֲשֶׁר בְּאַרְצָם":

8

The obligation of the first fruits applies to the produce of partners, [implied by]: 'The first fruits of everything in their land.'23

ח

הַפֵּרוֹת שֶׁל שֻׁתָּפִין חַיָּבִים בְּבִכּוּרִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יח יג) "בִּכּוּרֵי כָּל אֲשֶׁר בְּאַרְצְךָ" [אֲשֶׁר יָבִיאוּ]:

9

When produce grows in a flower pot, even if it has a hole or it grows in a ship, one should not bring first fruits from them at all. [for the prooftext] speaks of 'their land.'24 One should, however, bring from produce that grows on a roof or in a ruin.

ט

הַגָּדֵל בְּעָצִיץ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא נָקוּב וְהַגָּדֵל בִּסְפִינָה אֵינוֹ מֵבִיא מִמֶּנּוּ כָּל עִקַּר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יח יג) "בְּאַרְצָם". אֲבָל מֵבִיא מִן הַגָּדֵל בַּגַּג אוֹ בַּחֻרְבָּה:

10

[In all the following situations,] a person should not bring the first fruits from the produce that grows in one domain or the produce that grows in another domain. [These situations include] one who plants a tree in his field and extends25 it into his colleague's field26 or into the public domain, or the trunk of the tree was in his field and he extended its end in his field but there was a public road or a private path interrupting between the trunk and the end which was extended. [This is derived from Exodus 23:19]: "the first fruits of your land.' [Implied is that] all the growth [of the tree] must be from your land.'27

י

הַנּוֹטֵעַ אִילָן בְּתוֹךְ שָׂדֵהוּ וְהִבְרִיכוֹ לְתוֹךְ שְׂדֵה חֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ לִרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים. אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה נוֹטֵעַ בִּשְׂדֵה חֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים וְהִבְרִיכוֹ בְּתוֹךְ שָׂדֵהוּ. אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה עִקָּרוֹ בְּתוֹךְ שָׂדֵהוּ וְהִבְרִיךְ קְצָתוֹ בְּתוֹךְ שָׂדֵהוּ וְדֶרֶךְ הָרַבִּים אוֹ דֶּרֶךְ הַיָּחִיד מַפְסֶקֶת בָּאֶמְצַע בֵּין הָעִקָּר וְהַצַּד הַמֻּבְרָךְ. אֵינוֹ מֵבִיא בִּכּוּרִים לֹא מִמַּה שֶּׁהוֹצִיא בִּרְשׁוּת זוֹ וְלֹא מִן הַצַּד שֶׁבִּרְשׁוּת הָאַחֲרוֹן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כג יט) (שמות לד כו) "בִּכּוּרֵי אַדְמָתְךָ" עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ כָּל הַגִּדּוּלִין מֵאַדְמָתְךָ:

11

If his colleague gave him permission28 [to implant the end] in his property even for a brief time, he may bring the first fruits. If the tree was close to his colleague's boundary or leaned into his colleague's field29 [and he planted there], even though he was obligated to distance [his planting], he may bring [the first fruits]30 and recite the declaration, for Joshua gave the land [to our people] as an inheritance with that intent.31

יא

נָתַן לוֹ חֲבֵרוֹ רְשׁוּת לְהַבְרִיךְ בְּתוֹךְ שֶׁלּוֹ אֲפִלּוּ לְשָׁעָה הֲרֵי זֶה מֵבִיא בִּכּוּרִים. וְאִם הָיָה הָאִילָן סָמוּךְ לְמֵצַר חֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ נוֹטֶה לִשְׂדֵה חֲבֵרוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁחַיָּב לְהַרְחִיק הֲרֵי זֶה מֵבִיא מִמֶּנּוּ וְקוֹרֵא שֶׁעַל מְנָת כֵּן הִנְחִיל יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶת הָאָרֶץ:

12

Sharecroppers, tenant farmers,32 men of force who compel the owners [to sell] their land and purchase it for a low price,33 and robbers34 may not bring first fruits, because [the prooftext] states: 'the first fruits of your land.'35 [This applies] even when the owners despair [of recovering their land].36

יב

הָאֲרִיסִין וְהַחֲכִירִין וּבַעֲלֵי זְרוֹעַ שֶׁאוֹנְסִין אֶת הַבְּעָלִים וְלוֹקְחִין מֵהֶן אַרְצוֹתָם בְּפָחוֹת וְהַגַּזְלָנִין אֵינָן מְבִיאִין בִּכּוּרִים. וַאֲפִלּוּ נִתְיָאֲשׁוּ הַבְּעָלִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כג יט) (שמות לד כו) "בִּכּוּרֵי אַדְמָתְךָ":

13

When a person purchases a tree in a field belonging to a friend, he may not bring [the first fruits], because he does not own land. [If he purchases] three [trees], he does own land. Even if he formally acquired only the trees, it is as if he owns land.37 If he purchased one tree and the land around it, he should bring [the first fruits].38

יג

הַקּוֹנֶה אִילָן בְּתוֹךְ שְׂדֵה חֲבֵרוֹ אֵינוֹ מֵבִיא לְפִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ קַרְקַע. שְׁלֹשָׁה יֵשׁ לוֹ קַרְקַע וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא אִילָנוֹת בִּלְבַד הֲרֵי הוּא כְּמִי שֶׁקָּנָה קַרְקַע. קָנָה אִילָן אֶחָד וְקַרְקָעוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מֵבִיא:

14

When a person purchases fruit that has been harvested and purchases the land [on which they grew],39 he should bring the first fruits, because he possesses both land and the fruits.

When one sells a colleague fruit, but not the land, even when the fruit is still attached to the land, [neither the seller, nor the purchaser may bring the first fruits]. The seller may not bring them, because he does not own the fruits. The purchaser may not bring them, because he does not own the land. If the seller buys the fruit back from the purchaser, he may bring [the first fruits], because he [now] owns [both] the land and its produce.

יד

הַלּוֹקֵחַ פֵּרוֹת תְּלוּשִׁין וְלָקַח הַקַּרְקַע הֲרֵי זֶה מֵבִיא בִּכּוּרִים שֶׁהֲרֵי יֵשׁ לוֹ קַרְקַע וּפֵרוֹתֶיהָ. מָכַר לוֹ פֵּרוֹת חוּץ מִן הַקַּרְקַע אֲפִלּוּ מְחֻבָּרִים. מוֹכֵר אֵינוֹ מֵבִיא שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין לוֹ פֵּרוֹת וְלוֹקֵחַ אֵינוֹ מֵבִיא שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין לוֹ קַרְקַע. חָזַר הַמּוֹכֵר וְלָקַח הַפֵּרוֹת מִן הַלּוֹקֵחַ הֲרֵי זֶה מֵבִיא שֶׁהֲרֵי יֵשׁ לוֹ קַרְקַע וּפֵרוֹתֶיהָ:

15

When a person sells his property to a gentile and later purchases it back from him, he must bring the first fruits from it according to Scriptural Law.40 [The rationale is that] it is not absolved from the mitzvah because of the gentile's purchase,41 as we explained.42

טו

הַמּוֹכֵר שָׂדֵהוּ לְעַכּוּ''ם וְחָזַר וּלְקָחָהּ מִמֶּנּוּ הֲרֵי זֶה מֵבִיא מִמֶּנָּה בִּכּוּרִים מִן הַתּוֹרָה. שֶׁאֵינָהּ נִפְקַעַת מִן הַמִּצְוָה בְּקִנְיַן הָעַכּוּ''ם כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

16

[Although] one nullified an asherah,43 the first fruits should not be brought from its produce. For the first fruits are like the sacrifices of the Temple.44

טז

אֲשֵׁרָה שֶׁבִּטְּלָהּ אֵין מְבִיאִין מִמֶּנָּה בִּכּוּרִים שֶׁהַבִּכּוּרִים כְּקָדְשֵׁי מִקְדָּשׁ הֵן:

17

There is no set measure for the first fruits according to Scriptural Law. According to Rabbinic Law, one should give one sixtieth of the crop. If one desires to set aside his entire crop as first fruits, he may.

יז

הַבִּכּוּרִים אֵין לָהֶם שִׁעוּר מִן הַתּוֹרָה אֲבָל מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם צָרִיךְ לְהַפְרִישׁ אֶחָד מִשִּׁשִּׁים. וְהָרוֹצֶה לַעֲשׂוֹת כָּל שָׂדֵהוּ בִּכּוּרִים עוֹשֵׂהוּ:

18

When a person separated his first fruits and afterwards added to them or adorned them, the addition is also considered as the first fruits.45

When does the above apply? When he brought [the first fruits] from Eretz Yisrael. If, however, he brought them from Transjordan or Syria, they are not as the first fruits.46 Even though they are not considered as the first fruits, they should only be eaten in a state of ritual purity.47 No matter where it is from,48 the first fruits should only be adorned with fruit from the seven species [mentioned in the praise of Eretz Yisrael].49

יח

הִפְרִישׁ בִּכּוּרָיו וְחָזַר וְהוֹסִיף עֲלֵיהֶן אוֹ עִטְּרָן הֲרֵי הַתּוֹסֶפֶת כְּבִכּוּרִים. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁהֵבִיא מֵאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל. אֲבָל אִם הֵבִיא מֵעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן אוֹ מִסּוּרְיָא אֵינָהּ כְּבִכּוּרִים. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָהּ כְּבִכּוּרִים אֵינָהּ נֶאֱכֶלֶת אֶלָּא בְּטָהֳרָה. וְאֵין מְעַטְּרִין אֶת הַבִּכּוּרִים בְּכָל מָקוֹם אֶלָּא מִשִּׁבְעַת הַמִּינִים:

19

How should one separate the first fruits? A person descends to his field, sees a fig tree, a cluster [of grapes], and/or a pomegranate tree that has budded, and ties them with a reed.50 He should say: "These are the first fruits.' They become designated as first fruits even though they are attached to the ground after they have been given that title, even though they have not ripened entirely.51

When they ripen and are reaped from the ground, it is not necessary to designate them again. If he did not designate them while attached or call them first fruits and then he reaped them, he should designate them after he reaps them.52

If his entire harvest becomes impure, he should not designate the impure produce as first fruits. Instead, as an initial preference, he should set aside other produce as first fruits for the impure produce. It appears to me that if he does not have other produce, to separate [as first fruits], he should not set them aside to be destroyed.53 Similarly, it appears to me54 that if the first fruits become impure, he should not use them as kindling for a furnace, because they are like objects consecrated for the Temple.55

יט

כֵּיצַד מַפְרִישִׁין הַבִּכּוּרִים. יוֹרֵד אָדָם לְתוֹךְ שָׂדֵהוּ וְרוֹאֶה תְּאֵנָה שֶׁבִּכְּרָה אֶשְׁכּוֹל עֲנָבִים שֶׁבִּכְּרוּ רִמּוֹן שֶׁבִּכֵּר קוֹשְׁרָן בְּגֶמִי וְאוֹמֵר הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ בִּכּוּרִים. וְהֵם נַעֲשִׂים בִּכּוּרִים בִּמְחֻבָּר מִשֶּׁקָּרָא לָהֶן שֵׁם. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא בָּשְׁלוּ כָּל צָרְכָּן. וּמִשֶּׁיִּגָּמְרוּ וְיִתְלְשֵׁם מִן הַקַּרְקַע אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר וְלִקְרוֹת לָהֶם שֵׁם. לֹא הִפְרִישָׁן בִּמְחֻבָּר וְלֹא קָרָא לָהֶם שֵׁם וּתְלָשָׁם הֲרֵי זֶה מַפְרִישָׁם אַחַר שֶׁנִּתְלְשׁוּ. וְאִם נִטְמְאוּ הַפֵּרוֹת כֻּלָּן אֵינוֹ מַפְרִישׁ בִּכּוּרִים בְּטֻמְאָה. אֶלָּא מַפְרִישׁ מִן הַטָּהוֹר עַל הַטָּמֵא לְכַתְּחִלָּה. וְאִם אֵין לוֹ פֵּרוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת לְהַפְרִישׁ מֵהֶן יֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מַפְרִישׁ בְּטֻמְאָה שֶׁאֵין מַפְרִישִׁין לְאִבּוּד. וְכֵן יֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁהַבִּכּוּרִים שֶׁנִּטְמְאוּ אֵינוֹ מַסִּיק בָּהֶן הַתַּנּוּר כִּתְרוּמָה טְמֵאָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן כְּקָדְשֵׁי מִקְדָּשׁ:

20

When a person set aside his first fruits and they rotted away,56 were taken by others, lost, stolen, or became impure,57 he is obligated to set aside others in place of them,58 as [Exodus 23:19] states: '...bring to the house of God your Lord.' This teaches that one is liable to replace them until he brings them to the Temple Mount.59

כ

הַמַּפְרִישׁ בִּכּוּרָיו וְנָמַקּוּ אוֹ נִבְזְזוּ אוֹ אָבְדוּ אוֹ שֶׁנִּגְנְבוּ אוֹ שֶׁנִּטְמְאוּ חַיָּב לְהַפְרִישׁ אֲחֵרִים תַּחְתֵּיהֶם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כג יט) (שמות לד כו) "תָּבִיא בֵּית ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ" מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב בְּאַחְרָיוּתָן עַד שֶׁיְּבִיאֵם לְהַר הַבַּיִת:

21

If a person set aside his first fruits to bring them to Jerusalem himself, he should not send them with an agent60 If, however, he initially harvested them with the intent of sending them [to the Temple] with an agent, it is permitted for him to do so.61

כא

הַמַּפְרִישׁ בִּכּוּרָיו לְהַעֲלוֹתָן בְּיָדוֹ לִירוּשָׁלַיִם לֹא יִשְׁלָחֵם בְּיַד שָׁלִיחַ. וְאִם לִקְּטָן מִתְּחִלָּה עַל מְנָת לְשַׁלְּחָם בְּיַד שָׁלִיחַ הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לְשַׁלְּחָם:

Footnotes
1.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 125) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 91) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

2.

I.e., from the land given specifically to you, Eretz Yisrael.

3.

I.e., only when the House of God, the Temple, is standing.

4.

I.e., the lands on the eastern side of the Jordan that were captured from these kings by Moses as he led our people to the promised land. These territories were not part of the land flowing with milk and honey promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The Rambam's position here represents a reversal from his position in Sefer HaMitzvot, loc. cit., where he writes that according to Scriptural Law, the mitzvah of the first fruits applies in these lands. Similarly, in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Bikkurim 1:10), he states that the mitzvah applies in these lands according to Scriptural Law.

5.

Lands to the north of Eretz Yisrael. These lands are not considered as part of Eretz Yisrael according to Scriptural Law. See Hilchot Terumah 1:9.

6.

Lands to the southeast of Eretz Yisrael which were not conquered by the Jews upon their initial conquest of the land.

7.

See Hilchot Terumah 1:1.

8.

And instead are considered as ordinary produce. The rationale is that the first fruits must be ritually pure and all produce coming from the Diaspora is ritually impure by Rabbinic decree.

10.

See the gloss of Rabbi Akiva Eiger which states that rye, oats, and spelt, although considered as subspecies of wheat and barley in other contexts, should not be brought as the first fruits.

11.

The Jerusalem Talmud (Bikkurim 1:3) derives this from the exegesis of Deuteronomy 26:2: 'And you shall take of the first of all the fruit of the land. 'Take of" implies an exclusion. Not all of the fruit may be brought as first fruits.

12.

As the Rambam explains in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 2:5), these techniques are used to hurry the ripening of figs. Although they are effective, they reduce the quality of the figs.

13.

I.e., at times, fires were lit under grape vines to kill worms and insects in the vine. This, however, reduced the quality of the fruit.

14.

I.e., one may not bring juice from pomegranates, dates, and figs.

15.

From the conclusion of the tractate of Challah, it would appear that it is not acceptable to bring wine or oil either. Nevertheless, the Rambam does not accept that teaching, favoring instead Terumah 11:3 which deems them acceptable. See the explanation in the Kessef Mishneh.

16.

For it is preferable that fresh fruits should be brought.

17.

For if they bring fresh fruit, it will spoil.

18.

I.e., in the Temple courtyard. The Radbaz states that this applies only to fruit that will not spoil. Otherwise, the fruit brought prematurely is like all the other fruit mentioned in the previous halachot and its consecration is not effective.

19.

After Chanaukah, it is not appropriate to bring the first fruits, because they are to be brought at the time of the harvest and the harvest is concluded by Sukkot. Moreover, if one brings the first fruits between Sukkot and Chanukah, he cannot make the declaration concerning them (Chapter 4, Halachah 13).

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's words for their implication is that the first fruit brought after Chanukah becomes consecrated. The Ra'avad maintains that since the fruit did not ripen until then, the first fruits are considered as of low quality and do not become consecrated. Nor, the Ra'avad maintains, can they be considered as being from the following year, as the Rambam states, because until the 15th of Shvat, they are considered as from the crops of the previous year. The Kessef Mishneh supports the Rambam, maintaining that since the crops have generally been harvested, any produce that does grow is considered as belonging to the coming year. The Radbaz emphasizes that here too, we are speaking of produce that will not spoil. Otherwise, it is not consecrated.

20.

Yevamot 73b states that there is an equation between the tithes and the first fruits. Hence, just as the tithes may not be brought from one harvest for another (Hilchot Terumah 5:11; Hilchot Ma'aser 1:7), so too, the law applies with regard to the first fruits.

21.

This refers to the first fruits brought from fruit. With regard to wheat and barley, the date when a change is made is Rosh HaShanah.

22.

I.e., the prooftext implies that the obligation applies to any and all situations where these species grow (see Menachot 84b and Radbaz).

23.

The plural form of the verb "that they bring" used by the prooftext indicates that the obligation applies even when the produce is owned by two people jointly (Chullin 136a).

24.

Produce that grows in such a situation is considered as growing from the earth in certain contexts. Nevertheless, the prooftext indicates that the first fruits are an exception.

25.

'Extending' refers to planting a bough from a tree or a vine in the ground, so that an extension can grow from it [the Rambam' s Commentary to the Mishnah (Bikkurim 1:1)].

26.

Without his colleague's permission as obvious from the following halachah.

27.

And even the fruit that grow from the trunk are nurtured to a certain extent from the end that was implanted.

28.

There is, however, no way one can be granted permission to use the public domain in this manner.

29.

See Hilchot Shechenim10:8.

30.

This applies even to the fruit which grew in his colleague's domain. Since his colleague gave him permission to grow the produce there, it can be considered as his land.

31.

The commentaries note that when Hilchot Nizkei Mammon 10:8 mentions the ten conditions on which basis Joshua gave the land to the people as an inheritance, this condition is not included among them. Among the resolutions given is that the conditions mentioned there apply also in the Diaspora, while this condition applies only in Eretz Yisrael.

32.

The former give the owners a share of the crops; the latter rent the fields for money. See Hilchot Ma'aser 6:13; the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Bikkurim 1:2).

33.

This was, unfortunately, a common practice in Eretz Yisrael during the Roman era, when the gentiles and their Jewish comrades would threaten a person until he was forced to sell his land for far below its worth.

34.

One who takes land without paying at all.

35.

And none of the above are rightful owners of the land.

36.

For land can never be stolen and always remains the property of its rightful owners (see Hilchot Gezeilah 8:14).

37.

See Hilchot Mechirah 24:1-2. The rationale is that since he purchased this amount of trees, he also receives the land necessary to tend to them. Although he is not the legal owner of the land and has only the right to use it, that right is sufficient for the land to be called his own.

38.

Because he is the owner of both the land and the tree (Our bracketed additions are based on the gloss of the Radbaz. We are forced to accept this interpretation, since, as stated above, the first fruits must come from "your land."

39.

I.e., even if he does not purchase the fruit and the land at the same time, as long as he owns both at the time appropriate to bring the first fruits, he should bring them (Radbaz).

40.

See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Gittin 4:9); note the differences between his initial version and his final version. There is a debate among the commentaries if the obligation to bring the first fruits is Rabbinic in origin (as was the Rambam's initial view) or Scriptural in origin (as is his view here).

41.

The Ra'avad comments that this applies even though the produce reached maturity while in the possession of the gentile. The commentaries state that the Rambam would accept this ruling.

42.

Hilchot Terumah 1:10.

43.

A tree that was worshiped. as was the practice of both the Canaanites and the Greeks.

When a gentile owns an entity that is worshiped, he can nullify its connection with idolatrous worship and from that time onward, it may be used for ordinary purposes. Nevertheless, it is not fit to be used for an offering on the Altar, because of its previous connection with idolatry. An entity owned by a Jew that was worshiped can never be nullified. See Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 8:8-11.

44.

As stated in Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach 3:6, if an animal was once associated with the worship of false deities, it may no longer be used as a sacrifice in the Temple.

45.

And the stringencies applied to the first fruits, e.g., that they be eaten in a state of ritual purity, are also applied to them.

46.

The rationale is that, as stated in Halachah 1, the obligation to bring first fruits from these lands is Rabbinic in origin. Hence, it is not powerful enough to convey that status on the additions as well.

47.

As the first fruits themselves.

48.

I.e., even from Transjordan and Syria (Radbaz).

49.

One may, however, adorn figs with grapes and grapes with dates (Bikkurim 3:10).

50.

As a sign, so that he will recognize them later. There is no obligation to use a reed for this purpose. Another sign is also acceptable. The Rambam, quoting the mishnah, was merely stating a common practice [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Bikkurim 3:1)] .

51.

Although they must reach a complete stage of development by the time they are brought to the Temple, it is not necessary that they reach this stage at the time of their designation.

52.

Unless he designates them, the fact that they are set aside is not sufficient for them to be considered as first fruits.

53.

See parallels in Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 3:9; Hilchot Meilah 4:7. Terumah and the second tithe, by contrast, should be set aside even if the produce is impure, for they will not be wasted.

54.

The expression 'It appears to me' refers to a conclusion derived by the Rambam through deduction without an explicit prior Rabbinic source. The Kessef Mishneh questions whether that expression is appropriate in the present instance since this point is stated in Yevamot 73a,b. The Kessef Mishneh concludes that perhaps 'It appears to me' refers only to the rationale the Rambam states here, for that concept is not stated in Yevamot, loc. cit.

55.

And consecrated articles may not be destroyed. It is necessary for the Rambam to give this explanation, because the Torah refers to the first fruits as terumah and impure terumah may be kindled.

56.

See Halachah 3 which states that spoiled produce is unacceptable.

57.

For then, they are no longer fit to be offered.

58.

He does not, however, make the declaration for the first fruits when bringing these fruits, as stated in Chapter 4, Halachah 9.

59.

Once he brings them to the Temple Courtyard, he is not liable to replace even if they become impure (Radbaz).

60.

The rationale for this ruling can be explained as follows: When a person sends his first fruits to the Temple via an agent, the agent does not make the declaration (Chapter 4, Halachah 2). Since they were harvested in a manner that allows that declaration to be made, it is improper for them to be sent in a manner that prevents it from being made.

61.

For in this instance, they were harvested with the intent that the declaration not be made.

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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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