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ב"ה

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Bikkurim - Chapter 9, Bikkurim - Chapter 10, Bikkurim - Chapter 11

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Bikkurim - Chapter 9

1

It is a positive commandment for anyone1 who slaughters a kosher domesticated animal to give a priest the foreleg, the jaw, and the maw,2 as [Deuteronomy 18:50] states: "This is the judgment [due] the priests...." These are universally known as "presents."

This mitzvah is practiced at all times, whether at the time the Temple is standing or not, whether in Eretz Yisrael or in the Diaspora,3 with regard to ordinary animals and not consecrated ones.

א

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לִתֵּן כָּל זוֹבֵחַ בְּהֵמָה טְהוֹרָה לַכֹּהֵן הַזְּרוֹעַ וְהַלְּחָיַיִם וְהַקֵּבָה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ג) "וְזֶה יִהְיֶה מִשְׁפַּט הַכֹּהֲנִים". וְאֵלּוּ הֵם הַנִּקְרָאִים בְּכָל מָקוֹם מַתָּנוֹת. וּמִצְוָה זוֹ נוֹהֶגֶת תָּמִיד בֵּין בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת. וּבְכָל מָקוֹם בֵּין בָּאָרֶץ בֵּין בְּחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ. וּבְחֻלִּין אֲבָל לֹא בְּמֻקְדָּשִׁין:

2

There is an obligation to separate the above-mentioned presents from all consecrated animals that had a permanent blemish4 before they were consecrated and were redeemed.5 If, by contrast, they had a temporary blemish6 before their consecration or they were consecrated when they were unblemished, but afterwards, they became blemished,7 and they were redeemed, they are exempt from these presents.8

ב

כָּל הַקָּדָשִׁים שֶׁקָּדַם מוּם קָבוּעַ לְהֶקְדֵּשָׁן וְנִפְדּוּ חַיָּבִין בְּמַתָּנוֹת. וְאִם קָדַם מוּם עוֹבֵר לְהֶקְדֵּשָׁן אוֹ שֶׁהִקְדִּישָׁן תְּמִימִים וְאַחַר כָּךְ נוֹלַד בָּהֶם מוּם וְנִפְדּוּ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְּטוּרִין מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת:

3

If there is an unresolved doubt whether an animal is a firstborn,9 there is certainly an obligation to give the presents [from it to the priest].10 [The rationale is:] If it is a firstborn, it must be given to a priest in its entirety. If it is not a firstborn, the presents must be given to a priest.

If a question arises with regard to the status of two animals11 and a priest took one because of the doubt, the second one is exempt from the presents. [The rationale is that] it is considered as an animal which a priest acquired and then gave to its owners, because of its blemish.12

If, however, there is an unresolved doubt whether an animal is the tithes of the herd,13 it is exempt in all situations. [The rationale is that] when one desires to expropriate property from a colleague,14 the burden of proof is on him.15

ג

סְפֵק בְּכוֹר חַיָּב בְּמַתָּנוֹת מִכָּל צַד. שֶׁאִם בְּכוֹר הוּא כֻּלּוֹ לַכֹּהֵן וְאִם אֵינוֹ בְּכוֹר מַתְּנוֹתָיו לַכֹּהֵן. וְאִם נִסְתַּפֵּק בִּשְׁנַיִם וְלָקַח הַכֹּהֵן הָאֶחָד מִסָּפֵק הֲרֵי הַשֵּׁנִי פָּטוּר מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת. עֲשָׂאוּהוּ כְּמִי שֶׁזָּכָה בּוֹ הַכֹּהֵן וּנְתָנוֹ בְּמוּמוֹ לִבְעָלָיו. אֲבָל סְפֵק מַעֲשֵׂר פָּטוּר מִכָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁהַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה:

4

When an animal that was consecrated and then disqualified because of a blemish16 became mixed with other animals - even one with 100 - if one person owns all of them,17 they are all exempt [from the obligation of the presents]. [The rationale is that the status of] each one is doubtful and when one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him.18 If one person was slaughtering all the animals, only one [set of] presents is exempt.19

ד

בֶּהֱמַת קָדָשִׁים שֶׁנִּפְסְלָה בְּמוּמָהּ וְאֵינָהּ חַיֶּבֶת בְּמַתָּנוֹת שֶׁנִּתְעָרְבָה בִּבְהֵמוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת אֲפִלּוּ אַחַת בְּמֵאָה בִּזְמַן שֶׁכָּל בְּהֵמָה מֵהֶן לְאַחֵר כֻּלָּן פְּטוּרִין. שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד סָפֵק וְהַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. הָיָה אֶחָד הוּא הַשּׁוֹחֵט אֶת כֻּלָּם פּוֹטֵר מַתְּנוֹת אַחַת מֵהֶן בִּלְבַד:

5

We are required to separate presents only from a kosher domesticated animal,20 [as indicated by Deuteronomy, loc. cit., which] states: "If it be an ox or a sheep."21 If a hybrid is born from a sheep and a goat, there is an obligation for presents to be given.22 We separate all23 the presents from a ko'i24even though its status is undetermined.

When a male deer mates with a goat and it gives birth, there is an obligation [to give] half the presents [to a priest]. [This is derived from the above prooftext]: "If it be... a sheep," i.e., even if it is only part sheep.25 [When, by contrast,] a male goat mates with a deer, the offspring is exempt from the presents.26

ה

אֵין חַיָּב בְּמַתָּנוֹת אֶלָּא בְּהֵמָה טְהוֹרָה בִּלְבַד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ג) "אִם שׁוֹר אִם שֶׂה". כִּלְאַיִם הַבָּא מִכֶּבֶשׂ וְעֵז חַיָּב בְּמַתָּנוֹת. וְהַכְּוִי אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא סָפֵק מַפְרִישִׁין מִמֶּנּוּ כָּל הַמַּתָּנוֹת. צְבִי הַבָּא עַל הָעֵז וְיָלְדָה הַוָּלָד חַיָּב בַּחֲצִי מַתָּנוֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אִם שֶׂה אֲפִלּוּ מִקְצָת שֶׂה. תַּיִשׁ הַבָּא עַל הַצְּבִיָּה הַוָּלָד פָּטוּר מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת:

6

Whether a person slaughters an animal for consumption by non-Jews, by animals, by dogs, or for medical purposes, there is an obligation [to give] the presents.27

ו

אֶחָד הַשּׁוֹחֵט לַאֲכִילַת עַכּוּ''ם אוֹ לַאֲכִילַת כְּלָבִים אוֹ לִרְפוּאָה חַיָּב בְּמַתָּנוֹת:

7

There is an obligation [to separate the presents from] an animal belonging to partners, as [the above prooftext] states: "those who slaughter28 the animal."

ז

בֶּהֱמַת שֻׁתָּפִין חַיֶּבֶת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ג) "זֹבְחֵי הַזֶּבַח":

8

When a person purchases an animal with the produce of the Sabbatical year, he is obligated to [give] presents [to a priest].29

Priests and Levites are exempt from the presents, as [the above prooftext] states: "from the people." It is questionable whether the Levites are considered as part of "the people" or not. Therefore [the presents] are not taken from them.30 If, however, a priest took them, he need not return them.31

ח

הַלּוֹקֵחַ בְּהֵמָה מִפֵּרוֹת שְׁבִיעִית חַיָּב בְּמַתָּנוֹת. כֹּהֲנִים וּלְוִיִּים פְּטוּרִים מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ג) "מֵאֵת הָעָם" וְסָפֵק הֵם הַלְוִיִּים אִם הֵם בִּכְלַל הָעָם אוֹ לֹא. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין נוֹטְלִין מֵהֶם וְאִם נָטַל הַכֹּהֵן לֹא יַחְזִיר:

9

When does the above32 apply? When one slaughters for his own sake. [Different laws apply to] a priest who is butcher, who slaughters [animals] and sells them in the marketplace. We grant him two or three weeks.33 Afterwards, we expropriate the presents from him and grant them to other priests.34

If he established a butcher shop to sell meat, we do not wait at all. Instead, we expropriate the presents from him immediately. If he refrains from giving them, we place him under a ban of ostracism35 until he gives them.

ט

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשׁוֹחֵט לְעַצְמוֹ. אֲבָל כֹּהֵן טַבָּח שֶׁשּׁוֹחֵט וּמוֹכֵר בַּשּׁוּק מַמְתִּינִין לוֹ שְׁתַּיִם וְשָׁלֹשׁ שַׁבָּתוֹת. מִיכַּן וְאֵילָךְ מוֹצִיאִין מִמֶּנּוּ מַתָּנוֹת וְנוֹתְנִין אוֹתָם לְכֹהֲנִים אֲחֵרִים. וְאִם קָבַע בֵּית מִטְבָּחַיִם לִמְכֹּר אֵין מַמְתִּינִין לוֹ אֶלָּא מוֹצִיאִין מִמֶּנּוּ מִיָּד. וְאִם נִמְנַע מִלִּתֵּן מְנַדִּין אוֹתוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּתֵּן:

10

A person who slaughters an animal for the sake of a priest or a gentile is exempt from [the obligation to give presents].36

A person who enters into a partnership with a priest [in the ownership of an animal] must mark his portion, so that he will leave the presents in the portion of the priest. If he does not mark his portion, he is obligated [to give] these presents, because the fact that the priest is his partner is not a matter of public knowledge.37Accordingly, if the priest was standing with him in the butcher store and dealing and negotiating with him,38 he is not required to mark [his portion].39

When a person enters a partnership with a gentile [in the ownership of an animal], he need not mark his portion.40 [The rationale is that] as a rule, a gentile will speak excessively and inform everyone that he is [the Jew's] partner, even if [the Jew] is not present at the time of the sale.

י

הַשּׁוֹחֵט לְעַכּוּ''ם וּלְכֹהֵן פָּטוּר מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת. וְהַמִּשְׁתַּתֵּף עִם הַכֹּהֵן צָרִיךְ שֶׁיִּרְשֹׁם חֶלְקוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּנִּיחַ הַמַּתָּנוֹת בְּחֵלֶק הַכֹּהֵן. שֶׁאִם לֹא צִיֵּן חֶלְקוֹ חַיָּב בְּמַתָּנוֹת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין הַכּל יוֹדְעִין שֶׁהַכֹּהֵן שֻׁתָּף לוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ אִם הָיָה הַכֹּהֵן עוֹמֵד עִמּוֹ בַּמִּטְבָּחַיִם וְנוֹשֵׂא וְנוֹתֵן עִמּוֹ אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לִרְשֹׁם. וְהַמִּשְׁתַּתֵּף עִם הָעַכּוּ''ם אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לִרְשֹׁם שֶׁסְּתָם עַכּוּ''ם מַרְבֶּה דְּבָרִים וּמוֹדִיעַ לַכּל שֶׁהוּא שֻׁתָּף וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ עִמּוֹ בִּשְׁעַת מְכִירָה:

11

[If, when negotiating a partnership agreement41 regarding the ownership of an animal,] a priest stipulates to [his partner, an Israelite,] that they are partners with the exception of the presents, the presents belong to the priest. Since the priest stipulated "with the exception of...," he left himself the portion of [the animal containing] the presents. Hence, they are his.42

If, however, the priest told the Israelite: "...on the condition that the presents are mine," the presents belong to the Israelite and he may give them to any priest he desires. Even though [the priest] stipulated that they were his, [the animal] is not exempt from [the obligation to give] the presents.43 For by saying "on the condition that...," he did not leave himself [the ownership of] the presents. Since he did not leave himself a share in their ownership, he did not acquire them through this stipulation.44

יא

הִתְנָה הַכֹּהֵן עִמּוֹ שֶׁהוּא שֻׁתָּף חוּץ מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת הֲרֵי הַמַּתָּנוֹת לַכֹּהֵן. כֵּיוָן שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ חוּץ הֲרֵי שִׁיֵּר לוֹ הַכֹּהֵן חֵלֶק בַּמַּתָּנוֹת וּלְפִיכָךְ הֵם שֶׁלּוֹ. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר לוֹ הַכֹּהֵן עַל מְנָת שֶׁהַמַּתָּנוֹת שֶׁלִּי הֲרֵי הַמַּתָּנוֹת שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל זֶה וְנוֹתְנָן לְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיִּרְצֶה. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִתְנָה עִמּוֹ שֶׁהֵן שֶׁלּוֹ לֹא נִפְטַר מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת. שֶׁהָאוֹמֵר עַל מְנָת לֹא שִׁיֵּר לוֹ בְּעַצְמָן שֶׁל מַתָּנוֹת כְּלוּם הוֹאִיל וְלֹא שִׁיֵּר לוֹ בָּהֶן שֻׁתָּפוּת לֹא קְנָאָן בִּתְנַאי זֶה:

12

If a priest was a partner in [the ownership of] the head, he is exempt from [giving] the jaw. If he is a partner in the front leg, he is exempt from the fore leg. If he is a partner in the digestive organs, he is exempt from the maw.45

If the priest told [the Israelite]: "The entire animal is mine, but the head is yours," he is obligated to give the jaw, for the portion that must be given belongs to the Israelite.

יב

הָיָה הַכֹּהֵן שֻׁתָּף בָּרֹאשׁ פָּטוּר מִן הַלְּחִי. שֻׁתָּף בַּיָּד פָּטוּר מִן הַזְּרוֹעַ. שֻׁתָּף בִּבְנֵי מֵעַיִם פָּטוּר מִן הַקֵּבָה. אָמַר לוֹ הַכֹּהֵן הֲרֵי הַבְּהֵמָה כֻּלָּהּ שֶׁלִּי וְהָרֹאשׁ שֶׁלְּךָ חַיָּב בִּלְחִי. שֶׁהַדָּבָר הַחַיָּב הֲרֵי הוּא שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל:

13

[The following laws apply when] a gentile converts and he is in the process of having an animal slaughtered. If it was slaughtered before he converted, he is exempt.46 If [it was slaughtered] after he converted, he is obligated. If there is a doubt concerning the matter, [we follow the principle]: When one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him.47

יג

גֵּר שֶׁנִּתְגַּיֵּר וְהָיְתָה לוֹ בְּהֵמָה שְׁחוּטָה. אִם נִשְׁחֲטָה עַד שֶׁלֹּא נִתְגַּיֵּר פָּטוּר. וְאִם אַחַר שֶׁנִּתְגַּיֵּר חַיָּב. וְאִם סָפֵק פָּטוּר וְהַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה:

14

It is permitted to partake [of the meat] of an animal from which the presents were not separated. [The situation] is not analogous to tevel48 [The rationale is that] the presents due to be given the priests are separate and distinct.49It is forbidden for an Israelite to partake of the presents themselves without the permission of a priest. If he transgresses and partakes of them, damages them, or sells them, he is not liable to make financial restitution.50 [The rationale is that] this is money that has no known plaintiff.51 A person who purchases them - even though he is forbidden to do so - is permitted to partake of them, because when the presents to the priests are stolen, the theft effect a change in ownership.

יד

בְּהֵמָה שֶׁלֹּא הוּרְמוּ מַתְּנוֹתֶיהָ מֻתָּר לֶאֱכוֹל מִמֶּנָּה שֶׁאֵינָהּ דּוֹמָה לְטֶבֶל שֶׁהֲרֵי מַתְּנוֹת כְּהֻנָּה מֻבְדָּלִין וְהַמַּתָּנוֹת עַצְמָן אָסוּר לְיִשְׂרָאֵל לְאָכְלָן אֶלָּא בִּרְשׁוּת כֹּהֵן. עָבַר וַאֲכָלָן אוֹ הִזִּיקָן אוֹ מְכָרָן אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא מָמוֹן שֶׁאֵין לוֹ תּוֹבֵעַ יָדוּעַ. וְהַקּוֹנֶה אוֹתָם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ רַשַּׁאי הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לְאָכְלָן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמַּתְּנוֹת כְּהֻנָּה נִגְזָלוֹת:

15

If one tells a butcher: "Sell me the digestive organs of a cow," and there were presents52 among them, [the purchaser] should give them to a priest,53but [the seller] need not decrease the price [accordingly].54 If [the purchaser] bought [the organs] by weight, he should give them to the priest and deduct their value from the butcher's [due].55

טו

אָמַר לַטַּבָּח מְכֹר לִי בְּנֵי מֵעֶיהָ שֶׁל פָּרָה וְהָיוּ בָּהּ מַתָּנוֹת נוֹתְנָן לַכֹּהֵן וְאֵינוֹ מְנַכֶּה לוֹ מִן הַדָּמִים. לְקָחָם מִמֶּנּוּ בְּמִשְׁקָל נוֹתְנָם לַכֹּהֵן וּמְנַכֶּה לַטַּבָּח מִן הַדָּמִים:

16

When a person sends meat to a friend and there were presents56 in [the parcel], the recipient need not be concerned that [the sender] transgressed and stole them.57

In a place where there are no priests,58 one should determine their financial value and partake of them, [so as not to cause] a priest a loss.59 He should then give the money to any priest he desires.

טז

הַמְשַׁלֵּחַ בָּשָׂר לַחֲבֵרוֹ וְהָיוּ בָּהּ מַתָּנוֹת אֵינוֹ חוֹשֵׁשׁ שֶׁמָּא עָבַר זֶה וּגְזָלָן. מָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ כֹּהֵן מַעֲלֶה הַמַּתָּנוֹת בְּדָמִים וְאוֹכְלָן מִפְּנֵי הֶפְסֵד כֹּהֵן וְיִתֵּן הַדָּמִים לְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיִּרְצֶה:

17

If a person wants to give the presents to only one priest, he may do so. If he wants to divide them [and give them to several], he should not give half the maw or half the foreleg to one [priest]. Instead, he should give the foreleg to one, the maw to another, and the jaw to two others. [This is inferred from Deuteronomy 18:4]: "And you shall give it to him," i.e., give him a portion that is a significant present.60 If [he is giving presents] from an ox, he may divide them into portions,61 provided each portion is a significant present.

יז

הָרוֹצֶה לִתֵּן הַמַּתָּנוֹת לְכֹהֵן אֶחָד נוֹתֵן. וְאִם רָצָה לַחְלֹק אוֹתָן לֹא יִתֵּן חֲצִי קֵבָה לָאֶחָד אוֹ חֲצִי זְרוֹעַ אֶלָּא זְרוֹעַ לָאֶחָד וְקֵבָה לָאֶחָד וּלְחָיַיִם לִשְׁנַיִם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ד) "תִּתֶּן לּוֹ" שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בָּהּ כְּדֵי מַתָּנָה. וְאִם הָיוּ שֶׁל שׁוֹר חוֹלֵק אוֹתָן חֲתִיכוֹת וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בְּכָל חֲתִיכָה כְּדֵי מַתָּנָה:

18

What is meant by the foreleg? The right foreleg,62 The portion from the upper-joint until the ankle joint; two limbs, one connected with the other. The jaw refers to the jaw bones until the large ring of the protrusion of the gullet with the tongue between the bones.63 All of this is given to the priest.

יח

אֵי זֶהוּ הַזְּרוֹעַ. זְרוֹעַ שֶׁל יָמִין מִן הַפֶּרֶק שֶׁל אַרְכֻּבָּה עַד כַּף שֶׁל יָדוֹ שֶׁהֵן שְׁנֵי אֵיבָרִים זֶה מְעֹרֶה בָּזֶה. וְהַלְּחָיַיִם מִן הַפֶּרֶק שֶׁל לְחִי וְעַד פִּיקָה שֶׁל גַּרְגֶּרֶת טַבַּעַת גְּדוֹלָה עִם הַלָּשׁוֹן שֶׁבֵּינֵיהֶן הַכּל לַכֹּהֵן:

19

[When giving the jaw and the foreleg to the priest,] we do not pour boiling water on the hide [to remove the hair], nor do we skin it. Instead, we give it to [the priest] with its skin and wool. [We give a priest] the maw with the fat upon it64 and the fat within it. The priests have already accepted the custom of leaving the fat of the maw for the owner.65

יט

אֵין מוֹלְגִין אוֹתָן וְאֵין מַפְשִׁיטִין אוֹתָן אֶלָּא יִתְּנוּ לוֹ בְּעוֹרָן וּבְצִמְרָן. וְהַקֵּבָה בַּחֵלֶב שֶׁעָלֶיהָ וּבַחֵלֶב שֶׁבְּתוֹכָהּ. וּכְבָר נָהֲגוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים לְהַנִּיחַ חֵלֶב הַקֵּבָה לַבְּעָלִים:

20

A women of the priestly family may partake of the presents even if she is married to an Israelite, because they are not consecrated. Moreover, her husband may partake of the presents for her sake.

A challalah,66 by contrast, may not partake of the presents, because challalim67 are not in the category of priests.68 If a priest desires to sell the presents, to give them as gifts, even to a gentile, or to feed them to the dogs, he may, for they are not consecrated at all.69

כ

הַכֹּהֶנֶת אוֹכֶלֶת הַמַּתָּנוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא נְשׂוּאָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶן קְדֻשָּׁה. וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא הַבַּעַל אוֹכֵל מַתָּנוֹת בִּגְלַל אִשְׁתּוֹ. אֲבָל חֲלָלָה אֵינָהּ אוֹכֶלֶת. שֶׁאֵין חֲלָלִים בִּכְלַל כֹּהֲנִים. וְאִם רָצָה הַכֹּהֵן לִמְכֹּר הַמַּתָּנוֹת אוֹ לִתְּנָן בְּמַתָּנָה אֲפִלּוּ לְעַכּוּ''ם אוֹ לְהַאֲכִילָם לִכְלָבִים מַאֲכִילָם שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶן קְדֻשָּׁה כְּלָל:

21

[The following rules apply when there is] a priest whose friends [continually] give him presents. If he desires to transfer ownership of them to a friend who is an Israelite,70 he may, even though they did not enter [the priest's] domain. Thus [the priest's] friends may slaughter [their animals] and give the presents to the Israelite who acquired them. [This applies] provided the Israelite is in difficult straits and does not have the means to buy meat and the priest who transfers the meat to him is his friend. If, however, the priest is the Israelite's attendant or his hired worker or employee, he may not transfer ownership [of the presents] until they enter his domain.71 [This is a safeguard,] lest he compel him to do so.

כא

כֹּהֵן שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ חֲבֵרִים שֶׁנּוֹתְנִים לוֹ הַמַּתָּנוֹת אִם רָצָה לְזַכּוֹת בָּהֶן לְיִשְׂרָאֵל חֲבֵרוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מְזַכֶּה לוֹ. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא בָּאוּ לְיָדוֹ. וְיִהְיוּ אוֹתָם הַחֲבֵרִים זוֹבְחִים וְנוֹתְנִין הַמַּתָּנוֹת לְזֶה הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁזָּכָה בָּהֶן. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל זֶה בְּדֹחַק וְאֵין לוֹ לִקְנוֹת בָּשָׂר. וְיִהְיֶה הַכֹּהֵן שֶׁזָּכָה לוֹ חֲבֵרוֹ. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה הַכֹּהֵן שַׁמָּשׁוֹ שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל זֶה אוֹ שְׂכִירוֹ אוֹ לְקִיטוֹ אֵינוֹ מְזַכֶּה לוֹ עַד שֶׁיָּבוֹאוּ לְיָדוֹ שֶׁמָּא יְזַכֶּה בְּעַל כָּרְחוֹ:

22

A priest should not grab the presents, nor should he even request them verbally. Instead, if he is given them72 in a respectful manner, he may take them.73 When there are many priests at the slaughter house, the modest ones withdraw and the gluttons take them. [Even though] a priest is modest, [if] it is not known that he is a priest, he should take [the presents] to let it be known to everyone that he is a priest.

The priests should only eat the presents as they are roasted, with mustard on them,74 for [Numbers 18:8] states [that the gifts to the priests75 were given them]: "for distinction." Hence, [they should] be eaten in a manner befitting a king.

כב

לֹא יַחְטֹף הַכֹּהֵן הַמַּתָּנוֹת וְלֹא יִשְׁאַל בְּפִיו אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן נוֹתְנִין לוֹ בְּכָבוֹד נוֹטֵל. וּבִזְמַן שֶׁהֵם רַבִּים בְּבֵית הַמִּטְבָּחַיִם הַצְּנוּעִים מוֹשְׁכִין יְדֵיהֶם וְהַגַּרְגְּרָנִים נוֹטְלִין. וְאִם הָיָה כֹּהֵן צָנוּעַ וְאֵין מַכִּירִין אוֹתוֹ שֶׁהוּא כֹּהֵן הֲרֵי זֶה נוֹטֵל כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּוָּדַע לַכּל שֶׁהוּא כֹּהֵן. וְאֵין הַכֹּהֲנִים אוֹכְלִין הַמַּתָּנוֹת אֶלָּא צָלִי בְּחַרְדָּל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כט כט) "לְמָשְׁחָה" כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁאוֹכְלִים הַמְּלָכִים:

Footnotes
1.

I.e., other than a priest or Levite (see Halachah 8).

2.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 143) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 506) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. Chulin 134b states that the priests merited these gifts in recognition of the heroism of Pinchas in stopping the Jews' lewd behavior with the Midianite women.

3.

This is a matter of debate among the commentaries. The Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 61:21) quote the Rambam's view, but also mention the opinion of Rashi and Rabbenu Meir of Rutenberg who maintain that this mitzvah is not practiced in the Diaspora. They conclude that this latter view is observed. The Sefer HaChinuch, loc. cit., writes that in the abstract, he agrees that the law should be observed in the present era as well, but "we do not have the power to compel the butchers to observe it." See also the Responsa of the Chatam Sofer, sec. 301, where he writes that he would observe this mitzvah.

4.

These blemishes are listed in Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash, ch. 7, Hilchot Issurei Mizbeach, ch. 2.

5.

Since they are permanently blemished at the time of their consecration, it is obvious that they will ultimately be redeemed and used for ordinary purposes, not as a sacrifice. Hence it is never considered that their actual bodies became consecrated. Once they are redeemed, they are like any ordinary property. Hence the obligation to separate the presents falls upon them (Radbaz).

6.

Such blemishes are listed in Hilchot Issurei Mizbeach 2:7.

7.

Even permanently.

8.

In such a situation, the consecration of the animal encompasses its actual body. The rationale is that in the first instance mentioned in this clause, the blemish is not permanent. Hence, it does not block the consecration. And in the second instance, the blemish comes after the consecration already took effect. And since the consecration affected the actual bodies of the animals, it continues to have an effect even after the animals have been redeemed. They are considered as pesulei hamukdashim and are exempt from this obligation (Radbaz, based on Bechorot 15a).

9.

A sheep that had not given birth before gave birth to two offspring, a male - which would be separated as a firstborn - and a female which would not - and it is not known which of them was born first. See Hilchot Bechorot 5:1. Alternatively, a firstborn animal became mixed together with other animals [Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 61:20).

10.

A priest to whom a firstborn animal is given is not obligated to separate the presents and give them to another priest. In the instance described above, the Israelite who is the owner of the animal may retain possession of it, for we follow the principle: "When one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him." Thus since a priest cannot prove that the animal was a firstborn, it remains the property of the owner. Nevertheless, he must give the presents to a priest based on the rationale presented by the Rambam.

11.

E.g., a sheep that had not given birth before gave birth to two males. Thus one of them is certainly the firstborn and must be given to a priest. The question is which one. Hence the weaker one is given to the priest and the other one remains the property of its owner, but may not be slaughtered until it receives a disqualifying blemish (Hilchot Bechorot, loc. cit.).

12.

I.e., in exchange for giving the priest the weaker animal, the priest forfeits his claim on the other animal. Hence, although there is a possibility that it is an ordinary animal and the presents must be given to the priest, to obtain those presents, the priest is required to prove that claim and he cannot. Hence, the owner may retain possession.

13.

Which the owner must offer as a sacrifice (Hilchot Bechorot 6:4). Were this to be the case, he would not be required to give the presents to a priest.

14.

In this instance, the priest desires to expropriate the presents.

15.

I.e., we cannot obligate him to give the presents to a priest, because unlike the firstborn, the priest has no claim to the animal as a whole.

16.

It is exempt from the obligation to separate the presents as stated in Halachah 2.

17.

Our translation is based on authoritative manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah. The standard printed text differs slightly.

18.

In this instance, the priest desires to expropriate the presents.

19.

Because he knows that only one animal was consecrated and then disqualified.

20.

If, however, he slaughters a kosher wild animal (e.g., a deer) or a kosher fowl, he is not required to give the presents to the priest.

21.

More particularly, the Hebrew term seh can refer either to a sheep or a goat.

22.

For even though it is a hybrid, it is definitely a domesticated animal and hence, there is an obligation for presents to be given.

23.

Not only half.

24.

Generally - and indeed, this interpretation is indicated by the standard published text of Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 1:13 - a ko'i is defined as: "a mixed species that comes from the mating of a kosher domesticated animal and a kosher wild beast." Accordingly, the Tur (Yoreh De'ah 61) questions the Rambam's ruling for it appears to contradict his own statements in the continuation of this halachah. Rav Yosef Caro (in his Kessef Mishneh to the Mishneh Torah and his Beit Yosef to the Tur) explains that the Rambam understands the term ko'i as referring to an independent species that we do not know whether to classify as a domesticated animal or as a wild beast. He maintains that the proper version of Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot is "any animal whose classification as a domesticated animal or as a beast is doubtful is a ko'i" and he maintains that Hilchot Shechitah 14:4 serves as proof of this interpretation.

25.

Chulin 132a explains that since it is only part sheep, only part of the presents are granted. We do not take the species of the father of the animal into consideration.

26.

For, as in the previous law, we do not take the species of the father of the animal into consideration. Although this matter is not determined definitively, since "when one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him," the priest cannot claim the presents definitively either (Siftei Cohen61:10).

27.

Presents need not be separated when an animal is killed without ritual slaughter - or when the ritual slaughter is performed improperly and the animal is forbidden to be eaten (Tosefta, Chulin 9:1). Nevertheless, if the slaughter is performed properly, the presents must be given to a priest, regardless of the reason for which the animal was slaughtered. This is derived from a comparison to the covering of the blood after the slaughter of an animal (Ra'avad).

28.

The use of the plural term implies that the law applies even if there are many for whom the animal is being slaughtered (seeChulin 136a).

29.

For even though that produce must be destroyed at the appropriate time, while it is in a person's possession, it is his personal property. See Bechorot 12b.

30.

As above, when one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him. And it is impossible for a priest to prove that the Levite is obligated.

From Chulin 131a, it is obvious that a Levite does not have the right to receive presents (Siftei Cohen 61:12).

31.

For now they are in the possession of the priest. He may therefore retain them, for the Levite cannot prove that he is exempt.

The Rambam's view is cited by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 61:23). The Rama maintains that since the law is that a priest is not entitled to take it, if he takes it by force, he is required to return it. This difference of opinion reflects a divergence on an issue of a greater scope. See Hilchot Bechorot 5:3, where the Rambam rules that when there is a question concerning whether an animal is a firstborn or not, a priest is not permitted to take possession of it. If he takes possession of it, however, it is not expropriated from him. In that instance as well, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 315:1) follows the Rambam's approach and the Rama differs.

32.

That the priests are exempt from giving presents.

33.

During which he is allowed to keep the presents for himself.

34.

Since he sells the meat, he is acting on behalf of others and they are not absolved from the obligation of giving the presents. See the gloss of Rav Yosef Korcus who debates whether this is a Scriptural Law or a Rabbinic decree.

35.

See Hilchot Talmud Torah, ch. 6.

36.

We are speaking about a situation where the animal belongs entirely to the priest or the gentile. It is the ownership of the animal, not the identity of the slaughterer which is significant. Since neither the priest nor the gentile would be required to give these presents, a slaughterer who acts on their behalf is also exempt.

37.

Hence, if he does not give a priest the presents, people will suspect him of withholding them.

38.

And thus it is evident that they are partners.

39.

The Tur (Yoreh De'ah 61) differs with the Rambam, explaining Chulin 133a,b (the Rambam's source) differently. In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro elaborates in support of the Rambam's interpretation (even though at the outset, he states that the interpretation of the Tur appears more appropriate to the simple meaning of the passage. In his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 61:25), he follows the Tur's interpretation.

40.

And we nevertheless assume that the presents were in the gentile's portion.

41.

Rashi (in his commentary to Chulin 132a, the source for the Rambam's ruling) and similarly, the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 61:29) interpret this as referring to a sale and not a partnership agreement.

42.

Even if they were not marked [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Chulin 10:3)].

43.

The Radbaz explains that the rationale is that his stipulation runs contrary to the Torah - for the Torah requires that the presents be given - and whenever a person makes a stipulation that runs contrary to Torah law, the stipulation is nullified. Hence, it is as if the stipulation was never made and the priest's partner must separate the presents as stated in the previous halachah.

44.

The commentaries note an apparent contradiction between the Rambam's ruling here and his ruling in Hilchot Ma'aser 6:19 where he states:

When a priest sells a field to an Israelite and tells him: "[I am selling it] on the condition that the tithes from it belong to me forever," they belong to him. [The rationale is that] saying "on the condition that" is tantamount to setting aside for himself [the portion of the field] where the tithes [grow].

Although there are explicit Talmudic sources for both rulings, their logic appears contradictory. Among the resolutions offered is that here, the Rambam is speaking about the ownership of an animal, while in Hilchot Ma'aser, he is speaking about landed property and the principles of ownership are different in these two instances.

45.

The new concept taught by this halachah is that one can be exempt from part, but not all, of the presents.

46.

Because at that time, he was not obligated, as stated in Halachah 10.

47.

Hence, the convert may retain possession of the presents. As mentioned in the notes to Chapter 8, Halachah 9, when a similar situation arises concerning challah, the Rambam rules that the convert is liable to separate the dough. Nevertheless, a distinction between the two can be made because of the severity of that prohibition.

48.

In which instance, it is forbidden to partake of the produce until the terumah and the tithes are separated.

49.

In contrast to the produce where the terumah and tithes must be separated from the produce as a whole.

50.

I.e., he has no legal obligation to make financial restitution. In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro questions whether the person has a moral and spiritual obligation to make restitution and in his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 61:15), he rules that he does.

51.

There is no one priest who can claim that the presents are his and they must be returned to him, for until they are given, the owner has the right to give them to any priest he desires.

52.

I.e., the maw.

53.

For they belong to him.

54.

Since it was obvious that the maw was among the organs he purchased, the purchaser should have realized that it was not included in the price. Instead, he was paying him for the remainder of the meat (Kessef Mishneh).

55.

Since the maw did not belong to the butcher - for it must be given to the priest - he had no right to sell it (ibid.). See also the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Chulin 10:4) which states that it is forbidden to buy the presents, because by doing so, one would be aiding theft.

56.

I.e., some of the organs that have to be given the priest.

57.

For we do not suspect that a person sinned. Instead, the recipient assumes that the sender purchased the presents from a priest; alternatively, there were no priests in the area and he followed the advice given in the following clause.

58.

And thus there is no one to give the presents to.

59.

For if he sets them aside, they will spoil. There is no difficulty in doing so, for the presents are not consecrated at all.

60.

See the notes of Rav Kapach to the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Chulin 10:4). There he writes that the original version of the Rambam's Commentary did not contain this law, but the later version did.

61.

For even a portion of the organs of an ox are of a significant size.

62.

The Turei Zahav 61:1 states that this is derived from the fact that the prooftext speaks of "the foreleg," i.e., the important one. An animal's foreleg is comprised of three bones. According to the Rambam, the lower two are given to the priest. See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Chulin 10:4).

63.

Chulin 134b states that one should take the jaw until the place where the animal is slaughtered. See the accompanying diagrams.

64.

This fat is forbidden to be eaten (Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 7:6).

65.

Chulin 134b explains that this is an act of generosity on the part of the priests. Since the presents are their personal property without any sanctity at all, they can do with them as they see fit. From the wording of the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 61:4), however, it appears that this custom is not universally accepted.

66.

In Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 19:1 describes a challalah as a woman born from relations forbidden to the priesthood or a woman who is forbidden to the priesthood who engaged in relations with a priest.

67.

The term challal refers to the offspring of relations forbidden to a priest.

68.

Hence, just as the presents may not be given to a challal, they may not be given to a challalah.

The concept that challalim are not priests applies in many contexts. See Hilchot Nesiat Kapayim 15:5, Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 19:5, Hilchot Terumah 6:7, et al.

69.

The Siftei Cohen 61:5 states that a priest should not give or sell them to gentiles or feed them to dogs unless they are no longer fit for human consumption.

70.

The Rambam's source (Chulin 133a) mentions that the recipient of these presents must be a Torah scholar. The Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 61:14) also mention that point. Apparently, the Rambam thinks that it is not an absolute necessity.

71.

Once they are given to him, however, there are no restrictions on what he may do with them.

72.

Turei Zahav 61:12 states that this is derived from the word "and you shall give" in the prooftext. Implied is that the presents should be given. They should not be taken by the priests on their own initiative.

73.

See parallels in Hilchot Terumah 12:18.

74.

If, however, a priest prefers to eat them in another manner, he may. It is not an obligation to partake of them in the manner described (Tosafot, Chulin 132b).

75.

This verse does not speak about the presents of meat explicitly, but rather the portions of the sacrifices given to the priests. Nevertheless, the concepts can be derived one from the other. See Rashi, Chulin, loc. cit..

Bikkurim - Chapter 10

1

It is a positive commandment to give a priest the first shearings [of an animal],1 as [Deuteronomy 18:4] states: 'Give him the first shearings of your flock.' Levites are considered like Israelites with regard to this mitzvah.2 There is no minimum measure for these shearings according to Scriptural law. According to Rabbinical Law, one should not give less than a sixtieth. It applies only in Eretz [Yisrael],3 whether the Temple is standing or not like the first of the grain.4 It applies to ordinary animals, but not to consecrated ones.

א

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לִתֵּן לַכֹּהֵן רֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ד) "וְרֵאשִׁית גֵּז צֹאנְךָ תִּתֶּן לּוֹ". וּלְוִיִּם בִּכְלַל יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּמִצְוָה זוֹ. וְאֵין לְרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז זוֹ שִׁעוּר מִן הַתּוֹרָה. וּמִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים שֶׁלֹּא יִפְחֹת מֵאֶחָד מִשִּׁשִּׁים. וְאֵינָהּ נוֹהֶגֶת אֶלָּא בָּאָרֶץ בֵּין בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת כְּרֵאשִׁית הַדָּגָן. וְנוֹהֵג בְּחֻלִּין אֲבָל לֹא בְּמֻקְדָּשִׁין:

2

What is implied? A person consecrated animals for the Temple treasury5and then sheared them. Is he obligated to redeem them and give [the first shearings] to the priests? Or if one consecrated an animal with the exception of its shearings, is he obligated in the first shearings? It is written [ibid.]: "your sheep,' [i.e., the obligation applies only to "your sheep.'

ב

כֵּיצַד. הֲרֵי שֶׁהִקְדִּישׁ בְּהֵמוֹת לְבֶדֶק הַבַּיִת וּגְזָזָן יָכוֹל יִהְיֶה חַיָּב לִפְדּוֹת וְלִתֵּן לַכֹּהֵן. אוֹ הִקְדִּישׁ בְּהֵמָה חוּץ מִגִּזָּתָהּ יָכוֹל יִהְיֶה חַיָּב בְּרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז. תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר (דברים יח ד) "צֹאנְךָ". אֵין אֵלּוּ צֹאנוֹ:

3

There is an obligation [to give a priest] the first shearing of any consecrated animals6 that possessed a permanent blemish before they were consecrated and were [then] redeemed.7 If, however, they were consecrated before they were blemished or it had a temporary blemish before it was consecrated,8 and afterwards, it received a permanent blemish and it was redeemed, it is exempt from the first shearing.9

ג

כָּל הַקֳדָשִׁים שֶׁקָּדַם מוּם קָבוּעַ לְהֶקְדֵּשָׁן וְנִפְדּוּ חַיָּבִין בְּרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז. אֲבָל אִם קָדַם הֶקְדֵּשָׁן אֶת מוּמָן אוֹ שֶׁקָּדַם מוּם עוֹבֵר לְהֶקְדֵּשָׁן וְאַחַר כָּךְ נוֹלַד לָהֶן מוּם קָבוּעַ וְנִפְדּוּ פְּטוּרִים מֵרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז:

4

The only animals whose first shearings we are obligated [to give a priest] are sheep, both male and female, for their wool is fit [to make] garments. If their wool was stiff and not fit for [making] garments, they are exempt from the first shearings, for this present is given to the priest for the sole purpose of providing him with garments.10

ד

אֵין חַיָּבִין בְּרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז אֶלָּא הַכְּבָשִׂים בִּלְבַד. זְכָרִים כִּנְקֵבוֹת שֶׁהַצֶּמֶר שֶׁלָּהֶן הוּא הָרָאוּי לִבְגָדִים. הָיָה צִמְרָן קָשֶׁה וְאֵינוֹ רָאוּי לִלְבִישָׁה פְּטוּרִין מֵרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז. שֶׁאֵין מַתָּנָה זוֹ לַכֹּהֵן אֶלָּא כְּדֵי לִלְבּשׁ מִמֶּנָּה:

5

Since the Holy One, blessed be He, granted [a priest] the terumot which provide him with bread and wine11 and He granted him the presents of meat12and the sacrificial meat of the Temple for meat,13 He provided them with the first shearings for their garments and [restitution for property] stolen from a [childless] convert,14 devotion offerings,15 ancestral fields [that were consecrated and not redeemed],16 and the redemption of the firstborn,17for their expenses and for their other needs. [These are granted to the priests,] because they are not granted an ancestral portion of the land, nor a share in the spoils of war.18

ה

כֵּיוָן שֶׁזִּכָּה לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בִּתְרוּמוֹת שֶׁהֵן לַחְמוֹ וְיֵינוֹ. וְזִכָּה לוֹ בְּמַתְּנוֹת בְּהֵמָה וְקָדְשֵׁי מִקְדָּשׁ שֶׁהַבָּשָׂר שֶׁלּוֹ. זִכָּה לוֹ בְּרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז לִלְבוּשׁוֹ. וּבְגֵזֶל הַגֵּר וְהַחֲרָמִים וּשְׂדֵה אֲחֻזָּה וּפִדְיוֹן בְּכוֹרוֹת לְהוֹצָאוֹתָיו וּשְׁאָר צְרָכָיו. שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין לוֹ חֵלֶק בְּנַחֲלָה וּבַבִּזָּה:

6

If [a sheep's] wool was [naturally] red, black, or brown, there is an obligation [to give the priest] the first shearings. If, however, the wool was shorn and dyed, before it was given [to a priest], he is exempt from the first shearings.19 If one bleached it before he gave it [to the priests], he is obligated to set [the wool] aside after he bleaches it.20 When a person pulls out the wool of ewes by hand instead of shearing it, he is obligated in the first shearings.

ו

הָיָה הַצֶּמֶר שֶׁלָּהֶן אָדֹם אוֹ שָׁחֹר אוֹ שָׁחוּם חַיָּבוֹת בְּרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז. אֲבָל אִם גָּזַז הַצֶּמֶר וּצְבָעוֹ קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּתֵּן נִפְטָר מֵרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז. הִלְבִּינוֹ קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּתֵּן חַיָּב לְהַפְרִישׁ אַחַר שֶׁלִּבְּנוֹ. הַתּוֹלֵשׁ צֶמֶר רְחֵלִים בְּיָדוֹ וְלֹא גָּזַז חַיָּב בְּרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז:

7

There is an obligation [to separate] the first shearings from hybrids [of sheep],21 a ko'i,22 and a sheep that is mortally il1.23 If, however, one shears a dead sheep, he is exempt.24

ז

רֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז נוֹהֵג בְּכִלְאַיִם וּבִכְוִי וּבִטְרֵפָה. אֲבָל הַגּוֹזֵז אֶת הַמֵּתָה פָּטוּר:

8

When a person sets aside the first shearings and they are lost, he is responsible to make restitution until he gives them to the priest.25

When a person says: 'Let all of my shearings be considered as the first shearings,' his words are of consequence.26

ח

הַמַּפְרִישׁ רֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז וְאָבַד חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתָן עַד שֶׁיִּתֵּן לַכֹּהֵן. הָאוֹמֵר כָּל גִּזּוֹתַי רֵאשִׁית דְּבָרָיו קַיָּמִין:

9

A person who purchases the shearings of a gentile's sheep after the gentile has shorn them is exempt from the first shearings.27 When he purchases [the gentile's] sheep for their shearing,28 he is obligated even though the wool grew in the gentile's domain and the sheep are returned to the gentile after the shearing. Since the shearer is Jewish and the shearings belong to him, he is obligated. For the obligation takes effect only at the time of shearing.

ט

הַלּוֹקֵחַ גֵּז צֹאנוֹ שֶׁל עַכּוּ''ם אַחַר שֶׁגְּזָזָן הָעַכּוּ''ם פָּטוּר מֵרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז. לָקַח הַצֹּאן לְגִזָּתָן חַיָּב אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁגָּדְלָה הַגִּזָּה בִּרְשׁוּת הָעַכּוּ''ם. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁחוֹזְרִין הַצֹּאן לְעַכּוּ''ם אַחַר גְּזִיזָה. הוֹאִיל וְהַגּוֹזֵז יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַגְּזִיזוֹת שֶׁלּוֹ חַיָּב שֶׁאֵין הַחִיּוּב אֶלָּא בִּשְׁעַת הַגִּזָּה:

10

[The following laws apply when] a person purchases the shearings of a fellow Jew. If the seller left a portion of his sheep to shear,29 the seller is obligated to separate from [the shearing of] the remainder [the appropriate amount] for the entire [flock. This applies] even if the seller has not begun to shear [his sheep.30 The rationale is that we operate under] the assumption that a person will not sell the presents to be given the priests.31 If [the seller] did not leave any [sheep to shear], the purchaser is obligated to separate [the first shearings].32

י

הַלּוֹקֵחַ גֵּז צֹאנוֹ שֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹ אִם שִׁיֵּר הַמּוֹכֵר מְעַט מִצֹּאנוֹ לְהִגָּזֵז הַמּוֹכֵר חַיָּב לְהַפְרִישׁ מִן הַמְּשֹׁאָר עַל הַכּל. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הִתְחִיל הַמּוֹכֵר לִגְזֹז. חֲזָקָה אֵין אָדָם מוֹכֵר מַתְּנוֹת כְּהֻנָּה. וְאִם לֹא שִׁיֵּר כְּלוּם הַלּוֹקֵחַ חַיָּב לְהַפְרִישׁ:

11

[A different rule applies it] there are two types of shearings, e.g., white wool and brown wool, or wool from males and wool from females, and one sold one and retained possession of the other. Both [the purchaser and the seller] should give the first shearings, [the purchaser] on what he purchased and the seller on what he retained.33

יא

הָיוּ שְׁנֵי מִינֵי גִּזָּה כְּגוֹן גִּזָּה לְבָנָה וְגִזָּה שְׁחוּמָה אוֹ גִּזַּת זְכָרִים וְגִזַּת נְקֵבוֹת. וּמָכַר מִין זֶה וְהִנִּיחַ הַמִּין הָאַחֵר. זֶה נוֹתֵן לְעַצְמוֹ וְזֶה נוֹתֵן לְעַצְמוֹ. [זֶה נוֹתֵן לְעַצְמוֹ] עַל מַה שֶּׁלָּקַח וְזֶה נוֹתֵן לְעַצְמוֹ עַל מַה שֶּׁשִּׁיֵּר:

12

When a convert converts and he possesses sheep that are being shorn and it is not known whether they were shorn before he converted or after he converted, he is exempt. [The rationale is when] one desires to expropriate property from a colleague,34 the burden of proof is upon him.

יב

גֵּר שֶׁנִּתְגַּיֵּר וְהָיוּ לוֹ גִּזּוֹת וְאֵין יָדוּעַ אִם עַד שֶׁלֹּא נִתְגַּיֵּר נִגְזְזוּ אוֹ מִשֶּׁנִּתְגַּיֵּר הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר. וְהַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה:

13

How many sheep must there be for [a flock] to be obligated for the first shearings? No less than five,35 provided their shearings is not less than the weight of 60 sela36 and the shearings of each one will not be less than the weight of 12 sela. If the shearings of one of them is less than the weight of twelve sela, [the flock] is exempt from the first shearing, even if [the wool of] the five of them weighs 60 selaim or more.

יג

כַּמָּה צֹאן יִהְיֶה לוֹ וְיִהְיוּ חַיָּבוֹת בְּרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז. אֵין פָּחוֹת מֵחָמֵשׁ. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בַּגִּזָּה שֶׁלָּהֶן אֵין פָּחוֹת מִמִּשְׁקַל שִׁשִּׁים סֶלַע. וְתִהְיֶה גִּזַּת כָּל אַחַת מֵחֲמִשְּׁתָּן אֵין פָּחוֹת מִמִּשְׁקַל י''ב סֶלַע. הָיְתָה אַחַת מֵהֶם גּוֹזֶזֶת פָּחוֹת מִי''ב סֶלַע אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁחֲמִשְּׁתָּן גּוֹזְזוֹת שִׁשִּׁים סֶלַע אוֹ יֶתֶר הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְּטוּרִין מֵרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז:

14

Partners are obligated in [the mitzvah of] the first shearings, provided each one's share is equal to the minimum measure [mentioned above]. It: however, there are only five sheep belonging to two partners, they are exempt.37

יד

הַשֻּׁתָּפִין חַיָּבִין בְּרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בְּחֵלֶק כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן כַּשִּׁעוּר. אֲבָל חָמֵשׁ צֹאן בִּלְבַד שֶׁל שְׁנֵי שֻׁתָּפִין פְּטוּרִין:

15

The mitzvah is to set aside the first shearing at the outset.38 If, however, one set it aside in the middle or at the end, he fulfilled his obligation.

When a person owns five sheep, but [did not shear them together, i.e.,] he had one shorn alone and sold its wool, and then had another shorn alone and sold its wool, and then a third, etc., all of these are combined [to obligate him in the mitzvah of] the first shearing,39 even if this takes place over the course of several years. He may separate from the new shearings for the old shearings and from [the shearings of] one type of sheep for another.40 If, however, he had one sheep, he sheared it and set aside its shearings, purchased a second sheep and set aside its shearings, [and continued doing so until he sheared five sheep], their shearings are not combined.41

טו

רֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז מִצְוָתָהּ בַּתְּחִלָּה וְאִם הִפְרִישׁ בֵּין בָּאֶמְצַע בֵּין בַּסּוֹף יָצָא. הָיוּ לוֹ חָמֵשׁ צֹאן וְגָזַז אַחַת מֵהֶן בִּלְבַד וּמָכַר גִּזָּתָהּ. וְאַחַר כָּךְ גּוֹזֵז שְׁנִיָּה וּמָכַר גִּזָּתָהּ. וְאַחַר כָּךְ גּוֹזֵז שְׁלִישִׁית וּמָכַר גִּזָּתָהּ. הַכּל מִצְטָרְפוֹת לְרֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז. וְחַיָּב אֲפִלּוּ לְאַחַר כַּמָּה שָׁנִים. וְיֵשׁ לוֹ לְהַפְרִישׁ מִן הֶחָדָשׁ עַל הַיָּשָׁן וּמִזֶּה עַל זֶה. אֲבָל אִם הָיְתָה רָחֵל אַחַת וּגְזָזָהּ וְהִנִּיחַ גִּזָּתָהּ וְאַחַר כָּךְ קָנָה שְׁנִיָּה וּגְזָזָהּ וְהִנִּיחַ גִּזָּתָהּ אֵינָן מִצְטָרְפוֹת:

16

When a person has several shearings from the first shearings that he desired to divide among the priests, he should not give any priest less than the weight of five selaim of white wool, enough to make a small garment.

The intent is not that he should whiten it and give it to them. Instead, he should give each of them [at least enough] unrefined wool to produce five selaim42 or more of wool after it has been whitened. [This is derived from Deuteronomy 18:14:] 'Give it to him,' i.e., give him a significant present.

טז

מִי שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ גִּזּוֹת רַבּוֹת שֶׁל רֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז וְרוֹצֶה לְחַלֵּק לַכֹּהֲנִים. לֹא יִתֵּן לְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד פָּחוֹת מִמִּשְׁקַל חָמֵשׁ סְלָעִים מְלֻבָּן כְּדֵי בֶּגֶד קָטָן. לֹא שֶׁיְּלַבְּנוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִתֵּן לוֹ אֶלָּא יִתֵּן לוֹ מִצֶּמֶר הַגִּזָּה כְּשֶׁהוּא צוֹאִי. כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בּוֹ אַחַר הַלִּבּוּן חָמֵשׁ סְלָעִים אוֹ יֶתֶר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ד) "תִּתֵּן לוֹ" שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בּוֹ כְּדֵי מַתָּנָה הַמּוֹעֶלֶת:

17

The first shearings are ordinary property in every regard. Therefore, I maintain that they may be given to a woman of the priestly family even if she is married to an Israelite like the presents of meat.43 It appears to me that they are governed by the same laws.

יז

רֵאשִׁית הַגֵּז חֻלִּין לְכָל דָּבָר. לְפִיכָךְ אֲנִי אוֹמֵר שֶׁנּוֹתְנִים אוֹתוֹ לְכֹהֶנֶת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא נְשׂוּאָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל כְּמַתְּנוֹת בְּהֵמָה. וְיֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁדִּין שְׁנֵיהֶן אֶחָד הוּא:

Footnotes
1.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 144) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 508) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

2.

I.e., as opposed to the presents described in the previous chapter, the Levites are required to separate these shearings.

3.

But not in the Diaspora. Thus it resembles terumah - for both are called "first" and hence share similarilities in many laws - and not the presents of meat. Although the Mishnah (Chulin 11:1) states that this mitzvah also applies in the Diaspora, according to the Rambam, the halachah does not follow that view.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 333:1) follows the Rambam's view. The Tur and the Rama state that theoretically, this mitzvah should also be observed in the Diaspora, but in practice, that view is not followed.

4.

I.e., terumah. See Hilchot Terumah 1:1.

5.

I.e., needless to say this law would apply if the animal was consecrated for the sake of sacrifice on the Altar, for in that instance, the animal is forbidden to be shorn and it is forbidden to work with it. Moreover, even if the animal is consecrated only for the sake of the Temple treasury, in which instance, it will ultimately be redeemed for personal use, since while it is consecrated, it is not "your sheep,' as the Rambam continues to explain, there is no obligation to give its first shearings.

6.

I.e., even if the animal was consecrated only for the sake of the Temple treasury, as above, these laws apply. The rationale is that a blemished kosher animal that is consecrated to the Temple treasury is redeemed with the intent to be used as a sacrifice.

7.

Since it was blemished at the time it was consecrated, the animal was never fit to be offered on the altar. Hence, the consecration never affected the actual physical substance of the animal. Accordingly, once it is redeemed, it is considered as an ordinary animal and its first shearings must be given to a priest

8.

Since the temporary blemish will be healed, it is considered as if did not exist.

9.

Since when consecrated, the animal was fit for sacrifice, the consecration affected its physical substance. Hence, even after it was redeemed, it is not considered as an ordinary animal and it is exempt from the first shearings. See the parallel in Chapter 9, Halachah2.

10.

Rav Yosef Corcus explains that the Rambam (based on one of the opinions in Chulin 137a) is referring to the priestly garments which are made from wool and linen. For, otherwise, goats' wool is also fit to make ordinary garments. This explanation is also quoted by Siftei Cohen 333:2. The intent is not, however, that the first shearings should be used only for priestly garments, for as the Rambam states in the following halachah, the first shearings were given to the priests for their personal garments.

11.

According to the Rambam, the terumot also include oil and other fruits.

12.

Described in Chapter 9.

13.

I.e., the portions of the sin offerings, guilt offerings, and peace offerings which are granted to the priests.

14.

See Hilchot Gezeilah, Chapter 8.

15.

See Hilchot Arachin VaCharamim, Chapter 6.

16.

Which becomes the property of the priests; see Hilchot Arachin VaCharamim4:19.

17.

See Chapters 11 and 12.

18.

See Hilchot Shemitah VeYovel, Chapter 13, with regard to both these points.

19.

He is considered to have acquired the wool because he made a significant change in its nature. This ruling applies after the fact. As an initial preference, it is forbidden to make such a change [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Chulin 11:3; Rav Kappach's edition)].

20.

For this is not considered as a significant change.

21.

The Radbaz explains that this law depends on the concept stated in Halachah 4: If the wool of a hybrid (the offspring of a sheep or a goat) is soft, the first shearings must be separated. If not, it is exempt.

22.

As mentioned in the notes to Chapter 9, Halachah 5, the Rambam understands the term ko'i as referring to an animal which our Sages were unable to classify as a domesticated animal or a wild beast.

23.

For the animal is alive at present and the removal of its wool is considered as shearing.

24.

The Kessef Mishneh explains that this is derived from the very definition of the mitzvah, 'the shearing of the sheep.' A dead sheep is not considered a sheep and cutting its wool is not considered as shearing.

25.

The Radbaz questions why the first shearings are different than all the other presents given to the priests where such a law is not found. He explains that the other presents involve grain and meat and a granary or a slaughter house are not located at a great distance from the residential area of a city. Hence, it is not very difficult for a priest to go and collect them. Sheep, by contrast, may not be allowed to pasture near residential areas. Hence, since it is far more difficult for a priest to collect them, the Torah made the owners responsible for the shearings.

26.

Chulin 136b notes that in this respect, although they are also called "the first," the first shearings are different from terumah and challah. With regard to these separations, if one designates his entire crop as terumah 0r his entire dough as challah, his statements are of no consequence. The Radbaz explains that the term terumah - and challah is also called terumah - implies elevating one portion of a group from another portion. Hence, there must always be something left behind. The term 'the first shearings' does not have such a connotation.

Rav Yosef Corcus notes that Chulin 136b associates this ruling with the Rabbi Ila'ai's opinion that the first shearing applies in the Diaspora as well as in Eretz Yisrael. Thus there is an apparent contradiction between the Rambam's ruling here and his ruling in Halachah 1 that the mitzvah of the first shearing applies only in Eretz Yisrael. Rav Yosef explains that the Rambam's ruling in Halachah 1 is based on custom and not on the acceptance of the opinions that differ with Rabbi Ila'ai.

27.

This point is obvious. The Rambam (and his source, Chulin 138a) mention it only because of the contrast to the following laws. Rashi, however, interprets that passage differently. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 333:7) follows the Rambam's understanding, while the Tur and the Rama follow Rashi's view.

28.

I.e., he never becomes the real owner of the sheep; he acquires them only for the right to shear their wool.

29.

And that portion contains the minimum measure mentioned in Halachah 13.

30.

Since the seller has not begun shearing the sheep at all, it would seem reasonable to say that each person should give the first shearings from his portion. Nevertheless, the ruling is not so.

31.

And thus they remain in his portion. Selling these presents is prohibited and we assume that the person would not desire to transgress.

32.

Chulin 138a explains that the seller tells the purchaser: 'I did not sell you the first shearings. The money I took from you is for the remainder of the wool that is not the priest's portion. I merely gave you the opportunity to give the presents to the priest of your choice."

33.

Even though one may separate the first shearings from one type of wool for another type as evident from Halachah 15, in this instance, since the two types are owned by two separate people, each should separate the first shearings from his own wool.

34.

I.e., the priest desires to expropriate the first shearings from the owner. See the parallel in Chapter 9, Halachah 13. The Radbaz explains that this ruling follows the principle: When there is a doubt concerning a prohibition, we rule stringently. When there is a doubt concerning financial matters, we rule leniently.

35.

Chulin 11:1 derives this from a non-literal interpretation of II Samuel 25:18.

36.

A sela is approximately 20 grams in contemporary measure.

Chulin 11:2 states that this measure is required, for only then will the gift to the priest be significant, for it will be possible to make a small garment from it.

37.

I.e., the Rambam follows the opinion (Chulin 135a) that the partnership is not recognized as a single entity. Hence, it is necessary for the share of each of the partners to comprise at least the minimum amount. The Kessef Mishneh notes the parallel to Chapter 6, Halachah 20.

38.

The Radbaz states that this is implied by the very term 'the first of.'

39.

Because at the time he sheared the first sheep, he possessed a flock of the minimum size. The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 333: 12) states that this applies even if he sold some of his sheep after shearing them.

40.

One should not, however, separate the shearings of inferior sheep for those of superior sheep [Rama (Yoreh De'ah 333:12)].

41.

Because at the time he sheared the first sheep, he did not have a flock of the minimum size.

42.

Five selaim is 100 grams in contemporary measure. This measure of wool was sufficient to fashion a sash (avneit) for a priest (Chulin 138a).

43.

See Chapter 9, Halachah 20.

Bikkurim - Chapter 11

1

It is a positive commandment1 for every Jewish man2 to redeem his son who is the firstborn of his Jewish mother, as [Exodus 34:19] states: "All first issues of the womb are mine" and [Numbers 18:15] states: "And you shall surely redeem a firstborn man."

א

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לִפְדּוֹת כָּל אִישׁ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל בְּנוֹ שֶׁהוּא בְּכוֹר לְאִמּוֹ הַיִּשְׂרְאֵלִית שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות לד יט) "כָּל פֶּטֶר רֶחֶם לִי". וְנֶאֱמַר (במדבר יח טו) "אַךְ פָּדֹה תִפְדֶּה אֵת בְּכוֹר הָאָדָם":

2

A woman is not obligated to redeem her son,3 for one who is obligated to redeem himself is obligated to redeem his son.4 If the father transgressed and did not redeem his son, when he comes of age,5 he is obligated to redeem himself.6

ב

וְאֵין הָאִשָּׁה חַיֶּבֶת לִפְדּוֹת אֶת בְּנָהּ. שֶׁהַחַיָּב לִפְדּוֹת אֶת עַצְמוֹ הוּא שֶׁחַיָּב לִפְדּוֹת אֶת בְּנוֹ. עָבַר הָאָב וְלֹא פָּדָהוּ כְּשֶׁיִּגְדַּל יִפְדֶּה אֶת עַצְמוֹ:

3

If it is necessary to redeem both the person himself and his son, he should redeem himself first and then his son.7 If he only has enough [money] for one redemption, he should redeem himself.

ג

הָיָה הוּא לִפְדּוֹת וּבְנוֹ לִפְדּוֹת יִפְדֶּה עַצְמוֹ תְּחִלָּה וְאַחַר כָּךְ בְּנוֹ. וְאִם אֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא כְּדֵי פִּדְיוֹן אֶחָד יִפְדֶּה עַצְמוֹ:

4

If [a father] had to redeem his son and the time arrived for him to make a festive pilgrimage [to Jerusalem] and he does not have the resources for both, he should redeem his son and then make the pilgrimage. [This is alluded to in Exodus 34:20:] which states: "You shall redeem all your firstborn sons" and afterwards [continues]: "Do not behold My countenance8 emptyhanded."9

ד

הָיָה בְּנוֹ לִפְדּוֹת וְהִגִּיעַ עֵת לַעֲלוֹת לָרֶגֶל וְאֵין לוֹ כְּדֵי לָזֶה וְלָזֶה. פּוֹדֶה אֶת בְּנוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ עוֹלֶה לָרֶגֶל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות לד כ) "כּל בְּכוֹר בָּנֶיךָ תִּפְדֶּה" וְאַחַר כָּךְ (שמות לד כ) "וְלֹא יֵרָאוּ פָנַי רֵיקָם":

5

A person who redeems his son should recite the blessing: "[Blessed are You...] who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the redemption of a son."10 Afterwards, he recites the blessing Shehechiyanu11 and then gives12 [the money for] the redemption to the priest. If [a son] redeems himself, he should recite the blessing: "[Blessed... who commanded us] to redeem the firstborn"13 and he should recite the blessing Shehechiyanu.

ה

הַפּוֹדֶה אֶת בְּנוֹ מְבָרֵךְ אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל פִּדְיוֹן הַבֵּן. וְחוֹזֵר וּמְבָרֵךְ שֶׁהֶחֱיָינוּ. וְאַחַר כָּךְ נוֹתֵן הַפִּדְיוֹן לַכֹּהֵן. וְאִם פָּדָה עַצְמוֹ מְבָרֵךְ לִפְדּוֹת הַבְּכוֹר וּמְבָרֵךְ שֶׁהֶחֱיָינוּ:

6

This mitzvah is practiced in every place and at all times.14 For how much should the son be redeemed? Five selaim,15 as [Numbers 18:16] states: "And those to be redeemed: from one month you shall redeem [according to the valuation of five silver shekalim]." [The redemption may be paid] in silver16 or in articles worth silver, i.e., movable property that is of financial worth like the shekalim are. Therefore one may not redeem [a firstborn] with landed property or with servants. Nor may promissory notes [be used], because they are not of inherent worth.17 If one redeemed a firstborn with these, he is not redeemed.18

ו

מִצְוָה זוֹ נוֹהֶגֶת בְּכָל מָקוֹם וּבְכָל זְמַן. וּבְכַמָּה פּוֹדֵהוּ בְּחָמֵשׁ סְלָעִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יח טז) "וּפְדוּיָו מִבֶּן חֹדֶשׁ תִּפְדֶּה". בֵּין בְּכֶסֶף בֵּין בִּשְׁוֵה כֶּסֶף מִן הַמִּטַּלְטְלִין שֶׁגּוּפָן מָמוֹן כְּעִנְיַן הַשְּׁקָלִים. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין פּוֹדִין בְּקַרְקָעוֹת וְלֹא בַּעֲבָדִים מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן כְּקַרְקָעוֹת וְלֹא בִּשְׁטָרוֹת לְפִי שֶׁאֵין גּוּפָן מָמוֹן. וְאִם פָּדָהוּ בָּהֶן אֵינוֹ פָּדוּי:

7

When a father writes to a priest that he is obligated to give him five selaim, the obligation takes effect,19 but the son is not redeemed.20If he gives him a utensil that is not worth five selaim in the market, but the priest accepts it as if he was given five selaim, the son is redeemed.21 If he divides the five selaim among ten priests,22 whether at once or one after the other, he fulfils his obligation.23

ז

כָּתַב הָאָב לַכֹּהֵן שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב לוֹ חֲמִשָּׁה סְלָעִים חַיָּב לִתֵּן לוֹ וּבְנוֹ אֵינוֹ פָּדוּי. נָתַן לוֹ כְּלִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ שָׁוֶה בַּשּׁוּק חֲמִשָּׁה סְלָעִים וְקִבְּלוֹ הַכֹּהֵן בַּחֲמִשָּׁה סְלָעִים הֲרֵי בְּנוֹ פָּדוּי. נָתַן חֲמִשָּׁה סְלָעִים לַעֲשָׂרָה כֹּהֲנִים בֵּין בְּבַת אַחַת בֵּין בָּזֶה אַחַר זֶה יָצָא:

8

If the priest desires to return [what was given for] the redemption to [the father], he may. He should not, however, give it to him with the intent that he return it. If he did so, and [the priest] returned it, his son is not redeemed.24 [Instead,] he must give it to him with the resolution that he is giving him a present without any reservations. Afterwards, if the priest desires to return it, he may return it.25 Similarly, if he gives it to him as a present with the stipulation that it be returned, his son is redeemed.26

ח

רָצָה הַכֹּהֵן לְהַחְזִיר לוֹ הַפִּדְיוֹן מַחְזִיר. וְלֹא יִתֵּן לוֹ הוּא וְדַעְתּוֹ שֶׁיַּחְזִיר. וְאִם עָשָׂה כֵּן וְהֶחְזִיר לוֹ אֵין בְּנוֹ פָּדוּי עַד שֶׁיִּגְמֹר בְּלִבּוֹ לִתֵּן לוֹ מַתָּנָה גְּמוּרָה. וְאִם רָצָה הַכֹּהֵן אַחַר כָּךְ לְהַחְזִיר יַחְזִיר. וְכֵן אִם פֵּרֵשׁ וְנָתַן לוֹ עַל מְנָת לְהַחְזִיר הֲרֵי בְּנוֹ פָּדוּי:

9

The priests and the Levites are exempt from the redemption of their firstborn, as evident from a logical deduction: If they served as the redemption of the Israelites firstborn in the desert,27 certainly, they themselves are exempt.

ט

כֹּהֲנִים וּלְוִיִּם פְּטוּרִים מִפִּדְיוֹן הַבֵּן מִקַּל וָחֹמֶר. אִם פָּטְרוּ שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּמִּדְבָּר דִּין הוּא שֶׁיִּפְטְרוּ עַצְמָן:

10

An Israelite who is born to a woman of the priestly or Levite family28is exempt, for this matter is not dependent on the father, but rather on the mother, 7as [indicated by the phrase]:29 "the first issue of the womb in Israel."

י

יִשְׂרָאֵל הַבָּא מִן הַכֹּהֶנֶת וּמִן הַלְּוִיָּה פָּטוּר. שֶׁאֵין הַדָּבָר תָּלוּי בָּאָב אֶלָּא בָּאֵם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר פֶּטֶר רֶחֶם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל:

11

When a woman of the Levite family was impregnated by a gentile, her son is exempt.30 If, however, a woman of the priestly family was impregnated by a gentile, her son is obligated,31 for his mother was disqualified from the priestly family because of relations with the gentile.32

יא

לְוִיָּה הַמְעֻבֶּרֶת מֵעַכּוּ''ם בְּנָהּ פָּטוּר. וְכֹהֶנֶת הַמְעֻבֶּרֶת מֵעַכּוּ''ם בְּנָהּ חַיָּב שֶׁהֲרֵי נִפְסְלָה אִמּוֹ מִן הַכְּהֻנָּה בִּבְעִילַת הָעַכּוּ''ם:

12

When a priest fathers a son who is a challal33 and the father dies within 30 days [of the son's birth], the son is obligated to redeem himself,34because the father did not acquire the redemption.35 If [the father] dies after 30 days [have passed], the son is not obligated to redeem himself, because the father acquired the redemption.36

יב

כֹּהֵן שֶׁנּוֹלַד לוֹ בֶּן חָלָל. מֵת הָאָב בְּתוֹךְ שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם הַבֵּן חַיָּב לִפְדּוֹת אֶת עַצְמוֹ. שֶׁלֹּא זָכָה הָאָב בְּפִדְיוֹנוֹ. מֵת אַחַר שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם אֵינוֹ חַיָּב הַבֵּן לִפְדּוֹת אֶת עַצְמוֹ. שֶׁהֲרֵי זָכָה הָאָב בְּפִדְיוֹנוֹ:

13

If a maidservant was freed - or a gentile woman converted - while she was pregnant and then she gave birth,37 since he was born in holiness,38 [the child] is obligated [to redeem himself] even though he was not conceived in holiness, as [indicated by] the phrase:39 "the first issue of the womb in Israel." For this child is the first issue of a womb in Israel. If it is not known whether the woman gave birth before she converted or afterwards,40 [we follow the principle:] When one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him.41

יג

הַשִּׁפְחָה שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּחְרְרָה וְכוּתִית שֶׁנִּתְגַּיְּרָה כְּשֶׁהֵן מְעֻבָּרוֹת וְיָלְדוּ. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוֹרָתוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בִּקְדֻשָּׁה הוֹאִיל וְנוֹלַד בִּקְדֻשָּׁה חַיָּב. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר פֶּטֶר רֶחֶם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל וַהֲרֵי פֶּטֶר וְרֶחֶם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל. אֵין יָדוּעַ אִם קֹדֶם שֶׁנִּתְגַּיְּרָה יָלְדָה אוֹ אַחַר שֶׁנִּתְגַּיְּרָה יָלְדָה הַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה:

14

When a gentile woman or a maidservant gave birth and then converted or was freed and then gave birth again, [the second child] is exempt,42 as [indicated by] the phrase "the first issue of the womb," and this is not [the woman's] first issue of the womb.43

Similar concepts apply when a son is born after a nefal.44 Whenever the mother is ritually impure due to birth because of a nefal,45a son born afterwards is not considered the first issue of the womb. Whenever a nefal does not cause the mother to be ritually impure due to birth,46 e.g., a woman who miscarries and the issue resembles a fish or a grasshopper,47 a woman who miscarries on the fortieth day [after conception],48 or the like, a son born afterwards is [under obligation] to the priesthood and must be redeemed.

יד

הַכּוּתִית וְהַשִּׁפְחָה שֶׁיָּלְדוּ וְאַחַר כָּךְ נִתְגַּיְּרוּ וְנִשְׁתַּחְרְרוּ וְיָלְדוּ וָלָד אַחֵר הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ג יב) (במדבר יח טו) "פֶּטֶר רֶחֶם" וְאֵין זֶה פֶּטֶר רֶחֶם. וְכֵן הַבָּא אַחַר הַנְּפָלִים כָּל נֵפֶל שֶׁאִמּוֹ טְמֵאָה לֵדָה הַבָּא אַחֲרָיו אֵינוֹ פֶּטֶר רֶחֶם. וְכָל נֵפֶל שֶׁאֵין אִמּוֹ טְמֵאָה לֵדָה כְּמוֹ הַמַּפֶּלֶת כְּמִין דָּגִים וַחֲגָבִים אוֹ הַמַּפֶּלֶת יוֹם אַרְבָּעִים וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הַבָּא אַחֲרָיו בְּכוֹר לַכֹּהֵן וְחַיָּב לִפְדּוֹת:

15

When a fetus in a woman's womb was cut up and removed limb by limb, a son born afterwards is not considered to be "the first issue of her womb."49 When the head of a fetus that was carried for eight months emerged alive50 and then was withdrawn back to the womb where it died - or the head of a stillborn fetus that was carried for nine moths emerged and then was withdrawn - and afterwards the [twin] brother [of the fetus] emerged as [a viable] birth, the viable birth is not considered the first issue of the womb, for [all subsequent births] became exempt with the [emergence of] the head of the first [fetus]. As soon as its forehead emerged, it exempted those born afterwards.51

טו

חָתַךְ הָעֻבָּר בְּמֵעֶיהָ וְהוֹצִיאוֹ אֵיבָר אֵיבָר הַבָּא אַחֲרָיו אֵינוֹ פֶּטֶר רֶחֶם. בֶּן שְׁמוֹנָה חֳדָשִׁים שֶׁהוֹצִיא רֹאשׁוֹ וְהוּא חַי וְהֶחֱזִירוֹ וָמֵת. וְכֵן בֶּן תִּשְׁעָה שֶׁמֵּת וְיָצָא רֹאשׁוֹ וְהֶחֱזִירוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ יָצָא אָחִיו וְיָלְדָה. זֶה שֶׁיָּלְדָה אֵינוֹ פֶּטֶר רֶחֶם. שֶׁהֲרֵי נִפְטַר בְּרֹאשׁוֹ שֶׁל רִאשׁוֹן. וּמִשֶּׁתֵּצֵא פַּדַּחְתּוֹ פּוֹטֵר הַבָּא אַחֲרָיו:

16

When a baby is born by Caesarian section, both it and the next birth are exempt: the first because it did not emerge from the womb,52 and the second, because it was preceded by another birth.53

טז

יוֹצֵא דֹּפֶן וְהַבָּא אַחֲרָיו כְּדַרְכּוֹ שְׁנֵיהֶם פְּטוּרִים. הָרִאשׁוֹן לְפִי שֶׁלֹּא יָצָא מִן הָרֶחֶם וְהַשֵּׁנִי מִפְּנֵי שֶׁקְּדָמוֹ אַחֵר:

17

When does the obligation for redemption take effect? When the baby completes 30 days of life,54 as [Numbers 18:16] states: "And those to be redeemed should be redeemed from the age of a month." If the son died within the thirty days - even on the thirtieth day - or it became mortally ill,55 there is no obligation [to pay the priest] five selaim.56 If he gave the priest [the money for] the redemption beforehand, he should return it.57 If the baby died after its thirtieth day, the father is obligated to redeem him.58 If he did not give [the money to the priest], he should.

יז

מֵאֵימָתַי יִתְחַיֵּב בְּפִדְיוֹן. מִשֶּׁיַּשְׁלִים שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יח טז) "וּפְדוּיָו מִבֶּן חֹדֶשׁ תִּפְדֶּה". מֵת הַבֵּן בְּתוֹךְ שְׁלֹשִׁים וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּיוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים. וְכֵן אִם נַעֲשָׂה טְרֵפָה. אֵינוֹ חַיָּב בַּחֲמִשָּׁה סְלָעִים. וְאִם הִקְדִּים וְנָתַן לַכֹּהֵן יַחְזִיר לוֹ הַפִּדְיוֹן. [וְאִם מֵת אַחַר שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם חַיָּב בְּפִדְיוֹן] וְאִם לֹא נָתַן יִתֵּן:

18

[The following rules apply when] one redeems his son within 30 days of his birth: If he tells [the priest]: "I am redeeming him at this time," his son is not redeemed.59 If he tells him that [the gift should take effect] after 30 days, his son is redeemed even if the coins no longer exist after 30 days.60

יח

מִי שֶׁפָּדָה בְּנוֹ בְּתוֹךְ שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם אִם אָמַר לוֹ מֵעַכְשָׁו אֵין בְּנוֹ פָּדוּי. וְאִם אָמַר לוֹ לְאַחַר שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם בְּנוֹ פָּדוּי וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין הַמָּעוֹת קַיָּמִין לְאַחַר שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם:

19

If there is a doubt whether a son is obligated to be redeemed or not, he is exempt. [The rationale is that when] one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him.61 If a father dies within 30 days [of his son's birth], we operate under the assumption that the son was not redeemed unless he brings proof from his father that he redeemed him62 before he died. If the father died after 30 days [following the son's birth], we operate under the assumption that he was redeemed63 unless he informed us that he was not redeemed.64

יט

מִי שֶׁהוּא סָפֵק אִם חַיָּב בְּפִדְיוֹן אוֹ לֹא הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר שֶׁהַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. מֵת הָאָב בְּתוֹךְ שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם הֲרֵי הַבֵּן בְּחֶזְקַת שֶׁלֹּא נִפְדָּה עַד שֶׁיָּבִיא רְאָיָה מֵאָבִיו שֶׁפָּדָהוּ קֹדֶם שֶׁיָּמוּת. מֵת הָאָב לְאַחַר שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם הֲרֵי הוּא בְּחֶזְקַת פָּדוּי עַד שֶׁיּוֹדִיעוּהוּ שֶׁלֹּא נִפְדָּה:

20

When a person's wife has never given birth and she gives birth to a male and a female, but it is not known which emerged first,65 there is no obligation to give the priest anything.66

If she gave birth to two males, even if it is not known which is the firstborn, [the father] must give five selaim to the priest.67 If one of them dies within 30 days, [the father] is exempt, [based on the principle, when] one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him].68 If the father died - whether he died within 30 days of the birth of his sons or afterwards, whether the sons divided his estate69 or not - five selaim should be given from the estate to the priest, because an obligation was already established upon the estate.

כ

מִי שֶׁלֹּא בִּכְּרָה אִשְׁתּוֹ וְיָלְדָה זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה וְאֵין יָדוּעַ אֵי זֶה מֵהֶן יָצָא רִאשׁוֹן אֵין כָּאן לַכֹּהֵן כְּלוּם. יָלְדָה שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין יָדוּעַ אֵי זֶה מֵהֶן הַבְּכוֹר נוֹתֵן חֲמִשָּׁה סְלָעִים לַכֹּהֵן. מֵת אֶחָד מֵהֶן בְּתוֹךְ שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם פָּטוּר שֶׁהַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. מֵת הָאָב בֵּין בְּתוֹךְ שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם בֵּין אַחַר שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא חָלְקוּ הָאַחִים בֵּין שֶׁחָלְקוּ. יִנָּתֵן מִן הַנְּכָסִים חֲמִשָּׁה סְלָעִים לַכֹּהֵן שֶׁכְּבָר נִתְחַיְּבוּ הַנְּכָסִים:

21

[The following rules apply when a man has] two wives who have not yet given birth and they give birth to two sons and [the father] gives ten selaim to the priest [within 30 days of their birth].70 If one dies within 30 days and he had given [the ten selaim] to one priest, he should return five selaim to him.71 If he gave the money to two priests,72 he cannot expropriate the money from them, since he did not specify which son he is redeeming and each can tell him: "Have my colleague refund you."73

כא

שְׁתֵּי נָשָׁיו שֶׁלֹּא בִּכְּרוּ וְיָלְדוּ שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים נוֹתֵן עֲשָׂרָה סְלָעִים לַכֹּהֵן. מֵת אֶחָד מֵהֶן בְּתוֹךְ שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם אִם לְכֹהֵן אֶחָד נָתַן יַחְזִיר לוֹ חֲמִשָּׁה סְלָעִים. וְאִם לִשְׁנֵי כֹּהֲנִים נָתַן אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהוֹצִיא מֵהֶן שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא צִיֵּן פִּדְיוֹן זֶה עַל בֵּן זֶה. וְכָל אֶחָד מֵהֶן יָכוֹל לוֹמַר הַחֲזִיר מֵחֲבֵרִי:

22

When a man has two wives who have not given birth yet and they give birth to a male and a female or two males and a female [and it is not known which mother gave birth to which child and which is the order of the children's births], he should give five selaim to a priest. [The rationale is that] it is impossible that among them there will not be one male who is the first issue of the womb.74

כב

שְׁתֵּי נָשָׁיו שֶׁלֹּא בִּכְּרוּ שֶׁיָּלְדוּ זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה אוֹ שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים וּנְקֵבָה נוֹתֵן חֲמִשָּׁה סְלָעִים לַכֹּהֵן. שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה זָכָר אֶחָד מֵהֶן פֶּטֶר רֶחֶם:

23

[In the above situation, if the women] give birth to two females and a male or two males and two females and it is not known which was born first, the priest is not entitled to anything. For [with regard to each mother], it is possible to say a female was born first and then a male.75

כג

יָלְדוּ שְׁתֵּי נְקֵבוֹת וְזָכָר. אוֹ שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים וּשְׁתֵּי נְקֵבוֹת. וְאֵין יָדוּעַ אֵי זֶה נוֹלַד רִאשׁוֹן. אֵין כָּאן לַכֹּהֵן כְּלוּם שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹמֵר נְקֵבָה נוֹלְדָה תְּחִלָּה וְאַחֲרֶיהָ זָכָר:

24

[When a man has] two wives, one who has already given birth and one who has not yet given birth, and they give birth to two sons who become mixed together, he must give five selaim to a priest.76 If one of the sons dies within thirty days, the father is exempt.77 If the father died,78 five selaim should be paid from his estate.79

כד

שְׁתֵּי נָשָׁיו אַחַת בִּכְּרָה וְאַחַת לֹא בִּכְּרָה וְיָלְדוּ שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים וְנִתְעָרְבוּ. נוֹתֵן חֲמִשָּׁה סְלָעִים לַכֹּהֵן. מֵת אֶחָד מֵהֶם בְּתוֹךְ שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם הָאָב פָּטוּר. מֵת הָאָב יִנָּתֵן מִן הַנְּכָסִים חֲמִשָּׁה סְלָעִים:

25

[In the above situation, if the two wives] gave birth to a male and a female or two males and a female, the priest is not entitled to anything. For it is possible to say that the woman who did not give birth yet gave birth to a female first and then a male and the one who had given birth already gave birth to a male.80

כה

יָלְדוּ זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה אוֹ שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים וּנְקֵבָה אֵין כָּאן לַכֹּהֵן כְּלוּם. שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹמֵר זוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בִּכְּרָה יָלְדָה נְקֵבָה תְּחִלָּה וְאַחֲרֶיהָ זָכָר וְזוֹ שֶׁבִּכְּרָה יָלְדָה זָכָר:

26

When there are two men who have wives who had not yet given birth and they both gave birth to males and they became mixed together,81 each father must give five selaim.

[The following rules apply if] they both gave [that amount] within thirty days and then one of the sons died within that time. If they gave the money to two priests, they cannot expropriate it from them.82 If they both gave it to the same priest, one should write a document giving power of attorney to the other and then the one with power of attorney should expropriate five selaim from the priest.83

כו

שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים שֶׁל שְׁנֵי אֲנָשִׁים שֶׁלֹּא בִּכְּרוּ וְיָלְדוּ שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים וְנִתְעָרְבוּ זֶה נוֹתֵן חֲמִשָּׁה סְלָעִים וְזֶה נוֹתֵן חֲמִשָּׁה סְלָעִים. נָתְנוּ וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת אֶחָד מִן הַבָּנִים בְּתוֹךְ שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. אִם לִשְׁנֵי כֹּהֲנִים נָתְנוּ אֵינָן יְכוֹלִין לְהוֹצִיא מִיָּדָן. וְאִם לְכֹהֵן אֶחָד נָתְנוּ כּוֹתֵב אֶחָד מֵהֶן לַחֲבֵרוֹ הַרְשָׁאָה וְיֵלֵךְ זֶה בְּהַרְשָׁאָה וְיַחְזִיר מִן הַכֹּהֵן חֲמִשָּׁה סְלָעִים:

27

[In the above situation, if the women] gave birth to a male and a female and they became mixed together, the fathers are exempt84 and the son is obligated to redeem himself.85 Similar [laws apply when] a woman who has not given birth previously does not wait after [being divorced from] her [first] husband three months [before marrying] and gives birth [to a child, whose lineage is doubtful]. It is not known whether he is the first [husband's] son having been born after nine months or the last husband's son, having been born after seven. Both fathers are exempt86 and the son is obligated to redeem himself.87

כז

יָלְדוּ זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה וְנִתְעָרְבוּ הָאָבוֹת פְּטוּרִין וְהַבֵּן חַיָּב לִפְדּוֹת אֶת עַצְמוֹ. וְכֵן מְבַכֶּרֶת שֶׁלֹּא שָׁהֲתָה אַחַר בַּעְלָהּ שְׁלֹשָׁה חֳדָשִׁים וְיָלְדָה וְאֵין יָדוּעַ אִם בֶּן תִּשְׁעָה לָרִאשׁוֹן אוֹ בֶּן שִׁבְעָה לָאַחֲרוֹן שְׁנֵיהֶן פְּטוּרִין. וְהַבֵּן חַיָּב לִפְדּוֹת אֶת עַצְמוֹ:

28

[In the above situation, if the women] gave birth to two females and a male or two females and two males, the priest is not entitled to anything.88

כח

יָלְדוּ שְׁתֵּי נְקֵבוֹת וְזָכָר אוֹ שְׁתֵּי נְקֵבוֹת וּשְׁנֵי זְכָרִים אֵין כָּאן לַכֹּהֵן כְּלוּם:

29

[The following laws apply when] there are two wives of two men and one gave birth previously and one did not [and they gave birth and the infants became mixed together]. If they gave birth to two males, the father whose wife had not given birth previously must give five selaim to a priest.89 If they gave birth to a male and a female, the priest does not receive anything.90

כט

שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים שֶׁל שְׁנֵי אֲנָשִׁים אַחַת בִּכְּרָה וְאַחַת לֹא בִּכְּרָה וְיָלְדוּ שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים. זֶה שֶׁלֹּא בִּכְּרָה אִשְׁתּוֹ נוֹתֵן חָמֵשׁ סְלָעִים לַכֹּהֵן. יָלְדוּ זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה אֵין כָּאן לַכֹּהֵן כְּלוּם:

30

[In the above situation, if the women] gave birth to two males and a female, the man whose wife had not given birth previously should give five selaim. The rationale is that his exemption implies a compounded doubt. For if his wife gave birth to a male only, he is obligated. And if she gave birth to a male and a female, he is obligated unless she gave birth to the female first. Since the probability of this is distant, he should give the money for the redemption.91

ל

יָלְדוּ שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים וּנְקֵבָה זֶה שֶׁלֹּא בִּכְּרָה אִשְׁתּוֹ נוֹתֵן חֲמִשָּׁה סְלָעִים. שֶׁלֹּא נִפְטַר אֶלָּא בִּשְׁנֵי סְפֵקוֹת אִם אִשְׁתּוֹ יָלְדָה זָכָר בִּלְבַד חַיָּב וְאִם הִיא יָלְדָה הַזָּכָר וְהַנְּקֵבָה חַיָּב אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן יָלְדָה נְקֵבָה תְּחִלָּה. וְהוֹאִיל וְהַדָּבָר רָחוֹק יִתֵּן פִּדְיוֹנוֹ:

Footnotes
1.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 80) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 392) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. This obligation was established in commemoration of the slaying of the Egyptian firstborn before the Exodus.

2.

I.e., the obligation is incumbent on the baby's father, not his mother, as stated in the following halachah.

3.

The P'nei Meivin, Yoreh De'ah, Responsum 226, infers from the wording "a woman is not obligated," that she may do so if she desires. Eidut LiYisrael states that this is the common custom if the child does not have a father.

4.

The Rambam's wording implies that the obligation is incumbent on the son. Nevertheless, as a newborn, the son cannot fulfill it and so, the obligation becomes his father's. See the Minchat Chinuch (mitzvah 392), the Siftei Cohen 305:11, Likkutei Sichot, Vol. XI, p. 44ff., and others who debate whether the mitzvah is primarily the father's or the son's. This difference is not merely theoretical. Among the practical question that result is: If the father did not redeem the son until the son was thirteen, who has the fundamental responsibility to observe the mitzvah, the father or the son?

5.

13, at which age he is obligated to observe the mitzvot. See Minchat Chinuch, loc. cit., who discusses a situation where the son redeemed himself beforehand.

6.

The Rama (Yoreh De'ah 305:15) states that a silver plaque should be placed around the child's neck as a reminder that he has not been redeemed. See also Halachah 11. The Sifei Cohen 305:20 states that this is not practical. In many instances, the silver plaque will become lost before the child comes of age and he will not be aware of the responsibility incumbent upon him. Instead, it is preferable that the redemption be performed by the Jewish court. Eidut LiYisrael also mentions that if the child's grandfather is alive, there are opinions that he should perform the redemption.

7.

For the mitzvah incumbent on his own person takes precedence (Kiddushin 29a,b).

8.

I.e., make a pilgrimage to the Temple to behold the Divine presence.

9.

Even though he could possibly redeem his son afterwards, and he will not be able to make this pilgrimage again, the redemption of his son takes precedence.

10.

This follows the Rambam's rulings in Hilchot Berachot 11:11 where he writes that a person who performs a mitzvah involving his own person should praise God who "commanded us to...." If the mitzvah involves others, by contrast, the blessing should conclude "commanded us concerning...." The commentaries, however, note that in ibid.:12 and in Hilchot Milah 3:1, the Rambam writes that one who circumcises his own son should recite the blessing concluding "to circumcise...," for the mitzvah is incumbent on his own person. Seemingly, this should also apply with regard to the redemption of a son.

It is possible to resolve the question as follows: The mitzvah of redeeming the son is primarily the child's/ Hence, the father uses the form "concerning...." The mitzvah of circumcision, by contrast, is primarily the father's. Hence he uses the form "to...."

11.

This blessing is recited as an expression of thanks whenever one performs a mitzvah infrequently (Hilchot Berachot 12:9). Even though one recited this blessing at the child's circumcision, it should be recited again at his redemption, for the two are separate mitzvot to be performed at separate times (Radbaz). Similarly, as an expression of thanks, it is customary to mark the redemption with a celebratory feast. This feast is considered a seudat mitzvah, a feast associated with a mitzvah.

12.

For the blessing should precede the observance of the mitzvah.

13.

For he is certainly performing a mitzvah involving himself. The Rambam's ruling is quoted by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 305:10). The Tur and the Rama rule that even in such a situation, the conclusion of the blessing should be "...concerning the redemption of the firstborn."

14.

I.e., its observance is not limited to Eretz Yisrael, nor to the time when the Temple is standing.

15.

Shiurei Torah defines this as 101 or 96 grams of pure silver.

16.

We have translated kessef as "silver" and not "money" to allude to the concepts stated below.

17.

This includes not only promissory notes given by a particular individual, but also the fiat currencies of the present day, for such currency does not have any inherent value. In practice, silver coins are almost always used for the redemption of the firstborn.

18.

And he must be redeemed again.

19.

As stated in Hilchot Mechirah 11:15, when a person undertakes a financial obligation, even though according to law he was not liable, he is bound by his commitment.

20.

This applies even if he actually pays him the five selaim, for that money is being paid to satisfy the obligation he voluntarily undertook and not to discharge the obligation the Torah placed upon him (Bechorot 49b).

The Turei Zahav 305:2 and the Siftei Cohen 305:3 explain that according to Scriptural Law, the commitment is effective in redeeming the son. Nevertheless, our Sages ruled that it is unacceptable lest a person attempt to redeem his son with promissory notes from other people.

21.

In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro debates this ruling at length and in his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 305:5), he rules that the utensil must be worth five selaim to a person in a given situation. If, however, there is no way that it would be considered as worth five selaim, the son is not redeemed. The Turei Zahav 305:5 and the Siftei Cohen 305:5, however, maintain that the Rambam's words should be understood simply.

22.

Giving each a half-sela.

23.

The Pitchei Teshuvah 305:10 states that it is not desirable to redeem one's son in this manner. As an initial preference, one should give all five selaim to one priest, at one time.

24.

Since the father expected the present to be returned, it is as if he never really intended to give it to the priest (Bechorot, loc. cit., Radbaz). This applies only when the priest actually returns what he was given, for if he does not return it, we assume that after the fact, the father consents that the priest retain possession and as a result, the son is redeemed.

25.

When quoting this law, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 305:8) states that the priest should not frequently return what is given to him for the redemption. It should only be done occasionally, when the father is poor.

26.

A present given with the intent that it be returned is considered as a valid present (Kiddushin 6b). Thus the father's gift was within the limits of law. Hence, it is acceptable. In the first instance, by contrast, since the present was not given wholeheartedly, it is as if it was never given. Nevertheless, receiving the redemption as a present with the stipulation that it be returned is frowned upon by our Rabbis. The Shulchan Aruch describes a priest who does so as having "transgressed."

27.

See Numbers 3:45 which commands "Take the Levites in place of all the firstborn of the children of Israel."

28.

I.e., the father is an Israelite and thus the son is an Israelite.

29.

The commentaries have noted that there is no exact verse in the Torah that corresponds to the Rambam's wording. Similar phrases are found in Exodus 13:2 and Numbers 3:12.

30.

The identity of the father does not change the status of the mother or the child and it is just as if the child was from a Jewish father. See Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 15:3.

31.

I.e., he is obligated to redeem himself when he comes of age, for as stated in Halachah 2, there is no obligation for a woman to redeem her son. There are authorities who maintain that, in the present age, the Jewish court should redeem such children, for it is possible that when the child comes of age, he will not be aware of the mitzvah and will fail to observe it.

32.

Such relations - even if she is raped - caused her to be deemed a zonah and she is disqualified from the priestly family. Her children do not bear its holiness, nor does she have any of the rights granted to its members (Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 18:1).

33.

The children born from relations between a priest and a woman forbidden because of the unique prohibitions incumbent upon the priests, as explained in Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 19:3-6.

34.

I.e., if the son is the first issue of his mother's womb.

35.

I.e., were the father to have lived until the son was 30 days old, there would have been an obligation to redeem the child. Nevertheless, since the father was a priest - and the fact that he entered into a forbidden relationship does not disqualify him from the priesthood - it is considered as if he paid himself and the child was redeemed (Turei Zahav 305:17).

36.

Because he died after the obligation took effect, as indicated by Halachah 17.

37.

For the first time, as obvious from the following halachah.

38.

I.e., as a Jew.

39.

I.e., the father is an Israelite and thus the son is an Israelite.

40.

Implied is that we do not rely on her word alone.

41.

The priest is considered as if he desires to expropriate property - the five selaim of the redemption - from the child. Since the priest cannot prove that the child was born as an Israelite, the child is not obligated. See parallels in Chapter 9, Halachah 13, and Chapter 10, Halachah 12.

42.

As the Radbaz mentions, this child may be considered as the father's firstborn and receive a double share of his inheritance. Nevertheless, in this context, he is not considered as a firstborn.

43.

Even though it is her first Jewish child.

44.

A stillborn, aborted, or miscarried fetus.

45.

See Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 10:1 which states: "Every woman who gives birth is impure like a niddah, even if she did not suffer uterine bleeding. [This applies whether] a woman gives birth to a living child or one which is stillborn, and even if she miscarries [and discharges a fetus]." The remainder of that chapter mentions different questionable circumstances involving such miscarriages.

46.

In the instances mentioned, the embryo that was miscarried is not given the halachic status of a fetus and none of the laws applying to childbirth apply.

47.

See ibid. 5:15.

48.

ibid. 10:2.

49.

Even though it was removed from the womb piece by piece, the mother is considered impure as if she gave birth (Ibid.:6) and the subsequent child is not considered as a firstborn.

50.

From the Rambam's wording, the commentaries have inferred that if the baby emerges dead, a boy born next is considered as the mother's firstborn. The rationale is that a baby born in the eighth month is considered as if it would never be a viable birth. This ruling is quoted by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 305:23).

51.

For the emergence of the forehead is considered as birth in several halachic contexts (e.g., Hilchot Nachalot 2:2).

52.

And the Torah obligated only the first issue of a woman's womb.

53.

These concepts also apply with regard to the definition of a firstborn with regard to the inheritance (ibid.:11).

54.

I.e., as soon as the thirty-first day begins. These days are counted from sunset to sunset and not from hour to hour. It is customary to redeem the son on his thirty-first day of life, because one should not delay the observance of a mitzvah. If, however, the thirty-first day is the Sabbath or a festival, the redemption is performed at the earliest possible opportunity afterwards.

55.

Treifah, the Hebrew term used by the Rambam, is interpreted as referring to an ailment that will cause the person to die within a year.

56.

For the obligation to redeem the child never took effect.

57.

For that gift is not effective in redeeming the child, as stated in the following halachah.

58.

When quoting this law, the Rama (Yoreh De'ah 305:12) states that the father must also recite the blessing for the redemption. He does not, however, recite the blessing Shehechiyanu.

59.

Because the obligation to redeem him has not taken effect. This ruling applies even if the coins remain in the priest's possession until after the thirtieth day. For the redemption to take effect, the priest must return the money to the father and then he must give it to him again. See Siftei Cohen 305:18.

60.

There is a difference of opinion concerning this issue in the Talmud (Bechorot 49a,b). The Rambam's ruling follows the position of Shmuel, even though Rav differs and rules that the son is not redeemed. Although ordinarily, in such differences of opinion, the halachah follows Rav with regard to questions involving Torah prohibitions, in this instance, the Talmud explicitly states that the halachah follows Shmuel. There is, however, a question regarding the proper version of the Talmudic text and the Rambam's ruling does not follow the standard published version (Radbaz). The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 305:13) quotes the Rambam's ruling, while the Rama rules that if the money no longer exists, the redemption is not effective.

61.

As explained above, the priest is considered as if he desires to expropriate property - the five selaim of the redemption - from the father. The rationale is based on the fact that the money is presently in possession of the father. There are commentaries who maintain that if the priest would seize the five selaim, he would be entitled to retain possession of them, because the father would now have to prove that he is not obligated and that is likewise impossible. They support this conclusion with the Rambam's ruling in Hilchot Bechorot 5:3 that if there is an animal whose status is unclear and there is a doubt whether it is a firstborn, should a priest seize possession of it, we do not expropriate it from his property. Others, however, differentiate between the two instances, explaining that in Hilchot Bechorot, the priest has seized a specific entity concerning which an unresolved doubt exists. In this halachah, by contrast, although there is a question whether the father is under obligation to the priest, the money that the priest seizes definitely belongs to the father. Hence, it must be returned (Machaneh Ephrayim, Hilchot Zechiyah, sec. 8; see also Radbaz to Halachah 21).

62.

In the manner described at the conclusion of the previous halachah. This is an uncommon occurrence. Hence, unless there is specific knowledge that the father redeemed him in this manner, we assume he did not.

63.

For we assume that the person fulfilled the mitzvah incumbent upon him at the earliest possible opportunity.

64.

I.e., he made such statements on his deathbed [Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 305:14)].

65.

Thus there is a question whether the son must be redeemed or not, for if the female emerged first, the son need not be redeemed.

66.

Since there is a doubt concerning the obligation, the burden of proof is on the priest, as stated in Halachah 19. Not only does this apply with regard to the father, the son is under no obligation to redeem himself when he comes of age. This is the underlying principle governing many of the situations described in the following halachot.

67.

For one of his sons is certainly a firstborn and hence, he is required to redeem him. Although the father does not know which of his sons he is redeeming, he is obligated to perform the redemption (Radbaz).

68.

For the father can claim that the son who died was the firstborn and since he died within 30 days of his birth, there is no obligation to redeem him, as stated in Halachah 17.

69.

In which case, each of the sons could argue that perhaps the other was in fact the firstborn and hence, he is not required to give toward the redemption. This ruling represents a reversal of the Rambam's opinion from his ruling in his final version of his Commentary to the Mishnah (Bechorot 8:3). [Apparently, the issue was one that the Rambam debated back and forth, because his earlier version of that text does not mention an exemption.] The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 305:265) quotes the Rambam's ruling here. The Tur and the Siftei Cohen 305:30 rule that the sons are exempt if the father died before the passage of the 30 days. The rationale they give is that each of the sons can claim that the obligation is on the other.

70.

For their redemption in the maaner stated in Halachah 18.

71.

For there is no obligation to redeem a son who died before he reaches the age of 30 days.

72.

Giving each five selaim for one of the sons, without specifying which one.

73.

I.e., each priest can maintain that he received the redemption for the son that is alive and it is the other priest who is required to return the funds.

74.

In the second instance, however, he need not redeem both sons, because it is possible that his daughter's birth preceded the birth of one of them. Thus with regard to that child, we follow the principle stated in Halachah 19.

75.

Although two mothers and two pairs of children are involved, the situation is abstractly the same as that described in Halachah 20.

76.

For the woman who had not given birth previously obviously gave birth to a firstborn son. The fact that his identity is unknown is not significant.

77.

Because it is possible that the firstborn died and therefore, there is no obligation if he dies within thirty days of his birth.

78.

Whether within 30 days of the sons' birth or afterwards, as in Halachah 20. See, however, note 68.

79.

Although the entire sum could not be expropriated from either of the sons - for each one could claim that it is the other who is liable - it can be expropriated from the estate. For the father was certainly obligated and that obligation is transferred to his estate.

80.

The commentaries question the Rambam's ruling, maintaining that seemingly the instance here is analogous to the case described in Halachah 30. What difference does it make if the two women mentioned are the wives of one man or two? The Radbaz explains that since we are speaking about one man with two wives and one is exempt, we assume that the exemption will continue unless it is indicated otherwise.

81.

So that it was not known which woman was the mother of which child.

82.

For, as in Halachah 21, each priest can claim that he received the redemption for the son who is presently alive.

83.

The priest owes one of the two five selaim, but there is no way of determining which one. Thus if each approached him and demanded money individually, he could avoid paying, claiming that the father must prove that it was his son that died. When, however, he is approached by the two fathers in a single claim, he has no recourse other than to pay [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Bechorot 8:5)].

84.

Because there is no way it can be proven who is the father of the male and thus responsible for his redemption.

85.

I.e., when he attains majority. For there is no question that he is a firstborn (Turei Zahav 305:23).

86.

The priest owes one of the two five selaim, but there is no way of determining which one. Thus if each approached him and demanded money individually, he could avoid paying, claiming that the father must prove that it was his son that died. When, however, he is approached by the two fathers in a single claim, he has no recourse other than to pay [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Bechorot 8:5)].

87.

Because there is no way it can be proven who is the father of the male and thus responsible for his redemption.

88.

Because it is impossible to prove that a male was born first. See Halachah 23. From the Rambam's wording, it could be inferred that different rules apply when the women gave birth to two males and one female. It would appear that according to the Rambam, each of the males would have to redeem himself when he comes of age. The Tur (Yoreh De'ah 305) rules that in such a situation, the sons are exempt. See Turei Zahav 305:24.

89.

Even though the identity of his son is not firmly established, his wife definitely gave birth to a firstborn son and he is obligated to redeem him.

90.

For there is no way of proving that the woman who had not given birth previously was the mother of the male. Hence, the exemption is granted not only to the father, but also to the son when he comes of age.

91.

More specifically, there are five possibilities regarding this situation:

a) the woman who had not given birth before gave birth to one male (and the other woman gave birth to a male and a female);

b) she gave birth to two males (and the other woman gave birth to a female);

c) she gave birth to a male and then a female (and the other woman gave birth to a male);

d) she gave birth to a female and then a male (and the other woman gave birth to a male);

e) she gave birth to a female (and the other woman gave birth to two males).

Since her husband would be obligated in the first three of this situations, he is considered as obligated, because of the higher probability.

As mentioned in the notes to Halachah 25, there is a difference of opinion among the commentaries with regard to the rulings in the two halachot. The Ra'avad reverses the Rambam's ruling in both instances, maintaining that here, the father is exempt and there, he is obligated. And the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 305:31) rule that he is exempt in both instances. These differences of opinion depend on textual differences in the versions of Bechorot 49a and differences in the interpretation of that passage.

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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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