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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Arachim Vacharamim - Chapter 2, Arachim Vacharamim - Chapter 3, Arachim Vacharamim - Chapter 4

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Arachim Vacharamim - Chapter 2

1

When a person says: "I pledge the airech of my hand," "...my eye," or "...my foot," or "...that person's hand" or "...that person's eye," his words are of no consequence.1 [If he says:] "I pledge the airech of my heart" or "...my liver" or "...that person's heart" or "...that person's liver," he must pay the entire airech.2 Similarly, with regard to any limb which if removed would cause the person to die, if one says: "I pledge its airech," he must pay the airech of the entire person.

א

האומר ערך ידי או ערך עיני או רגלי עלי או שאמר ערך יד זה או עינו עלי לא אמר כלום ערך לבי או כבדי עלי או ערך לבו של פלוני או כבדו עלי נותן ערך כולו וכן כל אבר שאם ינטל מן החי ימות אם אמר ערכו עלי נותן ערך כולו:

2

If a person says: "I pledge half my airech," he must pay half his airech. If he says: "I pledge the airech of half myself," he must pay his entire airech, for it is impossible for him to live if half his body is removed.3

ב

אמר חצי ערכי עלי נותן חצי ערכו ערך חציי עלי נותן ערך כולו שאי אפשר שינטל חציו ויחיה:

3

When a person says: "I pledge the worth of my hand" or "...the worth of so-and-so's hand," we evaluate how much he is worth with a hand and how much he would be worth without a hand and he should give [the difference] to the Temple treasury.4

What is implied? If he is sold in his entirety, he will be worth fifty [zuz], but if he were sold aside from his hand - i.e., his hand would remain the property of its owner and the purchaser would not have any portion of it5 - he would be worth forty, he is obligated to pay ten to the Temple treasury. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ג

האומר דמי ידי עלי או דמי יד פלוני עלי שמין אותו כמה הוא שוה ביד וכמה הוא שוה בלא יד ונותן להקדש כיצד אם נמכר הוא כולו [יהיה] שוה חמשים ואם ימכר חוץ מידו שתשאר ידו זו לבעליו ולא יהיה ללוקח בה כלום שוה ארבעים נמצא זה יתחייב לשלם להקדש עשרה וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

4

When a person says: "I pledge the worth of my head" or "...my liver" or "I pledge the worth of so-and-so's head" or "...so-and-so's liver," he must pay his entire worth.6 Similarly, if one says: "I pledge the worth of half myself," he must pay his entire worth. When, however, he says: "I pledge half my worth," he [is obligated] to pay [only] half his worth.

ד

האומר דמי ראשי או כבדי עלי או דמי ראשו של פלוני עלי או לבו או כבדו עלי נותן דמי כולו וכן האומר דמי חציי עלי נותן דמי כולו אבל האומר חצי דמי עלי נותן חצי דמיו:

5

When one says: "I pledge my weight" or "I pledge the weight of so-and-so," he should pay his weight. [If] he specified "[his weight in] silver," [he should pay in] silver; if [in] gold, [he should pay] in gold.7

If he said: "I pledge the weight of my arm" or "...my leg," we see how much it would weigh and he must pay the money that he specified. What is the length of the arm in this context? Until the elbow.8 And the leg is until the knee. [The rationale is that] with regard to vows, we follow [the meaning of] the terms as used by people at large.9

ה

האומר משקלי עלי או משקל פלוני עלי נותן משקלו אם כסף כסף אם זהב זהב כמו שפירש אמר משקל ידי או רגלי עלי רואין כמה היא ראויה לשקול ונותן ממון שפירש עד היכן היא היד לענין זה עד האציל והרגל עד הארכובה לפי שבנדרים הולכין אחר לשון בני אדם:

6

When a person says: "I pledge my height in silver" or "...in gold," he must give a scepter of his height that will [stand straight] without bending from the type [of metal] he specified. If he said: "I pledge the extent of my height," he may give even a scepter that will bend from the type [of metal] he specified.10

ו

האומר קומתי עלי כסף או זהב נותן שרביט שאינו נכפף מלא קומתו ממין שפירש אמר מלא קומתי עלי נותן אפילו שרביט שנכפף ממין שפירש:

7

[The following laws apply when a person] says: "I pledge my weight" and does not specify from which substance. If he is very wealthy and [obviously] intended to give a substantial donation, he should give his weight in gold.11 Similarly, if [such a person] says: "I pledge the weight of my arm," "...the weight of my leg," or "...my height" without specifying the substance from which he will give, he should give gold. If, however, [the donor] is not exceedingly wealthy, he should give his weight or the weight of his hand from any substance which is commonly weighed in that locale, even fruits. Similarly, he should give a scepter as tall as he is [from any substance], even from wood. Everything depends on his wealth and [our assessment of] his intent.

ז

האומר משקלי עלי ולא פירש מאי זה מין אם היה עשיר ביותר ונתכוון למתנה מרובה נותן משקלו זהב והוא הדין באומר משקל ידי או רגלי או קומתי ולא פירש מאי זה מין נותן זהב ואם אינו מופלג בעשירות נותן משקלו או משקל ידו מדברים שדרכן להשקל באותו מקום אפילו פירות וכן נותן שרביט מלא קומתו אפילו של עץ הכל לפי ממונו ודעתו:

8

When a person uses any [of the following] expressions - "I pledge my standing," "...my sitting," "...the place where I sit," "...my width," "...my thickness," or "...my circumference" - [his intent is a matter of question12 and] there is doubt [regarding his obligation. Hence,] he should [be required to] give [generously] according to [what could be expected of a person of] his means until he says: "This was not my intent."13 If he died,14 his heirs are required to give the minimum that the expression could mean.15

ח

האומר עמדי עלי ישיבתי עלי או מקום ישיבתי עלי או רחבי עלי עביי עלי היקפי עלי כל אלו ספק ומביא לפי ממונו עד שיאמר לא כך נתכוונתי ואם מת יתנו היורשים פחות שבלשונות:

9

When a person says: "I pledge a silver coin," he should not give less than a silver dinar.16 When he says: "I pledge a brass coin," he should not give less than [brass coins worth] a silver me'ah.17 "I pledge iron," he should not give less than [a piece of iron] one cubit by one cubit fit for the blade [of iron that protected against] ravens which stood at the top of the roof of the Temple, as explained in its place.18

ט

האומר הרי עלי מטבע כסף לא יפחות מדינר כסף מטבע נחשת לא יפחות ממעה כסף הרי עלי ברזל לא יפחות מאמה על אמה לכלה עורב שהיה למעלה בגג ההיכל כמו שיתבאר במקומו:

10

When he says: "I pledge silver" or "...gold" without mentioning the word "coin," he should [be required to] give a slab of silver or of gold of [significant] weight until he says: "This was not my intent." Similarly, if he explicitly mentioned a weight [of silver or gold], but forgot how much he specified, he should [be required to] give until he says: "This was not my intent."

י

האומר הרי עלי כסף או זהב ולא הזכיר מטבע יביא לשון של כסף או של זהב יהיה משקלה עד שיאמר לא לכך נתכוונתי וכן אם פירש המשקל ושכח כמה פירש יביא עד שיאמר לא לכך נתכוונתי:

11

Whether a person says: "I pledge my worth" or "I pledge the worth of so-and-so," or whether one says: "I pledge a manah,"19 "...fifty zuz," "...silver," or "...gold," they are all called "monetary obligations." [Both] arechim and monetary obligations are given toward capital improvements for the Temple, as explained.20

יא

אחד האומר דמי עלי או דמי פלוני עלי או האומר הרי עלי מנה או חמשים או כסף או זהב הכל הן הנקראים חייבי דמים והדמים והערכין לבדק הבית כמו שבארנו:

12

There were two chambers in the Temple: one was called "the chamber of secret gifts," and the other "the chamber for vessels." "The chamber of secret gifts" was given that name because sin-fearing men make donations there furtively and poor people of distinguished lineage receive their sustenance from there in secret.21

"The chamber for vessels" was given that name because anyone who donated a vessel [to the Temple] would cast it there. Once in thirty days, the treasurers would open [the chamber]. Any utensil that could be used for the improvement of the Temple was saved [for that purpose]. The remainder would be sold and the proceeds placed in the chamber for [funds] consecrated for physical improvements to the Temple.

יב

שתי לשכות היו במקדש אחת לשכת חשאים ואחת לשכת הכלים לשכת חשאים יראי חטא נותנין לתוכן בחשאי ועניים בני טובים מתפרנסים ממנה בחשאי לשכת הכלים כל מי שהתנדב כלי זורקו לתוכה ואחת לשלשים יום הגזברין פותחין אותה כל כלי שנמצא בו צורך לבדק הבית מניחין אותו והשאר נמכרין ודמיהן נופלין ללשכת בדק הבית:

13

If [funds] were needed [to purchase] sacrifices for the altar and the funds collected for that purpose were not sufficient, what is necessary can be taken from [the funds] consecrated for physical improvements to the Temple.22 If, however, [funds] were required for physical improvements to the Temple and there were not sufficient resources in the chamber dedicated for that purpose, we do not take what is necessary from [the funds] consecrated for sacrifices for the altar.23

יג

הוצרכו לקדשי מזבח ולא הספיקו להן תרומת הלשכה מוציאין את הראוי להן מקדשי בדק הבית אבל אם הוצרכו לבדק הבית ולא מצאו בלשכת בדק הבית דבר המספיק להן אין מוציאין הראוי להן מקדשי המזבח:

Footnotes
1.

The rationale is that the Torah prescribed an airech for a person in his or her totality, not for his individual limbs (Arachin 4a; 20a).

2.

Since the person's life is dependent on his heart or his liver, pledging the airech of these organs is like pledging his entire airech. See Arachin 20a.

3.

The same law applies if he pledges the airech of half of his heart (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Arachin 5:3).

4.

This reflects one of the differences between pledges of worth and arechim. He is liable for his pledge, because his words have significance. His hand has value that can be appraised.

5.

Arachin 19b emphasizes that we do not evaluate his value as if his hand were amputated, for then his worth would depreciate greatly, because no one wants a person without a hand.

6.

Again, since the person's life is dependent on that organ, it is as if his entire worth was pledged.

7.

The laws that apply if he did not specify in what his weight should be measured are stated in Halachah 7.

8.

The Rambam's opinion is shared by Tosafot 19a. Rashi and others, however, offer a different interpretation.

9.

In a halachic context, by contrast, the term yad can refer to the hand. See Hilchot Berachot 6:4; Hilchot Mikveot 11:4.

10.

Adding the extra term "extension of" indicates that he is deviating from the ordinary manner in which the term would be explained (Arachin 19a).

11.

Arachin, loc. cit., derives this from an instance which occurred in the Talmudic era. A very rich woman pledged her daughter's weight to the Temple. Our Sages obligated her to give her weight in gold.

12.

For example, if he pledged: "My standing," we are unsure whether he meant a scepter that could stand on its own or one that would bend. If he pledged: "My sitting," we are unsure of whether he meant a scepter as tall as he is when he sits or one of his full height that is bent according to his position when he sits. See Rashi and Tosafot, Arachin, loc. cit., where the possible interpretations of each of the above terms are explained.

13.

I.e., we compel him to give generously, because if he gives less than the amount he promised, he will be transgressing the prohibition against desecrating his vow. If, however, he says: "This was not my origin intent," we are certain that he fulfilled his vow (Lechem Mishneh).

14.

And thus his estate is obligated to fulfill his vow (Chapter 1, Halachah 21).

15.

There is no question of the heirs desecrating a vow, because they did not take the vow. The only question is the lien against the estate. Accordingly, we follow the principle that money is not expropriated from a person unless it is certain that he is liable (Lechem Mishneh).

16.

We assume that this was the intent, for this is the most commonly used silver coin.

17.

We assume that this was the intent, for anything less would not have significant value.

18.

As related in Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 4:3, there was a blade of iron position on top of the Temple building to prevent ravens from resting there and dirtying it with droppings. We assume that this was the intent, for there would be no other purpose to give iron to the Temple treasury.

19.

One hundred zuz.

20.

Chapter 1, Halachah 10.

21.

See Hilchot Matanot Aniyim 10:8 which explains that giving charity in this manner - i.e., where neither the donor nor the recipient know of each other's identity - is one of the highest forms of giving.

22.

We are permitted to use funds designated for one charitable purpose for a charitable purpose that is higher. And the offering of the communal sacrifices is considered the highest possible purpose.

23.

Because doing so would be considering lowering the level of holiness from that for which the funds were designated.

The Ra'avad questions the Rambam's ruling based on several sources. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh justify the Rambam's position.

Arachim Vacharamim - Chapter 3

1

When a person pledges the airech of someone less than 20 years old and he does not stand before [a court for] appraisal until he exceeds that age, the donor is required to give only the airech of one less than 20.1 For the airech is defined only at the time that it is pledged and not at the time one stands before the court.2

א

המעריך את הפחות מבן עשרים ולא עמד בדין עד שהיה יתר על עשרים אינו נותן אלא ערך פחות מבן עשרים שאין הערך אלא בזמן הערך לא בזמן ההעמדה בדין:

2

All of the arechim that are explicitly mentioned in the Torah are to be given when the one who makes the pledge is wealthy.3 If, however, he was poor and he does not have the means, he is [required to] give everything that he possesses - even if it is only a sela4 - and he discharges his obligation, as [Leviticus 27:8] states: "If he is too poor [to pay] the airech... the priest should evaluate him5 according to his capacity."

ב

כל הערכין הקצובין בתורה הן שנותן המעריך אם היה עשיר אבל אם היה עני ואין ידו משגת נותן כל הנמצא בידו אפילו סלע אחד ונפטר שנאמר ואם מך הוא מערכך על פי אשר תשיג יד הנודר:

3

Which source teaches that if he possesses only one sela, it is sufficient to give that sela? [Leviticus, ibid.,] states: "All of your arechim will be in holy shekalim."6 This teaches that there is no airech less than a sela, not more than 50.7

ג

ומנין שהוא נותן אפילו סלע אחד אם אין לו אלא סלע אחד שנאמר וכל ערכך יהיה בשקל הקדש הא למדת שאין בערכין פחות מסלע ולא יותר על חמשים:

4

If the person does not possess even a sela, we do not take less than a sela from him. Instead, the entire amount is considered as a debt incumbent upon him. If he acquires property and becomes wealthy,8 he must pay a full airech as prescribed by the Torah.

ד

הרי שלא נמצא בידו אפילו סלע אין לוקחין ממנו פחות מסלע אלא ישאר הכל עליו חוב ואם מצאה ידו והעשיר יתן ערך שלם הקצוב בתורה:

5

When a rich person [pledged an airech] and then became poor, or when a poor person pledged an airech and became wealthy [before he was evaluated], he must give a full airech.9 If, however, he pledged an airech when he was poor, became wealthy, and then became poor again [before he was evaluated], he may give the airech required of a poor man.

ה

עשיר שהעריך והעני או שהעריך כשהוא עני והעשיר הרי זה חייב בערך עשיר אבל אם העריך כשהוא עני והעשיר וחזר והעני נותן ערך עני:

6

When a rich man says: "I pledge my airech" or "I pledge the airech of so-and-so," and a poor person heard and says: "I pledge whatever he said," the poor person is obligated to pay the airech required of a wealthy man, i.e., a full airech.10

If, however, a poor person pledges the airech of a wealthy man, saying: "I pledge his airech," he is liable only for a poor man's airech, i.e., what he is capable of paying.

ו

עשיר שאמר ערכי עלי או ערך פלוני ושמע העני ואמר מה שאמר זה עלי הרי העני חייב בערך עשיר שהוא ערך שלם אבל עני שהעריך את העשיר ואמר ערך זה עלי אינו חייב אלא כערך עני שהוא כפי אשר תשיג ידו:

7

What is the difference between a person who is liable for a poor man's airech and one who is liable for the airech of a wealthy which is the entire sum [mentioned in the Torah]? Once everything that he owns is expropriated from a poor man, even if it is only one sela, and then he becomes wealthy, he is not liable to pay the greater sum.11 If, however, he would have been liable for the airech of a wealthy man, the entire airech would remain a debt for which he is liable until he becomes wealthy and pays it [in total].

ז

מה בין החייב בערך עני להחייב בערך עשיר שהוא הערך הקצוב כולו שהחייב בערך עני שלקחו ממנו כל מה שידו משגת אפילו סלע אחד ואח"כ העשיר אינו חייב לשלם ואם היה חייב בערך עשיר ישאר שאר הערך עליו עד שיעשיר וישלים הערך שעליו:

8

When a person explicitly mentions the sum of the airech, saying: "I pledge my airech of 50 selaim" or "I pledge the airech of so-and-so, 30 selaim," his financial capacity is not evaluated.12 Instead, we expropriate everything that he possesses and the remainder remains a debt for which he is liable until he becomes wealthy and pays.

ח

המפרש את הערך ואמר ערכי עלי חמשים סלעים או ערך פלוני עלי שלשים סלעים אינו נדון בהשג יד אלא לוקחין כל הנמצא בידו והשאר עליו חוב עד שיעשיר ויתן:

9

Similarly, if one says: "I pledge my worth" or "I pledge the worth of so-and-so," we do not evaluate his possessions.13 [The rationale is that] a pledge of worth is like an explicit vow.14 It is like someone who said: "I pledge a maneh15 to the Temple treasury." He is obligated to give an entire maneh.

ט

וכן האומר דמי עלי או דמי פלוני עלי אינו נדון בהשג יד שחייבי דמים הרי פירשו נדרן והרי הן כמי שאמר מנה עלי הקדש שהוא חייב ליתן מנה גמור:

10

When a person says: "I pledge an airech" without explaining his words, he is not considered as having pledged three shekalim.16 Instead, he is judged according to his financial capacity, as is the law with regard to other arechim.

י

האומר הרי עלי ערך סתם ולא פירש אינו כמפרש שלשת שקלים אלא נדון בהשג יד כשאר המעריכין:

11

[The following laws apply when a person] states: "I pledge my airech" and then repeats: "I pledge my airech."17 If he possesses [only] ten selaim and gives nine for the second airech and one for the first, he fulfills the obligations of both of them.18 For arechim are not like debts.19 Although everything he possesses is on lien to the first [airech],20once the Temple Sanctuary has collected its due, it has been collected.21

If, however, he gave nine [selaim] for the first [airech] and one for the second, he fulfilled his responsibility for the second airech, but not for the first. [The rationale is that] everything that he possesses is on lien to the first airech and when he gave nine, he retained a sela. Thus he did not give everything in his possession.22 Therefore the remainder of the first airech should remain [a debt incumbent] upon him until he becomes wealthy and pays it.

יא

האומר ערכי עלי וחזר ואמר ערכי עלי והיו בידו עשר סלעים ונתן תשע לשניה וסלע לראשונה יצא ידי שתיהן שהערכין לאו כחובות הן שאע"פ שכל מה שבידו משועבד לראשונה הקדש מאוחר שגבה גבה אבל אם נתן תשע לראשונה ואחת לשניה ידי שניה יצא שהרי כשנתן הסלע לא נשאר בידו כלום והרי אין ידו משגת ידי ראשונה לא יצא שהרי כל מה שהיה בידו משועבד לראשונה כשנתן התשע נשאר לו סלע והרי לא נתן כל מה שידו משגת לפיכך ישאר עליו שאר ערך ראשון עד שיעשיר וישלים:

12

When a person says: "I pledge two of my arechim,"23 and he possesses only less than that sum, there is an unresolved question. Is [the money he possesses] on lien to them both? Hence he should give half of what he possesses for one airech and the other half, for the other and in this way fulfill his obligation.24 Or is he required to give one full airech - or everything that he possesses25 - for one airech and the other airech should remain a debt [incumbent] upon him which he will pay - either as a wealthy man or as a poor man - according to his financial capacity.26

יב

האומר שני ערכי עלי ולא היה בידו אלא פחות מכדי שני ערכין הרי הדבר ספק אם נתפס לשניהן ונותן חצי מה שיש לו לערך אחד וחצי לערך השני ויפטר או יתן ערך אחד מהן שלם או כל הנמצא בידו באחד מהן וישאר הערך האחר עליו חוב עד שיתן אותו בעניות או בעשירות כפי השג ידו:

13

When a person sets aside his airech or his worth and [the funds] are stolen or lost, he is liable to replace them even if he did not accept responsibility for them until they reach the Temple treasurer,27 as [implied by Leviticus 27:23]: "You will give your airech on that day, sanctified unto God."28 Even though he set them aside, they are nevertheless considered as ordinary property29 until they reach the Temple treasurer.30

יג

המפריש ערכו או דמיו ונגנבו או אבדו אף על פי שלא אמר עלי חייב באחריותן עד שיגיעו ליד הגזבר שנאמר ונתן את הערכך ביום ההוא קדש לה' הרי הן חולין אף על פי שהפרישן עד שיגיעו לידי הגזבר:

14

[The Temple treasurers are entitled to] seize collateral for airechim or pledges of worth. They take what they vowed [from the donors] against their will.31 They are not required to return the collateral by day or by night.32 They sell all the landed property and movable property in their possession including their clothing, household articles, servants, and livestock, taking their payment from everything.

They may not, however, sell the clothing of the [donor's] wife, that of his sons, clothing that he had dyed for them,33 nor new sandals that he purchased for them.34 Similarly, when a person consecrates all of his property, he has not consecrated these [articles].

יד

חייבי ערכין ודמים ממשכנין אותן ולוקחין מהן בעל כרחן מה שנדרו ואינן חייבין להחזיר להם המשכון ביום או בלילה ומוכרין כל הנמצא להם מן הקרקע ומן המטלטלין מכסות וכלי תשמיש הבית ועבדים ובהמה ונפרעין מן הכל ואין מוכרין לא כסות אשתו ולא כסות בניו ולא בגדים שצבען לשמן ולא סנדלים חדשים שלקחן לשמן וכן המקדיש כל נכסיו לא הקדיש את אלו:

15

[When a person] pledges arechim, the worth of an entity, or he consecrates a maneh to the Temple treasury and does not possess [the immediate resources to meet his pledge, we expropriate] all the movable property he owns, leaving him only:35 his head and arm tefillin, his sandals, a chair to sit on, and a bed and a mattress appropriate36 for him to sleep on. If he is poor, we give him a bed and a straw mat to sleep on. And we give him food for 30 days and clothing for twelve months for himself alone.37 We do not [make these provisions] for his wife and children although he is obligated to provide for their livelihood and their clothing,38 We leave him only garments that are fitting for his [social standing].39

טו

ונותנין לו מכל נכסיו לזה שיש עליו ערכין או דמים או שהקדיש מנה לבדק הבית ואין לו נותנין לו תפילין של ראש ושל יד וסנדליו וכסא לישב עליו ומטה ומצע הראויין לו לישן עליהם ואם היה עני נותנין לו מטה ומפץ לישן עליו ונותנין לו מזון שלשים יום וכסות שנים עשר חדש לו לבדו אבל לא לאשתו ובניו אע"פ שהוא חייב במזונותיהם ובכסותם ואין נותנין לו אלא כסות הראויה לו:

16

If he possesses silk garments and golden garments, we remove them from him and give him garments that are appropriate for a person of his social standing40 for the weekdays, but not for Sabbaths and festivals.41

טז

היו עליו כלי משי ובגדים מוזהבין מעבירין אותן מעליו ונותנין לו כסות הראויה לאיש כמותו לחול אבל לא לשבתות וימים טובים:

17

If he was a craftsman, we leave him two of every type of the tools of his trade.42

What is implied? If he was a carpenter, we leave him two planes and two saws. If he had many tools of one type and a few of another type, we do not sell many of those of which he possesses a lot and purchase some of those of which he possesses a little. Instead, we leave him two tools of those which he possesses a lot and all those he possesses of those which he possesses a little.

יז

ואם היה אומן נותנין לו שני כלי אומנות מכל מין ומין כיצד אם היה חרש נותנין לו שני מעצדים ושתי מגרות היו לו כלים מרובין ממין אחד ומועטין ממין שני אין מוכרין מן המרובה ולוקחין לו מן המועט אלא נותנין לו שני כלים מן המרובין וכל שיש לו מן המועט:

18

If he was a donkey driver or a farmer, we don't leave him his livestock even though he can only earn his livelihood with it. If he was a sailor, we do not leave him his boat.43 Instead, everything must be sold.

יח

היה חמר או איכר אין נותנין לו בהמתו אע"פ שאין לו מזונות אלא ממנה היה ספן אין נותנין לו ספינתו אלא ימכר הכל:

19

If there were livestock, servants, and pearls among his possessions and merchants said: "If clothing worth 30 [zuz] is purchased for this servant, his value will increase by 100"; "If we wait to sell this cow to a meat market, its price will increase by ten [zuz]; or "If this pearl is taken to this-and-this place, it will be worth much money, but here it will only be worth a small amount," we do not heed them. Instead, what is done? We sell everything in its place and at its time as it is, as [the above prooftext [implied by Leviticus 27:23]: "You will give your airech on that day, sanctified unto God." [This teaches that] every entity [that is] consecrated [to the Temple treasury] is not embellished, nor do we wait to take it to the market, nor do we bring it from place to place. Instead, consecrated articles are sold only in their place and at the time [they were consecrated].44

יט

היו בנכסים בהמה ועבדים ומרגליות ואמרו התגרים אם ילקח לעבד זה כסות בשלשים משבח הוא מאה ופרה זאת אם ימתינו בה לאטלס משבחת עשרה ומרגלית זו אם מעלין אותה למקום פלוני תשוה ממון רב וכאן אינה שוה אלא מעט אין שומעין להן אלא כיצד עושין מוכרין הכל במקומו ובשעתו כמה שהוא שנאמר ונתן את הערכך ביום ההוא קדש לה' לרבות כל דבר של הקדש שאין מפרכסין אותו ואין ממתינין בו לשוק ולא מוליכין אותו ממקום למקום אין להקדש אלא מקומו ושעתו:

20

When does the above apply? With regard to movable property and servants.45 For landed property, by contrast, we announce the sale for 60 consecutive days, morning and evening46 and [only] afterwards, are they sold.47

כ

בד"א במטלטלין ועבדים אבל הקרקעות מכריזין עליהם ששים יום רצופים בבקר ובערב ואחר כך מוכרין אותם:

Footnotes
1.

Which is a lesser amount, as stated in Chapter 1, Halachah 3.

2.

Arachin 18a derives this from the exegesis of Leviticus 27:17.

3.

I.e., he has the means to pay the pledge that he made.

4.

The laws that apply if he cannot pay even a sela are discussed in Halachah 4.

5.

Thus the evaluation mentioned by the verse is twofold: a) the age of the person whose airech is pledged is considered and on that basis, we determine the sum the one who made the pledge must pay;

b) if the one who made the pledge is poor, we evaluate his capacity to pay (Radbaz).

Once the poor person pays the lesser amount, he is not obligated to pay any more even if later he becomes wealthy (Halachah 7).

6.

Implied is that an airech must be at least a shekel. In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Arachin 2:1), the Rambam states that if he paid less than a shekel, it is as if he did not pay anything at all.

7.

For this is the highest airech mentioned in the Torah.

8.

I.e., acquires the amount he pledged.

9.

He is not given the option of paying a lesser amount. Instead, the full airech remains a debt incumbent upon him.

10.

For he was not pledging an airech, but instead, taking vow to pay the amount the wealthy person had pledged. The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam and maintains that the poor man is judged according to his own financial capacity. The Ra'avad supports his view from Arachin 17a where there appears to be a difference of opinion among the Sages. Although the Rambam interprets that passage differently (see his Commentary to the Mishnah, Arachin 2:1), the Kessef Mishneh notes that the Ra'avad's view seems more appropriate to the text's simple meaning.

11.

We find a parallel concept with regard to sacrifices. There are certain offerings that are dependent on a person's financial status. If he is wealthy, he must bring one type of sacrifice and if he is poor another. If a poor person brings the sacrifice required of him, he is not liable to bring a second sacrifice if he becomes wealthy (Arachin 17b; Radbaz).

12.

I.e., even if he is poor, we do not evaluate his financial status as we ordinarily do if he pledged an airech. The rationale is that he mentioned a specific amount and hence, he is obligated for that amount (Radbaz).

13.

I.e., and establish his liability only according to the possessions he owns.

14.

The Ra'avad differs and offers a different explanation. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh favor the Rambam's view.

15.

100 zuz.

16.

The smallest airech there is. I.e., he is liable to pay three shekalim if he possesses that sum (Chapter 1, Halachah 20). If, however, he does not possess that sum, we do not say that he has taken an explicit vow. Instead, his worth is evaluated, as above.

17.

And thus he is obligated to pay two arechim. This halachah is speaking about an instance where the donor is poor and does not have the money to pay either - let alone both - of his pledges.

18.

I.e., the priest began evaluating the second airech first. The donor could not give the entire amount for the second airech, since he was already liable for the first.

19.

In Hilchot Malveh ViLoveh 20:1, the Rambam writes that if a creditor whose lien begins later expropriates property from a debtor first, the court expropriates it from him and gives it to the creditor with the prior lien. This, however, applies only with regard to landed property and not to movable property (ibid.:2).

20.

And thus he should have paid all ten selaim for that airech, if he did not do so and paid a lesser amount, he fulfills his obligation.

21.

The Rambam's ruling follows the logic of Rav Sherira Gaon, as quoted by Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi (Ketubot 94a), although the wording of Arachin 7b, 8a, does not imply such a conclusion.

The difference between the two situations is that the two debts are owed to two different people. Hence giving one is taking from the other. Thus the chronological sequence when the liens were established is important. Arechim, however, are always given to the Temple treasury. Thus they are both being given to the same place. Hence there is no point in having the money expropriated.

22.

For when giving the first airech, he should not consider the second airech at all.

23.

In which case he is obligated to pay both of them, as stated in Chapter 1, Halachah 19.

24.

According to this view, even if he becomes wealthy afterwards, he is not obligated to give anything more.

25.

If he does not have enough for even one complete airech.

26.

The Radbaz rules that, because of the doubt, all we obligate the person is to fulfill the first (more lenient) view. Nevertheless, if the Temple treasurer seizes the entire amount as payment for the first airech, the donor remains liable for the second.

27.

Our translation is based on authoritative manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah. The standard published text has a somewhat different version.

28.

The verse implies that the obligation is incumbent upon you until the funds are actually given. This is in contrast to some other financial commitments vowed to the Temple treasury, as stated in Hilchot Nedarim 1:2; Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 14:4-6.

29.

I.e., they are not consecrated and the prohibition against misusing property dedicating to the Temple treasury does not apply to them.

30.

For the implication of the prooftext is that on the day you give the airech, it becomes consecrated.

31.

In contrast to an ordinary lender who must wait for collateral to be given to him. The donor must be evaluated by the court, however, before his property may be taken.

32.

I.e., in contrast to collateral taken from an ordinary lender which must be returned. See Deuteronomy 24:13.

33.

Even if they have not worn it already.

34.

For these articles are considered as owned by the person's wife or children and their property may not be expropriated to pay for the donor's debt. Compare to Hilchot Malveh V'Loveh 1:5.

35.

I.e., he is left the basic necessities for his spiritual and material sustenance. If he consecrates all of his property, he is not left even these articles (Chapter 6, Halachah 3).

36.

Implied is that if he possesses an expensive mattress, we sell it and buy him an ordinary one.

37.

If he does not possess the above, we leave him financial resources to purchase them (see Arachin 6:3 and commentaries).

38.

These obligations are discussed in Hilchot Ishut 12, 2; 13:6.

39.

Note the following halachah.

40.

I.e., if he possesses clothing that is appropriate for someone of a higher social standing, that clothing is sold, the funds are used to purchase clothing appropriate for his social standing, and the remainder is given to the Temple treasury. Compare to Hilchot Malveh V'Loveh 1:7.

41.

I.e., weekday garments are less expensive than those worn on Sabbaths and festivals.

42.

So that he will be able to continue to earn his livelihood.

43.

For these are considered as property, not as tools.

44.

The rationale is that although expected, these profits are not certain and a loss may occur (Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Arachin 6:5).

45.

We fear that the movable property can be lost or stolen or damaged in another way and that the servants may flee. See Hilchot Malveh V'Loveh 12:11.

46.

See Chapter 4, Halachah 27, for details regarding these announcements.

47.

For announcing the sale of the property will attract buyers and increase the price and land cannot be stolen or lost.

Arachim Vacharamim - Chapter 4

1

A field which a person inherited from his testators is called "an ancestral field." One that he purchased or acquired1 is called "purchased property."2 When a person consecrates an ancestral field, it is measured and its airech is the fixed airech prescribed by the Torah.3

א

שדה שירשה אדם ממורישיו היא הנקראת שדה אחוזה ושדה שלקחה או זכה בה היא הנקראת שדה מקנה והמקדיש שדה אחוזתו מודדין אותה וערכה הוא הערך הקצוב בתורה:

2

How much is that? For every place where it is fit to sow a chomer4of barley,5 sowing it by hand6 without sowing it too closely or to distantly, its airech is 50 shekel for all the years of the Jubilee.7 The yovel is not counted. [This applies] whether one is consecrating a good field which has no parallel in Eretz Yisrael or a poor field which has none as bad as it. [The above] is the airech for it.

ב

וכמה הוא כל מקום שראוי לזרוע בו חומר שעורים ויזרענו ביד ולא יקרב זריעתו ולא ירחק אותה ערכו חמשים שקלים לכל שני יובל ואין שנת יובל מן המנין ואחד המקדיש שדה טובה שאין בכל ארץ ישראל כמותה או שדה רעה שאין כמוה לרוע כזה מעריכין אותו:

3

We have already explained in Hilchot Shekalim8 that the shekel referred to by the Torah was called a sela in our Sages' terminology and a gerah referred to by the Torah was called a ma'ah in our Sages' terminology.

They added to the value of a shekel, making it equivalent to a sela.9 A sela is equivalent to four dinarim. A dinar is equivalent to six ma'yin. And a ma'ah is equivalent to two pundiyonin.

Thus [the airech for] each year is a sela and a pundiyon.10 Although a sela is 48 pundiyonin,11 when one gives pundiyonin to purchase a sela from a money-changer, one give 49.12

ג

כבר בארנו בהלכות שקלים שהשקל האמור בתורה הוא הנקרא סלע בלשון חכמים והגרה האמורה בתורה היא המעה בדברי חכמים והוסיפו על השקל ועשו אותו סלע והסלע ארבעה דינרין והדינר שש מעין והמעה שני פונדיונין נמצא לכל שנה סלע ופונדיון שאף על פי שהסלע שמונה וארבעים פונדיונין כשיתן פונדיונות ליקח סלע מן השלחני נותן תשעה וארבעים:

4

A chomer is equivalent to a kor which is equivalent to two letachim. A letach is fifteen se'ah.13 Thus a letach is equivalent to 30 se'ah which are ten efot, for an efah is three se'ah. We already explained in Hilchot Shabbat14 that a place with an area of 50 cubits by 50 cubits is called a beit se'ah, because a se'ah can be sown in it.

Thus a place with an area of 75000 sq. cubits, i.e., a square approximately 274 cubits by 274 cubits.15 This is a beit kor in which a chomer of barley can be sown.

ד

החומר הוא הכור והוא שני לתכין והלתך חמש עשרה סאין נמצא החומר שלשים סאה שהן עשר איפות כל שלש סאין איפה וכבר בארנו בהלכות שבת שהמקום שיש בשבורו חמשים אמה על חמשים אמה הוא בית סאה והוא מזרע סאה נמצאת למד שהמקום שיש בשבורו חמשה ושבעים אלף אמה שהוא ברבוע מאתים ארבע ושבעים אמות על מאתים ארבע ושבעים אמות בקירוב הוא בית כור והוא זרע חומר שעורים:

5

What is the manner in which the arechim of fields are calculated? If a person consecrated his ancestral field when eight years remain until the Jubilee - not including the Jubilee, as we explained16 - whoever desires to redeem it from the domain of the Temple treasury must give eight selaim and eight pundiyonin for every portion in which a chomer of barley can be sown.

If the [prior] owners desire to redeem it,17 they must give ten selaim and ten pundiyonin [for every portion of that size], for owners add a fifth.18 Similarly, whenever the Torah mentions a fifth, the intent is that the principal and the addition will be [a multiple of] five.19 Thus he adds a fourth of the principle. Similarly, if the wife of the one who consecrated it or one of his heirs redeems it, they must add a fifth.20

ה

כיצד דרך החשבון בערכי שדות הרי שהקדיש שדה אחוזתו ונשאר ליובל שמנה שנים חוץ משנת היובל שאינה בחשבון כמו שבארנו כל הרוצה לפדותה מיד הקדש נותן לכל זרע חומר שעורים שמנה סלעים ושמנה פונדיונות ואם רצו הבעלים לפדותה נותנין עשר סלעים ועשרה פונדיונות לפי שהן מוסיפין חומש וכן כל חומש האמור בתורה צריך שיהא הקרן עם התוספות חמשה נמצא שהוסיף רביע הקרן וכן אם פדתה אשתו של מקדיש או אחד מיורשיו הרי אלו מוסיפין חומש:

6

If four years remain until the Jubilee, the one who redeems it must give four selaim and four pundiyonin for every [portion in which a] chomer [of barley can be sown]. If the owners redeem it, they must pay five.21 Similarly, we calculate the sum [of every field dedicated based on multiples of] a sela and a pundiyon. One may not pay the sum year by year. Instead, it must be paid all at once.22

ו

נשאר ליובל ארבע שנים נותן הפודה ארבע סלעים וארבעה פונדיונות לכל חומר ואם הבעלים פדו אותה נותן חומש וכן לפי חשבון זה סלע ופונדיון לכל שנה ואינו נותן שנה בשנה אלא נותן הכל כאחד:

7

If there remains only a year between [the time the field was consecrated] and the Jubilee, one cannot redeem it by paying a sela and a pundiyon, as [implied by Leviticus 27:18]: "And the priest shall calculate for him [the amount to be paid] according to the years that remain." [The use of the plural indicates] that the field cannot be redeemed by [the payment of] a reduced amount of silver23 except two or more years before the Jubilee.

ז

נשאר בינו ובין היובל שנה אינו יכול ליתן סלע ופונדיון לפדותה שנאמר וחשב לו הכהן על פי השנים הנותרות אינה נפדית בגרעון כסף אלא קודם ליובל בשתי שנים או יותר:

8

If there remains a year and [several] months between [the time the field was consecrated] and the Jubilee and the Temple treasurer desires to calculate the months as a year so that [the donor] will give two shekelim and two pundiyonin for every [portion in which a] chomer [of barley] can be sown, this is permissible.24 [The rationale is that] we do not calculate months with regard to consecrated articles, as [indicated by the prooftext]: "According to the years that remain." [Implied is that one] should calculate years with regard to consecrated property, but one does not calculate months.

ח

נשאר בינו ובין היובל שנה וחדשים אם רצה הגזבר לחשוב החדשים שנה ויתן שנים שקלים ושנים פונדיונים לכל זרע חומר הרי זה מותר לפי שאין מחשבין חדשים להקדש שנאמר על פי השנים הנותרות שנים אתה מחשב להקדש ואי אתה מחשב חדשים:

9

Accordingly, it is not appropriate for a person to consecrate his field less than two years before the Jubilee. If he does consecrate it, it is consecrated and it cannot be redeemed by [paying] a reduced amount of silver. Instead, if the one redeeming it is willing to pay 50 shekel for [each parcel in which] a chomer [can be sown], he may redeem it. If not, it is given to the priests in the Jubilee year, as will be explained.25

ט

לפיכך אין ראוי לאדם להקדיש שדהו לפני היובל בפחות משתי שנים ואם הקדישה הרי זו מקודשת ואינה נפדית בגרעון כסף אלא אם רצה הפודה ליתן חמשים שקל לכל חומר פודה אותה ואם לא פדאה הרי זו יוצאה לכהנים ביובל כמו שיתבאר:

10

When a person consecrates his field in the Jubilee year itself, it is not consecrated.26 If a priest or a Levite consecrate [their property] in the Jubilee itself, it is consecrated.27

י

הקדיש שדהו בשנת היובל עצמה אינה מקודשת וכהן ולוי שהקדישו בשנת היובל עצמה הרי זו מקודשת:

11

Just as they can redeem [their fields] at all times,28 so too, they can consecrate them at all times.

יא

כשם שגואלין לעולם כך מקדישין לעולם:

12

When a person consecrates his field after the Jubilee year, it is not redeemed by [paying] a reduced amount of silver until the completion of a year after the Jubilee, because we do not calculate months with regard to consecrated property.29 Therefore if the one redeeming it is willing to pay 50 shekel for [each parcel in which] a chomer can be sown, he may redeem it even on the day after the Jubilee year. He does not reduce its price at all.

יב

המקדיש את שדהו אחר היובל אינה נפדית בגרעון כסף עד שיגמר שנה אחר היובל לפי שאין מחשבין חדשים להקדש לפיכך אם רצה הפודה ליתן חמשים שקל לכל זרע חומר הרי זה פודה אפילו ביום שאחר היובל ואינו גורע כלום:

13

When [a field] is measured,30 we measure only those places fit to be sown. If there are stones that are ten [handbreadths] high or hollows filled with water that are ten handbreadths deep, they are not measured with it. If they are less than this, they are measured with it.31

יג

כשמודדין אין מודדין אלא מקומות הראויין לזריעה היו שם סלעים גבוהים עשרה טפחים או נקעים מלאים מים עמוקים עשרה טפחים אין נמדדין עמה פחות מכאן נמדדין עמה:

14

If there are hollows that are ten handbreadths or more deep that do not contain water, they are measured independently and calculated according to their worth.32

יד

היו בה מקומות נמוכות עשרה או יותר ואין בהן מים נמדדין בפני עצמן ומחשבין להם מה שראוי להם:

15

[If the consecrated field] contains trees, the trees are consecrated even if [the donor] did not say so explicitly. [The rationale is that] when a person consecrates property, he does so with a generous spirit. We calculate the worth of the trees [and add that to the sum arrived at by] measuring the land and placing its airech at a sela and a pundiyon for every [parcel in which] a chomer can be sown, as we explained.33

טו

היתה מלאה אילנות אע"פ שלא פירש הרי הקדיש גם האילנות שכל המקדיש בעין יפה הוא מקדיש ומחשבין את האילנות בשוייהן והקרקע מודדין אותה ויהיה ערכה סלע ופונדיון לכל שנה ולכל זרע חומר כמו שבארנו:

16

When a person consecrates a field that is not fit to be sown and is referred to as rocky terrain, it is redeemed for its value.34 Similarly, if a person consecrates trees alone, they are redeemed according to their value.

טז

המקדיש את השדה שאינה ראויה לזריעה והיא הנקראת טרשין פודין אותה בשויה וכן המקדיש את האילנות בלבד פודין אותן בשוייהן:

17

If there were three trees35 planted in an area large enough to sow a se'ah36 and [the donor] did not explicitly say that he was consecrating only the trees, he is considered to have consecrated the land37 and the [small] trees between [the three larger ones].38 If, however, the trees were planted [more sparsely - i.e.,] every three or less trees were planted in more than the area large enough to sow a se'ah39 or he consecrated [each of the trees individually,] one after the other,40 he did not consecrate the land41 or the [small] trees between [the larger ones].

יז

היו האילנות שלשה אילנות לתוך בית סאה ולא פירש שהאילנות בלבד הוא שהקדיש הרי זה הקדיש את הקרקע ואת האילנות שביניהן אבל אם היו האילנות נטועים כל שלשה אילנות ביתר מבית סאה או בפחות או שהקדישן זה אחר זה הרי זה לא הקדיש את הקרקע ולא את האילנות שביניהם:

18

If he consecrated the trees and then consecrated the land, he redeems the trees according to their worth and the land according to its measure.42

יח

הקדיש האילנות ואחר כך הקדיש את הקרקע פודה את האילנות בשוייהן ואת הקרקע על פי מדתה:

19

When a person consecrates an ancestral field and the Jubilee arrives without it being redeemed, but instead, it has remained in the domain of the Temple treasury, the priests [of the watch in which the Jubilee falls]43 must pay its airech44 and it becomes their ancestral heritage.45 [They are required to pay,46 because] consecrated property is never released without being redeemed. The money paid is given to the Temple treasury for improvements to its structure.47

יט

המקדיש שדה אחוזתו והגיע היובל ולא נפדית אלא הרי היא תחת יד הקדש הכהנים נותנין את דמיה ותהיה אחוזה להם שאין הקדש יוצא בלא פדיון ואותן הדמים יפלו להקדש בדק הבית:

20

If the person who consecrated it redeemed it before the Jubilee, it returns to its owner [in the Jubilee].48 The airech which he pays is given for improvements to the Temple, as we have explained.49 Similarly, if the son of the person who consecrated it redeemed it, it returns to his father in the Jubilee.50 If, however, his daughter, another relative, or an unrelated person redeemed it, [different laws apply]. If the person who consecrated it redeems it from them, it returns to him at all times [before the Jubilee year].51 If, however, he did not redeem it from their possession and when the Jubilee arrived it is in the possession of the daughter, another relative, or an unrelated person, it is expropriated from them52 [and becomes the property of] the Temple treasury. It never returns to its owners again. Instead, it becomes the ancestral property of the priests, as [Leviticus 27:21] states: "When the field departs [from the purchaser's domain] in the Jubilee, it shall become the priests." The priests do not have to pay its value,53 because it was already redeemed from the Temple treasury and [the Temple treasury] received its airech from another person. Hence, it is returned to the priests as if they are its owners.

כ

גאלה המקדיש קודם שיגיע היובל הרי זה חוזרת לבעליה והערך שנתן יפול לבדק הבית כמו שבארנו וכן אם גאלה בנו של מקדיש הרי זו חוזרת לאביו ביובל אבל אם גאלה אותה בתו או שאר קרוביו או נכרי מיד ההקדש אם חזר המקדיש וגאלה מידן חוזרת לו לעולם ואם לא גאלה מידן אלא הגיע היובל והיא תחת יד הבת או שאר קרובים או נכרי הרי זה יוצאה להקדש ואינה חוזרת לבעלים לעולם אלא תהיה אחוזה לכהנים שנאמר והיה השדה בצאתו ביובל לכהן וגו' ואין הכהנים צריכין ליתן דמים שכבר נפדית מיד ההקדש ולקח ערכה מאחר אלא תחזור לכהנים כאילו הם בעליה:

21

To whom does the above54 apply? To an Israelite. If, however, the person who consecrated the field was a priest or a Levite,55 he may redeem it at all times. Even if the Jubilee passed and it was not redeemed from the Temple treasury, he may redeem it after the Jubilee, as [Leviticus 25:32] states: "The Levites have an eternal right of redemption."

כא

במה דברים אמורים בישראל אבל אם היה המקדיש כהן או לוי הרי זה גואל לעולם ואפילו עבר עליה היובל ולא נפדית מן ההקדש פודה אותה אחר היובל שנאמר גאולת עולם תהיה ללוים:

22

When a woman consecrated her ancestral field, her husband redeemed it from the Temple treasury, and it is in his possession when the Jubilee arrives, there is an unresolved question whether it returns to the woman56 or it is given to the priests.57 Therefore if the woman came first and took possession of it after the arrival of the Jubilee, the priests cannot expropriate it from her domain. If the priests took possession of it first, she cannot expropriate it from their possession.58

כב

האשה שהקדישה שדה אחוזתה וגאלה בעלה מיד ההקדש והגיע היובל והיא תחת יד הבעל הרי הדבר ספק אם תחזור לאשה או תצא לכהנים לפיכך קדמה האשה והחזיקה בה אחר היובל אין הכהנים יכולין להוציא מידה וכן אם קדמו הכהנים והחזיקו בה אינה יכולה להוציא מידם:

23

If a person consecrated a field and a priest redeemed it from the Temple treasury and it is in his domain when the Jubilee arrives, he should not say: "Since it is expropriated for the sake of the priests and it is in my possession, I should acquire it." Instead, it is given to all of his brethren, the priestly family.

כג

המקדיש שדהו ופדה אותה כהן מיד ההקדש והגיע היובל והיא תחת יד הכהן לא יאמר הואיל והרי היא יוצאה לכהנים הרי היא תחת ידי וזכיתי בה אלא יוצאה לכל אחיו הכהנים:

24

When it is expropriated on behalf of the priests in the Jubilee, it should be given to those priests59 in the watch60 in which the Jubilee begins. If the Rosh HaShanah of the Jubilee falls on the Sabbath and thus one watch will enter and one will depart,61 it should be given to the watch which departs.62

כד

כשתצא השדה לכהנים ביובל תנתן לכהנים שבמשמר שפגע בו היובל ואם היה ראש השנה של יובל בשבת שהרי משמר יוצא ומשמר נכנס תנתן למשמר היוצא:

25

When a person consecrates trees and the Jubilee arrives without him having redeemed them, they are not expropriated [and given] to the priests, for [Leviticus 27:21] states: "When the field is expropriated in the Jubilee... [it shall become the priests]." [Trees,] however, are not a field.63 If, however, a person consecrates rocky terrain64 and the Jubilee arrives without it being redeemed, it is expropriated [and given] to the priests, for [the prooftext] states "And the field shall..." and this is called a field.

כה

המקדיש את האילנות והגיע היובל ולא פדו אותם אינן יוצאין לכהנים שנאמר והיה השדה בצאתו ביובל ואין אלו שדה אבל המקדיש את הטרשים והגיע יובל ולא פדו אותן הבעלים הרי אלו יוצאין לכהנים שנאמר והיה השדה וזו נקראת שדה:

26

What are the laws that apply when a person consecrates purchased property? Its worth is evaluated and we see what its value will be65 until the Jubilee.66 Anyone who desires may redeem it. If the person who consecrated it redeems it, he is not required to add a fifth. The redemption is given for the purpose of improvements to the Temple as are other arechim and pledges of worth.

When the Jubilee arrives, it returns to its original owner who sold it. [This applies] whether it was redeemed from the Temple treasurer and it is departing from the domain of another person or whether it was not redeemed and it is departing from the domain of the Temple treasury, it returns to the seller and is not expropriated for the priests. [The rationale is that] a person cannot consecrate an article that is not his.67

כו

כיצד דין מקדיש שדה מקנתו שמין אותה בדמיה ורואין כמה היא שוה עד היובל ופודה אותה כל מי שירצה ואם פדה אותה המקדיש אינו מוסיף חומש ופדיונה לבדק הבית כשאר ערכין ודמים וכשיגיע היובל תחזור לבעלים הראשונים שמכרוה בין שנפדית מיד הגזבר והרי היא יוצאה מיד אחר בין שלא נפדית והרי היא יוצאה מיד ההקדש הרי זו חוזרת למוכר ואינה יוצאה לכהנים שאין אדם מקדיש דבר שאינו שלו:

27

Whenever a field is evaluated for the Temple treasury so that it can be sold for its worth, we announce its sale for 60 consecutive days in the morning when workers come to work and in the evening when they leave. We mark its boundaries and say how much it produces and what is it worth.68 Whoever wishes to purchase it may come and purchase it.

כז

כל שדה ששמין אותה להקדש למכור אותה בדמיה מכריזין עליה ששים יום רצופין בבקר בשעת הכנסת פועלים ובערב בשעת הוצאת פועלים ומסיימין מצריה ואומר כך היא יפה ובכך היא שומה כל הרוצה ליקח יבא ויקח:

28

[The following laws apply when a person] purchases a field from his father or from another person from whom he could inherit it and consecrates it to the Temple treasury. Whether he consecrated it after the death of his father or the other testator or he consecrated it during the lifetime of his father or the other testator and then his father [or that testator] died, it is considered as an ancestral field.69 [This is derived from Leviticus 27:22:] "[If he will consecrate] a field that he acquired which is not an ancestral field...." [Implied is that the subject is] a field that is not fit to be an ancestral field, thus excluding this one which is fit for him to inherit.70

כח

הלוקח שדה מאביו או משאר המורישין אותו והקדישה בין שהקדישה אחר מות אביו או מורישו ובין שהקדישה בחיי אביו או שאר מורישיו ואח"כ מת אביו הרי זה כשדה אחוזה שנאמר ואם את שדה מקנתו אשר לא משדה אחוזתו שדה שאינה ראויה להיות שדה אחוזה יצאת זו שראויה לו ליורשה:

Footnotes
1.

As a present or the like.

2.

The Rambam begins describing the laws involving the consecration of ancestral fields. Those involving the consecration of purchased property are described from Halachah 26 onward.

3.

Leviticus 27:16. Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 117) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 355) include the commandment to deal with the consecration of a field as one of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. These laws apply only in Eretz Yisrael (Hilchot Bikkurim 1:6), but not in the Diaspora and only during the time the Jubilee year is observed (Chapter 5, Halachah 1; Hilchot Shemitah V'Yovel 10:9).

4.

See Halachah 4 for a definition of this measure.

5.

This is a larger area than that required to sow an equivalent amount of wheat (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Arachin 3:2).

6.

Arachin 25a makes this distinction, differentiating between a field that is sown by hand or sown by leading an animal with an open bag of seed through the field.

7.

As indicated by the following halachah, the airech is given for every year individually. We calculate the number of years left until the Jubilee and divide the sum of 50 shekalim accordingly.

8.

Hilchot Shekalim 1:2-3; see Chapter 1, Halachah 4.

9.

As mentioned above, a sela is equivalent to 384 barley corns of silver.

10.

I.e., we divide the 50 selaim into 49 years.

11.

And thus seemingly one is overpaying by a fractional amount.

12.

That is the money-changer's profit for the transaction.

13.

A se'ah is 8.3 liter in modern measure according to Shiurei Torah and 16.2 liter according to Chazon Ish.

14.

Hilchot Shabbat 16:3.

15.

The measure mentioned by the Rambam produces a square with an area of 75076 sq. cubits.

16.

See Halachah 2.

17.

As stated in Chapter 5, Halachah 1, the owners are commanded to redeem it and they are given the option of doing so before another person.

18.

As Leviticus 27:19 states: "If the person who consecrates it redeems it, he shall add a fifth in silver of its airech."

19.

See also Hilchot Terumot 10:26; Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 5:1.

20.

The Mishneh LiMelech states that this refers to a heir redeeming the field after his testator's death, but not during his lifetime. A person's wife, however, must add a fifth even during her husband's lifetime, for they are considered as a single entity.

21.

I.e., five selaim and five pundiyonin.

22.

One may, however, redeem half the field by paying half the required sum, as stated in Chapter 5, Halachah 2.

23.

We have taken some liberty in the translation. The Hebrew term used by the Rambam, girayon kessef, means "the subtraction of silver," i.e., we subtract the sum due for the years of the Jubilee cycle that have already passed from the sum of fifty shekel. See Leviticus 26:18.

The Rambam uses this wording because, as stated in Halachah 9, if the person desires to pay the full 50 shekelim, he may redeem the field even if less than a year remains to the Jubilee.

24.

The Ra'avad questions the Rambam's ruling, noting that although this appears to be the meaning of Arachin 25a, it is illogical to say so. If the field is not redeemed by its owner before the Jubilee, he must pay 50 shekel a measure to redeem it in the Jubilee. If he does not redeem it, it is given to the priests who are required to pay its fair value (see Halachah 19). Thus the Temple treasury will almost certainly be losing by allowing the person to redeem it for the 2 year amount. Why then would the Temple treasurer be allowed to do so?

The Kessef Mishneh notes the Ra'avad's logic, but states that this is the new concept taught: that even if it is not to the benefit of the Temple treasury, the treasurer may make such a decision. The Radbaz states that the law applies in an instance when there will be a benefit to the Temple treasury to enable the property to be redeemed in this manner.

25.

See Halachah 19.

26.

There is a difference of opinion concerning this issue in Arachin 25b. Shmuel interprets Leviticus 27:17 as excluding fields consecrated in the Jubilee itself. Rav differs. Significantly, although here the Rambam follows the opinion of Shmuel, in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Arachin 7:1), he originally follows Rav's view, as indicated by the standard published version. Rav Kapach maintains that the manuscript copies of the Commentary to the Mishnah reflect a change of view and as in the text here, he follows Shmuel's view.

27.

As stated in the following halachah and in Halachah 21, they are governed by different laws than ordinary Israelites in this regard. See also Hilchot Shemitah ViYoval 13:7.

28.

See Halachah 21.

29.

As stated in Halachah 8.

30.

To calculate its size so that the amount required to be paid can be determined, as explained in Halachah 2.

31.

If they are not that high or that deep, they are not considered as significant entities (Arachin 25a).

32.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, noting that from Arachin 25a, it appears that such patches of land are measured together with the field. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh explain that the Talmud is stating that they are consecrated, but that they are considered as independent from the field. Hence, rather than be measured according to the standard value, they are measured according to their worth.

33.

Halachah 5. The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam and maintains that although the trees are consecrated, they are redeemed when the field as a whole is redeemed. The Radbaz justifies the Rambam's view.

34.

The Torah passage pertaining to consecrated fields mentions a field that is "sown." Since such a field is not fit to be sown, the general principles that apply to arechim for fields at large do not apply to it. Instead, it is considered as an ordinary vow.

35.

This reflects the Rambam's version of Arachin 14a. The standard printed text of that source reads differently.

36.

Fifty cubits by fifty cubits, as stated in Halachah 4.

37.

In which instance, he adds the value of the trees to the standard airech of the field, as stated in Halachah 15. The rationale for this ruling is evident from Hilchot Shemitah V'Yoval 3:2; Hilchot Bikkurim 2:13: Once trees have grown, they need this much land to be maintained. Hence when one sells the trees, he is considered to have sold the land with them and when he consecrates the trees, he consecrates the land with them.

38.

Because these are considered to be included in the land on which they are planted.

39.

Since the trees are scattered, we do not consider the land as subservient to them. Hence, unless the land is consecrated explicitly, it is not considered as included in his statement.

40.

Since the trees are all mentioned individually, each is considered as a discrete entity and we do not view him as having consecrated the property as a whole.

41.

Since the land is not consecrated, the small trees are also not consecration, because their consecration depends on that of the land.

42.

The Radbaz states that seemingly this ruling is self-evident, for it is the same as that of Halachah 15 where the donor does not mention the trees explicitly. He explains that there is a new dimension in the Rambam's ruling, for one might think that since the donor mentioned the trees explicitly, the land associated with them should be considered as a distinct entity and evaluated according to its worth and not its measure. Hence, the Rambam feels it necessary to emphasize that this is not the case.

43.

See Halachah 24 and notes.

44.

The Kessef Mishneh states that the Rambam shares the understanding of Rashi (Arachin 25b) who maintains that the priests pay the standard amount for a beit kor.

45.

I.e., it never returns to its original owner or his heirs.

46.

From a simple reading of Leviticus 27:20, one might think that they are given the field without any charge. Hence, the Rambam adds this explanation.

47.

See Chapter 1, Halachah 10; Chapter 5, Halachah 7.

48.

The Rambam is referring to the law (Hilchot Shemitah ViYoval, ch. 11) that an ancestral field which is sold returns to its owner in the Jubilee year. The Ra'avad questions the Rambam's wording, for since the donor redeemed the field, it need not return to him in the Jubilee; it is in his possession. The Radbaz explains that the intent is that even if the donor gave the money, but did not take possession before the beginning of the Jubilee, the field returns to him in the Jubilee. The fact that he consecrated it does not cause it to be removed from the category of an ancestral field. The Kessef Mishneh states that the Rambam is using wording that will enable the different clauses of the halachah to appear similar.

49.

From a simple reading of Leviticus 27:20, one might think that they are given the field without any charge. Hence, the Rambam adds this explanation.

50.

Leviticus 27:20 states that a person loses his right to have his ancestral field return in the Jubilee: "If he [the Temple treasurer] sold the field to another man...." Nevertheless, since in many contexts, a son is considered an extension of his father, he is not considered as "another man" and his purchase of the field does not cause his father to lose his claim to it (Arachin 25b).

51.

As is the law with regard to an ancestral field. The fact that it was consecrated and redeemed by another person does not remove it from this category.

This ruling follows the Rambam's version of Arachin 7:3 and his interpretation in his Commentary to the Mishnah. The standard printed text of Arachin 25a differs, however, and states that the field is given to the priests in such an instance. The Ra'avad notes the existence of the two versions of the source.

52.

For they purchased the right to it only until the Jubilee year.

53.

In contrast to the situation mentioned in the previous halachah. The rationale for the difference is that they are required to pay in the previous instance, because consecrated property never leaves the domain of the Temple treasury without being redeemed. In this instance, however, the field has already been redeemed as the Rambam continues to explain.

54.

That a field which is not redeemed becomes the property of the priests.

55.

This refers to a field that was given to a priest or a Levite as an ancestral heritage, not one that they purchased.

56.

Because her husband's redemption of it could be considered as if she redeemed it herself.

57.

Because in actual fact, she did not redeem it.

58.

We follow the principle: "When a person desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is upon him." The Ra'avad differs with this ruling, stating that since her husband is working the field, it is considered as having been acquired by him, for her. The Kessef Mishneh questions the Ra'avad's ruling, stating that since the Talmud (Arachin 25b) left the matter unresolved, it is not appropriate for the Ra'avad to resolve it by logic. The Radbaz adds that the husband (as his wife's agent) must intend to acquire the field and it is possible to work a field without having this intent.

59.

It is sold and its value divided among all the priests of that watch, not only those serving in the Temple on Rosh HaShanah.

60.

The priestly family is broken up into 24 watches who each serve for a week in the Temple (Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash 4:3). Thus over the course of the years, there is a revolution of the times when each of the priestly watches serve.

61.

See Hilchot Temidim UMusafim 4:9.

62.

Because when Rosh HaShanah began, it was in their possession (Radbaz).

63.

The Ra'avad states that this law applies when the person consecrates only one or two trees, but not when he consecrates three. For in that instance, they are consecrated together with the land on which they grow (see Halachah 17) and hence, the consecrated property could be referred to as a field.

64.

Although certain aspects of the laws of ancestral fields do not apply to it (see Halachah 16), this dimension of them does.

65.

This is in contrast to an ancestral field where a standard amount is given, as explained above. In his commentary to the Torah (Leviticus 27:22), Rashi writes that it is redeemed in the same manner as an ancestral field. Nevertheless, in his commentary to the Talmud (Arachin 26b), he states that it is redeemed according to its worth.

66.

For in the Jubilee, it was to return to its ancestral owner. The donor's ownership did not extend past that time. Hence he cannot consecrate it for longer, as the Rambam proceeds to explain.

67.

And the person who consecrated the field never possessed permanent ownership of it, only the right to partake of its produce. Hence, he cannot consecrate it to the Temple treasury permanently (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Arachin 7:4).

68.

As evaluated by the court.

69.

I.e., the price for its redemption becomes fixed and if he does not redeem it, it becomes the property of the priests, as stated above.

70.

See also Hilchot Shemitah V'Yoval, ch. 11, where more details concerning ancestral fields and purchased property are discussed.

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in the one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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