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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Matnot Aniyim - Chapter 5, Matnot Aniyim - Chapter 6, Matnot Aniyim - Chapter 7

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Matnot Aniyim - Chapter 5

1

In none [of the following situations] is a [forgotten] sheaf [of grain] considered as shichichah. It was forgotten by workers and not forgotten by the owner of the field;1 it was forgotten by the owner of the field, but not the workers; or both these individuals forgot it, but there were others passing by2 who observed them at the time they forgot it. [To be shichichah] it must be forgotten by all people. Even a sheaf that was hidden away [purposely], if it is forgotten, it is shichichah.

א

העומר ששכחוהו פועלים ולא שכחו בעל השדה שכחו בעל השדה ולא שכחוהו פועלים שכחוהו אלו ואלו והיו שם אחרים עוברין ורואין אותן בעת ששכחוהו אינה שכחה עד שישכחוהו כל אדם ואפילו עומר הטמון אם נשכח הרי זה שכחה:

2

When the owner of the field was in the city and he said: "I know that the workers forgot a sheaf in this-and-this place," [but afterwards, the owner]3 forgot it, it is shichichah. If he was in the field and made such statements, but then forgot [the sheaf], it is not shichichah. [The rationale is that,] in a field, [only a sheaf] that was forgotten at the outset4 is shichichah.5 In a city, by contrast, even if one remembered it and afterwards forgot it, it is shichichah, as [indicated by Deuteronomy 24:19]: "If you forget a sheaf in the field," [i.e., in the field,] but not in a city.6

ב

היה בעל השדה בעיר ואמר יודע אני שהפועלים שכחו עומר שבמקום פלוני ושכחוהו הרי זה שכחה ואם היה בשדה ואמר כן ושכחוהו אינה שכחה שהשכוח מעיקרו בשדה הוא השכחה אבל בעיר אפילו זכור ולבסוף שכוח הרי זו שכחה שנאמר ושכחת עומר בשדה ולא בעיר:

3

If the poor stood in front of [the sheaf]7 or covered it with straw and he remembered the straw,8 or he took hold of it to bring it to the city, but left it in the field and forgot it, it is not shichichah.9 If, however, he moved it from place to place,10 even if he left it next to a gate,11 a grainheap, cattle, or utensils,12 and he forgot it, it is shichichah.

ג

עמדו העניים בפניו או חיפוהו בקש והוא זוכר את הקש או שהחזיק בו להוליכו לעיר והניחו בשדה ושכחו אינו שכחה אבל אם נטלו ממקום למקום אף על פי שהניחו סמוך לגפה או לגדיש או לבקר או לכלים ושכחו הרי זה שכחה:

4

[The following rules apply if] he took a sheaf with the intent of bringing it to the city,13 put it down on another [sheaf], and then forgot both of them. If he remembered the top sheaf before he sees it, the bottom one is not shichichah.14 If not, the bottom one is shichichah.

ד

נטל עומר להוליכו לעיר והניחו על גבי חבירו ושכח את שניהן אם זכר העליון קודם שיפגע בו אין התחתון שכחה ואם לאו התחתון שכחה:

5

If a person's sheaves flew into a field belonging to a colleague because of a strong wind and he forgot a sheaf there, it is not shichichah, for [Deuteronomy 24:19] states: "[If you reap] your harvest in your field."15 If, however, the wind scattered the sheaves within his own field and he forgot them, it is shichichah.

ה

עפו עמריו ברוח חזקה לתוך שדה חבירו ושכח שם עומר אינו שכחה שנאמר קצירך בשדך אבל אם פזר העמרים בתוך שדהו ושכח הרי זו שכחה:

6

[The following rules apply when a person] takes the first, second, and third sheaves, but leaves the fourth. If there was a sixth sheaf, the fourth sheaf is not shichichah until he takes the fifth sheaf.16 If, however, there are only five sheaves, when he bends down to take the fifth sheaf,17 the fourth is shichichah.

ו

הנוטל עומר ראשון ושני ושלישי ושכח הרביעי אם היה שם ששי אין הרביעי שכחה עד שיטול החמישי ואם היו חמשה בלבד משישהא כדי ליטול החמישי הרי הרביעי שכחה:

7

When the sheaves in a field are mixed together,18 he forgot one of them, it is not shichichah19 unless he takes everything around it.

ז

שני עמרים מעורבבין ושכח אחד מהן אינה שכחה עד שיטול את כל סביבותיו:

8

Although wild onions, garlic, onions, and the like are buried in the earth, the laws of shichichah apply to them.20 When a person harvests his field at night and forgets standing grain or he binds the grain into sheaves at night and forgets a sheaf and similarly, a blind man who forgets sheaves, the laws of shichichah apply.21 If, however, the blind person or the one harvesting at night only intended to take bulky [sheaves], the laws of shichichah do not apply.22

Whenever a person says: "I am harvesting the field on the condition that I may take what I forget," [his statement is of no consequence and] the laws of shichichah apply. [The rationale is that] whenever a person establishes a condition that contradicts the Torah, the condition is nullified.23

ח

הלוף והשום והבצלים וכיוצא בה אף על פי שהן טמונין בארץ יש להן שכחה הקוצר בלילה ושכח קמה או שעמר בלילה ושכח עומר וכן הסומא ששכח יש להן שכחה ואם היה הסומא או הקוצר בלילה מתכוין ליטול את הגס אין לו שכחה וכל האומר הריני קוצר על מנת מה שאני שוכח אני אטול יש לו שכחה שכל המתנה על מה שכתוב בתורה תנאו בטל:

9

When grain was harvested before it fully matured with the intent that it be fed to animals, the laws of shichichah do not apply.24 Similarly, if a person [binds the grain into] small bundles [as] he harvests without binding them into sheaves or he uprooted garlic or onions and made them into small bundles to sell in the marketplace instead of binding them into larger sheaves to store in a storehouse, [the laws of shichichah do not apply].25

ט

תבואה שקצרה עד שלא נגמרה להאכילה לבהמה וכן אם קצרה אגודות קטנות ולא עשאה עמרים וכן השומים והבצלים שתלשן אגודות קטנות להמכר לשוק ולא עשאן עמרים להעמיד מהן גורן אין להם שכחה:

10

When a person began harvesting from the beginning of a row [of grain] and forgot grain both in front of him and behind him, [the grain] behind him is shichichah,26 [the grain] in front of him is not shichichah,27 as [implied by Deuteronomy, loc. cit.,]: "Do not go back to take it." [Grain is] not shichichah unless [the harvester] passes it and leaves it behind him. This is the general principle: Whenever the adjuration "Do not return" applies, [the laws of] shichichah apply. Whenever the adjuration "Do not return" does not apply, [the laws of] shichichah do not apply.

י

הקוצר שהתחיל לקצור מראש השורה ושכח לפניו ולאחריו של אחריו שכחה ושלפניו אינו שכחה שנאמר לא תשוב לקחתו אינו שכחה עד שיעבור ממנו ויניחנו לאחריו זה הכלל כל שהוא בבל תשוב שכחה וכל שאינו בבל תשוב אינו שכחה:

11

[The following laws apply when] two people began to harvest from the middle of the field, one facing north and the other facing south and they both forgot [sheaves] in front of them and behind them. [The sheaves] in front of them are shichichah, because what is in front of one is behind the other.28 A sheaf29 that was forgotten behind them in the place from which they began harvesting30 is not shichichah, because it is combined with the rows that run from east to west and they indicate that this is not shichichah.31

Similar [concepts apply with regard to] the rows of sheaves that were being moved to the threshing floor and two people began [collecting] them from the middle of the field and forgot a sheaf in the middle, between their backs, [the laws of] shichichah do not apply. [The rationale is that] it is in the midst of the row between the west and the east where they have not begun [collecting]. Its position indicates that it was not forgotten.

יא

שנים שהתחילו לקצור מאמצע השורה זה פניו לצפון וזה פניו לדרום ושכחו לפניהם ולאחריהן שלפניהם שכחה מפני שכל אחד מהן זה שלפניו הוא לאחוריו של חבירו והעומר ששכחוהו לאחוריהן במקום שהתחילו ממנו אינו שכחה מפני שהוא מעורב עם השורות שמן המזרח למערב והן מוכיחין עליו שאינו שכוח וכן השורות של עמרים שפינו אותן לגורן והתחילו שנים מאמצע שורה ושכחו עומר באמצע בין אחוריהן אינו שכחה מפני שהוא באמצע השורה שמן מערב למזרח שעדיין לא התחילו בה והיא מוכחת עליו שאינו שכוח:

12

[The following rules apply when a person] harvests, binds [the grain] into sheaves, and then moves these sheaves - which are called omerim - from one place to another, and then from the second place to a third,32 and then from the third to the threshing floor. Should he forget a sheaf when he is moving it from one place to another, if he forgot it when he was moving to a place where work is completed,33 [the laws of] shichichah apply. Afterwards, when he moves it from the place where the work is completed to the threshing floor, [the laws of] shichichah do not apply. If he moved the sheaves to a place where work is not completed34 and forgot [them], [the laws of] shichichah do not apply. Afterwards, when he moves it from the place where the work is not completed to the threshing floor, [the laws of] shichichah do apply.35

יב

הקוצר ואלם אלומות אלומות ופינה האלומות והן הנקראין עומרים ממקום זה למקום אחר וממקום השני למקום השלישי וממקום השלישי לגורן ושכח העומר בשעה שפינה ממקום למקום אם פינה העומרים למקום שהוא גמר מלאכה ושכחה יש לו שכחה וכשיפנה ממקום שהוא גמר מלאכה לגורן אין לו שכחה ואם פינה העומרים למקום שאינו גמר מלאכה ושכח אינו שכחה וכשיפנה ממקום שאינו גמר מלאכה לגורן יש לו שכחה:

13

What constitutes a place "where work is completed"? A place where one intends to collect all the sheaves and thresh them there or take them to the threshing floor. What constitutes a place "where work is not completed"? A place where sheaves are collected to bind them into larger sheaves to bring them to another place.

יג

אי זהו מקום שהוא גמר מלאכה זה מקום שדעתו לקבץ כל העומרין שם ולדוש אותן שם או להוליכן שם למקום גדיש שהוא הגורן ומקום שאינו גמר מלאכה הוא המקום שמקבצין בו העומרים כדי לעשות מהן אלומות גדולות כדי להוליכן למקום אחר:

14

When two bundles [of grain]36 are separate from each other, [the laws of] shichichah apply.37 [If there are] three, [the laws of] shichichah do not apply.38 When two sheaves are separate from each other, [the laws of] shichichah apply. [If there are] three, [the laws of] shichichah do not apply.

יד

שתי כריכות המובדלות זו מזו שכחה ושלש אינן שכחה שני עומרים המובדלין זה מזה שכחה ושלשה אינן שכחה:

15

When two mounds of olives or carobs are separate from each other, [the laws of] shichichah apply. [If there are] three, [the laws of] shichichah do not apply. When two bundles of flax39 are separate from each other, [the laws of] shichichah apply. [If there are] three, [the laws of] shichichah do not apply.

טו

שני צבורי זיתים וחרובין המובדלין זה מזה שכחה ושלשה אינם שכחה שני חוצני פשתן שכחה ושלשה אינם שכחה:

16

When there are two vines - or two of any other tree - are separate from each other, [the laws of] shichichah apply.40 [If there are] three, [the laws of] shichichah do not apply. [This is derived from Leviticus 19:10]41 "Leave them for the poor and the stranger." [Implied is that] even if there are two, one should be given to the poor and one to the stranger.

טז

שתי גפנים וכן בשאר האילנות שנים המובדלין זה מזה שכחה ושלשה אינן שכחה שנאמר לעני ולגר תעזוב אותם אפילו היו שנים אחד לעני ואחד לגר:

17

If all the sheaves contain a kab42 and one contains four kabbim, and it was forgotten, [the laws of] shichichah apply.43 If it contained more than four kabbim, [the laws of] shichichah do not apply.44 Similarly, if [the sheaves] all contain two kabbim and there is one which contains more than eight kabbim, [the laws of] shichichah do not apply.

יז

היו כל העומרים של קב קב ואחד של ארבעה קבין ושכחו הרי זה שכחה יתר על הארבעה אינו שכחה וכן אם היו של שני שני קבין ואחד יתר על שמונה קבין אינו שכחה:

18

[When one] forgets a sheaf that contains two se'ah45 [of grain, the laws of] shichichah do not apply, as [implied by Deuteronomy 24:19]: "When you forget a sheaf in the field," i.e., [a sheaf], but not a grainheap.46 [This applies] even if [one collects all the grain into] sheaves containing two se'ah.

When a person forgets two sheaves, [the laws of] shichichah apply even though together they contain two se'ah since each of them individually is less than two se'ah. It thus appears to me that [the laws of] shichichah apply even though together they contain more than two se'ah.

יח

העומר שיש בו סאתים ושכחו אינו שכחה שנאמר ושכחת עומר בשדה ולא גדיש אף על פי שכולן סאתים סאתים שכח שני עומרים אע"פ שיש משניהן סאתים הרי אלו שכחה וכן יראה לי שהן שכחה אפילו היה בשניהן יותר מסאתים:

19

When there are more than two se'ah of standing grain [left unharvested], [the laws of] shichichah do not apply.47 If less than two se'ah [were left], we consider the thin stalks as if they were healthy and long and those with few kernels as if they were full. If were such considerations to be made, [the grain] would be sufficient to produce two se'ah48 and he forgot it, [the laws of] shichichah do not apply.

יט

קמה שיש בה סאתים ושכחה אינה שכחה אין בה סאתים רואין את השבלים הדקות כאילו הן בריאות וארוכות ואת השדופות כאילו הן מלאוה ואם היתה ראויה (להיות) הקמה אחר אומדן זה לעשות סאתים ושכחה אינה שכחה:

20

When a person forgets a se'ah of grain that has been cut down and a se'ah which has not been cut down, they are not combined49 and [the laws of] shichichah apply to each of them. Similarly, with regard to garlic, onions, and fruit from trees. If a person forgot a portion of them in [- or attached to -] the ground and a portion of them detached, they cannot be combined [to form a single quantity]. Instead, [even though] together there are two se'ah, [the laws of] shichichah apply to each of them.

כ

שכח סאה תבואה עקורה וסאה שאינה עקורה אינן מצטרפים ושניהם שכחה וכן בשום ובבצלים ובפירות האילן אם שכח מקצתן בקרקע ומקצתן תלוש ובשניהם סאתים אינן מצטרפין אלא שניהם שכחה:

21

When a person forgets a sheaf at the side of standing grain that was not forgotten, [the laws of] shichichah do not apply. [This is implied by Deuteronomy, loc. cit.]: "When you harvest... and you forget a sheaf...." [Implied is that when] a sheaf [is located] in an area that has been harvested, [the laws of] shichichah apply. When a sheaf [is located] in an area where there is standing grain, [the laws of] shichichah do not apply.50

Similarly, if he forgot standing grain that was located next to51 standing grain that was not forgotten, even one stem, it rescues the forgotten [grain] and [the owner] is permitted to come and take it. If, however, he forgot a sheaf or standing grain at the side of a sheaf that was not forgotten, even if the sheaf contains two se'ah,52 it does not rescue the forgotten grain and that grain belongs to the poor.

Standing grain belonging to a colleague does not rescue one's own sheaves, nor does standing barley rescue a sheaf of wheat. [Instead,] the standing grain must be of the same species as the sheaf.

כא

השוכח עומר בצד הקמה שאינה שכוחה אינה שכחה שנאמר כי תקצור ושכחת עומר עומר שסביבותיו קציר שכחה אבל עומר שסביבותיו קמה אינה שכחה וכן אם שכח קמה בצד קמה שאינה שכוחה אפילו קלח אחד הרי זו מצלת את השכוחה ויהיה מותר לקחתה אבל אם שכח עומר או קמה בצד עומר שאינו שכוח אפילו היה בו סאתים אינו מציל אותה והרי השכוח לעניים אין קמת חבירו מצלת על עומר שלו ואין קמת שעורים מצלת על עומר חטים עד שתהיה הקמה ממין העומר:

22

When a person forgets a tree among other others - even if it carries many se'ah of fruit53 - or if he forgot two trees, [the laws of] shichichah apply.54 [If he forgot] three, [the laws of] shichichah do not apply.

כב

השכוח אילן בין האילנות אפילו היה בו כמה סאין פירות או ששכח שני אילנות הרי הן שכחה שלשה אינן שכחה:

23

When does the above apply? With regard to a tree55 that is not well known and distinguished by its place, e.g., it was located at the side of the olive-press or an open portion [of a fence], by its yield, e.g., it produced many olives, or its name: e.g., the flowing olive56 among the olive trees, i.e., that it produces much oil, the outpouring olive, the shameful olive.57 If, however, it was distinguished in any of these three ways, [the laws of] shichichah do not apply. [This is derived from Deuteronomy, loc. cit.]: "And you shall forget a sheaf in the field." [Implied is that this command applies to] a sheaf that could be forgotten forever which you will not bring to mind unless you return and see it. It excludes this tree that you will remember afterwards even if you do not encounter it, because it is well known and distinguished.

כג

במה דברים אמורים באילן שאינו ידוע ומפורסם במקום כגון שהיה עומד בצד הגת או בצד הפרצה או במעשיו כגון שהיה עושה זיתים הרבה או בשמו כגון שהיה לו שם ידוע כגון זית הנטופה בין הזיתים שהוא נוטף שמן הרבה או השפכני או הבישני אבל אם היה בו אחד משלשה דברים אלו אינו שכחה שנאמר ושכחת עומר בשדה עומר שאתה שוכחו לעולם ואין אתה יודע בו אלא אם תשוב ותראהו יצא זה שאתה זוכרו לאחר זמן ואף על פי שלא תפגע בו מפני שהוא ידוע ומפורסם:

24

If [a tree] is distinguished in the mind of [the owner], it is as if it is well known and distinguished.58 If an [olive tree] was located next to a palm tree, the palm causes it to be distinguished.59 If two trees are "flowing olives," each one causes the other to be distinguished. If, however, one's entire field consists of "flowing olives" and one forgets one or two trees, [the laws of] shichichah apply.60 When is [the concept that the laws of shichichah do not apply to a tree that is distinguished] relevant? When one has not begun harvesting this distinguished tree. If, however, one began harvesting it and then forgot a portion of it, [the laws of] shichichah apply,61 even though it is distinguished, provided less than two se'ah [of fruit] remain upon it. If, however, two se'ah [of fruit] remain upon it,62 [the laws of] shichichah do not apply63 unless he forgets the entire tree as we explained.64

כד

היה מסויים בדעתו הרי זה כמפורסם וידוע היה עומד בצד הדקל הדקל מסיימו היו שניהן זית נטופה זה מסיים את זה היתה כל שדהו זית נטופה ושכח אחת מהן או שתים יש לו שכחה בד"א שלא התחיל באילן זה המפורסם אבל אם התחיל בו ושכח מקצתו הרי זה שכחה ואע"פשהוא מפורסם והוא שיהיה הנשאר בו פחות מסאתים אבל סאתים אינה שכחה אלא אם כן שכח כל האילן כמו שבארנו:

25

[The following law applies with regard to] an olive tree standing alone in the middle of rows [of olive trees, i.e.,] there are three rows of olive trees surrounding it on three sides, even though each of these rows contains only two olive trees. If [the owner] forgot the olive tree in the middle, [the laws of] shichichah do not [apply], because the rows [of trees] hid it.65 Why was [this law] stated only with regard to an olive tree? For they were important in Eretz Yisrael at that time.66

כה

זית העומד באמצע השורות לבדו ושלש שורות של זיתים מקיפין אותו משלש רוחותיו אף על פי שאין בכל שורה מהן אלא שני זיתים שכח את האמצעי אינו שכחה שהרי השורות הסתירוהו ולמה אמרו זית בלבד מפני שהיה חשוב בארץ ישראל באותו הזמן:

26

When do the laws of shichichah apply with regard to [vines lifted on] a trellis? Whenever [the owner has passed the grapes] to the extent that he cannot extend his hand and take them.

[When do they apply] in a vineyard? When he passes the vine or the vines and forgets them.

[When do they apply] with regard to a vine draped over a high support or a palm tree? When he descends from it.67 And with regard to other trees? When he turns and walks away from it.

When does the above apply? When he did not begin [harvesting its fruit].68 If, however, he began harvesting its fruit and forgot it, [the laws of shichichah] do not apply until he harvests all [the fruit in] the surrounding area.

כו

איזהו שכחה בעריס כל שאינו יכול לפשוט את ידו וליטלה ובכרם משיעבור מן הגפן (או) ומן הגפנים וישכח אותה בדלית ובדקל משירד הימנו ושאר כל האילנות משיפנה וילך לו במה דברים אמורים שלא התחיל בו אבל אם התחיל בו ושכחו אינה שכחה עד שיבצור את כל סביביו:

27

When a person declares his vineyard ownerless and gets up early in the morning acquires it for himself and harvests it, he is bound by [the laws of] peret, ollelot, shichichah, and peah, for this can rightfully be called "your field" and "your vineyard."69 It was his and now it is his. If, however, he acquired a field that had previously belonged to another person that was declared ownerless, he is exempt from all of these obligations. In all instances, he is exempt from [the obligation of] the tithes, as will be explained.70

כז

המפקיר את כרמו והשכים בבקר וזכה בו לעצמו ובצרו חייב בפרט ובעוללות ובשכחה ובפאה שהרי שדך וכרמך אני קורא בו מפני שהיה שלו והרי הוא שלו אבל אם זכה מן ההפקר בשדה של אחרים הרי זה פטור מן הכל ובין כך ובין כך פטור מן המעשרות כמו שיתבאר:

Footnotes
1.

Note, however, the qualification in the following halachah.

2.

I.e., individuals who had no connection to the field.

3.

This addition is made on the basis of the gloss of the Kessef Mishneh. The Radbaz offers an alternate explanation.

4.

I.e., the owner forgot it before the workers did.

5.

But if one was conscious of it at the outset, it is not shichichah even if it was forgotten afterwards. The rationale is that the owner retains possession of it, because it was located in his field with his knowledge. Hence, to release it from his possession, he would have to consciously absolve himself from ownership. Forgetting it is not sufficient.

6.

Bava Metzia 11a derives this from the exegesis of the verse cited above. The Kessef Mishneh explains that since the owner is not near his field, his field cannot acquire it on his behalf.

7.

I.e., they blocked him from seeing it and in that way caused him to forget it.

8.

If, however, he also forgets the straw, it is shichichah.

9.

Even though he did not remove it from the field, since he picked it up with the intent of taking it to the city, he acquires it.

10.

There is a difference of opinion regarding this issue in Pe'ah 6:3. The School of Shammai maintain that as soon as the person picks it up, he acquires it and the fact that he forgets it afterwards does not cause it to become shichichah. The School of Hillel maintain that as long as he did not have the intent of removing it from the field, it is shichichah.

11.

Our translation is taken from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Pe'ah, loc. cit.).

12.

I.e., plowing utensils (ibid.).

13.

And thus that sheaf will never be shichichah as stated in the previous halachah.

14.

This law is also dependent on the previous halachah. Since the bottom sheaf was covered by the top one, the owner could not see it and hence, forgot it. Therefore it is not shichichah.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam's ruling. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh justify the Rambam's view.

15.

I.e., this verse, which serves as the source for the command to leave shichichah, speaks only of "your field," and not a field belonging to a colleague.

16.

For that is a clear sign that he forgot the fourth. Until he picks it up, we might think that he was planning to divide his work in half, first picking up the first three sheaves and then picking up the second three. See Kessef Mishneh.

17.

Skipping the fourth sheaf is an obvious sign that he has forgotten it.

18.

Our translation follows authoritative manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah and also conforms to the wording of the Tosefta, Pe'ah, ch. 3, which is the Rambam's source. The standard published text has a slightly different version. The intent is that rather than have the sheaves placed neatly at the end of the field's rows, they are placed irregularly throughout the field.

19.

The gloss of the P'nei Moshe to the Jerusalem Talmud, Pe'ah 6:3, explains that the laws of shichichah do not apply because the irregular pattern in which the sheaves were left caused him to forget the sheaf. It did not slip his mind without cause.

20.

The fact that it is the earth - i.e., an outside factor - that prevents them from being seen is not significant, as in Halachah 1.

21.

Although it can be said that these persons forgot the produce because they did not see it, the laws of shichichah are not suspended. The darkness or the person's inability to see are not considered an external cause - like those mentioned in Halachah 3 - for since he decided to harvest in this circumstance, it is his responsibility to search harder for the produce.

22.

Since he was not planning to collect all the sheaves, the fact that he left some unintentionally is not significant (Radbaz).

23.

This is a general principle, applicable in all contexts of Torah Law with the exception of financial matters.

24.

The verse mentions "forget[ting] a sheaf in the field." Since this grain will not be collected as sheaves, the mitzvah of shichichah does not apply.

25.

For these smaller bundles are also not considered as sheaves.

26.

Because he has already passed it while harvesting and would have to go back to harvest it.

27.

Because he has not begun harvesting in that area and would not have to go back to harvest it.

28.

And he is forbidden to go back and take it. The rationale is that the harvesting of the field and the collection of the sheaves is incumbent on both of them together. Hence if one would collect what his colleague left, he would have to turn back and this would be forbidden (Kessef Mishneh).

29.

The Ra'avad questions the Rambam's wording, noting that he begins speaking about harvesting a field and concludes by speaking about gathering sheaves. The Radbaz notes this difficulty and also mentions that if this were the case, then the Rambam's text would be redundant, because the second clause is merely a repetition of the first. Hence, he maintains that the subject of the first clause should be "standing grain" and not sheaves. We, however, have not accepted his emendation, because all the authoritative manuscripts and early printings speak of sheaves.

The Ra'avad also differs with the Rambam's interpretation of Pe'ah 6:3, the source for this halachah, and offers an alternate understanding. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh substantiate the Rambam's position.

30.

And only in that midpoint.

31.

Since it is in line with the sheaves that run east to west, it does not appear as a separate entity.

32.

As the Rambam explains in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Pe'ah 5:8), it was common for people to store grain in several types of intermediate storing areas until it was bound into larger sheaves and taken to the threshing floor.

33.

This term is defined in the following halachah.

34.

Since it is in line with the sheaves that run east to west, it does not appear as a separate entity.

35.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit. 5:8), the Rambam explains that just as with regard to harvesting, the obligation of shichichah applies only when one is completing the harvest, so too, with regard to moving sheaves, the obligation of shichichah applies when one is completing the task.

36.

I.e., smaller collections of grain than sheaves.

37.

I.e., we consider them as separate entities and they both may be taken.

38.

For they are considered as too substantial a quantity to be forgotten. We assume that the owner had not completed gathering the sheaves from the field and was intending to return and collect them.

The Radbaz explains that the halachah is speaking about three sheaves that are separate from each other. If, however, they are collected in one place, they are considered as a single entity and the laws of shichichah do apply. There are, however, other opinions that do not follow this understanding.

39.

The Kessef Mishneh states that we are speaking about an instance where the flax is being grown for its seeds which are to be eaten. If it is being grown to be used for making fabrics, the laws of shichichah do not apply.

40.

The Radbaz explains that the Rambam is emphasizing that the laws of shichichah apply even if the two trees have a substantial amount of fruit and thus could be likened to the sheaf containing two se'ah mentioned in Halachah 18.

41.

Although this verse mentions peret and olelot and not shichichah, our Sages understand that these mitzvot are interrelated.

42.

A kab is approximately 1382 cc according to Shiurei Torah and 2400 cc according to Chazon Ish.

43.

Even though it is larger than the others, it is not large enough to be considered a significant entity like the oversized sheaf mentioned in the following halachah.

44.

For its size causes it to be considered a significant entity.

45.

A se'ah is six kabbim.

46.

I.e., because of its size, it is significant and it is not relevant to speak of it being forgotten.

47.

For as above, they produce a quantity of grain to significant to be ignored.

48.

Our translation follows the text of authoritative manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah. The standard printed text follows a slightly different version.

49.

To be considered as two se'ah.

50.

Since the standing grain is not forgotten and the owner can return and collect it, he can also return and collect any forgotten standing grain or sheaves that are in its surroundings.

51.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Pe'ah 6:8), the Rambam explains that the two areas of standing grain must be close enough to each other that if one is bent over, it will reach the other.

52.

And thus the laws of shichichah do not apply to it, as stated in Halachah 18. Even so, it cannot rescue the other sheaves.

53.

In contrast to the sheaf mentioned in Halachah 18 and the standing grain mentioned in Halachah 19. The Kessef Mishneh explains that the reason for the distinction is that a sheaf of two se'ah of grain or that amount of standing grain is considered significant, but one tree - even if it contains a large quantity of fruit - is not significant in an entire orchard. In other words, the issue is relative: "When one has already begun focusing on a particular tree, two se'ah is considered a significant amount, but when one is considered one tree as part of an entire orchard, its significance pales.

The Radbaz supports this differentiation, noting that Pe'ah 7:1 (quoted in Halachah 23) speaks of an olive tree with a specific name or distinction, but not one that is set apart by the fact that it produces a specific quantity of fruit. See also Halachah 24.

54.

As in Halachot 14-16.

55.

The Rambam's words are based on Pe'ah 7:1. Although the mishnah speaks of olives. The same principles apply with regard to other trees as well.

56.

Our translation is based on authoritative manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah. The standard printed text has a slightly different version. The Rambam follows the understanding of the mishnah cited above found in the Jerusalem Talmud. In his Commentary to the Mishnah, however, he defines Netufah as being the name of a place.

57.

It was given this name because it did not produce much oil.

58.

For he will remember it afterwards.

59.

For it then has a specific location, like the tree next to the vat or next to the opening mentioned in the previous halachah.

60.

For there is nothing that distinguishes these olive trees from the others in that grove.

61.

When viewed in relation to the orchard as a whole, the tree is distinct and leaving it unharvested does not mean it is no longer in mind. Once, however, one has begun harvesting the produce of that tree, the laws of shichichah apply to it.

62.

Based on his interpretation of Pe'ah 7:2, the Ra'avad maintains that this principle should apply to all trees, even those that are not distinguished by a particular quality. When one ceased harvesting their produce in the middle, if two se'ah of produce remain, it is significant and the laws of shichichah do not apply. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh, however, provide explanations that indicate that this concept applies only with regard to a distinguished tree.

63.

As stated in Halachot 18 and 19.

64.

In Halachah 22.

65.

Thus it is considered as something forgotten due to an external cause.

66.

The Roman Caesar Adrian had many of the olive trees in Eretz Yisrael destroyed and hence, all those that remained were important. For this reason, in many instances, the laws of shichichah were suspended. See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Pe'ah 7:1).

The Ra'avad protests, stating that the importance of olive trees was mentioned by Rabbi Yossi and the other Sages did not accept his opinion. The Kessef Mishneh explains that the Rambam is not following Rabbi Yossi's view, but merely borrowing his rationale to deal with another issue.

67.

Or from the ladder on which he ascends.

68.

According to this explanation, all of the above clauses have to be reinterpreted to mean that he was harvesting fruit on the surrounding vines or trees. The Kessef Mishneh mentions a view that maintains that there is a printing error and the text should read: "When does the above apply? When he began [harvesting its fruit]. If, however, he did not begin harvesting its fruit...." According to that version, the Rambam's words can be understood with more ease.

69.

I.e., these obligations apply only with regard to a field that one owns and not one that he acquires after the crops have already grown. Nevertheless, an exception is made in this instance, for as the Rambam explains, there is no reason to free his owner of responsibility. The commentaries note that the Rambam cites a different prooftext than Rashi (Niddah 51a) and other traditional sources.

70.

See Hilchot Terumot 2:9, 11-12.

Matnot Aniyim - Chapter 6

1

There is a sixth present1 [awarded] to the poor from the land's produce: the tithe given to the poor. It is called the tithe for the poor.

א

מתנה אחרת ששית יש לעניים בזרע הארץ והוא המעשר שנותנין לעניים והוא הנקרא מעשר עני:

2

This is the order of [the separation of] the terumot and the tithes. After one harvests produce from the earth or fruit from the tree and completes all the necessary work,2 he separates one fiftieth of the produce.3 This is called the great terumah4 and should be given to the priest. Concerning this the Torah states [Deuteronomy 18:4]: "The first of your grain, your wine, and your oil." Afterwards, he separates one tenth from the remainder.5 This is called the first tithe and must be given to the Levite.6 Concerning this, the Torah states [Numbers 18:24]: "For the tithes of the children of Israel..." and [ibid.:24] states: "To the descendants of Levi have I given all the tithes within Israel."

ב

וזהו סדר תרומות ומעשרות: אחר שקוצר זרע הארץ או אוסף פרי העץ ותגמר מלאכתו מפריש ממנו אחד מן החמשים וזהו הנקרא תרומה גדולה ונותנה לכהן ועל זה נאמר בתורה ראשית דגנך תירושך ויצהרך ואחר כך מפריש מן השאר אחד מעשרה וזהו הנקרא מעשר ראשון ונותנו ללוי ועל זה נאמר בתורה כי את מעשר בני ישראל וגו' ונאמר ולבני לוי הנה נתתי את כל מעשר בישראל:

3

Afterwards, he separates one tenth from the remainder. This is called "the second tithe." This belongs to the owners and is eaten in Jerusalem.7 Concerning this, it is stated [Leviticus 27:31]: "If a person shall redeem his tithes and [Deuteronomy 14:22-23] states: "You shall surely tithe.... And you shall partake of it before God your Lord in the place that He will choose."

ג

ואח"כ מפריש מן השאר אחד מעשרה והוא הנקרא מעשר שני והוא לבעליו ואוכלין אותו בירושלים ועליו נאמר ואם גאל יגאל איש ממעשרו ועליו נאמר עשר תעשר ואכלת לפני ה' אלהיך במקום אשר יבחר:

4

These portions should be separated in this order8 in the first, second, fourth, and fifth years of the Sabbatical cycle. In the third and sixth years of that cycle, by contrast, after the first tithe is separated, a different tithe9 is separated from the remainder and it is given to the poor. It is called the tithe for the poor. In these two years, the second tithe is not separated, only the tithe for the poor. Concerning it is written [Deuteronomy 14:28-29]: "At the conclusion of three years, you shall bring out the tithe of all your grain in that year and deposit it in your gates and the Levite10... [and the stranger, the orphan...] shall come." And concerning it, it is written [ibid. 26:12]: "When you will complete your tithing [in the third year]...."

ד

על הסדר הזה מפרישין בשנה ראשונה מן השבוע ובשניה וברביעית ובחמישית אבל בשלישית ובששית מן השבוע אחר שמפרישים מעשר ראשון מפריש מן השאר מעשר אחר ונותנו לעניים והוא הנקרא מעשר עני ואין בשתי שנים אלו מעשר שני אלא מעשר עני ועליו נאמר מקצה שלש שנים תוציא את כל מעשר תבואתך בשנה ההיא והנחת בשעריך ובא הלוי ועליו נאמר כי תכלה לעשר:

5

In the seventh year, all [the produce] is ownerless. There is no [obligation to separate] terumah, not tithes at all, not the first tithe, nor the second tithe, nor the tithe for the poor.11 In the Diaspora12 where [the requirement to] let the land lie fallow does not apply,13 [in the seventh year, in Egypt, Ammon, and Moab,14 we separate the first tithe15 and the tithe for the poor,16 because these lands are close to Eretz Yisrael and in this way, the poor people in Eretz Yisrael can rely on [the produce of these other lands] in the Sabbatical year.

It is a halachah conveyed to Moses at Sinai that the tithe for the poor should be separated in the lands of Ammon and Moab in the Sabbatical year. In Babylonia, the second tithe should be separated in the Sabbatical year as is the practice in most years.17

ה

שנת השמטה כולה הפקר ואין בה לא תרומה ולא מעשרות כלל לא ראשון ולא שני ולא מעשר עני ובחוצה לארץ שאין בה שמטת קרקע מפרישין בארץ מצרים ובעמון ובמואב מעשר ראשון ומעשר עני מפני שהארצות אלו קרובות לארץ ישראל כדי שיהיו עניי ישראל נסמכין עליה בשביעית והלכה למשה מסיני שיהיו מפרישים בארץ עמון ומואב מעשר עני בשביעית אבל בארץ שנער מפרישין בשביעית מעשר שני כסדר רוב השנים:

6

[After] taking the first tithe, a Levite should separate one tenth and give it to a priest. It is called terumat ma'aser.18 Concerning this, [Numbers 18:26] states: "To the Levites, say...."

ו

מעשר ראשון שלקח הלוי מפריש ממנו אחד מעשרה ונותנו לכהן והוא הנקרא תרומת מעשר ועליו נאמר ואל הלוים תדבר:

7

When poor people pass by the owner of the field while he is [in his field]19and in possession of the tithe for the poor, he should give each poor person who passes by him [a portion] of the tithe that will satisfy him,20 [as implied by Deuteronomy 26:12]: "And they shall eat in your gates and be satisfied."21

ז

בעל השדה שעברו עליו עניים והיה לו שם מעשר עני נותן לכל עני שיעבור עליו מן המעשר כדי שבעו שנאמר ואכלו בשעריך ושבעו:

8

How much is "[a portion] that will satisfy him? If from wheat, he should give him no less than half a kab.22 If from barley, he should give him no less than a kab. If from spelt, he should give him no less than a kab.23 If from dried figs, he should give him no less than a kab. If from a mass of figs, he should give him no less than the weight24 of 25 selaim.25 If from wine, he should give him no less than half a log.26 If from oil, he should give him no less than a fourth [of a log]. If from rice, he should give him no less than a fourth of a kab. If he gives him vegetables, he should give him a liter weight, i.e., the weight of 35 dinarim. From carobs, [he should give him] three kabbim; from nuts,27 ten, from peaches, five; from pomegranates, two; an esrog, one. If he gives him from other produce, he should not give him less than would enable him to sell them and to buy food for two meals with the proceeds.

ח

כדי שבעו כמה אם מן החטים נותן לא יפחות מחצי קב ואם מן השעורים לא יפחות מקב ואם מן הכוסמין לא יפחות מקב ומן הגרוגרות לא יפחות מקב ואם מן הדבלה לא יפחות ממשקל חמש ועשרים סלע ואם מן היין לא יפחות מחצי לוג ואם מן השמן לא יפחות מרביעית ואם מן האורז רובע הקב נתן לו ירק נותן לו משקל ליטרא והוא משקל חמשה ושלשים דינר מן החרובין שלשה קבין מן האגוזים עשרה מן האפרסקין חמשה מן הרמונים שנים אתרוג אחד ואם נתן לו משאר הפירות לא יפחות מכדי שימכרם ויקח בדמיהן מזון שתי סעודות:

9

If one only has a small amount of produce and there are many poor people so that he does not have enough to give each one the appropriate measure, he should place [the entire quantity] before them and they should divide it among themselves.28

ט

היה לו דבר מועט והעניים מרובין ואין בו כדי ליתן לכל אחד ואחד כשיעור נותן לפניהם והן מחלקין ביניהם:

10

The owners do not have the right to apportion the tithe for the poor that is given away at the grainheap at their discretion.29 Instead, the poor come and take it against their will. Even the poor among the Jewish people can expropriate from them. When, by contrast, one gives out the tithe of the poor in his home, he may give it to any poor man to whom he desires.30

י

ומעשר עני המתחלק בגורן אין בו טובת הנאה לבעלים אלא העניים באים ונוטלין על כרחו ואפילו עני שבישראל מוציאין אותו מידו אבל המתחלק בבית יש לו טובת הנאה לבעלים ונותנו לכל עני שירצה:

11

When a person has [a quantity of] the tithe for the poor in his grainheap and he desires to give it to a poor person who is his relative or acquaintance, he should set aside half of it to give it to him and half to give to all the poor who pass by according to the measures mentioned above.

יא

היה לו מעשר בגורן ורצה ליתנו לעני קרובו או מיודעו יש להפריש מחצה ליתנו לו והחצי מחלקו לכל עני שיעבור כשיעור שאמרנו:

12

When does the concept that one must give a poor person enough to satisfy him apply? In the field. If, however, he has tithes in his home, he may divide it among all the poor people, giving each one even only an olive-sized portion,31 for he is not commanded to give him an amount necessary to satisfy him except in a field, for there are no others there from whom to take, as [implied by] the verse: "And they shall eat in your gates and be satisfied."

יב

בד"א שאינו נותן לעני אלא כדי שבעו בשדה אבל אם היה המעשר בבית מחלקו לכל העניים אפילו כזית כזית שאינו מצווה ליתן כדי שבעו אלא בשדה שהרי אינו מוצא שם ליקח שנאמר ואכלו בשעריך ושבעו:

13

If a man and a woman come to [a person possessing tithes] at home,32 we give to the woman first33 and allow her to depart and then give to the man. [In the situations, when one] of the pair - a father and his son, a person and his relative, two brothers, or two partners - was poor, the other may give him the tithe for the poor which he possesses.34

יג

באו איש ואשה לבית נותנין לאשה תחלה ופוטרין אותה ואחר כך נותנין לאיש אב ובנו איש וקרובו שני אחין שני שותפין שהיה אחד מהן עני נותן לו האחר מעשר עני שלו:

14

When two poor people receive a field under a sharecropping agreement, one may separate the tithe for the poor from his portion and give it to his colleague. And his colleague may separate the tithe for the poor from his portion and give it to him.35

יד

שתי עניים שקבלו שדה באריסות זה מפריש מעשר עני מחלקו ונותנו לחבירו וכן חבירו מפריש מחלקו ונותן לו:

15

When a person receives [the right] to harvest a field,36 he is forbidden to collect leket, shichichah, pe'ah, and the tithe for the poor.

When does the above apply? When he accepted a field [with the proviso] that he receive a portion of the produce of the entire field, e.g., he was given a third or a fourth [of the harvest] as his wage. If, however, the owner of the field told: "You will receive only a third of what you harvest," or "...a fourth of what you will harvest," [the harvester of the field] does not have a right to anything until he harvests it. Hence, at the time of the harvest, he is a poor man.37 Therefore he is permitted [to collect] leket, shichichah, and pe'ah, but he is forbidden [to take] the tithe for the poor. [The rationale is that] the tithe for the poor is separated only after the harvest is completed and [at that time,] he has already acquired the portion he harvested.38

טו

המקבל שדה לקצור אסור בלקט שכחה ופאה ומעשר עני אימתי בזמן שקבלה ממנו ליקח חלק בכל השדה כגון שנתן לו שלישה או רביעה בשכרו אבל אם אמר לו בעל השדה שליש מה שאתה קוצר בלבד הוא שלך או רביע מה שתקצור הרי זה אין לו כלום עד שיקצור ובשעת הקציר הוא עני לפיכך מותר בלקט שכחה ופאה ואסור במעשר עני שאין מפרישין מעשר עני אלא אחר שקצר והרי זכה בחלקו שקצר:

16

When a person sells his field - both the land and the produce39 - and becomes impoverished, he is permitted [to collect] leket, shichichah, pe'ah, and tithe for the poor from it. The purchaser is forbidden [to collect] these presents even though he has not paid the money [for the field] yet.40 Even if he borrowed the money and purchased it, he can no longer collect the presents for the poor.

טז

המוכר את שדהו קרקע ופירות והעני הרי זה מותר בלקט שכחה ופאה ומעשר עני שלה והלוקח אסור בהן אע"פ שעדיין לא נתן דמים ואפילו לוה הדמים ולקחה הרי זה אסור במתנות עניים:

17

The tithe for the poor may not be used as payment for a loan,41 nor can it be given in exchange for favors.42 It may be used for an act of kindness,43 but one must tell the recipient that it is the tithe for the poor.44 It should not be used to redeem captives,45 given as shushbinut,46 nor given as a specific gift to charity. It can be given to the sage of a city for his benefit47 and it may not be taken from Eretz Yisrael into the Diaspora, as [Deuteronomy 14:28] states: "And you shall place it in your gates,"48 and it is written [ibid. 26:22]: "And they shall eat in your gates and be satiated."

יז

מעשר עני אין פורעין ממנו מלוה ואין משלמין ממנו את התגמולין אבל משלמין ממנו דבר של גמילות חסדים וצריך להודיעו שהוא מעשר עני ואין פודין בו שבויים ואין עושין בו שושבינות ואין נותנין ממנו דבר לצדקה ונותנין אותו לחבר עיר בטובת הנאה ואין מוציאין אותו מהארץ לחוץ לארץ שנאמר והנחת בשעריך ונאמר ואכלו בשעריך ושבעו:

Footnotes
1.

I.e., in addition to leket, peret, ollelot, shichichah, and peah (Radbaz).

2.

See Hilchot Terumot 5:4-5.

3.

One fiftieth is the average amount separated. As explained in Hilchot Terumot, ch. 3, there is no prescribed amount of terumah required according to Scriptural Law. And even according to Rabbinic Law, there are varying amounts.

4.

It is called the great terumah in comparison to terumat ma'aser which is only one hundredth of the crop.

5.

I.e., the tithe is one tenth of the remainder after terumah has been separated and not one tenth of the original sum.

6.

Although Ezra penalized the Levites for not making aliyah and ordained that the tithes should be given to the priests and not to them, that ordinance applied only in that generation and not for all time (Hilchot Ma'aser 1:4).

7.

In a state of ritual purity.

8.

I.e., the order is significant. It is undesirable to separate them in a different order.

9.

More than two tithes are never separated. Thus in the years that the second tithe is separated, the tithe for the poor is not separated. And in the years that the tithe for the poor is separated, the second tithe is not separated.

10.

Although the verse mentions Levites, the intent is that he should collect the initial tithe (Rashi on the verse; Siftei Cohen, Yoreh De'ah 331:39). The tithe given afterwards, by contrast, is not necessarily given to the Levites, put to the poor as the verse continues.

11.

As stated at the conclusion of the previous chapter, none of the agricultural obligations apply with regard to ownerless produce. All of the produce of the Sabbatical year is ownerless by Divine decree (Bava Metzia 39a).

12.

Here the meaning of the term Diaspora is limited applying only to those lands mentioned by the Rambam here. Crops from all other parts of the Diaspora are not obligated in any of the agricultural laws that apply to the produce of Eretz Yisrael.

13.

See Hilchot Shemitah 4:25-27.

14.

Pe'at HaShulchan 23:27 explains that the Rambam is speaking about the portions of Ammon and Moav that were not conquered by the Jewish people upon their entry into Eretz Yisrael and thus never became part of the Holy Land. There were, by contrast, certain portions of Ammon and Moab that were conquered by Sichon. After he was vanquished by the Jewish people, that land became part of Eretz Yisrael. They are bound by the same laws that apply in Eretz Yisrael. Although this interpretation is accepted by most authorities, it appears to contradict the Rambam's own statements in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Yedayim 4:3).

15.

The Rambam's source (Yedayim, loc. cit.) mentions the separation of the tithe for the poor, but not the separation of the first tithe. Since the tithe for the poor is never separated unless the first tithe is separated, the Rambam concluded that it should also be separated at this time (Radbaz).

16.

See Hilchot Terumot 1:1.

17.

Our Sages also ordained that terumah and the tithes be separated there for the reasons stated by the Rambam (ibid.). Since it is distant from Eretz Yisrael, the poor of Eretz Yisrael would not gain any significant advantage by having the tithe for the poor separated in that year.

18.

It is governed by all the ritual restrictions applying to the great terumah.

19.

In contrast to the tithe for the poor distributed from one's home as mentioned in Halachot 10, 12.

20.

See the following halachah for a definition of this term.

21.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 130) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 474) include this commandment as one of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

22.

A kab is approximately 1382 cc according to Shiurei Torah and 2400 cc according to Chazon Ish. This quantity will enable him to produce a quantity of food appropriate for a meal.

23.

Significantly, Pe'ah 8:5, the Rambam's source mentions a kab and a half. The commentaries question why the Rambam does not state that figure.

24.

Since the figs are collected in a mass, a measure of weight is given, rather than of volume (Radbaz).

25.

A total of 91 grams in contemporary measure.

26.

A log is approximately 345 cc according to Shiurei Torah and 600 cc according to Chazon Ish.

27.

In this and the following instances, the Rambam mentions a measure appropriate to sell and purchase with the proceeds, food for two meals.

28.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Pe'ah 8:6), the Rambam explains that the poor should divided it equally among themselves.

29.

For the verse requiring that it be separated (Deuteronomy 14:28) states: "And you shall set it down in your gates" and does not mention "giving" it (Nedarim 84b).

30.

For a second verse concerning the tithe to the poor (Deuteronomy 26:12) speaks of "giv[ing] it to the Levites, the strangers, to the orphan,..." (Chulin 131a,b).

31.

He must, however, give an olive-sized portion, because Deuteronomy, loc. cit., speaks of "giv[ing]" and the term "giving" implies giving a significant amount. Kritot 6b states that anything less than an olive-sized portion is not significant.

32.

The Radbaz states that certainly this law applies if the man and the woman approach the person apportioning his tithes in his fields. The Rambam LeAm, however, cites authorities who rule otherwise.

33.

For it is more embarrassing for a woman to beg than for a man (Yevamot 100a).

34.

A poor person who owns a field may not take the tithe of the poor from his field for himself (Gittin 12a). Nevertheless, despite the fact that these individuals are very close to him, he is permitted to give them his tithes.

35.

This is an extension of the principle stated in the previous halachah.

36.

In return for a certain share of the produce as the Rambam proceeds to explain.

37.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Pe'ah 5:5), the Rambam explains the difference between the two instances. In the first instance, the harvester has a right to the entire field even before he begins the harvest. Hence he is not considered as poor. In the second instance, since he does not own anything until the harvest is completed, he is considered as poor.

38.

The rationale is not necessarily that he is no longer poor, but that since he has a share in the harvest, he cannot take a portion for himself as stated in Halachah 10 (Radbaz).

39.

If, however, one owns the land and the other, the produce, they are both forbidden to acquire the presents for the poor.

40.

I.e., once he has acquired it through a kinyan, a formal process of acquisition, it is his regardless of whether he paid for it or not.

41.

I.e., a poor person who receives it may not use it to pay a debt he owes, for it was given to him for his own personal expenses alone.

42.

I.e., one person may not give another the tithe of the poor as a loan, because the recipient gave him a loan on a previous occasion.

43.

To be given to a mourner in exchange for food that he once gave (Radbaz).

44.

So that he will know to use it only for his personal use, not to do a favor in return for it, and not to take it to the Diaspora.

45.

Since we are obligated to redeem captives, using the tithe for the poor for this purpose is equivalent to using it to pay a debt (Siftei Cohen 331:166).

46.

Wedding gifts; see Hilchot Zechiyah UMatanah, chap. 7.

47.

I.e., that is not considered as an affront to his dignity.

48.

I.e., in a city that belongs to you, for it is part of your land.

Matnot Aniyim - Chapter 7

1

It is a positive commandment to give charity1 to the poor among the Jewish people,2 according to what is appropriate for the poor person3 if this is within the financial capacity of the donor,4 as [Deuteronomy 15:5] states: "You shall certainly open your hand to him." [Leviticus 25:35] states: "You shall support him, a stranger and a resident and they shall live with you," and [ibid.:36] states: "And your brother shall live with you."

א

מצות עשה ליתן צדקה לעניים כפי מה שראוי לעני אם היתה יד הנותן משגת שנאמר פתוח תפתח את ידך לו ונאמר והחזקת בו גר ותושב וחי עמך ונאמר וחי אחיך עמך:

2

Anyone who sees a poor person asking5 and turns his eyes away from him and does not give him charity transgresses a negative commandment,6 as [Deuteronomy 15:7] states: "Do not harden your heart or close your hand against your brother, the poor person."

ב

וכל הרואה עני מבקש והעלים עיניו ממנו ולא נתן לו צדקה עבר בלא תעשה שנאמר לא תאמץ את לבבך ולא תקפוץ את ידך מאחיך האביון:

3

We are commanded to give a poor person according to what he lacks. If he lacks clothes, we should clothe him. If he lacks household utensils, we should purchase them for him. If he is unmarried, we should help him marry. And for an unmarried woman, we should find a husband for her.

Even if the personal habit of this poor person was to ride on a horse and to have a servant run before him7 and then he became impoverished and lost his wealth, we should buy a horse for him to ride and a servant to run before him.8 [This is implied by Deuteronomy 15:8 which] speaks [of providing him with] "enough to [fill the] lack that he feels."9 You are commanded to fill his lack, but you are not obligated to enrich him.10

ג

לפי מה שחסר העני אתה מצווה ליתן לו אם אין לו כסות מכסים אותו אם אין לו כלי בית קונין לו אם אין לו אשה משיאין אותו ואם היתה אשה משיאין אותה לאיש אפילו היה דרכו של זה העני לרכוב על הסוס ועבד רץ לפניו והעני וירד מנכסיו קונין לו סוס לרכוב עליו ועבד לרוץ לפניו שנאמר די מחסורו אשר יחסר לו ומצווה אתה להשלים חסרונו ואין אתה מצווה לעשרו:

4

With regard to an orphan for whom people are seeking to find a wife for him to marry: First, we rent for him a house, provide for him a bed and all his household necessities and then we seek to find a wife for him to marry.11

ד

יתום שבא להשיאו אשה שוכרין לו בית ומציעים לו מטה וכל כלי תשמישו ואחר כך משיאין לו אשה:

5

When a poor person comes and asks for his needs to be met and the giver does not have the financial capacity, he should give him according to his financial capacity.

How much? The most desirable way of performing the mitzvah is to give one fifth of one's financial resources.12 Giving one tenth is an ordinary measure.13 Giving less [than that] reflects parsimony. A person should never refrain from giving less than a third of a shekel a year.14 A person who gives less than this has not fulfilled the mitzvah. Even a poor person who derives his livelihood from charity is obligated to give charity to another person.

ה

בא העני ושאל די מחסורו ואין יד הנותן משגת נותן לו כפי השגת ידו וכמה עד חמישית נכסיו מצוה מן המובחר ואחד מעשרה בנכסיו בינוני פחות מכאן עין רעה ולעולם לא ימנע עצמו משלישית השקל בשנה וכל הנותן פחות מזה לא קיים מצוה ואפילו עני המתפרנס מן הצדקה חייב ליתן צדקה לאחר:

6

When a poor person whose identity is unknown says: "I am hungry, provide me with food," we do not investigate whether he is a deceiver. Instead, we provide him with sustenance immediately.15 If he was unclothed and he said: "Cloth me," we investigate whether he is a deceiver. If we are familiar with him, we clothe him according to his honor16 immediately and we do not investigate the matter.17

ו

עני שאין מכירין אותו ואמר רעב אני האכילוני אין בודקין אחריו שמא רמאי הוא אלא מפרנסין אותו מיד היה ערום ואמר כסוני בודקין אחריו שמא רמאי הוא ואם היו מכירין אותו מכסין אותו לפי כבודו מיד ואין בודקין אחריו:

7

We provide sustenance and clothing for the poor of the gentiles together with the poor of the Jewish people18 as an expression of the ways of peace.

When a poor person19 begs from door to door, we do not give him a large gift.20 Instead, we give him a small gift. It is forbidden to turn away a poor person who asks [for charity] empty-handed. Even giving him one fig [is sufficient], as [Psalms 74:21]: "Let not the dejected turn away in shame."

ז

מפרנסין ומכסין עניי עכו"ם עם עניי ישראל מפני דרכי שלום ועני המחזר על הפתחים אין נזקקין לו למתנה מרובה אבל נותנין לו מתנה מועטת ואסור להחזיר את העני ששאל ריקם ואפילו אתה נותן לו גרוגרת אחת שנאמר אל ישוב דך נכלם:

8

When a poor person travels from place to place, we do not give him less than a loaf of bread that is sold for a punidyon21 when wheat is being sold for four se'ah a sela.22 We have already explained all the measures.23

If he stays overnight, we give him a mattress to sleep on, a pillow to place under his head, oil and beans. If he stays for the Sabbath, we give him food for three meals,24 oil, beans, fish, and vegetables.25 If we are familiar with him, we give him according to his honor.

ח

אין פוחתין לעני העובר ממקום למקום מככר אחד הנמכר בפונדיון כשהיו החטים ארבע סאין בסלע וכבר בארנו כל המדות ואם לן נותנין לו מצע לישן עליו וכסת ליתן תחת מראשותיו ושמן וקטנית ואם שבת נותנין לו מזון שלש סעודות ושמן וקטנית ודג וירק ואם היו מכירין אותו נותנין לו לפי כבודו:

9

When a poor person does not desire to take charity, we trick him and give it to him as a present or as a loan.26 When a rich man starves himself, because he is miserly with his money, using it for neither food nor drink, we do not pay any attention to him.27

ט

עני שאינו רוצה ליקח צדקה מערימין עליו ונותנין לו לשם מתנה או לשם הלואה ועשיר המרעיב את עצמו ועינו צרה בממונו שלא יאכל ממנו ולא ישתה אין משגיחין בו:

10

When a person does not want to give charity or desires to give less than what is appropriate for him, the court should compel him and give him stripes for rebellious conduct28 until he gives the amount it was estimated that he should give. We take possession of his property when he is present29 and expropriate the amount that is appropriate for him to give. We expropriate property for the sake of charity even on Fridays.30

י

מי שאינו רוצה ליתן צדקה או שיתן מעט ממה שראוי לו בית דין כופין אותו ומכין אותן מכת מרדות עד שיתן מה שאמדוהו ליתן ויורדין לנכסיו בפניו ולוקחין ממנו מה שראוי לו ליתן וממשכנין על הצדקה ואפילו בערבי שבתות:

11

It is forbidden to demand and to collect charity from a soft-hearted person who gives more than is appropriate to charity31 or from a person who causes himself difficulty and gives to charity collectors so that he will not be embarrassed. When a charity collector embarrasses such a person and asks him [for charity], [the charity collector] will be subjected to retribution in the future, as [implied by Jeremiah 30:20:] "I will visit My providence on those who pressure him."

יא

אדם שוע שהוא נותן צדקה יותר מן הראוי לו או שמיצר לעצמו ונותן לגבאים כדי שלא יתבייש אסור לתובעו ולגבות ממנו צדקה וגבאי שמכלימו ושואל ממנו עתיד להפרע ממנו שנאמר ופקדתי על כל לוחציו:

12

We do not impose a levy for charity on orphans,32 even for the redemption of captives,33 and even if they possess many financial resources.34 If a judge imposed a levy upon them to heighten their reputation,35 it is permitted.

A charity collector may accept small [donations] from women,36 servants, and children, but not large donations. For we operate under the assumption that a large amount was stolen or robbed from others. What is meant by a small [donation]? Everything is calculated according to the wealth or poverty of the owners.37

יב

אין פוסקין צדקה על יתומים ואפילו לפדיון שבויים ואף על פי שיש להם ממון הרבה ואם פסק הדיין עליהם כדי לשום להן שם מותר גבאי צדקה לוקחין מן הנשים ומן העבדים ומן התינוקות דבר מועט אבל לא דבר מרובה שחזקת המרובה גנבה או גזל משל אחרים וכמה הוא מועט שלהן הכל לפי עושר הבעלים ועניותן:

13

A poor person who is one's relative receives priority over all others. The poor of one's household receive priority over the poor of one's city. And the poor of one's city receive priority over the poor of another city, as [implied by Deuteronomy 15:11]: "[You shall surely open your hand to] your brother,38 the poor, and the destitute in your land."39

יג

עני שהוא קרובו קודם לכל אדם עניי ביתו קודמין לעניי עירו עניי עירו קודמין לעניי עיר אחרת שנאמר לאחיך לענייך ולאביונך בארצך:

14

When a person went on a business trip and the people of the city to which he traveled levy an assessment for charity upon him,40 he should give it to the poor of that city.41 If there are many [such individuals]42 and an assessment for charity was made upon them, they must make the allocation43 and when they go [to return home], they take [the money] with them and use it to support the poor of their city. If there is a communal sage,44 they give it to him and he divides it as he sees fit.

יד

מי שהלך בסחורה ופסקו עליו אנשי העיר שהלך שם צדקה הרי זה נותן לעניי אותה העיר ואם היו רבים ופסקו עליהן צדקה נותנין וכשבאין מביאין אותה עמהן ומפרנסין בה עניי עירם ואם יש שם חבר עיר יתנוה לחבר עיר והוא מחלקה כמו שיראה לו:

15

When a person says:45 "Give 200 zuz to a synagogue" or "Give a Torah scroll to a synagogue," we give it to the synagogue which he customarily [attends].46 If he would frequent two, [the sum] should be divided among both of them.47 If he says: "Give 200 dinarim to the poor," we give them to the poor of his city.48

טו

האומר תנו מאתים דינר לבית הכנסת או תנו ספר תורה לבית הכנסת יתנו לבית הכנסת שהוא רגיל בו ואם היה רגיל בשנים יתנו לשניהן האומר תנו מאתים דינרין לעניים יתנו לעניי אותה העיר:

Footnotes
1.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 195) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 479) include this commandment as one of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

2.

Note, however, Halachah 7.

3.

I.e., his needs as defined by his social standing.

4.

I.e., he is not obligated to borrow to give charity to a colleague. Alternatively, he is not obligated to give more than one fifth of his own resources, as stated in Halachah 5 (Rav Yosef Corcus).

5.

The Tzaphnat Paneach states that the negative commandment is violated only when the poor person asks. If he does not, there is no prohibition.

6.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 232) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 478) includes this commandment as one of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

7.

To announce his coming.

8.

Ketubot 67b relates that a person from a dignified family became impoverished and the great Sage Hillel would hire a servant to run before him and announce his coming. Once Hillel could not find such a servant and performed this service himself.

9.

Because of his previous lifestyle, this person feels a severe lack if he does not have these conveniences.

10.

Thus there are times when providing a certain person with what he feels are his needs will require a greater expense than providing another with what he views as luxuries.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 250:1) quotes the Rambam's ruling. The Rama states that this ruling applies to a collector of charity or to the community at large, but not to an individual person. An individual is not required to personally attempt to meet all of a colleague's needs. Instead, it is sufficient for him to inform the community of the problem. If, however, there are no communal resources, he is individually obligated to help the person if he has the capacity. See also Halachot 5 and 7 and notes.

11.

I.e., first we provide him with those matters that are essential for him to maintain a household. Only afterwards do we assist him in marrying. See also Hilchot De'ot 5:11 which states that a person should build a home and find a profession before marrying.

12.

This also reflects an upper limit. As Ketubot 50a states: "Even a person who distributes money to charity with largess should not distribute more than a fifth." This concept is derived from Jacob's vow to tithe (Genesis 28:22). There the verb which conveys the promise to tithe is repeated, allowing for the concept of giving two tithes. See also Hilchot Arachin 8:13 which cites Leviticus 27:28 which speaks of a person designating a dedication offering "from all that is his." The Rambam continues:

[Implied is that he should not give] "all that is his," as our Sages explained. This is not piety, but foolishness, for he will lose all his money and become dependent on others. We should not show mercy to such a person. In a similar vein, our Sages said: "A man of foolish piety is among those who destroy the world." Instead, a person who distributes his money for mitzvot should not distribute more than a fifth, and he should conduct himself as our Prophets advised [cf. Psalms 112:5]: "He arranges his affairs with judgment," both with regard to matters involving Torah and worldly concerns.

Yayin Malchut notes that in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Pe'ah 1:1), the Rambam writes that as an act of piety, a person may give more than a fifth. Nevertheless, there is not necessarily a contradiction between the two. In his Commentary to the Mishnah, the Rambam is speaking about giving to a needy person who asks for alms. In response to that acute need, one may give more that a fifth. Here the Rambam is speaking about giving to charity when there is no acute need. Hence a limit can be established. See also Ketubot 67b which states that these restrictions apply during a person's lifetime. He may leave a greater percentage of his resources to charity in his will.

In Iggeret HaTeshuvah, Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi states that one may give more than a fifth of his resources to charity to atone for his sins, for just as one is not concerned with the amount one gives when it comes to healing a physical wound or blemish, so too, one should not be worried about cost when healing a spiritual blemish.

13.

The Sifri derives this from the fact that Deuteronomy 14:22, the verse that conveys the Biblical command to tithe repeats the verb, implying an obligation to tithe - not only one's produce - but all income.

14.

This is slightly less than seven grams of silver.

15.

For hunger involves a risk to life. Clothing, by contrast, does not (Bava Batra 9a).

16.

According to his social standing.

17.

For we are familiar with his character and do not think that he will prove to be a deceiver.

18.

One might interpret the Rambam's words as implying that only when a gentile comes together with a Jew should he be given charity, lest he feel that he is being subjected to discrimination. The Siftei Cohen 251:2, however, does not accept this interpretation and maintains that even if a gentile comes alone, he may be given charity.

19.

This clause refers to a Jew.

20.

For he is appealing to people at large for help. Hence, no one individual feels the onus to deal with his problem entirely.

21.

Half a me'ah. A pundiyon is equivalent to eight barleycorns of pure silver, approximately .4 grams in contemporary measure

22.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Pe'ah 8:7), the Rambam explains that this is a loaf of bread made from a quarter of a kab of flour. The commentaries explain that a loaf this size provides food for two meals. Thus the intent is that we provide him with the minimum necessary for his immediate needs.

23.

In Hilchot Eruvin 1:12-13, Hilchot Shekalim 1:23, Hilchot Arachin 4:3-4.

24.

Which must be eaten in honor of the Sabbath (Hilchot Shabbat 30:19).

25.

The Radbaz adds that we should also provide him with a meal for Saturday night. We assume that he will have with him provisions for at least one meal which he will use Sunday morning.

26.

For in this way, he will not be embarrassed to take.

27.

I.e., we do not support him with charity.

28.

A punishment instituted by the Sages in many instances including the failure to observe a positive Scriptural commandment.

Tosafot, Bava Batra 8b, questions this ruling, noting that Chulin 110b states that a court is not obligated to administer punishment for any positive commandment for which a reward is given for its observance. And charity is one of the mitzvot for which we are promised a reward in this material world. The Radbaz explains that according to the Rambam, there is no difficulty, because according to the Rambam, the commandment to give charity is reinforced by a negative commandment, not to refrain from doing so. In such a situation, the principle cited from Chulin does not apply. The Radbaz also explains that we are more stringent in this instance, because the welfare of the poor is involved.

29.

But not in his absence (Ketubot 48a; Siftei Cohen 248:4). See also Hilchot Ishut 12:15.

30.

I.e., we do not excuse a person from giving based on the rationale that he is preoccupied with his Sabbath preparations.

31.

Taanit 24a relates that Rabbi Elazar of Birta would give all of his money to charity. The charity collectors would flee from him so that he would not see them.

32.

I.e., orphans who are under majority.

33.

Which is of the highest level of charity, as indicated by Chapter 8, Halachah 10.

34.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 248:3) quotes the Rambam's ruling. The Rama states that if the donation to charity is for a specific and limited purpose or that withholding the donation will bring shame upon the orphan's family, donations may be taken from them.

35.

I.e., that they receive renown as persons of wealth. This is permitted if the court thinks that acquiring such a reputation will be to their benefit.

The Bayit Chadash (Yoreh De'ah 248) states that if the orphans already have a reputation as wealthy individuals, it is forbidden to assess such a levy upon their estate.

36.

When quoting this law, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 248:4) emphasizes that if a woman's husband objects, it is forbidden to accept any donations from her.

37.

Thus what would be considered a small donation for some would be considered as a large donation for others.

38.

"Your brother" is mentioned first implying that a person's first responsibility is to his family.

39.

I.e., the prooftext mentions "your land" to imply that one's first obligations is to give the poor that are in one's immediate proximity.

Although the poor of Eretz Yisrael are given priority over the poor of other cities, they are not given priority of the poor of one's own city (Siftei Cohen 251:6).

40.

It was customary in Talmudic times, for a community to request that a percentage of the profits from business dealings be given to charity.

41.

Since he is only one person, he cannot argue that his failure to give charity will have a significant effect on the fortunes of the poor of his own city.

42.

The Radbaz states that we are speaking about an instance where the majority of the people in a city journey to do business in another city. Hence when they return home, it is proper that they take the money that they gave to charity with them so that they will be able to support the poor in their own city. For, otherwise, there will be no one to support them. Alternatively, he states that it applies even if only three people from one city go to another city. Since they are a significant group, they are considered as an independent entity.

43.

And give it to the charity collector in that city to show that they respect the ordinances of that city (Rashi, Megilah 27a).

44.

I.e., a Torah scholar charged with the administration of the needs of the city (ibid.:b).

45.

The Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 253:23) quotes this law with regard to a person's division of his estate on his deathbed. This interpretation explains why we do not simply ask him to clarify his intent.

46.

For it is most likely that this was his intent.

47.

Our translation follows the gloss of the Radbaz. With regard to a Torah scroll that cannot be divided, it should be read in one synagogue half of the time and in the other, half of the time.

48.

For we assume that he desired to give the gift to those who he is obligated to support.

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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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