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ב"ה

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Chagigah - Chapter 2, Chagigah - Chapter 3, Bechorot - Chapter 1

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Chagigah - Chapter 2

1

Women and servants are exempt from the obligation to appear before God on festivals. All men are obligated to appear with the exception of a deaf person, a mute, one who is emotionally or intellectually incapable of controlling himself, a minor, a blind person, one who is limp, one who is impure, one who is uncircumcised, and similarly, one who is old, sick, very dainty and spoiled to the extent they cannot ascend by foot. All of these eleven persons are exempt. All other men are obligated to appear before God.

To explain these categories in greater detail: A deaf person is exempt even if he can speak. Even if he is deaf in only one ear, he is exempt from appearing. Similarly, one who is blind in one eye or limp in one leg, is exempt. A mute even though he hears is exempt. A tumtum and an androgynus are exempt, because there is a doubt whether they are female. A person who is half-servant and half-free is exempt, because of the side of him that is a servant.

What is the source that all the above are exempt from appearing before God? Exodus 23:17 states: "All of your males shall appear"; this excludes women. And any positive commandment for which women are not obligated, servants are not obligated. Moreover, Deuteronomy 31:11 "When all Israel come to appear"; this excludes servants.

The phrase "When all Israel come to appear" implies that just as they come to appear before God, so too, they come to see the glory of His holiness and the house where His presence rests. Thus it excludes a blind person who cannot see; he is exempt even if only one eye is blinded, because his sight is not perfect.

That passage continues: "So that they will hear." This excludes one whose hearing is not perfect. And it states: "So that they will learn." This excludes one who does not speak, because everyone who is obligated to learn is also obligated to teach.

Exodus 34:24 states: "When you ascend to appear before the presence of God." The command is directed to one who can ascend by foot and thus excludes one who is limp, old, sick, or very dainty. And we have already explained in Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash that a person who is impure is not fit to enter the Temple. And one is uncircumcised is loathsome like one who is impure.

א

נָּשִׁים וַעֲבָדִים פְּטוּרִין מִן הָרְאִיָּה. וְכָל הָאֲנָשִׁים חַיָּבִים בִּרְאִיָּה חוּץ מֵחֵרֵשׁ וְאִלֵּם וְשׁוֹטֶה וְקָטָן וְסוּמָא וְחִגֵּר וְטָמֵא וְעָרֵל. וְכֵן הַזָּקֵן וְהַחוֹלֶה וְהָרַךְ וְהֶעָנֹג מְאֹד שֶׁאֵינָם יְכוֹלִים לַעֲלוֹת עַל רַגְלֵיהֶן כָּל אֵלּוּ הָאַחַד עָשָׂר פְּטוּרִין. וּשְׁאָר כָּל הָאֲנָשִׁים חַיָּבִין בִּרְאִיָּה. הַחֵרֵשׁ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא מְדַבֵּר אֲפִלּוּ חֵרֵשׁ בְּאָזְנוֹ אַחַת פָּטוּר מִן הָרְאִיָּה. וְכֵן הַסּוּמָא בְּעֵינוֹ אַחַת. אוֹ חִגֵּר בְּרַגְלוֹ אַחַת פָּטוּר. הָאִלֵּם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא שׁוֹמֵעַ פָּטוּר. טֻמְטוּם וְאַנְדְּרוֹגִינוּס פְּטוּרִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן סְפֵק אִשָּׁה. מִי שֶׁחֶצְיוֹ עֶבֶד וְחֶצְיוֹ בֶּן חוֹרִין פָּטוּר מִפְּנֵי צַד עַבְדוּת שֶׁבּוֹ. וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁכָּל אֵלּוּ פְּטוּרִין מִן הָרְאִיָּה. הֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר (שמות כג יז) (שמות לד כג) (דברים טז טז) "יֵרָאֶה כָּל זְכוּרְךָ" לְהוֹצִיא אֶת הַנָּשִׁים. וּמִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁאֵין הַנָּשִׁים חַיָּבוֹת בָּהּ אֵין הָעֲבָדִים חַיָּבִים בָּהּ. וְעוֹד הֲרֵי נֶאֱמַר בְּבוֹא כָל יִשְׂרָאֵל לְהוֹצִיא הָעֲבָדִים. וְנֶאֱמַר (דברים לא יא) "בְּבוֹא כָל יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵרָאוֹת". כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהֵן בָּאִין לְהֵרָאוֹת לִפְנֵי ה' כָּךְ הֵם בָּאִים לִרְאוֹת הֲדַר קָדְשׁוֹ וּבֵית שְׁכִינָתוֹ. לְהוֹצִיא סוּמָא שֶׁאֵינוֹ רוֹאֶה. אֲפִלּוּ נִסְמֵית עֵינוֹ אַחַת שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין רְאִיָּתוֹ שְׁלֵמָה. וְשָׁם נֶאֱמַר (דברים לא יב) "לְמַעַן יִשְׁמְעוּ". לְהוֹצִיא מִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ שְׁמִיעָה גְּמוּרָה. (דברים לא יב) "וּלְמַעַן יִלְמְדוּ". לְהוֹצִיא מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְדַבֵּר. שֶׁכָּל הַמְצֻוֶּה לִלְמֹד מְצֻוֶּה לְלַמֵּד. וְנֶאֱמַר (שמות לד כד) "בַּעֲלֹתְךָ לֵרָאוֹת אֶת פְּנֵי ה'" מִי שֶׁיָּכוֹל לַעֲלוֹת בְּרַגְלָיו לְהוֹצִיא חִגֵּר וְחוֹלֶה וְזָקֵן וְעָנֹג. וּכְבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת בִּיאַת הַמִּקְדָּשׁ שֶׁאֵין הַטָּמֵא רָאוּי לְבִיאָה וְכֵן הֶעָרֵל מָאוּס כְּטָמֵא:

2

A scraper, i.e., one whose task is to gather the excrement of dogs and the like to use for the processing of hides or for medicinal purposes, one who quarries copper in its mine, and a leatherworker, even though they are loathsome because of their profession, should purify their bodies and their garments and ascend to Jerusalem together with the Jewish people as a whole to appear before God.

ב

הַמְקַמֵּץ וְהוּא שֶׁמְּלַאכְתוֹ לְקַבֵּץ צוֹאַת כְּלָבִים וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן לְעַבֵּד הָעוֹרוֹת אוֹ לִרְפוּאָה. וְכֵן הַמְצָרֵף נְחשֶׁת בְּמַחְצָב שֶׁלּוֹ וְהָעַבְּדָנִין. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן מְאוּסִין מִפְּנֵי מְלַאכְתָּן הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מְטַהֲרִין גּוּפָן וּמַלְבּוּשָׁן וְעוֹלִין בִּכְלַל יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵרָאוֹת:

3

Whenever a child can hold his father's hand and ascend from Jerusalem to the Temple Mount, his father is obligated to have him ascend and appear before God to train him in the observance of the mitzvot, as implied by the phrase: "All your males shall appear."

If the minor was limp, blind, or deaf, even in one of his organs, his father is not obligated to train him, even if his infirmity could be healed. The rationale is that if he was in this state when he was past majority, he would be exempt, as we explained.

ג

כָּל קָטָן שֶׁיָּכוֹל לֶאֱחֹז בְּיָדוֹ שֶׁל אָבִיו וְלַעֲלוֹת מִיְּרוּשָׁלַיִם לְהַר הַבַּיִת אָבִיו חַיָּב לְהַעֲלוֹתוֹ וּלְהֵרָאוֹת בּוֹ כְּדֵי לְחַנְּכוֹ בְּמִצְוֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כג יז) (שמות לד כג) (דברים טז טז) "יֵרָאֶה כָּל זְכוּרְךָ". וְאִם הָיָה הַקָּטָן חִגֵּר אוֹ סוּמָא אוֹ חֵרֵשׁ אֲפִלּוּ בְּאַחַת אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְחַנְּכוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא רָאוּי לִרְפוּאָה שֶׁאִלּוּ הָיָה גָּדוֹל וְהוּא כָּךְ הָיָה פָּטוּר כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

4

Everyone who is obligated to appear before God is obligated to bring a festive offering. Everyone who is exempt from appearing is exempt from bringing a festive offering. They are all obligated in the celebratory peace-sacrifices with the exception of a deafmute, a mentally or emotionally incapable individual, a minor, an uncircumcised person, and one who is impure.

A deafmute, a mentally or emotionally incapable individual, and a minor are exempt, because they are not fit to be given any responsibility and they are exempt from all the mitzvot stated in the Torah. An uncircumcised person and one who is impure are exempt, because they may not partake of sacred foods and are not fit to enter the Temple, as explained in Hilchot Biat HaMikdash and Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot.

ד

כָּל הַחַיָּב בִּרְאִיָּה חַיָּב בַּחֲגִיגָה וְכָל הַפָּטוּר מִן הָרְאִיָּה פָּטוּר מִן הַחֲגִיגָה. וְכֻלָּן חַיָּבִין בְּשִׂמְחָה. חוּץ מֵחֵרֵשׁ שׁוֹטֶה וְקָטָן וְעָרֵל וְטָמֵא. חֵרֵשׁ שׁוֹטֶה וְקָטָן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵינָן בְּנֵי חִיּוּב הֲרֵי הֵן פְּטוּרִין מִכָּל מִצְוֹת הָאֲמוּרוֹת בַּתּוֹרָה. וְעָרֵל וְטָמֵא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵינָן אוֹכְלִים בְּקָדָשִׁים וְאֵינָן רְאוּיִין לְבִיאָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת בִּיאַת הַמִּקְדָּשׁ וּבְהִלְכוֹת מַעֲשֵׂה הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת:

5

If one was limp or blind on the first day of a festival and was healed on the second day, he is exempt from appearing before God and bringing the festive offering, because all of the remaining days of the festival are compensation for the first day, as we explained. Similarly, if he became impure on the night of the first day of a festival, he is exempt, even though he purifies himself on the following day. If, however, he became impure on the first day of the festival, he is obligated to bring his festive offering and the burnt-offering brought when appearing before God during the remaining days of the festival when he regains ritual purity.

ה

מִי שֶׁהָיָה חִגֵּר אוֹ סוּמָא בְּיוֹם רִאשׁוֹן וְנִתְרַפֵּא בַּשֵּׁנִי. פָּטוּר מִן הָרְאִיָּה וּמִן הַחֲגִיגָה. שֶׁבְּיוֹם חוֹבָתוֹ הָיָה פָּטוּר. שֶׁכָּל יְמוֹת הֶחָג תַּשְׁלוּמֵי רִאשׁוֹן הֵן כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וְכֵן אִם נִטְמָא בְּלֵילֵי יוֹם טוֹב הָרִאשׁוֹן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁטִּהֵר לְמָחָר פָּטוּר. אֲבָל אִם נִטְמָא בְּיוֹם רִאשׁוֹן הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב לְהָבִיא חֲגִיגָתוֹ וּרְאִיָּתוֹ בְּתוֹךְ יְמֵי הָרֶגֶל כְּשֶׁיִּטְהַר:

6

One who enters the Temple Courtyard during the days of a festival is not obligated to bring a burnt-offering whenever he enters, for the charge, "You shall not appear in My presence empty-handed," applies only on the fundamental celebration of the festival, the first day or the day which compensates for the first day. If he brings such a sacrifice at any time, we accept it, and offer it as a burnt-offering brought when appearing before God, for there is no limit to these offerings.

ו

מִי שֶׁבָּא לַעֲזָרָה בְּתוֹךְ יְמֵי הֶחָג אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְהָבִיא עוֹלָה בְּיָדוֹ בְּכָל עֵת שֶׁיִּכָּנֵס. שֶׁזֶּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כג טו) "וְלֹא יֵרָאוּ פָנַי רֵיקָם" אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא בְּעִקַּר הָרֶגֶל בִּלְבַד שֶׁהוּא יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אוֹ תַּשְׁלוּמֵי רִאשׁוֹן. וְאִם הֵבִיא בְּכָל עֵת שֶׁיָּבִיא מְקַבְּלִין מִמֶּנּוּ וּמַקְרִיבִין אוֹתָהּ לְשֵׁם עוֹלַת רְאִיָּה. שֶׁהָרְאִיָּה אֵין לָהּ שִׁעוּר:

7

When a person set aside ten animals for his festive offering, sacrificed some of them on the first day, and made an interruption, he should not offer the others, for he left them over. If he did not make an interruption, but instead, the day was pressing and he was not able to offer them all that day, he should offer the remainder on the following day.

ז

הִפְרִישׁ עֶשֶׂר בְּהֵמוֹת לַחֲגִיגָתוֹ וְהִקְרִיב מֵהֶן מִקְצָתָן בָּרִאשׁוֹן וּפָסַק. שׁוּב אֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר וּמַקְרִיב הַשְּׁאָר שֶׁהֲרֵי שִׁיֵּר אוֹתָם. וְאִם לֹא פָּסַק אֶלָּא דְּחָקוֹ הַיּוֹם וְלֹא יָכוֹל לְהַקְרִיב הַיּוֹם מַקְרִיב הַשְּׁאָר לְמָחָר:

8

The burnt-offering brought when appearing before God may be brought only from ordinary funds like other sacrifices for which a person is obligated.The festive peace-offerings, by contrast, may be brought from funds from the second tithe that are intermingled with ordinary funds. He may purchase an animal with the intermingled funds and offer it as a festive peace-offering, provided that the minimum measure which one must eat first could be purchased with the ordinary funds. The rationale is that the festive peace-offerings are an obligation and any obligation must be satisfied with ordinary funds.

ח

עוֹלַת רְאִיָּה אֵינָהּ בָּאָה אֶלָּא מִן הַחֻלִּין כִּשְׁאָר הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת שֶׁאָדָם חַיָּב בָּהֶן. אֲבָל שַׁלְמֵי חֲגִיגָה בָּאוֹת מִמְּעוֹת מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי הַמְעֹרָבוֹת עִם מְעוֹת חֻלִּין. לוֹקֵחַ מִן הַתַּעֲרֹבֶת בְּהֵמָה וּמַקְרִיבָהּ שַׁלְמֵי חֲגִיגָה. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה שִׁעוּר אֲכִילָה רִאשׁוֹנָה מִן הַחֻלִּין. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁשַּׁלְמֵי חֲגִיגָה חוֹבָה וְכָל שֶׁהוּא חוֹבָה אֵינוֹ בָּא אֶלָּא מִן הַחֻלִּין:

9

A person may fulfill his obligation for festive peace-offering with animals designated as tithe-offerings. He should not, however, bring such an offering on the holiday. This is a decree, lest he tithe on the holiday.

ט

וְיוֹצֵא אָדָם יְדֵי חוֹבַת שַׁלְמֵי חֲגִיגָה בְּמַעֲשַׂר בְּהֵמָה. וְאֵין מְבִיאִין אוֹתוֹ בְּיוֹם טוֹב גְּזֵרָה שֶׁמָּא יְעַשֵּׂר בְּיוֹם טוֹב:

10

An Israelite fulfills his obligation for celebratory peace-offerings with vowed and pledged offerings and with tithe-offerings. Priests may also do so with their portions from the sin-offerings and the guilt-offerings, a firstborn offering, and the breast and fore-leg from a peace-offering. For this mitzvah involves rejoicing by eating sacrificial meat in God's presence and he has done that. Priests cannot fulfill their obligation by partaking of sin-offerings of fowl or of meal-offerings. For they are not meat that brings joy.

We already explained in the laws of the Paschal sacrifice, that the festive offering brought on the fourteenth of Nisan is a matter of choice. Therefore he does not fulfill his obligation for the festive offering with it. He does, however, fulfill his obligation for the celebratory peace-offering.

י

יוֹצְאִין יִשְׂרָאֵל יְדֵי חוֹבַת שַׁלְמֵי שִׂמְחָה בִּנְדָרִים וּנְדָבוֹת וּבְמַעֲשַׂר בְּהֵמָה. וְהַכֹּהֲנִים בְּחַטָּאת וּבְאָשָׁם וּבִבְכוֹר וּבְחָזֶה וְשׁוֹק. שֶׁמִּצְוָה זוֹ הִיא לִשְׂמֹחַ בַּאֲכִילַת בָּשָׂר לִפְנֵי ה' וַהֲרֵי אָכְלוּ. אֲבָל אֵין יוֹצְאִין יְדֵי חוֹבָתָן לֹא בְּעוֹפוֹת וְלֹא בִּמְנָחוֹת שֶׁאֵינָן בָּשָׂר הַמְשַׂמֵּחַ. כְּבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ בִּפְסָחִים שֶׁחֲגִיגַת אַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר רְשׁוּת. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין אָדָם יוֹצֵא בָּהּ יְדֵי חוֹבַת חֲגִיגָה אֶלָּא יוֹצֵא בָּהּ חוֹבַת שִׂמְחָה:

11

When a person who had peace-offerings which he vowed or pledged to bring, slaughtered them on the day before a festival, even though he partakes of them on the festival, he does not fulfill his obligation for the festive offering, because it may only be brought from ordinary animals. He may, however, fulfill his obligation for celebratory peace-offerings with them.

יא

מִי שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ שַׁלְמֵי נֵדֶר אוֹ נְדָבָה וּשְׁחָטָן מֵעֶרֶב יוֹם טוֹב אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֲכָלָן בְּיוֹם טוֹב אֵינוֹ יוֹצֵא בָּהּ יְדֵי חוֹבַת חֲגִיגָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ בָּאָה אֶלָּא מִן הַחֻלִּין אֲבָל יָצָא בָּהּ יְדֵי חוֹבַת שִׂמְחָה:

12

Even though he slaughtered them before the festival, since he partakes of them on the festival, he may fulfill his obligation with them, for he does not need to slaughter the celebratory peace-offerings at the time of celebration.

יב

אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁשְּׁחָטָן קֹדֶם הָרֶגֶל. הוֹאִיל וְאוֹכֵל מֵהֶן בָּרֶגֶל יָצָא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ שֶׁאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לִשְׁחֹט שַׁלְמֵי שִׂמְחָה בִּשְׁעַת שִׂמְחָה:

13

A person should not bring a thanksgiving offering on the day of the fourteenth of Nisan, because of the leaven it includes, for we do not cause sacred foods to be disqualified. If one brought such an offering, he may fulfill his obligation for celebratory peace-offerings through it, as explained.

יג

לֹא יָבִיא אָדָם תּוֹדָה בְּיוֹם אַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר מִפְּנֵי הֶחָמֵץ שֶׁבָּהּ שֶׁאֵין מְבִיאִין קָדָשִׁים לְבֵית הַפְּסוּל. וְאִם הֵבִיא יוֹצֵא בָּהּ יְדֵי חוֹבַת שִׂמְחָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

14

If one says: "I vow to bring a thanksgiving through which I can fulfill my obligation to bring a festive offering," he is obligated to bring a thanksgiving offering, but he does not fulfill his obligation for the festive offering. For a festive offering must be brought from ordinary funds.

When a person sacrifices festive and celebratory peace-offerings, he should not eat while secluded, together with his children and his wife and think he is performing a perfect mitzvah. Instead, he is obligated to bring joy to the poor and unfortunate. Thus Deuteronomy 16:14 mentions: "the Levite, the stranger, the orphan, and the widow." One should grant them food and drink according to his wealth. If one partook of his sacrifices and did not bring joy to these together with him, to him are applied the words of censure, Hoshea 9:4: "Their sacrifices will be like the bread of those aggrieved for them, of which all who partake of it become impure. Instead, let their bread be for themselves."

The mitzvah is to give the Levite takes precedence over all the others, because he is not granted a portion and an ancestral heritage, nor is he given portions of the sacrificial meat. Therefore one must invite Levites to one's table and have them celebrate or give them presents of meat together with the tithes that are given to them, so that all their needs are met. Whoever forsakes a Levite, refrains from bringing him joy, and delays giving him the tithes during the festivals violates a negative commandment, as Deuteronomy 12:19 states: "Beware lest you abandon the Levite."

יד

הָאוֹמֵר הֲרֵי עָלַי תּוֹדָה שֶׁאֵצֵא בָּהּ יְדֵי חוֹבָתִי לְשֵׁם חֲגִיגָה. חַיָּב לְהָבִיא תּוֹדָה וְאֵינוֹ יוֹצֵא בָּהּ יְדֵי חֲגִיגָה שֶׁאֵין חֲגִיגָה בָּאָה אֶלָּא מִן הַחֻלִּין. כְּשֶׁיִּזְבַּח אָדָם שַׁלְמֵי חֲגִיגָה וְשַׁלְמֵי שִׂמְחָה לֹא יִהְיֶה אוֹכֵל הוּא וּבָנָיו וְאִשְׁתּוֹ בִּלְבַד וִידַמֶּה שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה מִצְוָה גְּמוּרָה. אֶלָּא חַיָּב לְשַׂמֵּחַ הָעֲנִיִּים וְהָאֻמְלָלִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים טז יד) "וְהַלֵּוִי וְהַגֵּר וְהַיָּתוֹם וְהָאַלְמָנָה". מַאֲכִיל הַכּל וּמַשְׁקָן כְּפִי עָשְׁרוֹ. וּמִי שֶׁאָכַל זְבָחָיו וְלֹא שִׂמֵּחַ אֵלּוּ עִמּוֹ עָלָיו נֶאֱמַר (הושע ט ד) "זִבְחֵיהֶם כְּלֶחֶם אוֹנִים לָהֶם כָּל אֹכְלָיו יִטַּמָּאוּ כִּי לַחְמָם לְנַפְשָׁם". וּמִצְוָה בְּלֵוִי יוֹתֵר מִן הַכּל לְפִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ לֹא חֵלֶק וְלֹא נַחֲלָה וְאֵין לוֹ מַתָּנוֹת בַּבָּשָׂר לְפִיכָךְ צָרִיךְ לְזַמֵּן לְוִיִּים עַל שֻׁלְחָנוֹ וּלְשַׁמְּחָם אוֹ יִתֵּן לָהֶם מַתְּנוֹת בָּשָׂר עִם מַעֲשֵׂר שֶׁלָּהֶם כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּמְצְאוּ בּוֹ צָרְכֵיהֶם. וְכָל הָעוֹזֵב אֶת הַלֵּוִי מִלְּשַׂמְּחוֹ וְשׁוֹהֶה מִמֶּנּוּ מַעַשְׂרוֹתָיו בָּרְגָלִים עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יב יט) "הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ פֶּן תַּעֲזֹב אֶת הַלֵּוִי":

Chagigah - Chapter 3

1

It is a positive commandment to gather together the entire Jewish people - men, women, and children - after every Sabbatical year when they ascend for the pilgrimage holiday and to read so that they hear passages from the Torah that encourage them to perfom mitzvot and strengthem them in the true faith, as Deuteronomy 31:10-12 states: "At the end of a seven-year period, at the time of the Sabbatial year on the Sukkot holiday when all Israel come to appear... gather the nation, the men, the women, the children, and your stranger in your gates...."

א

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לְהַקְהִיל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲנָשִׁים וְנָשִׁים וְטַף בְּכָל מוֹצָאֵי שְׁמִטָּה בַּעֲלוֹתָם לָרֶגֶל וְלִקְרוֹת בְּאָזְנֵיהֶם מִן הַתּוֹרָה פָּרָשִׁיּוֹת שֶׁהֵן מְזָרְזוֹת אוֹתָן בְּמִצְוֹת וּמְחַזְּקוֹת יְדֵיהֶם בְּדַת הָאֱמֶת. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לא י) "מִקֵּץ שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים בְּמֹעֵד שְׁנַת הַשְּׁמִטָּה בְּחַג הַסֻּכּוֹת" (דברים לא יא) "בְּבוֹא כָל יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵרָאוֹת" וְגוֹ' (דברים לא יב) "הַקְהֵל אֶת הָעָם הָאֲנָשִׁים וְהַנָּשִׁים וְהַטַּף וְגֵרְךָ אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ" וְגוֹ':

2

All of those who are exempt from the mitzvah of appearing before God are exempt from the mitzvah of hakhel with the exception of women, children, and those uncircumcised. One who is ritually impure is, by contrast, exempt from the mitzvah of Hakhel, as implied by the phrase "When all Israel come...," for such a person is not fit to come to the Temple. It is clear that a tumtum and an androgynus are obligated, for women are obligated.

ב

כָּל הַפָּטוּר מִן הָרְאִיָּה פָּטוּר מִמִּצְוַת הַקְהֵל חוּץ מִן הַנָּשִׁים וְהַטַּף וְהֵעָרֵל. אֲבָל הַטָּמֵא פָּטוּר מִמִּצְוַת הַקְהֵל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לא יא) "בְּבוֹא כָל יִשְׂרָאֵל" וְזֶה אֵינוֹ רָאוּי לְבִיאָה. וְהַדָּבָר בָּרוּר שֶׁהַטֻּמְטוּם וְהָאַנְדְּרוֹגִינוּס חַיָּבִין שֶׁהֲרֵי הַנָּשִׁים חַיָּבוֹת:

3

When would they read? On the day following the first day of the holiday of Sukkot which is the first day of Chol HaMoed of the eighth year. The kingwould read so the people would hear. The reading was held in the Women's Courtyard. He would read while seated. If he read while standing, it is praiseworthy.

From which passages in the Torah should he read? He starts from the beginning of the chumash: "These are the words..." until the end of the passage Shema. He then skips to the passage Vehayah Im Shamoa,and then skips to the passage asair te'asair. He then reads from that passage in order until the end of the blessing and curses, i.e., until the phrase: "besides the covenant He established with them in Choreb where he concludes.

ג

אֵימָתַי הָיוּ קוֹרִין. בְּמוֹצָאֵי יוֹם טוֹב הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁל חַג הַסֻּכּוֹת שֶׁהוּא תְּחִלַּת יְמֵי חֻלּוֹ שֶׁל מוֹעֵד שֶׁל שָׁנָה שְׁמִינִית. וְהַמֶּלֶךְ הוּא שֶׁיִּקְרָא בְּאָזְנֵיהֶם. וּבְעֶזְרַת הַנָּשִׁים הָיוּ קוֹרִין. וְקוֹרֵא כְּשֶׁהוּא יוֹשֵׁב וְאִם קָרָא מְעֻמָּד הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח. מֵהֵיכָן הוּא קוֹרֵא מִתְּחִלַּת חֻמַּשׁ אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים עַד סוֹף פָּרָשַׁת שְׁמַע וּמְדַלֵּג לִ(דברים יא יג) "וְהָיָה אִם שָׁמוֹעַ" וְגוֹ' וּמְדַלֵּג לְעַשֵּׂר תְּעַשֵּׂר וְקוֹרֵא מֵ (דברים יד כב) "עַשֵּׂר תְּעַשֵּׂר" עַל הַסֵּדֶר עַד סוֹף בְּרָכוֹת וּקְלָלוֹת עַד (דברים כח סט) "מִלְּבַד הַבְּרִית אֲשֶׁר כָּרַת אִתָּם בְּחֹרֵב" וּפוֹסֵק:

4

How is the reading conducted? Trumpets are sounded throughout Jerusalem to gather the people. A large wooden platform is brought and set up in the center of the Women's Courtyard. The king ascends and sits on it so that they will be able to hear his reading. All of the Jewish people who made the festive pilgrimage gather around him. The attendant of the synagogue would take the Torah scroll and give it to the head of the synagogue. He would give it to the segen, who would give it to the High Priest, who would give it to the king. The transfer involved many people as an expression of respect.

The king accepts the scroll while standing. If he desires, he may sit when reading. He opens it, looks at it, and recites the blessings like anyone who is reading the Torah in a synagogue. He reads the passages mentioned in the previous halachah until he completes them. He rolls the scroll closed and recites the blessing afterwards as it is done in synagogues. He adds seven blessings which are:

"Grant favor, God, our Lord, to Your people Israel...."

"We thankfully acknowledge You...."

"You chose us from all the nations..." until "Who sanctifies Israel and the festive seasons," as one recites in prayer. Thus there are three blessings with set texts.

For the fourth blessing, he prays for the Temple, that it should remain standing and concludes: "Blessed are You, God, Who dwells in Zion."

For the fifth, he prays for the Jewish people, that their kingdom prevail, and concludes: "...Who chooses Israel."

For the sixth, he prays for the priests, that God should desire their service and concludes: "Blessed are You, God, Who sanctifies the priests."

For the seventh, he offers supplication and prays according to his ability and concludes: "God, deliver Your nation Israel, for Your nation Israel is in need of salvation. Blessed are You, God, Who heeds prayer."

ד

כֵּיצַד הוּא קוֹרֵא. תּוֹקְעִין בַּחֲצוֹצְרוֹת בְּכָל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם כְּדֵי לְהַקְהִיל אֶת הָעָם. וּמְבִיאִין בִּימָה גְּדוֹלָה וְשֶׁל עֵץ הָיְתָה וּמַעֲמִידִין אוֹתָהּ בְּאֶמְצַע עֶזְרַת נָשִׁים וְהַמֶּלֶךְ עוֹלֶה וְיוֹשֵׁב עָלֶיהָ כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּשְׁמְעוּ קְרִיאָתוֹ וְכָל יִשְׂרָאֵל הָעוֹלִים לָחֹג מִתְקַבְּצִין סְבִיבָיו. וְחַזַּן הַכְּנֶסֶת נוֹטֵל סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה וְנוֹתְנוֹ לְרֹאשׁ הַכְּנֶסֶת וְרֹאשׁ הַכְּנֶסֶת נוֹתְנוֹ לַסְּגָן וּסְגָן לְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל וְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל לַמֶּלֶךְ כְּדֵי לְהַדְּרוֹ בְּרֹב בְּנֵי אָדָם. וְהַמֶּלֶךְ מְקַבְּלוֹ כְּשֶׁהוּא עוֹמֵד וְאִם רָצָה יֵשֵׁב וּפוֹתֵחַ וְרוֹאֶה וּמְבָרֵךְ כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁמְּבָרֵךְ כָּל קוֹרֵא בַּתּוֹרָה בְּבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת. וְקוֹרֵא הַפָּרָשִׁיּוֹת שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ עַד שֶׁהוּא גּוֹמֵר וְגוֹלֵל וּמְבָרֵךְ לְאַחֲרֶיהָ כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁמְּבָרְכִין בְּבָתֵּי כְּנֵסִיּוֹת וּמוֹסִיף שֶׁבַע בְּרָכוֹת וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. רְצֵה ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּעַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְכוּ'. מוֹדִים אֲנַחְנוּ לָךְ וְכוּ'. אַתָּה בְּחַרְתָּנוּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים וְכוּ' עַד מְקַדֵּשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַזְּמַנִּים כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁמְּבָרְכִין בַּתְּפִלָּה. הֲרֵי שָׁלֹשׁ בְּרָכוֹת כְּמַטְבְּעָן. רְבִיעִית מִתְפַּלֵּל עַל הַמִּקְדָּשׁ שֶׁיַּעֲמֹד וְחוֹתֵם בָּהּ בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' הַשּׁוֹכֵן בְּצִיּוֹן. חֲמִישִׁית מִתְפַּלֵּל עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁתַּעֲמֹד מַלְכוּתָם וְחוֹתֵם בָּהּ הַבּוֹחֵר בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל. שִׁשִּׁית מִתְפַּלֵּל עַל הַכֹּהֲנִים שֶׁיִּרְצֶה הָאֵל עֲבוֹדָתָם וְחוֹתֵם בָּהּ בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' מְקַדֵּשׁ הַכֹּהֲנִים. שְׁבִיעִית מִתְחַנֵּן וּמִתְפַּלֵּל בָּהּ כְּפִי מַה שֶּׁהוּא יָכוֹל וְחוֹתֵם בָּהּ הוֹשַׁע ה' אֶת עַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁעַמְּךָ צְרִיכִין לְהִוָּשַׁע בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' שׁוֹמֵעַ תְּפִלָּה:

5

The reading and the blessings are in the Holy Tongue, as implied by Deuteronomy 31:11: "Read this Torah," i.e., in its wording. This applies even though foreigners are present.

ה

הַקְּרִיאָה וְהַבְּרָכוֹת בִּלְשׁוֹן הַקֹּדֶשׁ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לא יא) "תִּקְרָא אֶת הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת" בִּלְשׁוֹנָהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ שָׁם לוֹעֲזוֹת:

6

Converts who do not understand are obligated to concentrate their attention and direct their hearing, listening with reverence and awe, rejoicing while trembling as on the day the Torah was given at Sinai. Even great Sages who know the entire Torah are obligated to listen with exceedingly great concentration. One who is unable to hear should focus his attention on this reading, for Scripture established it solely to strengthen the true faith. He should see himself as if he was just now commanded regarding the Torah and heard it from the Almighty. For the king is an agent to make known the word of God.

ו

וְגֵרִים שֶׁאֵינָן מַכִּירִין חַיָּבִין לְהָכִין לִבָּם וּלְהַקְשִׁיב אָזְנָם לִשְׁמֹעַ בְּאֵימָה וְיִרְאָה וְגִילָה בִּרְעָדָה כְּיוֹם שֶׁנִּתְּנָה בּוֹ בְּסִינַי. אֲפִלּוּ חֲכָמִים גְּדוֹלִים שֶׁיּוֹדְעִים כָּל הַתּוֹרָה כֻּלָּהּ חַיָּבִין לִשְׁמֹעַ בְּכַוָּנָה גְּדוֹלָה יְתֵרָה. וּמִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִשְׁמֹעַ מְכַוֵּן לִבּוֹ לִקְרִיאָה זוֹ שֶׁלֹּא קְבָעָהּ הַכָּתוּב אֶלָּא לְחַזֵּק דַּת הָאֱמֶת וְיִרְאֶה עַצְמוֹ כְּאִלּוּ עַתָּה נִצְטַוָּה בָּהּ וּמִפִּי הַגְּבוּרָה שׁוֹמְעָהּ. שֶׁהַמֶּלֶךְ שָׁלִיחַ הוּא לְהַשְׁמִיעַ דִּבְרֵי הָאֵל:

7

If the day of Hakhel falls on the Sabbath, the gathering is delayed until after the Sabbath, because of the sounding of the trumpets and the supplications which do not supersede the Sabbath restrictions.

ז

יוֹם הַקְהֵל שֶׁחָל לִהְיוֹת בְּשַׁבָּת מְאַחֲרִין אוֹתוֹ לְאַחַר הַשַּׁבָּת. מִפְּנֵי תְּקִיעַת הַחֲצוֹצְרוֹת וְהַתְּחִנּוֹת שֶׁאֵינָן דּוֹחִין אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת:

Bechorot - Chapter 1

Introduction to Hilchot Bechorot

Included in this text are five mitzvot: 2 positive commandments and 3 negative commandments. They include the following:

1) to set aside the firstborn offering;
2) not to partake of an unblemished firstborn animal outside of Jerusalem;
3) not to redeem a firstborn animal;
4) to set aside a tithe offering from animals;
5) not to redeem a tithe offering from animals.

I included the tithe offerings with the firstborn offering, because the manner in which the two are offered is the same and Scripture included [the former] with the latter, as [Numbers 18:17]: states: “You shall cast its blood.” According to the Oral Tradition, it was taught: “This refers to the blood of the tithe offering and the blood of the firstborn offering.”

These mitzvot are explained in the ensuing chapters.

הלכות בכורות - הקדמה יש בכללן חמש מצוות: שתי מצוות עשה, ושלוש מצוות לא תעשה. וזה הוא פרטן:

(א) להפריש בכורות.
(ב) שלא יאכל בכור תמים חוץ לירושלים.
(ג) שלא יפדה הבכור.
(ד) להפריש מעשר בהמה.
(ה) שלא יִגאל מעשר בהמה.

וכללתי המעשר עם הבכור לפי שמעשה שניהם אחד והכתוב כללו עמו, שנאמר (במדבר יח יז): "ואת דמם תזרוק" – מפי השמועה למדו שזה דם מעשר ודם בכור. וביאור מצוות אלו בפרקים אלו:

1

It is a positive commandment to set aside all the male first issues of the womb, whether among humans, kosher animals, and donkeys. This applies whether the animals are healthy or treifot. Thus Exodus 13:2 states: "Consecrate unto Me all firstborn, the first issue of the womb among the children of Israel, in humans and in animals." All of the above are given to the priests."

א

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לְהַפְרִישׁ כָּל פֶּטֶר רֶחֶם הַזְּכָרִים בֵּין בָּאָדָם בֵּין בִּבְהֵמָה טְהוֹרָה בֵּין מִמִּין הַחֲמוֹר. בֵּין שֶׁהָיוּ שְׁלֵמִים בֵּין שֶׁהָיוּ טְרֵפוֹת. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות יג ב) "קַדֵּשׁ לִי כָל בְּכוֹר פֶּטֶר כָּל רֶחֶם בִּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּאָדָם וּבַבְּהֵמָה". וְכֻלָּן לַכֹּהֲנִים:

2

Firstborn humans and firstborn donkeys are redeemed and the redemption is given to the priests. A firstborn kosher animal should be slaughtered in the Temple like other sacrifices of a lesser degree of sanctity. Its blood is cast on the altar and its fats and organs are burnt on the altar's pyre, as explained in Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot.

The remainder of the meat is eaten by the priests, as Numbers 18:15-18 states: "You shall surely redeem firstborn humans and you shall redeem firstborn non-kosher animals, but firstborn oxen... you shall not redeem. They are holy.... Their flesh will be for you."

ב

בְּכוֹר אָדָם וּבְכוֹר חֲמוֹר נִפְדִּים וּפִדְיוֹנָם לַכֹּהֲנִים. וּבְכוֹר בְּהֵמָה טְהוֹרָה נִשְׁחָט בָּעֲזָרָה כִּשְׁאָר קָדָשִׁים קַלִּים. זוֹרְקִין דָּמוֹ וּמַקְטִיר אֵימוּרָיו כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּמַעֲשֵׂה הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת וּשְׁאָר הַבָּשָׂר נֶאֱכָל לַכֹּהֲנִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יח טו) "אַךְ פָּדֹה תִפְדֶּה אֵת בְּכוֹר הָאָדָם וְאֵת בְּכוֹר הַבְּהֵמָה הַטְּמֵאָה תִּפְדֶּה" (במדבר יח יז) "אַךְ בְּכוֹר שׁוֹר" (במדבר יח יז) "לֹא תִפְדֶּה קֹדֶשׁ הֵם" (במדבר יח יח) "וּבְשָׂרָם יִהְיֶה לָּךְ":

3

When a firstborn kosher animal is blemished - whether it was born blemished or contracted a blemish after being born unblemished - it should be given to a priest. If he desires, he may eat it anywhere, or sell it or feed to whoever he desires, even a gentile, because it is ordinary property, as Deuteronomy 15:21-22 states: "If it has a blemish - lameness or blindness... the pure and the impure shall partake of it, like a deer or a hart." It is the priest's private property.

ג

בְּכוֹר בְּהֵמָה טְהוֹרָה שֶׁהוּא בַּעַל מוּם בֵּין שֶׁנּוֹלַד בְּמוּמוֹ בֵּין שֶׁנָּפַל בּוֹ מוּם אַחַר שֶׁהָיָה תָמִים הֲרֵי הוּא לַכֹּהֵן אִם רָצָה אוֹכְלוֹ בְּכָל מָקוֹם אוֹ מוֹכְרוֹ אוֹ מַאֲכִילוֹ לְמִי שֶׁיִּרְצֶה אֲפִלּוּ לְנָכְרִי מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא חֻלִּין. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים טו כא) "וְכִי יִהְיֶה בוֹ מוּם פִּסֵּחַ אוֹ עִוֵּר" וְגוֹ' (דברים טו כב) "הַטָּמֵא וְהַטָּהוֹר יַחְדָּו יֹאכֲלֶנּוּ כַּצְּבִי וְכָאַיָּל" וַהֲרֵי הוּא נִכְסֵי כֹּהֵן:

4

It is a mitzvah to sanctify a firstborn kosher animal and say: "Behold, this is holy," as Deuteronomy 15:19 states: "Every firstborn shall you sanctify unto God your Lord." Even if the owner did not sanctify it, it is sanctified as a matter of course. It is sanctified upon its emergence from the womb.

ד

מִצְוָה לְהַקְדִּישׁ בְּכוֹר בְּהֵמָה טְהוֹרָה וְיֹאמַר הֲרֵי זֶה קֹדֶשׁ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים טו יט) "תַּקְדִּישׁ לַה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ" וְאִם לֹא הִקְדִּישׁוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מִתְקַדֵּשׁ מֵאֵלָיו וּקְדֻשָּׁתוֹ מֵרֶחֶם הִיא:

5

The mitzvah of the firstborn kosher animal is observed in Eretz Yisrael and in the Diaspora. Firstborn animals from the Diaspora should not be brought to Eretz Yisrael. This is derived from ibid. 14:23: "And you shall eat before God your Lord... the tithes of your grain, your wine, your oil, the firstborn of your herds and your sheep." Implied is that from the place where you bring "the tithes of your grain," you should bring firstborn cattle and sheep. From where you do not bring "the tithes of your grain," you should not bring firstborn cattle and sheep. Instead, those firstborn animals are like ordinary property and should be eaten after they become blemished. If one brings firstborn animals from the Diaspora to Jerusalem, they should not be accepted, nor should they be sacrificed. Instead, they should be eaten after they become blemished.

ה

מִצְוַת בְּכוֹר בְּהֵמָה טְהוֹרָה נוֹהֶגֶת בָּאָרֶץ וּבְחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ וְאֵין מְבִיאִין בְּכוֹרוֹת מִחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ לָאָרֶץ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יד כג) "וְאָכַלְתָּ לִפְנֵי ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ" (דברים יד כג) "מַעְשַׂר דְּגָנְךָ תִּירשְׁךָ וְיִצְהָרֶךָ וּבְכֹרֹת בְּקָרְךָ וְצֹאנֶךָ". מִמָּקוֹם שֶׁאַתָּה מֵבִיא מַעֲשַׂר דָּגָן אַתָּה מֵבִיא בְּכוֹר בָּקָר וָצֹאן וּמִמָּקוֹם שֶׁאֵין אַתָּה מֵבִיא מַעֲשַׂר דָּגָן אִי אַתָּה מֵבִיא בְּכוֹר בָּקָר וָצֹאן אֶלָּא הֲרֵי הוּא כְּחֻלִּין וְיֵאָכֵל בְּמוּמוֹ. וְאִם הֵבִיא אֵין מְקַבְּלִין מִמֶּנּוּ וְלֹא יִקָּרֵב אֶלָּא יֵאָכֵל בְּמוּמוֹ:

6

This mitzvah is observed whether the Temple is standing or not, like the tithes of grain. It does not apply to the offspring of consecrated animals - whether consecrated to be offered on the altar or consecrated for the Temple treasury - while they remain consecrated before they are redeemed.

ו

מִצְוָה זוֹ נוֹהֶגֶת בֵּין בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת כְּמוֹ מַעֲשַׂר דָּגָן. וְאֵינָהּ נוֹהֶגֶת בְּמֻקְדָּשִׁין כְּשֶׁהֵן בִּקְדֻשָּׁתָן קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּפָּדוּ בֵּין קָדְשֵׁי מִזְבֵּחַ בֵּין קָדְשֵׁי בֶּדֶק הַבַּיִת:

7

Everyone is obligated in the mitzvah of setting aside a firstborn issue of a kosher animal: priests, Levites, and Israelites. Even though a firstborn issue is given to a priest, if a firstborn issue is born to a priest, he must offer its blood and fats and organs, as stated. And he must eat the remainder of the meat according to the laws pertaining to a firstborn, as Deuteronomy 15:19 states: "Every firstborn that is born in your herds and your cattle, you shall sanctify." The priests and the Levites are, however, exempt with regard to the mitzvot applying to the firstborn of humans and the firstborn of non-kosher animals, as we explained in Hilchot Matanot Kehunah.

ז

הַכּל חַיָּבִין בִּבְכוֹר בְּהֵמָה טְהוֹרָה כֹּהֲנִים לְוִיִּים וְיִשְׂרְאֵלִים. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַבְּכוֹר לַכֹּהֵן אִם נוֹלַד לוֹ בְּכוֹר מַקְרִיב דָּמוֹ וְאֵימוּרָיו כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ וְאוֹכֵל שְׁאָר הַבָּשָׂר בְּתוֹרַת בְּכוֹר. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים טו יט) "כָּל הַבְּכוֹר אֲשֶׁר יִוָּלֵד בִּבְקָרְךָ וּבְצֹאנְךָ" וְגוֹ'. אֲבָל בְּכוֹר אָדָם וּבְכוֹר בְּהֵמָה טְמֵאָה כֹּהֲנִים וּלְוִיִּים פְּטוּרִין כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת מַתְּנוֹת כְּהֻנָּה:

8

A firstborn animal should be eaten within the first year of its life, whether it is unblemished or blemished, as ibid.:20-22 states: "Eat it before God your Lord, year after year.... If it has a blemish,... eat it in your gates."

From when is the year calculated? If it is unblemished, it should be calculated from the eighth day of its life, for then it is fit to be offered as a sacrifice. If it was born blemished, the year should be calculated from the day of its birth, because it could be eaten on that day, provided it was born after a full-term pregnancy. If, however, it is not known whether it was born after a full-term pregnancy, the year should be calculated from the eighth day.

ח

הַבְּכוֹר נֶאֱכָל בְּתוֹךְ שְׁנָתוֹ בֵּין תָמִים בֵּין בַּעַל מוּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים טו כ) "לִפְנֵי ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ תֹּאכֲלֶנּוּ שָׁנָה בְּשָׁנָה" (דברים טו כא) "וְכִי יִהְיֶה בּוֹ מוּם" (דברים טו כב) "בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ תֹּאכֲלֶנּוּ". וּמֵאֵימָתַי מוֹנֶה לוֹ. אִם תָּם הוּא מוֹנֶה לוֹ מִיּוֹם שְׁמִינִי שֶׁהוּא רָאוּי לְהַקְרָבָה וְאִם נוֹלַד בַּעַל מוּם מוֹנֶה לוֹ מִיּוֹם שֶׁנּוֹלַד. וְהוּא שֶׁכָּלוּ לוֹ חֳדָשָׁיו שֶׁהֲרֵי נִרְאֶה לַאֲכִילָה בְּיוֹם לֵידָתוֹ. אֲבָל אִם לֹא יָדַע בְּוַדַּאי שֶׁכָּלוּ לוֹ חֳדָשָׁיו מוֹנֶה לוֹ מִיּוֹם שְׁמִינִי:

9

If a firstborn animal contracts a blemish in the midst of its year, it is permitted to keep it for twelve months. If it contracts a blemish at the end of its year, it is permitted to keep it for thirty days from the day it contracted the blemish, even though this delays eating it after its year.

What is implied? For example, it contracted a blemish on the fifteenth day before the end of its year, it is granted another fifteen days after its year. If it contracted a blemish after its year, he may not keep it more than 30 days. Afterwards, it must be eaten.

ט

נוֹלַד לוֹ מוּם בְּתוֹךְ שְׁנָתוֹ רַשַּׁאי לְקַיְּמוֹ כָּל שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ. נוֹלַד לוֹ מוּם בְּסוֹף שְׁנָתוֹ מֻתָּר לְקַיְּמוֹ שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם מִיּוֹם שֶׁנָּפַל בּוֹ הַמּוּם וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא מִתְאַחֵר לְאַחַר שְׁנָתוֹ. כֵּיצַד. כְּגוֹן שֶׁנָּפַל בּוֹ מוּם בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר יוֹם לִפְנֵי גְּמַר שְׁנָתוֹ מַשְׁלִימִין לוֹ חֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר אַחַר שְׁנָתוֹ. נוֹלָד לוֹ מוּם אַחַר שְׁנָתוֹ אֵינוֹ רַשַּׁאי לְקַיְּמוֹ אֶלָּא עַד שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם וְיֵאָכֵל:

10

In the present age, a firstborn animal should be left until it contracts a blemish and then eaten.

י

הַבְּכוֹר בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה מַנִּיחוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּפּל בּוֹ מוּם וְיֵאָכֵל:

11

If a blemish did not appear so that it could be shown to a sage, one may keep the animal for two or three years. Should a blemish appear so that it could be shown to a sage, if the blemish is contracted within a year, it is permitted to be kept for an entire twelve month period. If it contracts a blemish after its first year, one may maintain it for thirty days.

יא

וְעַד שֶׁלֹּא נִרְאֶה לְהַרְאוֹתוֹ לְחָכָם רַשַּׁאי לְקַיְּמוֹ שְׁתַּיִם וְשָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים. וּמִשֶּׁנִּרְאֶה לְהַרְאוֹתוֹ לְחָכָם. אִם נוֹלַד בּוֹ מוּם בְּתוֹךְ שְׁנָתוֹ רַשַּׁאי לְקַיְּמוֹ כָּל שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ. נוֹלַד אַחַר שְׁנָתוֹ מְקַיְּמוֹ שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם:

12

The year of a firstborn animal is a full lunar year, twelve months from day to day. If it was a leap year, it benefits from the addition and it is granted thirteen months.

If two lambs were born to a person, one on the fifteenth of the first Adar and one on the first day of the second Adar, when the first day of Adar in the following year arrives, the second lamb is considered to have its year completed. The one born in the middle of the first Adar, by contrast, is not considered to have its year completed until the middle of the Adar in the following year. Since it was born in the extra month, it is counted for it.

יב

שָׁנָה שֶׁל בְּכוֹר הִיא שְׁנַת לְבָנָה תְּמִימָה שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ מִיּוֹם לְיוֹם. וְאִם הָיְתָה שָׁנָה מְעֻבֶּרֶת נִתְעַבְּרָה לוֹ וּמוֹנֶה לוֹ שְׁלֹשָׁה עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ. נוֹלְדוּ לוֹ שְׁנֵי טְלָאִים אֶחָד בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר שֶׁל אֲדָר הָרִאשׁוֹן וְאֶחָד בְּרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ אֲדָר שֵׁנִי. זֶה שֶׁנּוֹלַד בְּרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ אֲדָר שֵׁנִי כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן בַּאֲדָר שֶׁל שָׁנָה הַבָּאָה עָלְתָה לוֹ שָׁנָה וְזֶה שֶׁנּוֹלַד בַּחֲצִי אֲדָר רִאשׁוֹן לֹא עָלְתָה לוֹ שָׁנָה עַד חֲצִי אֲדָר שֶׁל שָׁנָה הַבָּאָה הוֹאִיל וְנוֹלַד בְּחֹדֶשׁ הָעִבּוּר מוֹנִין אוֹתוֹ לוֹ:

13

If a person transgressed and kept a firstborn animal for more than a year, although he violates a negative commandment, it is not disqualified from being brought as an offering if it is unblemished. If it is blemished, it may be slaughtered anywhere as evident from the prooftext that states: "the tithes of your grain, your wine, your oil, the firstborn of your herds and your sheep." An association is made between the firstborn animal and the tithes. Just as the tithes are not disqualified from one year to the next, so too, a firstborn animal is not disqualified from one year to the next.41

יג

עָבַר וְאִחֵר הַבְּכוֹר לְאַחַר שְׁנָתוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה אִם הָיָה תָּם הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא נִפְסַל אֶלָּא מַקְרִיבוֹ וְאִם הָיָה בַּעַל מוּם שׁוֹחֲטוֹ בְּכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יד כג) "מַעְשַׂר דְּגָנְךָ תִּירשְׁךָ וְיִצְהָרֶךָ וּבְכֹרֹת בְּקָרְךָ וְצֹאנֶךָ" מַקִּישׁ בְּכוֹר לְמַעֲשֵׂר מַה מַּעֲשֵׂר אֵינוֹ נִפְסַל מִשָּׁנָה לַחֲבֶרְתָּהּ אַף בְּכוֹר אֵינוֹ נִפְסַל מִשָּׁנָה לַחֲבֶרְתָּהּ:

14

A firstborn animal should not be given to a priest directly after it was born, for this is not respectful to the priest. Instead, the owner of the animal should care for it until it matures lightly. Then he should give it to the priest.

For how long is an Israelite obligated to care for a firstborn animal? For a small animal, for 30 days. For a large animal, 50 days.

If a priest tells him: "Give it to me in the midst of this time and I will tend to it myself," he is not allowed to give it to him, for this is like a priest helping in order to receive his presents. We already explained in Hilchot Terumotthat priests who assist in the granaries, the butcher shops, and among the shepherds should not be given their presents as wages.

יד

אֵין נוֹתְנִין אֶת הַבְּכוֹר לַכֹּהֵן כְּשֶׁיִּוָּלֵד שֶׁאֵין זוֹ גְּדֻלָּה לַכֹּהֵן. אֶלָּא יְטַפֵּל בּוֹ בְּעָלָיו עַד שֶׁיַּגְדִּיל מְעַט וְיִתְּנֶנּוּ לַכֹּהֵן. וְעַד כַּמָּה יִשְׂרָאֵל חַיָּבִין לְהִטָּפֵל בַּבְּכוֹר. בְּהֵמָה דַּקָּה שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם וּבְגַסָּה חֲמִשִּׁים יוֹם. וְאִם אָמַר לוֹ הַכֹּהֵן תְּנֵהוּ לִי בְּתוֹךְ זְמַן זֶה וַאֲנִי אֲטַפֵּל לְעַצְמִי אֵינוֹ רַשַּׁאי לִתְּנוֹ לוֹ שֶׁזֶּה כְּמוֹ מְסַיֵּעַ עַל מַתְּנוֹתָיו וּכְבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ בִּתְרוּמוֹת שֶׁהַכֹּהֲנִים הַמְסַיְּעִין בְּבֵית הַגֳּרָנוֹת וּבְבֵית הַמִּטְבָּחַיִם וּבְתוֹךְ הָרוֹעִים אֵין נוֹתְנִין לָהֶם מַתְּנוֹתֵיהֶן בִּשְׂכָרָן:

15

If the firstborn animal was blemished and a priest told the owner in the interval mentioned above: "Give it to me so that I can partake of it now," or if it was unblemished and he told him: "Give it to me in this interval so that I can offer it now," he may give it to him.

It appears to me that a person may give a firstborn animal to any priest that he desires.

טו

הָיָה הַבְּכוֹר בַּעַל מוּם וְאָמַר לוֹ בְּתוֹךְ זְמַן זֶה תְּנֵהוּ לִי שֶׁאֹכֲלֶנּוּ עַתָּה. אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה תָמִים וְאָמַר לוֹ תְּנֵהוּ לִי בְּתוֹךְ זְמַן זֶה שֶׁאַקְרִיבֶנּוּ עַתָּה הֲרֵי זֶה נוֹתְנוֹ לוֹ. וְיֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁהַבְּכוֹר נוֹתֵן לְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיִּרְצֶה:

16

When a priest eats an olive-sized portion of an unblemished firstborn animal outside of Jerusalem, he is liable for lashes according to Scriptural Law, as Deuteronomy 12:17 states: "You may not eat the tithes of your grain, your wine, your oil, the firstborn of your herds and your sheep... in your gates."

Similarly, a non-priest who partakes of an olive-sized portion of a firstborn animal whether before its blood was poured on the altar or afterwards is liable for lashes. According to the Oral Tradition, it was taught that this admonition applies also to a non-priest who partakes of a firstborn, whether before its blood was poured on the altar or afterwards.

טז

כֹּהֵן שֶׁאָכַל כְּזַיִת מִבְּכוֹר תָּמִים חוּץ לִירוּשָׁלַיִם לוֹקֶה מִן הַתּוֹרָה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יב יז) "לֹא תוּכַל לֶאֱכל בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ מַעְשַׂר דְּגָנְךָ תִּירשְׁךָ וְיִצְהָרֶךָ וּבְכֹרֹת בְּקָרְךָ וְצֹאנֶךָ". וְכֵן זָר שֶׁאָכַל כְּזַיִת מִבְּכוֹר בֵּין לִפְנֵי זְרִיקָה בֵּין לְאַחַר זְרִיקָה לוֹקֶה. מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁזּוֹ אַזְהָרָה אַף לְזָר שֶׁאָכַל בְּכוֹר בֵּין לִפְנֵי זְרִיקָה בֵּין לְאַחַר זְרִיקָה:

17

A firstborn kosher animal should not be redeemed, as Numbers 18:17 states: "But the firstborn of an ox, the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat should not be redeemed. Similarly, it should not be sold if it is unblemished. The rationale is that since the animal is intended as a sacrifice, the priest does not have the right to sell it.

In the present age, when there is no Temple, since the firstborn is intended to be eaten, it is permitted to sell it, even though it is presently unblemished. It may be sold either to a priest or to an Israelite.

יז

הַבְּכוֹר אֵין פּוֹדִין אוֹתוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יח יז) "אַךְ בְּכוֹר שׁוֹר אוֹ בְכוֹר כֶּשֶׂב אוֹ בְכוֹר עֵז לֹא תִפְדֶּה". וְכֵן אֵין מוֹכְרִין אוֹתוֹ כְּשֶׁהוּא תָּם שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁהוּא עוֹמֵד לְקָרְבָּן אֵין לַכֹּהֵן בּוֹ זְכוּת כְּדֵי לְמָכְרוֹ. וּבַזְּמַן הַזֶּה שֶׁאֵין בַּיִת הוֹאִיל וְהוּא עוֹמֵד לַאֲכִילָה הֲרֵי הוּא מֻתָּר לְמָכְרוֹ וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא תָמִים בֵּין לְכֹהֵן בֵּין לְיִשְׂרָאֵל:

18

A priest may sell a blemished firstborn animal, in every age, whether the Temple is standing, whether it is not standing, whether it is alive, whether it has been slaughtered.

When one sells a blemished firstborn, he should sell it at home, but not in the market-place, as we explained in Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach. The meat of an unblemished firstborn animal, by contrast, should not be sold, because it is consecrated meat. Priests who are partners in the ownership of a firstborn animal are permitted to weigh one portion against another.

יח

בְּכוֹר בַּעַל מוּם יֵשׁ לַכֹּהֵן לְמָכְרוֹ בְּכָל זְמַן בֵּין לִפְנֵי הַבַּיִת בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא לִפְנֵי הַבַּיִת. בֵּין חַי בֵּין שָׁחוּט. וּכְשֶׁהוּא מוֹכֵר בְּשַׂר בְּכוֹר בַּעַל מוּם מוֹכְרוֹ בַּבַּיִת אֲבָל לֹא בַּשּׁוּק כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת אִסּוּרֵי מִזְבֵּחַ אֲבָל בְּשַׂר בְּכוֹר תָּמִים אֵינוֹ נִמְכָּר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא בְּשַׂר קֹדֶשׁ. וְכֹהֲנִים שֶׁנִּמְנוּ עִם הַבְּכוֹר מֻתָּרִין לִשְׁקל מָנָה כְּנֶגֶד מָנָה:

19

When a person skins a blemished firstborn animal, he is permitted to skin it in any manner he desires. If he desires to employ the technique called riggul,he may. The same applies to other consecrated animals that were disqualified.If he desired to skin it from the foot up, he may skin it in that manner.

יט

הַמַּפְשִׁיט בְּכוֹר בַּעַל מוּם הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לְהַפְשִׁיטוֹ בְּאֵי זֶה דֶּרֶךְ שֶׁיִּרְצֶה. אִם רָצָה לְהַרְגִּיל מַרְגִּיל. וְכֵן שְׁאָר פְּסוּלֵי הַמֻּקְדָּשִׁין אִם רָצָה לְהַפְשִׁיט מִן הָרֶגֶל מַפְשִׁיט:

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