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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Arachim Vacharamim - Chapter 1

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Arachim Vacharamim - Chapter 1

Introduction to Hilchos - Chapter 1

They contain seven mitzvot: five positive commandments and two negative commandment. They are:

1. To apply the judgments [applying to] endowment evaluations concerning humans, as prescribed by the Torah; these are the laws of endowment evaluations concerning humans.
2. The laws [applying to] endowment evaluations concerning animals.
3. The laws [applying to] endowment evaluations concerning homes.
4. The laws [applying to] endowment evaluations concerning fields.
5. The laws [applying to] one who designates his property as a devotion offering.
6. That [property designated as] a devotion offering should not be sold.
7. That [property designated as] a devotion offering should not be redeemed.

These mitzvot are explained in the ensuing chapters.

הלכות ערכין וחרמין - הקדמה הלכות ערכין וחרמין יש בכללן שבע מצות חמש מצות עשה ושתים מצות לא תעשה וזה הוא פרטן: (א) לדון בערכי אדם כאשר מפורש בתורה וזהו דין ערכי אדם
(ב) דין ערכי בהמה
(ג) דין ערכי בתים
(ד) דין ערכי שדות
(ה) דין מחרים נכסיו
(ו) שלא ימכר חרם
(ז) שלא יגאל חרם וביאור מצות אלו בפרקים אלו:


Endowment valuations [arechim]1 are pledges included in the category of vows made to consecrate property,2 as [Leviticus] 27:2 states: "When a man will utter a vow, making an endowment evaluation concerning humans to God." Therefore [failure to fulfill them] makes one liable for the violation [of the prohibitions, Numbers 30:3:] "He shall not desecrate his word,"3 and [Deuteronomy 23:22]: "Do not delay in paying it,"4 and [the positive commandment, Numbers, loc. cit.]: "He shall act in accordance with all that he uttered with his mouth."5


הָעֲרָכִים הֵם נֵדֶר מִכְּלַל נִדְרֵי הֶקְדֵּשׁ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כז ב) "אִישׁ כִּי יַפְלִא נֶדֶר בְּעֶרְכְּךָ נְפָשֹׁת לַה'". לְפִיכָךְ חַיָּבִין עֲלֵיהֶן מִשּׁוּם (במדבר ל ג) "לֹא יַחֵל דְּבָרוֹ" וְ(דברים כג כב) "לֹא תְאַחֵר לְשַׁלְּמוֹ" וּמִשּׁוּם (במדבר ל ג) "כְּכָל הַיֹּצֵא מִפִּיו יַעֲשֶׂה":


It is a positive commandment to render judgment concerning arechim as prescribed by the Torah.6 Whether one says: "I pledge my airech," "I pledge the airech of this person," or "I pledge the airech of so-and-so," he must pay the airech as prescribed according to the age of the person specified.7This is a fixed amount as dictated by the Torah, neither more, nor less.


מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לָדוּן בְּדִינֵי עֲרָכִין כַּאֲשֶׁר מְפֹרָשׁ בַּתּוֹרָה. וְאֶחָד הָאוֹמֵר עֶרְכִּי עָלַי. אוֹ הָאוֹמֵר עֵרֶךְ זֶה עָלַי. אוֹ עֵרֶךְ פְּלוֹנִי עָלַי. נוֹתֵן הָעֵרֶךְ לְפִי שְׁנֵי הַנֶּעֱרָךְ וְהוּא הַדָּבָר הַקָּצוּב שֶׁבַּתּוֹרָה לֹא פָּחוֹת וְלֹא יֶתֶר:


What is the airech [prescribed by the Torah]? If the person whose airech was donated was 30 days old or less,8 he has no airech. When one says: "I pledge the airech of this person," [and the person is 30 days old or less,] it is as if he said: "I pledge the airech of this utensil"9 and [the donor] is not liable at all.

If [the person whose airech was donated] was between 30 days old and a full five years,10 the airech of a male is five [silver] shekalim and of a female, three [silver] shekalim.11 From when one begins his or her sixth year until the completion of the twentieth year, the airech of a male is 20 [silver] shekalim and of a female, 10 [silver] shekalim. From when one begins his or her twenty-first year until the completion of the sixtieth year, the airech of a male is 50 [silver] shekalim and of a female, 30 [silver] shekalim..From when one begins his or her sixty-first year until the day of his or her death, [regardless of] the number of years [he or she lives,] theairech of a male is 15 [silver] shekalim and of a female, 10 [silver]shekalim..


וְכַמָּה הוּא הָעֵרֶךְ. אִם הָיָה הַנֶּעֱרָךְ בֶּן שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם אוֹ פָּחוֹת אֵין לוֹ עֵרֶךְ וְהָאוֹמֵר עָלָיו עֵרֶךְ זֶה עָלַי הֲרֵי זֶה כְּאוֹמֵר עֵרֶךְ כְּלִי זֶה עָלַי וְאֵינוֹ חַיָּב כְּלוּם. הָיָה מִבֶּן אֶחָד וּשְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם עַד בֶּן חָמֵשׁ שָׁנִים גְּמוּרוֹת עֵרֶךְ הַזָּכָר חֲמִשָּׁה שְׁקָלִים וְהַנְּקֵבָה שְׁלֹשָׁה שְׁקָלִים. מִשֶּׁנִּכְנַס בִּשְׁנַת שֵׁשׁ יוֹם אֶחָד עַד שֶׁיַּשְׁלִים שְׁנַת עֶשְׂרִים עֵרֶךְ הַזָּכָר עֶשְׂרִים שְׁקָלִים וְהַנְּקֵבָה עֲשָׂרָה שְׁקָלִים. מִשֶּׁיִּכָּנֵס בִּשְׁנַת אַחַת וְעֶשְׂרִים יוֹם עַד שֶׁיַּשְׁלִים שְׁנַת שִׁשִּׁים עֵרֶךְ הַזָּכָר חֲמִשִּׁים שְׁקָלִים וְהַנְּקֵבָה שְׁלֹשִׁים שְׁקָלִים. וּמִשֶּׁיִּכָּנֵס בִּשְׁנַת אַחַת וְשִׁשִּׁים יוֹם עַד יוֹם מוֹתוֹ אֲפִלּוּ חָיָה כַּמָּה שָׁנִים עֵרֶךְ הַזָּכָר חֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר שְׁקָלִים וְהַנְּקֵבָה עֲשָׂרָה שְׁקָלִים:


All of these years are calculated from day to day from the person's birthday.12 All of the shekalim are holy shekalim, i.e., the weight in pure silver of 320 barley corns. [Our Sages] already added to the value [of this coin] and made it equivalent to a sela,13 as we explained in Hilchot Shekalim.14


כָּל הַשָּׁנִים הָאֵלּוּ מֵעֵת לְעֵת מִיּוֹם הַלֵּדָה. וְכָל הַשְּׁקָלִים בְּשֶׁקֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְהוּא מִשְׁקַל שְׁלֹשׁ מֵאוֹת וְעֶשְׂרִים שְׂעוֹרָה מִכֶּסֶף טָהוֹר. וּכְבָר הוֹסִיפוּ עָלָיו וְעָשׂוּ אוֹתוֹ סֶלַע כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת שְׁקָלִים:


There is no airech for a tumtum15 or an androgynus,16 for the Torah prescribed an airech only for a male whose status is definite or a female whose status is definite. Therefore if a tumtum or an androgynus says: "I pledge my airech," or another person pledges their airech, their statements are of no consequence.17


טֻמְטוּם וְאַנְדְּרוֹגִינוּס אֵין לָהֶם עֵרֶךְ שֶׁלֹּא קָצְבָה תּוֹרָה עֵרֶךְ אֶלָּא לְזָכָר וַדַּאי אוֹ לִנְקֵבָה וַדָּאִית. לְפִיכָךְ טֻמְטוּם וְאַנְדְּרוֹגִינוּס שֶׁאָמַר עֶרְכִּי עָלַי אוֹ שֶׁהֶעֱרִיכוֹ אַחֵר אֵינוֹ חַיָּב כְּלוּם:


An airech may be pledged for a gentile, but the pledge of a gentile is of no consequence.18 What is implied? When a gentile says: "I pledge my airech," or "I pledge the airech of this Jew," his words are of no consequence. When, [by contrast,] a Jew says: "I pledge the airech of this gentile" or "I pledge the airech of so-and-so, the gentile," he must pay according to the age of the gentile whose airech he pledged. Similarly, if one pledges the airech of a deaf-mute or an intellectually or emotionally unstable person,19 he is obligated to pay according to that person's age.


הָעַכּוּ''ם נֶעֱרָךְ אֲבָל אֵינוֹ מַעֲרִיךְ. כֵּיצַד. עַכּוּ''ם שֶׁאָמַר עֶרְכִּי עָלַי אוֹ עֵרֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל זֶה עָלַי לֹא אָמַר כְּלוּם. וְיִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁאָמַר עֵרֶךְ עַכּוּ''ם זֶה עָלַי אוֹ עֵרֶךְ פְּלוֹנִי הָעַכּוּ''ם עָלַי נוֹתֵן לְפִי שְׁנֵי הָעַכּוּ''ם הַנֶּעֱרָךְ. וְכֵן הַמַּעֲרִיךְ אֶת הַחֵרֵשׁ וְאֶת הַשּׁוֹטֶה חַיָּב וְנוֹתֵן לְפִי שָׁנָיו:


An airech may be pledged for a servant and he may pledge an airech like any member of the Jewish people.20 If he is redeemed21 and he has financial resources, he should pay the pledge that he vowed.


הָעֶבֶד נֶעֱרָךְ וְעוֹרֵךְ כִּשְׁאָר יִשְׂרָאֵל. וְאִם יִפָּדֶה וְהָיָה לוֹ יִתֵּן עֵרֶךְ שֶׁנָּדַר:


Whether a person pledges the airech of an attractive, healthy person or one who is ugly and infirm, he must give the fixed amount specified by the Torah according to the age of that person.22 [This applies] even if that person has leprous blotches, is blind, lacking a limb, or possesses any type of blemish.


אֶחָד הַמַּעֲרִיךְ אֶת הַיָּפֶה הַבָּרִיא וְאֶחָד הַמַּעֲרִיךְ אֶת הַכָּעוּר הַחוֹלֶה. אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה הַנֶּעֱרָךְ מֻכֶּה שְׁחִין אוֹ סוּמָא אוֹ גִּדֵּם וְיֵשׁ בּוֹ כָּל מוּם נוֹתֵן לְפִי שָׁנָיו כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה:


Pledges for a person's worth are not like arechim. What is implied? When a person says: "I am responsible for my worth," "I am responsible for that person's worth," or "I am responsible for the worth of so-and-so," he must pay the worth of that person as if he were a servant sold in the marketplace,23 whether it be a dinar or a thousand dinar.24 [This applies] even if that person is a minor one day old, a tumtum, an androgynus25 or a gentile.26


הַדָּמִים אֵינָן כַּעֲרָכִין. כֵּיצַד. הָאוֹמֵר דָּמַי עָלַי אוֹ דְּמֵי זֶה עָלַי אוֹ דְּמֵי פְּלוֹנִי עָלַי אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה אוֹתוֹ פְּלוֹנִי קָטָן בֶּן יוֹמוֹ אוֹ טֻמְטוּם וְאַנְדְּרוֹגִינוּס אוֹ עַכּוּ''ם נוֹתֵן מַה שֶּׁהוּא שְׁוֵה דִּינָר אוֹ אֶלֶף כְּאִלּוּ הוּא עֶבֶד הַנִּמְכָּר בַּשּׁוּק:


Unless specified otherwise,27 all arechim and all pledges of worth are [dedicated to] physical improvements to the Temple.28 They are placed in a special chamber in the Temple which is prepared for [funds] consecrated for physical improvements to the Temple.


וְהָעֲרָכִים כֻּלָּן וְהַדָּמִים הַכּל סְתָמָן לְבֶדֶק הַבַּיִת וְיִפְּלוּ הַכּל לַלִּשְׁכָּה שֶׁהָיְתָה בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ מוּכֶנֶת לְקָדְשֵׁי בֶּדֶק הַבַּיִת:


When a gentile says: "I am responsible for my worth" or "I am responsible for the worth of so-and-so," he must pay according to his vow. [The money] is not, however, placed in the [abovementioned] chamber. For we do not accept pledges or vows from gentiles to make physical improvements in the Temple or in Jerusalem as [Ezra 4:3]: "It is not for you [together] with us to build [a house for our God]." And [Nechemiah] 2:20] states: "And you do not have a portion, a right, or a remembrance in Jerusalem."


עַכּוּ''ם שֶׁאָמַר דָּמַי עָלַי אוֹ דְּמֵי פְּלוֹנִי עָלַי נוֹתֵן כְּפִי נִדְרוֹ וְאֵינוֹ נוֹפֵל לַלִּשְׁכָּה שֶׁאֵין מְקַבְּלִין מִן הָעַכּוּ''ם נְדָבָה אוֹ נֵדֶר לְחַזֵּק אֶת בֶּדֶק הַבַּיִת אוֹ בֶּדֶק יְרוּשָׁלַיִם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (עזרא ד ג) "לֹא לָכֶם וָלָנוּ לִבְנוֹת בַּיִת" וְגוֹ'. וְנֶאֱמַר (נחמיה ב כ) "וְלָכֶם אֵין חֵלֶק וּצְדָקָה וְזִכָּרוֹן בִּירוּשָׁלָיִם":


What should be done with [these gifts]? We should question the gentile regarding the intent he had when taking the vow. If he had the intent to give it according to the guidance of the Jewish people, the court may use it for anything they see fit29 except improvements to the Temple and Jerusalem. If he said: "I took the vow for the sake of Heaven," [his gift] should be entombed.30


וּמַה יַּעֲשֶׂה בָּהֶן. יִבָּדֵק הָעַכּוּ''ם עַל דַּעַת מִי נָדַר. אִם נָדַר עַל דַּעַת יִשְׂרָאֵל יוֹצִיאוּהוּ בֵּית דִּין בְּמַה שֶּׁיֵּרָאֶה לָהֶם חוּץ מִבֶּדֶק הַבַּיִת וּבֶדֶק יְרוּשָׁלַיִם. וְאִם אָמַר לַשָּׁמַיִם נָדַרְתִּי יִגָּנְזוּ:


When a person is in his death throes,31 he has no airech,32 nor has he any worth. Since most people in their death throes will die, he is considered as if he is [already] dead.33 Similarly, if a person was sentenced by a Jewish court to be executed because of a transgression that he committed34 and another person pledged his airech, he pledged his own airech, or he pledged his worth or another person pledged his worth, none of the above are liable for anything. For the person is considered as if he is already dead and a deceased person has no airech, nor any worth. With regard to this, [Leviticus 27:29] states: "Any condemned person who is condemned from mankind shall not be redeemed,"35 i.e., there is no redemption for him and he is considered as if he is dead.


הַגּוֹסֵס אֵין לוֹ לֹא עֵרֶךְ וְלֹא דָּמִים הוֹאִיל וְרֹב הַגּוֹסְסִין לְמִיתָה הֲרֵי הוּא כְּמֵת. וְכֵן מִי שֶׁנִּגְמַר דִּינוֹ בְּבֵית דִּין שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל לְהָרְגוֹ עַל עֲבֵרָה שֶׁעָבַר וְהֶעֱרִיכוֹ אַחֵר אוֹ שֶׁהֶעֱרִיךְ עַצְמוֹ אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר דָּמַי עָלַי אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר אַחֵר דְּמֵי זֶה עָלַי אֵינוֹ חַיָּב כְּלוּם שֶׁזֶּה כְּמֵת הוּא וְהַמֵּת אֵין לוֹ עֵרֶךְ וְלֹא דָּמִים. וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר (ויקרא כז כט) "כָּל חֵרֶם אֲשֶׁר יָחֳרַם מִן הָאָדָם לֹא יִפָּדֶה" כְּלוֹמַר אֵין לוֹ פִּדְיוֹן אֶלָּא הֲרֵי הוּא כְּמֵת:


If a person who is being led to his execution pledges the airech of other people, pledges their worth, or causes damage, he is obligated to pay. [The money owed] is collected from his estate.36


זֶה הַיּוֹצֵא לֵהָרֵג שֶׁהֶעֱרִיךְ אֲחֵרִים אוֹ נָדַר דְּמֵיהֶם אוֹ הִזִּיק חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם וְגוֹבִין הַכּל מִנְּכָסָיו:


Priests and Levites may pledge arechim and their airech may be pledged by others like other Israelites.37 When a minor reaches the age when his vows are of consequence,38 and pledges a person's airech or worth, he is obligated to pay,39 for his vows are of consequence, as we explained in Hilchot Nedarim.


כֹּהֲנִים וּלְוִיִּים מַעֲרִיכִין וְנֶעֱרָכִין כִּשְׁאָר יִשְׂרָאֵל. וְקָטָן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ לְעוֹנַת נְדָרִים וְהֶעֱרִיךְ אוֹ נָדַר דָּמִים חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם שֶׁהֲרֵי נְדָרָיו קַיָּמִים כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת נְדָרִים:


The arechim are fixed according to the age of the person who is the object of the pledge, not the age of the person making the pledge. What is implied? When a twenty year-old tells a sixty year-old, "I pledge your airech," he must give the airech of a sixty year-old. When a sixty year-old tells a twenty year-old, "I pledge your airech," he must give the airech of a twenty year-old. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.


הָעֲרָכִין הַקְּצוּבִין לְפִי הַשָּׁנִים הֵן שְׁנֵי הַנֶּעֱרָךְ וְלֹא שְׁנֵי הַמַּעֲרִיךְ. כֵּיצַד. בֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שֶׁאָמַר לְבֶן שִׁשִּׁים עֶרְכְּךָ עָלַי נוֹתֵן עֵרֶךְ בֶּן שִׁשִּׁים. וּבֶן שִׁשִּׁים שֶׁאָמַר לְבֶן עֶשְׂרִים עֶרְכְּךָ עָלַי נוֹתֵן עֵרֶךְ בֶּן עֶשְׂרִים. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:


The statements of the person pledging the airech must match his intent, as [is the law with regard] to other vows.40 One may appeal [to a sage] for the absolution of a pledge of an airech or one's worth, just as one may appeal for the absolution of other vows and consecrations.41


וְצָרִיךְ הַמַּעֲרִיךְ שֶׁיְּהֵא פִּיו וְלִבּוֹ שָׁוִין כִּשְׁאָר הַנְּדָרִים. וְנִשְׁאָלִין עַל הָעֲרָכִין וְעַל הַדָּמִים כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁנִּשְׁאָלִין עַל שְׁאָר נְדָרִים וְהֶקְדֵּשׁוֹת:


When a person says: "I am responsible for the airech of these individuals," he must pay the combined airech of them all, each one of them according to his years. If he42 was poor, he should give one airech paid by a poor man43 for them all together. If he was wealthy, he should give the airech paid by a wealthy man44 for each one of them.


הָאוֹמֵר עֵרֶךְ אֵלּוּ עָלַי נוֹתֵן עֵרֶךְ כֻּלָּן כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד לְפִי שָׁנָיו. וְאִם הָיָה עָנִי נוֹתֵן עַל יְדֵי כֻּלָּם עֵרֶךְ אֶחָד עָנִי. וְאִם הָיָה עָשִׁיר נוֹתֵן עַל יְדֵי כֻּלָּן עֵרֶךְ עָשִׁיר:


When a person says: "I pledge my airech" and then repeats: "I pledge my airech" - even if he makes this statement several times - he must pay an airech for each pledge.45 If he says: "I pledge two of my arechim, he must pay two arechim. This also applies if he pledges four, or even 1000, arechim, he must pay the number that he pledged.


הָאוֹמֵר עֶרְכִּי עָלַי וְחָזַר וְאָמַר עֶרְכִּי עָלַי וְכֵן אִם אָמַר אֲפִלּוּ כַּמָּה פְּעָמִים חַיָּב עַל כָּל אַחַת וְאַחַת. אָמַר שְׁנֵי עֶרְכִּי עָלַי נוֹתֵן שְׁנֵי עֲרָכִין. וְכֵן אִם אָמַר אַרְבָּעָה אֲפִלּוּ אֶלֶף נוֹתֵן כַּמִּנְיָן שֶׁנָּדַר:


When one says: "I pledge an airech" without identifying the person whose airech he is pledging, but mentions an airech without any more particulars, he is liable to pay the lowest of all arechim, i.e., three shekalim.46


אָמַר הֲרֵי עָלַי עֵרֶךְ וְלֹא פֵּרֵשׁ עֵרֶךְ מִי אֶלָּא עֵרֶךְ סְתָם נוֹתֵן פָּחוּת שֶׁבַּעֲרָכִין שֶׁהוּא שְׁלֹשֶׁת שְׁקָלִים:


When a person says: "I pledge my airech," but dies before standing before [a court for] appraisal,47 his heirs are not liable to pay, as [implied by Leviticus 27:8]: "And he shall be made to stand before the priests and the priest will evaluate him."48 If he stood before [a court for] appraisal and then died, the heirs must pay.49


הָאוֹמֵר עֶרְכִּי עָלַי וּמֵת קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּעֲמֹד בְּדִין אֵין הַיּוֹרְשִׁין חַיָּבִין לִתֵּן. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כז ח) "וְהֶעֱמִידוֹ לִפְנֵי הַכֹּהֵן וְהֶעֱרִיךְ אֹתוֹ הַכֹּהֵן". עָמַד בַּדִּין וּמֵת יִתְּנוּ הַיּוֹרְשִׁין:


If, however, he says: "I pledge my worth," even if he stands before [a court for] appraisal, but dies before they establish a fixed amount and the judges say how much he is worth, his heirs are not obligated to pay.50 If, however, they affixed his worth and then he died, his heirs must pay.


אֲבָל הָאוֹמֵר דָּמַי עָלַי אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעָמַד בְּדִין וּמֵת קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּקְצְצוּ דָּמָיו וְיֹאמְרוּ הַדַּיָּנִין כַּמָּה יִשְׁוֶה אֵין הַיּוֹרְשִׁין חַיָּבִין לִתֵּן. וְאִם קָצְבוּ דָּמָיו וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת יִתְּנוּ הַיּוֹרְשִׁין:


What is the difference between arechim and pledges of worth? [The amount required to be paid] for arechim is fixed by the Torah, while [the amount required to be paid] for a pledge of worth is not fixed.51

Similarly, when a person says: "I pledge the airech of so-and-so and both the person who made the pledge and the one whose airech was pledged died after the latter stood before [a court for] appraisal, the heirs [of the person who made the pledge] are obligated to pay.52 If the person whose airech was pledged died before standing before [a court for] appraisal, even though the person who made the pledge is alive, he is not liable. [The rationale is that] a deceased person does not have an airech and a person whose airech must stand before [a court for] appraisal [before the commitment becomes binding]. [Similarly,] if one said: "I pledge the worth of so-and-so" and that person stood for an appraisal, but died before an evaluation of his worth was established,53 [the one who made the pledge] is not liable, for a deceased person has no worth.


וּמַה בֵּין עֲרָכִין לְדָמִים. שֶׁעֲרָכִין קְצוּבִין מִן הַתּוֹרָה וְהַדָּמִים אֵינָן קְצוּבִין. וְכֵן הָאוֹמֵר עֵרֶךְ פְּלוֹנִי עָלַי וּמֵת הָעוֹרֵךְ וְהַנֶּעֱרָךְ אַחַר שֶׁעָמַד הַנֶּעֱרָךְ בְּדִין חַיָּבִין הַיּוֹרְשִׁין לִתֵּן. מֵת הַנֶּעֱרָךְ קֹדֶם שֶׁעָמַד בְּדִין אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַמַּעֲרִיךְ קַיָּם הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר. שֶׁאֵין עֵרֶךְ לְמֵת וְהַנֶּעֱרָךְ צָרִיךְ עֲמִידָה בְּדִין. אָמַר דְּמֵי פְּלוֹנִי עָלַי וְעָמַד בְּדִין וּמֵת קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּקְצְצוּ דָּמָיו הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר שֶׁאֵין דָּמִים לַמֵּתִים:

Test Yourself on This Chapter


The translation "endowment evaluation" is used because the source of the word airech means "evaluate." Nevertheless, the term is not appropriate, because these endowments do not involve an evaluation of the worth of the person (house or field), but instead, a standard figure. It refers to a donation given to the Temple treasury of one's own free will to be used for improvements within the Temple or the like.


See Hilchot Nedarim 1:2. The Rambam makes this statement to explain why he discusses these mitzvot in Sefer Hafla'ah (Kessef Mishneh). They are mentioned last, because unlike the other subjects discussed in this book, they concern donations to the Temple rather than prohibitions one takes upon oneself (Radbaz).


See Hilchot Nedarim 1:5 with regard to this prohibition.


The Rambam describes this prohibition as one of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah, but does not explain it in these halachot, but instead, in Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot (in the introduction to those halachot and in Chapter 14, Halachah 13).


See Hilchot Nedarim 1:4 with regard to this positive commandment.


See Leviticus, ch. 27. Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 114) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 350) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.


I.e., the age of the person mentioned. The age of the donor is not significant.


Until an infant reaches his thirty-first day, we are concerned that he will not survive. See also Hilchot Bikkurim 11:17. Note, however, the contrast to Halachah 9.


For the Torah makes no mention of the construct of airachin with regard to utsensils.


I.e., he reached his sixth birthday.


A shekel is eight oz. of silver in contemporary measure.


With regard to the censuses taken in the desert, the person's age at the beginning of the year was important. In this context, by contrast, the reckoning is made for every person individually.


A coin widely used in the Second Temple era. It was somewhat larger than a shekel, weighing 384 barley corns of silver.


Hilchot Shekalim 1:2.


A person whose genital area is covered by flesh and thus it is impossible to determine his gender.


A person with both male and female genital organs. See Hilchot Nazirut 2:11 for a detailed description of such a person's halachic status. See also Hilchot Ishut 2:24.


If, however, a tumtum or androgynus pledges the airech of a man or a woman, the pledge is binding (Arachin 2a). If an operation is performed on a tumtum and it is revealed that he is a male or female, an airech may be given accordingly.


Arachin 5b derives this from Leviticus 27:2 which introduces this mitzvah with the phrase: "Speak to the children of Israel," thus excluding gentiles from pledging endowment evaluations. Nevertheless, the verse includes the word ish, "man," seemingly unnecessarily, indicating that a pledge can be made concerning a gentile. This is the opinion of Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Yehudah derives the opposite concepts from the same verse.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, maintaining that the halachah follows Rabbi Yehudah. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh support the Rambam's ruling, citing Ezra 4:3 which states that the gentiles do not have a portion in building the Temple, the intent for which endowment evaluations are given. See also Halachah 11.


Who are not liable in the observance of the mitzvot themselves, because they are not in control of their intellectual faculties.


This applies even to a Canaanite servant, not only a Jewish servant (Arachin 2a).


For, otherwise, all of his financial resources are acquired by his master.


Note the contrast to the following halachah.


See Chapter 8, Halachah 2.


The person's age is of no consequence whatsoever.


An airech may not be pledged for these individuals (Halachot 3 and 5).


See Halachah 11.


See Chapter 5, Halachah 19.


The Rambam (and his sources) are borrowing the wording of II Kings 12:6.


I.e., for matters that are for the communal benefit (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Arachin 1:2).


For it becomes consecrated and it is forbidden to benefit from it. See Hilchot Matanot Aniyim 8:8; Hilchot Meilah 5:15.


Who is taking his last breathes (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Arachin 1:3, Rav Kappach's translation). Compare to Hilchot Gerushin 6:28.


Nor is an airech he takes binding (Arachin 6b). Note the contrast to the following halachah and note the gloss of the Radbaz.


Note, however, Hilchot Evel 4:5.


Since the Torah has condemned such a person to death, the matter is not dependent on the will of mortals. If, by contrast, one is condemned to death by a mortal king, these laws do not apply, because it is possible that the king will retract his decree (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, loc. cit.). Compare to Hilchot Gerushin 6:29.


Our translation follows the commentary of Rashi and others.


Even against the will of the heirs, for a binding obligation has been created on the estate. Just as an estate is liable for the loans taken by the testator when supported by a legal document, so too, it is liable for the obligations established by Torah Law (the Rambam' s Commentary to the Mishnah, Arachin 1:3).


In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Arachin 1:1), the Rambam explains that since these individuals are not liable for the redemption of the firstborn, one might think that they are not liable in this context as well. Hence, it is necessary to emphasize that they are.


As explained in Hilchot Nedarim 11:1-3, when a twelve year old boy and an eleven year old girl are aware of the significance of their vows, their vows are binding according to Scriptural Law. Below this age, their vows are not binding.


When he comes of age and has money of his own.


See Hilchot Nedarim 2:2. Since Leviticus 27:2 uses the term vow when speaking of these pledges, they are bound by the laws applying to other vows.


See Hilchot Nedarim 4:5,7.


The person making the pledge.


See Chapter 3, Halachot 2-3, which states that the minimum amount of an airech is a sela. The Lechem Mishneh rules that a sela must be given for each individual whose airech he pledged.


I.e., the airech specified by the Torah.


For arechim are vows and one vow can take effect upon another (Radbaz).


We assume that his obligation was for the smallest amount possible.


See Chapter 8, Halachah 2.


I.e., the obligation takes effect only when he stands before the priest for appraisal (the Rambam' s Commentary to the Mishnah, Arachin 5:3). Since he did not do that, his heirs are under no obligation (Radbaz). The Ra'avad, however, differs with the Rambam and maintains that as soon as a person pledges an airech, he is liable for it and an obligation is created for his estate. Hence, he differs with the Rambam's ruling.

Apparently, the Rambam is saying that if a person pledges an airech, he must stand before a priest and state his age, so that the priest will establish his appraisal. The Merkevat HaMishneh notes that the literal meaning of the verse is that if a person is too poor to pay the airech, the priests will evaluate how much he can pay.


For once an airech is established, a binding obligation is incurred and his estate is required to pay.


Until an appraisal is established by the courts, the obligation is not defined. Hence, when he dies, all liability is removed from the estate because a deceased person has no worth (Arachin 20a).


According to early printings and authoritative manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah. This clause should be part of the previous halachah and the present halachah begins: "Similarly, when a person says: 'I pledge....'"


This is a direct extension of the concepts stated in Halachah 21.


As the Rambam emphasizes in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Arachin 5:2), there is a difference in this regard between the pledge of an airech and the pledge of a person's worth. When his airech is pledged, the person who made the pledge is liable as soon as he stands before the court for appraisal. Since the matter is dependent on his age alone, there is no need for an evaluation. When, by contrast, a person's worth is pledged, that worth must be evaluated and until the evaluation is completed, there is no obligation.

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