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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Terumot - Chapter 9

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Terumot - Chapter 9

1

A woman may partake of terumah until her bill of divorce reaches her hand or the hand of her agent whom she appointed to receive it.1

Whenever there is a doubt whether or not a woman was divorced, she may not partake of terumah.2 When a woman appoints an agent to receive her bill of divorce, she is forbidden to partake of terumah immediately.3 If she said: "Receive the bill of divorce for me in this-and-this place," she is not forbidden [to partake of terumah] until the agent reaches that place.4

If she sent an agent to bring her the bill of divorce, she may partake of terumah until the bill of divorce reaches her hand.5 When a person tells his wife: "This is your bill of divorce; [it is effective] one hour before my death"6 she is forbidden to partake of terumah immediately.7

א

הָאִשָׁה אוֹכֶלֶת בִּתְרוּמָה עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ גֵּט לְיָדָהּ אוֹ לְיַד שְׁלוּחָהּ שֶׁעָשְׂתָה לְקַבָּלָה. וְכָל שֶׁהִיא סְפֵק גְּרוּשָׁה הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תֹּאכַל. הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁעָשְׂתָה שָׁלִיחַ לְקַבֵּל לָהּ גִּטָּהּ אֲסוּרָה לֶאֱכל בִּתְרוּמָה מִיָּד. וְאִם אָמְרָה קַבֵּל לִי גִּטִּי בְּמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי אֵינָהּ אֲסוּרָה עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ שָׁלִיחַ לְאוֹתוֹ מָקוֹם. שָׁלְחָה שָׁלִיחַ לְהָבִיא לָהּ גִּטָּהּ אוֹכֶלֶת בִּתְרוּמָה עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ גֵּט לְיָדָהּ. הָאוֹמֵר לְאִשְׁתּוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה גִּטֵּךְ שָׁעָה אַחַת קֹדֶם לְמִיתָתִי אֲסוּרָה לֶאֱכל בִּתְרוּמָה מִיָּד:

2

[The inhabitants of] a city under siege, [the voyagers on] a ship in danger of sinking at sea, and a suspect to be judged [for a crime worthy of capital punishment] are presumed to be alive.8 Needless to say, this applies to one who goes on a caravan journey.9

[In the following instances,] however: a city was captured by besieging forces, a ship was lost at sea, or a person was going out to be executed by a gentile court,10 a person dragged by a wild beast, one upon whom a landslide fell, or one carried away by a river, we regard the individuals with the stringencies appropriate to both the living and the dead.11 Therefore if among the women were the daughter of a priest married to an Israelite12 or the daughter of an Israelite married to a priest,13 they may not partake [of terumah].

If, however, a person was sentenced to death in a [Jewish] court and was taken to the place where he will be stoned,14 we presume that he is dead and his wife may not partake [of terumah].15

ב

עִיר שֶׁהִקִּיפוּהָ כַּרְקוֹם וּסְפִינָה הַמִּטָּרֶפֶת בַּיָּם וְהַיּוֹצֵא לִדּוֹן הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ בְּחֶזְקַת קַיָּמִין. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר מְפָרֵשׁ וְיוֹצֵא בְּשַׁיָּרָא. אֲבָל עִיר שֶׁכְּבָשׁוּהָ כַּרְקוֹם וּסְפִינָה שֶׁאָבְדָה בַּיָּם וְהַיּוֹצֵא לֵהָרֵג מִבָּתֵּי דִּינֵי עַכּוּ''ם וּמִי שֶׁגְּרָרַתּוּ חַיָּה אוֹ נָפְלָה עָלָיו מַפּלֶת אוֹ שְׁטָפוֹ נָהָר נוֹתְנִין לוֹ חֻמְרֵי מֵתִים וְחֻמְרֵי חַיִּים. לְפִיכָךְ אִם הָיוּ נְשׁוֹתֵיהֶן בַּת כֹּהֵן לְיִשְׂרָאֵל אוֹ בַּת יִשְׂרָאֵל לְכֹהֵן הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ לֹא יֹאכְלוּ. אֲבָל מִי שֶׁנִּגְמַר דִּינוֹ בְּבֵית דִּין וְהִנִּיחוּהוּ בְּבֵית הַסְּקִילָה לֵהָרֵג הֲרֵי זֶה בְּחֶזְקַת מֵת וְלֹא תֹּאכַל אִשְׁתּוֹ:

3

If a woman left her husband while he was in his death throes in another country, she may not partake of terumah, whether she is the daughter of a priest married to an Israelite or the daughter of an Israelite married to a priest. [The rationale is that] most people in their death throes die.16

If one witness testifies that [a woman's husband] has died and one testifies that he has not died, she may not partake [of terumah].17

ג

הִנִּיחָה בַּעְלָהּ גּוֹסֵס בִּמְדִינָה אַחֶרֶת בֵּין שֶׁהָיְתָה כֹּהֶנֶת אֵשֶׁת יִשְׂרָאֵל אוֹ יִשְׂרְאֵלִית אֵשֶׁת כֹּהֵן לֹא תֹּאכַל שֶׁרֹב גּוֹסְסִין לְמִיתָה. אֶחָד אוֹמֵר מֵת וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר לֹא מֵת הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תֹּאכַל:

4

[When a man is married to two wives and] one of the wives tells the other that their husband died, since [the other wife] cannot marry by virtue of this testimony,18 she may continue to partake of terumah19 on the presumption that her husband is alive until a person upon whose testimony is sufficient to enable her to marry testifies concerning her. [The same ruling applies] if such testimony is given by any of the five women whose testimony is not accepted if they say that her husband died.20

ד

אָמְרָה לָהּ צָרָתָהּ אוֹ אַחַת מֵהֶחָמֵשׁ נָשִׁים שֶׁאֵינָן נֶאֱמָנוֹת לְהָעִידָהּ שֶׁמֵּת בַּעְלָהּ הוֹאִיל וְאֵינָהּ נִשֵּׂאת עַל פִּיהֶן הֲרֵי זוֹ אוֹכֶלֶת בִּתְרוּמָה בְּחֶזְקַת שֶׁבַּעְלָהּ קַיָּם. עַד שֶׁיָּעִיד לָהּ מִי שֶׁהוּא נֶאֱמָן לְהַשִּׂיאָהּ עַל פִּיו:

5

When [a priest] frees his servant, from the time he transfers21 his bill of emancipation22 to him, he disqualifies him from partaking of terumah. Whenever a servant is given his freedom, but his bill of emancipation is withheld as will be explained in Hilchot Avadim,23 he is, nonetheless, forbidden to partake of terumah.

ה

הַמְשַׁחְרֵר אֶת עַבְדּוֹ מִשֶּׁיְּזַכֶּה לוֹ בְּגֵט שִׁחְרוּר פְּסָלוֹ מִלֶּאֱכל בִּתְרוּמָה. וְכָל עֶבֶד שֶׁיָּצָא לְחֵרוּת וַעֲדַיִן הוּא מְעֻכָּב גֵּט שִׁחְרוּר כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּהִלְכוֹת עֲבָדִים אַף עַל פִּי כֵן הֲרֵי הוּא אָסוּר לֶאֱכל בִּתְרוּמָה:

6

There is a doubt [whether the transfer of the ownership of a servant is effective in the following situation]. A person composed a legal document transferring his property - which included servants - to another person. He [did not give the document to that person directly, but instead] gave it to another person on his behalf.24 The recipient [of the present] remained silent and afterwards, protested. There is a doubt whether his protests reflected his initial disposition25 and thus [the servants] have never left the initial domain or whether his protest after his initial silence is [interpreted as] a renunciation of his initial position.26 Therefore, [the servants] may not partake of terumah. [This applies] whether the second master27 was an Israelite and the first master, a priest or the first master was an Israelite and the second, a priest.28

ו

הַכּוֹתֵב נְכָסָיו לְאַחֵר וְזִכָּה לוֹ עַל יְדֵי אַחֵר וְהָיוּ בָּהֶן עֲבָדִים וְשָׁתַק זֶה שֶׁנָּתְנוּ לוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ צָוַח הֲרֵי זֶה סָפֵק אִם זֶה שֶׁצָּוַח הוֹכִיחַ סוֹפוֹ עַל תְּחִלָּתוֹ וַעֲדַיִן לֹא יָצְאוּ מֵרְשׁוּת רִאשׁוֹן אוֹ זֶה שֶׁצָּוַח אַחַר שֶׁשָּׁתַק חָזַר בּוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין אוֹכְלִין בִּתְרוּמָה בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה רַבּוֹ שֵׁנִי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהָרִאשׁוֹן כֹּהֵן בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה רַבּוֹ רִאשׁוֹן יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַשֵּׁנִי כֹּהֵן:

7

When an Israelite rents livestock from a priest, he may feed it terumah.29 When a priest rents livestock from an Israelite, although he is obligated to provide it with food, he may not feed it terumah, because it is not his financial acquisition.30

ז

יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁשָּׂכַר בְּהֵמָה מִכֹּהֵן מַאֲכִילָהּ תְּרוּמָה וְכֹהֵן שֶׁשָּׂכַר בֶּהֱמַת יִשְׂרָאֵל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב בִּמְזוֹנוֹתֶיהָ לֹא יַאֲכִילֶנָּה תְּרוּמָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵינָהּ (ויקרא כב יא) "קִנְיַן כַּסְפּוֹ":

8

When an Israelite receives a cow from a priest for the sake of fattening it and has it evaluated so that its increase in value will be split,31 he may not feed it terumah even though the priest has a share in its increase in value. If, by contrast, a priest receives a cow from an Israelite for the sake of fattening it and has it evaluated, he may feed it terumah. [The rationale is that] although the Israelite has a share in its increase in value, its body belongs to the priest, because he has [accepted responsibility] for its value.

ח

יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁשָּׁם פָּרָה מִכֹּהֵן לְפַטְּמָהּ וְלִהְיוֹת הַשֶּׁבַח בֵּינֵיהֶן לֹא יַאֲכִילֶנָּה בִּתְרוּמָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לַכֹּהֵן חֵלֶק בְּשִׁבְחָהּ. אֲבָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁשָּׁם פָּרָה מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל לְפַטְּמָהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל חֵלֶק בַּשֶּׁבַח הוֹאִיל וְגוּפָהּ לַכֹּהֵן שֶׁהֲרֵי שָׁמָהּ עַל עַצְמוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מַאֲכִילָהּ תְּרוּמָה:

9

When a cow belonging to an Israelite gives birth to its firstborn, the owner may feed it terumah, for the firstborn belongs to the priests.32 A person may store vetch33 that is terumah in his dovecote. He need not worry that his doves will come and eat it.34

ט

פָּרָתוֹ שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁיָּלְדָה בְּכוֹר מַאֲכִילוֹ תְּרוּמָה. שֶׁהַבְּכוֹר לַכֹּהֲנִים. וְאוֹצֵר אָדָם כַּרְשִׁינֵי תְּרוּמָה לְתוֹךְ שׁוֹבָכוֹ וְאֵינוֹ חוֹשֵׁשׁ שֶׁמָּא יָבוֹאוּ הַיּוֹנִים שֶׁלּוֹ וְיֹאכְלוּ אוֹתָן:

10

It appears to me35 that if a priest sold his cow to an Israelite and took payment, he can no longer feed it terumah even though the purchaser has not drawn it into his domain as of yet. [The rationale is that] according to Scriptural Law, the transfer of money completes a transaction, as will be explained in Hilchot Mekach UMemcar.36 [Conversely,] if an Israelite sold a cow to a priest, he should not feed it terumah until he draws it into his domain37 even though he already made payment.

י

יֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁאִם מָכַר הַכֹּהֵן פָּרָתוֹ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל וְלָקַח הַדָּמִים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא מָשַׁךְ הַלּוֹקֵחַ הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר לְהַאֲכִילָהּ תְּרוּמָה שֶׁדִּין תּוֹרָה מָעוֹת קוֹנוֹת כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּהִלְכוֹת מִקָּח וּמִמְכָּר. וְאִם מָכַר יִשְׂרָאֵל לַכֹּהֵן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנָּתַן הַדָּמִים לֹא תֹּאכַל בִּתְרוּמָה עַד שֶׁיִּמְשֹׁךְ:

Test Yourself on This Chapter

Footnotes
1.

This latter point requires qualification as the Rambam proceeds to state.

2.

For a Scriptural prohibition is involved and we follow the general principle: Whenever there is a question regarding a point of Scriptural Law, we rule stringently. Hence, even though her husband is liable to provide her with her sustenance in such a situation (Hilchot Ishut 5:13), he may not give her terumah.

3.

This is a corollary to the point mentioned beforehand. Since a woman is forbidden to partake of terumah whenever there is a doubt that she was divorced, she is forbidden as soon as she appoints her agent, for at any time, he may receive her bill of divorce. Even though the matter is not entirely in the agent's hands, for the bill of divorce must be given on the husband's initiative, we follow the presumption that the agent will fulfill the mission with which he is charged (Radbaz).

4.

For the bill of divorce is not effective if given elsewhere (Hilchot Gerushin 9:34).

5.

For in this instance, the agent is acting in place of the husband and the divorce is not completed until he gives the woman the bill of divorce (ibid. 6:5).

6.

Such an arrangement was often made when a couple were childless so that if the husband died the woman would be free of the obligation of yibbum.

7.

For we fear that he might die at any moment. Hence, from the previous hour onward, she would have partaken of terumah without having the right to do so.

8.

And if they are priests, their wives may continue partaking of terumah.

9.

We are speaking about a caravan journey through the desert. Although there is a certain amount of danger to the travelers, we operate under the presumption that they are alive until we receive information otherwise.

10.

The officers of a gentile court are likely to accept bribes. Hence, the fact that one was sentenced to death is not necessarily proof that he died.

11.

In these situations, there is a high likelihood - but no definite proof that the person died. Hence, his wife must assume that he is dead and accept all the stringencies that state would apply. At the same time, she cannot act on the assumption that he is dead and remarry. The Rambam continues explaining the implications of this status vis-à-vis terumah.

12.

She must presume her husband is alive and may not partake of terumah for that reason.

13.

She must presume her husband is dead and may not partake of terumah for that reason.

14.

A person sentenced to be executed may be given a reprieve from execution if a redeeming factor is found for him (Hilchot Sanhedrin 13:1). Nevertheless, once he has already been brought to the place of execution, it is very unlikely that this will happen (Kessef Mishneh).

15.

I.e., if she is the daughter of an Israelite married to a priest. If she is the daughter of a priest married to an Israelite, she may partake of terumah.

16.

Hence, the daughter of the Israelite may not partake of terumah. On the other hand, not all die. Hence, since a daughter of the priest married to an Israelite was not partaking of terumah beforehand, this is not considered sufficient reason to allow her to do so (Radbaz).

17.

Although a woman is not given permission to remarry in such an instance (Hilchot Gerushin 12:18), she is still not permitted to partake of terumah.

18.

Hilchot Gerushin 12:16 states that, if no one contradicts the testimony, whenever a witness testifies that a woman's husband died, his or her word is accepted with the exception of five women: another wife of that man, a woman who is her husband's yevamah, the woman's mother-in-law, her mother-in-law's daughter, and her husband's daughter from another wife. In all these instances, we fear that there is enmity between these women and the man's wife and they will testify falsely so that she will marry another man and hence, be forced to accept a divorce from her husband.

19.

The Ra'avad does not accept the Rambam's ruling and maintains that even though the woman is not allowed to remarry, she should not be allowed to partake of terumah. For perhaps these women are telling the truth. The Radbaz supports the Rambam's ruling.

20.

Hilchot Gerushin 12:16 states that, if no one contradicts the testimony, whenever a witness testifies that a woman's husband died, his or her word is accepted with the exception of five women: another wife of that man, a woman who is her husband's yevamah, the woman's mother-in-law, her mother-in-law's daughter, and her husband's daughter from another wife. In all these instances, we fear that there is enmity between these women and the man's wife and they will testify falsely so that she will marry another man and hence, be forced to accept a divorce from her husband.

21.

The Rambam's wording allows for the interpretation that this ruling applies whether he gives the bill of emancipation to the servant or to another person on behalf of the servant (see Hilchot Avadim 6:1).

22.

The formal legal contract freeing him from slavery.

23.

As stated in Hilchot Avadim 5:4, et al, there are certain situations where a servant is deserving of his freedom. Nevertheless, he does not receive the status of a freed servant until he receives his bill of emancipation. Even so, he is forbidden to partake of terumah from the time he becomes worthy of freedom.

24.

In such a situation, we say that since generally, it is considered desirable to receive a gift, the intended recipient acquires the property unless he lodges an objection at the time he hears about the gift. See Hilchot Zechiyah UMatanah 4:2.

25.

I.e., that he never desired to receive the present and thus it never left the domain of its initial owner (ibid.:3).

26.

And thus, he is considered to have acquired the property - and the servants - and then to have renounced ownership of it and them.

27.

The recipient of the present.

28.

For in either situation, there is a possibility that their present owner is an Israelite.

29.

Because the rental does not interrupt the priests's ownership. The Israelite must, however, transfer ownership of the terumah to the priest before feeding it to the animal.

30.

There are, however, contexts where rental is considered equivalent to purchase. See Hilchot Sechirut 7:1.

31.

This was a popular arrangement in the Talmudic era. The owner of livestock would give it to a shepherd to fatten. The shepherd would have it evaluated and accept responsibility for its value although he did not actually pay the priest anything. Afterwards, when it has been fattened, the value which the shepherd accepted responsibility for is returned to the owner and the two share the profits equally. See Hilchot Shluchin VeShutafim 8:1-4 and Hilchot Malveh ViLoveh 8:12 for more details concerning this arrangement.

32.

And thus the law mentioned in the first clause of Halachah 7 applies.

33.

A type of legume used as animal fodder.

34.

Even a priest may not feed his doves terumah, for terumah may only be given to domesticated animals. Nevertheless, everyone, even Israelites, need not take precautions against an animal eating vetch that is terumah on its own initiative. The Radbaz explains that the rationale is that the obligation to separate terumah from vetch is merely Rabbinic in origin. Implied is that if the obligation was Scriptural in origin, one could not take such leniency. It must be noted, however, that not all authorities consider the obligation to separate terumah from vetch as Rabbinic.

35.

This introduction precedes a law which the Rambam derived through his own process of deduction without an explicit source in the previous Rabbinic literature.

36.

Hilchot Mechirah 3:1. There it is explained that the Rabbis required the purchaser to draw the article into his possession for the transaction to be completed.

37.

And thus completes the transaction.

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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