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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Terumot - Chapter 12

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Terumot - Chapter 12


It is forbidden to cause the terumah of Eretz Yisrael to contract ritual impurity,1 as [is the rule with regard to] other sacred articles.2 One should not bring it to a state of ritual impurity,3 nor should one spoil it. Instead, he should partake of pure [terumah] and kindle impure terumah.

It is permitted to cause terumah from the Diaspora to become impure, even with impurity mandated by Scriptural Law. Although it is only ritually impure4 because of the impurity stemming from the Diaspora which is a Rabbinic decree,5 [this leniency is granted] because the obligation to separate [such terumah] is also of Rabbinic origin. For this reason, a woman may separate challah6 while in the niddah state in the Diaspora, for she is cautioned only against eating it, not against touching it, as we explained.


אָסוּר לְטַמֵּא אֶת הַתְּרוּמָה שֶׁל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאִל כִּשְׁאָר הַקָּדָשִׁים וְלֹא יְבִיאֶנָּה לִידֵי טֻמְאָה וְלֹא יַפְסִידֶנָּה אֶלָּא אוֹכֵל הַטְּהוֹרָה וּמַדְלִיק הַטְּמֵאָה. וּמֻתָּר לְטַמֵּא תְּרוּמַת חוּצָה לָאָרֶץ בְּטֻמְאוֹת שֶׁל תּוֹרָה. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָהּ טְמֵאָה אֶלָּא בְּאֶרֶץ הָעַמִּים שֶׁהִיא מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם מִפְּנֵי שֶׁעִקַּר חִיּוּבָהּ מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם. לְפִיכָךְ נִדָּה קוֹצָה לָהּ חַלָּה בְּחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ שֶׁאֵינָהּ מֻזְהֶרֶת אֶלָּא לְאָכְלָהּ לֹא לִגַּע בָּהּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:


If a doubt arose whether terumah became impure, it should not be eaten,7 nor should it be burnt.8 Instead, one should place it aside until it becomes definitely impure, [at which time,] it should be burnt. There are situations in which doubt has arisen that mandate that terumah should be burnt as will be explained with regard to [the laws of] ritual purity and impurity.9


תְּרוּמָה שֶׁנִּטְמֵאת בְּסָפֵק לֹא אוֹכְלִים וְלֹא שׂוֹרְפִין אֶלָּא תִּהְיֶה מֻנַּחַת עַד שֶׁתִּטְמָא טֻמְאָה וַדָּאִית וְתִשָּׂרֵף. וְיֵשׁ שָׁם סְפֵיקוֹת שֶׁשּׂוֹרְפִין עֲלֵיהֶן אֶת הַתְּרוּמָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּעִנְיַן טֻמְאָה וְטָהֳרָה:


When a question arises whether a jug of wine has become ritually impure, one should not do anything with it. One should not move it from its place, nor reveal it. Instead, he should leave it in its place until it definitely becomes impure and must be burnt.10 We are not concerned that perhaps it will be eaten.


חָבִית שֶׁל תְּרוּמָה שֶׁנּוֹלַד לָהּ סְפֵק טֻמְאָה הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יְחַדֵּשׁ בָּהּ דָּבָר. לֹא יְזִיזֶנָּה מִמְּקוֹמָהּ וְלֹא יְגַלֶּנָּה אֶלָּא יַנִּיחֶנָּה עַד שֶׁתִּטָּמֵא וַדַּאי וְתִשָּׂרֵף. וְאֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין שֶׁמָּא תֵּאָכֵל:


[The following rules apply when] a jug [of wine that is terumah which is pure] is broken in an upper vat and the lower vat [contains ordinary wine that is] impure.11 If it is possible for a person to save a revi'it of wine in a state of purity,12 he should do so.13 If not, he should save [the wine] with his hands without washing them even though he imparts ritual impurity [to the terumah],14 as will be explained [in the laws pertaining to] ritual purity.15


חָבִית שֶׁנִּשְׁבְּרָה בַּגַּת הָעֶלְיוֹנָה וְהַתַּחְתּוֹנָה טְמֵאָה. אִם יָכוֹל לְהַצִּיל מִמֶּנָּה רְבִיעִית בְּטָהֳרָה יַצִּיל וְאִם לָאו יַצִּיל בְּיָדָיו בְּלֹא נְטִילַת יָדַיִם וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא מְטַמְּאָהּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּעִנְיָן טָהֳרוֹת:


When does the above apply? To a jug of wine, [and then] provided that the contents of the lower vat are less than 100 times the amount [that falls in], in which instance, the terumah wine will mix with the ordinary wine and everything will be disqualified.16 If, however, the lower vat contained 100 times the amount of the jug and thus [the wine that descends] will be nullified because [the mixture] is 101 times the original17 or the jug contains oil, he should allow it to descend and become impure instead of making it impure with his own hands. [The rationale is that] the entire quantity is fit to use as fuel and there will be no great loss.18

Similarly, if a jug of oil is spilling,19 if it is possible for one to save a revi'it of oil in a state of purity, he should do so. If not, he should save it while ritually impure.20 Since the jug is broken, he is not adjured against saving it in a state of ritual impurity, because he is agitated.21


בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּחָבִית שֶׁל יַיִן וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בַּגַּת הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה פָּחוֹת מִמֵּאָה שֶׁהֲרֵי יִדָּמַע הַכּל וְיִפָּסֵל. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה בַּתַּחְתּוֹנָה מֵאָה בְּזוֹ הֶחָבִית שֶׁהֲרֵי הִיא עוֹלָה בְּאַחַת וּמֵאָה. אוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה חָבִית שֶׁל שֶׁמֶן. תֵּרֵד וְתִטָּמֵא וְאַל יְטַמְּאֶנָּה בְּיָדָיו שֶׁהֲרֵי הַכּל רָאוּי לְהַדְלָקָה וְאֵין שָׁם הֶפְסֵד מְרֻבֶּה. וְכֵן חָבִית שֶׁמֶן שֶׁנִּשְׁפְּכָה אִם יָכוֹל לְהַצִּיל רְבִיעִית בְּטָהֳרָה יַצִּיל וְאִם לָאו יַצִּיל בְּטֻמְאָה. שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁנִּשְׁבְּרָה הֶחָבִית אֵינוֹ מֻזְהָר שֶׁלֹּא לְהַצִּיל בְּטֻמְאָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא בָּהוּל:


[The following laws apply when] one was traveling from place to place, carrying loaves that are terumah, and a gentile tells him: "Give me one of them. If not, I will touch all of them and make them ritually impure."22 He should place one of them on a rock,23 but he should not place it in his hand so that he will not be a direct cause of the terumah becoming ritually impure.


הָיָה עוֹבֵר מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם וּבְיָדוֹ כִּכָּרוֹת שֶׁל תְּרוּמָה. אָמַר לוֹ הַנָּכְרִי תֵּן לִי אַחַת מֵהֶן וְאִם לָאו הֲרֵינִי נוֹגֵעַ בְּכֻלָּן וּמְטַמְּאָן יַנִּיחַ לְפָנָיו אַחַת עַל הַסֶּלַע וְאַל יִתְּנֶנָּה לְתוֹךְ יָדוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יְטַמֵּא הַתְּרוּמָה בְּיָדַיִם:


[The following laws apply with regard to] chilbah and vetch that are terumah. Since they are not fit for human consumption,24 it is permitted to carry out all the actions [connected with their preparation] in a state of ritual impurity. One must be careful only when placing them in the water to soak. For if one placed them in the water to soak while ritually impure, one will have made them ritually impure directly.25 Once one has soaked them, however, one need not be concerned with ritual impurity at the time one crushes the vetch26 or when one feeds them to an animal. For this reason, one may give chilbah and vetch that are terumah to a priest who is a common person.27


הַתִּלְתָּן וְהַכַּרְשִׁינִין שֶׁל תְּרוּמָה הוֹאִיל וְאֵינוֹ מַאֲכַל אָדָם הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לַעֲשׂוֹת כָּל מַעֲשֵׂיהֶן בְּטֻמְאָה. וְאֵינוֹ נִזְהָר אֶלָּא בְּעֵת שְׁרִיָּתָן בְּמַיִם. שֶׁאִם שָׁרָה אוֹתָם בְּטֻמְאָה הֲרֵי טִמֵּא אוֹתָם בְּיָדַיִם. אֲבָל אַחַר הַשְּׁרִיָּה אֵינוֹ נִזְהָר. לֹא בְּעֵת שֶׁשָּׁף הַכַּרְשִׁינִין וְלֹא בְּעֵת שֶׁמַּאֲכִילָן לִבְהֵמָה. לְפִיכָךְ נוֹתְנִין תְּרוּמַת תִּלְתָּן וְכַרְשִׁינִין לְכֹהֵן עַם הָאָרֶץ:


We do not entrust terumah to a priest who is an unlearned person, because he is easygoing about it and may partake of it.28 We may, however, entrust [terumah] to an unlearned Israelite if it is stored in an earthenware container sealed with a wrapper,29 provided it is not produce that is already made fit to contract ritual impurity. [This is] a decree lest it be moved by his wife while she is in the nidah state.30


אֵין מַפְקִידִין תְּרוּמָה אֵצֶל כֹּהֵן עַם הָאָרֶץ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלִּבּוֹ גַּס בָּהּ לְאָכְלָהּ. אֲבָל מַפְקִידִין אוֹתוֹ אֵצֶל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַם הָאָרֶץ בִּכְלִי חֶרֶשׂ הַמֻּקָּף צְמִיד פָּתִיל. וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיוּ פֵּרוֹת מֻכְשָׁרִין. גְּזֵרָה שֶׁלֹּא תְּסִיטֵם אִשְׁתּוֹ נִדָּה:


We do not separate terumah from olives in a state of ritual purity for an unlearned person.31 We may, however, prepare ordinary olives for him in a state of ritual purity.32 [This leniency was granted] so that the operator of the vat could earn his livelihood.33

How should this process be carried out?34 He should separate an amount of produce sufficient for terumah and place it in a utensil that cannot contract ritual impurity, e.g., a stone utensil. When the unlearned person comes to take the ordinary produce and the terumah, we tell him: "Be careful not to touch the terumah.35 Otherwise, the produce will become tevel again."36


אֵין עוֹשִׂין לְעַם הָאָרֶץ תְּרוּמַת זֵיתָיו בְּטָהֳרָה. אֲבָל עוֹשִׂין לוֹ זֵיתֵי חֻלִּין בְּטָהֳרָה מִשּׁוּם כְּדֵי חַיָּיו שֶׁל בָּדָד (לְבַד). וְכֵיצַד עוֹשֶׂה. נוֹטֵל כְּדֵי הַתְּרוּמָה וּמַנִּיחָהּ בִּכְלִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה כְּגוֹן כְּלִי אֲבָנִים. וּכְשֶׁיָּבוֹא עַם הָאָרֶץ לִטּל הַחֻלִּין וְהַתְּרוּמָה אוֹמְרִין לוֹ הִזָּהֵר שֶׁמָּא תִּגַּע בַּתְּרוּמָה שֶׁלֹּא תַּחֲזֹר לְטִבְלָהּ:


When an Israelite performs the tasks associated with the preparation of his produce while ritually impure, we should not harvest grapes with him. Needless to say, we should not tread the grapes with him,37 because the terumah will be made ritually impure.38 One may, however, carry barrels to39 and from the vat for him.40


יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁעוֹשֶׂה פֵּרוֹתָיו בְּטֻמְאָה אֵין בּוֹצְרִין עִמּוֹ. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר שֶׁאֵין דּוֹרְכִין עִמּוֹ מִפְּנֵי הַתְּרוּמָה שֶׁתֵּעָשֶׂה בְּטֻמְאָה. אֲבָל מוֹלִיכִין עִמּוֹ חָבִיּוֹת לַגַּת וּמְבִיאִין מִן הַגַּת:


When olives and grapes have become ritually impure, we may squeeze them and separate terumah [from the oil or wine].41 If [grapes or the olives] became impure after they themselves were designated as terumah, they should be squeezed [using] less than an egg-sized portion at a time.42 In such an instance, the liquid that flows from them is permitted to be drunk by the priests. Indeed, it would be fit to be used for libations on the altar. [The rationale is that] the liquid is considered as set aside within the fruit.43 The reason that [our Sages] spoke of less than an egg-sized portion44 is that this is a decree lest one use more than an egg-sized portion and the liquid become impure because of [contact with] the egg-sized portion.45

If the produce was impure to the third degree, one may tread upon it in the vat and the liquid produced from it can be used for pure terumah.46 [The rationale is that] ritual impurity of the third degree does not bring about ritual impurity of the fourth degree with regard to terumah, as will be explained with regard to the concept of ritual purity.47


זֵיתִים וַעֲנָבִים שֶׁנִּטְמְאוּ סוֹחֲטָן וְעוֹשֶׂה אוֹתָן תְּרוּמָה. וְאִם נִטְמְאוּ אַחַר שֶׁנַּעֲשׂוּ תְּרוּמָה וְסוֹחֲטָן פָּחוֹת פָּחוֹת מִכַּבֵּיצָה הֲרֵי הַמַּשְׁקֶה הַיּוֹצֵא מֵהֶן מֻתָּר בִּשְׁתִיָּה לַכֹּהֲנִים. וַאֲפִלּוּ לִנְסָכִים הָיָה רָאוּי שֶׁהַמַּשְׁקֶה כְּאִלּוּ הוּא מֻפְקָד בְּתוֹךְ הָאֹכֶל. וְלֹא אָמְרוּ פָּחוֹת פָּחוֹת מִכְּבֵיצָה אֶלָּא גְּזֵרָה שֶׁמָּא יַעֲשֶׂה יוֹתֵר מִכַּבֵּיצָה וְנִמְצָא הַמַּשְׁקֶה מִתְּטַמֵּא בִּכְבֵיצָה. וְאִם הָיוּ פֵּרוֹת אֵלּוּ שְׁלִישִׁי לְטֻמְאָה דּוֹרְכָן בְּגַת וּבְבֵית הַבַּד וְהַמַּשְׁקֶה תְּרוּמָה טְהוֹרָה. שֶׁאֵין שְׁלִישִׁי עוֹשֶׂה רְבִיעִי בִּתְרוּמָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּעִנְיַן טָהֳרוֹת:


When a loaf of bread that is terumah becomes impure, it should be discarded among the firewood48 until one uses it for fuel. Similarly, if oil [that is terumah] becomes impure, it should be placed in a repugnant container until it is used as fuel so that it will not create a stumbling block for others, [lest] they partake of it.

When wheat [kernels] become impure, one should parboil them49 and place them in a repugnant container until they are no longer fit to be eaten and then use them as fuel for an oven or range. Liquids that are not fit to be used as fuel, e.g., wine, should be buried.50


פַּת תְּרוּמָה שֶׁנִּטְמֵאת מַשְׁלִיכָהּ לְבֵין הָעֵצִים עַד שֶׁיִּשְׂרְפֶנָּה. וְכֵן שֶׁמֶן שֶׁנִּטְמָא נוֹתְנוֹ בִּכְלִי מָאוּס עַד שֶׁיַּדְלִיק כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה תַּקָּלָה לַאֲחֵרִים וְיֹאכְלוּהוּ. וְחִטִּים שֶׁנִּטְמְאוּ שׁוֹלְקָן וּמַנִּיחָן בִּכְלִי מָאוּס כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיוּ רְאוּיִין לַאֲכִילָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ יַסִּיק בָּהֶן תַּנּוּר וְכִירַיִם. וּמַשְׁקִין שֶׁאֵין רְאוּיִין לְהַדְלָקָה שֶׁנִּטְמְאוּ כְּגוֹן הַיַּיִן קוֹבְרִין אוֹתָן:


When wine that is terumah is left uncovered, since it is forbidden to drink it,51 it should be poured out. Similarly, figs, grapes, marrow, squash, watermelon, and cucumbers that are terumah that were discovered to be perforated are forbidden to be eaten because of the mortal danger involved.52 What should be done with them? They should be discarded in the sea or buried.


יֵין תְּרוּמָה שֶׁנִּתְגַּלָּה הוֹאִיל וְאָסוּר בִּשְׁתִיָּה יִשָּׁפֵךְ. וְכֵן תְּאֵנִים וַעֲנָבִים וְקִשּׁוּאִים וְדִלּוּעִין וַאֲבַטִּיחִין וּמְלָפְפוֹנוֹת שֶׁל תְּרוּמָה שֶׁנִּמְצְאוּ מְנֻקָּרוֹת הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ אֲסוּרִין בַּאֲכִילָה מִפְּנֵי סַכָּנַת נְפָשׁוֹת. מַה יַּעֲשֶׂה בָּהֶן יַשְׁלִיךְ לַיָּם אוֹ יִקָּבְרוּ:


When a dough was kneaded with water that was left uncovered,53 it should be burnt even though it is terumah.54


עִסָּה שֶׁנִּלּוֹשָׁה בְּמַיִם מְגֻלִּים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא תְּרוּמָה תִּשָּׂרֵף:


It is forbidden for a priest to take terumah or any other of the presents given to him until they were separated by the owners [of the produce], as [implied by the verses, Numbers 18:12]: "The first [of the produce] which they will give to God I have given to you" and [ibid.:19]: "...that the children of Israel will offer up to God are given to you." [Implied is that] the children of Israel must offer it up and then [the priests] can acquire it.

[The priests] should not take [these presents] after they have been set aside except with the knowledge of the owners. For the owners have the right to give them to any priest that they desire, as [ibid. 5:10] states: "A person's sacraments will belong to him."55 [Nevertheless,] if [a priest]56 takes them without the owner's knowledge, he acquires them. For all that belongs to the owner is the right to apportion them and that right is not financially significant.


אָסוּר לְכֹהֵן לִטּל תְּרוּמָה אוֹ שְׁאָר מַתָּנוֹת שֶׁלּוֹ עַד שֶׁיַּפְרִישׁוּ אוֹתָם הַבְּעָלִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יח יב) "רֵאשִׁיתָם אֲשֶׁר יִתְּנוּ לַה' לְךָ נְתַתִּים" וְנֶאֱמַר (במדבר יח יט) "אֲשֶׁר יָרִימוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לַה' נָתַתִּי לְךָ" עַד שֶׁיָּרִימוּ וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִזְכֶּה בָּהֶם. וְלֹא יִטְלֵם אַחַר שֶׁהוּרְמוּ אֶלָּא מִדַּעַת בְּעָלִים שֶׁהֲרֵי הֵם שֶׁל בְּעָלִים לִתְּנָן לְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיִּרְצוּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ה י) "וְאִישׁ אֶת קֳדָשָׁיו לוֹ יִהְיוּ". וְאִם לָקַח שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעַת בְּעָלִים זָכָה בָּהֶן שֶׁאֵין לַבְּעָלִים מֵהֶן אֶלָּא טוֹבַת הֲנָאָה וְטוֹבַת הֲנָאָה אֵינָהּ מָמוֹן:


When terumah was given to a priest and he found other entities in it, it is forbidden for him [to take them]. This is comparable to theft, for perhaps other people placed them [in the terumah] to take them [afterwards].57


כֹּהֵן שֶׁנָּתְנוּ לוֹ תְּרוּמָה וּמָצָא בָּהּ דְּבָרִים אֲחֵרִים הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ אֲסוּרִים מִשּׁוּם גֵּזֶל שֶׁמָּא אֲחֵרִים הִנִּיחוּם שָׁם עַד שֶׁיִּטְּלוּם:


An Israelite is not required to trouble himself with terumah and bring it from the granary until a city or from a desert until a settled area. Instead, the priests should go out to the granaries and the Israelites should give them their portions there. If they did not go out [to collect the terumah, the owner] should separate it and leave it in the granary. Our Sages ordained that if there are beasts or animals who would eat it there and it is not protected from them, [the owner] should take the trouble of dealing with it and bringing it to the city. He may collect a wage for bringing it [to the city] from the priest. [This is done,] because if he separated it and left it for the animals and beasts, God's name would be desecrated.58


אֵין יִשְׂרָאֵל חַיָּבִין לְהִטָּפֵל בַּתְּרוּמָה וְלַהֲבִיאָהּ מִן הַגֹּרֶן לָעִיר וּמִן הַמִּדְבָּר לַיִּשּׁוּב אֶלָּא כֹּהֲנִים יוֹצְאִין לָגֳרָנוֹת וְיִשְׂרָאֵל נוֹתְנִים לָהֶם חֶלְקָן שָׁם. וְאִם לֹא יָצְאוּ הֲרֵי זֶה מַפְרִישׁ וּמַנִּיחָהּ בַּגֹּרֶן. וְאִם הָיְתָה חַיָּה אוֹ בְּהֵמָה אוֹכַלְתָּהּ שָׁם וְאֵינָהּ מִשְׁתַּמֶּרֶת שָׁם מֵהֶם הִתְקִינוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁיִּטָפֵל בָּהּ וִיבִיאֶנָּה לָעִיר וְיִטּל שְׂכַר הֲבָאָתָהּ מִכֹּהֵן. שֶׁאִם הִפְרִישָׁהּ וְהִנִּיחָהּ לִבְהֵמָה וּלְחַיָּה הֲרֵי זֶה חִלּוּל הַשֵּׁם:


It is forbidden for the priests and the Levites59 to assist [farmers] in the granaries in order to receive the agricultural presents given them.60 Whoever renders such assistance desecrates the holiness of God's name. Concerning such people is applied [the malediction, Malachi 2:8]: "You have defiled the covenant of Levi." It is forbidden for an Israelite to allow [a priest] to help him. Instead, he should grant them their portion with honor.


אָסוּר לְכֹהֲנִים וּלְוִיִּם לְסַיֵּעַ בְּבֵית הַגֳּרָנוֹת כְּדֵי לִטּל מַתְּנוֹתֵיהֶן. וְכָל הַמְסַיֵּעַ חִלֵּל קֹדֶשׁ הַשֵּׁם. וַעֲלֵיהֶם נֶאֱמַר (מלאכי ב ח) "שִׁחַתֶּם בְּרִית הַלֵּוִי". וְאָסוּר לְיִשְׂרָאֵל לְהַנִּיחוֹ שֶׁיְּסַיְּעֵהוּ אֶלָּא נוֹתֵן לָהֶם חֶלְקָן בְּכָבוֹד:


When a person gives terumah to a priest on the condition that he returns it,61 he has fulfilled his obligation to give.62 It is, however, forbidden to do so, for [the priest] is considered like one who helps in the granaries.63 Similarly, it is forbidden for [the priests] to seize the terumot and the tithes. It is even forbidden for them to make a verbal request for them. Instead, they should take them with honor, for they are eating and drinking from the table of God.64 These presents are given to Him and He apportioned them to them, as [Numbers 18:8] states: "Behold I have given to you the safeguard of My terumah."65


נָתַן תְּרוּמָה לְכֹהֵן עַל מְנָת לְהַחֲזִירָהּ יָצָא יְדֵי נְתִינָה. וְאָסוּר לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּמְצָא כִּמְסַיֵּעַ בְּבֵית הַגֳּרָנוֹת. וְכֵן אָסוּר לָהֶן שֶׁיַּחְטְפוּ תְּרוּמוֹת וּמַעַשְׂרוֹת וַאֲפִלּוּ לִשְׁאל חֶלְקָן בְּפִיהֶן אָסוּר אֶלָּא נוֹטְלִין בְּכָבוֹד. שֶׁעַל שֻׁלְחַן הַמָּקוֹם הֵם אוֹכְלִין וְעַל שֻׁלְחָנוֹ הֵם שׁוֹתִים וּמַתָּנוֹת אֵלּוּ לַה' הֵם וְהוּא זִכָּה לָהֶן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יח ח) "וַאֲנִי נָתַתִּי לְךָ אֶת מִשְׁמֶרֶת תְּרוּמֹתָי":


A person should not give terumah to the watchman of his vat, nor a firstborn animal to the watchman of his flock, nor the presents [given when an animal is slaughtered]66 to the shepherd of his animals. If he gave them [to these individuals], he desecrated [their honor] unless he gave them their wages for watching first.67

One Israelite68 may tell another Israelite: "Here is a sela.69 Give terumah...", "...a firstborn...", or other presents [given to the priests] " so-and-so, the priest, who is my daughter's son, or " sister's son," or the like.70


לֹא יִתֵּן אָדָם תְּרוּמָה לְשׁוֹמֵר גִּתּוֹ. וְלֹא בְּכוֹר לְשׁוֹמֵר עֶדְרוֹ. וְלֹא מַתָּנוֹת לְרוֹעֵה בְּהֶמְתּוֹ. וְאִם נָתַן חִלֵּל אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן נָתַן לָהֶם שְׂכַר שְׁמִירָתָן תְּחִלָּה. וְרַשַּׁאי יִשְׂרָאֵל לוֹמַר לְיִשְׂרָאֵל אַחֵר הָא לְךָ סֶלַע זוֹ וְתֵן תְּרוּמָה אוֹ בְּכוֹר אוֹ שְׁאָר מַתָּנוֹת לִפְלוֹנִי הַכֹּהֵן בֶּן בִּתִּי אוֹ בֶּן אֲחוֹתִי. וְכָל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:


When does the above apply? When the owner desired to give [the presents] to one of two priests or [tithes] to one of two Levites gratis and his colleague told him: "Here is this and give to that one." If, however, an owner told a priest or a Levite: "Here is this portion. [Give me something in exchange] for my privilege to give it to whom I want," this is forbidden.71 Similarly, it is forbidden to sell terumah as merchandise even though he purchases it from a priest and sells it to a priest.72


בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁהָיוּ הַבְּעָלִים רוֹצִים לִתֵּן אוֹתָם לְאֶחָד מִשְּׁנֵי כֹּהֲנִים אֵלּוּ אוֹ לְאֶחָד מִשְּׁנֵי לְוִיִּים אֵלּוּ בְּחִנָּם וְאָמַר לוֹ חֲבֵרוֹ הֵא לְךָ וְתֵן לָזֶה. אֲבָל הַבְּעָלִים שֶׁאָמְרוּ לַכֹּהֵן אוֹ לַלֵּוִי הֵא לְךָ חֵלֶק זֶה בְּטוֹבַת הֲנָאָה הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר. וְכֵן אָסוּר לַעֲשׂוֹת סְחוֹרָה בִּתְרוּמוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא לוֹקֵחַ מִכֹּהֵן וּמוֹכֵר לְכֹהֵן:


There are ten individuals to whom terumah is not given in the granaries even though they may partake of it or grant others the right to partake of it:73

a deaf-mute, an intellectually or emotionally unstable person, or a child who does not know how to spread out his hands to recite the priestly blessing,74 these [are not given terumah], because they lack sufficient knowledge;

a tumtum75 and an androgynus,76 because they are unique types of people;

a servant, lest passersby in the field [see him taking terumah] and give testimony that he is a priest;

an uncircumcised person and a ritually impure person,77 because they are abhorrent;

a woman [married to a priest], lest she be divorced78 and [to prevent her from] entering into seclusion [with someone in the granary];79 and

a person who marries a woman who is not appropriate for him;80 he was penalized in that [terumah] would not be allocated to him in the granaries until he divorces her.

In all the above instances, [terumah] may be sent to their homes and allocated to them as is the law regarding other sacramental foods dependent on the boundaries [of Eretz Yisrael] with the exception of a person who marries a woman who is not appropriate for him, an uncircumcised person81 and a ritually impure person, to whom [terumah] is not sent at all.


עֲשָׂרָה אֵין חוֹלְקִין לָהֶן תְּרוּמָה בְּבֵית הַגֳּרָנוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן אוֹכְלִין אוֹתָהּ אוֹ מַאֲכִילִין אוֹתָהּ. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. הַחֵרֵשׁ. וְהַשּׁוֹטֶה. וְהַקָּטָן שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ דַּעַת לִפְרשׁ חֻקּוֹ. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין בְּאֵלּוּ דַּעַת. וְהַטֻּמְטוּם וְהָאַנְדְּרוֹגִינוּס מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן בְּרִיָּה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמָן. וְהָעֶבֶד שֶׁמָּא יִרְאוּהוּ הָעוֹבְרִים בַּשָּׂדֶה וְיָעִידוּ עָלָיו שֶׁהוּא כֹּהֵן. וְהֶעָרֵל וְהַטָּמֵא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן מְאוּסִין. וְהָאִשָּׁה שֶׁמָּא תִּתְגָּרֵשׁ וּמִפְּנֵי הַיִּחוּד. וְהַנּוֹשֵׂא אִשָּׁה שֶׁאֵינָהּ הוֹגֶנֶת לוֹ קָנְסוּ אוֹתוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יַחֲלֹק בְּבֵית הַגֳּרָנוֹת עַד שֶׁיְּגָרְשֶׁנָּה. וְכֻלָּן מְשַׁלְּחִין לָהֶן לְבָתֵּיהֶן וְחוֹלְקִין לָהֶן כִּשְׁאָר קָדְשֵׁי הַגְּבוּל. חוּץ מִן הַנּוֹשֵׂא אִשָּׁה שֶׁאֵינָהּ הוֹגֶנֶת לוֹ וְהַטָּמֵא וְהֶעָרֵל שֶׁאֵין מְשַׁלְּחִין לָהֶן כְּלָל:

Test Yourself on This Chapter


I.e., to cause it to contract ritual impurity directly.


See Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashim 18:2. The Sefer Mitzvot Gadol considers this as one of the 613 mitzvot. The Rambam does not, however.


To bring about a situation where it is likely that the terumah will contract impurity.


One might still think that causing it to become impure would be forbidden, because although it is impure by Rabbinic decree, it is not impure according to Scriptural Law, and it is forbidden to spread ritual impurity.


As the Rambam states in Hilchot Tumat Meit 11:1-2, our Sages decreed that everyone living in the Diaspora is considered as if he became impure because of contact with a human corpse. Now impurity of Rabbinic origin is less severe than impurity of Scriptural origin. Nevertheless, since the obligation to separate this terumah is only Rabbinic in origin, our Sages did not forbid making it incur Scriptural impurity.


Which is bound by the same rules as terumah.


Lest it have become impure and it is forbidden to partake of impure terumah.


Lest it not be impure and the person would be destroying terumah unnecessarily.


See Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTumah 13:13.


The Rambam is ruling according to the opinion of Rabban Gamliel in Terumot 8:8. Other opinions in the mishnah maintain that the terumah should be protected that it does not become impure and still others maintain that it should be left in a place where it is likely to become impure so that we will not have to wait for the mandate to destroy it.


And thus we are concerned that the pure terumah will flow into the vat of impure wine. In such a situation, an ordinary person will not be able to partake of it, because of the terumah that has become mixed with it. And a priest will not be able to partake of it, because the wine that is terumah has become impure. Thus it will not be useful at all.


When both his hands and the articles he uses are ritually pure [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Terumot 8:10)].


Even though by doing so, he will cause the wine which is terumah to mix with the impure wine and thus the entire mixture will become unfit for use. It is, nevertheless, desirable for him to do this, because in this way, he will be saving at least a revi'it of wine that is pure terumah.


Even though he will make the wine ritually impure in this manner, it will become ritually impure anyway. (Moreover, the ritual impurity that he will impart to it will be only Rabbinic in origin; see also the notes to the following halachah.) And in this way, he will prevent the terumah from mixing with the ordinary produce and disqualifying it.


See Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTumah 8:8,10; 9:5.


For, as stated above, an ordinary person will not be able to partake of it because of the terumah and even a priest will not be able to partake of it because the terumah will have become impure.


See Chapter 13, Halachah 1.


I.e., even though the oil that is terumah becomes impure and mixed with the contents of the lower vat, the person will not suffer the loss of the entire mixture, because it can be used as fuel.


To the earth and thus will be spoiled entirely.


From a comparison to the wording used in Halachah 4, the Or Sameach rules that with regard to wine, one is permitted to save the wine only if merely his hands are ritually impure. If his entire person is ritually impure, he is forbidden to do so. In this instance, by contrast, the person may save the oil even if his person is ritually impure.

The difference between the two instances can be explained as follows. With regard to wine, what the person is doing is saving the ordinary wine, not the terumah, because there is no use for impure wine. Hence, he is permitted to do so only if he does not impart ritual impurity of Scriptural origin to the terumah. With regard to the oil, he is saving the oil that is terumah - for impure oil can be used as fuel. Hence, he is allowed to do so even if he will be making it ritually impure.


Over the possible loss of his money.


For according to Rabbinic decree, a gentile is considered as ritually impure and can convey that impurity to other objects. See Hilchot Tumat Meit 1:13-14.


So that the gentile can take it. If one of the loaves is ritually impure, he should leave that loaf for the gentile.


Under ordinary circumstances. Nevertheless, they are eaten by humans from time to time. Otherwise, there would be no obligation to separate terumah from them. See Chapter 2, Halachah 8, and Chapter 11, Halachah 9.


And that is forbidden. Even though the person will be causing the produce to contract ritual impurity later, in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aser Sheni 2:3), the Rambam explains that this stage of preparation is singled out because it is when the produce comes in contact with the water that it becomes fit to contract ritual impurity.


To remove their coatings.


As stated in Chapter 6, Halachah 2, it is forbidden to give terumah that is ritually pure to a priest who is a common person, for we fear that he will be ritually impure and yet will not be aware of his state. In this instance, however, there is no difficulty for we are not concerned with this terumah becoming ritually impure.

The Kessef Mishneh notes that this ruling is a minority opinion in the Mishnah (Challah 4:9) and the majority of the Sages rule that it is forbidden to give such terumah to an unlearned priest. Why then, he asks, does the Rambam accept the minority view. (Significantly, in his own Commentary to the Mishnah, the Rambam states that the majority opinion is accepted.)


I.e., he knows that he is a priest and that terumah should be eaten by priests. He does not consider himself impure and does not understand why he should not be allowed to partake of the terumah. Even if it is sealed with a wrapper, we fear that he will break open the wrapper and partake of the terumah (Radbaz).


Since it is sealed closed, the Israelite will realize that there are questions of ritual purity involved and will not dare to touch it.


A woman in such a state can cause an article to become impure by moving it even though she does not touch it. See Hilchot Mitamei Mishkav UMoshav 8:2-3. Nevertheless, both the Ra'avad and the Kessef Mishneh question the Rambam's ruling, for seemingly, since the produce has not become fit to contract ritual impurity, why would the woman's moving it cause the produce to contract impurity?


Quite often the owner of the produce would be an unlearned person whom we assume is not precise in his observance of the laws of ritual purity. Nevertheless, he would often employ workers or hire a vat owner who was precise in his observance so that his produce would comply with the laws of ritual purity. The first clause is speaking about a situation where the owner of the produce had already put olives in the press and squeezed the oil from them before asking the person precise in his observance to separate terumah. Since the olives became subject to contract ritual impurity because of the oil, we assume that they became ritually impure through contact with an impure person. Hence, if the person who was precise in his observance would separate terumah, there is a probability that it is impure, but people will think that it is pure, because of the reputation of the person who is precise in his observance. Hence, he is forbidden to separate terumah from it.


I.e., a person who is precise in his observance may perform the entire process, crushing the olives for their oil and separating terumah .


I.e., since the owner of the produce is not precise in his observance of ritual purity, it would be preferable not to separate terumah for him under any circumstances. Nevertheless, leniency was granted so that the owner of the vat could earn his livelihood.


I.e., after preparing the oil and separating the terumah, what precautions should he take that the owner of the produce does not cause the terumah to contract ritual impurity?


I.e., he is permitted to touch the utensil, but not the terumah itself.


Although this is not true, he is given this warning so that he will be careful not to touch the terumah. We are confident that he will heed the warning, because even the unlearned people were careful in the observance of the prohibition against partaking of tevel (see Hilchot Ma'aser 9:1).


In the first instance, the grapes being picked are considered fit to contract ritual impurity only by Rabbinic decree (Hilchot Tumat Ochalin 11:1). In the second instance, the wine is already starting to flow and the impurity is of Scriptural origin. Hence, the Rambam uses the expression: "Needless to say."


I.e., the wine will be ritually impure, and thus the terumah separated from it will be ritually impure and of no value. Hence, performing these tasks is forbidden, because one is aiding a Jew in the performance of a transgression. For it is forbidden to cause produce from which terumah has not been separated to become impure [Avodah Zarah 55a; the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Avodah Zarah 4:9)].


For these barrels are empty.


For the wine has already been rendered impure.


I.e., and the wine or oil is considered as ritually pure. The Kessef Mishneh explains that we are speaking about a situation in which the olives or grapes had become impure with a person who himself had come in contact with a source of ritual impurity. Thus the grapes and olives are considered as ritually impure to the second degree. Making the grapes and the olives impure does not make the wine and the oil impure, because something that is impure to the second degree does not convey impurity to ordinary produce (see Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTumah 11:2). Hence once this wine and oil has been squeezed out, terumah that is ritually pure can be separated from it. The Radbaz emphasizes that in this instance as well, we are speaking about using less than an egg-sized portion of produce at a time as will be explained.


Hilchot Tumat Ochalin 9:2 explains that as long as the impure produce is less than an egg-sized portion, the fact that it comes in contact with the liquids is not significant.


Thus touching the fruit is not considered as touching the liquids (ibid.).


And not an egg-sized portion itself.


For with regard to terumah, impurity of the second degree can impart impurity of the third degree (Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTumah 11:3).


Even though it came into contact with the olives or grapes that were impure.


Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTumah, loc. cit.:2


I.e., if it is placed in the woodpile, people will not regard it as food and they will not partake of it. The point of this entire halachah is to emphasize appropriate safeguards so that people will not partake of impure terumah. Needless to say, it is desirable to burn the impure terumah immediately. The point of this halachah is to provide guidelines should one desire to save it to use as fuel.


So that they will no longer be fit to be used to make flour.


The Kessef Mishneh notes that wine that is terumah that became impure could also be used for its fragrance. Nevertheless, our Sages did not desire that such wine be set aside for this purpose, lest one partake of it unknowingly.


Lest a poisonous snake have drank from the wine and deposited its venom there [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Terumot 8:4); see also Hilchot Rotzeach UShemirat Nefesh 11:7-8)].


Here also we fear that the produce was perforated by a poisonous snake who deposited its venom there (ibid. 12:2).


And is thus forbidden for the reason mentioned in the notes to the previous halachah (ibid. 11:15).


Even though one will be wasting terumah, we show concern for the danger that could be involved.


I.e., though he may not make use of them, the right to give them away is his.


The Radbaz states that this applies even to an unlearned priest. Although terumah should not be given to such a priest lest he cause it to become impure, if he takes it, we do not expropriate it from him.


I.e., we suspect that a person understood that the terumah was set aside, not to be used, and deposited other articles there for safekeeping.


For terumah is referred to as "sanctified," allowing it to be destroyed in this manner desecrates God's name (Radbaz).


To whom the tithes are given.


This applies to the presents required by Scriptural Law. They may, however, render assistance in order to receive those mandated by Rabbinic Law (Hilchot Bikkurim 5:13).


And then the terumah would belong to the Israelite who - although he could not partake of it - could sell it to a priest.


For such a present is a valid transfer of property. See Hilchot Lulav 8:10; Hilchot Zechiyah UMatanah 3:9.


I.e., he is performing a favor for the owner in return for his terumah.


Since the presents are God's, as it were, they should be treated with honor.


I.e., the verse implies that terumah belongs to God and that He grants it to the priests.


See Hilchot Bikkurim, ch. 9.


If he gives them the presents first, it would appear that he is bargaining with them to reduce their wages. This would be similar to a priest assisting in the granary which is forbidden.


The Radbaz emphasizes that such statements may be made only by an Israelite. A priest is forbidden to do so, for this is similar to helping in the granaries.


A silver coin of the Talmudic period.


Since the owner has the right to do what he wants with the presents, he is permitted to receive gifts for them as well.


For such an arrangement looks like the person is selling the terumah.


For it was granted to the priests for consumption and not for commercial purposes.


I.e., their wives and servants may partake of it.


Our translation is taken from the Kessef Mishneh. Although Hilchot Tefilah 15:4 states that a priest should not bless the people until he is old enough to grow a beard, that can be interpreted as meaning that he should not bless the people alone. With other priests, however, he may bless them.


A person with a massive of flesh covering his sexual organs that prevents his gender from being known.


A person with both masculine and feminine sexual organs.


They are forbidden to partake of terumah, but they could be taking for their wives, children, or servants.


And thus become forbidden to partake of terumah.


For these are not places frequented by multitudes of people. Yevamot 99b mentions these two rationales as separate views. The Rambam, however, does not see them as mutually exclusive and combines them both.


Rashi (Yevamot, loc. cit.) interprets this as meaning a woman whom the priest is forbidden to marry.


The Kessef Mishneh notes that Yevamot, loc. cit., does not place an uncircumcised person in this category if his failure to circumcise himself comes as a result of forces beyond his control, e.g., his brothers died because of circumcision. He suggests that perhaps the Rambam had a different version of that passage.

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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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