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ב"ה

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Maaser Sheini - Chapter 11

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Maaser Sheini - Chapter 11

1

It is a positive commandment to make a declaration1 before G‑d2 after all the presents3 from the agricultural products.4 This is called the declaration of the tithes.

א

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לְהִתְוַדּוֹת לִפְני ה' אַחַר שֶׁמּוֹצִיאִין כָּל הַמַּתָּנוֹת שֶׁבְּזֶרַע הָאָרֶץ וְזֶהוּ הַנִּקְרָא וִדּוּי מַעֲשֵׂר:

2

This declaration is made only after the year in which the tithe for the poor is separated,5 as [Deuteronomy 26:12-13] states: "When you complete tithing, and you shall declare before God your Lord: 'I have removed all the sacred substances from the house...'"

ב

וְאֵין מִתְוַדִּין וִדּוּי זֶה אֶלָּא אַחַר הַשָּׁנָה שֶׁמַּפְרִישִׁין בָּהּ מַעֲשַׂר עָנִי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יב) "כִּי תְכַלֶּה לַעְשֵׂר" (דברים כו יג) "וְאָמַרְתָּ לִפְנֵי ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ בִּעַרְתִּי הַקֹּדֶשׁ מִן הַבַּיִת":

3

When is this declaration made? On the afternoon of the last festival6 of the Pesach holiday7 of the fourth and seventh year, as [the prooftext] states: "When you complete tithing...," i.e., on the festival when all the tithes are completed. Pesach of the fourth year will not arrive before all of the produce - both those that grow from the earth and those that grow from trees - have been tithed.

ג

אֵימָתַי מִתְוַדִּין. בְּמִנְחָה בְּיוֹם טוֹב הָאַחֲרוֹן שֶׁל פֶּסַח שֶׁל רְבִיעִית וְשֶׁל שְׁבִיעִית. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יב) "כִּי תְכַלֶּה לַעְשֵׂר". בְּרֶגֶל שֶׁכָּל הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת כָּלִים בּוֹ. וְאֵין הַפֶּסַח מַגִּיעַ מִשָּׁנָה רְבִיעִית אֶלָּא כָּל פֵּרוֹת שְׁלִישִׁית נִתְעַשְּׂרוּ בֵּין פֵּרוֹת הָאִילָן בֵּין פֵּרוֹת הָאָרֶץ:

4

The declaration may only be made during the day.8 The entire day9 is appropriate for this declaration. Whether the Temple is standing or not,10 he is obligated to remove [all the agricultural presents from his possession] and make the declaration.11

ד

אֵין מִתְוַדִּין אֶלָּא בַּיּוֹם. וְכָל הַיּוֹם כָּשֵׁר לְוִדּוּי הַמַּעֲשֵׂר. וּבֵין בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת וּבֵין שֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת חַיָּב לְבַעֵר וּלְהִתְוַדּוֹת:

5

This declaration may be made in any language,12 as [indicated by the prooftext]: "You shall declare before God your Lord," i.e., in any language in which you declare.

Each person should make this declaration individually.13 If many desire to recite it together, they may.14

ה

וִדּוּי זֶה נֶאֱמַר בְּכָל לָשׁוֹן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יג) "וְאָמַרְתָּ לִפְנֵי ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ" בְּכָל לָשׁוֹן שֶׁאַתָּה אוֹמֵר. וְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד אוֹמְרוֹ בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ. וְאִם רָצוּ רַבִּים לְהִתְוַדּוֹת כְּאֶחָד מִתְוַדִּין:

6

[The proper way of performing] the mitzvah is to recite the declaration in the Temple, as [implied by] the phrase: "before God." [Nevertheless,] if he made the declaration in any other place, he fulfilled his obligation.

ו

וּמִצְוָתוֹ בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יג) "לִפְנֵי ה'". וְאִם הִתְוַדָּה בְּכָל מָקוֹם יָצָא:

7

A person may not make this declaration until he has disposed of all the agricultural presents in his possession.15 For in the declaration he states: "I have removed all the sacred substances from the house."16 On the day before the final day of the Pesach festival,17 one must remove [the last of the presents] and on the following day, the declaration is made.

ז

אֵינוֹ מִתְוַדָּה עַד שֶׁלֹּא יִשָּׁאֵר אֶצְלוֹ אַחַת מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת. שֶׁכֵּן הוּא אוֹמֵר בַּוִּדּוּי (דברים כו יג) "בִּעַרְתִּי הַקֹּדֶשׁ מִן הַבַּיִת". וְעֶרֶב יוֹם טוֹב הָאַחֲרוֹן הָיָה הַבִּעוּר וּלְמָחָר מִתְוַדִּין:

8

What must one do? If he has terumah or terumat ma'aser in his possession, he should give them to a priest. The first tithe should be given to a Levite and tithe of the poor to the poor. If produce that was definitely from the second tithe or neta reva'i18 or money from their redemption remained in his possession, he must destroy it and cast it in the sea or burn it.19 If the second tithe of demai remains in his possession, he is not obligated to destroy it.20 If the first fruits remain in his possession, they may be destroyed in any place.

ח

כֵּיצַד הוּא עוֹשֶׂה. אִם נִשְׁאָר אֶצְלוֹ תְּרוּמָה וּתְרוּמַת מַעֲשֵׂר נוֹתְנָהּ לַכֹּהֵן. מַעֲשֵׂר רִאשׁוֹן נוֹתְנוֹ לְלֵוִי. מַעֲשַׂר עָנִי נוֹתְנוֹ לָעֲנִיִּים. נִשְׁאֲרוּ אֶצְלוֹ פֵּרוֹת מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי שֶׁל וַדַּאי אוֹ נֶטַע רְבָעִי אוֹ מְעוֹת פְּדִיָּתָן הֲרֵי זֶה מְבַעֲרָן וּמַשְׁלִיךְ לַיָּם אוֹ שׂוֹרֵף. נִשְׁאָר אֶצְלוֹ מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי שֶׁל דְּמַאי אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְבַעֲרוֹ. נִשְׁאָר אֶצְלוֹ בִּכּוּרִים הֲרֵי הֵן מִתְבַּעֲרִין בְּכָל מָקוֹם:

9

When does the obligation to burn and remove apply? When there remains in his possession [fresh] produce that one cannot consume before the commencement of the holiday. If, however, cooked food from the second tithe or neta reva'i remain, it need not be removed, for cooked food is considered as if it was removed.21 Similarly, wine and spices are considered as if they were removed.22

ט

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים שֶׁשּׂוֹרֵף וּמְבַעֵר כְּשֶׁנִּשְׁאֲרוּ אֶצְלוֹ פֵּרוֹת שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לֶאֱכל כֻּלָּן קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּכָּנֵס יוֹם טוֹב. אֲבָל אִם נִשְׁאָר תַּבְשִׁיל שֶׁל מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי וְנֶטַע רְבָעִי אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְבַעֲרוֹ שֶׁהַתַּבְשִׁיל כִּמְבֹעָר. וְכֵן יַיִן וְתַבְלִין הֲרֵי הֵן כִּמְבֹעֲרִין:

10

Produce that has not reached the "phase of tithing"23 by the time the removal [of the agricultural presence] arrives does not prevent a person from making a declaration, nor is he obligated to remove them from his possession.24

י

פֵּרוֹת שֶׁלֹּא הִגִּיעוּ לְעוֹנַת הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת בִּשְׁעַת הַבִּעוּר אֵין מְעַכְּבִין אוֹתוֹ לְהִתְוַדּוֹת וְאֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְבַעֲרָן:

11

When produce belonging to a person was distant from him [when] the time for its removal arrived,25 he should designate the presents [appropriately]26 and transfer them to their owners by giving them together with land.27 Alternatively, [he may give them to] someone who will acquire them for their owners. He may then recite the declaration the following day.

[The rationale is] that transferring movable property to a person together with landed property is a present that has been strengthened. He may not, however, transfer [the produce from] the tithes to them via an exchange,28 because it resembles a sale and [the Torah] speaks of giving, not selling, the tithes, terumah, and the other presents.29

יא

מִי שֶׁהָיוּ פֵּרוֹתָיו רְחוֹקִין מִמֶּנּוּ וְהִגִּיעַ יוֹם הַבִּעוּר הֲרֵי זֶה קוֹרֵא שֵׁם לַמַּתָּנוֹת וּמְזַכֶּה לָהֶן לְבַעְלֵיהֶן עַל גַּב קַרְקַע אוֹ לְמִי שֶׁזּוֹכֶה לָהֶן לְבַעֲלֵיהֶן וּמִתְוַדֶּה לְמָחָר. שֶׁנְּתִינַת הַמִּטַּלְטְלִין עַל גַּבֵּי קַרְקַע אֵינָהּ אֶלָּא מַתָּנָה שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ חִזּוּק. אֲבָל אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַקְנוֹת לָהֶם הַמַּעֲשֵׂר בַּחֲלִיפִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּרְאֶה כִּמְכִירָה. וְהַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת וְהַתְּרוּמוֹת וְהַמַּתָּנוֹת נֶאֱמַר בָּהֶן נְתִינָה לֹא מְכִירָה:

12

What source teaches that he cannot recite the declaration until he removes all the presents [from his possession]? [It is written:] "I have removed all the sacred substances from the house." "The sacred substances" refers to the second tithe and neta reva'i which are called "sanctified."30 "From the house" refers to challah, for it is a present given to the priests in one's home.31 [The prooftext continues:] "I gave it to the Levite" - this refers to the first tithe. "And I also gave it" - this implies that it was preceded by another present, i.e., the great terumah and terumat ma'aser. "To the stranger, the orphan, and the widow" - this refers to the tithe given to the poor, leket, shichachah, and pe'ah. [The latter three are mentioned] even though [the failure to give them] does not prevent recitation of the declaration.32

יב

וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִתְוַדּוֹת עַד שֶׁיּוֹצִיא כָּל הַמַּתָּנוֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יג) "בִּעַרְתִּי הַקֹּדֶשׁ מִן הַבַּיִת". הַקֹּדֶשׁ זֶה מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי וְנֶטַע רְבָעִי הַקָּרוּי קֹדֶשׁ. מִן הַבַּיִת זוֹ חַלָּה שֶׁהִיא הַמַּתָּנָה שֶׁל כֹּהֲנִים בַּבַּיִת. נְתַתִּיו לַלֵּוִי זֶה מַעֲשֵׂר רִאשׁוֹן. וְגַם נְתַתִּיו מִכְּלָל שֶׁקְּדָמַתּוּ מַתָּנָה אַחֶרֶת וְהִיא תְּרוּמָה גְּדוֹלָה וּתְרוּמַת מַעֲשֵׂר. לַגֵּר לַיָּתוֹם וְלָאַלְמָנָה זֶה מַעֲשַׂר עָנִי וְלֶקֶט שִׁכְחָה וּפֵאָה. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין לֶקֶט שִׁכְחָה וּפֵאָה מְעַכְּבִין אֶת הַוִּדּוּי:

13

The presents must be separated according to the desired order33 and afterwards, the declaration is made, as [implied by the continuation of the verse:] "according to all Your mitzvot which You commanded me." Thus if he gives the second tithe before the first tithe, he cannot recite this declaration.34

If a person's tevel is burnt, he cannot make this declaration, for he did not separate the presents or give them to the people designated. In the era when the first tithe was given to the priests,35 the declaration was not made, [because it contains the words:] "I gave it to the Levite."

יג

וְצָרִיךְ לְהַפְרִישׁ הַמַּתָּנוֹת עַל הַסֵּדֶר וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִתְוַדֶּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יג) "כְּכָל מִצְוָתְךָ אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתָנִי". הָא אִם הִקְדִּים מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי לְרִאשׁוֹן אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִתְוַדּוֹת. נִשְׂרַף טִבְלוֹ אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִתְוַדּוֹת שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא הִפְרִישׁ מַתָּנוֹת וְלֹא נְתָנָן לְבַעֲלֵיהֶן. וּבִזְמַן שֶׁהָיוּ נוֹתְנִין מַעֲשֵׂר רִאשׁוֹן לַכֹּהֲנִים לֹא הָיוּ מִתְוַדִּין שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יג) "וְגַם נְתַתִּיו לַלֵּוִי":

14

When a person possesses only the second tithe, he should make the declaration, for the fundamental dimension of the declaration concerns the [second] tithe.36 Similarly, if he possesses only the first fruits, he should make the declaration, for [the prooftext] states: "I removed the holy substances" and the first type of produce that is holy is the first fruits.37 When, however, a person only possesses terumah, he does not recite the declaration,38 because terumah [in and of itself] does not require a declaration except as part of all the presents [together].

יד

מִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי בִּלְבַד מִתְוַדֶּה. שֶׁעִקַּר הַוִּדּוּי בַּמַּעֲשֵׂר הוּא. וְכֵן אִם לֹא הָיָה לוֹ אֶלָּא בִּכּוּרִים בִּלְבַד מִתְוַדֶּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יג) "בִּעַרְתִּי הַקֹּדֶשׁ". הַקֹּדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁהוּא הַבִּכּוּרִים. אֲבָל מִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא תְּרוּמָה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמָהּ אֵינוֹ מִתְוַדֶּה שֶׁאֵין הַתְּרוּמָה טְעוּנָה וִדּוּי אֶלָּא בִּכְלַל שְׁאָר הַמַּתָּנוֹת:

15

[The prooftext continues:] "I did not violate your commandments,"39 i.e., he did not separate from one species for another, nor from produce that has been reaped for produce that is still attached to the ground, nor from produce that is attached to the ground for produce that has been reaped, nor from produce from the present year for that of the previous year, nor from produce of the previous year for that of the present year.40

[The prooftext continues:] "I did not forget," I did not forget to bless Him and recall His name with regard to them.41 "I did not partake of it in a state of acute mourning";42 thus if he partakes of it in a state of acute mourning, he does not recite the declaration. "I did not partake of it in a state of impurity," thus if he separates it in a state of acute mourning, he does not recite the declaration. "I did not give of it to a corpse." This implies that he did not use [money from the redemption of the tithes] for a coffin or shrouds, nor did he give it to other people in a state of mourning. "I heeded the voice of God my Lord," i.e., I brought it to the Temple.43 "I performed everything that You commanded me," I rejoiced. And I shared that rejoicing with others with it, as [Deuteronomy 26:11]: "And you share rejoice in all the good."

טו

(דברים כו יג) "לֹא עָבַרְתִּי מִמִּצְוֹתֶיךָ" שֶׁלֹּא הִפְרִישׁ מִמִּין עַל שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִינוֹ. וְלֹא מִן הַתָּלוּשׁ עַל הַמְחֻבָּר. וְלֹא מִן הַמְחֻבָּר עַל הַתָּלוּשׁ. וְלֹא מִן הֶחָדָשׁ עַל הַיָּשָׁן. וְלֹא מִן הַיָּשָׁן עַל הֶחָדָשׁ. וְלֹא שָׁכַחְתִּי שֶׁלֹּא שָׁכַח מִלְּבָרְכוֹ וּמִלְּהַזְכִּיר שְׁמוֹ עָלָיו. לֹא אָכַלְתִּי בְאֹנִי מִמֶּנּוּ הָא אִם אֲכָלוֹ בַּאֲנִינוֹ אֵינוֹ מִתְוַדֶּה. וְלֹא בִעַרְתִּי מִמֶּנּוּ בְּטָמֵא הָא אִם הִפְרִישׁוֹ בְּטֻמְאָה אֵינוֹ מִתְוַדֶּה. וְלֹא נָתַתִּי מִמֶּנּוּ לְמֵת שֶׁלֹּא לָקַח מִמֶּנּוּ אָרוֹן וְתַכְרִיכִין וְלֹא נְתָנוֹ לְאוֹנְנִים אֲחֵרִים. שָׁמַעְתִּי בְּקוֹל ה' אֱלֹהָי שֶׁהֱבִיאוֹ לְבֵית הַבְּחִירָה. עָשִׂיתִי כְּכָל אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתָנִי שֶׁשָּׂמַח וְשִׂמֵּחַ בּוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כו יא) "וְשָׂמַחְתָּ בְכָל הַטּוֹב":

16

[The passage continues:] "Look down from Your holy habitation heaven... as You swore to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey." This is a prayer that the fruits be flavorful.

טז

(דברים כו טו) "הַשְׁקִיפָה מִמְּעוֹן קָדְשְׁךָ מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם" עַד (דברים כו טו) "כַּאֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ" זוֹ בַּקָּשָׁה שֶׁיִּתֵּן טַעַם בַּפֵּרוֹת:

17

Israelites and mamzerim44 may make this declaration, but not converts and freed slaves, because they do not have an ancestral portion in Eretz Yisrael45 and in the declaration one says: "And the land that You gave us." Priests and Levites may make the declaration. Although they did not receive a portion in the division of the land, they were granted cities in which to dwell.46

יז

יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמַמְזֵרִים מִתְוַדִּים. אֲבָל לֹא גֵּרִים וַעֲבָדִים מְשֻׁחְרָרִים מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם חֵלֶק בָּאָרֶץ וַהֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר (דברים כו טו) "וְאֶת הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר נָתַתָּ לָנוּ". כֹּהֲנִים וּלְוִיִּים מִתְוַדִּים שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נָטְלוּ חֵלֶק בָּאָרֶץ יֵשׁ לָהֶם עָרֵי מִגְרָשׁ: סְלִיקוּ לְהוּ הִלְכוֹת מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי וְנֶטַע רְבָעִי בְּסִיַעְתָּא דִּשְׁמַיָּא

Blessed be God who grants assistance.

סליקו להו הלכות מעשר שני ונטע רבעי:

Test Yourself on This Chapter

Footnotes
1.

In other contexts, the term used by the Rambam here (and by the previous Rabbinic sources) usually means "confession." Among the reasons why this term is used is because the fact that the terumah and the tithes are given to the priests and Levites is a result of the Jews' sin. Had that not occurred, these agricultural separations would have been given to the firstborn.

2.

I.e., in the Temple.

3.

See Halachah 12.

4.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 131) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 607) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

5.

The third and the sixth years of the seven year cycle.

6.

Rashi and others, by contrast, maintain that this declaration should be made on the first day of the Pesach holiday. The Rambam's opinion is based on the Jerusalem Talmud (Ma'aser Sheni 5:10) which states that the Jews were given the opportunity to partake of the second tithe throughout the Pesach holiday so that they would have ample resources with which to celebrate and partake of this food. For that same reason, the declaration is delayed until the afternoon.

7.

For on Sukkot, there are still many fruits from the sixth year in the field (Radbaz; Siftei Cohen 331:159).

8.

A declaration made at night is unacceptable.

9.

From sunrise to sunset. The above statement that it is made in the afternoon was a leniency intended to provide a person with latitude.

10.

For, as stated in Hilchot Terumah 1:1, the laws of terumah and the other agricultural requirements apply even if the Temple is not standing.

11.

The Ra'avad differs and maintains that the mitzvah to make a declaration applies only in the Temple. The Radbaz supports the Rambam's ruling, explaining that it is based on Halachah 6. Since, after the fact, one fulfills his obligation if he makes the declaration outside the Temple, when there is no Temple, there is no choice but to accept that alternative.

12.

It must, however, be an exact translation. Note the contrast to the declaration made when bringing the first fruits (Hilchot Bikkurim 3:10).

13.

I.e., this is the desirable manner of performing the mitzvah (Siftei Cohen 331:161).

14.

Not the Minchat Chinuch (Mitzvah 607) which states that the Rambam is speaking about a situation where one person speaks out loud and the others fulfill their obligation by listening.

15.

The Minchat Chinuch and others question why the removal of the presents from one's property is not considered as an independent mitzvah.

16.

And if he still possessed these presents, he would be lying. See the following halachot.

17.

The standard published text of Ma'aser Sheni 5:6 states "The day before the first holiday of the Pesach festival." The Rambam apparently had a different version of that mishnah. The Kessef Mishneh justifies the Rambam's version, explaining that on the passage from the Jerusalem Talmud cited above which explains that the declaration was delayed so that the people would be able to partake of the presents during the festival indicates that they would not have to remove the presents from their possession until the festival's conclusion.

18.

This halachah is based on Ma'aser Sheni 5:6. That mishnah does not mention neta reva'i. Nevertheless, the Rambam adds it because all the laws that apply to the second tithe apply to it (Kessef Mishneh).

19.

Thus there are two types of biur, removal of agricultural presents: giving presents to those to whom they are supposed to be given and destroying, those which one keeps for oneself (ibid.).

20.

Since the obligation to separate it was imposed only because of a doubt, we rule leniently.

21.

For if it is left for any significant amount of time, it will spoil [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aser Sheni 5:6)].

22.

For they also will spoil if left for any significant amount of time.

23.

One third of its growth, as stated in Hilchot Ma'aserot 2:5.

24.

Since the produce has not reached this stage of development, there is no obligation to tithe it. Hence, it need not be removed or included in the declaration.

25.

Ma'aser Sheni 5:9 relates that once when the time to remove produce arrived, Rabban Gamliel was on a sea journey and could not physically give the produce to anyone else. He therefore transferred the presents to other sages in the manner described here. Since Rabbi Elazar ben Arach was a priest, he gave him terumah, Rabbi Yehoshua was a Levite and so he gave him the tithes, and since Rabbi Akiva was a collector of gifts for the poor, he gave him the tithes for the poor.

26.

And specify in which portion of the grainheap they are located.

27.

See Hilchot Mechirah, ch. 6, which describes how this transfer of property operates. This means of transfer is used, because this is the only way the ownership of the produce can be given to these individuals without an actual physical transfer.

28.

The term "exchange" is translated from the Hebrew kinyan chilipin, a legal act that formalizes a transaction. See Hilchot Mechirah, ch. 5, for a description. Although this legal act is frequently employed, it is not appropriate in this instance, because the gift would resemble a sale and not a present.

29.

As stated in Deuteronomy 26:13.

30.

See Chapter 9, Halachah 1.

31.

I.e., it is not given until the grain is made into dough [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aser Sheni 5:10)].

32.

The commentaries have pointed out a difference between leket, shichachah, and pe'ah and the other presents. For the Torah does not prescribe giving the latter three to the poor, but rather leaving them for them.

33.

See Hilchot Terumah 3:23 with regard to the desired order of the presents.

34.

For he cannot say: "As You commanded me," since by deviating from the desired order, he did not fulfill the mitzvot "as commanded." Indeed, he committed a transgression.

35.

When Ezra led the Jews back to Eretz Yisrael after the Babylonian exile, by and large, the Levites did not accompany him. Therefore, he punished them, decreeing that the tithes should be given to the priests instead (Hilchot Ma'aser 1:4). From the Rambam's statements here and also in that source, some have inferred that Ezra's decree applied only in his generation and not in later eras. This conclusion is not, however, borne out by his Commentary to the Mishnah (ibid. 5:15)].

36.

Of them all, it is the only one that must be destroyed as stated in Halachah 8.

37.

And it must also be removed from one's possession.

38.

The Kessef Mishneh states that the same rule applies to the first tithe. For neither of them must be removed from one's possession at a given time.

39.

Although the Rambam explains the details of this declaration, the intent is not that one should explain it while reciting it. Instead, he should merely read the passage as it is stated in the Torah [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aser Sheni 5:13)].

40.

See Hilchot Terumah 5:18; 5:9, 5:11, and Hilchot Ma'aser 1:12 which explains that separating the presents in such a manner is forbidden.

41.

Some interpret this as referring to the recitation of a blessing when making the separations. The commentaries question these interpretations, however, because the blessings were instituted by the Rabbis and here we are speaking of the exegesis of a Biblical verse. Others maintain that it refers to reciting grace after partaking of the grain, for that is a Scriptural command.

42.

See Chapter 3, Halachah 5ff.

43.

This refers to the first fruits. The second tithe need not be brought to the Temple.

44.

A child born out of an adulterous or incestuous union. Even though they are forbidden to marry, they are considered heirs and are granted their ancestral heritage.

45.

Although they may purchase land in Eretz Yisrael, they were not granted an ancestral heritage when the land was divided among the tribes and thus there is no portion of Eretz Yisrael that is theirs in an ultimate sense. For during the Jubilee year, any purchased land will return to its owner. Note the contrast to the declaration concerning the first fruits which they are required to make (Hilchot Bikkurim 4:3).

46.

As related in Numbers, ch. 35, in addition to the six cities of refuge, the Levites were given 42 cities that were scattered throughout the entire land of Eretz Yisrael.

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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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