Get the best of Chabad.org content every week!
Find answers to fascinating Jewish questions, enjoy holiday tips and guides, read real-life stories and more!
ב"ה

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Maaser - Chapter 2

Show content in:

Maaser - Chapter 2

1

A person is not obligated to tithe his produce by Scriptural Law unless he completes [the work associated with its preparation1 with the intent of] partaking of it himself.2 If, however, he completes those tasks with the intent of selling it, he is exempt according to Scriptural Law.3 He is, however, obligated by Rabbinic decree.4 [This is derived from Deuteronomy 14:22:] "And you shall certainly tithe... and you shall partake...." One is obligated only when he completes the tasks with the intent of partaking.

א

אֵינּוֹ חַיָּב לְהַפְרִישׁ מִן הַתּוֹרָה אֶלָּא הַגּוֹמֵר פֵּרוֹתָיו לְאָכְלָן לְעַצְמוֹ אֲבָל הַגּוֹמְרָן לְמָכְרָן פָּטוּר מִן הַתּוֹרָה וְחַיָּב מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יד כב) "עַשֵּׂר תְּעַשֵּׂר" וְגוֹ' (דברים יד כג) "וְאָכַלְתָּ" אֵינוֹ חַיָּב אֶלָּא הַגּוֹמֵר תְּבוּאָתוֹ לְאָכְלָהּ:

2

Similarly, one who purchases such produce is exempt according to Scriptural Law, [for ibid. states]: "the produce of your crops."5 He is, however, obligated according to Rabbinic Law.

When does the above apply? When he purchased it after the work necessary to prepare it was completed while it was in the possession of the seller. If, however, these tasks were completed while it was in the possession of the purchaser, he is obligated to tithe according to Scriptural Law.6

ב

וְכֵן הַלּוֹקֵחַ פָּטוּר מִן הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יד כב) "תְּבוּאַת זַרְעֶךָ". וְחַיָּב מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁלְּקָחָן אַחַר שֶׁנִּגְמְרוּ מְלַאכְתָּן בְּיַד מוֹכֵר. אֲבָל אִם נִגְמְרוּ בְּיַד לוֹקֵחַ חַיָּב לְעַשֵּׂר מִן הַתּוֹרָה:

3

Produce which is not fit to be eaten because it is too small, e.g., unripened produce7 and the like, is not required to be tithed8 until it grows and becomes food, as [implied by Leviticus 27:30 which states that we must tithe:] "From the crops of the earth, from the fruit of the trees," i.e., [there is no requirement to tithe the crops] until they grow and become fruit. Similar concepts apply with regard to grain and legumes, as [implied by Deuteronomy 14:22:] "the produce of your crops," i.e., [there is no obligation] until it becomes produce.

This refers to the "phase of tithing."9 Before grain and fruit reach this phase, one is permitted to eat as much as one wants from them,10 in any manner he desires.11

ג

פֵּרוֹת שֶׁאֵינָן רְאוּיִים לַאֲכִילָה מִקָּטְנָן כְּגוֹן הַבֹּסֶר וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ אֵינָן חַיָּבִין בְּמַעֲשֵׂר עַד שֶׁיִּגְדְּלוּ וְיֵעָשׂוּ אֹכֶל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כז ל) "מִזֶּרַע הָאָרֶץ מִפְּרִי הָעֵץ" עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה פְּרִי. וְכֵן הַתְּבוּאָה וְהַקִּטְנִיּוֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יד כב) "אֵת כָּל תְּבוּאַת זַרְעֶךָ" עַד שֶׁתֵּעָשֶׂה תְּבוּאָה וְזוֹ הִיא עוֹנַת הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת. וְקֹדֶם שֶׁתַּגִּיעַ הַתְּבוּאָה וְהַפֵּרוֹת לְעוֹנָה זוֹ מֻתָּר לֶאֱכל מֵהֶן כָּל מַה שֶּׁיִּרְצֶה וּבְכָל דֶּרֶךְ שֶׁיִּרְצֶה:

4

Produce that is fit to be eaten when it is small, e.g., zucchini or cucumbers, but is left [to grow] only in order to increase its bulk, is required to be tithed while it is small, [for] they are fit to be eaten at the outset. As soon as they emerge, they are considered to have reached the "phase of tithing."

ד

פֵּרוֹת שֶׁהֵן רְאוּיִין לַאֲכִילָה בְּקָטְנָן כְּגוֹן הַקִּשּׁוּאִים וְהַמְּלָפְפוֹנוֹת שֶׁאֵין מַנִּיחִין אוֹתָן אֶלָּא כְּדֵי לְהוֹסִיף בְּגוּפָן בִּלְבַד אֲבָל רְאוּיִין הֵן מִתְּחִלָּה לַאֲכִילָה. הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ חַיָּבִין בְּמַעֲשֵׂר בְּקָטְנָן. שֶׁמִּתְּחִלַּת יְצִיאָתָן בָּאוּ לְעוֹנַת הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת:

5

When is "the phase of tithing"? When the produce will reach a stage that it produces seed [that could] grow, each species according to its nature.12

What is implied? For figs, it is when they become soft enough to be fit to be eaten within 24 hours after they have been harvested.13 For grapes and biushim, i.e., thin wild grapes, it is when their seeds can be seen from the outside.14 For pomegranates, it is when their seed15 will be crushed easily between one's fingers and produce liquid. For dates, it is when they swell like yeast.

For peaches, it is when red strands appear within them.16 For nuts, it is when the fruit becomes distinct from its outer shell. For sweet almonds, it is when their external shell becomes distinct. Bitter [almonds] are always exempt.17 For other fruits with shells, e.g., acorns, chestnuts, and pistachios, it is when the lower shell that is next to the fruit forms.

For olives, when they produce one ninth of the amount of oil that they will produce when they are entirely ripe;18 this is one third of their growth. For apples and esrogim, it is when they become round,19 for they are fit to be eaten when they are small. For berries and sumac, it is when they become red. Similarly, for every fruit that becomes red, it is when it becomes red.

For carobs, it is when black spots begin to appear. Similarly, for any fruit that becomes black, it is when spots begin to appear. For pears, small pears,20 quince, and thorn apples,21 it is when their hairs begin to fall off.22 Similarly, for any fruit that becomes light-colored, it is when white lines appear.

For grain, it is when it reaches a third of its growth. For chilba, it is when its seed is fit to grow if it would be planted. With regard to vegetables, we are required [to tithe] zucchini, squash, watermelon, cucumbers and the like when they are small, as we explained.23 Other vegetables which are not fit to be eaten until they grow large and are not required [to be tithed] until they are fit to be eaten.

When even one grape on a cluster has reached the stage when it must be tithed, because of their connection, the entire [cluster is required to be] tithed.24 It is as if the entire cluster reached that stage of development. [Indeed,] not only that cluster, but the entire side of the vine on which that cluster grew [is considered to have reached the stage when the tithes must be separated]. Similarly, when even one seed of a pomegranate reaches the appropriate stage, the entire [side of the tree]25 is considered as connected to it.

ה

אֵי זוֹ הִיא עוֹנַת הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת. מִשֶּׁיַּגִּיעוּ הַפֵּרוֹת לְהַזְרִיעַ וְלִצְמֹחַ הַכּל לְפִי מַה שֶּׁהוּא הַפְּרִי. כֵּיצַד. הַתְּאֵנִים מִשֶּׁיֵּעָשׂוּ רַכִּים עַד שֶׁיְּהוּ רְאוּיִים לַאֲכִילָה אַחַר כ''ד שָׁעוֹת מִשְּׁעַת אֲסִיפָתָן. הָעֲנָבִים וְהַבְּאוּשִׁים וְהֵם הָעֲנָבִים הַדַּקִּים הַמִּדְבָּרִיּוֹת מִשֶּׁיֵּרָאֶה הַחַרְצָן שֶׁלָּהֶם מִבַּחוּץ. הָרִמּוֹנִים מִשֶּׁיִּמַּס הַפֶּרַח שֶׁלָּהֶן בֵּין הָאֶצְבָּעוֹת וְיֵצֵא מִמֶּנּוּ מַיִם. הַתְּמָרִים מִשֶּׁיִּפָּתְחוּ כִּשְׂאוֹר. הָאֲפַרְסֵקִין מִשֶּׁיַּטִּילוּ גִּידִים אֲדֻמִּים. הָאֱגוֹזִים מִשֶּׁיִּתְפָּרֵשׁ הָאֹכֶל מֵהַקְּלִפָּה הַחִיצוֹנָה. הַשְּׁקֵדִים הַמְּתוּקִים מִשֶּׁתִּתְפָּרֵשׁ קְלִפָּתָן הַחִיצוֹנָה. הַמָּרִים פְּטוּרִין לְעוֹלָם. וּשְׁאָר כָּל בַּעֲלֵי קְלִפּוֹת כְּגוֹן הָאִצְטְרֻבּוֹלִין וְהַלּוֹט וְהַבָּטְנִים מִשֶּׁיַּעֲשׂוּ קְלִפָּה הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה הַסְּמוּכָה לָאֹכֶל. הַזֵּיתִים מִשֶּׁיַּעֲשׂוּ שֶׁמֶן אֶחָד מִתִּשְׁעָה מִמַּה שֶּׁהֵן רְאוּיִין לַעֲשׂוֹת כְּשֶׁיִּגָּמְרוּ. וְזֶה שְׁלִישׁ שֶׁלָּהֶן. הַתַּפּוּחִים וְהָאֶתְרוֹגִים מִשֶּׁיִּתְעַגְּלוּ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן רְאוּיִין לַאֲכִילָה כְּשֶׁהֵם קְטַנִּים. הַתּוּתִים וְהָאוֹג מִשֶּׁיַּאֲדִימוּ. וְכֵן כָּל שֶׁדַּרְכָּן לְהַאֲדִים מִשֶּׁיַּאֲדִימוּ. הֶחָרוּבִין מִשֶּׁיֵּעָשׂוּ נְקֻדּוֹת נְקֻדּוֹת שְׁחוֹרוֹת. וְכֵן כָּל שֶׁדַּרְכָּן לְהַשְׁחִיר מִשֶּׁיִּנָּקְדוּ. הָאֲגַסִּים וְהַקְרוּסְטְמָלִין וְהַפְּרִישִׁים וְהָעוֹזְרָדִין מִשֶּׁיֵּעָשׂוּ קַרָחוֹת קַרָחוֹת לְבָנוֹת. וְכֵן כָּל שֶׁדַּרְכָּן לְלַבֵּן מִשֶּׁיִּקְרְחוּ קַרָחוֹת. הַתְּבוּאָה מִשֶּׁתָּבִיא שְׁלִישׁ. הַתִּלְתָּן מִשֶּׁתִּהְיֶה זַרְעָהּ רָאוּי לִצְמִיחָה אִם נִזְרַע. וּבְיָרָק הַקִּשּׁוּאִין וְהַדְּלוּעִין וְהָאֲבַטִּיחִין וְהַמְּלָפְפוֹנוֹת וְכָל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן חַיָּבִין בְּקָטְנָן כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וּשְׁאָר הַיָּרָק שֶׁאֵינוֹ רָאוּי לַאֲכִילָה עַד שֶׁיַּגְדִּיל אֵינוֹ חַיָּב עַד שֶׁיְּהֵא רָאוּי לַאֲכִילָה. אֶשְׁכּוֹל שֶׁהִגִּיעַ בּוֹ אֲפִלּוּ גַּרְגִּיר יְחִידִי כֻּלּוֹ חִבּוּר לְמַעַשְׂרוֹת וּכְאִלּוּ הִגִּיעַ כֻּלּוֹ. וְלֹא אוֹתוֹ אֶשְׁכּוֹל בִּלְבַד אֶלָּא כָּל הָרוּחַ שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ אוֹתָהּ הַגֶּפֶן שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ הָאֶשְׁכּוֹל. וְכֵן רִמּוֹן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ בָּהּ אֲפִלּוּ פְּרֵדָה אַחַת כֻּלָּהּ חִבּוּר:

6

After produce has reached the "phase of tithing," a person should not sell it to someone who is not trusted with regard to tithes.26 If [a portion of] the produce ripened,27 he should remove that [portion] which ripened. It is then permitted to sell the remainder that has not reached the "phase of tithing."28

Similarly, a person should not sell olive dregs and grape dregs to someone who is not trusted with regard to tithes to extract [oil or wine] from them,29 for the liquids extracted from these dregs must be tithed. Nor should he sell straw so that grain can be picked from it to someone who is not trusted, for the grain picked from the straw must be tithed.

ו

לֹא יִמְכֹּר אָדָם פֵּרוֹתָיו מִשֶּׁבָּאוּ לְעוֹנַת הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת לְמִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן עַל הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת. וְאִם בִּכְּרוּ נוֹטֵל אֶת הַבִּכּוּרוֹת וּמֻתָּר לִמְכֹּר הַשְּׁאָר שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא הִגִּיעַ לְעוֹנַת הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת. וְכֵן לֹא יִמְכֹּר אָדָם אֶת גִּפְתּוֹ וְאֶת זַגָּיו לְמִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן עַל הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת לְהוֹצִיא מֵהֶן מַשְׁקִין. שֶׁהַמַּשְׁקִין הַיּוֹצְאִין מֵהֶם חַיָּבִין בְּמַעַשְׂרוֹת. וְלֹא אֶת תִּבְנוֹ לִלְקֹט מִמֶּנּוּ תְּבוּאָה לְמִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן שֶׁהַתְּבוּאָה שֶׁתִּלָּקֵט מִן הַתֶּבֶן חַיֶּבֶת בְּמַעֲשֵׂר:

7

[The following laws apply when a person] mixed water with wine dregs and filtered the mixture. If he mixed in three measures of water and received four measures, [the mixture is considered wine] and he must separate tithes for this extra measure from another source.30 He does not have to separate terumah, for when one separates terumah, he has the intent to separate terumah for the entire amount, as stated above with regard to terumah.31 If he received less than four measures, he is exempt, even if he received more than he mixed in and even if the mixture has the flavor of wine.32

ז

שִׁמְרֵי יַיִן שֶׁנָּתַן עֲלֵיהֶם מַיִם וְסִנְּנָן אִם נָתַן שְׁלֹשָׁה וּמָצָא אַרְבָּעָה מוֹצִיא מַעֲשֵׂר מִזֶּה הַיֶּתֶר מִמָּקוֹם אַחֵר. וְאֵינוֹ מַפְרִישׁ עָלָיו תְּרוּמָה שֶׁהַתּוֹרֵם בַּתְּחִלָּה בְּלִבּוֹ עַל הַכּל כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בִּתְרוּמָה. מָצָא פָּחוֹת מֵאַרְבָּעָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמָּצָא יֶתֶר עַל מִדָּתוֹ וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶן טַעַם יַיִן פָּטוּר:

8

When a person consecrated his produce when it was attached to the ground, before they reached the "phase of tithing," and then redeemed them, and after he redeemed them, it reached that stage of development, he is obligated to tithe them.33 If the produce reached the "phase of tithing" while it was in the domain of the Temple treasurer and he redeemed it afterwards, he is exempt.34

ח

הַמַּקְדִּישׁ פֵּרוֹתָיו כְּשֶׁהֵן מְחֻבָּרִין עַד שֶׁלֹּא בָּאוּ לְעוֹנַת הַמַּעֲשֵׂר וּפְדָאָן וְאַחַר שֶׁפְּדָאָן הִגִּיעוּ חַיָּבִין בְּמַעֲשֵׂר. וְאִם בָּאוּ לְעוֹנַת הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת וְהֵם בְּיַד הַגִּזְבָּר וְאַחַר כָּךְ פְּדָאָן פְּטוּרִין:

Test Yourself on This Chapter

Footnotes
1.

At which point the obligation to tithe takes effect (Chapter 3, Halachah 1).

2.

Rabbi Akiva Eiger and the Minchat Chinuch (mitzvah 395) explain that even if the person changes his mind and desires to sell the produce afterwards, he remains obligated to tithe.

3.

If the person changes his mind and desires to partake of the produce himself afterwards, he is not obligated according to Scriptural Law. Since he was not obligated at the time of the initial requirement, he does not become obligated afterwards (ibid.).

4.

Our Sages adopted this measure as a safeguard. Ignoring it can have serious repercussions as Bava Metzia 88a states the shopping area of Beit Hino was destroyed three years before Jerusalem because they did not tithe produce that was sold in the marketplace.

5.

I.e., crops that you made ready for use.

6.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam, maintaining that the purchaser of the produce is never liable to tithe according to Scriptural Law. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh cite interpretations of Talmudic passages that support the Rambam's position, but explain that there are other Rishonim who follow the Ra'avad's position.

7.

Our translation is taken from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 4:8).

8.

Even according to Rabbinic decree.

9.

See the following halachot and Chapter 3 which discusses this subject in detail.

10.

For this is not considered as the ordinary way of eating.

11.

I.e., he may even salt them and roast them, even though these actions bring about the obligation to tithe when fruit has matured (Chapter 3, Halachah 3).

12.

Our Rabbis interpreted this as meaning reaching a third of its natural growth. All the examples mentioned in the continuation of the halachah refer to this stage of growth as it applies to each individual species.

13.

Thus if one partakes of them within 24 hours from their harvest without tithing them, he is not liable, for they are not ready to be eaten yet (Ma'aseh Rokeach).

14.

That indicates that their shell has softened and the fluid has been generated within the fruit. See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aserot 1:2).

15.

Our translation is based on authentic manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah and is reinforced by the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (ibid.). The standard printed text reads slightly differently.

16.

This is a sign that they have begun to ripen (ibid.).

17.

See Chapter 1, Halachah 9, and notes.

18.

The Ra'avad questions the Rambam's ruling based on a different version of Sh'vi'it 4:7. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh support the Rambam's ruling.

19.

Although Ma'aserot 1:4 states that we are required to separate tithes from apples when they are small, it does not mention a stage of development. The Kessef Mishneh questions the source for the Rambam's statements.

20.

This is the common translation of these terms. In his notes to the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Kilayim 1:4), however, Rav Kapach suggests that the two terms may refer to apricots and peaches.

21.

Our translation is based on Rav Kapach's notes to the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Demai 1:1).

22.

When these fruits are unripened, they are covered by a fuzz of hair. As they ripen, the hairs fall off.

23.

I.e., based on Halachah 4, which states that produce that is fit to be eaten while small must be tithed.

24.

The Radbaz explains the rationale for this ruling. Since one grape has already ripened sufficiently, the others will ripen shortly thereafter.

25.

This addition is made on the basis of the gloss of the Kessef Mishneh.

26.

Lest that person fail to tithe it and the seller thus be liable for "placing a stumbling block in the path of the blind."

27.

I.e., reached a stage when it was required to separate the tithes.

28.

The Radbaz notes that this clause appears to be in contradiction with the final clause of the previous halachah, for seemingly if part of the crop has become obligated in the tithes, the entire crop has. He explains that if the grapes are growing on different vines, the stringency mentioned in the previous halachah does not apply.

29.

I.e., the purchaser stated that he was purchasing them for this purpose. If, however, such a statement of intent is not made, these may be sold, for it is most likely they will be used as fuel for a fire.

30.

The bracketed addition is made on the basis of the gloss of Rabbi Ovadiah of Bartenura to Ma'aserot 5:6. For there is no reason why that produce itself cannot be used for the tithes.

31.

Hilchot Terumah 4:21. The Radbaz explains that this proviso is made with regard to terumah and not with regard to the tithes, because terumah is given by estimation, while the tithes must be measured exactly.

32.

As long as the wine is not one fourth of the new mixture, it is not considered as significant.

33.

Because at the time the obligation to tithe them took effect, the crops were ordinary produce.

34.

Because at the time the obligation to tithe them took effect, the crops were consecrated property and there is no obligation to tithe consecrated property.

Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.
To purchase this book or the entire series, please click here.
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.
Vowelized Hebrew text courtesy Torat Emet under CC 2.5 license.
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