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

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Bikkurim - Chapter 5

Show content in:

Bikkurim - Chapter 5


It is a positive commandment to separate a portion that is raised up1 from the dough [and given] to a priest,2 as [Numbers 15:20] states: "Raise up the first of your dough, the challah,3 as an offering...." According to Scriptural Law, this first portion does not have a minimum measure. Instead, even if one set aside a portion the size of a barley corn, he has absolved the entire dough. When a person designates his entire dough as challah, his deeds are of no consequence unless he leaves a portion of it [for himself].4


מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לְהַפְרִישׁ תְּרוּמָה מִן הָעִסָּה לַכֹּהֵן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר טו כ) "רֵאשִׁית עֲרִסֹתֵיכֶם חַלָּה תָּרִימוּ תְרוּמָה". וְרֵאשִׁית זוֹ אֵין לָהּ שִׁעוּר מִן הַתּוֹרָה אֲפִלּוּ הִפְרִישׁ כִּשְׂעוֹרָה פָּטַר אֶת הָעִסָּה. וְהָעוֹשֶׂה כָּל עִסָּתוֹ חַלָּה לֹא עָשָׂה כְּלוּם עַד שֶׁיְּשַׁיֵּר מִקְצָתוֹ:


According to Rabbinic Law, one should separate one twenty-fourth of the dough, so that there will be a [significant] present for the priest. [This is derived from Deuteronomy 14:4 which] states: "Give him," i.e., give him something that is fit to be called a gift.

A baker who makes a dough to be sold in the market place should separate one forty-eighth. [The rationale is that] since his dough is larger,5 this measure contains [enough] to be a [significant] present.


וּמִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים שֶׁמַּפְרִישִׁין אֶחָד מֵאַרְבָּעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים מִן הָעִסָּה כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בָּהּ כְּדֵי מַתָּנָה לַכֹּהֵן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ד) "תִּתֶּן לּוֹ "תֵּן לוֹ דָּבָר הָרָאוּי לִתְּנוֹ מַתָּנָה. וְהַנַּחְתּוֹם הָעוֹשֶׂה לִמְכֹּר בַּשּׁוּק מַפְרִישׁ אֶחָד מִשְּׁמוֹנָה וְאַרְבָּעִים. לְפִי שֶׁעִסָּתוֹ מְרֻבָּה יֵשׁ בְּשִׁעוּר זֶה כְּדֵי מַתָּנָה:


Even when a private person makes dough for [the wedding] celebration of his son, he should separate one twenty-fourth even though it is large, so as not to make a distinction in [the requirements of] a dough made by a private person.6 [Conversely,] when a baker makes a small dough, [he must separate only] one forty-eighth, so as not to make a distinction in [the requirements of] a dough made by a baker.


הָעוֹשֶׂה עִסָּה לְמִשְׁתֵּה בְּנוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא מְרֻבֶּה מַפְרִישׁ אֶחָד מֵעֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה. שֶׁלֹּא לְחַלֵּק בְּעִסַּת בַּעַל הַבַּיִת. וְהַנַּחְתּוֹם שֶׁעָשָׂה עִסָּה קְטַנָּה אֶחָד מֵאַרְבָּעִים וּשְׁמוֹנֶה. שֶׁלֹּא לְחַלֵּק בְּעִסַּת הַנַּחְתּוֹם:


If a dough became impure unknowingly or because of forces beyond one's control, one need not separate more than one forty-eighth.7 If he purposefully made it impure, he must separate a twenty-fourth, so that the sinner will not benefit.8

Impure challah is permitted to be used by a priest as kindling fuel like impure terumah.9


נִטְמֵאת הָעִסָּה בְּשׁוֹגֵג אוֹ בְּאֹנֶס מַפְרִישׁ אֶחָד מֵאַרְבָּעִים וּשְׁמוֹנָה. וְאִם טִמְּאָהּ בְּזָדוֹן מַפְרִישׁ אֶחָד מִכ''ד כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה חוֹטֵא נִשְׂכָּר. וְחַלָּה טְמֵאָה [מֻתֶּרֶת] (לַכֹּהֵן) לְהַסָּקָה כִּתְרוּמָה טְמֵאָה:


According to Scriptural law, we are only obligated to separate challah in Eretz Yisrael, as [Numbers 15:19] states: "When you partake of the bread of the land...," and only when the entire Jewish people are located there, as [ibid.:18] states: "When you enter," i.e., when you all enter and not only when a portion of you enter. For this reason, in the present era - and even in the era of Ezra10 in Eretz Yisrael - [the observance of] challah is only a Rabbinic decree, as we explained with regard to terumah.11


אֵין חַיָּבִין בְּחַלָּה מִן הַתּוֹרָה אֶלָּא בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּלְבַד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר טו יט) "וְהָיָה בַּאֲכָלְכֶם מִלֶּחֶם הָאָרֶץ" וְגוֹ'. וּבִזְמַן שֶׁכָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל שָׁם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר טו יח) "בְּבֹאֲכֶם" בִּיאַת כֻּלְּכֶם וְלֹא בִּיאַת מִקְצַתְכֶם. לְפִיכָךְ חַלָּה בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה אֲפִלּוּ בִּימֵי עֶזְרָא בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֵינָהּ אֶלָּא מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בִּתְרוּמָה:


When the produce of the Diaspora is brought to Eretz [Yisrael], challah must be separated from it.12 When produce from Eretz [Yisrael], are brought to the Diaspora, they are exempt.13 [This is derived from ibid.:] "to which I will bring you." [Implied is that in that land,] you are liable, whether for the produce of the land itself or for that of other lands.


פֵּרוֹת חוּצָה לָאָרֶץ שֶׁנִּכְנְסוּ לָאָרֶץ חַיָּבִין בְּחַלָּה. וּפֵרוֹת הָאָרֶץ שֶׁיָּצְאוּ חוּצָה לָאָרֶץ פְּטוּרִין שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר טו יח) "אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי מֵבִיא אֶתְכֶם שָׁמָּה" שָׁמָּה אַתֶּם חַיָּבִין בֵּין עַל פֵּרוֹת הָאָרֶץ בֵּין עַל פֵּרוֹת חוּצָה לָאָרֶץ:


Challah should also be separated in the Diaspora by Rabbinic decree so that the Jewish people will not forget the laws of challah. Challah from the Diaspora should not be brought to Eretz Yisrael, just as terumah14 and first fruits15 from there should not be brought [to Eretz Yisrael]. If one should bring [such challah], it should be left to the day before Pesach and burned16 like terumah.


מַפְרִישִׁין חַלָּה בְּחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תִּשְׁתַּכַּח תּוֹרַת חַלָּה מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל. וְאֵין מְבִיאִין חַלּוֹת חוּצָה לָאָרֶץ לָאָרֶץ כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאֵין מְבִיאִין תְּרוּמָה וּבִכּוּרִים מִשָּׁם. וְאִם הֵבִיא מַנִּיחָהּ עַד עֶרֶב הַפֶּסַח וְתִשָּׂרֵף כִּתְרוּמָה:


There are three different sets of laws that apply to challah in three different lands. In the entire area that was settled by those who returned from Babylonia until Kziv,17 one challah should be separated according to the appropriate measure18 and the priests may partake of it. In the remaining portions of Eretz Yisrael that were settled by the Jews who came out of Egypt, but not by those who returned from Babylonia - i.e., from Kziv until Amanah19 - two challot should be separated. One should be burnt and one should be eaten.

Why do we separate two challot there? Because the first challah is impure, because this land was not sanctified in the time of Ezra and the first sanctification was nullified after the Jews were exiled.20 [Nevertheless,] since [the land] is from Eretz Yisrael, a challah - one forty-eighth [of the dough] is separated and is burnt. A second challah is also separated and given to a priest to eat, so that people will not say that pure terumah should be burnt. For the first challah was burnt even though it did not contract impurity in a manner that was known to all.21 This second challah does not have a minimum measure. Instead, one may separate whatever he desires, because it is a Rabbinic ordinance.

In all of the lands from Amanah and beyond, whether in Syria22 or other lands, two challot should be separated: One is burnt so that people should not say we saw impure terumah being eaten23 and one is eaten so that the laws of challah will not be forgotten by the Jewish people. [Since] both of these are Rabbinic institutions, it is preferable to make the one that is eaten larger.24 Accordingly, there is no minimum measure for the one that is burnt. Even the slightest amount [is acceptable]. The one which is eaten should be one forty-eighth [of the dough]. It is permitted to be eaten by zavim and zavot25- and needless to say, other people who are ritually impure.26


שְׁלֹשָׁה דִּינִין לְחַלָּה בְּשָׁלֹשׁ אֲרָצוֹת. כָּל הָאָרֶץ שֶׁהֶחֱזִיקוּ בָּהּ עוֹלֵי בָּבֶל עַד כְּזִיב מַפְרִישִׁין בָּהּ חַלָּה אַחַת כַּשִּׁעוּר וְהִיא נֶאֱכֶלֶת לַכֹּהֲנִים. וּשְׁאָר אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהֶחֱזִיקוּ בָּהּ עוֹלֵי מִצְרַיִם וְלֹא עוֹלֵי בָּבֶל שֶׁהִיא מִכְּזִיב וְעַד אֲמָנָה מַפְרִישִׁין בָּהּ שְׁתֵּי חַלּוֹת הָאַחַת נִשְׂרֶפֶת וְהָאַחַת נֶאֱכֶלֶת. וּמִפְּנֵי מָה מַפְרִישִׁין בָּהּ שְׁתֵּי חַלּוֹת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַחַלָּה הָרִאשׁוֹנָה טְמֵאָה שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא נִתְקַדְּשָׁה אוֹתָהּ הָאָרֶץ בִּימֵי עֶזְרָא. וּקְדֻשָּׁה רִאשׁוֹנָה בָּטְלָה מִשֶּׁגָּלוּ. וְהוֹאִיל וְהִיא אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל מַפְרִישִׁין בָּהּ חַלָּה אֶחָד מֵאַרְבָּעִים וּשְׁמוֹנָה וְשׂוֹרְפִין אוֹתָהּ. וּמַפְרִישִׁין חַלָּה שְׁנִיָּה וְנוֹתְנִין אוֹתָהּ לַכֹּהֵן לְאָכְלָהּ. כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמְרוּ תְּרוּמָה טְהוֹרָה נִשְׂרֶפֶת שֶׁהֲרֵי נִשְׂרְפָה הָרִאשׁוֹנָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נִטְמְאָה טֻמְאָה יְדוּעָה לַכּל. וְזוֹ שְׁנִיָּה אֵין לָהּ שִׁעוּר אֶלָּא כָּל שֶׁרוֹצֶה מַפְרִישׁ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם. וְכָל הָאָרֶץ מֵאֲמָנָה וְלַחוּץ בֵּין בְּסוּרְיָא בֵּין בִּשְׁאָר הָאֲרָצוֹת מַפְרִישִׁין שְׁתֵּי חַלּוֹת. אַחַת לִשְׂרֵפָה כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמְרוּ רָאִינוּ תְּרוּמָה טְמֵאָה נֶאֱכֶלֶת. וְאַחַת לַאֲכִילָה כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תִּשְׁתַּכַּח תּוֹרַת חַלָּה מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל. וְהוֹאִיל וְזוֹ וְזוֹ מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם מוּטָב לְרַבּוֹת בַּנֶּאֱכֶלֶת לְפִיכָךְ שֶׁל שְׂרֵפָה אֵין לָהּ שִׁעוּר אֶלָּא כָּל שֶׁהוּא. וְשֶׁל אֲכִילָה אֶחָד מִמ''ח. וּמֻתֶּרֶת לְזָבִים וּלְזָבוֹת וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר לִשְׁאָר טְמֵאִים:


In the present age when there is no pure dough,27 because of the impurity [imparted] by a human corpse,28 one challah - one forty-eighth [of the dough]29 - is separated in all Eretz Yisrael [in the present era]. [This applies even though] it is burnt, because it is impure, since the fundamental obligation to separate it is Scriptural.30 As was the law in previous ages, from Kziv to Amanah, a second challah is also separated for a priest to eat.31 There is no mimimum measure for it.


בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה שֶׁאֵין שָׁם עִסָּה טְהוֹרָה מִפְּנֵי טֻמְאַת הַמֵּת מַפְרִישִׁין חַלָּה אַחַת בְּכָל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶחָד מִמ''ח וְשׂוֹרְפִין אוֹתָהּ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא טְמֵאָה וְיֵשׁ לָהּ שֵׁם מִן הַתּוֹרָה. וּמִכְּזִיב עַד אֲמָנָה מַפְרִישִׁין שְׁנִיָּה לַכֹּהֵן לַאֲכִילָה וְאֵין לָהּ שִׁעוּר, כְּשֶׁהָיָה הַדָּבָר מִקֹּדֶם:


Although challah from the Diaspora is impure, since its fundamental requirement is a Rabbinic ordinance,32 it is forbidden to be eaten only by priests who are impure because of impurity that result from a physical condition.33 These include [priests] who had a seminal emission, zavim, zavot, niddot,34 women who give birth, and people afflicted by tzara'at.35 Others who are impure because they have been in contact with other sources of impurity, even those who are impure because of contact with a corpse, are permitted to partake of it.

Accordingly, if there was a priest who was a minor in the Diaspora - whether in Syria or in other lands - and one desired to separate [only] one challah, he could separate one forty-eighth of the dough. It could be eaten by a priest who is a minor who never had a seminal emission or a female from the priestly family who never menstruated. The person need not separate a second [challah].36


חַלַּת חוּצָה לָאָרֶץ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא טְמֵאָה הוֹאִיל וְעִקַּר חִיּוּבָהּ מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם אֵינָהּ אֲסוּרָה בַּאֲכִילָה אֶלָּא עַל כֹּהֵן שֶׁטֻּמְאָה יוֹצְאָה עָלָיו מִגּוּפוֹ וְהֵם בַּעֲלֵי קְרָיִין וְזָבִים וְזָבוֹת וְנִדּוֹת וְיוֹלְדוֹת וּמְצֹרָעִין. אֲבָל שְׁאָר הַטְּמֵאִים בְּמַגַּע שְׁאָר הַטֻּמְאוֹת אֲפִלּוּ טְמֵאֵי מֵת מֻתָּרִים לְאָכְלָהּ. לְפִיכָךְ אִם הָיָה שָׁם כֹּהֵן קָטָן בְּחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ בֵּין בְּסוּרְיָא בֵּין בִּשְׁאָר אֲרָצוֹת וְרָצָה לְהַפְרִישׁ חַלָּה אַחַת מַפְרִישׁ אֶחָד מִמ''ח. וְנֶאֱכֶלֶת לְקָטָן שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא רָאָה קֶרִי אוֹ לִקְטַנָּה שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא רָאֲתָה נִדָּה. וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהַפְרִישׁ שְׁנִיָּה:


Similarly, if a priest who was an adult immersed himself [in a mikveh and thus purified himself from the impurity resulting from] the emission of semen or zivut may partake of this first challah. Then [the one who separated it] need not separate a second challah in the Diaspora. [This applies] even though the sun has not set [after he immersed himself]37 and although he remains ritually impure due to the impurity imparted by a corpse.38 Anyone who separates challah should recite the blessing: "[Blessed are You...] Who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to separate challah."39 [This applies both] in Eretz Yisrael and in the Diaspora.40 Just as one recites a blessing when [separating challah that] is ritually pure, he should recite a blessing when separating the impure.

Therefore a naked man should not separate challah, because he may not recite the blessing.41 A naked woman who is sitting with her entire genital area covered by the ground may separate challah and recite a blessing.42


וְכֵן אִם הָיָה שָׁם כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁטָּבַל מִשִּׁכְבַת זַרְעוֹ אוֹ מִזִּיבָתוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הֶעֱרִיב שִׁמְשׁוֹ וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא טְמֵא מֵת הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לֶאֱכל הַחַלָּה הָרִאשׁוֹנָה וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהַפְרִישׁ שְׁנִיָּה בְּחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ. כָּל הַמַּפְרִישׁ חַלָּה מְבָרֵךְ תְּחִלָּה אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַפְרִישׁ חַלָּה בֵּין בָּאָרֶץ בֵּין בְּחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ. וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁמְּבָרֵךְ עַל הַטְּהוֹרָה כָּךְ מְבָרֵךְ עַל הַטְּמֵאָה. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין הָאִישׁ עֵרוֹם מַפְרִישׁ חַלָּה שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְבָרֵךְ. אֲבָל הָאִשָּׁה הָעֲרוּמָה שֶׁיָּשְׁבָה וְכָל פָּנֶיהָ טוּחוֹת בַּקַּרְקַע מְבָרֶכֶת וּמַפְרֶשֶׁת חַלָּה:


A niddah and the like43 may recite a blessing and separate challah in the Diaspora. For she is not cautioned against touching the challah,44 only against partaking of it. If there is a priest who was a minor or [an adult] priest who immersed himself who is permitted to partake of it as we explained,45 he may partake of it, [eating] together with a non-priest at the same table. [The rationale is that] it does not create a forbidden mixture,46 even if there are equal quantities of it and ordinary food.47 It may be given to an unlearned priest48 because [the woman] is impure because of the air of the Diaspora, and the prohibition against a priest actively seeking to receive his presents49 does not apply in this instance.

If a person desires to eat first and then separate the challah in the Diaspora, he is permitted, for the fundamental obligation is Rabbinic in origin.50


הַנִּדָּה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהּ מְבָרֶכֶת וּמַפְרֶשֶׁת חַלַּת חוּצָה לָאָרֶץ שֶׁאֵינָהּ מֻזְהֶרֶת עַל מַגָּעָהּ אֶלָּא עַל אֲכִילָתָהּ. וְאִם הָיָה שָׁם כֹּהֵן קָטָן אוֹ כֹּהֵן שֶׁטָּבַל שֶׁהִיא מֻתֶּרֶת לוֹ לַאֲכִילָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לְאָכְלָהּ עִם הַזָּר עַל שֻׁלְחָן אֶחָד לְפִי שֶׁאֵינָהּ מְדַמַּעַת. וַאֲפִלּוּ נִתְעָרְבָה שָׁוֶה בְּשָׁוֶה. וְנוֹתְנִין אוֹתָהּ לְכֹהֵן עַם הָאָרֶץ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא טְמֵאָה בַּאֲוִיר אֶרֶץ הָעַמִּים [וְאֵין בָּהּ מִשּׁוּם כֹּהֵן הַמְּסַיֵּעַ בְּמַתְּנוֹתָיו שֶׁהוּא אָסוּר. וְאִם רָצָה לֶאֱכל תְּחִלָּה] וְאַחַר כָּךְ יַפְרִישׁ הַחַלָּה בְּחוּץ לָאָרֶץ מֻתָּר שֶׁאֵין עִקָּרָהּ אֶלָּא מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם:


Challah is called terumah. Therefore it may only be separated from [dough] in the same location51 like terumah.52 And as an initial preference, one may not separate pure [dough as challah] for impure dough.53


הַחַלָּה נִקְרֵאת תְּרוּמָה לְפִיכָךְ אֵינָהּ נִטֶּלֶת אֶלָּא מִן הַמֻּקָּף כִּתְרוּמָה. וְאֵינָהּ נִטֶּלֶת מִן הַטָּהוֹר עַל הַטָּמֵא לְכַתְּחִלָּה:


All of those individuals concerning whom it was said they should not separate terumah and if they separate it, the separation is invalid,54 are governed by the same laws with regard to challah. In all situations concerning which it was said that terumah should not be separated from this type of produce for another,55 challah should also not be separated. Whoever may not partake of terumah,56 may not partake of challah. Whoever may partake of terumah57 may partake of challah.


וְכָל שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ בִּתְרוּמָה לֹא יִתְרֹם וְאִם תָּרַם אֵינָהּ תְּרוּמָה כָּךְ בְּחַלָּה. וְכָל שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ בִּתְרוּמָה לֹא יִתְרֹם מִזֶּה עַל זֶה כָּךְ בְּחַלָּה. וְכָל שֶׁאֵינוֹ אוֹכֵל תְּרוּמָה אֵינוֹ אוֹכֵל חַלָּה. וְכָל הָאוֹכֵל תְּרוּמָה אוֹכֵל חַלָּה:


A blind person and an intoxicated person58 may separate challah as an initial preference. For with regard to dough, there is no inferior or superior portions that he must distinguish and separate from the superior portion.59


הַסּוּמָא וְהַשִּׁכּוֹר מַפְרִישִׁין חַלָּה לְכַתְּחִלָּה שֶׁאֵין בְּעִסָּה רַע וְיָפֶה כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּכַוְּנוּ וְיַפְרִישׁוּ מִן הַיָּפֶה:

Test Yourself on This Chapter


This phrase translates the Hebrew terumah, for that term is also applied to challah in certain contexts. For that reason several of the laws that apply to terumah also apply to challah.


Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 133) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 385) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. The Rambam considers separating the dough and giving it to the priests as two parts of the same mitzvah. The Ramban, by contrast, considers them as separate mitzvot.


The heading of this set of halachot is "The Laws of the First Fruits and the Other Presents [Given] to Priests in the Outlying Areas." In the first four chapters, the Rambam discussed the first fruits. Now he proceeds to explain the other presents. He begins with challah because it also involves grain and is also called terumah. See Radbaz.


By calling it "the first," the Torah is implying that there is a second, i.e., that something is left over [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Challah 1:9), based on the Jerusalem Talmud]. See also Hilchot Terumah 3:5 and note the contrast to Chapter 2, Halachah 17.


The Jerusalem Talmud (Challah 2:7) gives another reason for the difference in measures. Ideally, the requirement would only be one forty-eighth. Nevertheless, generally, the one separating challah from the dough is a woman and women are by nature tightfisted. If they are told to give one twenty-fourth, they will ultimately give a forty-eighth. The Siftei Cohen 322:2 gives another reason for reducing the measure required of a baker. He is preparing the dough for profit and our Sages did not desire to cause him a loss.


Our Sages desired that their laws be uniform out of fear that once distinctions were made, individuals would ultimately give less than the desired amount.


Challah which is impure may not be eaten by a priest and may be used only as fuel. An ordinary person may, however, partake of a loaf made from impure dough. Hence, rather than waste the dough, it is preferable to give a smaller portion as challah.


I.e. the person separating the dough would benefit from it becoming impure, because he will have to give a smaller portion to the priest.


See Hilchot Terumah 11:1. At present, since all dough is impure, theoretically, this is the measure which should be given (Siftei Cohen 322:3). In practice, however, at present, even impure challah is not given to a priest.


Who led the return to Zion after the Babylonian exile.


See Hilchot Terumah 1:5, 26. Even the Ra'avad, who differs with the Rambam with regard to terumah, finds this position acceptable with regard to challah. See also Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 20:3.


Provided the dough is made in Eretz Yisrael. The converse applies with regard to the following clause. The dough must be made in the Diaspora (Radbaz).


The Ra'avad maintains that challah must be separated from such dough by Rabbinic decree. The Kessef Mishneh states that this is obvious from the following halachah.


See Hilchot Terumah 2:17. Since the Diaspora is ritually impure by Rabbinic decree, any dough brought from there to Eretz Yisrael would be consigned to destruction. However, it should not be burnt immediately, because we do not know that it definitely contracted ritual impurity in Eretz Yisrael, and it is forbidden to burn challah unnecessarily. Nor may it be returned to the Diaspora, lest people think it is permitted to take challah from Eretz Yisrael to the Diaspora [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Challah 4:10)].


See Chapter 2, Halachah 1.


Since the dough is chametz, "leavened," it must be destroyed before the onset of the Pesach holiday.


See Hilchot Terumah 1:8.


See Halachah 2.


See Hilchot Terumah 1:7.


Thus in a strict halachic sense, this land has the status of the Diaspora.


Since this land was once Eretz Yisrael, not everyone knows that it is impure like the Diaspora.


Where certain of the agricultural laws that must be observed in Eretz Yisrael are observed. See Hilchot Terumah 1:4.


For everyone knows that the Diaspora is impure.


So that food is not wasted.


A man becomes a zav when he has an emission from his urinary tract similar, but not identical to that which results from gonorrhea. A woman becomes a zavah when she experiences vaginal bleeding at times other than would be expected due to her menstrual cycle. In both cases, the individuals are ritually impure. See Leviticus, ch. 15.


In certain instances, a distinction is made between impurity that results from a physical condition in one's body - such as the above - and other types of impurity (see Halachah 10). However, no such distinction is made here.

The Ra'avad differs with this ruling and maintains that the challah is forbidden to any priest who is ritually impure, citing his statements in Hilchot Terumah 7:8.

The Rambam's ruling here appears to differ from his ruling in that source. The Kessef Mishneh explains that the leniency here applies only after the priests have immersed in a mikveh. The Radbaz explains that here we are speaking about two challot, with one being burnt. Hence the one given to the priest may be eaten.


The shifting of this phrase from the previous halachah to this halachah is based on authoritative manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah and also makes from an easier reading of the text.


Which affects everyone in the present age, for we do not have a red heifer to purify ourselves.


As is the law with regard to challah that became impure because of factors beyond one's control (Halachah 4).


At present the obligation to separate challah in Eretz Yisrael is Rabbinic in origin (Halachah 5). Nevertheless, since the original obligation there was Scriptural, the challah that is separated must have a minimum measure even though it is burnt.


Although at present, everyone knows that all the people living there are ritually impure, no deviation was made from the original ruling.


For according to Scriptural Law, there is no need to separate it.


Because there is a more serious dimension to their ritual impurity [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Challah 4:8)]. See also Hilchot Terumot 7:8-9. As mentioned there, the Ra'avad differs with this ruling.


A woman who is impure because of menstrual bleeding.


A skin malady resembling - but not entirely similar to - leprosy which renders a person ritually impure.


To be burnt. Since he is not separating a second challah, the law is more stringent than in Halachah 8, which can be eaten by priests with this level of impurity (Radbaz).


And a priest who immersed himself to emerge from ritual impurity could not partake of terumahuntil sunset of the day he immersed himself (Hilchot Terumah 7:4).

The Rambam's ruling is quoted by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 322:5). The Rama cites the opinion of Rabbenu Nissan who requires the priest to wait until sunset.


For purification from such impurity requires the ashes of the Red Heifer and those were not available after the destruction of the Temple.

The Ra'avad differs with this ruling as well and maintains that even after immersing, such a priest may not partake of challah. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 322:3-5) quotes the Rambam's rulings in all the above matters. The Rama writes that since at present, it is not customary to partake of challah in any place, even in Eretz Yisrael, only one challah is separated. There is no minimum measure to it (although it is desirable that it be the size of an olive). This challah is burnt.


The Ra'avad states that one should conclude "to separate terumah," for challah is also referred to as terumah. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 328:1) quotes the Ra'avad's ruling. The Rama states that the Rambam's version of the blessing is also acceptable. The Turei Zahav and the Siftei Cohen 328:1 speak of a conclusion that combines both terms "to separate terumah, challah."


Even though the obligation to separate challah in the Diaspora is only Rabbinic in origin, it is appropriate to recite a blessing, as it is appropriate to do so when fulfilling other Rabbinic commandments (Radbaz).


And it is not fitting to observe a mitzvah without reciting a blessing.


For her nakedness is covered by the ground. A man's, by contrast, projects outward.


I.e., the individuals who are impure because of a physical condition mentioned in Halachah 10.


Although her touch would render an article ritually impure, it is ritually impure regardless because we are all impure due to contact with a human corpse. Hence, there is no difficulty with her touching it.


See Halachot 10-11.


The term midama'at used by the Rambam refers to a mixture of terumah (or challah of Scriptural status) with other substances.


I.e., according to Scriptural Law, the presence of a forbidden substance is nullified when it is mixed with a greater quantity of permitted substances (bittul berov). In this instance, it is not necessary to have a majority of permitted food, half and half is sufficient, for this challah is forbidden only as a Rabbinic injunction.

The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh explain that although Bechorot 27a indicates that a majority is necessary, the Rambam's ruling is based on the Jerusalem Talmud (Challah 4:8), from which it is evident that half and half is acceptable. Moreover, the Tur (Yoreh De'ah 323) states that according to the Rambam's understanding that at the outset, it is permitted to nullify a Rabbinic prohibition, one may intentionally make such a mixture.

The Rambam's ruling is cited by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 323:1). The Tur and the Rama cite Rabbenu Asher's view that, like terumah, there must be 101 times the forbidden amount before the challah is nullified.


As stated in Hilchot Terumah 6:2, an unlearned priest is unfamiliar with and/or careless in the observance of the laws of ritual purity. Hence, he is not given terumah, lest he cause it to become impure.


Our translation is slightly loose. The literal meaning of the Rambam's words, quoted from Bechorot 27a is "[the decree against] a priest helping in the granary does not apply to him." As stated in Hilchot Terumah 12:19, our Sages forbade that because it would appear that he is working for the terumah. Instead, the terumah should be given him in a manner that connotes respect and reverence.


When the obligation is Scriptural in origin, partaking of the food on the basis of a stipulation that one will separate challah (or terumah) afterwards is forbidden. As explained in Hilchot Terumah 1:21, the principle of bereirah - that retroactively, an action performed afterwards is considered as if it was performed at the outset - applies only with regard to matters of Rabbinic Law and not with regard to matters of Scriptural Law.

The Siftei Cohen 323:1 emphasizes that the leniencies in this halachah apply only with regard to challah from the Diaspora, for there never was an obligation to separate it according to Scriptural Law. Although, at present, separating challah in Eretz Yisrael is also a Rabbinic obligation, since originally the obligation was Scriptural, none of these leniencies are granted.


Our translation is taken from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Challah 1:9).


See Hilchot Terumah 3:17.


See Hilchot Terumah 5:7. After the fact, however, the separation is effective.


A deaf-mute, a mentally or emotionally unstable person, a minor, a gentile who separated terumah from produce belonging to a Jew, even with his permission, and a person who separate terumah from produce that does not belong to him without the owner's permission (Hilchot Terumah 4:2).


See Hilchot Terumah, ch. 5.


A non-priest and an impure person.


A priest, his wife, and his servants.


We are speaking of a person who is still in control of his faculties, but whose judgment is slightly blurred. If he loses control of his faculties entirely, he is considered as an emotionally unstable person. See Hilchot Mechirah 29:18.


I.e., with regard to terumah, such individuals are told not to separate terumah as an initial preference, because terumah must be separated from the superior produce and they are incapable of making that distinction (Hilchot Terumah 4:4). Nevertheless, this rationale does not apply with regard to challah.

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