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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Maaser - Chapter 7

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Maaser - Chapter 7


[The following laws apply when a person has a 100 log of wine that are tevel according to Scriptural Law.1 If he says: "The two lugim that I will separate are terumah;2 the ten are the first tithe, and the nine are the second tithe,"3 he should not begin drinking and leave over the quantity designated as terumah and the tithes at the end. Instead, he should make the separations and then drink. We do not say that the wine he left over at the end is retroactively considered as if it was set aside in the beginning.4 [The rationale for this stringency is that] the obligation [to separate] terumah and the tithes is Scriptural in origin, and with regard to [matters of] Scriptural Law, we do not say that we will consider it as if a separation has been made unless it actually has been made.5


מִי שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ מֵאָה לוֹג שֶׁל יַיִן טָבוּל מִן הַתּוֹרָה וְאָמַר שְׁנֵי לוֹגִין שֶׁאֲנִי עָתִיד לְהַפְרִישׁ מֵהֶן הֲרֵי הֵן תְּרוּמָה וַעֲשָׂרָה מַעֲשֵׂר רִאשׁוֹן וְתִשְׁעָה מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי. לֹא יַתְחִיל וְיִשְׁתֶּה עַד שֶׁיַּנִּיחַ בְּסוֹף שִׁעוּר תְּרוּמָה וּמַעַשְׂרוֹת. אֶלָּא יַפְרִישׁ וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִשְׁתֶּה. וְאֵין אוֹמְרִין זֶה שֶׁהִנִּיחַ בַּסּוֹף כְּאִלּוּ נִבְרַר תְּחִלָּה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁחִיּוּב תְּרוּמָה וּמַעַשְׂרוֹת מִן הַתּוֹרָה וְאֵין אוֹמְרִין בְּשֶׁל תּוֹרָה נַחְשֹׁב כְּאִלּוּ נִבְרַר עַד שֶׁיִּבְרֹר:


When a person specifies that his tithes were located at the opening of a jug [of wine], he should not drink from the bottom of the barrel. If he specifies that they are at the bottom, he should not drink from the top. [The rationale is that] the liquids intermingle.6 If, by contrast, one specified [that the tithes for produce] were at the opening of a storage container, one may eat from the bottom.7 If one specified that they were located at the bottom, one may eat from the top.8


הַקּוֹבֵעַ מַעַשְׂרוֹתָיו בְּפִי הֶחָבִית לֹא יִשְׁתֶּה מִשּׁוּלֶיהָ. בְּשׁוּלֶיהָ לֹא יִשְׁתֶּה מִפִּיהָ. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַמַּשְׁקִין מְעֹרָבִין. אֲבָל הַקּוֹבֵעַ בְּפִי הַמְּגוּרָה אוֹכֵל מִשּׁוּלֶיהָ. קָבַע בְּשׁוּלֶיהָ אוֹכֵל מִפִּיהָ:


A person can designate certain produce as the second tithe and then redeem it.9 [Afterwards,] he may designate that same produce as the first tithe10 for this batch of produce or terumat ma'aser for other produce.11


וְיֵשׁ לָאָדָם לִקְבֹּעַ מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי וּפוֹדֵהוּ וְעוֹשֵׂהוּ מַעֲשֵׂר רִאשׁוֹן עַל אוֹתָן הַפֵּרוֹת אוֹ תְּרוּמַת מַעֲשֵׂר לְמָקוֹם אַחֵר:


When a person sets aside produce to use them for the separation of tithes,12he may continue to separate tithes relying on this produce on the assumption that it is intact, eating and drinking [from the produce from which he intended to separate tithes] until the entire quantity that was set aside has become tithes. He then gives that to a Levite. [If later] he discovers that the produce that he set aside [for tithes] has been lost, he must show concern for all the tithes that he set aside.13 He should not, however, tithe [the second time] with certainty.14


הַמַּנִּיחַ פֵּרוֹת לִהְיוֹת מַפְרִישׁ עֲלֵיהֶן מַעַשְׂרוֹת מַפְרִישׁ עֲלֵיהֶן בְּחֶזְקַת שֶׁהֵן קַיָּמִין וְאוֹכֵל וְשׁוֹתֶה עַד שֶׁיֵּעָשׂוּ כָּל אוֹתָן הַפֵּרוֹת שֶׁהִנִּיחַ מַעֲשֵׂר וְנוֹתֵן לַלֵּוִי. מְצָאָן שֶׁאָבְדוּ הֲרֵי זֶה חוֹשֵׁשׁ לְכָל שֶׁהִפְרִישׁ וְאֵינוֹ מְעַשֵּׂר וַדַּאי:


When a person lends money to a priest,15 a Levite,16 or a poor person,17 so that he can separate [produce] for the money [they owe] from the portions due them,18 he may continue to separate tithes on their behalf on the assumption that they are alive. He need not show concern that the priest or Levite died or the poor man became wealthy.19


הַמַּלְוֶה מָעוֹת אֶת הַכֹּהֵן וְאֶת הַלֵּוִי וְאֶת הֶעָנִי לִהְיוֹת מַפְרִישׁ עַל אוֹתָן הַמָּעוֹת מֵחֶלְקוֹ מַפְרִישׁ עֲלֵיהֶן בְּחֶזְקַת שֶׁהֵן קַיָּמִין וְאֵינוֹ חוֹשֵׁשׁ שֶׁמָּא מֵתוּ הַכֹּהֵן אוֹ הַלֵּוִי אוֹ הֶעֱשִׁיר הֶעָנִי:


How should he make these separations on their behalf? He should separate terumah, the first tithe, or the tithe for the poor20 and give it to another person for the sake of the priest, Levite, or poor person to whom he lent money.21 If [the debtors] would frequently take these separations from him or if he was accustomed to give these separations to them alone, he need not give them to another person on their behalf.22

After [the lender] makes these separations, he calculates the worth of the produce he separated and deducts it from the loan. [He continues doing this] until he repays the entire debt. He may sell the terumah to any priest of his choice and may partake of the tithes [himself].


כֵּיצַד מַפְרִישׁ עֲלֵיהֶן. מַפְרִישׁ תְּרוּמָה אוֹ מַעֲשֵׂר רִאשׁוֹן אוֹ מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי מִפֵּרוֹתָיו וּמְזַכֶּה בָּהֶן עַל יְדֵי אַחֵר לְאוֹתוֹ כֹּהֵן אוֹ הַלֵּוִי אוֹ הֶעָנִי שֶׁהִלְווּם. וְאִם הָיוּ רְגִילִין לִטּל מִמֶּנּוּ וְהוּא רָגִיל שֶׁלֹּא יִתֵּן אֶלָּא לָהֶן אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְזַכּוֹת עַל יְדֵי אַחֵר. וְאַחַר שֶּׁמַּפְרִישׁ מְחַשֵּׁב כַּמָּה שָׁוֶה זֶה שֶׁהִפְרִישׁ וּמְנַכֶּה מִן הַמִּלְוֶה עַד שֶׁיִּפְרַע כָּל חוֹבוֹ וּמוֹכֵר הַתְּרוּמָה לְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיִּרְצֶה וְאוֹכֵל הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת:


When he calculates the worth of the produce that he set aside, he has the right to consider their value according to the lower market price.23 This is not considered as interest.24 The Sabbatical year does not remit such a debt.25

If the lender desires to nullify this arrangement, he may not.26 But if [the borrowers] seek to do so, they may. If the owner despaired of receiving payment from them, he can no longer make these separations on their behalf. For we may not make separations because of [a debt that] was lost.27

If the priest, Levite, or poor person who borrowed money dies, he cannot continue to separate on their behalf unless he receives permission from the heirs.28 [Moreover, even if permission is granted,] it is effective only when [the deceased] left the heirs [a tract of] land at least the size of a needle.29 If, however, he left them only money, permission from the heir is not effective.30 If he made the loan in court on the condition that he will make the separations on their behalf for this money, it is not necessary for him to receive permission from the heirs.31

If the poor person became wealthy, he may no longer separate [the tithe for the poor] on his behalf.32 Even though he made the loan in court, [the recipient] may retain the funds in his possession.33


כְּשֶׁהוּא מְחַשֵּׁב מַה שָּׁוִים הַפֵּרוֹת שֶׁהִפְרִישׁ יֵשׁ לוֹ לְחַשֵּׁב כַּשַּׁעַר הַזּוֹל וְאֵינוֹ חוֹשֵׁשׁ מִשּׁוּם רִבִּית. וְאֵין הַשְּׁבִיעִית מְשַׁמֶּטֶת חוֹב זֶה. וְאִם בָּא בַּעַל הַבַּיִת לַחֲזֹר אֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר. אֲבָל אִם רָצוּ אֵלּוּ שֶׁלָּקְחוּ הַמָּעוֹת לַחֲזֹר חוֹזְרִין. נִתְיָאֲשׁוּ מֵהֶן הַבְּעָלִים אֵין מַפְרִישִׁין עֲלֵיהֶן שֶׁאֵין מַפְרִישִׁין עַל הָאָבוּד. מֵת הַכֹּהֵן אוֹ הַלֵּוִי אוֹ הֶעָנִי שֶׁהִלְווּם אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַפְרִישׁ עֲלֵיהֶן מֵחֶלְקָן כַּדֶּרֶךְ הַזּוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּטּל רְשׁוּת מִן הַיּוֹרְשִׁין. וְהוּא שֶׁיַּנִּיחַ לָהֶן קַרְקַע אֲפִלּוּ מְלֹא מַחַט. אֲבָל אִם הִנִּיחַ כְּסָפִים אֵין רְשׁוּת הַיּוֹרֵשׁ מוֹעֶלֶת. וְאִם הִלְוָם בְּבֵית דִּין עַל מְנָת שֶׁיַּפְרִישׁ עַל מָעוֹת אֵלּוּ מֵחֶלְקָם אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לִטּל רְשׁוּת מִן הַיּוֹרְשִׁין. הֶעֱשִׁיר הֶעָנִי אֵין מַפְרִישִׁין עָלָיו אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִלְווּהוּ בְּבֵית דִּין זוֹכֶה הַלָּה בְּמַה שֶּׁבְּיָדוֹ:


When an Israelite tells a Levite: "I am in possession of a kor34 of tithes for you," the Levite has the right to designate that produce as terumat ma'aser for other produce even if he did not draw it into his possession.35 If the Israelite gives it to another Levite, the first individual has nothing more than complaints against him.36


יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁאָמַר לְבֶן לֵוִי כּוֹר מַעֲשֵׂר יֵשׁ לְךָ בְּיָדִי רַשַּׁאי בֶּן לֵוִי לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ תְּרוּמַת מַעֲשֵׂר עַל מָקוֹם אַחֵר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא מָשַׁךְ. וְאִם נְתָנוֹ הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל לְלֵוִי אַחֵר אֵין לוֹ עָלָיו אֶלָּא תַּרְעֹמֶת:


When a person has produce in a silo and gives a se'ah to a Levite37and a se'ah to a poor person,38 he should not set aside eight se'ah from the silo and partake of it39 unless he knows with certainty that the two se'ah of the tithes are still intact. If, however, the Levite and/or the poor person partook of them, he may set aside only an amount of grain proportionate to what remains from the two se'ah.40


מִי שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ פֵּרוֹת בִּמְגוּרָה וְנָתַן סְאָה לְלֵוִי וּסְאָה לְעָנִי לֹא יַפְרִישׁ שְׁמֹנֶה סְאִין מִן הַמְּגוּרָה וְיֹאכְלֵם. אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁשְּׁתֵּי סְאִין שֶׁל מַעַשְׂרוֹת קַיָּמִין. אֲבָל אִם אָכְלוּ מֵהֶן הַלֵּוִי וְהֶעָנִי אֵינוֹ מַפְרִישׁ עֲלֵיהֶן אֶלָּא לְפִי חֶשְׁבּוֹן הַנִּשְׁאָר מִשְּׁתֵּי הַסְּאִין:


[The following laws apply when] poor people exchange the presents given them with the owner of the field, i.e., they gave him a se'ah of leket, shichachah, peah or the tithes for the poor and they took a se'ah of grain from the grain pile.41 [The grain] he takes from them is exempt from the tithes,42 even though it was prepared in the domain of the owner. [Tithes] must be separated from [the grain] they take from him even though it was given in exchange for their presents that are exempt.


עֲנִיִּים שֶׁהֶחְלִיפוּ מַתְּנוֹתֵיהֶן עִם בַּעַל הַבַּיִת כְּגוֹן שֶׁנָּתְנוּ לוֹ סְאָה שֶׁל לֶקֶט אוֹ שִׁכְחָה וּפֵאָה וּמַעֲשֵׂר עָנִי וְנָטְלוּ סְאָה מִן הַגֹּרֶן. זֶה שֶׁנָּטַל מֵהֶם פָּטוּר מִן הַמַּעֲשֵׂר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה בִּרְשׁוּת בַּעַל הַבַּיִת. וְזֶה שֶׁנָּטְלוּ מִמֶּנּוּ חַיָּב אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא חֵלֶף מַתְּנוֹתֵיהֶן הַפְּטוּרִין:


[The following laws apply when] there are two baskets of tevel from which terumah was separated in front of a person and he says: "Let the tithes from this one be in the other one." The tithing of the first basket is effective. If he says, "Let the tithes from this one be in the other one and [the tithes for] the second one be in this one," the tithing of the first basket is effective, for he has established its tithes within the second basket. The tithing of the second basket is not effective because tithes cannot be set aside from the first basket because the obligation to tithe has already been discharged for the second basket from which the tithes from both must be separated.43


מִי שֶׁהָיוּ לְפָנָיו שְׁתֵּי כַּלְכָּלוֹת שֶׁל טֶבֶל שֶׁנִּטְּלָה תְּרוּמָתָן וְאָמַר מַעַשְׂרוֹת זוֹ בָּזוֹ הָרִאשׁוֹנָה מְעֻשֶּׂרֶת. אָמַר מַעַשְׂרוֹת זוֹ בָּזוֹ וְזוֹ בָּזוֹ הָרִאשׁוֹנָה מְעֵשֶּׂרֶת שֶׁהֲרֵי קָבַע מַעַשְׂרוֹתֶיהָ בַּשְּׁנִיָּה. וְאֵין הַשְּׁנִיָּה מְעֵשֶּׂרֶת שֶׁאֵין מַפְרִישִׁין מַעֲשֵׂר מִן הָרִאשׁוֹנָה שֶׁכְּבָר נִפְטְרָה עַל הַשְּׁנִיָּה שֶׁעֲדַיִן הִיא חַיֶּבֶת בְּמַעֲשַׂר שְׁתֵּיהֶן:


If one says: "With regard to the tithes for these two baskets. The tithes for each one are established in the other," he has designated the tithes by name and has established the tithes within them. He therefore separates the tithes from them. He may not separate the tithes from another source.44


אָמַר מַעַשְׂרוֹת שְׁתֵּי כַּלְכָּלוֹת אֵלּוּ מַעֲשֵׂר כָּל אַחַת מֵהֶן קָבוּעַ בַּחֲבֶרְתָּהּ קָרָא שֵׁם וּכְבָר קָבַע מַעַשְׂרוֹתֵיהֶן בָּהֶן וּמוֹצִיא הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת שֶׁלָּהֶן וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהוֹצִיא עֲלֵיהֶן מַעַשְׂרוֹת מִמָּקוֹם אַחֵר:


How are the tithes separated [in the above situation]? One may separate the tithes for both of them from one of them or he should separate the tithes from each one of them from itself if they were of equal [size].45 If one of them was larger than the other, one should separate the tithes for the larger one from the smaller one and the tithes for the smaller one from the larger one.46


וְכֵיצַד מְעַשְּׂרָן. מוֹצִיא מַעֲשַׂר שְׁתֵּיהֶן מֵאַחַת מֵהֶן אוֹ מְעַשֵּׂר כָּל אַחַת מֵהֶן מִמֶּנָּה אִם הָיוּ שָׁווֹת. וְאִם הָיְתָה אַחַת גְּדוֹלָה מֵחֲבֶרְתָּהּ מַפְרִישׁ מִן הַקְּטַנָּה מַעֲשַׂר הַגְּדוֹלָה וּמִן הַגְּדוֹלָה מַעֲשַׂר הַקְּטַנָּה:

Test Yourself on This Chapter


One might argue that this law does not apply at present. And indeed, did not apply throughout the entire Second Temple period. As explained in Hilchot Terumah 1:26 and notes, from the time of the exile of the tribes of Reuven and Gad towards the end of the First Temple period, the mitzvah to separate tithes was no longer required by Scriptural Law. On the other hand, since the source of the mitzvot are Scriptural, even though their observance now is Rabbinic, we follow stringencies as if the Scriptural mitzvah still applies.


I.e., he is giving one fiftieth which is the ordinary measure separated as terumah (ibid. 3:2).


For the second tithe is given as a tenth of the new total once the first tithe has been separated.


See Chapter 9, Halachah 10.


There is a difference of opinion among the Sages of the Talmud if this principle, referred to as bereirah should be applied or not (see Beitzah 37b). Because the matter is not resolved, with regard to questions of Scriptural Law, we are stringent, but with regard to matters of Rabbinic Law, we rule leniently.


And there is no way one can drink from the top without drinking from the bottom or drink from the bottom without drinking from the top.


This does not represent a contradiction to the previous halachah. In that instance, the person had not separated the terumah and the tithes. He had merely stated that he would. In this instance, he has made a separation even though he did not physically remove it.


For the produce will not become intermingled.


See Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni, ch. 4, which describes how the second tithe can be redeemed for silver coinage.


I.e., this is referring to a situation where the person did not make the separations in the desired sequence. This is undesirable, as stated in Hilchot Terumah 3:23.


He may not, however, separate it as terumat m'aser for this batch of produce, for it is not proper to separate terumat ma'aser before one separates the tithes themselves. See Chapter 9, Halachah 5.

The Ra'avad states that one may use it as terumat ma'aser for other produce, but not as ordinary terumah.


I.e., he puts aside this batch of produce. Whenever he has new produce, he measures it and calculates a tenth. Afterwards, he considers that quantity of the produce set aside as tithes. When that entire batch of produce has been designated as tithes, he gives it to a Levite. See also (Hilchot Terumah 5:26).


I.e., he must separate tithes again, lest he had made the original separation after the produce which he designated for his tithes was lost. The Mishnah (Gittin 3:8) mentions the opinion of Rabbi Elazar who maintains that one shows concern only for the separations made within the last 24 hours. Other Sages differ, however, and maintain that one must show concern for all produce separated (Kessef Mishneh; see Rav Kapach's edition of the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah).

Tosafot Yom Tov (Gittin, loc. cit.) states that the Rambam's wording implies that one should separate tithes for one's produce even if that produce has already been eaten. Other authorities, however, do not accept this deduction.


For perhaps, the produce that he had set aside was intact at the time he made the separation.


Who is entitled to receive both terumah and the tithes.


Who is entitled to receive the tithes.


Who is entitled to receive the tithe for the poor.


I.e., the lender lent a Levite 100 zuz, but did not require him to pay it. Instead, he said that he would continually deduct the money in exchange for the produce he would set aside as tithes until the debt was paid, as described in the following halachah.


In which instance, they - and therefore, the lender - would not be entitled to the crops separated for these purposes.


There is obviously a printing error in the standard published text of the Mishneh Torah.


In this way, the produce separated formally becomes the property of the debtor. Even though ultimately the lender will be receiving the produce, he must make the separations so that the main batch of produce will not be tevel.


He must, however, make these separations. He need not give them to another person, because since these individuals are accustomed to receiving this produce, it is considered as if he already received them (Rashi, Gittin 30a).


I.e., whenever produce is sold, there is a buyer's bid and a seller's bid. The buyer's bid is always lower than the seller's. The lender may price the produce according to the buyer's bid.


Despite the fact that he is receiving an advantage - considering the produce's worth at a lower price - for having made the loan.


Although the Sabbatical year remits debts (Hilchot Shemitah, ch. 9), it remits only those debts for which a person must demand payment. In this instance, it is as if the payment has already been arranged (Meiri, Gittin 30a).


Our Sages ordained this measure for the sake of the recipients (Gittin, loc. cit.).


Rashi (Gittin, loc. cit.) explains that we are speaking about a situation where the lender stipulated that he would receive payment for the loan from the terumah or tithes from a particular year. That year was a year of drought and his harvest appeared lost entirely. He made a public statement of despair, acknowledging that he no longer expected to be able to collect the debt, because his fields would not grow enough crops. If, despite this condition, his fields produced crops, he is not entitled to keep the terumah and/or tithes for himself. The rationale is that he has already given up hope of their recovery.


I.e., the arrangement to pay the debt is not automatically transferred to the heirs of the estate. They must agree to it.


As long as the testator possesses land, his estate is responsible for the debt, because the land is on lien to it. Hence, his heirs can continue the arrangement if they so choose.


If the deceased left only movable property, the debt does not create a lien on the estate. There is a mitzvah for them to pay the debt, but no binding obligation. Hence, they cannot have terumah or tithes separated for the sake of paying the debt.


For it is as if the court agreed that all the priests and/or Levites would accept responsibility for the debt in the event of the debtor's death.


For a wealthy person cannot be a recipient of the tithes for the poor.


For it is as if the lender specified that he would accept this method as payment for the debt. If that method is no longer viable, he must suffer the loss.


A measure of volume.


I.e., and thus, he has not formally acquired it as his own. Nevertheless, he can rely on the assumption that a Jew will not act unfaithfully and will keep his word (Bava Metzia 49a).


The fact that by changing his mind and failing to keep his word, the Israelite caused a spiritual difficulty for the first Levite - for he caused him to violate a transgression by partaking of tithes for which terumat ma'aser was not separated - does not create a financial liability.


As the tithes.


As the tithe for the poor. As the Rambam writes in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Terumot 4:2), he does not have to separate a full se'ah as the tithes for the poor, for once the first tithe has been separated, all that is necessary is to separate a tenth from the new total and this will be slightly less than a se'ah.


I.e., he is thinking that the tithes will have been separated for these eight se'ah.


I.e., the produce possessed by each of the recipients should be one tenth of the amount of produce that he uses. We do not say that the produce that he originally separated can serve as the tithes for the produce he will set aside afterwards unless it is intact. See Halachah 4.


I.e., the owner acted generously with the poor people, taking a se'ah of their presents - which is usually produce of inferior quality - and exchanging it for a se'ah of quality produce from the grain pile.


For there is no obligation to separate tithes from the presents of the poor (Hilchot Terumah 2:9).


As stated in Chapter 1, Halachah 6, one may not separate tithes from produce that is exempt from the mitzvah of tithing or for which the obligation to tithe has already been discharged.


For he has designated the tithes as coming from those baskets.


From the Tosefta (Demai 8:12), it appears that if the piles of produce are equal, it makes no difference to the person from which pile he makes the separations. Thus he can separate them as he desires (Radbaz).


For his statements indicate that he desired to separate the tithes for one pile from the other.

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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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