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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Maaser - Chapter 10

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Maaser - Chapter 10


When a person makes a commitment to be considered trustworthy1 with regard to the tithes [so that] his produce will not be considered as demai, he must tithe [the produce] he eats,2 that which he sells, and that which he purchases,3 and he must not accept the hospitality of a common person. He must make these commitments in public.4 When trustworthy witnesses5 [testify] that he made these commitments in public and that he continually observe these practices, he is considered trustworthy [and his word is accepted if] he says that his produce has been tithed.


הַמְקַבֵּל עָלָיו לִהְיוֹת נֶאֱמָן עַל הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת וְלֹא יִהְיוּ פֵּרוֹתָיו דְּמַאי צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת מְעַשֵּׂר אֶת שֶׁהוּא אוֹכֵל וְאֶת שֶׁהוּא מוֹכֵר וְאֶת שֶׁהוּא לוֹקֵחַ. וְאֵינוֹ מִתְאָרֵחַ אֵצֶל עַם הָאָרֶץ. וְצָרִיךְ שֶׁיְּקַבֵּל עָלָיו דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ בָּרַבִּים. וּכְשֶׁיָּבוֹאוּ עֵדִים נֶאֱמָנִין שֶׁקִּבֵּל דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ בָּרַבִּים וְשֶׁהוּא רָגִיל בָּהֶם תָּמִיד הֲרֵי זֶה נֶאֱמָן עַל פֵּרוֹתָיו לוֹמַר מְעֵשָּׂרִין הֵן:


Every Torah scholar is always considered trustworthy. There is no necessity to investigate his [conduct]. His children, the members of his household, his servants, and his wife, are given the same status. When a Torah scholar dies and leaves produce, even if it was gathered on the day of his death, we assume that [the appropriate separations were made].6


כָּל תַּלְמִיד חָכָם לְעוֹלָם נֶאֱמָן וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ בְּדִיקָה אַחֲרָיו. וּבָנָיו וּבְנֵי בֵּיתוֹ וַעֲבָדָיו [וְאִשְׁתּוֹ] הֲרֵי הֵם כָּמוֹהוּ. תַּלְמִיד חָכָם שֶׁמֵּת וְהִנִּיחַ פֵּרוֹת אֲפִלּוּ כְּנָסָם בְּאוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם הֲרֵי הֵן בְּחֶזְקַת מְתֻקָּנִין:


When the daughter of a common person or his wife7 marries a chavair or the servant8 [of a common person] was sold to a chavair, they must accept the [above] requirements as at the outset.9 When the daughter of a chavair or his wife marries a common person or the servant [of a chavair] was sold to a common person, we assume that they maintain their observance10 until they act in a manner that arouses suspicion. A son or a servant of a chavair who would frequently visit a common person must formally accept [the above requirements].11 When a son or a servant of a common person would frequently visit a chavair, as long as he is in his domain, he is considered like a chavair. When he departs, he is considered as a common person.12


בַּת עַם הָאָרֶץ אוֹ אִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁנִּסֵּת לְחָבֵר וְעַבְדּוֹ שֶׁנִּמְכָּר לְחָבֵר צְרִיכִין לְקַבֵּל עֲלֵיהֶם בַּתְּחִלָּה. וּבַת חָבֵר אוֹ אִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁנִּסֵּת לְעַם הָאָרֶץ וְעַבְדּוֹ שֶׁנִּמְכָּר לְעַם הָאָרֶץ הֲרֵי הֵן בְּחֶזְקָתָן עַד שֶׁיֵּחָשְׁדוּ. בְּנוֹ אוֹ עַבְדּוֹ שֶׁל חָבֵר שֶׁהָיוּ לְמוּדִין אֵצֶל עַם הָאָרֶץ צְרִיכִין לְקַבֵּל. בְּנוֹ אוֹ עַבְדּוֹ שֶׁל עַם הָאָרֶץ שֶׁהָיוּ לְמוּדִים אֵצֶל חָבֵר כָּל זְמַן שֶׁהֵן אֶצְלוֹ הֲרֵי הֵן כְּחָבֵר. יָצְאוּ הֲרֵי הֵן כְּעַם הָאָרֶץ:


When a person himself is not considered as trustworthy, but one of his sons or servants or another member of his family is, food may be taken from him based on their statements.13 We do not harbor suspicions concerning the matter.


מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן וְהָיָה אֶחָד מִבָּנָיו אוֹ מֵעֲבָדָיו נֶאֱמָן אוֹ אֶחָד מִמִּשְׁפַּחְתּוֹ לוֹקְחִין מִמֶּנּוּ וְאוֹכְלִין עַל פִּיהֶן וְאֵינָן חוֹשְׁשִׁין לְדָבָר:


If a person was considered trustworthy, but his wife was not considered trustworthy,14 we may purchase produce from him,15 but we do not accept his hospitality. If his wife is trustworthy and he is not, we may accept his hospitality, but we do not purchase produce from him. May a curse be visited on one whose wife is trustworthy, but he is not.


הָיָה הוּא נֶאֱמָן וְאִשְׁתּוֹ אֵינָהּ נֶאֱמֶנֶת לוֹקְחִים מִמֶּנּוּ וְאֵין מִתְאָרְחִין אֶצְלוֹ. [הָיְתָה אִשְׁתּוֹ נֶאֱמֶנֶת וְהוּא אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן מִתְאָרְחִין אֶצְלוֹ וְאֵין לוֹקְחִין מִמֶּנּוּ. וְתָבוֹא מְאֵרָה לְמִי שֶׁאִשְׁתּוֹ נֶאֱמֶנֶת וְהוּא אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן]:


A chavair should not serve as a waiter at a drinking party or a feast of a common person unless all [the food and drink] have been tithed and the appropriate separations made under his supervision.16 Therefore if one sees a chavair serving at a drinking party or a feast of a common person, he can operate under the presumption that the tithes and other separations have been made.17

If we see such a person eating together with a common person, we cannot assume that the food served at the feast has been tithed. Perhaps the chavair is relying on the stipulations made in his heart.18


לֹא יְשַׁמֵּשׁ חָבֵר לֹא בְּמִשְׁתֵּה עַם הָאָרֶץ וְלֹא בִּסְעֵדָּתוֹ אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הָיָה הַכּל מְעֻשָּׂר וּמְתֻקָּן מִתַּחַת יָדוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ הָרוֹאֶה חָבֵר מְשַׁמֵּשׁ בְּמִשְׁתֵּה עַם הָאָרֶץ אוֹ בִּסְעֻדָּתוֹ הֲרֵי הַכּל בְּחֶזְקַת מְתֻקָּן וּמְעֻשָּׂר. רָאוּהוּ מֵסֵב עִם עַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ אֵין הַסְּעֻדָּה בְּחֶזְקַת מְעֻשֶּׂרֶת. שֶׁמָּא הֶחָבֵר עַל הַתְּנָאִים שֶׁבְּלִבּוֹ הוּא סוֹמֵךְ:


Just as a person may eat with a common person and rely on the conditions in his heart, so too, he must make a stipulation with regard to what his son eats.19 [This applies] even if his son is in another place.20 He does not have to make a stipulation with regard to another person aside from his son even if that person was together with him at the feast.

Therefore if the son of a chavair is present at a feast with a common person, we cannot assume that the food was tithed, for perhaps [the chavair] made a stipulation for [the food] his son ate.21


כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאָדָם סוֹעֵד אֵצֶל עַם הָאָרֶץ וְסוֹמֵךְ עַל תְּנָאוֹ כָּךְ הוּא צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת מַתְנֶה עַל בְּנוֹ וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיָה בְּנוֹ בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר. אֲבָל אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת מַתְנֶה עַל אַחֵר חוּץ מִבְּנוֹ וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיָה עִמּוֹ בְּמִשְׁתֶּה. לְפִיכָךְ בֶּן חָבֵר שֶׁהָיָה מֵסֵב בְּמִשְׁתֶּה עַם הָאָרֶץ אֵין הַסְּעֻדָּה בְּחֶזְקַת מְעֻשֶּׂרֶת שֶׁמָּא אָבִיו הִתְנָה עָלָיו:


When a common person gives a meah22 to a chavair and tells him: "Buy me a bunch of vegetables or a cake," he may purchase it for him without any qualification and is not obligated to tithe it.23 If [the agent] exchanged the meah, he is obligated to tithe [the produce he purchased].24

If the chavair was explicit and did not buy the produce without explanation, but instead said: "This bunch of produce that I am purchasing from you is being bought for my colleague and this bunch is being bought for myself," he is obligated to tithe [only] the produce that he took for himself. He does not have to tithe [the bunch he purchased for his colleague].25 If these [two batches of produce] became intermingled, even if one measure [belonging to the chavair] becomes mixed with 100 [belonging to the common person], he must make the separations as if the entire quantity was demai.26 [Only] afterwards27 may he give the produce to the colleague who sent him to purchase them for him.


עַם הָאָרֶץ שֶׁנָּתַן מָעָה לְחָבֵר וְאָמַר לוֹ קַח לִי אֲגֻדַּת יָרָק אַחַת אוֹ גְּלֻסְקָא אַחַת לוֹקֵחַ לוֹ סְתָם וּפָטוּר מִלְּעַשֵּׂר. וְאִם הֶחֱלִיף אֶת הַמָּעָה חַיָּב לְעַשֵּׂר וְאַחַר כָּךְ יָבִיא לוֹ. וְאִם פֵּרֵשׁ הֶחָבֵר וְלֹא לְקָחָן סְתָם אֶלָּא אָמַר לַחֶנְוָנִי אֲגֻדָּה זוֹ שֶׁאֲנִי לוֹקֵחַ מִמְּךָ לַחֲבֵרִי אֲנִי קוֹנֶה אוֹתָהּ וְזוֹ לְעַצְמִי אֲנִי קוֹנֶה אוֹתָהּ. זוֹ שֶׁלָּקַח לְעַצְמוֹ חַיָּב לְעַשְּׂרָהּ. וְזוֹ שֶׁלָּקַח לַחֲבֵרוֹ אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְעַשְּׂרָהּ. וְאִם נִתְעָרְבוּ אֲפִלּוּ נִתְעָרְבָה אַחַת שֶׁלּוֹ בְּמֵאָה שֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹ מְתַקֵּן הַכּל דְּמַאי. וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִתֵּן לַחֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁשְּׁלָחוֹ לִקַּח לוֹ:


When five people tell one person: "Bring us five bunches of vegetables," and [the agent] brings each person one bunch individually, the chavairim among [the recipients] are required to tithe only their portions.28 If [the agent] brought [the entire quantity] mixed together, the chavairim among [the recipients] are required to separate tithes for the entire amount.29


חֲמִשָּׁה שֶׁאָמְרוּ לְאֶחָד צֵא וְהָבֵא לָנוּ חָמֵשׁ אֲגֻדּוֹת שֶׁל יָרָק. וְהֵבִיא לְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ. חֲבֵרִים שֶׁבָּהֶן אֵין צְרִיכִין לְעַשֵּׂר אֶלָּא עַל חֶלְקָן בִּלְבַד. הֵבִיא לָהֶן בְּעִרְבּוּב חֲבֵרִים שֶׁבָּהֶם צְרִיכִין לְעַשֵּׂר הַכּל:


When a common person tells a chavair: "Collect figs for me from my fig tree," the chavair may snack from them30 and tithe them as one tithes demai.31

If a chavair told a common person to gather figs for him and another chavair heard him, the latter may partake [of the figs] without tithing them. [The rationale is that] a chavair will not release produce from his domain unless the appropriate separations were made. [Thus] we can assume that [the owner] separated [terumah and the tithes for this produce] from other [produce]. Although [generally] we do not suspect that a chavair will separate terumah from produce that is not in the same place as the terumah,32 he may do so to prevent the common person from confronting a spiritual stumbling block.33


עַם הָאָרֶץ שֶׁאָמַר לְחָבֵר צֵא וְלַקֵּט לִי תְּאֵנִים מִתְּאֵנָתִי אוֹכֵל מֵהֶן הֶחָבֵר עַרְאַי וּמְעַשְּׂרָן [דְּמַאי]. וְאִם אָמַר הֶחָבֵר לְעַם הָאָרֶץ לִלְקֹט לוֹ וְשָׁמַע חָבֵר אַחֵר זֶה הָאַחֵר אוֹכֵל וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְעַשֵּׂר שֶׁאֵין הֶחָבֵר מוֹצִיא דָּבָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְתֻקָּן מִתַּחַת יָדוֹ וְחֶזְקָתוֹ שֶׁהִפְרִישׁ עָלֶיהָ מִמָּקוֹם אַחֵר. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נֶחְשְׁדוּ חֲבֵרִים לִתְרֹם שֶׁלֹּא מִן הַמֻּקָּף, כְּדֵי לְסַלֵּק הַמִּכְשׁוֹל מִלִּפְנֵי עַם הָאָרֶץ תּוֹרְמִין:


It is permitted to feed34 demai to the poor and to guests.35 They must, however, be notified of such. If the poor person or the guest desire to make the appropriate separations, they should.


מֻתָּר לְהַאֲכִיל אֶת הָעֲנִיִּים וְאֶת הָאוֹרְחִים דְּמַאי וְצָרִיךְ לְהוֹדִיעָן. וְהֶעָנִי עַצְמוֹ וְהָאוֹרֵחַ אִם רָצוּ לְתַקֵּן מְתַקְּנִין:


The collectors of charity collect from all people36 without clarifying [whether separations have been made] and they divide the donations without specifications. If one desires to make the appropriate separations, he should.


גַּבָּאֵי צְדָקָה גּוֹבִין סְתָם מִכָּל אָדָם וּמְחַלְּקִים סְתָם וְהָרוֹצֶה לְתַקֵּן יְתַקֵּן:


When a doctor who is a chavair is feeding a common person who is sick37 from the produce of a common person, he should place [the food] in his hand, but not in his mouth.38 If the demai belonged to the doctor, he should not even place it in his hand. And similarly, if he knows that it is definitely tevel,39 it is forbidden to place it in his hand.


רוֹפֵא חָבֵר שֶׁהָיָה מַאֲכִיל לְחוֹלֵה עַם הָאָרֶץ מִפֵּרוֹת עַם הָאָרֶץ נוֹתֵן לְתוֹךְ יָדוֹ אֲבָל לֹא לְתוֹךְ פִּיו. וְאִם הָיָה הַדְּמַאי שֶׁל רוֹפֵא אֲפִלּוּ לְתוֹךְ יָדוֹ לֹא יִתֵּן. וְכֵן אִם יָדַע שֶׁהוּא טֶבֶל וַדַּאי אֲפִלּוּ לְתוֹךְ יָדוֹ אָסוּר:

Test Yourself on This Chapter


Such a person is called a chavair. In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Demai 2:3), the Rambam explains that this term is used because, as indicated by the following halachah, the term refers to Torah scholars. Chavair means "friend." This term is appropriate to be used with regard to Torah scholars, because since their friendship is based on the Torah, it is true friendship, for its motivation is for the sake of heaven.


Whether his own produce or produce he is given by others.


Both produce that he purchases for his own consumption and that which he purchases for commercial purposes.


From Hilchot Tumat Mishkav UMoshav 10:5, it appears that he must make these statements in the presence of three people who are themselves considered as trustworthy in this regard.


I.e., witnesses who meet the criteria for acceptable witnesses spelled out in Hilchot Edut.


I.e., we assume that he separated the tithes from the produce before he died, for "We can presume that a chavair will not release anything from under his hand unless the appropriate separations have been made" (Pesachim 9a).


I.e., after she is divorced or widowed from the common person.


I.e., a Canaanite servant, for a Jewish servant is not sold to another master (Hilchot Avadim 4:10).


I.e., if a woman or servant does not have a history of non-observance, it is assumed that when they become part of a chavair's home, they will accept the standards of the home. In this instance, however, because they have a history of non-observance, they must formally accept the chavair's standards.


This applies even when they are in the common person's domain.


I.e., since he freely associates with the common people, we suspect that he has accepted certain dimensions of their lifestyle.


Rambam LeAm compares the final two clauses of this halachah and draws an ethical lesson. It is more likely that a person with proper habits will become lax due to the bad habits of a friend than a person with improper habits will change to the better due a friend's positive influence.


I.e., if they state that the appropriate separations have been made from the produce, we accept their word.


The Jerusalem Talmud (Demai 2:2) compares this to dwelling with a snake in its den.


For the sale of produce will be under his direct supervision.


I.e., he cannot rely on the common person's word that the separations have been made. He must supervise the separations himself.


To cite a contemporary application of this concept: If one sees a mashgiach, kashrut supervisor, in a restaurant, one may assume that the food is kosher.


As explained in Chapter 9, Halachot 7-11, a chavair may eat at a common person's home and separate the tithes by leaving over portions of food. He separates the tithes for his portion alone and not for all the food served. If he is serving the meal, the responsibility for the kashrut of the food is his. If he is merely dining, he has no general responsibility as stated in the following halachah.


I.e., just as the previous halachah explains how the chavair must make stipulations for himself, so too, he must make stipulations for his son.


The son was eating together with a common person, but the father was not.


As the previous halachah stated with regard to his own self.


A silver coin of little value employed in the Talmudic era.


I.e., as stated in Halachah 1, a chavair must tithe what he buys and sells. Nevertheless, in this instance, he is not considered as buying or selling, but merely as acting as an agent for the common person.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Demai 6:12), the Rambam elaborates in his description of this situation, explaining that we are speaking about a situation where the seller of the produce is also a chavair and knows that the other chavair has been sent by the common person to purchase produce. If the chavair who is the agent asks to purchase produce without qualifying his statements and explaining who he is purchasing it for, the seller must give him tithed produce. For he knows that the agent is purchasing for the common person and he does not want to cause the common person to sin.


If the seller sees that the agent uses his own money, he might suspect that he is purchasing the produce for himself and not for the common person. Hence, the seller might not tithe the produce (Kessef Mishneh).


The seller will not give him untithed produce for the common person, because he fears that he will partake of it without tithing it. He may, however, give the chavair untithed produce, for he knows that the chavair will not partake of it without tithing it (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah loc. cit.).


We do not apply the principle of bereirah and say that the produce that the agent takes as his own was in fact the produce from which he separated the tithes.

All the above applies if the purchaser does not ask the seller if the produce was tithed. If, however, he asks the seller and the seller states that the produce was tithed, the agent does not have to make any separations, since the seller is also trustworthy (ibid.). Kin'at Eliyahu questions the very basis of the Rambam's assumption. For if the seller is a chavair, he would always tithe his produce and there would be no obligation to tithe produce purchased from him. See also the Radbaz who understands the halachah as speaking about a seller who is a common person.


I.e., after he separated the tithes.


We do not require them to separate tithes for the entire amount. They are not responsible for the portion of the other individuals.


Since the portion belonging to the common person is not distinct, we do not apply the principle of bereirah (Radbaz). Thus when making the division, it is as if each person is selling to the other (Kessef Mishneh). Alternatively, the agent indeed purchased the produce for all five individuals and then the entire mixture became intermingled (Rav Yosef Korcus).


Without tithing. Since a present is not like a sale (Chapter 5, Halachah 6), he is not considered to have purchased the figs from the common person. That would have required him to tithe (Radbaz).


If he desires to eat a significant meal of them. He cannot be certain that the produce is untithed, because it is possible that the common person separated the tithes from other produce (ibid.). The Kessef Mishneh, by contrast, explains that there is an error in the text and he is in fact making separations from produce that is definitely untithed.


See Hilchot Terumah 3:17 with regard to the great terumah, ibid.:20 with regard to terumat ma'aser.


For we fear that the common person will partake of the produce without separating the tithes and thus without separating terumat ma'aser. We do not, however, fear that the common person will partake of produce without separating the great terumah.


In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Demai 3:1), the Rambam explains that this wording implies that the poor are given only one meal's worth of food. If they are given a substantial amount, they must make the appropriate separations. Support for this leniency can be derived from the fact that the majority of the common people do in fact separate the tithes.


Without separating tithes from it. This is a leniency instituted so that people will give charity and show hospitality (ibid.).

Although guests may themselves be wealthy, since they are required to accept hospitality, they are considered as poor (Meiri, Eruvin 31a).


I.e., even common people.


But not in mortal danger. Needless to say, if the sick person is in mortal danger, any prohibition can be violated to save his life. A person who is not dangerously ill is generally not permitted to partake of any substance that is forbidden by Rabbinic decree (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 155:3). Nevertheless, since the prohibition against demai is more of a safeguard than an outright ban, leniency was granted.


So that he will not be directly responsible for feeding him demai.


Even if it belongs to the common person.

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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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