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ב"ה

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Bikkurim - Chapter 9

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Bikkurim - Chapter 9

1

It is a positive commandment for anyone1 who slaughters a kosher domesticated animal to give a priest the foreleg, the jaw, and the maw,2 as [Deuteronomy 18:50] states: "This is the judgment [due] the priests...." These are universally known as "presents."

This mitzvah is practiced at all times, whether at the time the Temple is standing or not, whether in Eretz Yisrael or in the Diaspora,3 with regard to ordinary animals but not consecrated ones.

א

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לִתֵּן כָּל זוֹבֵחַ בְּהֵמָה טְהוֹרָה לַכֹּהֵן הַזְּרוֹעַ וְהַלְּחָיַיִם וְהַקֵּבָה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ג) "וְזֶה יִהְיֶה מִשְׁפַּט הַכֹּהֲנִים". וְאֵלּוּ הֵם הַנִּקְרָאִים בְּכָל מָקוֹם מַתָּנוֹת. וּמִצְוָה זוֹ נוֹהֶגֶת תָּמִיד בֵּין בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת. וּבְכָל מָקוֹם בֵּין בָּאָרֶץ בֵּין בְּחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ. וּבְחֻלִּין אֲבָל לֹא בְּמֻקְדָּשִׁין:

2

There is an obligation to separate the above-mentioned presents from all consecrated animals that had a permanent blemish4 before they were consecrated and were redeemed.5 If, by contrast, they had a temporary blemish6 before their consecration or they were consecrated when they were unblemished, but afterwards, they became blemished,7 and they were redeemed, they are exempt from these presents.8

ב

כָּל הַקָּדָשִׁים שֶׁקָּדַם מוּם קָבוּעַ לְהֶקְדֵּשָׁן וְנִפְדּוּ חַיָּבִין בְּמַתָּנוֹת. וְאִם קָדַם מוּם עוֹבֵר לְהֶקְדֵּשָׁן אוֹ שֶׁהִקְדִּישָׁן תְּמִימִים וְאַחַר כָּךְ נוֹלַד בָּהֶם מוּם וְנִפְדּוּ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְּטוּרִין מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת:

3

If there is an unresolved doubt whether an animal is a firstborn,9 there is certainly an obligation to give the presents [from it to the priest].10 [The rationale is:] If it is a firstborn, it must be given to a priest in its entirety. If it is not a firstborn, the presents must be given to a priest.

If a question arises with regard to the status of two animals11 and a priest took one because of the doubt, the second one is exempt from the presents. [The rationale is that] it is considered as an animal which a priest acquired and then gave to its owners, because of its blemish.12

If, however, there is an unresolved doubt whether an animal is the tithes of the herd,13 it is exempt in all situations. [The rationale is that] when one desires to expropriate property from a colleague,14 the burden of proof is on him.15

ג

סְפֵק בְּכוֹר חַיָּב בְּמַתָּנוֹת מִכָּל צַד. שֶׁאִם בְּכוֹר הוּא כֻּלּוֹ לַכֹּהֵן וְאִם אֵינוֹ בְּכוֹר מַתְּנוֹתָיו לַכֹּהֵן. וְאִם נִסְתַּפֵּק בִּשְׁנַיִם וְלָקַח הַכֹּהֵן הָאֶחָד מִסָּפֵק הֲרֵי הַשֵּׁנִי פָּטוּר מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת. עֲשָׂאוּהוּ כְּמִי שֶׁזָּכָה בּוֹ הַכֹּהֵן וּנְתָנוֹ בְּמוּמוֹ לִבְעָלָיו. אֲבָל סְפֵק מַעֲשֵׂר פָּטוּר מִכָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁהַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה:

4

When an animal that was consecrated and then disqualified because of a blemish16 became mixed with other animals - even one with 100 - if one person owns all of them,17 they are all exempt [from the obligation of the presents]. [The rationale is that the status of] each one is doubtful and when one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him.18 If one person was slaughtering all the animals, only one [set of] presents is exempt.19

ד

בֶּהֱמַת קָדָשִׁים שֶׁנִּפְסְלָה בְּמוּמָהּ וְאֵינָהּ חַיֶּבֶת בְּמַתָּנוֹת שֶׁנִּתְעָרְבָה בִּבְהֵמוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת אֲפִלּוּ אַחַת בְּמֵאָה בִּזְמַן שֶׁכָּל בְּהֵמָה מֵהֶן לְאַחֵר כֻּלָּן פְּטוּרִין. שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד סָפֵק וְהַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. הָיָה אֶחָד הוּא הַשּׁוֹחֵט אֶת כֻּלָּם פּוֹטֵר מַתְּנוֹת אַחַת מֵהֶן בִּלְבַד:

5

We are required to separate presents only from a kosher domesticated animal,20 [as indicated by Deuteronomy, loc. cit., which] states: "If it be an ox or a sheep."21 If a hybrid is born from a sheep and a goat, there is an obligation for presents to be given.22 We separate all23 the presents from a ko'i24even though its status is undetermined.

When a male deer mates with a goat and it gives birth, there is an obligation [to give] half the presents [to a priest]. [This is derived from the above prooftext]: "If it be... a sheep," i.e., even if it is only part sheep.25 [When, by contrast,] a male goat mates with a deer, the offspring is exempt from the presents.26

ה

אֵין חַיָּב בְּמַתָּנוֹת אֶלָּא בְּהֵמָה טְהוֹרָה בִּלְבַד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ג) "אִם שׁוֹר אִם שֶׂה". כִּלְאַיִם הַבָּא מִכֶּבֶשׂ וְעֵז חַיָּב בְּמַתָּנוֹת. וְהַכְּוִי אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא סָפֵק מַפְרִישִׁין מִמֶּנּוּ כָּל הַמַּתָּנוֹת. צְבִי הַבָּא עַל הָעֵז וְיָלְדָה הַוָּלָד חַיָּב בַּחֲצִי מַתָּנוֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אִם שֶׂה אֲפִלּוּ מִקְצָת שֶׂה. תַּיִשׁ הַבָּא עַל הַצְּבִיָּה הַוָּלָד פָּטוּר מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת:

6

Whether a person slaughters an animal for consumption by non-Jews, by animals, by dogs, or for medical purposes, there is an obligation [to give] the presents.27

ו

אֶחָד הַשּׁוֹחֵט לַאֲכִילַת עַכּוּ''ם אוֹ לַאֲכִילַת כְּלָבִים אוֹ לִרְפוּאָה חַיָּב בְּמַתָּנוֹת:

7

There is an obligation [to separate the presents from] an animal belonging to partners, as [the above prooftext] states: "those who slaughter28 the animal."

ז

בֶּהֱמַת שֻׁתָּפִין חַיֶּבֶת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ג) "זֹבְחֵי הַזֶּבַח":

8

When a person purchases an animal with the produce of the Sabbatical year, he is obligated to [give] presents [to a priest].29

Priests and Levites are exempt from the presents, as [the above prooftext] states: "from the people." It is questionable whether the Levites are considered as part of "the people" or not. Therefore [the presents] are not taken from them.30 If, however, a priest took them, he need not return them.31

ח

הַלּוֹקֵחַ בְּהֵמָה מִפֵּרוֹת שְׁבִיעִית חַיָּב בְּמַתָּנוֹת. כֹּהֲנִים וּלְוִיִּים פְּטוּרִים מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ג) "מֵאֵת הָעָם" וְסָפֵק הֵם הַלְוִיִּים אִם הֵם בִּכְלַל הָעָם אוֹ לֹא. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין נוֹטְלִין מֵהֶם וְאִם נָטַל הַכֹּהֵן לֹא יַחְזִיר:

9

When does the above32 apply? When one slaughters for his own sake. [Different laws apply to] a priest who is butcher, who slaughters [animals] and sells them in the marketplace. We grant him two or three weeks.33 Afterwards, we expropriate the presents from him and grant them to other priests.34

If he established a butcher shop to sell meat, we do not wait at all. Instead, we expropriate the presents from him immediately. If he refrains from giving them, we place him under a ban of ostracism35 until he gives them.

ט

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשׁוֹחֵט לְעַצְמוֹ. אֲבָל כֹּהֵן טַבָּח שֶׁשּׁוֹחֵט וּמוֹכֵר בַּשּׁוּק מַמְתִּינִין לוֹ שְׁתַּיִם וְשָׁלֹשׁ שַׁבָּתוֹת. מִיכַּן וְאֵילָךְ מוֹצִיאִין מִמֶּנּוּ מַתָּנוֹת וְנוֹתְנִין אוֹתָם לְכֹהֲנִים אֲחֵרִים. וְאִם קָבַע בֵּית מִטְבָּחַיִם לִמְכֹּר אֵין מַמְתִּינִין לוֹ אֶלָּא מוֹצִיאִין מִמֶּנּוּ מִיָּד. וְאִם נִמְנַע מִלִּתֵּן מְנַדִּין אוֹתוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּתֵּן:

10

A person who slaughters an animal for the sake of a priest or a gentile is exempt from [the obligation to give presents].36

A person who enters into a partnership with a priest [in the ownership of an animal] must mark his portion, so that he will leave the presents in the portion of the priest. If he does not mark his portion, he is obligated [to give] these presents, because the fact that the priest is his partner is not a matter of public knowledge.37Accordingly, if the priest was standing with him in the butcher store and dealing and negotiating with him,38 he is not required to mark [his portion].39

When a person enters a partnership with a gentile [in the ownership of an animal], he need not mark his portion.40 [The rationale is that] as a rule, a gentile will speak excessively and inform everyone that he is [the Jew's] partner, even if [the Jew] is not present at the time of the sale.

י

הַשּׁוֹחֵט לְעַכּוּ''ם וּלְכֹהֵן פָּטוּר מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת. וְהַמִּשְׁתַּתֵּף עִם הַכֹּהֵן צָרִיךְ שֶׁיִּרְשֹׁם חֶלְקוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּנִּיחַ הַמַּתָּנוֹת בְּחֵלֶק הַכֹּהֵן. שֶׁאִם לֹא צִיֵּן חֶלְקוֹ חַיָּב בְּמַתָּנוֹת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין הַכּל יוֹדְעִין שֶׁהַכֹּהֵן שֻׁתָּף לוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ אִם הָיָה הַכֹּהֵן עוֹמֵד עִמּוֹ בַּמִּטְבָּחַיִם וְנוֹשֵׂא וְנוֹתֵן עִמּוֹ אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לִרְשֹׁם. וְהַמִּשְׁתַּתֵּף עִם הָעַכּוּ''ם אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לִרְשֹׁם שֶׁסְּתָם עַכּוּ''ם מַרְבֶּה דְּבָרִים וּמוֹדִיעַ לַכּל שֶׁהוּא שֻׁתָּף וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ עִמּוֹ בִּשְׁעַת מְכִירָה:

11

[If, when negotiating a partnership agreement41 regarding the ownership of an animal,] a priest stipulates to [his partner, an Israelite,] that they are partners with the exception of the presents, the presents belong to the priest. Since the priest stipulated "with the exception of...," he left himself the portion of [the animal containing] the presents. Hence, they are his.42

If, however, the priest told the Israelite: "...on the condition that the presents are mine," the presents belong to the Israelite and he may give them to any priest he desires. Even though [the priest] stipulated that they were his, [the animal] is not exempt from [the obligation to give] the presents.43 For by saying "on the condition that...," he did not leave himself [the ownership of] the presents. Since he did not leave himself a share in their ownership, he did not acquire them through this stipulation.44

יא

הִתְנָה הַכֹּהֵן עִמּוֹ שֶׁהוּא שֻׁתָּף חוּץ מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת הֲרֵי הַמַּתָּנוֹת לַכֹּהֵן. כֵּיוָן שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ חוּץ הֲרֵי שִׁיֵּר לוֹ הַכֹּהֵן חֵלֶק בַּמַּתָּנוֹת וּלְפִיכָךְ הֵם שֶׁלּוֹ. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר לוֹ הַכֹּהֵן עַל מְנָת שֶׁהַמַּתָּנוֹת שֶׁלִּי הֲרֵי הַמַּתָּנוֹת שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל זֶה וְנוֹתְנָן לְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיִּרְצֶה. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִתְנָה עִמּוֹ שֶׁהֵן שֶׁלּוֹ לֹא נִפְטַר מִן הַמַּתָּנוֹת. שֶׁהָאוֹמֵר עַל מְנָת לֹא שִׁיֵּר לוֹ בְּעַצְמָן שֶׁל מַתָּנוֹת כְּלוּם הוֹאִיל וְלֹא שִׁיֵּר לוֹ בָּהֶן שֻׁתָּפוּת לֹא קְנָאָן בִּתְנַאי זֶה:

12

If a priest was a partner in [the ownership of] the head, he is exempt from [giving] the jaw. If he is a partner in the front leg, he is exempt from the fore leg. If he is a partner in the digestive organs, he is exempt from the maw.45

If the priest told [the Israelite]: "The entire animal is mine, but the head is yours," he is obligated to give the jaw, for the portion that must be given belongs to the Israelite.

יב

הָיָה הַכֹּהֵן שֻׁתָּף בָּרֹאשׁ פָּטוּר מִן הַלְּחִי. שֻׁתָּף בַּיָּד פָּטוּר מִן הַזְּרוֹעַ. שֻׁתָּף בִּבְנֵי מֵעַיִם פָּטוּר מִן הַקֵּבָה. אָמַר לוֹ הַכֹּהֵן הֲרֵי הַבְּהֵמָה כֻּלָּהּ שֶׁלִּי וְהָרֹאשׁ שֶׁלְּךָ חַיָּב בִּלְחִי. שֶׁהַדָּבָר הַחַיָּב הֲרֵי הוּא שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל:

13

[The following laws apply when] a gentile converts and he is in the process of having an animal slaughtered. If it was slaughtered before he converted, he is exempt.46 If [it was slaughtered] after he converted, he is obligated. If there is a doubt concerning the matter, [we follow the principle]: When one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him.47

יג

גֵּר שֶׁנִּתְגַּיֵּר וְהָיְתָה לוֹ בְּהֵמָה שְׁחוּטָה. אִם נִשְׁחֲטָה עַד שֶׁלֹּא נִתְגַּיֵּר פָּטוּר. וְאִם אַחַר שֶׁנִּתְגַּיֵּר חַיָּב. וְאִם סָפֵק פָּטוּר וְהַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה:

14

It is permitted to partake [of the meat] of an animal from which the presents were not separated. [The situation] is not analogous to tevel48 [The rationale is that] the presents due to be given the priests are separate and distinct.49It is forbidden for an Israelite to partake of the presents themselves without the permission of a priest. If he transgresses and partakes of them, damages them, or sells them, he is not liable to make financial restitution.50 [The rationale is that] this is money that has no known plaintiff.51 A person who purchases them - even though he is forbidden to do so - is permitted to partake of them, because when the presents to the priests are stolen, the theft effect a change in ownership.

יד

בְּהֵמָה שֶׁלֹּא הוּרְמוּ מַתְּנוֹתֶיהָ מֻתָּר לֶאֱכוֹל מִמֶּנָּה שֶׁאֵינָהּ דּוֹמָה לְטֶבֶל שֶׁהֲרֵי מַתְּנוֹת כְּהֻנָּה מֻבְדָּלִין וְהַמַּתָּנוֹת עַצְמָן אָסוּר לְיִשְׂרָאֵל לְאָכְלָן אֶלָּא בִּרְשׁוּת כֹּהֵן. עָבַר וַאֲכָלָן אוֹ הִזִּיקָן אוֹ מְכָרָן אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא מָמוֹן שֶׁאֵין לוֹ תּוֹבֵעַ יָדוּעַ. וְהַקּוֹנֶה אוֹתָם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ רַשַּׁאי הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לְאָכְלָן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמַּתְּנוֹת כְּהֻנָּה נִגְזָלוֹת:

15

If one tells a butcher: "Sell me the digestive organs of a cow," and there were presents52 among them, [the purchaser] should give them to a priest,53but [the seller] need not decrease the price [accordingly].54 If [the purchaser] bought [the organs] by weight, he should give them to the priest and deduct their value from the butcher's [due].55

טו

אָמַר לַטַּבָּח מְכֹר לִי בְּנֵי מֵעֶיהָ שֶׁל פָּרָה וְהָיוּ בָּהּ מַתָּנוֹת נוֹתְנָן לַכֹּהֵן וְאֵינוֹ מְנַכֶּה לוֹ מִן הַדָּמִים. לְקָחָם מִמֶּנּוּ בְּמִשְׁקָל נוֹתְנָם לַכֹּהֵן וּמְנַכֶּה לַטַּבָּח מִן הַדָּמִים:

16

When a person sends meat to a friend and there were presents56 in [the parcel], the recipient need not be concerned that [the sender] transgressed and stole them.57

In a place where there are no priests,58 one should determine their financial value and partake of them, [so as not to cause] a priest a loss.59 He should then give the money to any priest he desires.

טז

הַמְשַׁלֵּחַ בָּשָׂר לַחֲבֵרוֹ וְהָיוּ בָּהּ מַתָּנוֹת אֵינוֹ חוֹשֵׁשׁ שֶׁמָּא עָבַר זֶה וּגְזָלָן. מָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ כֹּהֵן מַעֲלֶה הַמַּתָּנוֹת בְּדָמִים וְאוֹכְלָן מִפְּנֵי הֶפְסֵד כֹּהֵן וְיִתֵּן הַדָּמִים לְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיִּרְצֶה:

17

If a person wants to give the presents to only one priest, he may do so. If he wants to divide them [and give them to several], he should not give half the maw or half the foreleg to one [priest]. Instead, he should give the foreleg to one, the maw to another, and the jaw to two others. [This is inferred from Deuteronomy 18:4]: "And you shall give it to him," i.e., give him a portion that is a significant present.60 If [he is giving presents] from an ox, he may divide them into portions,61 provided each portion is a significant present.

יז

הָרוֹצֶה לִתֵּן הַמַּתָּנוֹת לְכֹהֵן אֶחָד נוֹתֵן. וְאִם רָצָה לַחְלֹק אוֹתָן לֹא יִתֵּן חֲצִי קֵבָה לָאֶחָד אוֹ חֲצִי זְרוֹעַ אֶלָּא זְרוֹעַ לָאֶחָד וְקֵבָה לָאֶחָד וּלְחָיַיִם לִשְׁנַיִם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ד) "תִּתֶּן לּוֹ" שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בָּהּ כְּדֵי מַתָּנָה. וְאִם הָיוּ שֶׁל שׁוֹר חוֹלֵק אוֹתָן חֲתִיכוֹת וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בְּכָל חֲתִיכָה כְּדֵי מַתָּנָה:

18

What is meant by the foreleg? The right foreleg,62 The portion from the upper-joint until the ankle joint; two limbs, one connected with the other. The jaw refers to the jaw bones until the large ring of the protrusion of the gullet with the tongue between the bones.63 All of this is given to the priest.

יח

אֵי זֶהוּ הַזְּרוֹעַ. זְרוֹעַ שֶׁל יָמִין מִן הַפֶּרֶק שֶׁל אַרְכֻּבָּה עַד כַּף שֶׁל יָדוֹ שֶׁהֵן שְׁנֵי אֵיבָרִים זֶה מְעֹרֶה בָּזֶה. וְהַלְּחָיַיִם מִן הַפֶּרֶק שֶׁל לְחִי וְעַד פִּיקָה שֶׁל גַּרְגֶּרֶת טַבַּעַת גְּדוֹלָה עִם הַלָּשׁוֹן שֶׁבֵּינֵיהֶן הַכּל לַכֹּהֵן:

19

[When giving the jaw and the foreleg to the priest,] we do not pour boiling water on the hide [to remove the hair], nor do we skin it. Instead, we give it to [the priest] with its skin and wool. [We give a priest] the maw with the fat upon it64 and the fat within it. The priests have already accepted the custom of leaving the fat of the maw for the owner.65

יט

אֵין מוֹלְגִין אוֹתָן וְאֵין מַפְשִׁיטִין אוֹתָן אֶלָּא יִתְּנוּ לוֹ בְּעוֹרָן וּבְצִמְרָן. וְהַקֵּבָה בַּחֵלֶב שֶׁעָלֶיהָ וּבַחֵלֶב שֶׁבְּתוֹכָהּ. וּכְבָר נָהֲגוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים לְהַנִּיחַ חֵלֶב הַקֵּבָה לַבְּעָלִים:

20

A women of the priestly family may partake of the presents even if she is married to an Israelite, because they are not consecrated. Moreover, her husband may partake of the presents for her sake.

A challalah,66 by contrast, may not partake of the presents, because challalim67 are not in the category of priests.68 If a priest desires to sell the presents, to give them as gifts, even to a gentile, or to feed them to the dogs, he may, for they are not consecrated at all.69

כ

הַכֹּהֶנֶת אוֹכֶלֶת הַמַּתָּנוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא נְשׂוּאָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶן קְדֻשָּׁה. וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא הַבַּעַל אוֹכֵל מַתָּנוֹת בִּגְלַל אִשְׁתּוֹ. אֲבָל חֲלָלָה אֵינָהּ אוֹכֶלֶת. שֶׁאֵין חֲלָלִים בִּכְלַל כֹּהֲנִים. וְאִם רָצָה הַכֹּהֵן לִמְכֹּר הַמַּתָּנוֹת אוֹ לִתְּנָן בְּמַתָּנָה אֲפִלּוּ לְעַכּוּ''ם אוֹ לְהַאֲכִילָם לִכְלָבִים מַאֲכִילָם שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶן קְדֻשָּׁה כְּלָל:

21

[The following rules apply when there is] a priest whose friends [continually] give him presents. If he desires to transfer ownership of them to a friend who is an Israelite,70 he may, even though they did not enter [the priest's] domain. Thus [the priest's] friends may slaughter [their animals] and give the presents to the Israelite who acquired them. [This applies] provided the Israelite is in difficult straits and does not have the means to buy meat and the priest who transfers the meat to him is his friend. If, however, the priest is the Israelite's attendant or his hired worker or employee, he may not transfer ownership [of the presents] until they enter his domain.71 [This is a safeguard,] lest he compel him to do so.

כא

כֹּהֵן שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ חֲבֵרִים שֶׁנּוֹתְנִים לוֹ הַמַּתָּנוֹת אִם רָצָה לְזַכּוֹת בָּהֶן לְיִשְׂרָאֵל חֲבֵרוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מְזַכֶּה לוֹ. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא בָּאוּ לְיָדוֹ. וְיִהְיוּ אוֹתָם הַחֲבֵרִים זוֹבְחִים וְנוֹתְנִין הַמַּתָּנוֹת לְזֶה הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁזָּכָה בָּהֶן. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל זֶה בְּדֹחַק וְאֵין לוֹ לִקְנוֹת בָּשָׂר. וְיִהְיֶה הַכֹּהֵן שֶׁזָּכָה לוֹ חֲבֵרוֹ. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה הַכֹּהֵן שַׁמָּשׁוֹ שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל זֶה אוֹ שְׂכִירוֹ אוֹ לְקִיטוֹ אֵינוֹ מְזַכֶּה לוֹ עַד שֶׁיָּבוֹאוּ לְיָדוֹ שֶׁמָּא יְזַכֶּה בְּעַל כָּרְחוֹ:

22

A priest should not grab the presents, nor should he even request them verbally. Instead, if he is given them72 in a respectful manner, he may take them.73 When there are many priests at the slaughter house, the modest ones withdraw and the gluttons take them. [Even though] a priest is modest, [if] it is not known that he is a priest, he should take [the presents] to let it be known to everyone that he is a priest.

The priests should only eat the presents as they are roasted, with mustard on them,74 for [Numbers 18:8] states [that the gifts to the priests75 were given them]: "for distinction." Hence, [they should] be eaten in a manner befitting a king.

כב

לֹא יַחְטֹף הַכֹּהֵן הַמַּתָּנוֹת וְלֹא יִשְׁאַל בְּפִיו אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן נוֹתְנִין לוֹ בְּכָבוֹד נוֹטֵל. וּבִזְמַן שֶׁהֵם רַבִּים בְּבֵית הַמִּטְבָּחַיִם הַצְּנוּעִים מוֹשְׁכִין יְדֵיהֶם וְהַגַּרְגְּרָנִים נוֹטְלִין. וְאִם הָיָה כֹּהֵן צָנוּעַ וְאֵין מַכִּירִין אוֹתוֹ שֶׁהוּא כֹּהֵן הֲרֵי זֶה נוֹטֵל כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּוָּדַע לַכּל שֶׁהוּא כֹּהֵן. וְאֵין הַכֹּהֲנִים אוֹכְלִין הַמַּתָּנוֹת אֶלָּא צָלִי בְּחַרְדָּל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כט כט) "לְמָשְׁחָה" כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁאוֹכְלִים הַמְּלָכִים:

Test Yourself on This Chapter

Footnotes
1.

I.e., other than a priest or Levite (see Halachah 8).

2.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 143) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 506) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. Chulin 134b states that the priests merited these gifts in recognition of the heroism of Pinchas in stopping the Jews' lewd behavior with the Midianite women.

3.

This is a matter of debate among the commentaries. The Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 61:21) quote the Rambam's view, but also mention the opinion of Rashi and Rabbenu Meir of Rutenberg who maintain that this mitzvah is not practiced in the Diaspora. They conclude that this latter view is observed. The Sefer HaChinuch, loc. cit., writes that in the abstract, he agrees that the law should be observed in the present era as well, but "we do not have the power to compel the butchers to observe it." See also the Responsa of the Chatam Sofer, sec. 301, where he writes that he would observe this mitzvah.

4.

These blemishes are listed in Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash, ch. 7, Hilchot Issurei Mizbeach, ch. 2.

5.

Since they are permanently blemished at the time of their consecration, it is obvious that they will ultimately be redeemed and used for ordinary purposes, not as a sacrifice. Hence it is never considered that their actual bodies became consecrated. Once they are redeemed, they are like any ordinary property. Hence the obligation to separate the presents falls upon them (Radbaz).

6.

Such blemishes are listed in Hilchot Issurei Mizbeach 2:7.

7.

Even permanently.

8.

In such a situation, the consecration of the animal encompasses its actual body. The rationale is that in the first instance mentioned in this clause, the blemish is not permanent. Hence, it does not block the consecration. And in the second instance, the blemish comes after the consecration already took effect. And since the consecration affected the actual bodies of the animals, it continues to have an effect even after the animals have been redeemed. They are considered as pesulei hamukdashim and are exempt from this obligation (Radbaz, based on Bechorot 15a).

9.

A sheep that had not given birth before gave birth to two offspring, a male - which would be separated as a firstborn - and a female which would not - and it is not known which of them was born first. See Hilchot Bechorot 5:1. Alternatively, a firstborn animal became mixed together with other animals [Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 61:20).

10.

A priest to whom a firstborn animal is given is not obligated to separate the presents and give them to another priest. In the instance described above, the Israelite who is the owner of the animal may retain possession of it, for we follow the principle: "When one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him." Thus since a priest cannot prove that the animal was a firstborn, it remains the property of the owner. Nevertheless, he must give the presents to a priest based on the rationale presented by the Rambam.

11.

E.g., a sheep that had not given birth before gave birth to two males. Thus one of them is certainly the firstborn and must be given to a priest. The question is which one. Hence the weaker one is given to the priest and the other one remains the property of its owner, but may not be slaughtered until it receives a disqualifying blemish (Hilchot Bechorot, loc. cit.).

12.

I.e., in exchange for giving the priest the weaker animal, the priest forfeits his claim on the other animal. Hence, although there is a possibility that it is an ordinary animal and the presents must be given to the priest, to obtain those presents, the priest is required to prove that claim and he cannot. Hence, the owner may retain possession.

13.

Which the owner must offer as a sacrifice (Hilchot Bechorot 6:4). Were this to be the case, he would not be required to give the presents to a priest.

14.

In this instance, the priest desires to expropriate the presents.

15.

I.e., we cannot obligate him to give the presents to a priest, because unlike the firstborn, the priest has no claim to the animal as a whole.

16.

It is exempt from the obligation to separate the presents as stated in Halachah 2.

17.

Our translation is based on authoritative manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah. The standard printed text differs slightly.

18.

In this instance, the priest desires to expropriate the presents.

19.

Because he knows that only one animal was consecrated and then disqualified.

20.

If, however, he slaughters a kosher wild animal (e.g., a deer) or a kosher fowl, he is not required to give the presents to the priest.

21.

More particularly, the Hebrew term seh can refer either to a sheep or a goat.

22.

For even though it is a hybrid, it is definitely a domesticated animal and hence, there is an obligation for presents to be given.

23.

Not only half.

24.

Generally - and indeed, this interpretation is indicated by the standard published text of Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 1:13 - a ko'i is defined as: "a mixed species that comes from the mating of a kosher domesticated animal and a kosher wild beast." Accordingly, the Tur (Yoreh De'ah 61) questions the Rambam's ruling for it appears to contradict his own statements in the continuation of this halachah. Rav Yosef Caro (in his Kessef Mishneh to the Mishneh Torah and his Beit Yosef to the Tur) explains that the Rambam understands the term ko'i as referring to an independent species that we do not know whether to classify as a domesticated animal or as a wild beast. He maintains that the proper version of Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot is "any animal whose classification as a domesticated animal or as a beast is doubtful is a ko'i" and he maintains that Hilchot Shechitah 14:4 serves as proof of this interpretation.

25.

Chulin 132a explains that since it is only part sheep, only part of the presents are granted. We do not take the species of the father of the animal into consideration.

26.

For, as in the previous law, we do not take the species of the father of the animal into consideration. Although this matter is not determined definitively, since "when one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him," the priest cannot claim the presents definitively either (Siftei Cohen61:10).

27.

Presents need not be separated when an animal is killed without ritual slaughter - or when the ritual slaughter is performed improperly and the animal is forbidden to be eaten (Tosefta, Chulin 9:1). Nevertheless, if the slaughter is performed properly, the presents must be given to a priest, regardless of the reason for which the animal was slaughtered. This is derived from a comparison to the covering of the blood after the slaughter of an animal (Ra'avad).

28.

The use of the plural term implies that the law applies even if there are many for whom the animal is being slaughtered (seeChulin 136a).

29.

For even though that produce must be destroyed at the appropriate time, while it is in a person's possession, it is his personal property. See Bechorot 12b.

30.

As above, when one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him. And it is impossible for a priest to prove that the Levite is obligated.

From Chulin 131a, it is obvious that a Levite does not have the right to receive presents (Siftei Cohen 61:12).

31.

For now they are in the possession of the priest. He may therefore retain them, for the Levite cannot prove that he is exempt.

The Rambam's view is cited by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 61:23). The Rama maintains that since the law is that a priest is not entitled to take it, if he takes it by force, he is required to return it. This difference of opinion reflects a divergence on an issue of a greater scope. See Hilchot Bechorot 5:3, where the Rambam rules that when there is a question concerning whether an animal is a firstborn or not, a priest is not permitted to take possession of it. If he takes possession of it, however, it is not expropriated from him. In that instance as well, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 315:1) follows the Rambam's approach and the Rama differs.

32.

That the priests are exempt from giving presents.

33.

During which he is allowed to keep the presents for himself.

34.

Since he sells the meat, he is acting on behalf of others and they are not absolved from the obligation of giving the presents. See the gloss of Rav Yosef Korcus who debates whether this is a Scriptural Law or a Rabbinic decree.

35.

See Hilchot Talmud Torah, ch. 6.

36.

We are speaking about a situation where the animal belongs entirely to the priest or the gentile. It is the ownership of the animal, not the identity of the slaughterer which is significant. Since neither the priest nor the gentile would be required to give these presents, a slaughterer who acts on their behalf is also exempt.

37.

Hence, if he does not give a priest the presents, people will suspect him of withholding them.

38.

And thus it is evident that they are partners.

39.

The Tur (Yoreh De'ah 61) differs with the Rambam, explaining Chulin 133a,b (the Rambam's source) differently. In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro elaborates in support of the Rambam's interpretation (even though at the outset, he states that the interpretation of the Tur appears more appropriate to the simple meaning of the passage. In his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 61:25), he follows the Tur's interpretation.

40.

And we nevertheless assume that the presents were in the gentile's portion.

41.

Rashi (in his commentary to Chulin 132a, the source for the Rambam's ruling) and similarly, the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 61:29) interpret this as referring to a sale and not a partnership agreement.

42.

Even if they were not marked [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Chulin 10:3)].

43.

The Radbaz explains that the rationale is that his stipulation runs contrary to the Torah - for the Torah requires that the presents be given - and whenever a person makes a stipulation that runs contrary to Torah law, the stipulation is nullified. Hence, it is as if the stipulation was never made and the priest's partner must separate the presents as stated in the previous halachah.

44.

The commentaries note an apparent contradiction between the Rambam's ruling here and his ruling in Hilchot Ma'aser 6:19 where he states:

When a priest sells a field to an Israelite and tells him: "[I am selling it] on the condition that the tithes from it belong to me forever," they belong to him. [The rationale is that] saying "on the condition that" is tantamount to setting aside for himself [the portion of the field] where the tithes [grow].

Although there are explicit Talmudic sources for both rulings, their logic appears contradictory. Among the resolutions offered is that here, the Rambam is speaking about the ownership of an animal, while in Hilchot Ma'aser, he is speaking about landed property and the principles of ownership are different in these two instances.

45.

The new concept taught by this halachah is that one can be exempt from part, but not all, of the presents.

46.

Because at that time, he was not obligated, as stated in Halachah 10.

47.

Hence, the convert may retain possession of the presents. As mentioned in the notes to Chapter 8, Halachah 9, when a similar situation arises concerning challah, the Rambam rules that the convert is liable to separate the dough. Nevertheless, a distinction between the two can be made because of the severity of that prohibition.

48.

In which instance, it is forbidden to partake of the produce until the terumah and the tithes are separated.

49.

In contrast to the produce where the terumah and tithes must be separated from the produce as a whole.

50.

I.e., he has no legal obligation to make financial restitution. In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro questions whether the person has a moral and spiritual obligation to make restitution and in his Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 61:15), he rules that he does.

51.

There is no one priest who can claim that the presents are his and they must be returned to him, for until they are given, the owner has the right to give them to any priest he desires.

52.

I.e., the maw.

53.

For they belong to him.

54.

Since it was obvious that the maw was among the organs he purchased, the purchaser should have realized that it was not included in the price. Instead, he was paying him for the remainder of the meat (Kessef Mishneh).

55.

Since the maw did not belong to the butcher - for it must be given to the priest - he had no right to sell it (ibid.). See also the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Chulin 10:4) which states that it is forbidden to buy the presents, because by doing so, one would be aiding theft.

56.

I.e., some of the organs that have to be given the priest.

57.

For we do not suspect that a person sinned. Instead, the recipient assumes that the sender purchased the presents from a priest; alternatively, there were no priests in the area and he followed the advice given in the following clause.

58.

And thus there is no one to give the presents to.

59.

For if he sets them aside, they will spoil. There is no difficulty in doing so, for the presents are not consecrated at all.

60.

See the notes of Rav Kapach to the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Chulin 10:4). There he writes that the original version of the Rambam's Commentary did not contain this law, but the later version did.

61.

For even a portion of the organs of an ox are of a significant size.

62.

The Turei Zahav 61:1 states that this is derived from the fact that the prooftext speaks of "the foreleg," i.e., the important one. An animal's foreleg is comprised of three bones. According to the Rambam, the lower two are given to the priest. See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Chulin 10:4).

63.

Chulin 134b states that one should take the jaw until the place where the animal is slaughtered. See the accompanying diagrams.

64.

This fat is forbidden to be eaten (Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 7:6).

65.

Chulin 134b explains that this is an act of generosity on the part of the priests. Since the presents are their personal property without any sanctity at all, they can do with them as they see fit. From the wording of the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 61:4), however, it appears that this custom is not universally accepted.

66.

In Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 19:1 describes a challalah as a woman born from relations forbidden to the priesthood or a woman who is forbidden to the priesthood who engaged in relations with a priest.

67.

The term challal refers to the offspring of relations forbidden to a priest.

68.

Hence, just as the presents may not be given to a challal, they may not be given to a challalah.

The concept that challalim are not priests applies in many contexts. See Hilchot Nesiat Kapayim 15:5, Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 19:5, Hilchot Terumah 6:7, et al.

69.

The Siftei Cohen 61:5 states that a priest should not give or sell them to gentiles or feed them to dogs unless they are no longer fit for human consumption.

70.

The Rambam's source (Chulin 133a) mentions that the recipient of these presents must be a Torah scholar. The Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 61:14) also mention that point. Apparently, the Rambam thinks that it is not an absolute necessity.

71.

Once they are given to him, however, there are no restrictions on what he may do with them.

72.

Turei Zahav 61:12 states that this is derived from the word "and you shall give" in the prooftext. Implied is that the presents should be given. They should not be taken by the priests on their own initiative.

73.

See parallels in Hilchot Terumah 12:18.

74.

If, however, a priest prefers to eat them in another manner, he may. It is not an obligation to partake of them in the manner described (Tosafot, Chulin 132b).

75.

This verse does not speak about the presents of meat explicitly, but rather the portions of the sacrifices given to the priests. Nevertheless, the concepts can be derived one from the other. See Rashi, Chulin, loc. cit..

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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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