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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Shemita - Chapter 8

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Shemita - Chapter 8

1

Just as it is forbidden to work the land in the Sabbatical year,1 so too, it is forbidden to reinforce the hands of the Jews who do till it2 or to sell them farming tools, for it is forbidden to strengthen the hands of transgressors.3

א

כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁאָסוּר לַעֲבֹד הָאָרֶץ בַּשְּׁבִיעִית כָּךְ אָסוּר לְחַזֵּק יְדֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁעוֹבְדִין אוֹתָהּ. אוֹ לִמְכֹּר לָהֶן כְּלֵי עֲבוֹדָה. לְפִי שֶׁאָסוּר לְחַזֵּק יְדֵי עוֹבְרֵי עֲבֵרָה:

2

These are the utensils which a craftsman is not permitted to sell in the Sabbatical year to someone who is suspect [to violate the laws of] the Sabbatical year:4 a plow and all of its accessories, a yoke [for a team of oxen], a winnowing fork, and a mattock.5 This is the general principle: Any [utensil] that is exclusively used for a type of work that is forbidden in the Sabbatical year is forbidden to be sold to a person suspect [to violate the laws of] the Sabbatical year. [If it is used for] a type of work that may be forbidden or which might be permitted, it is permitted to be sold to a person suspect [to violate the laws of] the Sabbatical year.6

ב

וְאֵלּוּ כֵּלִים שֶׁאֵין הָאֻמָּן רַשַּׁאי לְמָכְרָן בַּשְּׁבִיעִית לְמִי שֶׁחָשׁוּד עַל הַשְּׁבִיעִית. מַחְרֵשָׁה וְכָל כֵּלֶיהָ הָעל וְהַמַּזְּרֶה וְהַדֶּקֶר. זֶה הַכְּלָל כָּל שֶׁמְּלַאכְתּוֹ מְיֻחֶדֶת לִמְלָאכָה שֶׁאֲסוּרָה בַּשְּׁבִיעִית אָסוּר לְמָכְרוֹ לְחָשׁוּד. וְלִמְלָאכָה שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁתִּהְיֶה אֲסוּרָה וְתִהְיֶה מֻתֶּרֶת מֻתָּר לְמָכְרוֹ לְחָשׁוּד:

3

What is implied? He may sell him a sickle and a wagon and all of its accessories. For if he uses it to harvest a small amount of produce and he brings a small amount of produce on the wagon, it is permitted.7 If, however, he harvests in the ordinary manner of reapers or brings all the produce of his field, it is forbidden.8

ג

כֵּיצַד. מוֹכֵר הוּא לוֹ הַמַּגָּל וְהָעֲגָלָה וְכָל כֵּלֶיהָ. שֶׁאִם יִקְצֹר בּוֹ מְעַט וְיָבִיא עַל הָעֲגָלָה מְעַט הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר. וְאִם יִקְצֹר כְּדֶרֶךְ הַקּוֹצְרִין אוֹ יָבִיא כָּל פֵּרוֹת שָׂדֵהוּ אָסוּר:

4

It is permissible to sell [a utensil] - even one which is exclusively used for tasks forbidden in the Sabbatical year - to someone who is not suspect [to violate the laws of] the Sabbatical year9 without any stipulations, because it is possible that he purchased the article in the Sabbatical year to perform work [with it] after the Sabbatical year.

ד

וּמֻתָּר לִמְכֹּר סְתָם לְמִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ חָשׁוּד אֲפִלּוּ דָּבָר שֶׁמְּלַאכְתּוֹ מְיֻחֶדֶת לִמְלָאכָה הָאֲסוּרָה בַּשְּׁבִיעִית. שֶׁהֲרֵי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁקָּנָה בַּשְּׁבִיעִית לַעֲשׂוֹת לוֹ מְלָאכָה לְאַחַר שְׁבִיעִית:

5

A potter may sell a person five jugs for oil and fifteen jugs for wine.10 It is permitted to sell a larger amount to a gentile.11 One need not suspect that perhaps he will sell them to a Jew. One may sell many jugs to a Jew in the Diaspora. One need not suspect that perhaps he will bring them to Eretz [Yisrael].12

ה

הַיּוֹצֵר מוֹכֵר חָמֵשׁ כַּדֵי שֶׁמֶן וַחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר כַּדֵּי יַיִן. וּמֻתָּר לִמְכֹּר לְעַכּוּ''ם יֶתֶר מִזֶּה וְאֵינוֹ חוֹשֵׁשׁ שֶׁמָּא יִמְכֹּר לְיִשְׂרָאֵל. וּמוֹכֵר כַּדִּים רַבִּים לְיִשְׂרָאֵל בְּחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ וְאֵינוֹ חוֹשֵׁשׁ שֶׁמָּא יְבִיאֵם לָאָרֶץ:

6

One may sell a cow that plows to a person suspect [to violate the laws of the Sabbatical year] in the Sabbatical year, because it is possible to slaughter it. One may sell such a person a field, for it is possible that he will leave it fallow.13 He may not, however, sell him an orchard unless he stipulates that [the purchaser] does not have a share in the trees' [produce].14 He may lend him [a measure of] a se'ah even though he knows that he has a granary,15 because he might use it to measure in his house. And he may exchange money for him even though he knows that he has workers [employed in violation of the laws of the Sabbatical year]. In all these instances, [if the purchaser states] explicitly [that he is intending to use the article in violation of the laws of the Sabbatical year, it] is forbidden.16

ו

וּמוֹכֵר לְחָשׁוּד פָּרָה חוֹרֶשֶׁת בַּשְּׁבִיעִית שֶׁהֲרֵי אֶפְשָׁר לְשָׁחֳטָהּ. וּמוֹכֵר לוֹ שָׂדֵהוּ שֶׁהֲרֵי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיּוֹבִירָהּ. אֲבָל לֹא יִמְכֹּר לוֹ שְׂדֵה הָאִילָן אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן פָּסַק עִמּוֹ עַל מְנָת שֶׁאֵין לוֹ בָּאִילָן. וּמַשְׁאִילוֹ סְאָה לִמְדֹּד בָּהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ גֹּרֶן שֶׁהֲרֵי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיִּמְדֹּד בָּהּ בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ. וּפוֹרֵט לוֹ מָעוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ פּוֹעֲלִים. וְכֻלָּן בְּפֵרוּשׁ אֲסוּרִים:

7

Similarly, a woman may lend a sifter, a sieve, a mill, and an oven to a friend who is suspect [to violate the prohibitions of the Sabbatical year],17 but she may not sift or grind with her.18

ז

וְכֵן מַשְׁאֶלֶת אִשָּׁה לַחֲבֶרְתָּהּ הַחֲשׁוּדָה עַל הַשְּׁבִיעִית נָפָה וּכְבָרָה רֵחַיִם וְתַנּוּר. אֲבָל לֹא תָּבֹר וְלֹא תִּטְחֹן עִמָּהּ:

8

We may encourage the gentiles [working] in the Sabbatical year, but only verbally. For example, if one sees one plowing or sowing, he should tell him: "Be strong," "Be successful," or the like, because they are not commanded to let the land rest. One may not physically assist them.19 It is permitted to remove honey from a beehive with them and one may enter a sharecropping agreement with them for land whose ground was broken [in the Sabbatical year],20 for they are not obligated to observe [these restrictions]. [Hence,] they are not penalized [for their violation].21

ח

מַחֲזִיקִין יְדֵי עַכּוּ''ם בַּשְּׁבִיעִית בִּדְבָרִים בִּלְבַד. כְּגוֹן שֶׁרָאָהוּ חוֹרֵשׁ אוֹ זוֹרֵעַ אוֹמֵר לוֹ תִּתְחַזֵּק אוֹ תַּצְלִיחַ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵינָם מְצֻוִּין עַל שְׁבִיתַת הָאָרֶץ. אֲבָל לֹא יְסַעֲדֶּנוּ בַּיָּד. וּמֻתָּר לִרְדּוֹת עִמָּהֶן הַכַּוֶּרֶת וְחוֹכְרִין מֵהֶן נִירִין לְפִי שֶׁאֵינָן בְּנֵי חִיּוּב כְּדֵי לִקְנֹס אוֹתָן:

9

In Syria,22 it is permitted to perform labor with produce that has been harvested,23 but not with produce that is still connected to the earth. What is implied? One may thresh produce, winnow it, squeeze grapes, and make sheaves out of grain,24but one may not harvest grain, grapes, olives, or perform any similar activities.

ט

מֻתָּר לַעֲשׂוֹת בְּסוּרְיָא בְּתָלוּשׁ אֲבָל לֹא בַּמְחֻבָּר. כֵּיצַד. דָּשִׁין וְזוֹרִין וְדוֹרְכִין וּמְעַמְּרִין. אֲבָל לֹא קוֹצְרִין וְלֹא בּוֹצְרִין וְלֹא מוֹסְקִין. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בְּאֵלּוּ:

10

Just as it is forbidden to engage in business transactions with the produce of the Sabbatical year25 or to store them [until after the obligation of biyur has been incurred],26 so too, it is forbidden to purchase them from a common person. [The rationale is that] we do not give even the slightest amount of money exchanged for the produce of the Sabbatical year27 to a common person, lest he not partake of [food purchased with it] in a manner that befits the holiness of the Sabbatical year.28

י

כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאָסוּר לַעֲשׂוֹת סְחוֹרָה בְּפֵרוֹת שְׁבִיעִית אוֹ לְשָׁמְרָן כָּךְ אָסוּר לִקַּח מֵעַם הָאָרֶץ. לְפִי שֶׁאֵין מוֹסְרִין דְּמֵי שְׁבִיעִית לְעַם הָאָרֶץ. וַאֲפִלּוּ כָּל שֶׁהוּא. שֶׁמָּא לֹא יֹאכַל אוֹתָן בִּקְדֻשַּׁת שְׁבִיעִית:

11

When a person purchases a lulav from a common person in the Sabbatical year,29 he should give him an esrog30 as a present. If he does not give it to him,31 he should have the price of the esrog included in the price of the lulav.32

יא

הַלּוֹקֵחַ לוּלָב מֵעַם הָאָרֶץ בַּשְּׁבִיעִית נוֹתֵן לוֹ אֶתְרוֹג מַתָּנָה. וְאִם לֹא נָתַן לוֹ מַבְלִיעַ לוֹ דְּמֵי אֶתְרוֹג בִּדְמֵי לוּלָב:

12

When does the above33 apply? When a person sells types of fruit that are usually protected, e.g., figs, pomegranates, or the like. If, however, he sells fruit which we could assume is ownerless, e.g., rue, amaranth, moss rose, coriander34 and the like, it is permitted to purchase from them a small amount, merely the worth of three meals. [This leniency was granted to allow] the seller to earn his livelihood.35

יב

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בִּזְמַן שֶׁהָיָה מוֹכֵר פֵּרוֹת שֶׁכְּמוֹתָן בְּשָׁמוּר כְּגוֹן תְּאֵנִים וְרִמּוֹנִים וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן. אֲבָל הָיָה מוֹכֵר פֵּרוֹת שֶׁחֶזְקָתָן מִן הַהֶפְקֵר כְּגוֹן הַפֵּיגָם וְהַיַּרְבּוּזִין וְהַשּׁוֹטִים וְהַחֲלַגְלוֹגוֹת וְהַכֻּסְבַּר שֶׁל הָרִים וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לִקַּח מִמֶּנּוּ מְעַט כִּדְמֵי שָׁלֹשׁ סְעֻדּוֹת בִּלְבַד מִשּׁוּם כְּדֵי חַיָּיו שֶׁל מוֹכֵר:

13

Similarly, any species from which the tithes are not obligated to be separated, e.g., exceedingly powerful garlic, the onions of Rikpah,36 a pearled Cilcilian bean, Egyptian lentils,37 and the like, and also the seeds of plants when [the seeds] are not eaten, e.g., those of turnips, radishes, and the like, may be purchased from any person in the Sabbatical year.38

יג

וְכָל דָּבָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ חַיָּב בְּמַעַשְׂרוֹת כְּגוֹן שׁוּם בַּעַל בְּכִי וּבָצָל שֶׁל רִכְפָּה וּגְרִיסִין הַקִּלְקִיּוֹת וַעֲדָשִׁים הַמִּצְרִיּוֹת וְכֵן זֵרְעוֹנֵי גִּנָּה שֶׁאֵינָן נֶאֱכָלוֹת כְּגוֹן זֶרַע לֶפֶת וּצְנוֹן וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נִלְקָחִין מִכָּל אָדָם בַּשְּׁבִיעִית:

14

When does the above apply? To an ordinary common person.39 When, however, one is suspect to carry out transactions with the produce of the Sabbatical year or to guard his produce and sell it, we may not purchase anything from him that has any connection to the Sabbatical year. [Similarly,] we may not purchase flax - even combed out flax40 - from him. One may, however, purchase [flax] that has been spun and twisted [into threads].41

יד

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּעַם הָאָרֶץ סְתָם. אֲבָל מִי שֶׁהוּא חָשׁוּד לַעֲשׂוֹת סְחוֹרָה בְּפֵרוֹת שְׁבִיעִית אוֹ לִשְׁמֹר פֵּרוֹתָיו וְלִמְכֹּר מֵהֶן אֵין לוֹקְחִין מִמֶּנּוּ דָּבָר שֶׁיֵּשׁ עָלָיו זִקַּת שְׁבִיעִית כְּלָל. וְאֵין לוֹקְחִין מִמֶּנּוּ פִּשְׁתָּן אֲפִלּוּ סָרוּק. אֲבָל לוֹקְחִין מִמֶּנּוּ טָווּי וְשָׁזוּר:

15

A person who is suspect [to sell produce of] the Sabbatical year is not necessarily considered as suspect to [sell produce of the second] tithe. [Similarly,] one who is suspect [to sell produce of the second] tithe is not necessarily considered as suspect to [to sell produce of]s of] the Sabbatical year even though they are both Scriptural commandments.42[The rationale is that each possesses a stringency which the other lacks.] The [second] tithe must be brought to [Jerusalem]43 and this does not apply with regard to [the produce of] the Sabbatical year. [Conversely, the produce of] the Sabbatical year cannot be redeemed44 and this does not apply with regard to [the produce of] the second tithe.

טו

הֶחָשׁוּד עַל הַשְּׁבִיעִית אֵינוֹ חָשׁוּד עַל הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת. וְהֶחָשׁוּד עַל הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת אֵינוֹ חָשׁוּד עַל הַשְּׁבִיעִית. שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁזֶּה וְזֶה מִן הַתּוֹרָה. מַעֲשֵׂר טָעוּן הֲבָאַת מָקוֹם מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בַּשְּׁבִיעִית. וּשְׁבִיעִית אֵין לָהּ פִּדְיוֹן מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בְּמַעֲשֵׂר:

16

A person who is suspect [of selling impure food as if it were] ritually pure is not suspect [to sell produce of the second] tithe or [that of] the Sabbatical year. For the impure food that was sold as being ritually pure imparts impurity to others only according to Rabbinic Law45 and one who is suspect [of causing the transgression] of Rabbinic Law is not suspect [of causing the violation] of Scriptural Law.46

טז

הֶחָשׁוּד עַל הַטָּהֳרוֹת אֵינוֹ חָשׁוּד לֹא עַל הַמַּעֲשֵׂר וְלֹא עַל הַשְּׁבִיעִית. שֶׁהָאֹכֶל הַטָּמֵא הַזֶּה שֶׁמְּכָרוֹ בְּחֶזְקַת טָהוֹר אֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא אֲחֵרִים אֶלָּא מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים. וְהֶחָשׁוּד לְדִבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים אֵינוֹ חָשׁוּד לְדִבְרֵי תּוֹרָה:

17

Whenever a person is suspect [of selling entities in violation of a prohibition], even though his word is not accepted with regard to his own property, his word is accepted with regard to [the property of] others. We operate under the assumption that a person will not violate a prohibition for the sake of others. Therefore even though a person is suspect with regard to a given [prohibition], he may judge and offer testimony regarding this matter.47

יז

כָּל הֶחָשׁוּד עַל דָּבָר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן עַל שֶׁל עַצְמוֹ נֶאֱמָן הוּא עַל שֶׁל אֲחֵרִים חֲזָקָה אֵין אָדָם חוֹטֵא לַאֲחֵרִים. לְפִיכָךְ הֶחָשׁוּד עַל הַדָּבָר דָּנוֹ וּמְעִידוֹ:

18

Priests are considered suspect with regard to [the prohibitions of] the Sabbatical year.48 [The reason is that] they rationalize their conduct saying: Since the terumot are permitted to us even though they are forbidden to non-priests [and this violation is punishable] by death,49 certainly, the produce of the Sabbatical year is permitted to us.

Therefore when a se'ah of terumah falls into 100 se'ah of the produce of the Sabbatical year, a se'ah should be separated.50 If it fell into less than 100 se'ah, they entire mixture should be left to rot instead of being sold to priests as other produce which is miduma,51 because they are suspect to violate the prohibitions of the Sabbatical year.

יח

הַכֹּהֲנִים חֲשׁוּדִין עַל הַשְּׁבִיעִית לְפִי שֶׁהֵם אוֹמְרִים הוֹאִיל וְהַתְּרוּמוֹת מֻתָּרוֹת לָנוּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן אֲסוּרִין עַל הַזָּרִים בְּמִיתָה קַל וָחֹמֶר פֵּרוֹת שְׁבִיעִית. לְפִיכָךְ סְאָה תְּרוּמָה שֶׁנָּפְלָה לְמֵאָה סְאָה שֶׁל פֵּרוֹת שְׁבִיעִית תַּעֲלֶה. נָפְלָה לְפָחוֹת מִמֵּאָה יֵרָקְבוּ הַכּל וְלֹא יִמָּכְרוּ לַכֹּהֲנִים כְּכָל מְדֻמָּע לְפִי שֶׁהֵם חֲשׁוּדִין עַל הַשְּׁבִיעִית:

19

Painters and cattle-raisers52 may purchase bran53 from any source. They need not suspect it is sefichin of the Sabbatical year.54

יט

הַצַּבְעָנִין וְהַפַּטָּמִין לוֹקְחִין מֻרְסָן מִכָּל מָקוֹם. וְאֵינָן חוֹשְׁשִׁין שֶׁמָּא מִסְּפִיחֵי שְׁבִיעִית הוּא:

20

In the Sabbatical year, the collectors of the kupah55 were not careful [to refrain from entering] the courtyards of those who partake [of the sefichin] of the Sabbatical year. If they gave a loaf of bread, it is permitted [for the poor to partake of it].56 We do not suspect that perhaps it is from the sefichin of the Sabbatical year.57For the Jews were not suspect to give [the produce of the Sabbatical year to charity], only money received for the produce of the Sabbatical year or eggs which were purchased with money received for the produce of the Sabbatical year.58

It is permitted to borrow the produce59 of the Sabbatical year from the poor.60 They should be repaid with produce in the eighth year.61

כ

גַּבָּאֵי קֻפָּה בַּשְּׁבִיעִית לֹא יִהְיוּ מְדַקְדְּקִין בַּחֲצֵרוֹת שֶׁל אוֹכְלִין שְׁבִיעִית. וְאִם נָתְנוּ לָהֶן פַּת מֻתֶּרֶת וְאֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין לָהּ שֶׁמָּא מִסְּפִיחֵי שְׁבִיעִית הוּא. שֶׁלֹּא נֶחְשְׁדוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לִהְיוֹת נוֹתְנִין אֶלָּא אוֹ מְעוֹת שְׁבִיעִית אוֹ בֵּיצִים הַנִּלְקָחוֹת בִּדְמֵי שְׁבִיעִית. וּמֻתָּר לִלְווֹת מִן הָעֲנִיִּים פֵּרוֹת שְׁבִיעִית וּמַחְזִירִין לָהֶן פֵּרוֹת בְּשָׁנָה שְׁמִינִית:

Test Yourself on This Chapter

Footnotes
1.

As stated in Chapter 1.

2.

They should not be given verbal encouragement. Needless to say, they should not be given assistance. Compare to Halachah 8.

3.

In this context, the Rambam writes in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 5:6):

God declared (Leviticus 19:14): "Do not place a stumbling block before the blind." The intent is that when someone has been blinded by desire and his bad character traits should not be assisted in his blindness to add to his warped conduct.

4.

One may, however, sell these utensils to someone who is not suspect of violating the laws of the Sabbatical year, as stated in Halachah 4.

5.

A long pronged tool.

6.

As long as there is a possibility that the person will use it for a permitted purpose, we assume that this is his intent (Avodah Zarah 15b).

7.

See Chapter 4, Halachot 1, 24.

8.

See Chapter 4, Halachot 1, 24.

9.

The person does not have to establish a reputation as an observer of the Sabbatical year. As long as he is not known to violate its laws, one may sell to him.

10.

For these are the amounts each person is permitted to store (Chapter 4, Halachah 24).

11.

Even in Eretz Yisrael (Sh'vi'it 5:7).

12.

To sell there. In both these instances, since it is possible that the Sabbatical laws will not be broken, we do not suspect that they will [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 5:7)].

13.

As an agricultural measure, without considering the holiness of the Sabbatical year.

14.

For otherwise, the person will certainly violate the laws of the Sabbatical year, by harvesting all the fruit of the orchard.

15.

Where he could measure the produce of the Sabbatical year. As mentioned in Chapter 6, Halachah 3, one should not measure the produce of the Sabbatical year. Even when selling it, one should sell it by estimation.

16.

For then his actions would obviously be considering as rendering assistance to the violation of the laws of the Sabbatical year.

17.

The Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 5:9) states that these leniencies are granted only "because of darchei shalom ('the paths of peace')," i.e., to establish unity and brotherhood among the Jewish people.

18.

For it is logical to assume that the other woman would be using the produce of the Sabbatical year and working with her would be considered as encouragement.

19.

Even in a matter that does not involve the violation of the laws of the Sabbatical year.

20.

And thus the Jew will receive some benefit from the work performed by the gentile in the Sabbatical year.

21.

If, by contrast, a Jew breaks the ground of his field in the Sabbatical year, it is forbidden to hire his field from him, as stated in Chapter 1, Halachah 13.

22.

Which is not part of Eretz Yisrael and hence, is not covered by the Scriptural prohibitions against work in the Sabbatical year, but where working the land in that year was forbidden by the Rabbis, as stated in Chapter 4, Halachah 27.

23.

Even though the produce was grown in the Sabbatical year.

24.

For all of these activities are permitted even in Eretz Yisrael according to Scriptural Law, it is only Rabbinic Law that prohibits them.

25.

Chapter 6, Halachah 1.

26.

The bracketed addition is based on the gloss of the Radbaz. Alternatively, to guard the produce in his field so that it will not be taken during the Sabbatical year (Kin'at Eliyahu).

27.

For when one pays for the produce, the holiness of the produce is transferred to the money, as explained in Chapter 6, Halachot 6-7.

28.

Thus by purchasing the produce and giving him money, one would be - at least indirectly - causing him to violate the prohibitions of the Sabbatical year. Although in many of the instances mentioned in the previous halachot, we followed the principle that as long as there was a possibility that he would not transgress, we do not restrict transactions with people who might violate the laws of the Sabbatical year, in this instances, it is very likely that a transgression will occur. Hence, we are more stringent.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 9:1), the Rambam mentions a different reason for the prohibition against purchasing fruit from a common person, because he is likely to have harvested them and stored them in violation of the laws of the Sabbatical year.

29.

I.e., a lulav to use for the fulfillment of the mitzvah on Sukkot. This sale is permissible, because the laws of the Sabbatical year do not apply to a lulav, for it is part of the tree and not a fruit [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sukkah 3:9)].

30.

Which is a fruit and hence, may not be sold.

31.

But instead, desires payment.

32.

And thus, he will be paying for the lulav and not for the esrog.

33.

Prohibition against purchasing even the slightest amount of produce from a common person.

34.

Both of these are fragrant herbs. Our translation is taken from Rav Kappach's notes to the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sh'vi'it 9:1).

35.

These fruits and herbs grew naturally and are not cultivated. Hence, we do not assume that the person stored them away and therefore there is room for limited leniency (Radbaz).

36.

Which are also very pungent tasting. Our definition of terms is taken from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ma'aserot 5:9).

37.

These types of beans and lentils are of abnormal shape and grow wild (ibid.).

38.

Since these species are not usually eaten as food, they are not bound by the Scriptural prohibitions of terumah and the tithes (Hilchot Terumah 2:3). Hence there is also room for leniency with regard to the Sabbatical year.

39.

Whose reputation vis-à-vis the observance of the Sabbatical year has not been established.

40.

The reason that it is forbidden to purchase flax from such a person is that flax seeds are sometimes considered as food. Even though the flax has been combed to some degree, there is still the possibility that it contains some seeds that are useful as food.

41.

At this stage of processing, the flax will never be used as food.

42.

As the Rambam states in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Bechorot 4:10), generally when two prohibitions are of the same degree of severity, if one is considered suspect to violate one, he is considered as suspect to violate the other. Nevertheless, this instance is an exception for the reasons stated by the Rambam.

43.

Literally, the Rambam's words mean "the place," recalling Deuteronomy 12:11: "the place which God... will choose to cause His name to dwell." See Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 2:1. This stringency does not apply with regard to the produce of the Sabbatical year which can be eaten in any place.

44.

I.e., even after its redemption, it remains holy (Chapter 6, Halachah 6). In contrast, once the produce of the second tithe is redeemed, it is considered as ordinary produce (Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 4:1).

45.

As stated in Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTumah 8:10.

46.

Since the Scriptural prohibitions are more severe, we assume that the person will respect them.

47.

As stated in the notes to Hilchot Ma'aser 12:17, the Ra'avad does not accept this principle and maintains that if someone is considered as suspect regarding a particular issue, he is not accepted as a judge or witness concerning such matters. The Kessef Mishneh supports the Rambam's view.

48.

I.e., we fear that they will not remove the produce of the Sabbatical year from their possession at the time of biyur, but instead will store it and sell it afterwards.

49.

At the hand of heaven (Hilchot Terumah 6:5-6.

50.

And given to the priests. They must partake of it as if it were terumah, as stated in ibid. 13:1. As explained there, this act is necessary in order to enable non-priests to partake of the entire mixture. And since we permit the entire mixture to non-priests, we do not suspect that the priests will keep the produce beyond the biyur.

51.

As stated in ibid. 13:2, when terumah falls into less than 100 se'ah of ordinary produce, the presence of the terumah is not nullified. Instead, the entire mixture is considered as miduma and is sold to the priests as if it were terumah (which is sold at significantly lower price than ordinary produce). In this instance, we do not follow that ruling, because of the suspicion stated by the Rambam.

52.

People who fatten animals.

53.

Bran is used to provide body for paint and also to fatten cattle.

54.

The rationale is that the prohibition against benefiting from sefichin is only Rabbinic in origin. Hence, we do not employ a safeguard because of a doubtful situation.

55.

The city-wide charitable fund to which donations are made for the sustenance of the poor (see Hilchot Matanot Aniyim 9:1).

56.

The Radbaz maintains that this is speaking of individuals whom we merely suspect that they violate the laws of the Sabbatical year. If we know with certainty that they violate those laws, we may not take any produce from them.

57.

We do not suspect that a person will do a mitzvah - giving charity - in a manner that will cause a transgression - causing another Jew to violate the laws governing produce of the Sabbatical year [Jerusalem Talmud (Sh'vi'it 8:2)].

58.

In these instances as well, we do not suspect that the person intentionally gave the money received for the produce for the Sabbatical year (or eggs received for that produce). Instead, we suspect that because he was a common person, he was not aware of the relevant laws (Radbaz).

59.

The borrower must have such produce in his possession. Otherwise, it is forbidden to borrow the produce as a safeguard to the prohibition against taking interest (ibid.).

60.

This leniency is granted only as consideration for the needs of the poor (ibid.). He may not purchase it from him, for in that instance, the money would become money received for produce of the Sabbatical year. We are afraid that the common person will not purchase food with that money and eat it before the obligation of biyur takes effect.

61.

They should not be repaid with the produce of the Sabbatical year, because the produce of the Sabbatical year should not be given to a common person. We do not say the produce with which he repays him is produce received for produce of the Sabbatical year, because the exchange was not made in that year.

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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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