It is a positive commandment to separate one out of every ten kosher animals, which are born to a person each year. This mitzvah applies only to cattle and sheep, as Leviticus 27:32 states: "All the tithes of your cattle and sheep...."


מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לְהַפְרִישׁ אֶחָד מֵעֲשָׂרָה מִכָּל בְּהֵמוֹת טְהוֹרוֹת שֶׁיִּוָּלְדוּ לָאָדָם בְּכָל שָׁנָה וְשָׁנָה. וְאֵין מִצְוָה זוֹ נוֹהֶגֶת אֶלָּא בְּבָקָר וְצֹאן בִּלְבַד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כז לב) "וְכָל מַעְשַׂר בָּקָר וָצֹאן" וְגוֹ':


The tithing of animals applies with regard to ordinary animals, but not to consecrated ones. It applies in Eretz Yisrael and in the Diaspora, in the era that the Temple was standing and in the era when the Temple is not standing. Nevertheless, our Sages forbade tithing animals in the present era and ordained that they should be tithed only when the Temple is standing. This is a decree, lest the consecrated animal be eaten when it is unblemished and thus one will be violating a transgression punishable by karet: slaughtering consecrated animals outside the Temple Courtyard. If one transgressed and tithed in the present era, the animal is designated as a tithe offering and should be eaten after it contracts a disqualifying blemish.


מַעֲשַׂר בְּהֵמָה נוֹהֵג בְּחֻלִּין אֲבָל לֹא בְּמֻקְדָּשִׁין. וְנוֹהֵג בָּאָרֶץ וּבְחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת וְשֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת. אֲבָל חֲכָמִים אָסְרוּ לְעַשֵּׂר בְּהֵמָה בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה וְתִקְּנוּ שֶׁאֵין מְעַשְּׂרִין אֶלָּא בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת גְּזֵרָה שֶׁמָּא יֹאכְלֵהוּ תָּמִים וְנִמְצָא בָּא לִידֵי אִסּוּר כָּרֵת שֶׁהוּא שְׁחִיטַת קָדָשִׁים בַּחוּץ. וְאִם עָבַר וְעָשָׂה בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה הֲרֵי זֶה מַעֲשֵׂר וְיֵאָכֵל בְּמוּמוֹ:


All are obligated in the tithing of their animals: priests, Levites, and Israelites.


הַכּל חַיָּבִין בְּמַעֲשַׂר בְּהֵמָה. כֹּהֲנִים לְוִיִּים וְיִשְׂרְאֵלִים:


The laws applying to a tithe offering of an animal are that it should be slaughtered in the Temple Courtyard and its blood cast in one heave towards the Altar's base. Its organs and fats are offered on the altar's pyre and the remainder of the meat is eaten by the owner in Jerusalem like other sacrifices of a lesser degree of sanctity. The priests do not receive any portion of it. Instead, it is given to its owner in its entirety, like the Paschal sacrifice.

If it was blemished, whether it became blemished after it was designated or it was blemished when it was set aside, it may be eaten in any place.


וְדִין מַעֲשַׂר בְּהֵמָה שֶׁיִּהְיֶה נִשְׁחָט בָּעֲזָרָה וְזוֹרְקִין אֶת דָּמוֹ זְרִיקָה אַחַת כְּנֶגֶד הַיְסוֹד וּמַקְטִירִין אֵימוּרָיו. וּשְׁאָר הַבָּשָׂר נֶאֱכָל לַבְּעָלִים בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם כִּשְׁאָר קָדָשִׁים קַלִּים וְאֵין לַכֹּהֲנִים בּוֹ כְּלוּם אֶלָּא כֻּלּוֹ לַבְּעָלִים כַּפֶּסַח. וְאִם הָיָה בַּעַל מוּם בֵּין שֶׁנָּפַל בּוֹ מוּם בֵּין שֶׁהִפְרִישׁוֹ בַּתְּחִלָּה בְּמוּמוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה נֶאֱכָל בְּכָל מָקוֹם:


It is forbidden to sell an animal designated as a tithe offering when it is unblemished, for Leviticus 27:33 states with regard to it: "It shall not be redeemed." According to the Oral Tradition, the phrase "It shall not be redeemed" also implies a prohibition against selling it; it is neither redeemed, nor sold at all.

It appears to me that when one sells an animal designated as a tithe offering, the sale is of no consequence and the animal is not acquired by the purchaser. For this reason, the seller is not liable for lashes like one who sells property designated as a dedication offering to the priests, in which instance, the purchaser does not acquire it, or like one who sells a female captive, as will be explained in its place.


מַעֲשַׂר בְּהֵמָה אָסוּר לְמָכְרוֹ כְּשֶׁהוּא תָּמִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בּוֹ (ויקרא כז לג) "לֹא יִגָּאֵל". מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁזֶּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר לֹא יִגָּאֵל אַף אִסּוּר מְכִירָה בְּמַשְׁמָע שֶׁאֵין נִגְאָל וְאֵינוֹ נִמְכָּר כְּלָל. וְיֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁהַמּוֹכֵר מַעֲשֵׂר לֹא עָשָׂה כְּלוּם וְלֹא קָנָה לוֹקֵחַ. וּלְפִיכָךְ אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה כְּמוֹכֵר חֶרְמֵי כֹּהֲנִים שֶׁלֹּא קָנָה לוֹקֵחַ וּכְמוֹכֵר יְפַת תֹּאַר כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בִּמְקוֹמוֹ:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.


According to Rabbinic Law, it is forbidden to sell an animal designated as a tithe offering when it is blemished and even when it is slaughtered. This is a decree, lest one sell such an animal when it is alive. For this reason, we may not weigh one portion against another, as is done when weighing portions of a firstborn animal, because it appears as if he is selling it.


מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים שֶׁאָסוּר לְמָכְרוֹ בַּעַל מוּם וַאֲפִלּוּ שָׁחוּט גְּזֵרָה שֶׁמָּא יִמְכְּרֶנּוּ חַי. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין שׁוֹקְלִין מָנָה כְּנֶגֶד מָנָה בְּמַעֲשֵׂר כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁשּׁוֹקְלִין בִּבְכוֹר. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא נִרְאֶה כְּמוֹכֵר:


An animal designated as a tithe offering that belongs to orphans is permitted to be sold in an ordinary manner after being slaughtered when blemished. To prevent the orphans from suffering a loss, our Sages did not uphold their decree in this instance.


וּמַעֲשַׂר בְּהֵמָה שֶׁל יְתוֹמִים שֶׁנִּשְׁחַט בְּמוּמוֹ מֻתָּר לְמָכְרוֹ כְּדַרְכּוֹ. מִפְּנֵי הֲשָׁבַת אֲבֵדָה לִיתוֹמִים לֹא גָּזְרוּ עָלָיו:


When an animal designated as a tithe offering is slaughtered when blemished, it is permitted to sell its fats, sinews, hide, and bones. Only the sale of its meat was prohibited. If one included the price for its meat together with the price for its hide, fats, and sinews and sold everything in a collective price, the sale is permitted. If the price of the bones was high and he included the price of the meat in the price of the bones, it is permitted.


מַעֲשַׂר בְּהֵמָה שֶׁנִּשְׁחַט בְּמוּמוֹ מֻתָּר לִמְכּוֹר חֶלְבּוֹ וְגִידָיו וְעוֹרוֹ וְעַצְמוֹתָיו. וְלֹא אָסְרוּ לִמְכֹּר אֶלָּא בְּשָׂרוֹ בִּלְבַד. וְאִם הִבְלִיעַ דְּמֵי הַבָּשָׂר בִּדְמֵי הָעוֹר וְהַחֵלֶב וְהַגִּידִין וּמָכַר הַכּל בְּהַבְלָעָה מֻתָּר. וְאִם הָיוּ דְּמֵי הָעֲצָמוֹת יְקָרִים וְהִבְלִיעַ דְּמֵי הַבָּשָׂר בִּדְמֵי הָעֲצָמוֹת מֻתָּר:


Anyone's word is accepted with regard to the blemishes of animals designated as tithe offerings if he says: "This blemish came about on its own accord; it was not brought about intentionally." Even the statements of those individuals whose word is not accepted with regard to the blemishes of a firstborn animal are accepted with regard to an animal designated as a tithe offering. Moreover, a person may inspect the blemishes of his animals designated as tithe offerings and permit their slaughter if he is an expert. The rationale for these leniencies is that if a person desired, he could have blemished every animal in his flock and then tithed them. Thus from the outset, the tithed animal would be blemished.


הַכּל נֶאֱמָנִים עַל מוּמֵי מַעֲשֵׂר לוֹמַר מוּם זֶה מֵאֵלָיו בָּא וְלֹא נַעֲשָׂה לְדַעַת. וַאֲפִלּוּ אֵלּוּ שֶׁאֵינָן נֶאֱמָנִים עַל הַבְּכוֹר נֶאֱמָנִים עַל הַמַּעֲשֵׂר. וְרוֹאֶה אָדָם מוּמֵי מַעֲשֵׂר שֶׁלּוֹ וּמַתִּירוֹ אִם הָיָה מֻמְחֶה. שֶׁאִם יִרְצֶה יַטִּיל מוּם בְּכָל עֶדְרוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ יְעַשֵּׂר וְנִמְצָא הַמַּעֲשֵׂר בַּעַל מוּם מִתְּחִלָּתוֹ:


When a person purchases lambs that were born this year or they were given to him as a present, he is not obligated to tithe them. The obligation applies only when the animals are born in his domain. Accordingly, if partners enter into a partnership with regard to animals: one brings 100 and the other brings 100 and they have them intermingle and own them jointly, these 200 are exempt from the requirement to tithe. The rationale is that each of the lambs is considered as having been sold. Similarly, if brothers inherit lambs in their first year of life from their father, they are exempt from the requirement to tithe.

The offspring born to the partners or the brothers after the partnership was established, by contrast, from their jointly owned animals are obligated to be tithed. Similarly, if a partnership was established with money or brothers purchased animals from the funds of the estate, the offspring born afterwards are obligated to be tithed, for they were born in their domain and they are considered as one person.

If the brothers and the partners divided their property after animals were born to them in their joint domain and then reestablished their partnership, the animals born previously are exempt from the requirement to tithe. The rationale is that when the assets of the partnership or the estate were divided, everything is considered as having been sold and animals that are sold are exempt. And when the partnership was reestablished, no new offspring was born to them afterwards. Even though they divided kids for kids and lambs for lambs, and even if they divided them by tens, they are all exempt from the tithes and considered as having been purchased.


הַלּוֹקֵחַ טְלָאִים שֶׁנּוֹלְדוּ בְּשָׁנָה זוֹ אוֹ שֶׁנִּתְּנוּ לוֹ בְּמַתָּנָה הֲרֵי הֵם פְּטוּרִים מִן הַמַּעֲשֵׂר עַד שֶׁיִּוָּלְדוּ בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ הַשֻּׁתָּפִין שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּתְּפוּ בִּבְהֵמוֹת וְהֵבִיא זֶה מֵאָה טְלָאִים וְזֶה מֵאָה טְלָאִים וְעֵרְבוּם וְנִשְׁתַּתְּפוּ בָּהֶן הֲרֵי הַמָּאתַיִם פְּטוּרִים מִן הַמַּעֲשֵׂר שֶׁכָּל טָלֶה מֵהֶן כְּמָכוּר. וְכֵן הָאַחִים שֶׁיָּרְשׁוּ טְלָאִים מֵאֲבִיהֶם הֲרֵי הֵן פְּטוּרִין מִן הַמַּעֲשֵׂר. אֲבָל הַנּוֹלָדִים לָהֶם בְּשֻׁתָּפוּת לְאַחַר מִכָּאן מֵאֵלּוּ הַבְּהֵמוֹת בֵּין לַשֻּׁתָּפִין בֵּין לָאַחִים חַיָּבִין בְּמַעֲשֵׂר. וְכֵן אִם הָיוּ שֻׁתָּפִין בְּמָעוֹת וּקְנוּ בְּהֵמוֹת מִמְּעוֹת הַשֻּׁתָּפוּת וְהָאַחִים שֶׁקָּנוּ בְּהֵמוֹת מִמְּעוֹת הַיְרֻשָּׁה הֲרֵי הַנּוֹלָדִים מֵהֶם לְאַחַר מִכָּאן חַיָּבִין בְּמַעֲשֵׂר שֶׁהֲרֵי בִּרְשׁוּתָן נוֹלְדוּ וַהֲרֵי הֵן כְּאִישׁ אֶחָד. חָלְקוּ הָאַחִים וְהַשֻּׁתָּפִין אַחַר שֶׁנּוֹלְדוּ לָהֶן הַבְּהֵמוֹת בִּרְשׁוּתָן וְחָזְרוּ וְנִשְׁתַּתְּפוּ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְּטוּרִין מִן הַמַּעֲשֵׂר. שֶׁבְּשָׁעָה שֶׁחָלְקוּ נַעֲשׂוּ הַכּל לְקוּחִין וְהַלָּקוּחַ פָּטוּר וּכְשֶׁחָזְרוּ וְנִשְׁתַּתְּפוּ הֲרֵי נִשְׁתַּתְּפוּ בַּבְּהֵמוֹת וַעֲדַיִן לֹא יָלְדוּ לָהֶן בִּרְשׁוּתָן אַחַר שִׁתּוּף זֶה הַשֵּׁנִי. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁחָלְקוּ גְּדָיִים כְּנֶגֶד גְּדָיִים וּטְלָאִים כְּנֶגֶד טְלָאִים וַעֲשָׂרָה כְּנֶגֶד עֲשָׂרָה הַכּל פְּטוּרִין מִן הַמַּעֲשֵׂר וַהֲרֵי הֵן כִּלְקוּחִין:


When brothers and partners divided the financial assets of the partnership, but did not divide the animals, the animals are obligated to be tithed, for they are not considered as having been purchased yet. If, however, the animals of the partnership were divided even though the financial assets were not, the offspring are exempt.


הָאַחִין וְהַשֻּׁתָּפִין שֶׁחָלְקוּ בִּכְסָפִים וְלֹא חָלְקוּ בִּבְהֵמָה חַיָּבִין בְּמַעֲשֵׂר שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא נַעֲשׂוּ הַבְּהֵמוֹת לְקוּחִין. אֲבָל אִם חָלְקוּ הַבְּהֵמוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא חָלְקוּ הַכְּסָפִים הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְּטוּרִין:


When a person purchases ten unborn fetuses in their mother's womb, they all enter the corral for tithing, for they were born in his domain.


הַלּוֹקֵחַ עֲשָׂרָה עֵבָּרִים בִּמְעֵי אִמָּן. כֻּלָּן נִכְנָסִין לַדִּיר לְהִתְעַשֵּׂר שֶׁהֲרֵי בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ נוֹלְדוּ:


When a priest received ten newborn animals because of the return of property stolen from a convert, they are exempt from the tithes. The rationale is that the priestly presents are comparable to ordinary presents. And we already explained that when one gives a present, it is exempt from the tithes.


כֹּהֵן שֶׁנָּפְלוּ לוֹ עֶשֶׂר בְּהֵמוֹת בְּגֵזֶל הַגֵּר פְּטוּרִים מִן הַמַּעֲשֵׂר. שֶׁמַּתְּנוֹת כְּהֻנָּה מַתָּנוֹת הֵם. וּכְבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ שֶׁהַנּוֹתֵן מַתָּנָה פָּטוּר מִן הַמַּעֲשֵׂר:


All the animals in one's herd are brought into the corral for tithing, whether they are unblemished or blemished, even those which are forbidden to be offered on the altar with the exception of hybrids, animals that are tereifah, born through Caesarian section, or "lacking in age." For all of these are exempt from the tithes.

Similarly, an animal whose mother died or was slaughtered when it was born should not be tithed. These concepts are part of the Oral Tradition.


הַכּל נִכְנָסִין לַדִּיר לְהִתְעַשֵּׂר. בֵּין תְּמִימִים בֵּין בַּעֲלֵי מוּמִין. וְכָל אִסּוּרֵי מִזְבֵּחַ. חוּץ מִן הַכִּלְאַיִם. וְהַטְּרֵפָה. וְיוֹצֵא דֹּפֶן. וּמְחֻסָּר זְמַן. שֶׁכָּל אֵלּוּ פְּטוּרִין מִן הַמַּעֲשֵׂר. וְכֵן הַיָּתוֹם שֶׁמֵּתָה אִמּוֹ אוֹ נִשְׁחֲטָה עִם לֵידָתוֹ אֵינוֹ מִתְעַשֵּׂר. וּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה הֵם:


A purchaser is not exempt from the obligation to tithe unless he purchased the animals after they were fit to be tithed. Therefore one who purchases lambs in the seven days after their birth, is obligated to tithe them when the time comes. Since an animal that is "lacking in age" is not fit to be tithed, it is as if he purchased a fetus and it was born in his domain.


אֵין הַלּוֹקֵחַ פָּטוּר אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן נִלְקַח אַחַר שֶׁנִּרְאָה לְהִתְעַשֵּׂר. לְפִיכָךְ הַלּוֹקֵחַ טְלָאִים בְּתוֹךְ שִׁבְעַת יְמֵי הַלֵּידָה כְּשֶׁיַּגִּיעַ זְמַנָּם חַיָּב לְעַשְּׂרָן. שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁאֵין מְחֻסָּר זְמַן רָאוּי לְהִתְעַשֵּׂר הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁלָּקַח עֻבָּרִים וְנוֹלְדוּ בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ:


Whenever there is a doubt whether an animal is obligated to be tithed or exempt from being tithed, it is exempt from being tithed. Therefore when an orphaned lamb, a purchased one, or the like becomes intermingled with other lambs, they are all exempt from the tithes, because the status of each one of them is in doubt.


כָּל בְּהֵמָה שֶׁהִיא סָפֵק אִם בַּת מַעֲשֵׂר הִיא אוֹ אֵינָהּ בַּת מַעֲשֵׂר. הֲרֵי הִיא פְּטוּרָה מִן הַמַּעֲשֵׂר. לְפִיכָךְ טְלָאִים שֶׁנִּתְעָרֵב בָּהֶן יָתוֹם אוֹ לָקוּחַ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הֲרֵי כֻּלָּן פְּטוּרִין מִן הַמַּעֲשֵׂר. שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן סָפֵק הוּא: