The 214th prohibition is that we are forbidden from taking the sheaves which were forgotten (shik'cho) during the harvest process.

The source of this commandment is G‑d's statement,1 "[When you reap your harvest] and forget a sheaf in the field, you may not go back for it."

This law applies to all produce, whether it grows on the ground or on a tree.

This mitzvah is also in the category of lav shenitak l'aseh (a prohibition with a remedial positive commandment). Therefore, if one transgressed and took it, one is required to return it to the poor. [This positive requirement] is derived from the verse,2 "It must be left for the stranger, the orphan, and the widow."

The details of this mitzvah are explained in tractate Pe'ah.

[The Rambam now gives a detailed explanation of the law of a lav shenitak l'aseh, which applies to all 5 agricultural mitzvos mentioned above.]

You should be aware of our basic principle that whenever a prohibition has a corresponding positive commandment, one does not receive lashes [for the prohibition] as long as he fulfills the positive commandment. If he does not, however, he does receive lashes.

If, for example, he harvested an entire field without leaving pe'ah,3 he still does not receive lashes after the harvesting, and is required to give from the grain which was already cut. So too, if the wheat was already threshed, ground into flour, and kneaded into a dough, he must give an amount of dough which corresponds to the portion of the field he should have left.

If the wheat was completely lost or burned, however, he does receive lashes, since he did not fulfill the corresponding positive commandment. How much more so [he would receive lashes] if he destroyed them himself — through eating them, for example.

[The Rambam now quotes the Talmudic passage which discusses the law of a lav shenitak l'aseh. When the Gemara lists the mitzvos in this category, only pe'ah is mentioned, not the other four agricultural mitzvos. The Rambam therefore proves that when it says pe'ah, the other mitzvos are also included.]

Do not make the mistake of misinterpreting the statement in Makkos4 [which discusses the subject of lav shenitak l'aseh], "There is this one mitzvah [sending away the mother bird5] and another," where the Gemara concludes that "another" refers to pe'ah. You might think that this means only pe'ah [is considered a lav shenitak l'aseh, not the other four mitzvos], but this assumption would be incorrect. "Another" really means pe'ah and any mitzvah which has the same law as pe'ah, since the prohibitions of peret, leket, shik'cho, and olelos all can be violated through action [not only passively], and like pe'ah can fit both opinions — kiymo v'lo kiymo6 and bitlo v'lo bitlo.7

[We know that these other laws are included in the category of pe'ah] since the verse which teaches us the positive commandment of pe'ah,8 "Leave them over for the poor and the stranger," follows the mention of pe'ah, leket, peret, and olelos. The complete statement reads, "Do not completely harvest the corners of your field (pe'ah); do not pick up the stalks which fall during harvest (leket); do not pick the olelos in your vineyard; do not pick up peret (individual9 fallen grapes) in your vineyard. Leave them over for the poor and the stranger." Similarly, regarding shik'cho, the verse says,10 "[When you reap your harvest and forget a sheaf in the field,] you may not go back for it. It must be left for the stranger, the orphan, and the widow."

Therefore, since the Gemara says that pe'ah is a lav shenitak l'aseh, and derives its positive command from the verse, "Leave them over for the poor and the stranger," we learn that all these five prohibitions11 are also in the category of lav shenitak l'aseh [although the Gemara mentions only pe'ah].12 As long as it is still possible for him to fulfill it, although he has not yet done so, he still does not get lashes — we just command him to fulfill it. The only time he receives lashes is when we know he has transgressed the prohibition and there he has no possibility of fulfilling the positive commandment.

You should understand this principle and keep it in mind.