Fruits that we can assume to be ownerless:1 e.g., wild figs,2 brush berries, thorn apples, white figs, other species of wild figs, anise, dates that fall of the tree before they have swelled,3 capers, coriander, and the like are free from the stringency of demai. One who purchases them from a common person does not have to separate terumat ma'aser or the second tithe from them for we assume that they grew ownerless. Even if a common person told him that they have not been tithed, they are exempt from the tithes until it is known that they grew from produce that was guarded.4


פֵּרוֹת שֶׁחֶזְקָתָן מִן הַהֶפִקִר. כְּגוֹן הַשִּׁיתִין וְהָרִימִין וְהָעוֹזְרָדִין וּבְנוֹת שׁוּחַ וּבְנוֹת שִׁקְמָה וְהַגּוּפָנִין וְנוֹבְלוֹת תְּמָרָה וְהֵן שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא הִטִּילוּ שְׂאוֹר הַנִּצְפָּה וְהַכֻּסְבַּר וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן. פְּטוּרִין מִן הַדְּמַאי. וְהַלּוֹקְחָן מֵעַם הָאָרֶץ אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהַפְרִישׁ מֵהֶן תְּרוּמַת מַעֲשֵׂר וְלֹא מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי מִפְּנֵי שֶׁחֶזְקָתָן מִן הַהֶפְקֵר. אֲפִלּוּ אָמַר לוֹ עַם הָאָרֶץ אֵינָם מְעֻשָּׂרִין הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְּטוּרִין מִן הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת עַד שֶׁיִּוָּדַע לוֹ שֶׁהֵן מִן הַשָּׁמוּר:


Produce that ripens first and last in a valley are exempt from the obligations of demai.5 Similar produce in a garden is liable, because it is watched.

What is meant by produce that ripens first? All the produce that ripens before [the owner] employs a guard for the valley to protect his produce.

What is meant by produce that ripens last? The produce that remains after the reapers have folded away their nets6 in the field and left them without a guard. Similarly, vinegar made from wine dregs7 is exempt from the obligations of demai.8


הַבְּכוֹרוֹת וְהַסְּיָּיפוֹת שֶׁבְּבִקְעָה פְּטוּרִין מִן הַדְּמַאי. וְשֶׁבְּגִנָּה חַיָּבִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן נִשְׁמָרִין. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן הַבְּכוֹרוֹת. כָּל הַפֵּרוֹת שֶׁבִּכְּרוּ עַד שֶׁלֹּא הוֹשִׁיבוּ שׁוֹמֵר עַל הַבִּקְעָה לִשְׁמֹר פֵּרוֹתֶיהָ. וְהַסְּיָּיפוֹת הֵן הַפֵּרוֹת שֶׁיִּשָּׁאֲרוּ אַחַר שְׁיְּקַפְּלוּ הַמִּקְצוֹעוֹת שֶׁבַּשָּׂדוֹת וְיַנִּיחוּם בְּלֹא שׁוֹמֵר. וְכֵן הַחֹמֶץ הֶעָשׂוּי מִן הַתְּמָדִים פָּטוּר מִן הַדְּמַאי:


When decrees were enacted concerning demai, they were enacted only with regard to produce from the land that was inhabited by the Jews who returned from Babylonia,9 i.e., from Kziv inward.10 Kziv itself is considered as outside these boundaries. All produce from Kziv and further are exempt from the obligations of demai for we operate under the assumption that the produce came from the place where it is found.11


כְּשֶׁגָּזְרוּ עַל הַדְּמַאי לֹא גָּזְרוּ אֶלָּא עַל פֵּרוֹת הָאָרֶץ שֶׁהֶחֱזִיקוּ בָּהּ עוֹלֵי בָּבֶל בִּלְבַד שֶׁהוּא מִכְּזִיב וְלִפְנִים וּכְזִיב עַצְמָהּ כְּלַחוּץ. וְכָל הַפֵּרוֹת הַנִּמְצָאוֹת מִכְּזִיב וְלַחוּץ פְּטוּרִין מִן הַדְּמַאי שֶׁחֶזְקָתָן מִפֵּרוֹת מָקוֹם שֶׁנִּמְצְאוּ בּוֹ:


When we know12 that produce was grown in the land that was inhabited by the Jews who ascended from Babylonia, the laws of demai apply with regard to it even though it is presently found in Syria or in the land that was inhabited only by the Jews who ascended from Egypt. [Thus] terumat ma'aser and the second tithe must be separated from it.

Therefore a fat fig whose species is found only in the land inhabited by the Jews who ascended from Babylon - and similarly, large dates, straight carobs,13 rice that is exceedingly white, and oversized cumin14 - must be tithed like demai in the entirety of Eretz Yisrael and in Syria. Similar laws apply with regard to all produce that is comparable to these species.


פֵּרוֹת שֶׁיָּדוּעַ שֶׁהֵן מִפֵּרוֹת הָאָרֶץ שֶׁהֶחֱזִיקוּ בָּהּ עוֹלֵי בָּבֶל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן נִמְצָאוֹת בְּסוּרְיָא וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר בָּאָרֶץ שֶׁהֶחֱזִיקוּ בָּהּ עוֹלֵי מִצְרַיִם בִּלְבַד הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ חַיָּבִין בִּדְמַאי. וּמַפְרִישִׁין מֵהֶן תְּרוּמַת מַעֲשֵׂר וּמַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי. לְפִיכָךְ הַדְּבֵלָה הַשְּׁמֵנָה שֶׁאֵין כְּמוֹתָהּ אֶלָּא בָּאָרֶץ שֶׁהֶחֱזִיקוּ עוֹלֵי בָּבֶל וְכֵן הַתְּמָרִים הַגְּדוֹלִים וְהֶחָרוּבִין הַשָּׁוִים וְהָאֹרֶז הַלָּבָן בְּיוֹתֵר וְהַכַּמּוֹן הַגָּדוֹל מִתְעַשְּׂרִין דְּמַאי בְּכָל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבְסוּרְיָא. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בְּפֵרוֹת אֵלּוּ:


When donkey-drivers bring produce to Tyre,15 the laws governing demai apply to it, for we assume that it came from the nearby land inhabited by the Jews who ascended from Babylonia.16 We do not harbor any suspicions with regard to rice. Instead, all the rice that is found in the Diaspora that neighbors the land which was inhabited by the Jews who ascended from Babylonia is exempt17 from demai unless it was obvious that it grew [only in Eretz Yisrael] as we explained.18


הַחַמָּרִים שֶׁהֵבִיאוּ פֵּרוֹת לְצוֹר חַיָּבִין בִּדְמַאי שֶׁחֶזְקָתָן מֵהָאָרֶץ שֶׁהֶחֱזִיקוּ עוֹלֵי בָּבֶל שֶׁהִיא הַקְּרוֹבָה לָהּ. וְהָאֹרֶז אֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין לוֹ אֶלָּא כָּל הָאֹרֶז הַנִּמְצָא חוּצָה לָאָרֶץ שֶׁהִיא קְרוֹבָה לָאָרֶץ שֶׁהֶחֱזִיקוּ עוֹלֵי בָּבֶל פָּטוּר מִן הַדְּמַאי אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הָיָה נִכָּר כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

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.


When a person purchases [produce] from the owners of storehouses in Tyre, he is exempt from [the obligations of] demai. We do not say that they stored produce from Eretz Yisrael.19 Similarly, if one donkey20 enters Tyre laden with produce, it is exempt from [the obligations of] demai, for we assume that [the produce comes] from the fields around the city.


הַלּוֹקֵחַ מִבַּעֲלֵי אוֹצָרוֹת בְּצוֹר פָּטוּר מִן הַדְּמַאי וְאֵין אוֹמְרִין שֶׁמָּא מִפֵּרוֹת הָאָרֶץ אֲצָרוֹ. וְכֵן חֲמוֹר יְחִידִי שֶׁנִּכְנַס לְצוֹר וְהוּא טָעוּן פֵּרוֹת פָּטוּר מִן הַדְּמַאי שֶׁחֶזְקָתָן מִשְּׂדֵה הָעִיר:


When a person purchases [produce] from the owners of storehouses in Tzidon,21 he is obligated in [the laws of] demai, because it is closer to Eretz Yisrael than Tyre and we operate under the assumption that they store produce from the land inhabited by the Jews who ascended from Babylonia. If, however, one purchases [produce] from donkey-drivers in Tzidon, it is exempt from [the obligations of] demai, for we assume that they are bringing [the produce] from the Diaspora.22


הַלּוֹקֵחַ מִבַּעֲלֵי אוֹצָר בְּצִידוֹן חַיָּב בִּדְמַאי מִפְּנֵי שֶׁקְּרוֹבָה הִיא יוֹתֵר מִצּוֹר שֶׁחֶזְקָתָהּ שֶׁאוֹצְרִין מִפֵּרוֹת הָאָרֶץ שֶׁהֶחֱזִיקוּ עוֹלֵי בָּבֶל. אֲבָל הַלּוֹקֵחַ מִן הַחַמָּרִים בְּצִידוֹן פָּטוּר מִן הַדְּמַאי מִפְּנֵי שֶׁחֶזְקָתָן שֶׁמְּבִיאִין מִחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ:


[The following rules apply when a person] purchases [produce] from a gentile in the land inhabited by the Jews who ascended from Babylonia. If the gentile was a merchant23 who purchases produce from Jews, the produce is [considered as] demai. Therefore at the outset, when the majority of Eretz Yisrael was in the hands of Jews,24 when a person purchased produce from a gentile merchant, he would separate tithes as one does for demai just like one does when [purchasing] from a [Jewish] common person.


הַלּוֹקֵחַ מִן הָעַכּוּ''ם בָּאָרֶץ שֶׁהֶחֱזִיקוּ עוֹלֵי בָּבֶל אִם הָיָה תַּגָּר עַכּוּ''ם שֶׁלּוֹקֵחַ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל הֲרֵי פֵּרוֹתָיו דְּמַאי. לְפִיכָךְ בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה בִּזְמַן שֶׁהָיָה רֹב אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּיַד יִשְׂרָאֵל הַלּוֹקֵחַ מִכָּל תַּגָּר עַכּוּ''ם מְעַשֵּׂר דְּמַאי כְּלוֹקֵחַ מֵעַם הָאָרֶץ:


Who is a merchant? One who brings [produce to the market] two or three times. If, however, he brings once - even if he brings three loads at once, or even if he, his son, and his servant each brings loads - he is not presumed to be a merchant.25


אֵי זֶהוּ תַּגָּר זֶה שֶׁהֵבִיא שְׁתַּיִם וְשָׁלֹשׁ פְּעָמִים. אֲבָל אִם הֵבִיא פַּעַם אַחַת אֲפִלּוּ הֵבִיא שָׁלֹשׁ מַשּׂוֹאוֹת בְּבַת אַחַת אוֹ שֶׁהֵבִיא הוּא וּבְנוֹ וּפוֹעֵל עֲדַיִן לֹא הֻחְזַק תַּגָּר:


When [our Sages] issued a decree concerning demai, the decree did not apply to produce from the Diaspora that was brought into Eretz Yisrael.26


כְּשֶׁגָּזְרוּ עַל הַדְּמַאי לֹא גָּזְרוּ עַל פֵּרוֹת חוּצָה לָאָרֶץ שֶׁנִּכְנְסוּ לָאָרֶץ:


When the majority of the produce [in a mixture] is from Eretz Yisrael and not from the Diaspora, [the laws of] demai apply.27 If the majority of the mixture is produce from the Diaspora, it is exempt from demai. [This law applies] also to species that we can presume that most frequently come from the Diaspora, e.g., nuts and plums.28


פֵּרוֹת הָאָרֶץ שֶׁרַבּוּ עַל שֶׁל חוּצָה לָאָרֶץ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ חַיָּבִין בִּדְמַאי. וְשֶׁל חוּצָה לָאָרֶץ שֶׁרַבּוּ עַל פֵּרוֹת הָאָרֶץ. וְכֵן דְּבָרִים שֶׁחֶזְקָתָן תָּדִיר מִחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ כְּגוֹן אֱגוֹזִים וְדֻרְמַסְקָעוֹת הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְּטוּרִין מִן הַדְּמַאי:


[When there was a doubt whether] produce came from the Diaspora or not, our Sages [maintained that the ruling] is not dependent on the appearance [of the produce], its flavor, or its fragrance,29 but rather where the majority [of produce in the marketplace originated]. If produce [from the Diaspora] constitutes the majority, it is permitted.30 If not, it is forbidden.

What is implied? When there is a majority [of produce from the Diaspora] in a city, but not in its outlying areas, or in the outlying areas31 and not in the city, in the mountain, but not in the valley, in the valley, but not in the mountain, for a storekeeper, but not for a private homeowner, for a private homeowner and not for a storekeeper, for those where [produce from the Diaspora] is the majority, they are permitted.32 For those where it is not in the majority, they are obligated [to heed the restrictions of] demai.


לֹא הָלְכוּ חֲכָמִים בְּפֵרוֹת חוּצָה לָאָרֶץ לֹא אַחַר הַמַּרְאֶה וְלֹא אַחַר הַטַּעַם וְהָרֵיחַ אֶלָּא אַחַר הָרֹב כָּל שֶׁרַבּוּ לוֹ מֻתָּר וְשֶׁלֹּא רַבּוּ לוֹ אָסוּר. כֵּיצַד. רַבּוּ בָּעִיר אֲבָל לֹא בַּמְּדִינָה. אוֹ שֶׁרַבּוּ בַּמְּדִינָה וְלֹא רַבּוּ בָּעִיר. בָּהָר וְלֹא רַבּוּ בַּבִּקְעָה. בַּבִּקְעָה וְלֹא בָּהָר. רַבּוּ לַחֶנְוָנִי וְלֹא לְבַעַל הַבַּיִת. לְבַעַל הַבַּיִת וְלֹא לַחֶנְוָנִי. זֶה שֶׁרַבּוּ בּוֹ מֻתָּר. וּמָקוֹם שֶׁלֹּא רַבּוּ בּוֹ חַיָּב בִּדְמַאי:


If, at first, there was a majority of produce from the Diaspora in the market place and then, that quantity was reduced, the market place returns to its original status, and one who purchases [produce] is obligated in [the restrictions of] demai.


רַבּוּ פֵּרוֹת חוּצָה לָאָרֶץ בַּשּׁוּק וְנִתְמַעֲטוּ חָזַר הַשּׁוּק לְיָשְׁנוֹ וְהַלּוֹקֵחַ מִמֶּנּוּ חַיָּב בִּדְמַאי:


At the time the decree concerning demai was issued, it was not applied in the following situations. All of the [following] instances are exempt from the obligations of demai: One who purchases: produce for seed or as animal fodder, flour for the processing of hides33 or for a compress or a bandage, oil to kindle a lamp or to apply to utensils, wine for an eye ointment.34 [This ruling also applies to] challah separated by a common person,35 a mixture of terumah and ordinary produce,36 produce purchased with money from the second tithes,37 flour left over from a meal offering,38 and produce added to the bikkurim offerings.39 If a common person tells him that the appropriate separations have been made, there is no obligation to tithe it.40


וְאֵלּוּ דְּבָרִים שֶׁלֹּא גָּזְרוּ עֲלֵיהֶן בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁגָּזְרוּ עַל הַדְּמַאי. הַלּוֹקֵחַ פֵּרוֹת לִזְרִיעָה אוֹ לְהַאֲכִיל לִבְהֵמָה. קֶמַח לְעוֹרוֹת אוֹ לִמְלוּגְמָא אוֹ לִרְטִיָּה. שֶׁמֶן לְהַדְלָקַת הַנֵּר אוֹ לָסוּךְ בּוֹ אֶת הַכֵּלִים. יַיִן לְקִילוֹר. וְחַלַּת עַם הָאָרֶץ. וְהַמְדֻמָּע. וְהַלָּקוּחַ בְּכֶסֶף מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי. וּשְׁיָרֵי הַמְּנָחוֹת. וְתוֹסֶפֶת הַבִּכּוּרִים. כָּל אֵלּוּ פְּטוּרִים מִן הַדְּמַאי. וְכֵיוָן שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ עַם הָאָרֶץ מְתֻקָּנִין הֵם אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְעַשֵּׂר:


When a person purchases produce to eat and changed his mind and thought to use it as animal fodder, he should not sell them to a gentile41 or feed them to an animal - even an animal belonging to others - until he makes the separations associated with demai.42


הַלּוֹקֵחַ פֵּרוֹת לַאֲכִילָה וְנִמְלַךְ עֲלֵיהֶם לִבְהֵמָה הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יִמְכְּרֵם לְעַכּוּ''ם. וְלֹא יַאֲכִילֵם לִבְהֵמָה אֲפִלּוּ לְבֶהֱמַת אֲחֵרִים עַד שֶׁיְּתַקְּנֵם דְּמַאי:


Fragrant oil43 is exempt from [the obligations of] demai for we assume it will not be eaten. When a comber of wool purchases oil to put it in the wool,44 it is exempt from [the obligations of] demai, because it is absorbed by the wool.45 When, however, a weaver purchases oil to apply between his fingers,46 it is obligated in [the laws of] demai. The rationale is that it is absorbed in his body and the application of oil is considered as drinking in all instances.47


שֶׁמֶן עָרֵב פָּטוּר מִן הַדְּמַאי שֶׁאֵין חֶזְקָתוֹ לַאֲכִילָה. שֶׁמֶן שֶׁלָּקַח הַסּוֹרֵק לְתִתּוֹ בְּצֶמֶר פָּטוּר מִן הַדְּמַאי מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא נִבְלָע בַּצֶּמֶר. אֲבָל שֶׁמֶן שֶׁלּוֹקֵחַ הָאוֹרֵג לָסוּךְ בֵּין אֶצְבְּעוֹתָיו חַיָּב בִּדְמַאי מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא נִבְלָע בְּגוּפוֹ וְסִיכָה הִיא כִּשְׁתִיָּה בְּכָל מָקוֹם:


When a gentile asks a Jew to place oil on his wound,48 he is forbidden to use oil from which he is certain the appropriate separations have not been made. He is, however, permitted to use demai for this purpose.49 If a gentile places oil50 on a tablet to twist around,51 after he arises, it is permitted for a Jew to sit on it afterwards.52


עַכּוּ''ם שֶׁשָּׁאַל מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל לִתֵּן לוֹ שֶׁמֶן עַל מַכָּתוֹ אָסוּר בְּוַדַּאי וּמֻתָּר בִּדְמַאי. נָתַן הָעַכּוּ''ם שֶׁמֶן עַל גַּבֵּי טַבְלָא לְהִתְעַגֵּל עָלֶיהָ מִשֶּׁעָמַד מֻתָּר לְיִשְׂרָאֵל לֵישֵׁב אַחֲרָיו:


When oil that is demai falls on a person's flesh, he may rub it without concern.53 When a person purchases wine for fishbrine or a mixture of wine and water or legumes to crush and mix with honey, he is obligated in the restrictions of demai.54 If, however, he purchased fishbrine that contains wine, a mixture of wine and oil, or a mixture of crushed legumes and honey, he is exempt from the restrictions of demai, for [our Sages] did not apply their decree to a mixture of demai and other substances. If the entity that was demai that became mixed with other substances was something like spices or yeast,55 since its flavor is evident, the restrictions involving demai must be observed for the entire mixture.


מִי שֶׁנָּפַל שֶׁמֶן דְּמַאי עַל בְּשָׂרוֹ מְשַׁפְשְׁפוֹ וְאֵינוֹ חוֹשֵׁשׁ. הַלּוֹקֵחַ יַיִן לְמֻרְיָס אוֹ לַאֲלוּנְתִּית. אוֹ קִטְנִיּוֹת לַעֲשׂוֹת טְחִינִין חַיָּב בִּדְמַאי. אֲבָל הַלּוֹקֵחַ מֻרְיָס שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ יַיִן אוֹ אֲלוּנְתִּית אוֹ שֶׁלָּקַח טְחִינִין הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְּטוּרִין מִן הַדְּמַאי שֶׁלֹּא גָּזְרוּ עַל תַּעֲרֹבֶת דְּמַאי. וְאִם הָיָה הַדָּבָר שֶׁחַיָּב בִּדְמַאי שֶׁנִּתְעָרֵב כְּגוֹן תַּבְלִין וּשְׂאוֹר הוֹאִיל וְטַעֲמוֹ נִכָּר אֵינָן בְּטֵלִים וְנִמְצֵאת כָּל הַתַּעֲרוֹבֶת חַיֶּבֶת בִּדְמַאי:


In all those situations where one is exempt from demai because [our Sages] did not apply their decree in these instances, if one corrected [the produce as one does] demai, separating terumat ma'aser and the second tithe, his actions are considered of consequence.56 If, however, he sought to correct [produce that is] demai like one does produce from which we are certain that no separations were made,57 separating the great terumah and the tithes from it58 or he sought to correct produce from which we are certain that no separations were made by making separations like one does demai, his deeds are of no consequence.59


כָּל אֵלּוּ הַפְּטוּרִין מִן הַדְּמַאי שֶׁלֹּא גָּזְרוּ עֲלֵיהֶם. אִם הִתְקִינָן דְּמַאי וְהִפְרִישׁ מֵהֶם תְּרוּמַת מַעֲשֵׂר וּמַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי מַה שֶּׁעָשָׂה עָשׂוּי. אֲבָל אִם תִּקֵּן אֶת הַדְּמַאי בְּוַדַּאי וְהִפְרִישׁ מִמֶּנּוּ תְּרוּמָה גְּדוֹלָה וּמַעַשְׂרוֹת אוֹ שֶׁתִּקֵּן אֶת הַוַּדַּאי בִּדְמַאי לֹא עָשָׂה כְּלוּם:


[The following laws apply when] all [of the individuals in] a town sell produce that is definitely [tevel], one person sells demai , and one purchases [produce] from a person without knowing from whom he purchased. How should he correct the produce?60 He should separate terumah and terumat ma'aser and give it to the priest. And then he should separate the second tithe and it is considered as the second tithe of demai.


כָּל הָעִיר מוֹכְרִין וַדַּאי וְאֶחָד מוֹכֵר דְּמַאי וְלָקַח וְאֵין יָדוּעַ מִמִּי לָקַח כֵּיצַד מְתַקֵּן. מַפְרִישׁ תְּרוּמָה וּתְרוּמַת מַעֲשֵׂר וְנוֹתְנָן לְכֹהֵן וּמַפְרִישׁ מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי בִּלְבַד וַהֲרֵי הוּא כְּמַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי שֶׁל דְּמַאי:


Similar [concepts apply] if there were two containers [of produce] before a person: one containing tevel and one containing produce from which the separations were made. If one of them is lost,61 one must separate terumah and terumat ma'aser from the other one and give it to any priest he desires. And he should separate the second tithe and it is considered as the second tithe of demai.62


וְכֵן אִם הָיוּ לְפָנָיו שְׁתֵּי קֻפּוֹת אַחַת טֶבֶל וְאַחַת מְתֻקָּן וְאָבְדָה אַחַת מֵהֶם הֲרֵי זֶה מַפְרִישׁ מִן הַשְּׁנִיָּה תְּרוּמָה גְּדוֹלָה וּתְרוּמַת מַעֲשֵׂר וְנוֹתְנָן לְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיִּרְצֶה וּמַפְרִישׁ מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי בִּלְבַד בִּדְמַאי: