Part II: Yoreh De'ah
Chapter 28 - OFFERINGS FROM CROPS AND FLOCKS
The heave-offering (TERUMAH) and tithes (MAASROS) must be set aside as
specified below (331:19-21,24,27-28,66-67,76-77) from crops that are
eaten by people (331:13,15,74,79). In the land of Israel it is forbidden
to eat the crops until these offerings are set aside, but if someone does
so he need not pay their value to a KOHEN or Levite (331:70). Crops from
which they have not been set aside are called TEVEL; on limitations on
the use of TEVEL see 331:115-119. It is permitted to eat TEVEL on an
occasional basis until its processing has been completed; see 331:82-114,130.
Nowadays, since we are all impure, TERUMAH must not be eaten, so only a
negligible amount of it is set aside. Anyone may derive nondestructive
benefit from it, but it must be given to a KOHEN who must burn it and may
derive benefit from it when it is burned. The first tithe (1/10) is then
set aside and given to a KOHEN or Levite; it may be eaten by anyone.
A tithe of the first tithe (1/100) must also be set aside (see 331:24); it
is treated like TERUMAH. A second tithe (1/10 of the remainder) is then
set aside; in the third and sixth years of the Sabbatical cycle it is given
to the poor. In the first, second, fourth, and fifth years the owner keeps
it and (nowadays) redeems it for a token amount which he destroys; this must
be done outside Jerusalem, first reciting the blessing "...Who commanded
us about redemption of the second tithe"; see 331:132-139. For grain and
vegetables the year begins on the first of Tishrei; for trees, on the 15th
of Shevat (331:125-127).
The commandments about TERUMAH and tithes apply to crops owned at least in
part by a Jew; see 331:3-9,11,121. They do not apply in the Sabbatical year
because the crops are ownerless (331:13,16-17,19). They apply only in the
land of Israel and nearby countries; see 331:1-2,12,14,131. The TERUMAH
and tithes should be of good quality and of the same type as the crops they
are taken from; see 331:52-65;71-72,75. On mixtures, combinations, and
cases of doubt see 331:10,18,22-23,25-26,71,80-81,120,128; on intent see
331:45-51; on trustworthiness see 331:124.
The TERUMAH and tithes must be set aside by the owner or his agent;
see 331:29-44,73,129. They are set aside even by a KOHEN, who then
keeps them; see 331:68-69,122-123. The person who sets them aside first
recites the blessing "...Who commanded us to set aside TERUMAH (or: MAASER)"
(311:78). On the last day of Pesach in the fourth and seventh years,
after all tithes have been properly given from the previous year's crops,
the "confession of the tithes" is recited; see 331:140-146.
We are commanded to set aside parts of the harvest (dropped, forgotten,
and marginal items) for the poor, but nowadays it is not customary to do
this because it is likely that the poor will be unable to take them (332:1).
A person who shears five or more sheep each of which produces a sufficient
quantity of wool (see 333:9-10,12) should give some of the wool (preferably
the first part; see 333:6,11,13) to one or more male or female KOHANIM; it
may then be used by anyone (333:5,13,14). This commandment applies only in
the land of Israel (see 333:1) to sheep owned by a Jew (see 333:7-8), and
only to undyed wool (333:3) of high quality (333:2) cut from a living
Shulchan Aruch, Copyright (c) 2000 ProjectGenesis, Inc.