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These are the individual tractates of Zeraim, the first order of the Mishna. These descriptions are not meant as Halachic decisions. Please consult an Orthodox Rabbi for specific information.

  • Berachos - While this tractate is not directly relevant to the general theme of this order (agricultural laws), Berachos is, nevertheless, a good start-off tractate for the Talmud. It deals with the laws and philosophy of prayer and blessings, which is a central part of every Jews life.
  • Peah - The laws requiring a Jewish farmer to leave parts of his crop for the poor.
  • Demai - The status of produce about which it is questionable if proper tithes had been removed.
  • Kilayim - The laws concerning forbidden mixtures (planting various crops in one field, plowing with work animals of different species, clothing containing both linen and wool).
  • Shviis - The laws concerning the requirement for Jewish farmers in Israel to leave their fields unworked every seventh year.
  • Trumos - The laws concerning those parts of Israeli produce that must be given to a Kohen (priest).
  • Ma'asros - The laws of the tithes that must be given to a Levi.
  • Ma'aser Sheni The laws of the secondary tithe that must be eaten only in Jerusalem (or redeemed with coins that are to be spent in Jerusalem).
  • Challah - The the laws of the portion of dough that must be removed from baked goods and given to a Kohen.
  • Arla - The prohibition of eating from the fruits of a tree in its first three years (and what the do with the fruits of the fourth year so they may be eaten).
  • Bikurim - Describes the bringing of a farmer's first fruits to Jerusalem (in the time of the Temple).

Rabbi Boruch Clinton teaches at the Ottawa Torah Institute yeshiva high school and Machon Sarah high school for girls (both in Ottawa, Canada). You may reach him with comments and questions at

You can now read some of Rabbi Clinton's essays on Torah life at

You can also buy his collection of essays on the Book of Shmuel (Samuel) in printed form at

Copyright 2000 by Rabbi Boruch Clinton and Project Genesis, Inc.



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