Is the term derived from rabbinic sources, or is it used in the Torah? Deuteronomy Maaser Sheni must be taken from all grains, wine and oil plus fruits and vegetables on a rabbinic level grown in Israel. The produce needed to be kept in a state of purity and eaten in a state of purity in the holy city of Jerusalem, at any time of the year. The main part of the mitzvah, eating Maaser Sheni in Jerusalem, only applies at the time of the Holy Temple.
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May 4, Terumah and Maaser: Halacha requires the separation of terumah and maaser from Israeli produce. When the Temple was extant, these separated portions were distributed in a specified manner to the Kohanim Priests , Leviim Levites and the poor, or eaten in Jerusalem. While terumah and maaser are no longer distributed or eaten in Jerusalem, the requirement to separate and designate them is still in effect.
Prior to the required separations, the food is called tevel, and may not be eaten, just as one may not eat any non-kosher food. The laws of terumah and maaser apply even when the food is eaten in the Diaspora, and are equally binding on a Kohen, Levi and Yisrael. It is therefore important to note the source of origin of produce. Generally, supermarkets will post signs indicating fruit or vegetables which are a product of Israel.
Readers should be aware that much of the canned grapefruit sections sold in America are products of Israel and require separation. Information on country of origin is provided on the packaging label. It would be unfortunate if Jewish consumers, believing this separation to be a complicated procedure, declined to purchase Israeli produce.
There is no need to withhold this revenue from the Israeli economy. In truth, the actual procedure is a simple one and can be mastered in but a few moments of time. The reader should note that Rosh Hashanah, , begins a shemitah year. The laws of terumah and maaser are suspended for fruit grown during a shemitah year, but other halachic restrictions, which are beyond the scope of this article apply.
For example, if there are oranges, one whole orange and a small part of a second orange are separated. A coin, which is valid currency in the country in which the redemption is performed, is designated for redemption.
At the time of this writing, one nickel is sufficient. Terumah and maaser may not be separated on Shabbos and Yom Tov. It should be noted that while reciting this formula, neither the produce nor the separated portion should be moved, since the formula refers to designated locations.
Explanation of the Procedure The formula which is recited for separation of terumah and maaser is a lengthy one because there are four categories of terumah and maaser that are halachically required.
Each category has unique guidelines which are reflected in the text. The Following is a brief explanation of these four groups: Terumah Gedolah: A minimal amount is designated for Terumah Gedolah. This is set aside for the Kohen and may not be eaten by anyone else. Today, Kohanim are ritually impure, and therefore may not eat the terumah. The terumah must be wrapped before it is discarded. This is normally given to the Levi, but may be eaten by anyone.
However, in practice, when purchasing produce in a store, the halacha requires that the maaser be designated, but it may then be eaten by the owner of the produce, for the reason explained in footnote 7 below.
As Terumah Gedolah, this may only be eaten by a Kohen who is ritually pure, and it is therefore left uneaten today. When the Temple was extant, Maaser Sheni was eaten in Jerusalem, or it was redeemed and the money was used to purchase food in Jerusalem. Today, the produce which is designated as Maaser Sheni can be eaten only after redemption on a metal coin which is at least the value of a shaveh prutah, a minimal coin of the Talmudic period.
Maaser Oni must be given to a poor person. For halachic reasons explained in footnote 7, Maaser Ani may be eaten by anyone. While reciting this formula, neither the produce nor the separated portion should be moved, since the formula refers to designated locations. Terumah and maaser are not separated for produce of a shmita year and a different set of halachos apply. A perutah chamurah is a coin that was used once before for redemption of produce. For various reasons, one can only acquire a perutah chamurah in Israel, and it is generally necessary to visit the area where the produce is grown to ascertain with absolute certainty that the redemption was not previously performed.
Endnotes: 1 There is one additional halachic concern relevant to Israeli fruit. Orlah applies to fruit grown in any location. However, if there is a sofek possibility of orlah.
Certain fruits grown in Israel fall into the category of sofek orlah. Nonetheless, at the present lime, dates, citrus fruit and persimmons, which are typically imported to the United States, are not problematic since the majority, and in some cases all, of these fruits are not harvested during the first three years. This is based on the Chazon Ish, Choshen Mishpat , that five shekalim for pidyon haben is the value of 96 grams of silver. One shekel then is the value of There are prutos to a shekel Kiddushin, 12b].
Thus, one prutah is There are approximately Thus, in the United States, a nickel is sufficient for redemption. Ordinarily, any penny can be used for redemption. A pruloh chamurah is a coin that was once previously used to redeem the most stringent form of Maaser Sheni.
The chomesh will be less than a prutah if the total value of the produce is less than According to other authorities. It may be eaten after redemption. One reason is that the local Rav may have already have done so.
Since this possibility is remote, the produce must be tithed. However, there are sufficient grounds to apply the rule of hamotzi mechavero olav haraya the burden of proof lies with the extractor , and the maaser portion may be eaten after it is designated. OU Kosher Staff.
Separating Terumah and Maaser
May 4, Terumah and Maaser: Halacha requires the separation of terumah and maaser from Israeli produce. When the Temple was extant, these separated portions were distributed in a specified manner to the Kohanim Priests , Leviim Levites and the poor, or eaten in Jerusalem. While terumah and maaser are no longer distributed or eaten in Jerusalem, the requirement to separate and designate them is still in effect. Prior to the required separations, the food is called tevel, and may not be eaten, just as one may not eat any non-kosher food.
Ask the Rabbi
Torah Sparks is produced by the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Each week there will be a Dvar Torah - a discussion on some aspect of the reading, by CY faculty, alumni and friends; a Vort - a short thought from Chasidic rebbes or other thinkers about some point in the text; and Table Talk - questions to stimulate discussion on the Parsha around the Shabbat table. Please select the Parasha you would like to see - it will display articles from each year. Our mishnah teaches that it must be treated as holy produce and not as one would treat hullin, non-sanctified food. There are two important rules to keep in mind here: first of all, food that one buys becomes holy and there are certain rules that apply to it. In these cases the non-food item bought does not become hullin.
The new year for tithes for general crops is the first of Tishrei the holiday of Rosh Hashanah , for animal tithes the first of Elul , and for the produce of trees the fifteenth of Shevat the holiday of Tu Bishvat. The Talmud and later commentaries reflect a substantial amount of debate about the start and end of the tithing year for various types of crops in various situations. If any of these tithes were not separated, the produce was known as tevel and forbidden for consumption. Unlike the first tithe, the second tithe was only separated on the first, second, fourth and fifth years of the sabbatical year cycle. The poor tithe was separated on the third and sixth years. The produce was required to be maintained in a state of purity and eaten in a state of purity in Jerusalem, at any time of the year. If the owner did not desire, or was unable to, bring the produce to Jerusalem, he was entitled to redeem the produce on a coin of equal value, in addition to adding a fifth to the value.