Bikkurim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Ten



This mishnah analyzes the differences between the bikkurim, fruits that are brought as an addition to the bikkurim and fruits used to decorate the bikkurim baskets.


Mishnah Ten

1)      Rabbi Shimon says:  there are three elements in bikkurim: the bikkurim, the additions   to the bikkurim, and the ornamentations of the bikkurim.

2)      The additions to the bikkurim must be of a like kind;

a)      But the ornamentations can be of a different kind.

3)      The additions to the bikkurim can only be eaten in purity, and are exempt from demai.

a)      But the ornamentations of the bikkurim are subject to demai.



Section one: Rabbi Shimon wishes to distinguish between the bikkurim themselves and two other categories. The first is “the additions to the bikkurim” which are fruit that a person did not designate as bikkurim when he originally set the bikkurim aside but that he wishes to bring as bikkurim when he goes to the Temple. The second category is the purely ornamental fruit, discussed in yesterday’s mishnah. As we shall see, the additions to the bikkurim are basically treated as bikkurim, whereas the ornamentations are not.

Section two: The additions to the bikkurim must be of the same species as the bikkurim themselves. Thus if he wants to add to his figs, he must bring more figs. However, the ornamentations can be of any species, as Rabbi Shimon ben Nanas stated in yesterday’s mishnah.

Section three: The additions to the bikkurim are treated almost as if they were themselves bikkurim and therefore they can be eaten only in a state of ritual purity. They are exempt from demai, which means that if a priest receives additions to bikkurim from an am haaretz (one who is not trusted with regard to tithes), he need not tithe them out of doubt lest they had not yet been tithed. Bikkurim themselves are completely exempt from tithes.

In contrast, if a priest receives bikkurim ornamentations from an am haaretz he needs to tithe them, just as one always needs to tithe produce received from an am haaretz. All the more so must he remove tithes if he knows that the fruit has not yet been tithed. Again, the ornamentations of bikkurim do not have the status of bikkurim and they are fully obligated in all tithing laws.