Bikkurim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Three

 

Introduction

This mishnah points out the similarities between terumah and maaser [sheni] that are not shared by bikkurim.

 

Mishnah Three

There are [laws] which apply to terumah and maaser [sheni] but not to bikkurim:

1)      Terumah and the [second] tithe render forbidden [the contents of] the threshing-floor;

2)      They have a set amount.  

3)      They apply to all produce;

4)      Both during and after Temple times;

5)      [And they apply to to produce grown] by sharecroppers, leasers, or occupiers of confiscated property (sikarikon), or a robber.  

6)      These are [the laws] which apply to terumah and maaser [sheni], but not to bikkurim. 

 

Explanation

Section one: Produce from which terumah or maaser sheni has not been removed is forbidden to be eaten. This is what it means that these things, “forbid the contents of the threshing-floor.” The “threshing-floor” here is just an example. Other types of produce, such as wine, oil, fruits and vegetables, also cannot be eaten until terumah and maaser sheni have been removed. However, one can eat produce if bikkurim have not been removed.

Section two: Maaser sheni is a tenth of the produce that remains after first tithe and terumah have been removed. While the Torah did not set a fixed amount for terumah, the rabbis established that a generous amount is 1/40, a standard amount is 1/50 and a miserly amount is 1/60. For bikkurim there is no set amount (see Peah 1:1).

Section three: Terumah and maaser must be removed from all types of produce whereas bikkurim is taken out of the seven species only.

Section four:  The laws of terumah and maaser remain in force even at a time when there is no Temple. The laws of bikkurim apply only when the Temple still stands.

Section five: In mishnah 1:2 we learned that a person who doesn’t own the land from which he grew his crops does not have to bring bikkurim. This is only true with regard to bikkurim—when it comes to terumah and maaser sheni, they must be removed from the produce before it is eaten regardless of who grows it.

Section six: All of the above rules apply to terumah and maaser sheni, but not to bikkurim.

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