Maaser Sheni, Chapter Five, Mishnah Three

 

Introduction

This mishnah is found word for word in Peah 7:6. In it Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel argue whether when one redeems the grapes of a fourth-year vineyard, one has to add an extra fifth, as one does with maaser sheni. They also argue whether the law which mandates the removal of tithes from one’s home at the end of the fourth year applies to this produce.

 

Mishnah Six

[The grapes of] a vineyard in its fourth year:  

1)      Bet Shammai says: the laws of the added fifth and removal do not apply to them;

a)      But Bet Hillel says: they do.

2)      Bet Shammai says: the laws of peret and the defective clusters apply to them, and the poor can redeem the grapes for themselves.

a)      But Bet Hillel says: all [of them] go to the wine-press.

 

Explanation

Section one:  According to Bet Shammai when one redeems the grapes of a fourth year vineyard one does not need to add a fifth of the value, as one does for maaser sheni.  With regard to maaser sheni Leviticus 27:31 states, “If anyone wishes to redeem any of his tithes, he must add one-fifth to them.”  This, according to Bet Shammai, was stated only with regard to tithes and not with regard to the fourth-year vineyard. 

Bet Shammai also holds that another rule concerning tithes does not apply.  Deuteronomy 14:28 states, “At the end of three years you shall bring out the full tithe of your yield of that year.” This means that at the end of three years one must get rid of all of the tithes within one’s household and give them to whomever they rightfully belong.  According to Bet Shammai one does not have to get rid of the wine made of fourth year grapes.  In short, Bet Shammai says that while there is some similarity between fourth year grapes and second tithe, they are not similar in all aspects.

Bet Hillel says that all of the laws of second tithe apply to fourth year grapes.  Therefore, when one redeems them he must add a fifth and they must be removed at the end of three years.

Section two:  The laws of peret (fallen grapes) and defective clusters (olelot) do not apply to tithes.  Since Bet Shammai does not hold that the laws of tithes apply to the fourth year grapes, they therefore hold that the laws of peret and defective clusters do apply.  The poor people would take their peret and olelot, redeem them, and bring the money to Jerusalem, just as the owner does with his own grapes/wine.

Bet Hillel, on the other hand, holds that the poor do not receive the peret and the olelot because the agricultural gifts given to the poor do not apply to tithes. Since fourth year produce is like tithes, no agricultural gifts must be given. Rather, the owners take all of the grapes and bring them to the winepress, make wine and then either bring the wine to Jerusalem or redeem the wine and bring the money to Jerusalem. 

 

 

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