Maaser Sheni, Chapter Two, Mishnah One



This mishnah begins to provide some general rules that govern maaser sheni.


Mishnah One

1)      Second tithe is set apart for eating, for drinking and for anointing; for eating what is usually eaten, for drinking what is usually drunk, and for anointing what is usually used for anointing.

2)      One may not anoint oneself with wine or with vinegar, but one may anoint oneself with oil.

3)      One may not spice oil of second tithe, nor may one buy spiced oil with second tithe money.

4)      But one may spice wine.

5)      If honey or spices fell into wine and improved its value, the improved value [is divided] according to the proportion. 

6)      If fish was cooked with leek of second tithe and it improved in value, the improved value [is divided] according to the proportion.

7)      If dough of second tithe was baked and it improved in value, the whole improved value is second [tithe]. 

8)      This is the general rule: whenever the improvement is recognizable the improved value [is divided] according to the proportion, but whenever the improved value is not recognizable the improved value belongs to the second [tithe].



Section one: We have seen this same rule with regard to terumah and sabbatical year produce (see Sheviit 8:2). If one buys food with maaser sheni money, and it goes bad, he need not eat it, because it’s no longer in the category of that which is usually eaten. The same goes true for spoiled drink.

Section two: Wine or vinegar are normally foods and not used for anointing. Therefore, one cannot anoint oneself with them.

Section three: There are a few explanations as to why one shouldn’t put spices in the second tithe oil. First of all, some of the oil is soaked up by the spices and that oil will not end up being used. Second, putting spices in the oil lessens its usefulness as food and therefore this shouldn’t be done. One shouldn’t buy spiced oil with second tithe money because one should only buy products with maaser sheni money that are used by all classes of people. Since only the wealthy use spiced oil, it should not be bought with maaser sheni money.

Section four: But one may spice wine because the entire mixture will be drunk and all classes of people drink spiced wine.

Section five: The rest of this mishnah deals with improving the value of a maaser sheni product. The general rule is stated in section eight. If someone uses hullin, non-sacred produce, to improve maaser sheni, the added value is divided up according to the percentage of hullin and maaser sheni in the product. Let’s take the example of honey or spices that fell into wine. If the maaser sheni wine was worth two dinars and the hullin spices and wine were worth one dinar, and the mixture was together worth four dinars, there is a one dinar improvement. Two-thirds of the original value was maaser sheni and therefore, two-thirds of the improvement is maaser sheni, and one-third is hullin. In the final mixture 2 2/3 are maaser sheni and 1 1/3 are hullin. This hullin can be bought with maaser sheni money and the money would become hullin.

Section six: This is the same halakhah we saw in the above section.

Section seven: In this case he used hullin sticks to light a fire to bake maaser sheni dough. Here the hullin is not noticeable in the maaser sheni final product and therefore it is not reckoned as part of the value. So if the maaser sheni dough was worth 2 dinars, and the baked bread is worth 3 dinars, all three dinars are maaser sheni.

Section eight: This is a restatement of the general rule illustrated above.