Maasrot, Chapter 4, Mishnah 1

Maasrot, Chapter Four, Mishnah One

 

Introduction

This mishnah deals with various steps that make, or in some cases do not make, produce liable for tithes.

 

Mishnah One

1)      If he pickled, stewed, or salted [produce], he is liable [to give tithes].

2)      If he stored [produce] in the ground [in order to warm it up] he is exempt. 

3)      If he dipped it [while yet] in the field, he is exempt.

4)      If he split olives so that the bitter taste may come out of them, he is exempt.

5)      If he squeezed olives against his skin, he is exempt.

6)      If he squeezed them and put [the oil] into his hand, he is liable.

7)      One who makes a viscous liquid [from grapes or olives] in order to put it in a dish is exempt.  

8)      But if to put it in an [empty] pot, he is liable for it is like a small vat.

 

Explanation

Section one: Cooking food always makes it liable for tithes. Our mishnah teaches that the same holds true for other ways of processing the produce, including pickling, stewing and even salting. Since these all serve to make raw food more edible, the person can now no longer eat from the produce without first tithing.

Section two: Sometimes people would store produce in the ground to warm it up a bit. The mishnah determines that this is not considered “cooking” and therefore he may continue to eat this food without first tithing it.

Section three: It was normal to eat food by dipping it, much in the way we might dip vegetables in an onion dip. Such eating is not necessarily part of a formal meal and therefore he may continue to eat the produce without tithing it.

Section four: Splitting olives in order to take out some of the bitter taste does not count as processing the olives so he may continue to eat them without tithing.

Section five: Similarly, if he squeezes the olives against his skin to get out some oil which he wants to rub on his dry skin, this is not considered processing the olive in order to eat it and he can eat the olives without tithing.

Section six: However, if he squeezes the olive in order to get oil out of it and put it in his hand so that he can eat the oil, he must tithe before he eats this oil. The key here is that he did something to the olive so that he could eat it, and he didn’t just take out the bitter taste or to put some oil on his skin, as was true in the previous sections.

Section seven: When he makes this liquid (not yet considered wine or oil) and puts it in the dish which already has food in it, the liquid will disappear in the dish. Although he has put the liquid in food, it can still be eaten without tithing it.

Section eight: However, if he puts it in an empty pot, it is as if he put it in a vat to store it, thereby completing its processing. He now can no longer use the liquid without first tithing it.