Maasrot, Chapter Three, Mishnah Nine

 

Introduction

Our mishnah continues to deal with plants growing inside a courtyard.

 

Mishnah Nine

1)      A vine which was planted in a courtyard: one may take a whole cluster [and eat it without tithing]. Similarly with a pomegranate, or a melon, the words of Rabbi Tarfon.

2)      Rabbi Akiva says: he can pick single berries from the cluster, or split the pomegranate into slices, or cut slices of melon [and eat without tithing].

3)      Coriander which was sown in a courtyard: one may pluck leaf by leaf and eat [without tithing], but if he ate them together he is liable [for tithes].

4)      Savory and hyssop, and thyme which are in the courtyard, if they are kept watch over, they are liable for tithe.

 

Explanation

Section one: According to Rabbi Tarfon, one can eat the whole unit of fruit without tithing in the cases of a grape vine, pomegranate or melon growing in the courtyard. The cluster of grapes is treated as one integral unit, and therefore he can eat the whole thing.

Section two: Rabbi Akiva rules more strictly and says that one can only eat pieces of these fruits without tithing. If he wants to eat the whole cluster of grapes, the whole pomegranate or the whole melon, he must first tithe it because it is already in the courtyard.

Section three: As was the case with the figs in yesterday’s mishnah, if he gathers several leaves together he must tithe before he eats, but if he plucks and eats them one at a time, he can eat without tithing.

Section four: If a person has grown these plants to be spices for human consumption, and he is watching over them, then the fact that they are in the courtyard makes them immediately liable for tithing. He can’t eat them at all until they are tithed.  

 

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