Maasrot, Chapter Three, Mishnah Three

 

Introduction

According to the rabbis’ interpretation of the Torah, a worker may eat from his employer’s produce only if he is working at the end of the processing of the produce. If he is tending to the field, he may not pluck produce that is still attached to the ground and eat it. If the owner allows him to do so, this produce is considered wages, and cannot be eaten without first being tithed.

Our mishnah deals with a person who is working in a field but not at the time when the produce’s processing is being completed.

 

Mishnah Three

1)      One who hired a worker to work with olives and he said to him, “On condition that I may eat the olives,” he may eat of them one at a time and be exempt [from tithes].

a)      If, however, he gathered several together he is liable [for tithes].

2)      [If he had been hired] to weed out onions, and he said to him, “On condition that I may eat the vegetables,” he may pluck leaf by leaf, and eat [without tithing].

a)      If, however, he gathered several together, he is liable [for tithes].

 

Explanation

Section one: Since this worker was working with the olives at a time when their processing was not completed, the olives that he does receive are part of his wages and hence cannot be eaten without being tithed. As we saw in yesterday’s mishnah, he can eat one olive at a time, but if he gathers them together, he cannot eat them without first tithing them.

Section two: The section teaches basically the same rule with regard to a person hired to work weeding onions. He can pluck the leaves up one at a time and eat them, but he cannot gather them together and eat them without first tithing.    

 

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