Makhshirin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Ten
Today’s mishnah deals with finding produce in the mixed city and determining whether it needs to be tithed or not. Produce that has not been tithed generally may not be eaten once it is brought into one’s home. However, under certain circumstances one may eat it while on the road.
Produce that might or might not have been tithed is called demai. We’ll discuss some of these rules here but for a fuller exposition, look at the Introduction to Demai, as well as the Introduction to Maasrot.
1) If one found produce on the road:
a) If the majority [of the inhabitants] gathered produce into their homes, he is exempt [from tithes];
b) If [the majority gathered it] for selling in the market, he is liable [for tithes];
c) If they were half and half, the produce is demai.
2) A granary into which both Israelites and non-Jews put their produce,
a) If the majority were non-Jews, [the produce must be considered] certainly untithed;
b) If the majority were Israelites, [it must be considered] demai;
c) If they were half and half, [it must be considered] certainly untithed, the words of Rabbi Meir.
d) But the sages say: even if they were all non-Jews, and only one Israelite put his produce into the granary, [it must be considered] demai.
Section one: According to Maasrot 1:5 if a person was carrying produce to his home, he may eat of the produce untithed until he gets home. But if he was bringing it to market, it cannot be eaten untithed as long as the processing has been finished (which it assumedly has if it’s being brought to the market). So what we need to determine here is whether the produce was being brought to market or being brought home.
As with the other mishnayot, so too here we follow a majority. If the majority was bringing the produce to the market, then he must tithe what he found even if he is only eating of them in an extemporaneous fashion and not as part of a meal. In other words, we assume that this produce was being brought to market in which case all further eating is prohibited.
If there is no majority, then the produce is deemed demai. He must tithe them even if he wants to eat them before he gets home.
Section two: There is a granary full of grain and we need to know whether it has been tithed or not. If the majority are non-Jews then we can be sure it has not been tithed. A Jew who eats such grain must certainly tithe it.
If the majority are Israelites, then it might have been tithed. We can’t know for sure because some Jews, perhaps many Jews, do not tithe. Therefore it is demai, which means that one must take out terumah, terumat maaser (the terumah taken from tithes) and maaser sheni. These must be removed because an Israelite cannot eat them. However, he does not have to take out first tithe or poor tithe, because these can be eaten by an Israelite (see Intro to Demai).
If the numbers are evenly split, then Rabbi Meir assumes that it certainly hasn’t been tithed.
The sages disagree with Rabbi Meir and hold that even if only one Jew puts grain into the granary, all of the grain must be considered demai and not certainly untithed produce. The sages hold that grain grown on land owned by non-Jews is not liable for tithes. If the granary was only non-Jewish grain, he wouldn’t be obligated to tithe it at all. However, since one Jew puts his grain in there he must treat it as demai, because the sages hold that Jewish grain is not annulled in a greater quantity of non-Jewish grain.