Maaser Sheni, Chapter 3, Mishnah 6

Maaser Sheni, Chapter Three, Mishnah Six

 

Introduction

In yesterday’s mishnah we learned that maaser sheni produce that has been in Jerusalem cannot be taken out again. Today we learn about regular produce that has not yet been tithed and has entered Jerusalem. Can the maaser sheni from that produce be brought in and taken out of Jerusalem?

 

Mishnah Six

1)      Produce whose processing was completed and it passed through Jerusalem, its second tithe must be brought back and eaten in Jerusalem.

2)      If its processing had not been completed, [such as] baskets of grapes [that were going] to the wine-press or baskets of figs [that were going] to the drying-place:

a)      Bet Shammai says: its second tithe must be brought back and be eaten in Jerusalem.

b)      But Bet Hillel says: it may be redeemed and eaten anywhere.

3)      Rabbi Shimon ben Judah says in the name of Rabbi Yose: Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel did not disagree concerning produce whose processing had not been completed that its second tithe may be redeemed and be eaten anywhere.

4)      What did they disagree about? About produce whose processing was completed.

a)      Bet Shammai says that its second tithe must be brought back and be eaten in Jerusalem.

b)      And Bet Hillel says that it may be redeemed and be eaten anywhere.

5)      [The second tithe of] demai may [always] be brought in and taken out again and be redeemed.

 

Explanation

Section one: Produce becomes liable for tithes once its processing has been completed (this was the main topic of tractate Maasrot). So if its processing has been completed its tithes are in a sense already in it, they just have not yet been separated. Therefore, if one brings such produce into Jerusalem, this is similar to a case of bringing second tithe into Jerusalem. And as we learned in yesterday’s mishnah, once maaser sheni produce is brought into Jerusalem, it cannot be brought out. If he does bring this produce out, he cannot redeem it and eat it outside of Jerusalem. He must bring it back and eat it in Jerusalem.

Section two: If the processing had not been completed, for instance the grapes were on their way to being pressed or the figs were on their way to being dried, then Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel debate whether the maaser sheni that will eventually be taken out of the produce has to be brought back to Jerusalm. Bet Shammai says that this situation is the same as that in section one. Produce has future maaser sheni in it, even though the produce has not yet become liable for tithes. Therefore, it can no longer be taken out of Jerusalem. If it is taken out of Jerusalem, he can’t redeem the maaser sheni; he must bring it back to Jerusalem and eat it there. Bet Hillel holds that since the produce had not yet become liable for tithes, we don’t look at it as if maaser sheni had been brought into Jerusalem. When he separates the maaser sheni produce, he can redeem it and eat it wherever he wants.

Section three: Rabbi Shimon ben Judah relates a different version of the debate between Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel. According to this version, both sides are more lenient than in the previous version and both agree that if the processing of the produce had not yet been completed, that the maaser sheni from the produce can be redeemed and eaten wherever he wants.

Section four: Rather the two houses disagree about a case where the processing has been completed. Here Bet Hillel is even more lenient than they were according to the version of their opinion found in section one. Bet Hillel holds that even if the processing had been completed, the maaser sheni eventually taken from it can be redeemed and eaten anywhere. According to this, the only time that Bet Hillel would say that produce cannot be taken out of Jerusalem would be if it was actual maaser sheni produce, not produce whose maaser sheni had not yet been taken out of it. Bet Shammai disagrees and holds that in this case, when the maaser sheni is taken out of the produce, it must be brought into Jerusalem and eaten there.

Section five: Demai produce (for a definition of demai see above, mishnah three) that has been brought into Jerusalem can always have its maaser sheni redeemed outside of Jerusalem and eaten anywhere, because this maaser sheni is only “doubtful” maaser sheni. Since the tithes may have been taken out of it already, it might not have been necessary to take out maaser sheni at all. Therefore, we can be lenient.