Terumot, Chapter Eleven, Mishnah Nine

 

Introduction

Our mishnah deals with “vetches” a plant that is fit for human consumption when cooked, but that is usually used as animal fodder. Since it is fit for human consumption, the laws of terumah do apply, but since it is usually given to animals, terumah vetches may be fed to animals.

 

Mishnah Nine

1)      Vetches of terumah may be given to cattle, to wild beasts or fowls.  

2)      If an Israelite hired a cow from a priest, he may give it vetches of terumah to eat.

a)      But if a priest hired a cow from an Israelite, even though the responsibility of feeding it is his, he must not feed it with vetches of terumah.

3)      If an Israelite undertakes the care of a cow from a priest, he must not feed it with vetches of terumah.

a)      But if a priest undertakes the care of a cow from an Israelite, he may feed it on vetches of terumah. 

 

Explanation

Section one: As stated in the introduction, since vetches are normally given to animals, terumah vetches may also be given to animals. In contrast, food that is normally human food, for instance wheat, cannot be given to animals when it is terumah.

Section two: Animals owned by priests may be given terumah, whereas animals owned by Israelites may not. When an Israelite hires (rents) a cow from a priest, the cow is still considered to be owned by the priest, and therefore the Israelite may give it vetches of terumah to eat.

The same holds true in the other direction—when a priest hires a cow from an Israelite, he may not give it terumah. The mishnah teaches that renting an animal does not establish ownership over it such that its terumah rules would follow the rules governing the renter.

Section three: This section describes a business deal in which one person receives a cow from another person in order to raise the cow and eventually receive a share of the profits. He is like a sharecropper, but with an animal and not land. In this case, unlike the case of the renter, the receiver is considered the owner of the cow and the cow’s terumah rules follow those of the owner. Thus if the receiver was an Israelite, he may not feed the cow terumah, but if the priest was the receiver he may feed the cow terumah.

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