Terumot, Chapter Eleven, Mishnah Three

 

Introduction

Our mishnah teaches several key halakhic differences between wine and oil, and the products that come from other fruits, such as dates and apples.

 

Mishnah Three

1)      One must not make dates into honey, apples into wine, winter-grapes into vinegar, or change any other kind of fruit that is terumah or second tithe from their natural state, except olives and grapes.  

2)      One does not receive forty lashes on account of orlah except with that which comes from olives and grapes.  

3)      Liquids cannot be brought as first fruits, except with that which comes from olives and grapes.

4)      And no fruit juice is susceptible to uncleanness as liquids except with that which comes from olives and grapes.

5)      And nothing [that is derived from fruit] can be offered on the altar except with that which comes from olives and grapes.

 

Explanation

Section one: As we learned in yesterday’s mishnah, it is forbidden to change the state of fruit which is terumah or second tithe, with the exception of grapes and olives, which can be made into wine and oil. Terumah and second tithe are called “holy” and changing them into juice was considered a reduction in their value. Hence it was prohibited. Wine and oil do not reduce the value of grapes and olives, hence it was permitted.

Section two: It is forbidden to eat the fruit of a tree for the first three years of its existence, and one who does so has transgressed a negative commandment. However, this only refers to eating the fruit. When it comes to drinking liquids that are derived from the fruit, he is only liable to receive forty lashes (the penalty for the transgression of a negative commandment) if he drinks wine or olive oil. While other juices derived from orlah are prohibited, one who drinks them has not transgressed the biblical prohibition of orlah.

Section three: Only wine and olive oil can be brought as first fruits in place of grapes and olives. When it comes to other fruits, the fruit itself must be brought, and not the juice.

Section four: This was taught above at the end of mishnah two—the only liquids derived from fruit that make food susceptible to impurities are wine and oil. Other fruit juices do not.

Section five: The only two “fruit-derivatives” that can be offered on the altar in the Temple are wine and oil, which were a regular part of the Temple service, oil accompanying grain offerings and wine for libations. Other fruit juices are never offered in the Temple.  

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