Torah Sparks

United Synagogue (USCJ) is proud and delighted to bring you Torah Sparks, with insights and learning materials on the Parasha (Torah portion) of the week. Torah Sparks is produced by the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Each week there will be a Dvar Torah - a discussion on some aspect of the reading, by CY faculty, alumni and friends; a Vort - a short thought from Chasidic rebbes or other thinkers about some point in the text; and Table Talk - questions to stimulate discussion on the Parsha around the Shabbat table. Torah Sparks is available here on the Conservative Yeshiva's Shiurim Online Beit Midrash website, as well as by subscription to weekly graphical emails. Please select the Parasha you would like to see - it will display articles from each year. A printable PDF is linked at the end of each week's presentation.

Terumot

Introduction to Terumot

Introduction to Terumot   Terumah (sometimes translated as “heave offering”—a name I despise, for obvious reasons) is the name of the agricultural gift given to the priest.  In addition, when a Levite receives his tithe he must afterwards give terumah from his tithe to the priest. For ease of reference, below are the biblical verses […]

Terumot, Chapter 1, Mishnah 1

Terumot, Chapter One Mishnah One   Introduction The first mishnah in Terumot deals with who may separate terumah from a person’s produce such that the separation is considered valid. We shall see that there are several important principles that make one qualified to separate terumah.   Mishnah One Five may not give terumah, and if […]

Terumot, Chapter 1, Mishnah 10

Terumot, Chapter One, Mishnah Ten   Introduction This mishnah completes the series of mishnayot that taught that terumah cannot be taken from one pile of produce that is one stage of processing on behalf of another pile that is in a different, either more advanced or less advanced, stage in its processing.   Mishnah Ten […]

Terumot, Chapter 1, Mishnah 2

Terumot, Chapter One, Mishnah Two   Introduction Our mishnah clarifies the meaning of “heresh” which I translated in yesterday’s mishnah to mean “deaf-mute.”   Mishnah Two 1)      A “heresh”, who speaks but cannot hear, may not give terumah, but if he does so, his terumah is terumah.  2)      The “heresh” of whom the sages generally […]

Terumot, Chapter 1, Mishnah 3

Terumot, Chapter One, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah brings in a debate with regard to terumah separated by a minor.   Mishnah Three 1)      A minor who has not yet produced two [pubic] hairs: Rabbi Judah says: his terumah is terumah. 2)      Rabbi Yose says: if he has not arrived at the age when […]

Terumot, Chapter 1, Mishnah 4

Terumot, Chapter One, Mishnah Four   Introduction Our mishnah teaches that one should not take terumah from something that has not been completely processed for a product from the same type of produce that has already been processed.   Mishnah Four 1)      They should not take terumah from olives for oil, or from grapes for […]

Terumot, Chapter 1, Mishnah 5

Terumot, Chapter One, Mishnah Five   Introduction Most of this mishnah teaches that one cannot take terumah from one category of produce in order to exempt another category of produce.   Mishnah Five 1)      They do not take terumah from ‘gleanings’, from ‘the forgotten sheaf’, from peah or from ownerless produce. 2)      [Neither is it […]

Terumot, Chapter 1, Mishnah 6

Terumot, Chapter One, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah is the foil to the first mishnah of the tractate, where we learned of five categories of people who may not give terumah and if they do, their terumah is not terumah. Today we learn of five categories of people who should not give terumah, but […]

Terumot, Chapter 1, Mishnah 7

Terumot, Chapter One, Mishnah Seven   Introduction As I stated in the introduction, the Torah does not establish a precise measure for how much terumah a person is supposed to give. The rabbis do set a measure, saying that 2 per cent is the standard measure, less is stingy and more is generous. Nevertheless, when […]

Terumot, Chapter 1, Mishnah 8

Terumot, Chapter One, Mishnah Eight   Introduction This mishnah is a foil to mishnah four above, where we learned that one does not give terumah from an unfinished product in order to exempt a finished product. Here we learn that one also should not give terumah from a finished product for an unfinished product. However, […]

Terumot, Chapter 1, Mishnah 9

Terumot, Chapter One, Mishnah Nine   Introduction This mishnah continues to deal with the topic of giving terumah from finished produce for unfinished produce.   Mishnah Nine 1)      They may give terumah from oil for pickled olives, or from wine for grapes made into raisins. 2)      Behold, he gave terumah from oil for olives intended […]

Terumot, Chapter 10, Mishnah 1

Terumot, Chapter Ten, Mishnah One   Introduction This chapter deals with terumah that has been placed together in a dish with hullin after it has been cooked, and with whether the whole mixture has to be treated like terumah.   Mishnah One An onion [of terumah] was placed into lentils: 1)      If the onion was […]

Terumot, Chapter 10, Mishnah 10

Terumot, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Ten   Introduction This mishnah deals with vegetables that are pickled together.   Mishnah Ten 1)      [Vegetables] pickled together are permitted, except [when pickled] with allium (onions, garlic, leeks).   2)      Allim of hullin [pickled] with allium of terumah, or other vegetables of hullin with leeks of terumah are forbidden. 3)      But […]

Terumot, Chapter 10, Mishnah 11

Terumot, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Eleven   Mishnah Eleven 1)      Rabbi Yose says: Anything stewed with [terumah] beets becomes forbidden, because they impart a flavor. 2)      Rabbi Shimon says: cabbage from a field artificially irrigated [that is stewed] with [terumah] cabbage from a field watered by rain, is forbidden because it absorbs.   3)      Rabbi Akiba says: […]

Terumot, Chapter 10, Mishnah 12

Terumot, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Twelve   Mishnah Twelve 1)      If an egg is boiled with forbidden spices even its yolk is forbidden, because it absorbs.   2)      The water in which terumah has been stewed or pickled is forbidden to non-priests.   Explanation Section one: Even the yoke of an egg will take on the taste […]

Terumot, Chapter 10, Mishnah 2

Terumot, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      If an apple [of terumah] was chopped and placed into dough [of hullin] so that it leavened it, [the dough] is forbidden.  2)      If barley [of terumah] fell into a cistern of water, though [the barley] stinks up the water, the water is permissible.   Explanation […]

Terumot, Chapter 10, Mishnah 3

Terumot, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three One who removes warm bread from an oven and places it over an open barrel of terumah wine: 1)      Rabbi Meir says: it is forbidden. 2)      Rabbi Judah permits it. 3)      Rabbi Yose permits the bread of wheat but not of barley, because barley absorbs.   Explanation […]

Terumot, Chapter 10, Mishnah 4

Terumot, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Four   Introduction Our mishnah teaches that hullin that absorbs the smell of something that was terumah is still permitted to non-priests.   Mishnah Four If an oven was heated with cumin of terumah and bread was baked in it, the bread is permitted, for there is no taste of cumin, […]

Terumot, Chapter 10, Mishnah 5

Terumot, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Five   Introduction Both the seeds and the stalk of fenugreek can impart flavor to something they are mixed in with. This mishnah deels with fenugreek which falls into a vat of wine.   Mishnah Five Fenugreek which fell into a vat of wine: 1)      If it was terumah or second […]

Terumot, Chapter 10, Mishnah 6

Terumot, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Six   Introduction The mishnah continues to deal with laws concerning fenugreek.   Mishnah Six 1)      If one had bunches of fenugreek of mixed seeds of the vineyard, they must be burned.   2)      If he had bunches of fenugreek of untithed produce, he must beat them and calculate the amount of […]

Terumot, Chapter 10, Mishnah 7

Terumot, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah discusses hullin olives that were pickled together with terumah olives.   Mishnah Seven 1)      Olives of hullin which were pickled together with olives of terumah, whether it was a case where crushed [olives] of hullin [which were pickled together] with crushed [olives] of terumah, or crushed […]

Terumot, Chapter 10, Mishnah 8

Terumot, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Eight   Introduction This mishnah deals with brine that comes from a barrel in which unclean fish were mixed with clean fish.   Mishnah Eight Unclean fish which was pickled with clean fish: 1)      If the jug contains two seahs and the unclean fish weighs ten zuz in Judean measure, which […]

Terumot, Chapter 10, Mishnah 9

Terumot, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Nine   Introduction Leviticus 11:22 states that some locusts can be eaten, but according to the rabbis there are other types of locusts that may not be eaten. In the time of the Mishnah they knew how to tell the difference between the kosher and the non-kosher locusts, but most Jews […]

Terumot, Chapter 11, Mishnah 1

Terumot, Chapter Eleven, Mishnah One   Introduction Our mishnah teaches that a priest shouldn’t perform actions with terumah that causes it to be ruined.   Mishnah One 1)      One must not put a cake of pressed [terumah] figs or dried [terumah] figs into fish-brine, since it spoils them. 2)      But one may place [terumah] wine […]

Terumot, Chapter 11, Mishnah 10

Terumot, Chapter Eleven, Mishnah Ten   Introduction When terumah oil becomes impure it must be burnt. The priest may benefit from the burning of the oil, but a non-priest generally cannot, just as he cannot benefit from eating teruamh. Our mishnah teaches that in certain circumstances, anyone can benefit from the burning of the terumah […]

Terumot, Chapter 11, Mishnah 2

Terumot, Chapter Eleven, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah deals with the halakhic status of various types of fruit juices made from terumah.   Mishnah Two 1)      [A non-priest drank] honey of dates, wine of apples, vinegar from winter grapes, and all other kinds of fruit juice of terumah:  a)      Rabbi Eliezer makes him liable […]

Terumot, Chapter 11, Mishnah 3

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 […]

Terumot, Chapter 11, Mishnah 4

Terumot, Chapter Eleven, Mishnah Four   Mishnah Four The stems of fresh figs and dried figs, klisim and carobs of terumah are forbidden to non-priests.   Explanation The mishnah lists either parts of fruits or types of fruits that priests generally don’t care about, and yet still count as terumah and are therefore prohibited to […]

Terumot, Chapter 11, Mishnah 5

Terumot, Chapter Eleven, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah deals with the status of the parts of produce that are not generally eaten, but that sometimes might be. There are two related questions here: 1) can non-priests eat these parts?  2) Can the priest throw these parts away, without concern for the prohibitions of throwing […]

Terumot, Chapter 11, Mishnah 6

Terumot, Chapter Eleven, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah deals with a person who is cleaning out a storehouse that had been used to store terumah wheat.   Mishnah Six If a store-chamber was cleared of terumah wheat, they do not need to force him to sit down and collect each grain, but rather he […]

Terumot, Chapter 11, Mishnah 7

Terumot, Chapter Eleven, Mishnah Seven   Introduction Yesterday we learned that when one is cleaning out a storehouse of terumah wheat, one can clean it out in a normal fashion and he need not be worried about cleaning out every last grain of terumah. In today’s mishnah we learn that the same halakhah is true […]

Terumot, Chapter 11, Mishnah 8

Terumot, Chapter Eleven, Mishnah Eight   Introduction This mishnah continues to deal with someone clearing out a container that had been used to store terumah and which he now wants to use to store hullin, a similar topic to that in the previous two mishnayot.   Mishnah Eight 1)      One who pours from jar to […]

Terumot, Chapter 11, Mishnah 9

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 […]

Terumot, Chapter 2, Mishnah 1

Terumot, Chapter Two, Mishnah One   Introduction One must give terumah from both pure and impure produce. The priest will be able to use the pure terumah for its general purpose and the impure produce he will have to burn but he can enjoy the produce while it is being burned. For instance, if he […]

Terumot, Chapter 2, Mishnah 2

Terumot, Chapter Two, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah is the opposite of yesterday’s mishnah. Here we learn what happens if a person tries to give terumah from impure produce for pure produce. Obviously, this is much more problematic, because the impure terumah is far less useful to the kohen.   Mishnah Two 1)      They […]

Terumot, Chapter 2, Mishnah 3

Terumot, Chapter Two, Mishnah Three   Introduction Our mishnah teaches other cases in halakhah where if someone did something prohibited unintentionally, he may benefit from it, but if he did it intentionally, he may not benefit from it.   Mishnah Three 1)      One who immerses [unclean] vessels on Shabbat: a)      If unwittingly, he may use […]

Terumot, Chapter 2, Mishnah 4

Terumot, Chapter Two, Mishnah Four   Introduction This mishnah deals with the rule that one cannot give terumah from one kind of produce on behalf of another. The second half of the mishnah deals with giving the terumah to the priest.   Mishnah Four 1)      They may not give terumah from one kind for another […]

Terumot, Chapter 2, Mishnah 5

Terumot, Chapter Two, Mishnah Five   Introduction Our mishnah deals with giving terumah from onions.   Mishnah Five 1)      They should give terumah of a whole small onion, and not of half of a large onion.   2)      Rabbi Judah says: not so, rather half of a large onion.    3)      So too, Rabbi Judah says: […]

Terumot, Chapter 2, Mishnah 6

Terumot, Chapter Two, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah continues to discuss giving terumah from one species for another.   Mishnah Six 1)      They may give terumah from olives [to be used] for oil for those to be preserved, but not from olives due to be preserved for olives [to be used] for oil. 2)      […]

Terumot, Chapter 3, Mishnah 1

Terumot, Chapter Three, Mishnah One   Introduction This mishnah deals with a person who gave something as terumah that seemed to be good when he gave it but turned out to be bad afterwards.   Mishnah One 1)      If one gave a cucumber as terumah and it was found to be bitter, a melon and […]

Terumot, Chapter 3, Mishnah 2

Terumot, Chapter Three, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah is a direct continuation of the end of yesterday’s mishnah. There we learned that if a person is not sure if the wine he gave as terumah was vinegar when he gave it, the first terumah counts and he must give terumah again. The end of […]

Terumot, Chapter 3, Mishnah 3

Terumot, Chapter Three, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah deals with two partners who jointly own a pile of produce and each gives terumah. For instance, they together own 50 seahs of wheat and each gives 1 seah of terumah (2 per cent). The question is, are both terumah? Neither? One and not the other? […]

Terumot, Chapter 3, Mishnah 4

Terumot, Chapter Three, Mishnah Four   Introduction Today’s mishnah continues the discussion in yesterday’s mishnah concerning a partner who gives terumah from shared property. Our mishnah teaches that one person can give another member of his household permission to give terumah on his behalf.   Mishnah Four 1)      To what does this apply? Only if […]

Terumot, Chapter 3, Mishnah 5

Terumot, Chapter Three, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah discusses ways in which one can designate terumah or tithes within a pile of produce.   Mishnah Five 1)      If one says: “The terumah of this pile is within it,” or, “its tithes are within it,” or, “the terumah of tithe [terumat maaser] is within it:” […]

Terumot, Chapter 3, Mishnah 6

Terumot, Chapter Three, Mishnah Six   Introduction Below in mishnah seven we will learn that bikkurim, first fruits, should be taken from produce before one takes out the terumah. Today we learn that if one nevertheless gives the offerings in the wrong order, his actions are valid.   Mishnah Six He who gives terumah before […]

Terumot, Chapter 3, Mishnah 7

Terumot, Chapter Three, Mishnah Seven   Introduction In yesterday’s mishnah we learned that one must first separate “first-fruits (bikkurim)” from one’s produce and only afterwards separate terumah, then first tithe and finally second tithe. Today’s mishnah provides the scriptural support for this order.   Mishnah Seven 1)      From where do we derive that first-fruits must […]

Terumot, Chapter 3, Mishnah 8

Terumot, Chapter Three, Mishnah Eight   Introduction This mishnah deals with a person who intends to say one thing but instead says another. Is there any validity to either his words or to his intent?   Mishnah Eight 1)      He who intends saying ‘terumah’ and says ‘tithe’, or ‘tithe’ and says ‘terumah’; 2)      ‘Burnt-offering’ and […]

Terumot, Chapter 3, Mishnah 9

Terumot, Chapter Three, Mishnah Nine   Introduction Our mishnah teaches that if a non-Jew sets aside terumah, his act is valid and that which he designates terumah is indeed terumah.   Mishnah Nine 1)      Terumah given by a non-Jew or a Samaritan is terumah and their tithes are tithes and their dedications [to the Temple] […]

Terumot, Chapter 4, Mishnah 1

Terumot, Chapter Four, Mishnah One   Mishnah One 1)      One who sets aside only part of terumah and tithes, may take terumah from that [heap], but he may not take terumah from it for other produce. 2)      Rabbi Meir says: he can also take terumah and tithes for produce elsewhere.   Explanation Section one: A […]

Terumot, Chapter 4, Mishnah 10

Terumot, Chapter Four, Mishnah Ten   Introduction Yesterday’s mishnah ended with a note that Rabbi Joshua was more lenient than Rabbi Eliezer. Today we learn that in a different, yet similar case, Rabbi Joshua was more stringent.   Mishnah Ten But in this, Rabbi Eliezer is more lenient and Rabbi Joshua more stringent. One was […]

Terumot, Chapter 4, Mishnah 11

Terumot, Chapter Four, Mishnah Eleven   Introduction Our mishnah continues to deal with cases of terumah getting mixed in with hullin and again we see that Rabbi Joshua and Rabbi Eliezer disagree.   Mishnah Eleven 1)      A seah of terumah which fell on top of a pile and he skimmed it off:   a)      Rabbi Eliezer […]

Terumot, Chapter 4, Mishnah 12

Terumot, Chapter Four, Mishnah Twelve   Mishnah Twelve Two baskets or two piles and a seah of terumah fell on top of one of them and it is not known into which it had fallen, they bring up the terumah in the other.   Rabbi Shimon says: even if they are in two cities, they bring […]

Terumot, Chapter 4, Mishnah 13

Terumot, Chapter Four, Mishnah Thirteen   Mishnah Thirteen Rabbi Yose said: A case once came before Rabbi Akiva concerning fifty bundles of vegetables into which a bundle of the same size had fallen, half of which was terumah. And I said in front of him, that it can be brought up, not because terumah can […]

Terumot, Chapter 4, Mishnah 2

Terumot, Chapter Four, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two If one had his produce in a storehouse, and he gave a seah to a Levite and a seah to a poor person, he may set aside another eight seahs and eat them, the words of Rabbi Meir. But the sages say: he may only set aside […]

Terumot, Chapter 4, Mishnah 3

Terumot, Chapter Four, Mishnah Three   Introduction As I stated in the introduction the Torah does not prescribe how much terumah a person must give as it does for tithe. Our mishnah gives recommendations as to how much a person should give.   Mishnah Three 1)      The amount of terumah: a)      A generous amount: one […]

Terumot, Chapter 4, Mishnah 4

Terumot, Chapter Four, Mishnah Four   Introduction One can appoint a messenger (or agent) to separate terumah on his behalf. The question that our mishnah asks is, how much terumah should the messenger take out?   Mishnah Four 1)      One who says to his messenger: “Go and give terumah [for me],” he should give terumah […]

Terumot, Chapter 4, Mishnah 5

Terumot, Chapter Four, Mishnah Five   Introduction In mishnah three we learned the minimum amounts that one can give as terumah. Today we learn the maximum amounts.   Mishnah Five One who wishes to give more terumah:   1)      Rabbi Eliezer says: he may give up to a tenth part, as in the case of heave-offering […]

Terumot, Chapter 4, Mishnah 6

Terumot, Chapter Four, Mishnah Six   Mishnah Six 1)      On three occasions they measure the contents of the basket:   2)      At the full time of the first ripe fruits, and of the late summer fruits, and in the middle of the summer.   3)      He who counts [the fruit] is praiseworthy, he who measures it is […]

Terumot, Chapter 4, Mishnah 7

Terumot, Chapter Four, Mishnah Seven   Introduction I have already explained on several occasions that if terumah falls into non-sacred produce it renders the entire mixture “medumma.” “Medumma” is doubtful terumah and it can only be eaten by a priest. However, if the amount of non-sacred produce was large enough, the terumah can be removed, […]

Terumot, Chapter 4, Mishnah 8

Terumot, Chapter Four, Mishnah Eight   Introduction Our mishnah deals with the issue of whether the kind of terumah that fell into the hullin (non-sacred produce) must be exactly like all of the hullin into which it fell.   Mishnah Eight 1)      Rabbi Joshua says: black figs can bring up white ones, and white ones […]

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