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Terumah and Maaser

Terumah and Maaser

The following instructions have been compiled in consultation with Rabbi Yosef Efrati and Rabbi Shaul Reichenberg of the Beit Medrash Govoha for Halacha in Agricultural Settlements.

Before beginning tithing, one should be aware that the procedure is not a religious ceremony to permit the fruit or vegetables to be eaten but is a series of legal/halachic processes which alter the legal/halachic status of the produce, thereby permitting it. One should therefore have a basic understanding of the changes in status the produce will undergo as a result of tithing and fully intend that one’s actions should affect these changes.

Tithing should be done by the owner or his designated agent. A halachic minor (a boy younger than thirteen or a boy younger that twelve) should not tithe. A wife need not ask her husband to specifically appoint her as his agent to tithe produce bought for household use.

Before tithing one should ensure that all the produce being tithed is on the same surface, such as the same table or countertop, and not in separate places.

The first step of the procedure is to set aside just over one percent (1%) of the amount of produce being tithed. One should be certain that the amount set aside is not less that just over one percent of the amount of produce being tithed, but it may be more.

This step may sometimes require only part of a whole fruit or vegetable to be separated. In such a case the amount should be cut from the fruit or vegetable. One should be careful to wash the knife before it is used again with other food.

The separated produce need not be the choicest selection of the produce being tithed but must be edible and may not be spoiled.

Only the edible part of the produce may be reckoned in this amount. For example, the peel of an orange may not constitute part of the designated produce, only the flesh of the fruit.

The separated produce should be placed on a piece of foil or other such material suitable for the separated produce to be wrapped in prior to disposal.

The second step of the procedure is to designate a coin which will be used to redeem the sanctity (maaser sheini or neta revai) of the produce. The value of the coin should be equivalent to the price of one fortieth of a gram of pure silver. Since the price of silver fluctuates considerably, it is prudent to use a coin whose value is triple the current price of a fortieth of a gram of silver.  At the time of writing the price of silver as traded in Canada is $0.69 per gram.

The value of the coin should therefore be at least five cents and so a nickel may be used.

The third step is the actual separation of trumos and maasros followed by the redeeming of maasser sheini and revai. The procedure for this is outlined separately – see accompanying text.

Once the separation is complete the separated produce should be completely wrapped and disposed of. Likewise the coin used for the redeeming of maaser sheini and neta revai should either be destroyed or disposed of in a way that it could not be retrieved and used.

TERUMAH AND MAASER (Hebrew version), Click here to view