Tuesday, April 04, 2006

trumah and maaser

In Israel there are certain laws that you have to follow that you don't have to follow outside of Israel. Some of these laws include taking off a portion of fruit and vegetables and leaving them aside for other purposes that aren't relevant today. However, you can't eat the food until this portion has been taken off. This is called Terumah and Maaser. Actually 2 out of every 7 years you are supposed to give the maaser to poor people, and we actually do that today by giving them the value of a tenth of the produce.

We have some fruit trees in our yard and it is a pain to take off each time you pluck a lemon, for example. So I asked a friend about it and he said that you can take off one time from all the ripe fruit that is still on the tree. So we took off some fruit and said everything that is currently ripe has now had trumah and maaser taken from it. Then we used the fruit without taking off terumah and maaser again.

Another friend of ours told us that we will burn in hell because you are not allowed to do that. He had an English book of the laws that said very specifically you can't do it and if you need to then ask a Rabbi. Which says to me that there are ways to do it, you just have to find out how.

I asked the rabbi and he said that you can't do it. So I went back to my friend who said I could and he said it is straight out in the rambam that you can. So I looked and there in black and white it said that you can take from a single group of trees and take off for the still attached fruit from the same group of trees if they are more then a third grown.

My friend is a Yemenite and they actually paskan by the Rambam, so that was good for him, but I needed to see it in the shulchan aruch, which is how we paskan. Usng pretty much the same words as the rambam, it says pretty clearly in yoridayah that you can do what we wanted to do. So I went back to the rabbi with the book and I said, it seems to say here that I can do what I wanted to do.

The rabbi and I disagreed on the point that the shulchan aruch was making. First it says you can not take off from what was not attached onto what is attached and then it says but you can if it is from the same group of trees. I thought the maiun difference was it is from the same group of trees and he thought that it was saying something else.

In any case, the rabbi is going to look it up in a sefer that is clearer on this subject. He thinks he remembers that the main problem is that if it grows an extra inch then I am still obligated to take off from that extra inch.

I'll keep you updated.

1 comment:

qwed said...

You mentioned that you know of someone who had a book in English on the laws of terumah and maaser. I am looking for such a book. Is there any way you can inquire as to the name and publisher of the book? Many Thanks.