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Tractate Peah, Chapter 1, Tosefta 11

November 23rd, 2009 No comments
Tractate Peah, Chapter 1

Tosefta 111

[If a person] harvested [only] half [of his field, and not the whole field] and [then he] sold what he has harvested, [or] he harvested [only] half [of his field, and not the whole field] and [then he] sanctified (i.e. donated to the Bet Hamikdash (Temple))2 what he has harvested, he gives Peah (corners of the field) from what [crops] remain [in the field] for everything [including what he already sold or sanctified.]3, 4

מסכת פאה פרק א

תוספתא יא

קצר חציה ומכר את הקציר קצר חציה והקדיש את הקציר נותן פאה מן המשוייר על הכל.

Notes:

  1. Mishna Peah 2:8 states that if a person harvested only half of his field and then sold the other half of his field then the buyer of the second half has to give Peah for the whole field including the first half that was harvested by the original owner. Also if a person harvested half of his field and then sanctified the second half of his field, meaning that he donated it to the Bet Hamikdash and then the treasurer of the Bet Hamikdash sold it off for money, then whoever bought it from the Temple treasury has to give Peah for the whole field, including the first half that was harvested by the original owner. The Tosefta cites a similar case to the case in the Mishna but with a difference that in the end half of the field remained not harvested and the first half that was harvested was either sold or sanctified by the owner, then the original owner of the field is responsible for giving Peah from the remaining half and not the buyer of the produce as is in the case of the Mishna.
  2. By Torah law a person can sanctify any object in his possession and that way donate it or its value to the Bet Hamikdash. This is specifically known as Hekdish (הקדש), meaning “consecrated”. Generally there were three types of donations to the Temple. A person could donate cash, an animal that was fitting for a sacrifice, or any other object, including property. Donations of cash were done for various reasons, such as Machatzit Hashekel (מחצית השקל), which was an annual donations of half a shekel to the Temple that had to be given by all male Jews (see Shemot 30:11-16), or a person could give his value, Erech (ערך), as specified in the Torah (see Vayikra 27:1-8), or a person could simply give a cash donation to the Temple for no specific reason. Donations of animals that were fit to be brought as sacrifices were known as Kadshei Mizbeach (קדשי מזבח), meaning “consecrated for the altar”. Donations of all other objects, including property, were known as Kadshei Bedek Habayit (קדשי בדק הבית), meaning “consecrated for repairs of the building.” The money that was donated in these different ways had to be tracked separately and was spent on different things in the Bet Hamikdash. Donated objects and property, Kadshei Bedek Habayit, were collected by the Temple treasury and then auctioned off for cash. The different ways that in which the Temple treasury used the money from various donations are discussed in various places in the Mishna, the Tosefta and the Talmud, most of them in tractates Shekalim, Arachin and Meilah.
  3. The farmer would have to give the minimum amount of Peah that is Rabbinically required, which is 1/60th of the total produce of the field, as was mentioned above in Tosefta 1:1, note 8. Since the best way to give Peah is considered to be at the end of the harvest, as was mentioned above in Tosefta 1:5, the farmer did not have to set it aside until he completely finished harvesting the whole field. Therefore even though he was planning to sell half of the produce of the field before he finished harvesting the rest of the field, he could leave Peah in the end of his harvest to cover the complete amount of crops, including what he sold earlier.
  4. I would like to point out that Pinchas Kehati in his commentary on Mishna Peah 2:8 (Pinchas Kehati, “Mishnayot Mevuarot”, Peah 2:8, Halokeach Noten Peah Lakol) seems to have made a mistake regarding the case mentioned in this Tosefta. He writes that it is obvious (from the Mishna) that if the farmer sold half of the produce and then harvested the second half of the produce for himself, then each owner would have to give Peah for his own produce, the farmer for his half and the buyer for his half. However from this Tosefta it is clear that the buyer of the first half does not have to give any Peah and the farmer has to leave enough Peah from the second half of the produce to cover the whole amount, including what was sold. It seems to me that the reason for this law is since the Mishna (Peah 2:7) states that the main Mitzvah (commandment) is to give Peah from the standing crop, even though the person can give, post factum (Bediavad), from harvested crops, as was mentioned earlier in Tosefta 1:6, the Rabbis required that the responsibility of giving Peah remains with the farmer since he is the one who has access to standing crops in the end of his harvest. Therefore the farmer was obligated to give Peah from the standing crops for the whole amount as opposed to the buyer giving Peah for his half and the farmer giving only for his half.