|Tractate Berachot, Chapter 6
Tosefta 191[A person] who was walking to separate Terumah (heave-offering)2 and Maasrot (tithes)3 says [the following Beracha (blessing) before he arrived4 to do the separation]: Baruch [Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Shehigiyanu Lazman Hazeh.5 As he separates them he says [the following Beracha]: Baruch [Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Asher Kideshanu Bemitzvotav Vetzivanu Lehafrish Terumah Umaasrot.6 When does he say [the Beracha over the separation of] them? At the time that he separates them.7
מסכת ברכות פרק ו
היה הולך להפריש תרומה ומעשרות אומר ברוך שהגיענו לזמן הזה. כשהוא מפרישן אומר ברוך אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להפריש תרומה ומעשרות. מאימתי מברך עליהן? בשעה שמפרישן.
- The Tosefta states a new law regarding Berachot. It is not related to any Mishna.
- For a description of what Terumah is see above Tosefta Berachot 1:1, note 4.
- Besides separating Terumah from all fruits and vegetables that grow in the Land of Israel a person is obligated to separate Maaser (tithe) as well. There were three types of Maaser, only two of which needed to be separated at any given time. Maaser Rishon was the First Tithe, which consisted of 1/10th of the produce that remained after Terumah (which is 1/50th) has been separated. That 10th was given over to the Levi. After Maaser Rishon was separated another 1/10th of the remaining produce had to eb separated for Maaser Sheni – Second Tithe. Maaser Sheni was then brought to Jerusalem by the owner and was eaten there. Maaser Sheni was only separated on 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th years of the Shemitah cycle. On 3rd and 6th years of the Shemitah cycle a instead of Maaser Sheni a different tithe called Maaser Ani – The Tithe of the Poor was separated. It consisted of 1/10th of the remaining produce after Maaser Rishon and was distributed to the poor where ever the person who separated it lived. In the 7th year, called Shemitah (Sabbatical Year) no Terumot and Maasrot were separated, because all produce that grew was considered to be ownerless. See Vayikra 25:1-6. The Torah describes the various tithes in different places. Maaser Rishon is described in Bemidbar 12:21-32, Maaser Sheni in Devarim 14:22-27 and Maaser Ani in Devarim 14:28-29. The produce itself prior to the removal of the tithes was called Tevel (טבל) and was forbidden to be eaten until everything that was required was separated from it. The etymology of the word Tevel is not clear. Aruch Hashalem, by Dr. Alexander Kahut (Vol. 4, p. 10, entry טבל) says that in his opinion it comes from the word תבל which comes from the word בלל which in turn means “mixture”, meaning that tithes are still mixed into Tevel produce. However the Aruch itself, by Rabeinu Natan from Rome, says that it comes from word טבלא which is really a Greek word τάβλα, which means “tablet”. He explains that just like a wooden tablet cannot be eaten so too Tevel cannot be eaten until Teruma and Maasrot are removed. I have also seen another etymology of the word טבל on the internet, although I do not know what is its source, that it comes from two words, טב לא, which is like saying לא טוב, meaning “not good”, implying that the Tevel produce is not good for eating until Terumah and Maasrot are removed. From all of these explanations it appears that the word Tevel is not a native Hebrew word, but rather some kind of slang that was made to sound like Hebrew. Although the Torah does not require for the Terumah and Maasrot to be separated at the same time, usually it was done together, because the people wanted to make their food allowed for consumption. Therefore the separations were usually done together and only one Beracha was established for all of them.
- Since this Beracha is not said over separation of the tithes, but rather seems to be said on the fact that now the produce has been piled up and is ready to be tithed, it is said as the person gets ready to walk over to the pile to take off the tithes.
- For the translation and description of the Beracha of Shehecheyanu see above Tosefta 6:14, note 5. It seems that the purpose of saying this Beracha prior to removing Terumah and Maasrot is to emphasize the person’s excitement over the fact that he has collected produce that is ready to be eaten, similar to the way that he says it when he has completed making something with which he can perform a Mitzva (commandment). See above Toseftot 6:14-15. It should be noted that the statement of the Tosefta about saying the Beracha of Shehecheyanu before taking off Terumah and Maasrot is only present in the Vienna manuscript. It is not present in the Erfurt manuscript or any of the printed editions of the Tosefta.
- ברוך אתה ה’ אלוהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להפריש תרומה ומעשרות – Blessed You Hashem, our God, King of the world, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to separate Terumah (heave offering) and Maasrot (tithes). This Beracha is said immediately before separating Terumah and Maasrot as all Berachot for Mitzvot are said immediately prior to the performance of the Mitzva, as was explained above in Tosefta 6:14, note 3.
- At first the Tosefta’s comment seems obvious. However, the reason that the Tosefta emphasizes that the Beracha has to be said right before he separates the tithes is because we may think that he should say the Beracha not when he separates them, but rather when he physically gives them to the Kohen and the Levi, as is done in the case of Pidyon Haben (The Redemption of the First Born) where the father of the baby says the Beracha over the Pidyon Haben, not when he sets aside the money, but rather when he physically gives it to the Kohen. Eventhough both Terumah and Pidyon Haben are priestly gifts they are not exactly equivalent in their obligation. The main obligation of the tithes is to separate them from the produce, but they do not have to be given to the Kohen, where as the Mitzva of Pidyon Haben is to give the money to the Kohen and not just to set it aside. See the Rosh (Bechorot chapter 1, paragraph 14, on page 63b in the left column in the back of the Vilna edition of Talmud Bavli) who explains a similar concept regarding the Beracha for the Mitzvah of Peter Chamor (The Redemption of the First Born Donkey), where he says that the Beracha for Peter Chamor is said before the donkey is redeemed for a sheep and not when the sheep is physically given to the Kohen, because the main Mitzvah is to redeem it, where as by Pidyion Haben the main Mitzvah is to give the Kohen the money as I already explained.