|Tractate Peah, Chapter 2
A poor person who saw [produce standing in the field] in the amount2 [which appears to be] Peah (corners of the field), whether it is grain, [or] whether it is [fruit growing] on a tree,3 is not allowed to touch it, and it is forbidden [for him to take it] because of [the prohibition of] theft,4 until he makes sure that it is [set aside by the owner of the field for] Peah.5
מסכת פאה פרק ב
עָנִי שֶׁרָאָה כְּדֵי פֵיאָה בֵּין בַּתְּבוּאָה בֵּין בָּאִילָן אֵין רַשַּׁיי לִיגָּע בָּהּ וַאֲסוּרָה מִשּׁוּם גָּזֵל עַד שׁתִּוָּדַע לוֹ שֶׁהוּא פֵאָה.
- The Tosefta continues the discussion from the previous Tosefta of how Peah has to be set aside by the owner as Peah before the poor person is allowed to take it. It is not related to any Mishna.
- The Hebrew word כדי (Kedei) used in this context means “enough for” or “in the amount of”. The Tosefta means to say that the produce is standing isolated in the field and judging by the amount of how much produce is there it was probably left for Peah. See Mishna Peah 1:2 which says that there is no specific amount of produce that the owner must leave for Peah and everything depends on the size of the field and on the amount of poor people in the area, although the owner should not leave less than 1/60th of the field. I suppose that it was still fairly obvious most of the time which produce was left in the field for Peah, because usually it was left in the end of the field where the owner finished harvesting, as was explained above in Tosefta Peah 1:7, and the poor people could see that a little bit of produce was still standing in a harvested field. The only reason why that produce was still standing there is because it was Peah. Otherwise everything would have been harvested without leaving anything at all.
- See Mishna Peah 1:4 about the general rules of which types of produce are obligated in Peah and Mishna Peah 1:5 which lists some examples of fruit which is obligated in Peah.
Chasdei David explains that the reason that the Tosefta needs to separately emphasize that this law applies even to Peah on a tree is because of the following law. Mishna Peah 4:1 states that the owner should not leave Peah on certain types of trees that require climbing for the poor people to climb up and get it, but rather he should cut it down and leave at the bottom of the tree, because it is dangerous to climb such trees and the poor person might get hurt. Due to this the poor person may specifically be inclined to climb up the tree and take Peah first without verifying that it is Peah, because he will think that he is doing the owner a favor by taking it down and not making him climb up and get it himself, since if he asks the owner about it then the owner will most probably climb up the tree and get it for him. Therefore the Tosefta emphasizes that even in the case of a tree the poor person is forbidden to touch the produce until he finds out that the owner intended to leave it for Peah.
- It is not clear why the Tosefta uses this double expression. If the Tosefta would have said that it is forbidden to take it due to theft then obviously he is not allowed to touch it. See Chazon Yechezkel who proposes a reason for this double statement; however his explanation does not fit into the text and does not make any sense to me. I would like to suggest that perhaps the reason the Tosefta uses this double statement is to teach us that the poor person is not allowed to first cut off the produce and then go and find out whether the owner dedicated it for Peah or not. He might even want to do this on purpose in order to for sure get it, because if he goes to the owner with cut produce in his hands and asks him if he meant to leave it for Peah or not, the owner might feel bad for him and give it to him even if he did not intend to leave it for Peah. This is especially true in the case of Peah on a tree where the poor person would be even more inclined to cut it down first, as I already explained in the previous note. Therefore the Tosefta says that the poor person is not even allowed to touch it and it is considered stealing, even if he eventually goes to ask for permission, because perhaps by doing so he will force the owner to give it to him even though the owner did not plan on it originally. The poor person must verify with the owner first that he intentionally left the produce for Peah and only then he is allowed to cut it down.
- See the end of the previous Tosefta where it was explained that the owner must explicitly set the produce aside for Peah even if it was left in the field for that purpose by his workers.