February 14, 2023

Nedarim 59

Today’s daf (Nedarim 59b) raises a question about the repetition of the word עַשֵּׂר (meaning ‘tithe’) in the verse: עַשֵּׂר תְּעַשֵּׂר אֵת כָּל תְּבוּאַת זַרְעֶךָ – ‘tithe, you shall tithe, all the produce of your seed’ (Devarim 14:22), and it answers (as explained by the Ran) that there are times when there is a duty to tithe produce that was already tithed – meaning that if someone replanted produce that had already been tithed, and the plant then grows further, then they must tithe the produce once again. And why is this so? It is because we view produce from the new growth as new produce.
Admittedly, some people this rule may seem excessive. However, I see it differently, and this is because it validates the idea that growth changes us, and that by growing, we become a different version of ourselves.
Still, a simple question could be asked on this explanation, because surely tithes should only be taken just according to the extra amount of growth of the produce. Yet this is not what the Gemara seems to be saying. In fact, the Rambam (Ma’aser 6:4) explicitly rules that, ‘if one separated [tithes] from a litra of onions and sowed them, one should not separate the tithes according to the reckoning of the increase. Instead, [tithes should be taken] according to the entire sum of the crop.’ But why, if only a little growth has occurred, must one tithe ‘according to the entire sum of the crop’?
The answer, I believe, is both simple, profound, and a worthy thought to leave you with as we enter Shabbat Chanukah: that when someone grows in one way, it changes them in every way.
In this article:
Share on social media:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on telegram

More articles