Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend


52. Firstborn [and Animal Tithes] - Bechoros

We are commanded to set aside all male firstborn of humans, clean animals, and asses, as it says "Sanctify to Me every firstborn of the children of Israel, everything that opens the womb of man and of animal".1 Human and asses' firstborn are redeemed and their redemption price belongs to the priests; but the firstborn of a clean animal cannot be redeemed -- it is offered as a sacrifice and the priests eat its flesh in Jerusalem, as it says "[And Ha-Shem said to Aaron... everything that opens the womb... of man and animal shall be yours;] but you shall redeem the human firstborn and the firstborn of the unclean animal you shall redeem... but a firstborn ox or firstborn sheep or firstborn goat you shall not redeem; they are holy... and their flesh shall be yours"2; [and it says "You must not eat in your gates... the firstborn of your cattle and flocks... rather, before Ha-Shem your G-d you shall eat it..."3]. If it cannot be offered as a sacrifice because of a blemish it still belongs to the priests, as it says "[Every firstborn that is born in your sheep and cattle you shall declare holy to Ha-Shem your G-d... before Ha-Shem your G-d you shall eat it...] but if it has a blemish... you shall not sacrifice it to Ha-Shem your G-d; you shall eat it in your gates...".4 This commandment applies even when the Temple does not exist, in which case nothing can be done with a firstborn that has no blemish.a

We are commanded to set aside one out of every ten cattle, sheep or goats that are born in our possession each year, and it is forbidden to redeem them, as it says "And all tithes of cattle and flocks... the tenth shall be holy to Ha-Shem... it shall not be redeemed".5 The sages instituted that this not be done when the Temple does not exist. It is offered as a sacrifice and the owner eats its flesh in Jerusalem; if it has a blemish it can be eaten anywhere.b

Sources:

1. Ex. 13:2 a. 1:1-5,10,17
2. Num. 18:15-18 b. 6:1-2,4
3. Deut. 12:17-18
4. Deut. 15:19,21
5. Lev. 27:32-33



 


ARTICLES ON VAYIGASH AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

The Essence of Reproof
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

A Little Oil Goes a Long Way
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

Chanukah, Chutzpah, and Coming Close to G-d
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

> Jewish Identity Through Jewish Education
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

Never Discount the Minority
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

The Meaning of Miracles
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

At Last, The Final Approach
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Performances and Customs
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Mitzvah Lamp
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

All in a Day's Work
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

Lighting Up the Streets
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Those Small Jars
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

ArtScroll

Chanukah and Mechiras Yosef: The Hidden Connection
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Smelling The Fragrance Of Hope
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5768

Redemption At A Moment's Notice
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Thanks for What?
Shlomo Katz - 5774



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information