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Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, [1843], at


§ 1. The precept of giving to the priest the firstling of the fleece [Deut. xviii. 4] is obligatory in, and out of the Holy Land, 1 during, and after the existence of the Temple, and applies to animals for profane use [‏חולין‎], but not to consecrated sacrifices. The precept

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concerning the oblation of the shoulder, two cheeks, and maw, is more rigid than that which relates to the firstling of the fleece, in as much as the first-mentioned applies both to cattle and flock, but the latter is limited to sheep, and only when there are a number of them.

§ 2. What is considered "a number"? According to Beth Shammai, two sheep come under this category, since we find it written [Isaiah vii. 21], "A man shall nourish a young cow and two sheep;" but Beth Hillel say, "[At least] five, for it is also written [1 Sam. xxv. 18], 'Five sheep ready dressed.'" 2 R. Dosa ben Arkinar saith, "When the fleece of each of the five sheep amounts to the [minimum] weight of one half maneh, the obligation of paying the firstling of the wool is incurred;" but the sages hold, "That it is incurred as soon as five sheep are shorn, whatever the weight of their fleece may be." What quantity must be given to the priest? The weight of five selahim, in Judea, which are equal to ten selahim in Galilee, of white [i.e. clean], but not of dirty wool, and in sufficient quantity as to make therewith the smallest [sacerdotal] garment, for it is said [Deut. xviii. 5], "Shalt thou give unto him," viz. a sufficient gift [which has some value]. If he could not give it to the priest before it was dyed, he is not bound to give it at all. 3 If the owner of the wool had only bleached, but not yet dyed it, he is bound to give it. If any person buys from a heathen the fleece of sheep [yet to be shorn], he is not bound to pay to the priest the firstling of the fleece. If one Israelite bought it of another, if the seller reserved some of the wool to himself, he is bound to pay this oblation, but if he sold it without such reservation, this obligation is incumbent on the buyer. If he [the seller] had two kinds of wool, gray and white, if he sold the gray but not the white wool, or of rams but not of ewes, 4 each party must pay the oblation to the priest.


351:1 This precept is not considered obligatory, at present, out of the Holy Land.

352:2 In this, as in the preceding, the proof is derived from the expression ‏צאן‎ (flock) in the quoted texts.

352:3 Because he made it his own by the labor he bestowed on it.

352:4 Because the wool of white sheep is considered superior to that of gray, and that of ewes as softer and more valuable than that of rams.

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