From the Rav’s Desk: How to separate Maaser from Lemons-Maaser Ani or Maaser Sheiyni

  1. Question: [Monday, 6th Teves 5781]

How does one separate Teruma and Maasros from a lemon tree? My main question is regarding its years of Maasros and how to calculate when it belongs to the year of Maaser Sheiyni and when it belongs to the year of Maaser Ani. Do we follow the time that it is picked off the tree or the time that it blossomed and do we follow the first of Tishreiy or the 15th of Shevat?



Regarding all fruit trees, including citrus trees such as lemon, we always follow the 15th of Shevat to determine the Maaser year. There is a question and dispute however regarding if the determining factor of a citrus tree is it’s time of blossom, or when it is plucked off the tree. Practically due to this, whenever the plucking off the tree and blossoming takes place in two different years of Maaser, such as if the blossom took place in year five [i.e. Maaser Sheiyni], and the picking off the tree took place in year 6 after the 15th of Shevat [i.e. Maaser Ani], then one should remove from it both Maaser Sheiyni and Maaser Ani due to doubt. In such a case, a blessing is not said when redeeming the Maaser Sheiyni. However, if there is no doubt, such as both the blossom and picking took place in the fifth year then one is to only remove Maaser Sheiyni. If the picking took place in the fourth year after the 15th of Shevat, but it is possible that the blossom took place prior to the 15th of Shevat, which is still the third year for fruits, then once again we take off both Maasros due to doubt.

Explanation: By vegetables we follow the first of Tishreiy for their new year of Maaser and determine which year they belong to based on when they are picked off the ground [i.e. Lekita]. However, by fruits we follow the 15th of Shevat for their new year of Maaser and determine which year they belong to based on when they blossom [i.e. Chanata]. Now regarding citrus fruit, such as lemons, while they are viewed like fruits to follow the 15th of Shevat, it is questionable whether they are viewed like a vegetable or like a fruit regarding if the blossom order gathering determines its relevant year. While Talmudic sources discuss Esrogim as having a similar law to that of vegetables regarding following the time that they are remove the tree [i.e. Lekita], the sources do not discuss other citrus fruits which thus leads us to a doubt as to their status with some Poskim concluding that one should follow the same was that of other trees and follow only the Chanat, while others conclude to give it the same law as a Esrog to follow the Lekita. Practically, the directed approach is to be stringent like both opinions.


Sources: See regarding the 15th of Shevat being the Shenas Maaser for all fruits including Esrogim: Y.D. 331:57; See regarding Esrogim: Mishneh Bikurim 2:6; Kiddushin 3a; Rosh Hashanah 14; Rashi R”H 12b; Rambam 4:12; Grach Naah p. 11; See regarding other citrus fruits: Rash Sirilio on Yerushalmi Shevi’is 8:22 [regarding lemon he rules to follow gathering like an Esrog]; Chazon Ish Shevi’is 7:16; Kilayim 3:7; Kuntrus Hilchos Terumos Umaasros 4:4 [concludes it’s a doubt and one should therefore be stringent like both opinions]; Beir Chaim 47 that Rav SZ”A would rule to always follow the Chanata by all citric fruits

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