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Maaser Sheni 5:15-Challah 1:1

Ma’aser Sheini 5:15

Yochanan the High Priest abolished reciting the confession over tithes. (The Levites did not return from Babylonia in the time of the second Temple, so their tithe was given to the kohanim, making it impossible to recite the statement.) He also abolished the recitation of Psalm 44 during sacrifices (because he considered verse 24, which asks God to “wake up,” inappropriate in this context) and striking the calf between the eyes to daze it prior to sacrifice (because it looks like a blemish). He stopped workers’ hammers in Jerusalem on chol hamoed and he standardized the status of demai (doubtfully tithed produce) so that no one had to ask.

Challah 1:1

Challah is the portion of dough given to the kohanim. Five species of grain are liable in challah: wheat, barley, spelt, oats and rye. These five grains also combine to form the requisite volume for challah, their new crops are prohibited before Pesach, and they may not be harvested before the omer is brought. If these grains took root before the omer, the omer causes them to be permitted. If they took root after the omer was brought, they are prohibited until the next year’s omer.

Author: Rabbi Jack Abramowitz