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Matanot Aniyim, Chapter 2: Laws of Leket

Matanot Aniyim, Chapter 2: Laws of Leket

A brief overview of the laws of leket.

Hilchot Ha'aretz, p. 216
  1. As mentioned in Matanot Aniyim, Chapter 1, 2, following the mitzvah of pe'ah, the Torah commands us "you shall not gather the gleanings of your harvest" (Vayirka 23:22). That is, the sheaves that fall to the ground during the harvest should be left on the ground for the poor to gather.[1]
  2. If one or two sheaves of grain fall to the ground, they are considered leket; three or more sheaves, however, may be gathered by the owner of the field.[2]
  3. The mitzvah of leket applies to all types of crops that pe'ah is relevant to (see Chapter 1, 5); that is: grains, legumes, and vegetables that ripen together in one season and harvested within a specific period of time, which all have long shelf life.[3] Leket, however, does not apply to fruit.[4]
  4. Similar to the mitzvah of pe'ah, given the situation today where the poor will not come to gather leket and it is not economically worthwhile for them, the mitzvah of leket does not apply (see Chapter 1, 7).




[1] Rambam, Hilchot Matanot Aniyim 1:4.

[2] Ibid., 4:1

[3] Minchat Chinuch, mitzvah 218 according to the Rambam; he is uncertain whether according to Rabeinu Tam (cited in Chapter 1, n. 6), the laws of leket are the same as those of pe'ah, and so they only apply from the Torah to grains (since leket does not apply to fruit; see note 4 below), or if it is different than pe'ah and it applies also to legumes and vegetables.

[4] Rambam. Ibid., 1:7, based on Chulin 131a. The mitzvah that parallels leket in the vineyard is peret; see Chapter 4 below.