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Separating terumot and ma’aserot at a cherry picking festival

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There is a cherry picking festival taking place in Gush Etzion, and I’d like to go with a few friends. You can pick cherries, blueberries, and raspberries.

  1. Is there a problem with orlah (is there supervision by the Gush Etzion rabbinate)?
  2. If we pay upfront and it’s “all you can eat,” how can we eat the fruit without first taking terumot and ma’aserot, and at which point do we need to separate them? The same question regarding eating the fruit in the car on the way home.
  3. I know there are guidelines about checking fruit for infestation (and that raspberries are very difficult to check). Do you have current information about infestation status?

This seems like such a nice event, and it is difficult for me to believe that in a place like Gush Etzion, where there are so many observant Jews, there would be a festival that would trip people up in eating tevel mide’oriyta


Rabbi Ehud Ahituv

Torah VeHa’aretz Institute holds that that the laws of orlah do not apply to raspberries and similar fruit, but I can’t say for sure whether this is the generally accepted view. As for cherries and blueberries, these are perennial and considered fruit trees, so orlah years most certainly should be counted.

In any case, supervision for orlah in groves is done on a national level by Israel chief rabbinate’s Department of Mitzvot of the Land of Israel.

If you pay upfront, you need to set aside terumot and ma’aserot each time you pick two fruits at the same time. This is unless you take terumot and ma’aserot in advance, with a special text said by the visitor or the owner of the orchard (see below, together with practical guidelines).

Raspberries are generally highly infested, so one should not eat them before a thorough examination.

General Guidelines:

  1. Walk around the orchard, among all of the types of fruit trees.
  2. Pick at least two fruits of every type; if they are very small, like cherries, pick four.
  3. Place the fruit in a basket or bag, and state that these fruits are designated as terumot and ma’aserot.
  4. State the special text for separating terumot and ma’aserot (see below).
  5. Become a member of Beit HaOtzar (08-6847325) to redeem ma’aser sheni (in years 1,2,4,5 of the shemita cycle) and to give ma’aser rishon (to a Levite) and ma’aser ani to a poor person (years 3 and 6). 5778 is the third year of the shemita cycle and is a ma’aser ani year.
  6. The fruit designated at the beginning as teruma and terumat ma’aser should be saved until the end of the visit at the orchard.

Text for separating terumot and ma’aserot for visitors who pay in advance:

This separation of terumot and ma’aserot will apply to every type of fruit (and/or vegetable), and the various separations of terumot and ma’aserot apply one after the other according to standard practice.

This separation will apply now on all of the fruits (and/or vegetables) that I will harvest (and eat in the orchard), for me and/or my family and/or those who came with me to visit the orchard (below: “that I will harvest”).

Teruma gedola: the uppermost small part of the tevel in the bag or basket, designated for separating terumot and ma’aserot, is designated as teruma gedola for everything that I will harvest and eat at the orchard.

Ma’aser rishon: 1% of the tevel fruit on to top of the bag or basket before me, for everything that I will harvest and eat at the orchard, will be ma’aser rishon as of now and as of when I pick the fruit. The rest of the ma’aser rishon is at the top part of the fruit that I will harvest at the orchard.

Terumat ma’aser: The 1% of the tevel fruit in the bag or basket before me, which I designated as ma’aser rishon, will be terumat ma’aser of the ma’aser rishon of the fruit attached to the trees as of when they are picked.

Ma’aser sheni or ani: A tenth of the tevel fruit that I will harvest and eat at the orchard, at the bottom of the fruits that will be harvested, will be ma’aser sheni as of now for when they will be picked, and will be redeemed on a peruta-and-a quarter’s worth of my designated coin, and if the year requires ma'aser ani – it will be maser ani.Redeeming neta revay: If the fruits that I will harvest in the orchard are neta revay fruit, they and an additional quarter of their value, will be redeemed—each level of obligation on its own peruta-and-a-quarter—on a coin designated on my behalf for this purpose.

Reciting a blessing: It is possible to recite a blessing on a separation performed in advance only if the visitor has tevel fruit that were picked that they want to take terumot and ma’aserot from at that point. Otherwise, no blessing should be made.