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Taking terumot and ma’aserot from a tree in a shared courtyard

Question

There is a guava tree in my apartment building’s shared courtyard (with 15 families). Every week I pick two to four fruits and take them home. Am I supposed to take terumot and ma’aserot from the guava with a blessing? If the tree was in a public playground, would its fruit also be subject to terumot and ma’aserot?

 

Answer

Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Amichay

A tree in a shared courtyard, where there is an understanding that only those who live in the apartment building may eat the fruit, is considered private property. It follows that if you take at least two fruits, they are subject to terumot and ma’aserot with a blessing, along with all the other relevant halachot. This, of course, is as long as all the residents of building give their consent that any of the residents of the building may partake of the fruit.

If anyone can pick fruit from trees in public playgrounds, however, these trees are considered ownerless (hefker), so they are not subject to terumot and ma’aserot.