Produce Junction – Teruma and Maaser Alert

Produce Junction (and many other stores and outlets) carry Israeli produce.  According to US law retailers are supposed have either stickers on the produce or signage which identifies the place or origin.  Israeli produce is usually labeled Israel, though sometimes it is unfortunately labeled “Palestine”.   Sources of produce can change on a daily basis, so please check labels and signs each time you shop.   We recommend against purchasing fruit from Israel without supervision as a very significant percentage is orla.   Vegetables and herbs may be purchased and the tithes may be removed as per our “Four Easy Steps”.

The following procedure for removing terumos and maasros (the tithes) can only be used on one type of produce at a time, its value must be over about $.75 (if silver is worth less than $20 per troy ounce) or over about $1.00 (if silver is worth $28 per troy ounce) or over about $1.25 (if silver is worth $35 per troy ounce). These numbers are approximate values. You can calculate more precisely with the formula 11 times dollar value of troy ounce of silver divided by 310. Please note that the value of silver fluctuates greatly. Please do not follow this procedure for produce of a lesser value, the procedure for produce of a lesser value requires that you have something called a pruta chamura which is difficult to come by outside of Eretz Yisroel.

 

1) Place the produce in front of you, and do not move it. Remove slightly more than 1% of the produce. For example, if there are 95 tomatoes separate 1 tomato. (If you have 10 carrots break off a piece of a carrot which will be slightly larger than 1/100 of the total.)

2) A coin, which is valid currency in the country in which the redemption is performed, is designated for redemption. At the time of this writing, one nickel is sufficient. (If the price of a troy ounce of silver goes above $50 it may be necessary to use a dime.)

3) One of the two following texts is recited:

The amount in the northernmost part of the separated portion which is greater than 1% of the total amount of the produce shall be Terumah Gedolah.   The remaining part of the separated portion, plus an additional 9% on the northernmost side of the produce shall be Ma’ aser Rishon.  The part of the separated portion that was previously designated Ma’ aser Rishon shall be Terumat Maaser.  10% of the remaining produce in the southern side shall be either Ma’ aser Sheni or Ma’ aser Oni, in accordance with the year of the shmittah cycle during which the produce was grown.  If the 10% on the southern side is Ma’ aser Sheni, it should be redeemed by transferring its kedushah calculated at its value plus 25%, to the coin. If the produce is neta revai, it should be redeemed by transferring its kedushah calculated at its value plus 25%, to the coin.

>> Alternatively, if one has difficulty with the full text or it is not available, this simplified text may be recited:

“All separations of terumah and ma’ aser and redemptions of Ma’ aser Sheni and neta revai shall be effected in accordance with the text of the Chazon Ish.”

4) The separated produce (the part which was more than 1%), and the designated coin are wrapped and discarded.