||An announcement signed by Yitshak Kaplan, the chief clerk in charge of taking Terumot and Ma’aserot (see below for description) in Erez Israel.
Mr. Kaplan states that he had a request from R. Alfandari that all separation of Terumot and Ma’aserot be done at eight fruit sellers who have accepted upon themselves not to open a sack of fruit before the ritual separation (for tithing) and all other fruit sellers are all selling tevel (produce from which tithes have not been taken), without any ritual separation. And because all the markets of the Holy City are all under the supervision of the Bet Din Zedek…I submitted his request to the Bet Din Zedek and they did not agree … And R. Alfandari got angry with me…
Terumot and Ma’aserot: dues given to the priests and the poor. A number of passages in the Bible deal with ma'aser and according to the halakhah they refer to different categories: the first tithe is given to the Levites (Num. 18:21–24); the second tithe is eaten in Jerusalem or redeemed (Deut. 14:22–26); and the tithe that is given to the poor (Deut. 14:28–29 and 26:12). In order to render agricultural produce fit for ordinary consumption terumot and ma'aserot had to be allocated from it in the following manner: first terumah was set aside for the priests, and from the remainder a tenth, the first tithe, was given to the Levites. The Levites then had to give a tithe of this first tithe, called terumat ma'aser or ma'aser min ha-ma'aser ("a tithe of the tithe") to the priests. After terumah and the first tithe were set aside, a second tithe had to be given of the remainder. In the first, second, fourth, and fifth years of the sabbatical cycle this constituted the second tithe, while in the third and sixth years it became the poor man's tithe. The second tithe had either to be taken up to Jerusalem to be eaten there, or redeemed for money and the money plus an added quarter taken to Jerusalem, where it could be spent at the owner's discretion for his upkeep. The tithe given to the poor is not regarded as sacred. On the last day of Passover of the fourth and seventh years a declaration in line with the biblical injunction (Deut. 26:13–15, called "the declaration of the tithe"), which was applied to all tithes, was made.
Produce from which terumah and ma'aser have not been set aside is called tevel and may not be eaten either by its owner or by priests.
According to the halakhah, the duty of setting aside terumot and ma'aserot did not apply outside Erez Israel, following the principle: "Every precept dependent on the land [of Israel] is in force only in that land, and one not so dependent is in force both within and without the land [of Israel] except for orlah and kilayim" (Kid. 1:9). In fact, however, there is ample evidence that terumot and ma'aserot were set-aside in the Diaspora as well - in Egypt, Babylon, and in various places in Asia Minor. It may be assumed that this applied in the Diaspora as a whole (evidence of the practice in Syria is irrelevant since in this respect it was almost considered part of the Land of Israel). It seems that in the Diaspora terumot and ma'aserot were not, as a rule, given to the local priests and Levites but were brought to the Temple in Jerusalem. This was almost certainly done at the time of the pilgrimage when the half shekel was also brought there. Since it was impossible to carry the actual terumot and ma'aserot to Jerusalem, it may be assumed that they were converted into money, frequently at a symbolic amount, which was then taken to Jerusalem. It may be noted, too, that in the Diaspora it was customary to set aside terumot and ma'aserot in the Sabbatical year. There is evidence that in Egypt this certainly "applied to the poor man's tithe, that the poor of Israel could be supported by it in the Sabbatical year" (Yad. 4:3).