A commentary in a Mishna in Terumos speaks about a case, a employer gave his employee Terumah to eat(which pretty much means the employer stole food from someone else to give to his worker) during the work day. The Mishna discusses if the employer or employee is liable to pay the כהן. A commentary, פני משה, on the Jerusalem Talmud explains that the question depends on how we look at the food that is given to an employee by his employer during his work day.

The two ways of looking at it are as follows: Do we see the food as payment for the work and therefore the food the worker eats is considered the employers food that he sold to them, or do we look at it that without the food the workers would get more money for their work and therefore the food is considered the workers food. (I am as confused as you, see the link below.). I am struggling to understand what exactly is being said. It seems to me weird semantics like is the food being sold to the worker or does the worker have a right to the food and the owner is just being compensated for the loss of food.

I know it maybe a bit involved and hard to understand. Thanks for your time. Plz let me know if the question is unclear. I really just want to understand what the פני משה is actually saying.

Jerusalem Talmud, Terumos

Penei Moshe Commentary on Jerusalem Talmud

  • 2
    The simple understanding in my opinion, is that the situation is such that the contract, or prevailing local custom, is for the employer to provide lunch to employees. The question, or disagreement in this case, is whether that means that the employer is paying for their work part with money and part with lunch, or the employer is paying them all cash, he’s just doing them a favor and using their cash to buy them lunch. The difference being, who is responsible for using the teruma. If the employer is responsible for lunch, he used it, if he’s just doing a favor then it’s the employee
    – Chatzkel
    Feb 22 at 19:15
  • Thanks, I just didn't understand because if in the end they are getting less money because of the food they are eating how can we just ignore that. Doesn't that make it pretty clear, the in essence, they are paying for the food? Feb 23 at 15:25
  • Perhaps I should rephrase the question differently: If the פני משה had presented the two sides as follows, I would understand: Is the food looked at as a kindness and workers as guests. or, true, perhaps he is giving the food to them is to be kind but in the end if they would not be getting the food he would be paying them more so its more of an exchange than it is a guest with his host. That explanation I would sort of get. Trouble is the פני משה explains even the first way as "כמוכר להן הסעודה בשביל המלאכה שעושים". Like some sort of sale is going on. Thanks for your time! Feb 23 at 15:36


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