There is a dispute in Tractate Chullin regarding whether Reishit Hagez (the commandment to give the first shearing of the flock to a Kohen) applies in the Diaspora like it does the Land of Israel. My question is, even according to the accepted custom of it not applying, what about cases where there is a sheep born in the Diaspora but brought into the Land of Israel and first sheared there?

  • 7
    And what if the sheep mostly live in America but just come to Israel for Yom Tov?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 1 at 18:10
  • 5
    @DoubleAA please keep this in mind for Purim Torah. I suspect some posek tried to count how often the sheep visited Eretz Yisrael, but would somehow always fall asleep and be unable to finish the job. So he just gave them a blanket heter.
    – Shalom
    Commented Feb 2 at 2:58

1 Answer 1


It's not about "is the sheep Israeli" or "was the sheep born in Israel." It's about at the moment you shear the sheep, is the sheep located in Israel.

(Okay we could nitpick about if the sheep is one side of the border and the person shearing it on the other ... save it for Purim Torah, folks.)

Rambam puts this in Chapter Ten of his Laws of Bikurim and Other Gifts to the Kohen.

In 10:1 he writes:

ואינה נוהגת אלא בארץ ישראל

It only applies in the land of Israel.

Not "to Israeli sheep", or "those born in Israel" or anything like that -- when you shear them, are you in Israel?

He drives home this point in 10:8; there is no obligation if the sheep belong to a non-Jew at the moment of shearing:

הלוקח גז צאנו של נוכרי--אף על פי שגזזן, פטור מראשית הגז. לקח הצאן לגיזתן, חייב--אף על פי שגדלה הגיזה ברשות הגוי, ואף על פי שחוזרין הצאן לגוי אחר הגיזה: הואיל והגוזז ישראל והגיזות שלו--חייב, שאין החיוב אלא בשעת הגיזה.

One who buys the wool shorn from a non-Jew's flock, even if the Jew himself had done the shearing, it is exempt. If he bought the sheep for their wool, though all the wool grew when belonging to a non-Jew, and even if the shorn sheep would then return to the non-Jew: once the shearer is Jewish and the sheep shorn are his, he is obligated, as the obligation is only at the moment of the shearing.

It seems quite likely, therefore, that the same definition holds vis-a-vis Israel or not.

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