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Leviticus Chapter 27
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Endowment Valuations
27:1 God spoke to Moses, telling him to
27:2 speak to the Israelites and say to them:

[This is the law] when a person expresses a vow to donate to God the endowment valuation of a person.

27:3 The endowment valuation of a 20 to 60 year old male shall be 50 shekels according to the sanctuary standard.
27:4 For a woman, this endowment valuation shall be 30 shekels.
27:5 For a person between 5 and 20 years old, the endowment valuation shall be 20 shekels for a male, and 10 shekels for a female.
27:6 For a person between one month and five years old, the endowment valuation shall be 5 silver shekels for a male, and 3 silver shekels for a female.
27:7 For a person over 60 years old, the endowment valuation shall be 15 shekels for a man, and 10 shekels for a woman.
27:8 If [a person] is too poor to pay the endowment, he shall present himself before the priest, so that the priest can determine the endowment valuation. The priest shall then make this determination on the basis of how much the person making the vow can afford.

Endowments of Animals and Real Estate
27:9 If [the endowment] is an animal that can be offered as a sacrifice to God, then anything donated to God [automatically] becomes consecrated.
27:10 One may neither exchange it nor offer a substitute for it, whether it be a better [animal] for a worse one, or a worse [animal] for a better one. If he replaces one animal with another, both [the original animal] and its replacement shall be consecrated.
27:11 If it involves any unfit animal that cannot be offered as a sacrifice to God, [the owner] shall present the animal to the priest.
27:12 The priest shall set the endowment value according to [the animal's] good and bad qualities, and its endowment valuation shall be that which is determined by the priest.
27:13 If [the owner] wishes to redeem it, he must add 20% to its endowment value.
27:14 If a person consecrates his house as something sacred to God, the priest shall set its endowment value according to its good and bad points. The endowment value shall then remain that which is determined by the priest.
27:15 If the one who consecrates it wishes to redeem his house, he must add an additional 20% to its endowment value, and it then reverts to him.
27:16 If a man consecrates a field from his hereditary property to God, its endowment value shall be calculated according to the amount of seed [required to sow it], 50 silver shekels for each chomer of barley seed.
27:17 This is the endowment valuation that must be paid if [the field] is consecrated [immediately after] the jubilee year.
27:18 However, if one consecrates his field later after the jubilee year, then the priest shall calculate the value on the basis of how many years remain until the [next] jubilee year, and its endowment value shall be reduced accordingly.
27:19 If [the person] who has consecrated his field redeems it, he must add 20% to its endowment valuation, and it then reverts to him.
27:20 However, if he does not redeem the field, or if [the sanctuary treasurer] sells it to someone else, it can no longer be redeemed.
27:21 When the field is then released by the jubilee, it becomes consecrated to God, like a field that has been declared taboo, and it then becomes the hereditary property of the priest.
27:22 If the field that one consecrates to God is not his hereditary property but a field he has bought,
27:23 the priest shall calculate the proportion of its endowment valuation on the basis of the number of years remaining until the [next] jubilee year. On that day, [anyone] can [redeem it by] giving its endowment valuation as something consecrated to God.
27:24 [In any case], on the jubilee year, the field shall revert to the one from whom it was bought, the one who had it as his hereditary property in the land.
27:25 Every endowment valuation shall be according to the sanctuary standard, where the shekel is 20 gerahs.
27:26 A firstling animal which must be sacrificed as a first-born offering to God may not be consecrated by an individual. Whether it is an ox, sheep, or goat, it [automatically] belongs to God.
27:27 If a non-kosher animal [is consecrated], it shall be redeemed for its endowment valuation plus an additional 20%. If it is not redeemed, it shall be sold for its endowment value.
27:28 However, anything taboo, that a person declares to be taboo to God, cannot be sold or redeemed. [This is true] of anything he owns, whether it is a slave, an animal, or his hereditary field. Everything that is taboo is holy of holies to God.
27:29 If a human being is declared taboo, he cannot be redeemed and must be put to death.
27:30 The land's tithes, whether of the crops of the soil or the fruit of trees, belong to God, and are thus consecrated to God.
27:31 If a person wishes to redeem such tithes, he must add an additional 20%.
27:32 All tithes of the herds and flocks shall be given when they are counted under the rod, with every tenth one being consecrated to God.
27:33 No distinction may be made between better and worse animals, and no substitutions may be made. If a substitution is made, then both [the original animal] and its replacement shall be consecrated and not redeemable.
27:34 These are the commandments that God gave Moses for the Israelites at Mount Sinai.



Commentary:

vow
  Neder in Hebrew.

endowment valuation
  Erkakha in Hebrew (Ibn Ezra). Or, 'your endowment value,' i.e. 'your erekh' (Radak, Sherashim). See Leviticus 27:23.

Some say that this is speaking of a case where a person dedicates himself to God or to the Temple, and then wants to free himself (Josephus, Antiquities 4:4:4; cf. 1 Samuel 1:11,28). See Leviticus 27:9. However, all Talmudic sources state that this is primarily a monetary endowment.

50 shekels
  Each shekel is 0.8 oz. silver.

5 silver shekels
  The same as for redeeming a first-born boy ( Numbers 3:47, 18:15).

unfit
  Because of a blemish, as in Leviticus 20:17-22 (Sifra; Rashi). Literally, 'unclean.'

according to ... good and bad qualities
  (cf. Sifra). Literally, 'whether good or bad.' Or, 'whether it is advantageous or disadvantageous' for the Temple (Ralbag).

chomer
  A measure equal to 10 ephah or 30 sa'ah (Yad, Arakhin 4:4), that is, 220 liter, 58 gallons, or 7.96 cubic feet. It is the same as the Talmudic kur (Arakhin 25a). According to tradition, the area that can be sown with one sa'ah is 2500 square cubits, half the area of the tabernacle enclosure (Eruvin 23b; Yad, Shabbath 16:3). Therefore, the area that can be sown with a chomer of grain is a square measuring 274 cubits to a side, which is 75,000 square cubits, 168,750 square feet, or 3.87 acres. (Yad, Arakhin 4:4). It is for each such measure that the evaluation is 50 shekels. This is the same as the evaluation for an adult male (27:3).

immediately after
  (Rashi). Literally, 'from.'

sanctuary treasurer
  (Arakhin 25b; Rashi; cf. Yad, Arakhin 4:20).

taboo
  Cherem in Hebrew. See Leviticus, 27:28, 29. Such taboo property is the property of the priests (Numbers 18:14), as long as it is not dedicated specifically to the Temple.

of the priest
  It is given to the priests serving on the new year of the jubilee (Yad, Arakhin 4:24).

In any case
  (cf. Arakhin 26b).

where the shekel is...
  See Exodus 30:13.

may not be consecrated
  For any other purpose (Rashi). Or, 'need not be consecrated' (Ramban).

sheep or goat
  Seh in Hebrew, which denotes both; see Exodus 12:3.

taboo
  Cherem in Hebrew.

taboo to God
  Either for the Temple or for the priests (Yad, Arakhin 6:1; see comment on Leviticus 27:21).

slave
  (Rashi). A gentile slave. Literally, 'a human being.'

declared taboo
  By a king or by the Sanhedrin (Ramban; Ralbag). Or, 'If a human being [is sentenced to death and] must be declared taboo' (Saadia; Chizzkuni). Or, 'If a human being is under the death penalty and is declared taboo, he need not be redeemed' (Rashi).

tithes
  This is the 'second tithe' (maaser sheni) and not the levitical tithe (Sifra; Rashi). See Deuteronomy 14:22-27.





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