From when are all people permitted to take gleanings, [forgotten sheaves and peah]? After the old ones of the poor have gone. And in the case of peret and defective clusters? After the poor have gone into the vineyard and come back again. And in the case of the olive trees? After the descent of the second rainfall. Rabbi Judah said: But aren’t there those who do not harvest their olives until after the second rainfall?” Rather, once the poor man has gone out [to gather the agricultural gifts taken from olive trees] and cannot bring back with him [more than the value of] four issars.
They [amei haaretz] are to be believed concerning gleanings, the forgotten sheaf and peah during their [harvest] season, and concerning the poor man’s tithe during its whole year. A Levite is always to be trusted. They are only believed in those things which men are accustomed to give them.
They are trusted concerning wheat, but they are not trusted when it is flour or bread. They are trusted concerning rice in its husk, but they are not trusted when it is either raw or cooked. They are trusted concerning beans but they are not trusted when they have been pounded, neither raw nor cooked. They are trusted when concerning oil, to declare that it is from the poor person’s tithe, but they are not trusted over [oil] when they claim that it is from the olives [left on the] top [of the tree.]
They are trusted concerning raw vegetables, but they are not trusted concerning are cooked ones, unless he has only a little bit, for so it was the custom of a householder to take out of his stew-pot [and give a little to the poor].
They may not give to the poor from the threshing-floor less than a half-kav of wheat or a kav of barley. R. Meir says: [only] half a kav [of barley]. [They must give] a kav and a half of spelt, a kav of dried figs or a maneh of pressed figs. Rabbi Akiva says: half a maneh. [They must give] half a log of wine. Rabbi Akiva says: a quarter. [They must give] a quarter [log] of oil. Rabbi Akiva says: an eighth. As for other kinds of produce: Abba Shaul says, [they must give enough] so that he can sell it and buy food enough for two meals.
This measure was stated for the priest, Levite and Israelite alike. If he was saving some [to give to his poor relatives], he can retain half and give the other half away. If he has only a small amount, then he must place it before them and they then divide it among themselves.
They may not give a poor person wandering from place to place less than a loaf worth a pundion at a time when four seahs [of wheat cost] one sela. If he spends the night [at a place], they must give him the cost of what he needs for the night. If he stays over Shabbat they must give him enough food for three meals. He who has the money for two meals, he may not take anything from the charity dish. And if he has enough money for fourteen meals, he may not take any support from the communal fund. The communal fund is collected by two and distributed by three people.
One who possesses two hundred zuz, may not take gleanings” the forgotten sheaf, peah or the poor man’s tithe. If he possesses two hundred minus one denar, then even if a thousand [men] each give him at the same time, he may accept. If he had [two hundred zuz] mortgaged to a creditor or to his wife’s ketubah, he may take. They do not force him to sell his house or his tools.
One who has fifty zuz and he is using them for his business, he must not take. And anyone who does not need to take [charity] and yet takes, will not depart from this world before he actually needs [charity] from others. And anyone who needs to take and does not take, will not die of old age until he supports others with his own money. Concerning him the verse says: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose hope is the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:7). And so too a judge who judges in truth according to its truth. And anyone who is not lame or blind but pretends to be as one of these, he will not die of old age before he actually becomes one of these, as it is said, “He who searches for evil, it shall come upon him” (Proverbs 11:27) and it is also said: “Righteousness, righteousness shall you pursue.” And any judge who accepts a bribe or who perverts justice will not die in old age before his eyes have become dim, as it is said: “And you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of those who have sight.”