When a farmer harvests his field he is required to give a portion of the harvest to the Cohen and Levi. (Bamidbar 18: 25-32) The Torah does not specify how much he has to give. The Rabbis decreed that a farmer must give a portion of the harvest to the Cohens. The Cohen must be given at least 1/60, 1/50 or 1/40, depending if the farmer is stingy, average or generous. This is called Trumah (Mishnah Trumos 4:3) After the Cohen has been given his share then the farmer gives 1/10 of the remaining harvest to the Levites. This is called Ma’aser.
If a farmer harvests 6,000 pomegranates and his stingy how many pomegranates does he have to give to the Cohen? How many to the Levi?
6,000 * 1/60 = 100 pomegranates to the Cohen
6,000 – 100 = 5,900 pomegranates remaining after giving to the Cohen
5,900 * 1/10 = 590 pomegranates given to the Levi
The Levi must then 1/10th of what he gets from the farmer to the Cohen. This is called Trumas – Ma’aser. How many pomegranates does the Levi have to give to the Cohen? What is the total number of pomegranates the Cohen gets from the farmer and the Levi combined?
590 pomegranates given to the Levi * 1/10 = 59
The Cohen gets 59 pomegranates from the Levi + 100 from the farmer = 159 total
How many pomegranates is the farmer left with after giving? How many is the Levi left with?
Farmer starts with 6000 – 100 (to the Cohen) – 590 (to the Levi) = 5,310 remaining
Levi starts with 590 – 59 (to the Cohen) = 531