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ORLAH (Heb. עָרלָה; "uncircumcised"), tenth tractate in the order Zera'im in the Mishnah, Tosefta, and Jerusalem Talmud. It deals with the law prohibiting the fruit of trees during the first three years after their planting (Lev. 19:23–25). The subject matter of orlah being scanty, the tractate includes in its discussions the laws concerning the admixture of many other forbidden products.

The tractate has three chapters. Chapter 1 deals with intention affecting the application of the law; the kind of trees subject to the law; when a tree counts as replanted; if an unidentifiable orlah tree grows among other trees; edible parts of a tree not counting as fruit; and the planting or grafting of orlah shoots. Chapter 2 discusses the effect on produce of an admixture of orlah, terumah, etc., both as regards eating and uncleanness. Chapter 3 deals with garments dyed with the shells of orlah fruit; when threads of such dyed fabric are woven into agarment; the effect on ovens and food if orlah shells are used for fuel; difference between Ereẓ Israel, Syria, and other lands with regard to doubtful orlah. Mishnah 2:4 is an early one, apparently predating Shammai since he disagrees about its interpretation (ibid. 5), and 2:12 contains a comment by Joezer Ish ha-Birah, who lived during the period of the Second Temple. In the Tosefta Orlah consists of a single chapter which corresponds to mishnayot 1:1–5, and 3:1, 3, 5, 9. Nevertheless, the mishnayot 1:7, 13–15; 2:6; and 3:8 are complemented by Tosefta Terumot 5:9–10; 6:5–11; and 8:3, 15ff. Despite this, 17 mishnayot in Orlah remain without corresponding Tosefta (1:6–8; 2:2–6, 8–12, 17; 3:2, 4, 6). The Jerusalem Talmud deals only with the halakhic aspect of orlah. It contains no aggadic material. It was translated into English by H. Danby, in his The Mishnah (1933).


H. Albeck, Shishah Sidrei Mishnah, Seder Zera'im (19582), 291f.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.