Rambam Summaries: Hilchos Kilayim Chapter 1

The laws of Kilayim

10 chapters

Five negative commands: Kilayim with seeds, Kilayim with a vineyard, Kilayim with animals, Kilayim with clothing

Chapter 1: Kilayim of seeds

1.      The prohibition of planting hybrid seeds:

  • Hybrid Planting in Israel: One who plants two different seeds together in the land of Israel, receives lashes. [Halacha 1]
  • The definition of planting: The mere covering of the two seeds with earth is considered planting them, whether one covers it using his feet or hands or a vessel, and in doing so one is liable for lashes. [Halacha 2]
  • Planting in a pot: One who plants in hybrid seeds in a pot with a hole is liable. If the pot does not have a hole, then it is only rabbinically forbidden. [Halacha 2]
  • Planting for a gentile: It is forbidden to plant hybrid seeds even for a Gentile. [Halacha 3]
  • Asking a gentile to plant on one’s behalf: It is permitted to ask a gentile to plant hybrid seeds on one’s behalf. [Halacha 3]
  • Destroying hybrid plants: If one sees hybrid seeds that are planted, one is required to destroy the plant, although if he does not do so he is not lashed. [Halacha 3]
  • Planting hybrid seeds in the Diaspora: It is permitted even initially for a Jew to plant hybrid seeds in the Diaspora. [Halacha 3]
  • The type of seeds that contain the prohibition: The prohibition of planting hybrid seeds only applies when the seeds or product are edible to humans. If, however, the seeds and product that they grow are not edible, such as they are used only for medicine, then there is no prohibition applicable. [Halacha 4]

2.       The prohibition of planting hybrid trees:

  • Grafting the branch of a tree to the branch of another tree: It is biblically forbidden to graft the branch of one tree with the branch of another tree. This applies both in the land of Israel and the Diaspora, and one who does so is liable for lashes. [Halacha 5]
  • Grafting the branch of a tree to a plant and vegetable or vice versa: It is biblically forbidden to graft the branch of a tree with a plant or vegetable, and the same applies vice versa, and one who does so is liable for lashes. [Halacha 5]
  • Asking a gentile to graft on one’s behalf: It is forbidden to ask a gentile to graft a tree on one’s behalf. [Halacha 3]
  • Planting hybrid seeds of trees: The Kilayim prohibition against trees is only with regards to grafting, however, to plant seeds of various species together is permitted whether they are all seeds of different trees, or seeds of trees and other plants. [Halacha 6]

3.       Eating and benefiting from hybrid produce:

  • The produce that grows from hybrid planting of seeds or hybrid grafting of trees is permitted to be eaten, as the planting alone is what was prohibited. [Halacha 7]
  • Replanting the fruit of a hybrid product: It is permitted for one to plant the seeds of a hybrid product fruit in order to grow more fruits of that type. [Halacha 7]


4.       The seeds that are defined as different species and prohibited in hybrid planting:

  • The various types of seeds are split into three categories: [Halacha 7]
  • Tevua-The five grains: The first category is called Tevua, and consists of the five grains of wheat, spelt, barley, rye, and oats. [Halacha 7]
  • Kitniyus-All edible seeds: The second category of seeds are called Kitniyus, and include all sees that are edible to humans such as the various legumes of beans, rice, sesame seeds, and the like. [Halacha 7]
  • Zarunei Gina-all inedible seeds: The third category is called Zarunei Gina, and includes all seeds who although they produce products that are edible for humans, the seeds themselves are not edible for humans, such as the seeds of garlic and onions and the like. [Halacha 7]
  • Minei Zeraim versus Minei Yerakos: Those products that are customary planted as full fields are called Zeraim, while those products that are planted as rows are called Yerakos.

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