And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock
Of oxen and sheep, as the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem; for this law only concerns such, as Maimonides F24 observes, for none but clean beasts were tithed, though the firstlings of unclean beasts were to be redeemed:
[even] of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy
unto the Lord:
which being slain, the blood and fat were to be offered the altar, and the flesh eaten by the owners, as Jarchi observes; who adds, this is not reckoned with the rest of the gifts of the priesthood; and we do not find it was given to the priests: the "rod", under which these are said to pass, is either the shepherd's rod, as Aben Ezra under, which they passed morning and evening, when led out or brought in, as in ( Jeremiah 33:13 ) ; or the rod of the tither: the manner of tithing, as described by Maimonides, was this;
``he gathers all the lambs and all the calves into a field, and makes a little door to it, so that two cannot go out at once; and he places their dams without, and they bleat, so that the lambs hear their voice, and go out of the fold to meet them, as it is said, "whatsoever passeth under the rod"; for it must pass of itself, and not be brought out by his hand; and when they go out of the fold, after another, he begins and counts them with the rod, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and the tenth that goes out, whether male or female, whether perfect or blemished, he marks with a red mark, and says, this is the tithe F25:''the time of tithing the cattle was on the first of Elul or August; for so it is said F26,
``the first of Elul is the beginning of the year for the tithing of beasts;''when they tithed all that were born the preceding year: but we are elsewhere told F1, there were three times for tithing beasts; fifteen days before the passover, (which was the last of Adar or February,) and fifteen days before the Pentecost, and fifteen days before the feast of tabernacles, which was the last of Elul or August; and these tithings were made for the sake of those that went up to these feasts, that it might be certain the cattle sold and eaten were tithed.
F24 Hilchot Becorot, c. 6. sect. 1.
F25 lbid. c. 7. sect. 1.
F26 Misn. Roshhashanah, c. 1. sect. 1.
F1 Misn. Becorot, c. 9. sect. 1.