Another gift given to a kohen is the first of the fleece. Since the Torah said, “And the first of the fleece of your flock you shall give to him (the kohen),” whenever one shears his sheep, he must give part of the fleece to a kohen. This mitzvah is not connected to land, and thus applies both inside of Israel and outside. It also applies whether the Temple is standing or not. However, since the Torah said “your flock”, we understand that the flock of the Temple is not included, and thus one does not give to a kohen fleece from sacrifices.
The previously discussed gifts of foreleg, jaw, and abomasum are more stringnent in that they apply to sheep and cows, whether many or few. In contrast, the first of the fleece only applies to a flock of sheep, and to a significant shearing. What is a flock? Two sheep according to Bait Shammai, and five sheep according to Bait Hillel. What is a significant shearing? Rabbi Dosa says, “Five sheep each giving one-and-a-half maneh of wool, which amounts to eight pounds,” but the Sages say, “Five sheep shorn in any amount.”
Art: John Frederick Tayler - Sheep Shearing
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