THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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BECHOROS 26 - dedicated anonymously by a student of Rabbi Kornfeld's in N.Y.
1) WOOL THAT FELL OFF OF A "KORBAN OLAH"
QUESTION: In the Mishnah (end of 25a), Akavya ben Mehalalel and the
Chachamim argue regarding the hair that falls of a Bechor that has a Mum.
Akavya ben Mehalalel maintains that the Kohen may derive benefit from the
hair after the Bechor is slaughtered, while the Chachamim maintain that it
is prohibited to derive benefit from the hair even after the Bechor is
slaughtered. RASHI (beginning of 25b, DH v'Chachamim) explains that the
Chachamim prohibited the hair, because if it was permitted to use hair
that fell off of a living Bechor, the owner might deliberately keep the
Bechor in his possession in order to use the hair that falls off, and, as
a result, one might shear or work with the Bechor, which is forbidden.
The Gemara (end of 26a) quotes Rebbi Yanai who asked what the Halachah is
with regard to wool plucked from a Korban Olah that had no Mum.
The Gemara explains that the wool of a Korban Chatas or Korban Asham is
certainly permitted; this is because the Chachamim did not make an
enactment to prohibit the wool. Since the Korban provides the person with
atonement for his sins, there is no concern that he will keep the animal
in his possession and delay offering it as a Korban, and thus there is no
concern that he might shear or work with the Korban. This in contrast to a
Bechor or an animal of Ma'aser Behemah, which provides no atonement for
the owner, and thus the wool that falls off is certainly forbidden.
Rebbi Yanai's question involves the wool of a Korban Olah. The primary
purpose of an Olah is not for atonement, and thus perhaps one might be
tempted to keep the Korban in his possession in order to use the wool that
falls off. On the other hand, an Olah does attain atonement for a
transgression of a positive commandment (Mitzvas Aseh), and, although that
is not the primary purpose of the Olah, perhaps a person will be eager to
offer it immediately and will not keep it in his possession.
Why does the Gemara not resolve this question based on the Mishnah in
Erchin (21a) that says that when one is obligated to offer a Chatas or
Asham, the treasurer of the Beis ha'Mikdash does not take his property as
a guarantee that he will fulfill his obligation. In contrast, when one
delays fulfilling his obligation to offer an Olah or Shelamim, the
treasurer of the Beis ha'Mikdash may enter his home and forcibly
confiscate the Korban from him (see BARTENURAH there). Rashi there
(according to the alternate text) writes that even though a person
receives an atonement from an Olah for a transgression of a Mitzvas Aseh,
nevertheless, since it is not an obligatory offering for atonement, a
person does not consider it to be a Korban for atonement and therefore he
might be tempted to delay bringing it. For this reason, the treasurer of
the Beis ha'Mikdash may take it from him by force.
We see from the Mishnah in Erchin that a person might delay bringing a
Korban Olah. Why, then, is the Gemara here in doubt? It should be obvious
that the wool of a Korban Olah is prohibited, since the owner might delay
bringing the Olah and thereby transgress the prohibition against shearing
or working with it!
ANSWER: The SHEMEN ROKE'ACH cites TOSFOS in Rosh Hashanah (6a, DH Yakriv)
who explains that the Mishnah in Erchin is referring to a case in which
the owner of the Korban is delaying the bringing of the Korban Olah out of
laziness, while he is spending his money on other, unnecessary expenses,
and it is likely that soon he will have no money left to buy the Korban.
In such a case, we forcibly take money from him to buy the Korban before
he wastes all of his money.
The case of the Gemara here is different. First, the person has not yet
delayed the Korban, and we have no indication that he plans on delaying
it, nor that he is one who spends his money unnecessarily. Second, even if
he does delay bringing the Olah, the concern that he might shear or work
with the animal is only a doubt. Since a transgression will occur only if
two different concerns materialize, it could be that the fact that an Olah
provides atonement for a Mitzvas Aseh suffices to allay the concern that
the person both will not bring the Korban, and that he will end up
shearing or working with it. This was the doubt of Rebbi Yanai. (D. Bloom)
2) BRINGING "BIKURIM" ON THE FIFIETH DAY, OR AFTER FIFTY DAYS
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that when a Bechor is born to a Behemah Dakah
(a small domesticated animal, such as a sheep), the owner must take care
of it for thirty days before giving it to a Kohen. When a Bechor is born
to a Behemah Gasah (a large domesticated animal, such as a cow), the owner
must take care of it for fifty days before giving it to a Kohen.
3) SEPARATING "TERUMAH" A SECOND TIME
The Gemara suggests that these laws are derived these laws from the verses
(Shemos 22:28-29) that compare the law of the firstborn of a sheep ("Ken
Ta'aseh... l'Tzoncha") to the law of Pidyon ha'Ben, and the law of the
firstborn of a Shor ("Ken Ta'aseh l'Shorcha") to the law of Bikurim. Just
as Pidyon ha'Ben is performed on the thirtieth day, so, too, one must take
care of a firstborn sheep for thirty days. Just as Bikurim are brought
fifty days after the fruits have ripened, so, too, one must take care of a
firstborn ox for fifty days.
The Mishnah implies that the owner takes care of the firstborn ox for
fifty full days, and then *after* fifty days he gives the ox to a Kohen.
However, we know that Bikurim are brought *on*, and not after, the
fiftieth day! If we learn the law of the Bechor of an ox from the law of
Bikurim, why is the Bechor of an ox not given on the fiftieth day? TOSFOS
ANSWER: The SHITAH MEKUBETZES (#29) and the TOSFOS SHANTZ answer that the
Bikurim of an individual may be brought only *after* Shavuos, which is
*after* fifty days have passed since they ripened. This is because Shavuos
is a Yom Tov, and only communal Korbanos may be brought on that day.
Why, though, should an individual not be allowed to bring Bikurim on Yom
Tov? The Bikurim are not a Korban which must be slaughtered; the fruits
are simply placed on the Mizbe'ach, which involves no Melachah and should
be permitted on Yom Tov!
1. The MAHARIT ALGAZI explains that a Korban must be brought with the
Bikurim, but the accompanying Korban may not be brought on Yom Tov because
it is not mandatory for that day. It is logical that Bikurim should be
brought, l'Chatchilah, with its Korban, and thus the Bikurim are not
brought on Yom Tov.
The MINCHAS CHINUCH (18:3) disagrees, pointing out that an individual is
permitted to bring a Korban Shelamim on Yom Tov if he eats it for the Yom
Tov meal (as Shalmei Simchah).
2. Perhaps the Kohanim did not have any time on Yom Tov to bring private
offerings, such as the Korban that accompanies Bikurim. Since the Korban
could be offered after Yom Tov, it was the practice to wait until after
Yom Tov to bring the Bikurim. Therefore, the Bikurim indeed were brought
only *after* fifty days had passed. Nevertheless, there was no
*prohibition* against bringing them on Yom Tov.
(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Bikurim 2:6) seems to disagree with the basis of
Tosfos' question. He rules that Bikurim are set aside "until Atzeres
(Shavuos), and then one may recite [the appropriate reading] over them."
The Maharit Algazi points out that the words of the Rambam imply that it
is obvious that Bikurim may be brought even *on* Shavuos itself.
QUESTION: The Beraisa teaches that the Rabanan penalize a Kohen who helps
a Yisrael raise his Bechor, prepare the animals from which the Matanos
will be given, or prepare the produce in the granary. The Yisrael may not
give the Bechor, Matanos, or Terumah to the Kohen who helps him. The
Gemara says that the Rabanan wanted to penalize the Yisrael who gives his
Terumah to the Kohen who helps him, and require the Yisrael to separate
Terumah a second time from his fruits. However, they did not institute
such a decree, because they were concerned that the Yisrael might be
"Mafrish Min ha'Petur Al ha'Chiyuv." He might think that the fruit from
which he originally separated Terumah (the Terumah that he gave to the
Kohen who helped him) is Tevel even mid'Oraisa, and he will separate
Terumah from those fruits (which, mid'Oraisa, are exempt from Terumah) on
behalf of other fruits that really are Tevel mid'Oraisa (and he will not
realize that those fruits remain Tevel).
However, this seems to contradict the law in many cases in which the
Halachah is "Terumah, v'Yachzor v'Yitrom" -- the first separation of
Terumah is valid, but the Rabanan required the owner of the fruit to
separate Terumah a second time. Why, in all of those cases, are we not
concerned that one might be "Mafrish Min ha'Petur Al ha'Chiyuv"? (TOSFOS
ANSWER: TOSFOS answers that, in general, when the first Terumah is given
to the Kohen, the owner knows that it was a valid Terumah and that the
second separation of Terumah is only mid'Rabanan. He will be careful not
to take Terumah from the fruits from which he took the first Terumah on
behalf of other fruits that are fully obligated. In the case of the Gemara
here, though, the Yisrael might think that the first Terumah was not a
valid Terumah at all, but rather that it was given to the Kohen as
compensation for helping in the granary. He might think, therefore, that
he may take Terumah from those fruits (thinking that they are still
obligated mid'Oraisa) on behalf of fruits that really are obligated.