י״ט בטבת ה׳תשע״ב (January 14, 2012)

Bekhorot 61a – When there is confusion in tithing animals – II

Continuing the discussion about how to deal with mistakes made in counting animals when tithing them, the Gemaraquotes a number of baraitot that discuss how to deal with a case where the tenth and eleventh animals exit the pen simultaneously. In such a situation it is clear that one of the animals is the tithe while the other is an ordinary animal. The baraitot offers three opinions on how to deal with this case:

1. The animals should be allowed to graze until they develop mumim – blemishes which preclude their sacrifice – at which point they can be slaughtered and eaten by their owner.

2. They should both be sacrificed.

3. They should both be allowed to die.

The Gemara identifies each of these opinions as the teaching of different tanna’im.

The assumption upon which the first two opinions are based is that one of the animals is the tithe and the other will be sacrificed as a voluntary korban – a shelamim, or peace-offering.

The first opinion is that of , who rule that a sacrifice cannot be brought if it is certain that its meat will not be eaten within the prescribed time. The second is the opinion of Rabbi Shimon who is not concerned that the meat of the sacrifice may be left over and ultimately burned.

Rabbenu Gershom explains the Sages’ ruling as follows. In this case, since we have the tithe and a peace-offering, if we offer them up we will need to impose on them the restrictions applying to each of them. Thus we will have to separate the breast and the right shoulder of each animal for the priest, owing to the possibility that each may be the peace-offering. It is likely that the priests have many sacrifices to eat and will not be able to finish all of this meat, causing sacred meat to be burned. If we impose on both the restrictions applying to each of them, we shall have to treat both animals as peace-offerings as far as the priest’s gifts of the meat is concerned. We therefore say that the remedy is to condemn them both to pasture until they become blemished, one being redeemed and both eaten while blemished.