כ׳ בניסן ה׳תשע״ב (April 12, 2012)

Keritot 24a-b – When conditional guilt-offerings are found to be unnecessary

As we learned on yesterday’s daf (=page), there is a disagreement about what to do in a case where someone set aside an animal to be brought as an asham taluy, but before it is offered, he learns definitively that he did not commit the sin.
Rabbi Me’ir rules that once the owner has learned that he did not commit the sin, it is clear that the sacrifice was brought in error. He can, therefore, return the animal to the herd without redeeming it.
According to the , we treat it like any sacrifice that cannot be brought. That is, we leave it on its own until it becomes blemished in a manner that precludes it from being brought as a sacrifice. At that time it can be redeemed, and the money will be given to the Temple to use for another sacrifice.
On today’s daf we learn about cases where Rabbi Me’ir accepts the ruling of the Sages and the Sages accept Rabbi Me’ir’s ruling.
According to Rav Sheshet, Rabbi Me’ir agrees that the sacrifice will retain its holiness in the event that the person set aside two animals to serve as asham taluy sacrifices.
According to Rav Yehudah quoting Rav, the Sages agree that the animal can be returned to the herd without redeeming it in the event that the asham taluy was deemed necessary because of the testimony of two witnesses, who were later found to be lying in their statement.

The Gemara explains these rulings by arguing that in the first case, setting aside two offerings is an indication of the level of guilt felt by the individual. This man was clearly concerned about his action and we understand that he truly meant to sanctify these animals. Therefore, in this case, even after we realize that the sacrifice was unnecessary, the sanctity remains. In the second case, where the individual was not aware of any transgression and relied solely on the testimony of others, we assume that his sanctification was not wholehearted, as he believed that their testimony may have been in error. Therefore, in this case, once we realize that the sacrifice was unnecessary we recognize that it was not truly sanctified to begin with.

 

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