א׳ באייר ה׳תשע״ח (April 16, 2018)

Zevahim 3a-b: New and Different

As we learned on yesterday’s daf one of the essential elements of a sacrifice is that all the parties involved have the appropriate thoughts at the time that the sacrifice is brought. Therefore, if the owner thinks that the sacrifice is being brought for a different korban than the one it was set aside for, the sacrifice does not count and he must replace it with another. On today’s daf the Gemara brings a statement made by Rav Yehuda quoting Rav who taught that although switching sacrifices would invalidate the korban, if the owner’s intent was that the animal would be slaughtered for ḥullin – not for a korban but for mundane purposes – then the sacrifice would remain valid. Apparently only a similar use will invalidate the korban; a totally dissimilar use will allow the sacrifice to remain valid.

As on yesterday’s daf, the Gemara contrasts this ruling with the laws of gittin – Jewish divorce law. If, in a parallel case, a get – a divorce document – was written without specific intent, or even if it was written with the intent that it be used for a non-Jewish woman, it will be invalid. In such a case, where writing the get with a non-Jewish woman in mind would be a dissimilar use, we see that the document is not valid!

In answer, the Gemara says that dissimilar use is the equivalent of having no specific intent. As we learned on yesterday’s daf, having no specific intent will not affect the validity of a korban that has already been set aside as a sacrifice, but it will not allow for the creation of a divorce document.

The Ḥazon Yeḥezkel and other commentaries note that this discussion points to the fact that the problem with an incorrect thought when a sacrifice is brought does not stem from having removed the original sanctity from the korban – for if that were so, intending to slaughter the sacrifice for mundane use should do that, too. Rather the problem stems from the fact that the incorrect thought attempts to establish this sacrifice for a new and different purpose. This can only happen if it remains in the framework of a sacrifice.

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