The sixth perek begins with the debate regarding one that separates an asham talui (see last issue) but then resolves the doubt learning that he did not violate any sin.
R’ Meir teaches that the animal has no sanctity and is considered a regular animal. The Tifferet Yisrael explains that this is because R’ Meir considers it as if he sanctified the animal in error.
The Chachamim however understands that the animal is still considered a korban. The owner must wait till it develops a mum (blemish). He can then redeemed its sanctity with money, which is contributed to the funds of voluntary olah offerings. The Bartenura explains that since the owner was concerned that he might have sinned, he was resolute when sanctifying the animal even if it would later not be required.
R’ Eliezer takes a third position that the korban can still be offered. This is in line with his position that one can voluntarily offer an asham talui every day.
While the Rambam rules like the Chachamim in the Mishnah, he makes another ruling elsewhere that appears to contract this position. The Rambam (Maaseh Korbanot 18:10) rules that if one offered an asham talui outside the Beit HaMikdash he would be exempt from offering a korban. Normally offering a korban outside the Beit HaMikdash is a serious offence punishable with karet. In the case however the Rambam explains that he is exempt because “the issur has not been established”. We need to understand this rationale especially since it appears that the position of the Chachamim that an asham talui is indeed a definite korban.
The Grach explains that it appears that it is possible that both assumptions can be maintained. While it is a korban, nevertheless one would be exempt if he slaughtered the animal outside. He explains that there are two elements that obligate one to bring a chatat (sin offering). The first is that the action is performed be’shogeg (inadvertently). The second is that they realise their mistake in the end.
With an asham talui the situation is similar. There is that act, where one is unsure whether he violated a prohibition and it was done be’shogeg. The second is that he has to be aware later of this doubtful violation. Even though, it might be revealed that he did not transgress any prohibition, nevertheless the Torah requires this korban to be brought.
Yet, he explains, there is a difference between the chiyuv (obligation) and hechsher (that which validates it to be a korban). If he did indeed sin, then the action beshogeg and the realisation of the doubtful sin combines to provide the hechsher immediately. If however he did not sin, then the entire chiyuv and hechsher is because of his doubt. It appears therefore that this doubt must persist at the time the asham talui is offered properly and forgiveness granted. That is what completes the chiyuv and hechsher.If however the asham talui was offered outside then it lacks its hechsher and there is no longer a violation for offering a korban outside. Since whether there is a violation is doubtful he would not be obligated to bring a chatat. Furthermore since the issur was not fixed, meaning there is not definite knowledge of the existence of an issur,1 he would not be required to bring an asham talui either.
1 This is a basic requirement in the obligation of an asham talui. That is why the classic case is where there is a piece of cheilev (forbidden fat) and shuman (regular fat) and person ate one of them and is unsure. The existence of the issur is known, while the violation is not.
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