Lost and Found Korban

Shekalim (7:4) | Yisrael Bankier | a year ago

The Mishnah (7:4) teaches that if one finds an animal close to Yerushalaim ,one needs to be concerned that it is a korban. If it is a male animal it is assumed to be an olah, and if it is a female it is a shelamim. The Bartenura explains that the reason is that most male animals were offered as olah offerings, whereas most female animals as shelamim.

The Tosfot Yom Tov however cites the Gemara (Kidushin 55a) that does not make any assumption regarding the nature of the animal. For example, since the male could also be a shelamim, one needs to wait for it to develop a blemish. After that one separate two animals to be brought as an olah and shelamim and stipulates that if the animal was an olah then its kedusha is transferred to the animal that will now be brought as an olah and the other animal one volunteers to bring as a shelamim. If however it was a shelamim, the opposite is true. Since a male korban could also be an asham, the case must be that the animal was too young for it to be brought as an asham. Similarly since an asham metzorah and asham nazir are rare, that possibility is ignored.

Regarding the female animal, since a chatat can be brought from that animal, the assumption is the animal is in its second year and too old for that purpose. If however it was indeed in its first year, then one would need to be concerned that it was a chatat and the animal would need to be left to die.

The Bartenura however makes no reference to all qualifications and conditions cited by the Tosfot Yom Tov. How then can this animal be offered as one korban when it might indeed be another?

The Yerushalmi (according to the Gra's reading) understands our Mishnah differently. The Gemara initially suggests transferring the kedusha of the animal, without waiting for it develop a mum. Even though, normally deliberately doing so would not work, in this case Beit Din allowed it. The Gemara then asks, even though it might work, one is still not allowed to do so (unless the animal developed blemish)! The Gemara responds, like the Bartenura, that instead we simply rely on the fact that most male animals were olah offerings and most female animals were shelamim. The Gemara continues by explaining that just like Beit Din rule that money that is found between the chest for obligatory and volountary kinim (bird offerings) are offered as olot (even though it may have been funds for a chatat) the same is true that any male animals found are offered as olot. Note that no redemption or stipulation is required. In other words, the animal might indeed be a shelamim, yet it can nevertheless be offered as an olah based on this "tenai beit din" - a condition set forth by the beit din. It would seem then that the Bartenura is following the Yerushalmi's understanding of the Mishnah.

Granted that it is a tenai beit din how does the tenai work?

The Mikdash David (19:2) has the reading of the Yerushalmi as printed. In other words the Gemara justifies the use of the animals, that just as there is a tenai beit din that excess funds are used to purchase olot, the same is true for these korbanot. He explains that since we cannot identify the owner of this lost animal, it cannot be offered. It is therefore considered like excess funds, in that it cannot be used for what it was originally intended. Consequently, its original designation is annulled, and Beit Din can then decide on its purpose. (See Tosfot Shevuot 10a).

R' Chaim (on the Yerushalmi) however reads the Yerusahlmi like the Gra as cited above. Therefore, he explains that when consecrating money to be used for a korban it is done dependent on the agreement of beit din. In the case of the money that is found between the two different chests, the money can be used for olah offerings even if they may have originally be consecrated for a chatat. That is because when they were originally set aside for that use, there was an implicit condition that if they were lost, the originally consecration would not take affect such that they can now be used for olah offering without any concerns. The same is true therefore regarding these animals. Interestingly, the difference between the Midkash David and R' Chaim is that according to the Mikdash David the tenai beit din relates to what is done with the animal after it loses its kedusha whereas according to R' Chaim the tenai beit din is what enables the change in kedusha to occur at all.


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