The final Mishnayot in the seventh perek discuss several takanot (decrees) introduced in the Beit HaMikdash, relating to hekdesh funds. The final case (7:7) relates to kinin pesulot – invalid kinim. A ken refers to a pair of bird offerings, either turtledoves or young pigeons. The Mishnah here is referring to a ken chovah – obligatory ken.
The Bartenura explains that if one was obligated to bring a ken (according to the Chachamim) they would place the required money in the designated shofar (chest) and the Beit Din would purchase and offer the required birds. After depositing the money, the owners would leave in full confidence that their required korbanot would be offered. The ken chova is brought either to achieve an atonement or complete a purification process. By the next day one would assume that everything required of him or her has been fulfilled.
This takana addressed the issue that might arise if a bird purchased with the money flew away or became invalid. The person obligated to offer the birds will assume there were no issues. The Mishnah includes a debate regarding how the birds will be replaced. According to the first opinion, the replacement birds were purchase with the treasury's funds and the ownership of the birds transferred to the person who required them. R' Yossi however maintains that the supplier of the birds was responsible to replace any birds that had issues until they were offered.
The Tosfot Yom Tov questions how the one's korbanot could be offered for him in their absence? He suggests that this was made possible by the takana of the Neviim Rishonim. To explain, the Mishnah (Taanit 4:2) asks how the korban Tamid could be offered for Yisrael without them being present? The Mishnah explains that the Neviim Rishonim instituted as twenty-four week cycle with groups of kohanim, leviim and yisraelim. With respect to the yisraelim, when one's week arrived, those that were close and able to go to Yerushalaim would be present when the Tamid was offered, which those that lived far away fasting and going to shul with special tefillot and Torah readings. In other words, a system was implemented such that some people acted as representatives of the entire nation and were present at the time of the korban. The Tosfot Yom Tov suggest that the capacity for the kinim to be offered without the owners present was part of this institution, with those of the maamad representing him.
The Tosfot Chadashim however argues that the two cases are different. In the case of the korban tamid, those representatives have a share in the korban. In our case, the korban belongs to one an individual who is absent.
The Chiddushei Mahriach is also not convinced. He however suggests that there is a difference between the korban tamid – a public offering – and a private one. With respect to the korban tamid, the Mishnah there cites a pasuk for the requirement that someone be present. The Tosfot Yom Tov explains that since the pasuk writes "tishmeru" – you (pl.) shall keep – there is an obligation for all Yisrael. However since it is impossible for all of Yisrael to be there, the pasuk is to be understood as the source for the maamadot. Returning to the Chiddushei Mahariach, he explains that since the pasuk is the context of the korban tamid it applies only to the korban tamid. Consequently, there is no issue for the ken to be offered for the owner in his absence.
The Tosfot Chadashim addresses a further issue. That is the replacement korban being purchased without the owner's knowledge. He explains, that when it comes to these korbanot – mechusar chapara – that complete the tahara process, you do not need the knowledge of the person it is being brought for. He cites the Gemara (Nedarim 38b) that explains that one can offer such korbanot for their young children thereby enabling them to partake in korbanot, as proof. The Tosfot Chadashim asserts that if a korban can be offered without one's knowledge, then certainly he need not be present. He also cites the Mishnah in Gittin (3:3) that writes that if a sin offering was sent from overseas it is offered (with the assumption the sender is still alive). This is further proof that the owner need not be present. That being the cases, there is no issue in our Mishnah with the owner leaving and everything being performed for him.
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