Olah becoming a Chatat

Zevachim (7:4) | Yisrael Bankier | 9 years ago

Much of our learning this week focused on bird sacrifices. Most of our attention was on how various errors that not only affect the validity of the sacrifice but also how they impact two other laws. The first is the prohibition of meilah – misappropriating the property of hekdesh. The second is whether the bird would be defined as a neveila since it would have significance for the laws of tumah.

One case that is the subject of debate is regarding a bird that was offered for the purpose of a chatat in the manner required for a chatat and at the location necessary for a chatat. The issue however is that the bird was originally designated for an olah. R’ Eliezer and R’ Yehoshua debate whether the prohibition of meilah would still apply to that bird with the latter maintaining it does not. To explain, the prohibition of meilah applies to all bird sacrifices. For a chatat, once it has been offered correctly and permitted for the kohanim to eat, the prohibition of meilah is lifted. R’ Eliezer maintains that since this was designated as an olah offering and was never permitted for consumption, the prohibition of meilah still applies. We shall try to understand the position of R’ Yehoshua.

The Bartenura explains that since everything about the korban changed to be like a chatat – the intention, manner and location –the korban became a chatat. The Tosfot Yom Tov however draws our attention to the Gemara that explains that its “becoming” a chatat is only for the purposes of alleviating the prohibition of meilah. If however the owner was required to (also) bring a chatat, he would not have fulfilled his obligation through this korban. The conclusion was drawn based on a number Mishnayot from kinim that dealt with mixtures of olah and chatat offerings that were offered in varying manners. From the resolution of the problematic situations it is clear that an olah offered like a chatat does not truly become a chatat, given the supplementary korbanot required.

The Tosfot (68a s.v. eimar) questions the grounds for differentiating between the issue of meilah and the effectiveness of the korban. Yet, he brings a number of other cases where the prohibition of meilah is lifted even though the owner did not fulfil his obligation. One example brought is that if the meat of a korban was taken out of the Beit HaMikdash, if zerika (throwing the blood) is performed, the prohibition of meilah is lifted from the meat, even though one is prohibited to eat it.

The Tosfot suggest that in this case, R’ Yehoshua understands that on a biblical level the olah offering really becomes a chatat. The fact that the owner does not fulfil his obligation is a rabbinic decree and the Chachamim were not so strict in that decree to maintain a rabbinic prohibition of meilah.

The Tosfot point out that this suggestion commits R’ Yehoshua to take another halachic position. One is prohibited to bring chulin (an unsanctified animal) in the Azara. Another problem is that melika only enables a chatat bird offering to be consumed; all other cases the bird is not kosher.*Requiring the owner to bring another sacrifice by virtue of a rabbinic decree could result in a violation of these prohibitions. To solve this problem they suggest one of two solutions. Either R’ Yehoshua, maintains that on a biblical level birds do not require shechita and that there is not a biblical prohibition of bringing chulin to the Azara. Alternatively, the prohibition of bringing chulin to the Azara* is biblical, but does not apply to birds.


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