THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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BECHOROS 12-15 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the Dafyomi
publications for these Dafim for the benefit of Klal Yisrael.
1) REDEEMING THE "PETER CHAMOR" WITH A LAMB OF "PESULEI HA'MUKDASHIN"
QUESTION: The Gemara asks whether one may redeem a Peter Chamor with an
animal of "Pesulei ha'Mukdashin," an animal that was designated as a Korban
but became invalid and was redeemed. According to Rebbi Yehudah, who
maintains that Pidyon transfers the Kedushah of the Peter Chamor to the
lamb, can one transfer Kedushah to an animal that cannot be used fully by
its owner due to its status of Kedushah as Pesulei ha'Mukdashin? The Gemara
concludes that one may not use such an animal for Pidyon, because the verse
that discusses Pesulei ha'Mukdashin mentions "Tzvi" and "Ayal." Just like a
Tzvi and Ayal may not be used for Pidyon Peter Chamor (since the Torah
specifies that a lamb be used), so, too, Pesulei ha'Mukdashin may not be
2) AN ANIMAL GIVEN TO A KOHEN IN A CASE OF DOUBT
The Gemara's answer is not clear. Even if Pesulei ha'Mukdashin are equated
to a Tzvi and Ayal, that does not preclude using them to redeem a Peter
Chamor when their value is the *same* as that of the donkey. A lamb is
unique only in that it may be used for Pidyon even when it is worth less
than the Peter Chamor. Any object may be used for the Pidyon when it is
equal in the value to the donkey.
The Gemara should be left with a question whether one may use a lamb of
Pesulei ha'Mukdashin that is worth the same as the donkey, or whether he may
not use such a lamb since certain prohibitions (Gizah and Avodah) apply and
the Kedushah of Peter Chamor cannot be transferred to it! (TUREI EVEN in his
introduction; SEFAS EMES)
ANSWER: The Gemara is not asking whether one may redeem a firstborn donkey
with an animal of Pesulei ha'Mukdashin that has the *same* value as the
donkey. The fact that Kedushah cannot be transferred to an object that has
restricted usage cannot prevent the Pidyon from taking effect, because the
*value* of the animal of Pesulei ha'Mukdashin is being used for the Pidyon,
and not the actual animal itself. The value includes only the part of the
Pesulei ha'Mukdashin that indeed is usable (since the part that may not be
used has no value)!
The Gemara is asking whether an animal of Pesulei ha'Mukdashin may be used
when its value is *less* than that of the donkey. Does a lamb of Pesulei
ha'Mukdashin qualify as a lamb for Pidyon, with the unique law that it may
be used even if its value is not equal to that of the donkey, or do the
restrictions of usage of Pesulei ha'Mukdashin (Gizah and Avodah) make this
lamb different from all other lambs?
The Gemara concludes that just as a Tzvi and Ayal cannot be used for Pidyon
when their value is less than that of the donkey so, too, a lamb of Pesulei
ha'Mukdashin cannot be used unless it is has the same value as the donkey.
(NIMUKEI HA'GRIV; YESHU'OS YAKOV YD 321, cited by SHEMEN ROKE'ACH)
QUESTION: The Gemara asks whether one may redeem a Peter Chamor with a lamb
that is a "Nidmeh." A "Nidmeh" is the offspring of a sheep but has the
appearance of a goat (or the offspring of a goat but has the appearance of a
sheep). The offspring is different from the mother, even though both are
called "Seh," since the word "Seh" includes both sheep and goats.
According to Rebbi Eliezer, who maintains that one may redeem a Peter Chamor
with a crossbreed (Kil'ayim), it is obvious that one may redeem a Peter
Chamor with a Nidmeh. If an animal that is a crossbreed may be used, even
though only its mother is a Seh, then certainly a Nidmeh may be used, since
both the mother and the Nidmeh are a Seh. The Gemara's question is according
to the Chachamim who argue with Rebbi Eliezer and maintain that one may not
redeem a Peter Chamor with an animal of Kil'ayim. Is a Nidmeh like Kil'ayim
and it may not be used, or is a Nidmeh more similar to a Seh and it may be
The ROSH (1:15) writes that since the Gemara's question remains unanswered,
one may not redeem a Peter Chamor with a Nidmeh. However, if one did use a
Nidmeh for the Pidyon, and, after he gave the Nidmeh to the Kohen, the
donkey died, the donkey must be buried, since the Nidmeh might not have been
effective in removing its Kedushah. Nevertheless, the Nidmeh remains with
the Kohen out of doubt.
The Rosh writes that even though the Halachah is that if a Kohen seizes a
Safek Bechor from a Yisrael, the Bechor is taken away from the Kohen and
given back to the Yisrael (see Rosh to Bava Metzia 1:13), nevertheless if
the Kohen did not seize it, but it was given to him by the owner, the Kohen
becomes the new owner and the previous owner must prove that it was
definitely not a Bechor if he wants to redeem it from the Kohen.
Accordingly, one who gave a Nidmeh to a Kohen does not need to redeem it.
The Rosh cites another example of this from the Gemara in Bava Metzia (79a),
where the Gemara quotes Rebbi Nasan who says that if one hired, and paid
for, a ship that sank halfway through its journey, he is not entitled to
receive in return the rental money, because there is a doubt whether he was
obligated to pay or not. However, if he did not yet pay, the owner of the
ship cannot demand the money from him.
The SHACH (in TAKFO KOHEN #62) states that this seems to contradict the
ruling of the REMA (YD 315:1) that even the Yisrael erroneously gives a
Safek Bechor to a Kohen because he thought he was obligated to do so, and he
later finds out that he was exempt, the Kohen still must return the animal.
Why is this different from the ruling in the case of a Nidmeh, or the case
of the hired ship, where the Halachah is that the property need not be
returned, since it was given by the owner and was not seized by the
(a) The URIM V'TUMIM (in KITZUR TAKFO KOHEN, p. 41) answers that the money
given in advance for a hired ship (that sank) is not considered to have been
given by mistake, because there was no certainty that the ship would not
sink. At the time the money was given, no mistake as made. In contrast,
there is no need whatsoever to give a Safek Bechor to a Kohen, and thus the
act of giving it to a Kohen was a mistake.
(b) The SHEMEN ROKE'ACH answers that it is not considered a mistake to give
the Nidmeh to a Kohen, because even if he would have known that one cannot
redeem a Peter Chamor with a Nidmeh, he still would have been required to
give a proper Seh to the Kohen. He must fulfill some sort of "Nesinah,"
giving, and thus the giving of the Nidmeh is not considered a mistake. The
mistake arises only later, when the donkey dies after the Nidmeh was given
to the Kohen.
In contrast, when a Safek Bechor is given to a Kohen, even the actual act of
Nesinah was a mistake, because there was no need to give anything to the
Kohen. Therefore, the Nidmeh stays with the Kohen, because -- at the time of
the Nesinah -- there was no mistake. The Safek Bechor, however, is returned
to the Yisrael, because even at the time of Nesinah, there was a mistake
being made. (D. Bloom)
3) WHEN THE "PETER CHAMOR" DIES, THE KOHEN RECEIVES NOTHING
QUESTION: The Mishnah quotes Rebbi Yehoshua and Rebbi Tzadok who testified
that when a Peter Chamor dies (in the possession of the Yisrael), the Kohen
receives nothing. RABEINU GERSHOM and others point out that Rebbi Yehoshua
and Rebbi Tzadok were "testifying" in accordance with the opinion of the
Chachamim, who maintain that when the Peter Chamor dies in the possession of
the owner, he has no responsibility to give anything to the Kohen.
However, we learned earlier (11b) that the Kohen is entitled to the lamb
that was separated as Pidyon for the donkey, even when the lamb dies in the
possession of the Yisrael. This is because the lamb becomes the property of
the Kohen at the moment it is designated as Pidyon. Why, then, do Rebbi
Yehoshua and Rebbi Tzadok here rule, according to the Chachamim, that "the
Kohen receives nothing"?
ANSWER: CHIDUSHEI REBBI MEIR SIMCHAH answers that Rebbi Yehoshua and Rebbi
Tzadok do not mean that the Kohen receives absolutely nothing. Rather, they
mean that *besides* the lamb that he receives, he is not entitled to receive
any other Pidyon. (See also TIFERES YISRAEL.)