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Menachos, 108

MENACHOS 108 (28 Teves) - sponsored by Reb Uri Sondhelm, to honor the fifty-first Yahrzeit of his father, Reb Asher ben Uri Shraga Sondhelm Z"L. May Reb Asher's grandson Menachem merit, in the Zechus of his grandfather and his other righteous ancestors, to build a Bayis Ne'eman b'Yisrael with his newly engaged Kalah, Naomi Stimler of London, England!


QUESTION: The Mishnah says that if one pledges to bring a bull as a Korban, and the bull then develops a blemish and becomes disqualified from being brought as a Korban, he may bring in its place two bulls which together equal the value of the one that became disqualified. The Gemara (beginning of 108b) asks that this seems to contradict the previous Mishnah (107b). The Mishnah there states that one who pledges to bring a bull worth one Manah may not bring two bulls of equal value to the one that he pledged. The Gemara answers that there is an important difference between the two cases of the Mishnah. The Mishnah here says that the person pledges to bring "*this*" bull. Once this bull becomes disqualified, the person has no further obligation to bring a Korban, since his pledge obligated him only to bring this bull. He may bring, therefore, the value of this bull (in the form of two bulls), since he has no real obligation anymore to fulfill his pledge. The previous Mishnah is discussing a case in which the person says that he is obligating himself to bring a bull worth one Manah, and he does not specify any particular bull. In that case, he is obligated to bring a bull worth one Manah, regardless of whether or not the animal he intended to bring becomes disqualified, and he cannot fulfill his obligation by bringing two bulls that together equal one Manah.

It seems that the Gemara's answer assumes that it is indeed more preferable to bring one expensive animal as a Korban than to bring two animals that are each worth less, but together equal the same as the expensive animal. We know that the Chachamim (who argue with Rebbi on 107b) maintain that one may fulfill his obligation to bring a Korban of lesser value by bringing a Korban of greater value. If it is more preferable to bring two animals which together equal the value of one expensive animal, then even in the case of the previous Mishnah one should be able to fulfill his obligation with two animals that equal the value of the animal that he pledged.

However, the next Sugya contradicts this. The Mishnah states that one who brought two bulls that both became blemished may bring one bull that equals the value of the two blemished bulls. Rebbi argues that one may not replace the two bulls with a single bull of equal value. The Gemara explains that this is a case of switching a larger Korban for a smaller Korban, which Rebbi does not permit. Even though the Gemara before established that in the case of our Mishnah there is no real obligation to replace the Korbanos, Rebbi argues that if one does want to replace them, then l'Chatchilah one should not replace them with a lesser Korban. RASHI (DH Gadol v'Havei Katan) explains that two animals are always better than one, which is why the two animals that were originally designated as Korbanos are considered a more preferable Korban than one expensive animal.

How can we reconcile these two contradictory Sugyos? What is considered a more preferable Korban -- one expensive animal or two inexpensive animals?


(a) The RASHASH discusses this apparent contradiction at length, and concludes that it is more preferable to offer one expensive animal than to offer two less-expensive animals. greater Korban is the singular expensive Korban. How can we understand the second Gemara which holds that two inexpensive animals are better than one expensive one? He answers that this was only a way to understand Rebbi before we knew that he argued on the entire Mishnah. Once we conclude that Rebbi argues on the entire Mishnah, we revert to saying that the singular expensive Korban is greater.

The YAD BINYAMIN proves that the Rashash's conclusion is correct from the statement of Rav Menashya bar Zevid in the name of Rav later in the Gemara. Rav Menashya says in the name of Rav that when one declares, "This bull and its monetary value are upon me for an Olah," the Korban is "Hukva." Apparently, this means that the one who made the pledge may not bring two cheaper animals in place of the bull that he pledged. According to the Chachamim who maintain that one may bring a more expensive Korban than the one that was pledged, it is apparent that if two animals would be a more preferable Korban, then they should still be acceptable! It is clear that Rav Menashya bar Zevid in the name of Rav holds that one expensive animal is more preferable.

(b) The EIZEHU MEKOMAN explains that bringing two animals is better than bringing one expensive animal. Why, then, does the previous Mishnah say that one cannot fulfill his pledge to bring a bull worth one Manah by bringing two Korbanos that together are worth a Manah, even according to the Chachamim? He answers based on an intriguing Rashi on the previous Mishnah. Rashi (107b, DH Shor b'Manah) says that the reason one may not bring two animals in place of one is "because the person set the [value of the] first bull at a Manah." Why does Rashi give that reason? The reason should be that by bringing two animals, one is bringing a Korban of a lower quality! Why does Rashi need to say that it is because the value of the animal that was pledged was set at one Manah? The two replacement animals are also worth a Manah!

The Eizehu Mekoman explains that Rashi's intention is that the reason the two animals may not be brought in place of the bull worth one Manah is not because they are considered a Korban of a lower quality, but because *even the Chachamim* maintain that when a person sets the monetary value of the Korban that he pledges, he cannot change it, even if he wants to bring a better Korban in its place. In addition, the case in the previous Mishnah does not seem to be discussing the Halachah of bringing a lesser Korban, for it is discussed in the Mishnah *before* the argument regarding bringing a lesser or better Korban! (The Eizehu Mekoman says that he later saw this explanation in the SEFER YASHAR V'TOV (107b).) (Y. Montrose)


OPINIONS: In the first case of the Mishnah here, the Mishnah states that when one pledges one of his sheep or bulls to Hekdesh, and he has only two sheep or two bulls, the larger one must be given to Hekdesh. The reason for this seems to be that one who is Makdish an item does so "b'Ayin Yafah," generously, and we therefore assume that he meant to give the larger animal.

The Gemara asks that if the person must give the larger animal because of "b'Ayin Yafah Makdish," then how are we to understand the next case of the Mishnah? The Mishnah states that when the person has three animals, the *middle* animal is Hekdesh. Why do we not assume that he meant to be Makdish the largest animal, because of the principle of "b'Ayin Yafah Makdish"?

Shmuel answers that the Mishnah, in the second case, does not mean that the second animal is certainly Hekdesh. Rather, the Mishnah is saying that we must suspect that the middle animal might be the one which the owner meant. We are unsure whether he meant the largest animal because it is considered "b'Ayin Yafah Makdish," or whether he meant the middle-sized animal, since it is larger than the smallest animal and thus is also considered "b'Ayin Yafah Makdish."

Accordingly, Rebbi Chiya explains, the owner of the animals should wait until the middle animal develops a blemish and transfer the possible Kedushah from the middle animal onto the largest animal and bring the largest animal as the Korban.

How does this transferal of Kedushah take place?

(a) RASHI (DH u'Machil) says that if the middle animal was indeed Hekdesh, then when the middle animal receives a blemish, "he transfers its Kedushah to the largest animal." Rashi implies that the owner himself must actively transfer the Kedushah, just as he would actively transfer the Kedushah from any other animal which was designated to be a Korban and then developed a blemish.

(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos 16:8) writes that "he should wait until the middle animal receives a blemish, and then the Kedushah *will transfer* to the largest animal alone." What does the Rambam mean when he says that "the Kedushah *will transfer*"?

1. The KESEF MISHNEH and MAHARI KURKAS explain that the Rambam argues with Rashi and maintains that the possible Kedushah *automatically transfers* from the middle animal to the largest animal, without requiring any involvement from the owner. The Mahari Kurkas explains that the Rambam infers this from the Gemara. Shmuel says that "we suspect that the second animal is also Hekdesh." This implies that we assume that the main Korban that the owner intended to be Makdish is the largest one, and we merely have a slight suspicion that he intended to give the middle. This is why this case is different from all other cases of a Korban that becomes blemished, and the Kedushah is transferred by itself. Applying this logic, the Mahari Kurkas states that if the largest animal develops a blemish, we do *not* say that the middle animal receives the rest of the Kedushah, since the largest animal is the real Korban, and not the middle animal. (The Mahari Kurkas concludes, however, that the simple meaning of the Gemara's words "u'Machil Lei l'Kedushasei" -- "and he transfers it from its Kedushah" supports the view of Rashi.)

The TOSFOS YOM TOV and TIFERES YISRAEL argue with the Mahari Kurkas with regard to the Halachah in a case in which the largest animal develops a blemish. They assert that, in such a case, the animal's Kedushah may be transferred to the middle-sized animal. However, the owner must compensate for the difference in value between the middle-sized animal and the largest animal by bringing other Korbanos with that money. They do not accept the Mahari Kurkas' explanation that there is merely a small suspicion that the middle animal is Kadosh.

Although the Tiferes Yisrael clearly learns (like Rashi) that the Kedushah must be actively transferred by the owner, the view of the Tosfos Yom Tov in this matter is unclear. The KEREN ORAH (47b), who similarly maintains that the Kedushah can be transferred both from the middle-sized animal to the largest one, and from the largest animal to the middle-sized one (and who understands that the Rambam means that the transfer is automatic), explains that this is also the opinion of the Rambam. He explains that when there is only one animal left without a blemish, it becomes evident which animal is the true Korban, and the Kedushah automatically takes affect on that animal. (The EIZEHU MEKOMAN has difficulty with this explanation because it seems to require the application of "Bereirah," and we do not apply Bereirah to a Halachah d'Oraisa.)

2. The SEFAS EMES maintains that the Rambam means (like Rashi) that the owner must transfer the Kedushah. It seems that the Sefas Emes is bothered by the simple interpretation of the text, and therefore he does not accept the explanation of the Kesef Mishneh, which he calls "Tamuha Tuva." (Y. Montrose)

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