Hullin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Two

 

Introduction

An animal that has a permanent physical blemish cannot be sacrificed. Our mishnah distinguishes between cases where the blemish preceded the consecration of the animal, versus cases where the consecration preceded the blemish.

 

Mishnah Two

1)      All consecrated animals whose permanent physical blemish preceded their consecration and were then redeemed:

a)      Are subject to the law of the firstling and to the priestly gifts,

b)      And when they become like hullin [by being redeemed] they may be shorn and may be put to work.

c)      And their young and their milk are permitted after they have been redeemed.

d)      And he who slaughtered them outside the sanctuary is not liable.

e)      And they do not render what is substituted for them [holy].  

f)        And if they died they may be redeemed, except for the firstling and the tithe of cattle.

2)      All [consecrated animals] whose consecration preceded their permanent, or their impermanent blemish [preceded] their consecration and subsequently they contracted a permanent blemish, and they were redeemed:

a)      Are exempt from the law of the firstling, and from priestly gifts;

b)      And they are not like unconsecrated animals to be shorn or put to work;

c)      And [even] after they have been redeemed their young and their milk are forbidden;

d)      And he who slaughtered them outside the sanctuary is liable;

e)      And they render what was substituted for them [holy],

f)        And if they died they must be buried.

 

Explanation

Section one: If the animal had a permanent blemish before it was consecrated, then the animal itself doesn’t become holy. Instead, the consecrator has in reality dedicated the value of the animal to the Temple. Thus this animal is treated like a hullin, non-sacred, animal, except that it has to be redeemed before any use can be made of it. If it gives birth to a firstling, the firstling is holy, as is the case with a hullin animal. When one slaughters it, he must give the shoulder, cheeks and stomach to the priest. After it becomes hullin by being redeemed, it may be shorn and work may be performed with it. Similarly, its young and its milk are not prohibited. One who slaughters it outside the Temple is not liable for he has slaughtered a non-sacred animal. If one tries to exchange it for another animal, the other animal is not holy. If the animal dies, it will still need to be redeemed, so that its meat can be given to dogs.

The only exception to all of these rules is if this animal that had a permanent blemish is itself a firstling or a tithed animal. The firstling is holy from the moment it is born even if it has a blemish. Similarly, even blemished animals must be tithed (see Leviticus 27:33). Thus these animals are holy regardless of whether they have blemishes and therefore they cannot be treated as the animals above were treated.

Section two: An animal that is first consecrated and then becomes blemished is a consecrated animal, even though it cannot be sacrificed. Similarly, if an animal has a passing blemish, and then it is consecrated, it is a consecrated animal. These animals must be redeemed, and the money used to buy a new sacrifice. However, they remain consecrated even after redemption.

Therefore, their offspring is exempt from the laws of tithe and firstling, as are the offspring of all consecrated animals. One who slaughters them after their redemption need not give the shoulder, cheeks and stomach to the priest. Even after they are redeemed, it is forbidden to shear them or to perform any work with them. Their offspring and their milk remain prohibited, even after they have been redeemed. Indeed, it seems like the only thing that can be done with them is to eat them.

Our version of the mishnah says that if one slaughters them outside of the Temple, he is liable. This is difficult, because what it he supposed to do with them—he can’t offer them as sacrifices nor can he slaughter them outside of the Temple. There is a version which reads “exempt” instead of “liable.” However, the Talmud reads “liable” and explains that this mishnah is according to Rabbi Akiva who holds that if an animal with a blemish was put onto the altar, it is not to be removed (Zevahim 9:3). Thus, although this animal should not be sacrificed, if it is put on the altar, it can be sacrificed.

If one exchanges this animal for another, the other animal also becomes holy. Consecrated animals cannot be exchanged one for the other, and if one tries to do so, the original animal remains holy and the new animal becomes holy.

Finally, if they die before they are redeemed, they must be buried, because no one can derive benefit from their meat.

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