Keritot, Chapter Six, Mishnah Six



Today’s mishnah deals with one who sets apart two selas to buy an asham, as he is supposed to do (see 5:2) but then for some reason doesn’t simply buy one ram to be used as the asham. Instead he buys two rams. The question is what to do with the extra ram. The mishnah also addresses the possibility that one of the rams was bought for non-sacred purposes, in which case he has committed sacrilege.


Mishnah Six

A man set apart two sela’s for an asham:

1)      If he bought with it two rams for an asham; if one was of the value of two sela’s, it may be offered for his asham, and the other must be let out to pasture until it becomes blemished when it is sold and its value goes for freewill-offerings.

2)      If he had bought with the money two rams for hullin use, one worth two sela’s and the other worth ten zuz, that which is worth two sela’s should be offered for his asham and the other for his sacrilege.   

3)      [If he had bought with the money] one for an asham and the other for ordinary use, if that for the asham was worth two sela’s it should be offered for his asham and the other for his sacrilege, and with it he shall bring a sela and its fifth.



Section one: If he buys two rams with two selas, then at the time of purchase could have been worth two selas. However, by the time he comes to sacrifice one of them, it has gone up in value and reached the requisite two selas. That ram can be offered as his asham. The other ram is holy because it was bought to be an asham. However, it cannot be offered as an asham because its owner has already received atonement through the other asham. Therefore, it must go out to pasture until it becomes blemished. Then it can be sold and the money used to buy free-will offerings.

Section two: If he used the money to buy two hullin, non-sacred rams, he has now committed sacrilege. He bought two rams, and one is now worth two selas (again, it has gone up in value). He can offer that one as the asham sacrifice that he is liable to bring for having committed sacrilege. The other ram is worth ten zuz. A sela is worth four zuz. So ten zuz is enough to count for the two sela’s that he must restore for having committed sacrilege, and the other two zuz is the added one-fifth, which the rabbis counted as being one-fifth of the final amount and not the original amount (in this case one-fifth of ten zuz and not eight zuz). So he can take this ten zuz ram and sacrifice it as the asham that he was originally liable for, because it is worth 1/5 more than that asham needed to be. Strangely enough, it all worked out for him in the end.

Section three: In this case he again buys two rams, this time one for the asham and the other for a hullin ram. If the one for his asham is worth two selas he can sacrifice it as an asham. If the other ram is also worth two selas, then it must be used as an asham for his sacrilege. Along with that he must bring another sela and a fifth as reparation for having committed sacrilege. This extra money will be used to buy free-will offerings.