Keritot, Chapter Six, Mishnah Two

 

Introduction

Yesterday’s mishnah dealt with a person who set aside an asham talui and then found out that he did not sin. Today’s mishnah deals with other situations in which a person sets aside an animal and then finds out that the circumstances that caused him to set aside the animal were not as he thought they were.

 

Mishnah Two

1)      The law is different with a certain asham:

a)      If before the animal was slaughtered, it may go out to pasture among the flock;

b)      If after it was slaughtered, it shall be buried;

c)      If after the blood was tossed, the flesh must be removed to the place of burning.

2)      The law is also different regarding an ox to be stoned:   

a)      If before it was stoned, it may go out to pasture among the flock;

b)      If after it was stoned, it is permitted for use.

3)      The law is also different regarding the heifer whose neck is to be broken:   

a)      If before its neck was broken, it may go out to pasture among the flock.

b)      If after its neck was broken, it shall be buried on the spot, for it was from the outset brought in a matter of doubt, it has atoned for the doubt, and so has served its purpose.

 

Explanation

Section one: The law concerning a certain asham is different from the law concerning an asham talui. If before it is slaughtered it turns out that he didn’t sin, then the animal can go out to pasture. This is simply a case of “mistaken consecration” and in such a case the consecration is not valid. This case differs from that of the asham talui which was dedicated from the outset with the possibility that the person did not sin. Therefore, it, according to the sages’ opinion in mishnah one, is holy even if it turns out he didn’t sin.

Once the animal is slaughtered, it counts as “hullin that were slaughtered in the courtyard” and it therefore must be buried. It is forbidden to derive benefit from it.

If the blood was already tossed, then the flesh must be burned in the place of burning, because it looks like a sacrifice that has been disqualified. Disqualified sacrifices are always disposed of by being burned in the “place of burning.”

Section two: This section deals with an ox that is to be stoned for having murdered. If before it is stoned it turns out that it didn’t actually commit the murder, the ox can simply return to the herd. If it has already been stoned, one can derive benefit from the carcass (but not eat it, of course, because it is not kosher), which would not be the case if it was stoned for a murder it had committed. In that case it is forbidden to derive benefit from the carcass.

Section three: There is also a different rule with regard to the heifer whose neck is broken for a case where a murderer has not been identified. If the murderer is found before the neck is broken, the heifer simply returns to the flock. If after its neck is broken the murderer is found, then the heifer must be buried. It is forbidden to derive benefit from its flesh, because its neck was broken to atone for a case of an unsolved murder. Since when its neck was broken the murder was indeed unsolved, it has fulfilled its role and it is treated like all other broken-neck heifers—one cannot derive benefit from the carcass.  

 

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