Keritot, Chapter Two, Mishnah Three

 

Introduction

This mishnah introduces two more categories of “five people.” The first is the person who brings one sacrifice for multiple transgressions. The issue here is what can make the same act performed on repeated occasions considered to be separate transgressions? This is a topic that will prove of great interest to the rabbis and we shall discuss it for the next few chapter.

The mishnah also refers to five people who bring a sacrifice of higher or lesser value—a rich person brings a beast and a poor person a bird. These people will be listed in mishnah four.

 

Mishnah Three

There are five persons who bring one sacrifice for multiple transgressions, and five who bring a sacrifice of higher or lesser value.   

The following bring one sacrifice for multiple transgressions:

1)      One who has intercourse with a female slave several times,

2)      A nazirite who became unclean several times. 

3)      One who warns his wife in regard to several men,   

4)      And a metzora who has contracted skin disease several times.   

5)      If he has offered the birds and then contracted the disease again, they do not count for him until he has offered his hatat.   

a)      Rabbi Judah says: until he has offered his asham.

 

Explanation

Section one: Having intercourse with a female slave several times is considered one transgression and therefore he brings only one sacrifice. We will discuss this issue more in mishnayot 4-5.

Section two: This category was explained in yesterday’s mishnah.

Section three: This refers to the beginning of the “Sotah” process. The Sotah process begins with a man warning his wife not to be secluded with so-and-so, and (in the case mentioned here) not with so-and-so, etc. He warns her concerning several men. If she goes and is secluded with all of these men, she must bring only one sacrifice, “the minhah of jealousy” (see Numbers 5:15ff) for all of her seclusions. The reason that she brings only one minhah and not one minhah for each man with whom she was secluded is that since the warning was done collectively, we look at her acts as one transgression, not many. Had he issued separate warnings for each man, she would have brought one sacrifice for each man with whom she was secluded.

Section four: If a person contracts skin disease, then is healed and then contracts it again repetitively, he brings only one sacrifice for all of the outbreaks of the disease. Since he was not purified in between each outbreak, it is considered one case of skin disease and not many.

Section five: The purification process from skin disease is described in Leviticus 14. After being pronounced free of the affliction, a person brings two birds; one bird is slaughtered and its blood is sprinkled on him and the other is set free. On the eighth day he brings two lambs, one as an asham and the other as an olah. If he can’t afford two lambs, he brings one lamb as an asham and two birds, one as a hatat and one as an olah. In either case, he offers the asham first and the hatat afterwards. If he brings the birds and then contracts skin disease again, the two skin diseases are considered as one and he need bring only one set of sacrifices at the end. Even the two birds that were already brought count. When he is healed, he will bring only the lambs or lambs and birds as olah and hatat.

According to Rabbi Judah, this is true until he brings the hatat at the very end. If he contracts the skin disease again after this point, then it is a new case of skin disease and he has to bring a new set of sacrifices.  

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