Kinim, Chapter One, Mishnah Two

 

Introduction

Our mishnah begins to discuss different types of bird-offerings that get mixed up one with the other, and what can be done to best remedy the situation.

 

Mishnah Two

1)      If a hatat becomes mixed up with an olah, or an olah with a hatat, were it even one in ten thousand, they all must be left to die.  

2)      If a hatat  becomes mixed up with [unassigned] obligatory [bird] offerings, the only ones that are valid are those that correspond to the number of hatats among the obligatory offerings.

3)      Similarly, if an olah becomes mixed up with [unassigned] obligatory [bird] offerings, the only ones that are valid are those that correspond to the number of olot among the obligatory offerings

4)      [This rule holds true] whether the [unassigned] obligatory offerings are in the majority and the freewill-offerings in the minority, or the freewill-offerings are in the majority and those that are obligatory in the minority, or whether they are both equal in number.

 

Explanation

Section one: If a bird hatat and a bird olah become mixed up, they cannot be sacrificed because the blood of the hatat is sprinkled on the lower portion of the altar and the blood of the olah on the upper portion. And as we learned in yesterday’s mishnah, if he spills the blood in the wrong area, the sacrifice is disqualified. If these were animal sacrifices, they could be left until they become blemished and then redeemed. However, bird sacrifices cannot be redeemed (see Menahot 12:1). Therefore, there is nothing left to do but let the birds die.

Section two: The rest of the mishnah deals with a case where either a hatat bird (offered individually for a sin) or an olah bird (offered voluntarily) becomes mixed up with kinim, that is a pair or pairs of birds, one of which must be offered as a hatat and one as an olah. The cases here refer to undetermined kinim—the owner did not determine which bird from each pair will be a hatat and which will be an olah.

If one hatat bird is mixed up with one ken, he can offer one bird as a hatat, because of any two birds he takes, one can be a hatat, either the “other” hatat or the hatat of the ken. But he can’t offer two as a hatat, lest both of the birds are from the ken, and one of those birds must be an olah. And he can’t offer any of the birds as an olah, lest the bird he tries to offer is the hatat. The same is true if he has two kinim—he can offer two hatats, for two birds have to be hataot.

Section three: The same rule applies if the “other” bird is an olah. He can now offer as many olot as there are kinim.

Section four: The “voluntary” bird offerings referred to here are olot because most voluntary bird offerings were olot.  The mishnah reiterates that the rule taught above holds true no matter whether there are many voluntary bird offerings and just a few mandatory ones, or vice versa or the same number. One can offer only as many olot the number of olot found in the mandatory offerings.     

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