Kinim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Two
This mishnah explains the end of yesterday’s mishnah.
How is this so?
1) Two women, this one has two pairs and this one has two pairs, and one bird flies from the [pair of] one to the other [woman’s pair], then it disqualifies by its escape one [of the birds from which it flew].
2) If it returned, it disqualifies yet another by its return.
3) If it flew away again and then returned, and again flew away and returned, no further loss is incurred, since even if they had all become mixed together, not less than two [pairs would still be valid].
Section one: Two women each have two pairs of birds. If one bird flies away from one woman’s two pairs, and joins the second woman’s two pairs, the woman who is left with three birds can only use two. Of the three birds remaining, she can offer one as a hatat and one as an olah, but the third cannot be offered as either an olah or a hatat, for if she were to offer the one that remains as a hatat, then the one that flew away would have to be an olah. And when it joins two kinim, only two of the five could be offered as olot (the minimum number of olot in the two pairssee 1:2). The same would be true if she were to offer the third as an olahthe one that flew away would be a hatat, and the second woman can only offer two birds as hataot. But when the woman with three birds offers only two of them, the other woman can still offer two hataot and two olot.
The woman with five birds also cannot take another bird and make three pair, offering one as an olah and one as a hatat from each pair, lest the fifth bird actually be one of her original birds and if she offers it as a hatat, it is possible that she will offer three hataot from her original four birds (one with the new pair, and two as the original pairs). For the same reason, she can’t take another bird and offer the fifth bird as an olah, lest it turns out there are three olot from the original four birds. She has no choice but to offer only four birds.
In the end, it turns out that of the original eight, the woman whose bird flew the coop offers one pair, and the woman to whom the bird flew offers two pairs. Two birds go to waste.
Section two: If one of the five birds flies back to the other three birds, it disqualifies one of the birds that it left. Of the four left with woman two, she can offer only two of them, one as an olah and one as a hatat. She can’t offer more lest the bird that went back to woman one is not the same bird that joined her group, and she only has three birds left from her original two kinim.
Section three: This process of disqualification does not continue if birds keep flying back and forth between the kinim. For even if all four kinim get mixed up, he can always offer four birds, two as hataot and two as olot, as we learned in 1:3 that if four pairs of birds get mixed up, each woman can offer two birds, one as a hatat and one as an olah.