Menahot, Chapter Twelve, Mishnah One



This mishnah deals with “redeeming” holy items. Redeeming is done by transferring the holiness of an item to money. The money then becomes holy and must be used to buy sacrifices or other items for the Temple. The item itself can now be used for secular purposes.


Mishnah One

1)      If menahot and libation-offerings became unclean before they were sanctified in a vessel, they may be redeemed.

a)      If [they became unclean] after they were sanctified in a vessel, they may not be redeemed.

2)      Bird-offerings, the wood, the frankincense, and the ministering vessels, may not be redeemed, for the rule of redemption applies only to [offerings of] beasts.



Section one: Once a minhah or a libation offering (the wine or oil that accompanies a sacrifice) is put into a ministering vessel, it may no longer be redeemed. If it becomes impure at this point, it would have to be destroyed. However, if it becomes unclean before it is put into a ministering vessel, it can be redeemed and used for non-holy purposes.

Section two: Leviticus 27:11-13 states that if one dedicates an unclean animal to the Temple, the priest evaluates the animal and takes money in place of the animal. This verse, however, was stated only with regard to “beasts” which would include sheep, goats, cows and other mammals. It is not stated in regard to bird-offerings, wood or vessels. Once these are dedicated to the Temple, they may no longer be redeemed.