Keritot, Chapter Five, Mishnah Three

 

Introduction

The first part of this mishnah is a direct continuation of yesterday’s mishnah.

 

Mishnah Three

1)      Rabbi Akiba: Your words seem plausible in the case of a minor amount of sacrilege; but if it was a case of doubtful sacrilege of a hundred manehs, would it not be more advantageous for him to bring an asham for two sela’s rather than restore out of doubt the sum of a hundred manehs?

a)      Rabbi Akiba agrees with Rabbi Tarfon in the case of a minor amount of sacrilege.

2)      If a woman brought a bird hatat for a case of a doubtful miscarriage, and prior to the pinching of its neck she learned that the birth was a certainty, she can offer it as a certain hatat, for that which she offers in the case of certainty is of the same kind as that which she offers in the case of doubt.

 

Explanation

Section one: Rabbi Akiva agrees with Rabbi Tarfon in a case where the sacrilege was of a small amount. In this case, the person might save money by not having to bring two asham sacrifices. However, if the sacrilege was for a very large amount, a hundred manehs, he would not be well served to pay the restitution and save himself from having to bring two ashams. Note that the debate seems to be practical—if someone is not sure if he committed sacrilege, what would be the cheapest way for him to receive possible atonement. There does not seem to be a debate about whether a person could do either according to Rabbi Tarfon or Rabbi Akiva.

In the end, the mishnah notes that Rabbi Akiva agrees with Rabbi Tarfon, that if the sacrilege was for a small amount, he can make a stipulation and get away with bringing only one asham.

Section two: If a woman miscarries and is not sure whether it was the type of miscarriage that would make her liable for a hatat or not (see 1:4), she brings a hatat, but since the hatat comes for a case of doubt the hatat is not eaten. If before the hatat’s head is pinched (this is how sacrificial birds were slaughtered in the Temple) she finds out that the miscarriage was one for which she is certainly liable, then she can use the same bird as a certain hatat. The reason is that the same type of bird is used for both offerings.

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