Shekalim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Four

 

Introduction

This mishnah deals with beasts (cattle) found in proximity to Jerusalem.  Since many animals around Jerusalem may be escaped sacrifices (probably lost, but escaped sounds more interesting) we must treat them as if they were sacrifices. 

 

Mishnah Four

1)      Beasts which were found in Jerusalem as far as Migdal Eder and within the same distance in any direction:

2)      Males are [considered as] burnt-offerings;

3)      Females are [considered as] peace-offerings.  

4)      Rabbi Judah says: that which is fit for a pesach offering, is [considered as] a pesach-offerings [when found] within thirty days before the pilgrimage [of Pesach]. 

 

Explanation

Section one:  The exact location of Migdal Eder is no longer known.  It is mentioned in Genesis 35:21 and in Micah 4:8.  It is very close to Jerusalem. 

Section two:  Males found in this area are treated as burnt-offerings.  This is the most stringent of the offerings that the male animal might be.  It is also true that the majority of male animals are burnt-offerings. The Talmud Yerushalmi explains that there was a special decree in Jerusalem that all lost male animals are to be treated as burnt offerings.

Section three: Female animals are treated as peace-offerings, since they cannot be offered as burnt offerings.  Most female animals in Jerusalem are peace-offerings which were purchased with second tithe money (see above mishnayot 2-3). 

Section four:  Rabbi Judah explains that if the animal was fit to be a pesah offering, that is it is a year-old goat or sheep, and it is found within thirty days before Pesah, it is to be treated as a pesah offering.  Thirty days is the period of time before Pesah in which the sages began to teach the laws of Pesah and hence at this time people began to set aside animals for use as a pesah offering.  One who finds such an animal may use it as his own personal pesah sacrifice.  If the owners come and claim the animal, then he must pay them its value but he may keep the animal.  

 

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