Torah Sparks

United Synagogue (USCJ) is proud and delighted to bring you Torah Sparks, with insights and learning materials on the Parasha (Torah portion) of the week. Torah Sparks is produced by the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Each week there will be a Dvar Torah - a discussion on some aspect of the reading, by CY faculty, alumni and friends; a Vort - a short thought from Chasidic rebbes or other thinkers about some point in the text; and Table Talk - questions to stimulate discussion on the Parsha around the Shabbat table. Torah Sparks is available here on the Conservative Yeshiva's Shiurim Online Beit Midrash website, as well as by subscription to weekly graphical emails. Please select the Parasha you would like to see - it will display articles from each year. A printable PDF is linked at the end of each week's presentation.


Introduction to Tractate Temurah

Introduction to Tractate Temurah   “Temurah” means “substitute” and Tractate Temurah deals with cases where a person tries to substitute a non-sacred animal for another animal that has already been dedicated to be a sacrifice. This subject is dealt with in two parts of Leviticus 27, which I have quoted below:   Leviticus 27: 9-10 […]

Temurah, Chapter 1, Mishnah 1

Temurah, Chapter One, Mishnah One   Introduction The first mishnah of Temurah explains who has the ability to substitute a non-sacred animal for an already dedicated one. Remember: when one does this, both animals become sacred. The substitution in essence fails to remove the holiness from the original animal but succeeds in making the substituted […]

Temurah, Chapter 1, Mishnah 2

Temurah, Chapter One, Mishnah Two   Mishnah Two 1)      One can substitute a)      Herd animals for flock animals and flock animals for herd animals; b)      Sheep for goats and goats for sheep; c)      Males for females and females for males; d)      Unblemished animals for blemished animals and blemished animals for unblemished animals, since Scripture says: […]

Temurah, Chapter 1, Mishnah 3

Temurah, Chapter One, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah deals with a person who tries to substitute either parts of an animal or embryos for a whole dedicated animal, or vice versa.   Mishnah Three 1)      One cannot substitute limbs [of hullin] for [dedicated] embryos; a)      Or embryos [of hullin] for [dedicated] limbs; b)      Or […]

Temurah, Chapter 1, Mishnah 4

Temurah, Chapter One, Mishnah Four   Introduction Today’s mishnah has nothing to do with temurah. It is here because it is similar to tomorrow’s mishnah, which does have some connection to our tractate.   Mishnah Four 1)      [Anything which has become subject to the law of terumah through] a mixture can affect a [second] mixture […]

Temurah, Chapter 1, Mishnah 5

Temurah, Chapter One, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five 1)      Hatat water does not become hatat water except with the putting of ashes [in the water].    2)      A doubtful graveyard cannot make another doubtful graveyard.    3)      Nor can terumah be made after terumah.    4)      A substitute cannot make another substitute.    5)      The […]

Temurah, Chapter 1, Mishnah 6

Temurah, Chapter One, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah provides some limits to the applicability of the law of substitutes.   Mishnah Six 1)      Birds and menahot do not make a substitute, since it only says “a beast” (Leviticus 27:10).    2)      A congregation or partners cannot make a substitute, since it says: “He shall […]

Temurah, Chapter 2, Mishnah 1

Temurah, Chapter Two, Mishnah One   Introduction Our mishnah compares the laws of sacrifices brought by an individual with the laws of sacrifices brought by the congregation.   Mishnah One 1)      There are [laws relating] to the sacrifices of an individual which do not apply to congregational sacrifices and [laws relating] to congregational sacrifices which […]

Temurah, Chapter 2, Mishnah 2

Temurah, Chapter Two, Mishnah Two   Introduction Our mishnah continues to explain the differences between sacrifices of an individual and those of the congregation. To understand our mishnah we must discuss the category of a hatat (a sin-offering) that is left to die. There are five types of hatats that must be left to die: […]

Temurah, Chapter 2, Mishnah 3

Temurah, Chapter Two, Mishnah Three   Introduction Today’s mishnah compares the laws that relate to dedicating something to the Temple with the laws that relate to an animal that has been substituted. As the rabbis love to do, they note that sometimes the laws governing dedications are more stringent, whereas at other times, the laws […]

Temurah, Chapter 3, Mishnah 1

Temurah, Chapter Three, Mishnah One   Introduction The third chapter discusses the status of the offspring and the substitutes of sacrifices, and whether or not they have the same exact status as the original/mother animal. In our mishnah the sages debate the status of the offspring of a shelamim, an offering of well-being.   Mishnah […]

Temurah, Chapter 3, Mishnah 2

Temurah, Chapter Three, Mishnah Two   Introduction Today’s mishnah deals with the offspring and substitutes of a todah (thanksgiving offering) or of an olah (whole burnt offering).   Mishnah Two 1)      The offspring of a todah and its substitute, their offspring and the offspring of their offspring, until the end of all time, are considered […]

Temurah, Chapter 3, Mishnah 3

Temurah, Chapter Three, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three 1)      If one set aside a female animal for an olah and it gave birth to a male, it goes out to pasture until it becomes unfit for sacrifice. It is then sold and with its money he brings an olah. a)      Rabbi Elazar says: the [male] […]

Temurah, Chapter 3, Mishnah 4

Temurah, Chapter Three, Mishnah Four   Introduction Today’s mishnah is a direct continuation of yesterday’s mishnah.   Mishnah Four 1)      But cannot a nedavah [freewill-offering] also be an olah? What then is the difference between the opinion of Rabbi Elazar and that of the sages?    2)      Only in that when the offering comes as […]

Temurah, Chapter 3, Mishnah 5

Temurah, Chapter Three, Mishnah Five   Introduction Today’s mishnah, the final of our chapter, deals with the first-born and a tithed animal.   Mishnah Five 1)      The substitute of a first-born and an animal tithed, their young and the young of their young until the end of time, they are all treated like a first-born […]

Temurah, Chapter 4, Mishnah 1

Temurah, Chapter Four, Mishnah One   Introduction Chapter four is about the hatat, the sin-offering. As we have learned in 2:2, there are five types of hataot (pl. of hatat) that are left to die because they can’t be sacrificed and neither can they be eaten. Our mishnah deals with these five hataot.     […]

Temurah, Chapter 4, Mishnah 2

Temurah, Chapter Four, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah deals with the case of someone who set aside an animal to be a hatat, and then it was lost.   Mishnah Two 1)      If one set aside a hatat and it was lost and he sacrificed another in its place, if then the first [animal] […]

Temurah, Chapter 4, Mishnah 3

Temurah, Chapter Four, Mishnah Three   Introduction Our mishnah deals with various scenarios where one sets aside a hatat or money for a hatat and it or the money is lost, and then he sets aside another hatat or more money to buy another hatat and he then finds the first one before he offers […]

Temurah, Chapter 4, Mishnah 4

Temurah, Chapter Four, Mishnah Four   Introduction The final mishnah of our chapter has another case of a hatat that must be left to die.   Mishnah Four 1)      If one set aside a hatat and it is blemished, he sells it and brings another with its money. 2)      Rabbi Elazar son of Rabbi Shimon […]

Temurah, Chapter 5, Mishnah 5

Temurah, Chapter Five, Mishnah  Five   Introduction This mishnah teaches what actual words are capable of making one animal a substitute for another. We should again remember that the laws of “temurah” refer to one who tries to make one animal holy in place of another animal that is already dedicated. The substitution works in […]

Temurah, Chapter 5, Mishnah 1

Temurah, Chapter Five, Mishnah One   Introduction The first three mishnayot of our chapter deal with what is called “acting deceptively with regard to the first born.” The first-born animal has to be offered as a sacrifice, unless it is blemished. The idea with acting deceptively is that the owner of the animal giving birth […]

Temurah, Chapter 5, Mishnah 2

Temurah, Chapter Five, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah is a direct continuation of yesterday’s mishnah. The situation discussed is when a person says about a pregnant animal, “If it gives birth to a male, then it shall be an olah, and if it gives birth to a female, it shall be a shelamim.”   […]

Temurah, Chapter 5, Mishnah 3

Temurah, Chapter Five, Mishnah Three   Introduction Today’s mishnah deals with someone who wants to make a pregnant animal one type of sacrifice but dedicate its offspring to be a different type.   Mishnah Three 1)      If one says: “The offspring of this [pregnant animal] shall be an olah and it [the animal itself] shall […]

Temurah, Chapter 5, Mishnah 4

Temurah, Chapter Five, Mishnah Four   Introduction Today’s mishnah contains a debate between Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Yose that is very similar to the debate found in yesterday’s mishnah.   Mishnah Four 1)      [If one says:] “Behold, this animal shall be the substitute of an olah and the substitute of a shelamim,” it is the […]

Temurah, Chapter 5, Mishnah 6

Temurah, Chapter Five, Mishnah Six   Introduction The final mishnah of chapter six discusses the precise language that must be used for a substitute to be valid.   Mishnah Six 1)      [If one says:] “Behold this animal shall be instead of a hatat,” [or] “instead of an olah,” he has said nothing. a)      [But if […]

Temurah, Chapter 6, Mishnah 1

Temurah, Chapter Six, Mishnah One   Introduction Chapter six contains information concerning animals that cannot be put onto the altar for various reasons.   Mishnah One 1)      All [animals] forbidden for the altar render [others] unfit however few there are.   2)      [These are the animals forbidden for the altar]: a)      An animal which had […]

Temurah, Chapter 6, Mishnah 2

Temurah, Chapter Six, Mishnah Two   Introduction According to Deuteronomy 23:19 one may not bring “a prostitute’s fee or the pay of a dog into the house of the Lord.” The rabbis understand these two things to be an animal used to pay a prostitute or an ox used as payment for a dog. Neither […]

Temurah, Chapter 6, Mishnah 3

Temurah, Chapter Six, Mishnah Three   Mishnah Three What is meant by the “price of a dog”?    1)      If one says to his fellow, here is this lamb instead of [this] dog.    2)      And similarly if two partners divided [an estate] and one took ten lambs and the other nine and a dog, […]

Temurah, Chapter 6, Mishnah 4

Temurah, Chapter Six, Mishnah Four   Introduction Today’s mishnah is the last mishnah to deal with the topic of “the price of a dog” and the “fee of a prostitute.”   Mishnah Four 1)      If he gave her [a prostitute] money, it is permitted [for use for the altar.] a)      [But if he gave her] […]

Temurah, Chapter 6, Mishnah 5

Temurah, Chapter Six, Mishnah Five   Mishnah Five 1)      With regard to any animals that are disqualified for the altar, their offspring are permitted for the altar. 2)      The offspring of a terefah: Rabbi Elazar says it may not be offered on the altar.    3)      Rabbi Hanina ben Antigonus says: a ritually clean animal […]

Temurah, Chapter 7, Mishnah 1

Temurah, Chapter Seven, Mishnah One   Introduction The first three mishnayot of our chapter deal with the differences between the laws that apply to things that are dedicated to the altar to be sacrifices and things that are dedicated to the Temple for their proceeds to be used for Temple repairs. Our mishnah deals with […]

Temurah, Chapter 7, Mishnah 2

Temurah, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah is the second half of yesterday’s mishnah. Here we learn that there are laws that apply to dedications made for the repair of the Temple that don’t apply to animals dedicated to be sacrifices.   Mishnah Two There are [laws] which apply to dedications for the […]

Temurah, Chapter 7, Mishnah 3

Temurah, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Three   Introduction In today’s mishnah we learn ways in which dedications for the repairs of the Temple are treated the same as dedications for the altar.   Mishnah Three 1)      Both dedications for the altar and dedications for the repairs of the Temple may not be changed from one holiness […]

Temurah, Chapter 7, Mishnah 4

Temurah, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Four   Introduction At the end of yesterday’s mishnah we learned that animals dedicated, either for the altar or for Temple repair, that then die, must be buried because they cannot be redeemed. Our mishnah lists other things that must be buried.   Mishnah Four And the following are things which […]

Temurah, Chapter 7, Mishnah 5

Temurah, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Five   Introduction In yesterday’s mishnah we learned which forbidden items must be buried. Today we learn that other forbidden things must be burned.   Mishnah Five And the following are to be burned: 1)      Chametz on Pesah is burned; 2)      Unclean terumah; 3)      Orlah;    4)      Kilayim (mixed seeds) in […]

Temurah, Chapter 7, Mishnah 6

Temurah, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Six   Introduction The final mishnah in Temurah deals with prohibited things that must be burned.   Mishnah Six 1)      All dedicated animals which were slaughtered [with the intention of being eaten] after their set time or outside of their set place must be burned. 2)      An asham offered by one […]

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