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Steinsaltz

With regard to a provisional guilt offering brought by one who is uncertain as to whether he committed a sin that renders him liable to bring a sin offering, if he discovers that he did not sin, the offering shall be burned, as its legal status is like that of an unfit offering. Rabbi Yehuda says: It shall be buried. A sin offering of the bird that comes due to an uncertainty, e.g., in the case of a woman who miscarried and she is uncertain whether it was a fetus, shall be burned, as it may not be eaten due to the uncertainty and because the nape of its neck was pinched and it was not slaughtered. Rabbi Yehuda says: One should cast it into the Temple courtyard drain, as the young bird will decompose and be drawn into the stream outside the Temple.

The principle is: All items that are buried shall not be burned, and all items that are burned shall not be buried. Rabbi Yehuda says: If one wished to impose a stringency upon himself by burning items that are to be buried, he is permitted to burn them. The Rabbis said to Rabbi Yehuda: One is not permitted to change the method of destruction, as this could lead to a leniency, since it is permitted to derive benefit from the ashes of items that require burning, whereas it is not permitted to derive benefit from the ashes of items that require burial.

GEMARA: Among the items from which benefit is prohibited, the mishna states that the hair of a nazirite shall be buried. With regard to this halakha, Tavi raised a contradiction before Rav Naḥman: We learned in the mishna that the hair of a nazirite shall be buried; but one can raise a contradiction from another mishna (Orla 3:3): One who weaves one sit, the distance between one’s index and middle fingers, of the wool of a firstborn animal, from which deriving benefit is prohibited in accordance with the halakha of all sacrificial animals, in a garment, the garment shall be ignited. Similarly, if one weaves from the hair of a nazirite, or from the hair of a firstborn donkey, in a sack, the sack shall be ignited.

Rav Naḥman said to Tavi: There is no contradiction. Here, the ruling of the mishna that teaches that the hair of a nazirite is buried, is stated with regard to a nazirite who became ritually impure, and who must therefore shave his head and begin a new naziriteship. And there, the ruling of the mishna that states that the hair is burned, is stated with regard to the hair of a ritually pure nazirite, who shaves his head upon successful completion of his naziriteship. At this stage his hair is burned, in accordance with the verses: “And this is the law of the nazirite, when the days of his consecration are fulfilled…And the nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the door of the Tent of Meeting, and shall take the hair of his consecrated head and put it on the fire that is under the sacrifice of peace offerings” (Numbers 6:13–18).

Tavi said to Rav Naḥman: You have answered the contradiction with regard to a nazirite and a nazirite. But the contradiction with regard to a firstborn donkey and a firstborn donkey still poses a difficulty, as the mishna here states that the animal and its hair are buried, whereas the mishna in tractate Orla teaches that its hair is burned. Rav Naḥman was silent and said nothing to Tavi about the contradiction. Instead, he said to him: Have you heard anything with regard to this from others? Tavi said to him: This is what Rav Sheshet said in response to the contradiction: Here, where the mishna states that the hair of a firstborn donkey is burned, it is referring to a case where the hair was weaved in a sack, whereas there, where the mishna rules that the hair is buried, it is referring to the hair by itself.

The Gemara notes that these responses of Rav Naḥman and Rav Sheshet were also stated by other Sages. Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: Here, in tractate Orla, the mishna is referring to a case where the hair of the nazirite or firstborn donkey was weaved in a sack, whereas there it is referring to the hair of the nazirite or firstborn donkey itself. And Rabbi Elazar says: Here, in tractate Orla, the mishna is referring to a ritually pure nazirite, and there the mishna is referring to the hair of a ritually impure nazirite.

Rav Naḥman said to Rav Sheshet: Even if there is a difference between the hair itself and hair weaved in a sack, let the hair that was weaved in a sack be nullified by the majority, i.e., the other materials weaved into the sack, and therefore the sack need not be burned. Rav Pappa said: That mishna is dealing with a case where one used the prohibited hair to weave an ornamental design of a bird into the sack. Such a design is considered significant in its own right, and consequently it is not nullified by the majority. The Gemara asks: Why should the entire sack be burned on account of the bird design? Let him remove any designs weaved into the sack with the prohibited hair, and the remaining materials should be permitted.

Rabbi Yirmeya said: In accordance with whose opinion is this mishna in tractate Orla? It is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda, who said that if one wished to impose a stringency upon himself by burning items that are to be buried, he is permitted to do so. Rav Naḥman said to him: We raised a difficulty that one should remove the bird designs, and you establish that the mishna is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda? Even according to Rabbi Yehuda, in a case where one can remove the prohibited portion of the sack and use the rest of it, why would he burn it, even as a stringency?

Rabbi Yirmeya responded: This is what I meant to say: If it is possible to remove it from the sack, fine; and if not, there is a third answer to the contradiction that Tavi raised before Rav Naḥman: Interpret the mishna in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda, who said that if one wished to impose a stringency upon himself by burning items that are to be buried, he is permitted to do so.

§ The mishna teaches: And these are the items that are burned: Leavened bread. The Gemara comments: The Master said in the mishna that leavened bread on Passover shall be burned. If so, the tanna taught us an unattributed mishna in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda, who said that the eradication of leavened bread can be performed only by means of burning. By contrast, the Rabbis rule that leavened bread may be eradicated through any manner of destruction.

The mishna further teaches that ritually impure teruma shall be burned. And with regard to orla and diverse kinds of food crops sown in a vineyard, those items whose appropriate manner of destruction is to be burned shall be burned, and those items whose appropriate manner of destruction is to be buried shall be buried. The Gemara elaborates: How so, i.e., what is an item whose appropriate manner of destruction is to be burned? Foods are items whose appropriate manner of destruction is by burning; and liquids are items whose appropriate manner of destruction is by burial.

The mishna also teaches: A sin offering of the bird that comes due to an uncertainty shall be burned; Rabbi Yehuda says that one should cast it into the Temple courtyard drain. With regard to the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda, the Gemara notes that it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda says: With regard to a sin offering of the bird that comes due to an uncertainty, one should cast it into the Temple courtyard drain. And how is this performed? He severs the animal limb by limb and then tosses all the limbs into the drain, and each limb rolls out continuously with the liquids in the drain to the Kidron River outside Jerusalem.

§ The mishna teaches that all items that are buried shall not be burned, and all items that are burned shall not be buried. The Gemara asks: What is the reason that items that are buried may not be burned? The Gemara responds: This is because with regard to items that are buried, their ashes are prohibited, but with regard to items that are burned, their ashes are permitted. Accordingly, due to a concern that one who burns an item that should be buried might derive benefit from the ashes, the Sages prohibited the burning of any item that is buried.

The Gemara asks: And is the halakha with regard to items that are buried that their ashes are prohibited? But isn’t it taught in a baraita: With regard to the blood of a menstruating woman and the flesh of a corpse, which normally render one ritually impure whether they are dry or wet, in a case where they dried up and crumbled, they are ritually pure. What, is it not correct to infer from the baraita that they are ritually pure and one is permitted to derive benefit from them, despite the fact that a corpse is an item that is buried? The Gemara rejects this inference: No, the baraita means that they are pure only in the sense that they do not render one ritually impure, but it is nevertheless prohibited to derive benefit from them.

Rav Pineḥas raises an objection from another baraita: With regard to a burnt offering of the bird whose blood was squeezed onto the wall of the altar in the appropriate manner, its crop and its feathers, which do not ascend upon the altar, have been removed from the halakhot of misuse. What, is it not correct to infer from this that they have been removed entirely from the halakhot of misuse and are no longer consecrated? And therefore one is permitted to derive benefit from them, despite the fact that the crop and feathers are buried, as they are tossed to the eastern side of the altar and are swallowed in their place. Evidently, it is permitted to derive benefit from items that are buried. The Gemara rejects this claim: No, the baraita means that they have been removed from the halakhot of misuse, but one is nevertheless prohibited to derive benefit from them.

The Gemara asks: And is it the halakha with regard to consecrated items that are burned that their ashes are permitted? But isn’t it taught in a baraita: With regard to all prohibited items that must be burned, their ashes are permitted, except for wood from a tree used as part of idolatrous rites [ashera]. And ash of consecrated property is prohibited forever.

Before summarizing the question, the Gemara explains why the baraita teaches the halakhot with regard to an ashera and consecrated property separately: And the tanna did not combine them into one phrase and teach them together, because an ashera can become permitted, as it has the option of nullification by a gentile, whereas consecrated property never has the option of nullification. The Gemara concludes its question: In any event, the baraita teaches that the ash of consecrated property is prohibited forever.

Rami bar Ḥama said: In general, it is permitted to derive benefit from the ash of burnt consecrated property. But this is the halakha either in a case where the consecrated property has been disqualified in some manner, as in the mishna, when its sanctity is weakened, or in a case where one would be liable for misuse of consecrated property when burning it. In such a situation, it is the misuse which causes the consecrated property to become non-sacred. By contrast, the baraita is dealing with a case where the ash remains prohibited, for example, if a fire fell by itself onto consecrated wood. Since it cannot be known who burned the wood, as there is no person who misused the wood in order that its ash should change to non-sacred status, the ash is therefore prohibited.

Rav Shemaya said: When this baraita was taught, it was taught with regard to the removal of the ashes every morning, i.e., the rite in which the priest removes some of the ashes from upon the altar and places them on the ground beside the altar. In this instance, the halakha is that the ash is prohibited forever.

As it is taught in a baraita with regard to the removal of the ashes: The verse states: “And he shall take up the ashes to which the fire has consumed the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar” (Leviticus 6:3). The term “and he shall put them” indicates that he shall place them down gently, rather than cast them down. Additionally, the emphasis on “them” in the term “and he shall put them” teaches that he shall put all of them. Finally, it is derived from the superfluous “and” in the term “and he shall put them” that he shall not scatter the ashes. The ruling of the baraita that all of the ashes must be placed in the ground indicates that even after the consecrated item is burned, the ashes remain sanctified and are prohibited.

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
אדם סלומון
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