כ״א במרחשון ה׳תשע״ט (October 30, 2018)

Menahot 81a-b: Purchasing a Sacrifice with Second Tithe Money

Ma’aser sheni, or what is called “the second tithe,” is produce that is set aside by the farmer in years 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the seven year Sabbatical cycle to be taken to Jerusalem and eaten within the walls of the city. The Torah teaches that if a farmer finds that he has too much of such produce, or if he is far away from Jerusalem, he can redeem the ma’aser sheni in exchange for money, which must be taken to Jerusalem and used to buy food, which then gets the sanctity of ma’aser sheni (see 14:22-27 for the laws of ma’aser sheni).

Among the foods that can be purchased with ma’aser sheni money are voluntary sacrifices whose meat is eaten by the owner of the offering. Such money cannot be used to purchase obligatory sacrifices – even those whose meat is eaten by the owner – since obligatory sacrifices can only come from ordinary money and not from sanctified money. The Mishna on today’s daf discusses whether a korban toda – a thanksgiving offering – and its associated loaves can be brought from ma’aser sheni money. Four cases are mentioned in the Mishna –

1. Someone who commits to bring a korban toda must bring both the sacrifice and the loaves from his own, personal money (since he said he had an obligation to bring it, he cannot use ma’aser sheni money)
2. Someone who says that he will bring the korban toda from his own money, but the loaves from ma’aser sheni money must bring both from his own money. Since the loaves come as a consequence of the sacrifice, once he obligated himself in the sacrifice, he is obligated in the loaves and cannot use ma’aser sheni money for it.

3. Someone who says that he will bring the korban toda from ma’aser sheni money, but the loaves will be brought from his own money, can do so (he can also bring the korban toda from his own money if he wants).

4. Someone who says that he will bring both the sacrifice and the loaves from ma’aser sheni money can do so (again, he can also bring them from his own money if he wants to).