ז׳ באב ה׳תשע״ט (August 8, 2019)

Temura 20a-b: Bringing a Burnt Offering

As we learned on yesterday’s daf in the event that someone sanctifies an animal to be brought as a specific sacrifice, if it cannot be brought for that sacrifice (e.g., a female animal is sanctified to be brought as an asham – a guilt offering – a sacrifice that can only be brought from male animals) the animal must be sold after it develops a permanent blemish, and a replacement must be purchased with the proceeds. Rabbi Shimon disagrees, arguing that it can be sold immediately without any blemish, since the animal receives no inherent sanctity (kedushat ha-guf) since it could not be used for that sacrifice.

Although Rabbi Shimon disagrees in that specific case, he agrees that if a female animal is sanctified as an ola – a burnt offering, which is only brought from male animals – it develops kedushat ha-guf, since we find a case where the sanctity of an ola rests on a female animal, in the case of an olat ha-of – a burnt offering brought from a fowl. In fact, according to Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya if someone simply accepts upon himself to bring an ola without specifying what type, he can bring one of the birds that is brought as a burnt offering – a tor or a ben-yona.  According to the Torah (Sefer Vayikra 1:14),  the two types of birds that can be brought as sacrifices are torim and bnei yona – turtledoves and pigeons. The tor that is referred to is identified as Streptopelia turtur, while the yona is identified as Columba livia domestica.  These birds are consistently referred to differently, the former are called torim, while the latter are called bnei yona.  This is understood by to mean that a tor is only qualified to be brought as a sacrifice when it is an adult bird, while the yona can only be brought when it is young, before is reaches adulthood. According to the Mishna in Massekhet Ḥullin (1:5), these two periods are mutually exclusive, and what would be an appropriate sacrifice in a pigeon would be inappropriate in a dove, and vice versa. The cut-off point between the two is just four or five days after hatching, when the bird’s body becomes covered with plumage – gold in the case of torim and yellow in the case of bnei yona.