כ׳ בתמוז ה׳תשע״ט (July 23, 2019)

Temura 4a-b: Corrective Action

In the first few dapim of Massekhet Temura, the Gemara has focused on questions regarding the punishment meted out to the individual who makes an animal temura, that is, he tries to exchange a sanctified animal and transfer the holiness to another. On today’s daf Abaye points out that temura should be considered a lav ha-nitak la’asei – a prohibition whose violation can be rectified by fulfilling a positive mitzva. (An example of a lav ha-nitak la’asei is the prohibition against stealing – see 19:13 – that is followed by a positive commandment to return stolen property – Vayikra 5:23.)

Two reasons are often offered to explain the rule of lav ha-nitak la’asei. One approach suggests that performance of the positive commandment “corrects” the forbidden action, alleviating the need for any further punishment. Another approach posits that since the Torah associates a corrective action with the prohibition, it changes the nature of the prohibition so that it no longer matches the archetype lo taḥsom shor be-disho – “You shall not muzzle the ox when he treads out the corn” ( 25:4) – and does not receive lashes.

The Gemara explains that temura is unique inasmuch as it has two negative commandments and one positive commandment (“He shall not exchange it, nor substitute it, a good for a bad, or a bad for a good; and if he shall at all change animal for animal, then both it and that for which it is changed shall be holy” – see 27:10), and therefore the punishment of lashes remains in force.

It should be noted that there is no positive commandment that must be performed that is associated with temura. Nevertheless, since the second animal becomes sanctified by means of the temura Abaye puts it in the category of a lav ha-nitak la’asei.