The Gemara on today’s daf (=page) offers four different versions of a teaching that Rav quotes in the name of Mavog:
- If a sin-offering is brought for the purpose of being a hattat Nahshon – i.e. to be like one of the sin-offerings brought by the princes on the occasion of the consecration of the Tabernacle in the desert (see Sefer Bamidbarchapter 7) – it remains a valid sacrifice that serves its original purpose. Rashi explains that since the sacrifice was not brought in order to affect atonement for anyone (the original sin-offerings at the consecration of the Tabernacle were more of a gift than an ordinary sin-offering), we view them as a standard hattat that remains valid.
- If a sin-offering is brought and the owner says that its purpose is to serve as atonement for Nahshon, it remains a valid sacrifice. Since a sacrifice cannot act to bring atonement for a dead person, it is not considered to have been brought for a foreign purpose or a different owner, and it remains valid.
- If a sin-offering is brought and the owner intends it on behalf of someone who is obligated in a sin-offering like Nahshon (e.g. a Nazirite, who, like Nahshon brings a sin-offering as a gift, rather than because he needs atonement), it is valid. Since Nahshon’s sin-offering served the purpose of a gift, it matches the sacrifice that this person needed to bring.
- If a sin-offering is brought for the purpose of being a hattat Nahshon, it is an invalid sacrifice. Since Nahshon’s sacrifice was more of an olah – a burnt-offering brought as a gift – than it was a sin-offering, such a sacrifice appears to be brought with improper intent.
The confusion regarding this teaching notwithstanding, given the fact that Rav quotes Mavog as an authoritative source indicates that he was a scholar. It is likely that he was from the Syrian city of Mabbog, now known as Mambidj.