For the week ending 26 November 2011 / 28 Heshvan 5772

Bechorot 16 - 22

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • A lamb whose mother is a goat
  • When two male firstborn lambs come out together
  • Is it possible for two cities to be exactly equidistant from a central point
  • When there is a doubt as to which of twin firstborn animals belongs to the kohen
  • Firstborn animal delivered by Caesarian section
  • Animal purchased from a non-Jew and not known whether it has already given birth
  • What constitutes a birth which exempts the animal born afterwards from being a bechor
  • When three generations of goats can make up the ten required for tithing
  • The status of a chunk of blood discharged by a large animal

The Special Goat

Rabbi Oshaya came from the Yeshiva of Nehardaha with a beraita which quoted Rabbi Meir as ruling that a lamb born from a female goat has the status of a bechor (firstborn).

Rabbi Yochanan qualified this ruling by stating that the goat required for an additional sacrifice on Rosh Chodesh must be a goat born of a goat. The reason for this is that in making its stipulation for a goat as a sacrifice on this day the Torah states that "one" goat must be sacrificed. The apparently superfluous word "one" must be understood to indicate that it is a special species of goat, one whose goat ancestry goes all the way back to Creation.

Although the gemara quotes Rabbi Yochanan only in regard to the goat sacrificed on Rosh Chodesh, it is pointed out by Tosefot that the same ruling also applies to the goats offered on the Festivals where the term "one" appears in regard to the goat offered as an additional sacrifice.

It may be suggested that the reason for this stipulation is that the goat offered on these special days is described as “an atonement", in contrast with the other sacrifices offered on those days.

  • Bechorot 17a

What the Sages Say

"Wool which does not warm the wearer is exempt from the obligation to give the kohen a portion of it."

  • The Yeshiva of Rabbi Yishmael - Bechorot 17a

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