For the week ending 22 January 2011 / 16 Shevat 5771

Zevachim 72 - 78

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • When forbidden matter becomes mixed with permitted food
  • When we do not apply the rule of assuming that an unidentified object came from the majority
  • When temporary disqualification of a sacrifice is irreversible
  • How it is possible for a treifah animal's condition to be in doubt
  • When the carcasses of sacrifices get mixed up
  • Determining the nature of a sacrifice based on gender or age
  • Cutting down the time for consumption of sacrifice
  • Parts of different sacrifices that got mixed up
  • Sacrificial blood that got mixed with water

Mistaken Identify

  • Zevachim 75b

In its discussion of what to do when sacrificial animals got mixed up, the mishna notes that it is impossible for such a problem to arise in a mix-up of a chattat sacrifice and an asham one. The reason is that only a female qualifies for a chattat while only a male for an asham .

Another possibility for recognizing which sacrifice is which is raised by the gemara . The Pesach sacrifice, which must be less than a year old, can never become confused with an asham, which must be over a year old. Why is this omitted by the mishna ?

One answer given by the gemara is that while it is simple to distinguish between male and female, it is not the same in regard to age, because some animals look older or younger than their age.

Tosefot challenges this conclusion by citing a gemara (Kiddushin 55b), which rules that a stray female animal found outside Yerushalayim must be assumed to be a shlamim sacrifice (because most animals leaving the city are those designated for sacrifice). Perhaps, asks the gemara there, it is a chattat sacrifice which can also be a female? The answer given is that the animal discovered is over a year old, while a chattat sacrifice must be less than a year old. This seems to run counter to what our gemara says about the inability to distinguish between a yearling or older one.

Tosefot resolves the problem by explaining that the gemara in Kiddushin meant that the animal found was several years old and was easily distinguished from being in its first year.

What the Sages Say

"There can be a one-year-old animal which looks like a two-year-old and a two-year-old which looks like a year-old."

  • Gemara - Zevachim 75b

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