Bekhorot 36bבכורות ל״ו ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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36bל״ו ב

דאית ליה לאשתמוטי

as he has the easy option of extricating himself from the accusation that he did not fulfill the condition of the one who appointed him, by claiming that in his opinion the individual from whom he purchased the produce was to be trusted. Since the issue of the third party’s trustworthiness is subjective, the agent is not afraid to lie.

סיפא ודאי מסייעא ליה מאיש פלוני הרי זה נאמן

The Gemara suggests: The latter clause of this mishna certainly supports the ruling of Rav, that people do not lie with regard to any matter that will be revealed. How so? The latter clause states that if the one instructed the agent to purchase produce specifically from so-and-so, who is reliable with regard to tithes, then this agent is deemed credible to claim that he adhered to the instructions. Since the one who appointed him mentioned a specific individual, the agent is not suspected of lying, as that individual can be subsequently questioned.

התם כיון דאית ליה תובע מירתת

The Gemara rejects this proof: There, in the mishna, since the agent has a claimant, he is afraid to lie. In other words, since the one who appointed him specified an individual, the agent presumes that he intends to verify the matter, and therefore he will not risk lying. By contrast, in Rav’s case, since it was the priest who volunteered the information that a specific Israelite gave him an already blemished firstborn animal, he is not concerned that the examiner might seek out the Israelite to confirm the actual facts.

אמר ר' ירמיה בר אבא מנא ליה ליהודה הא אנא בגידול קבעתיה וגידול קבע בדידיה והכי א"ל נאמן ישראל לומר בכור זה נתתי לכהן במומו

Upon hearing Rav Yehuda’s statement in the name of Rav, Rabbi Yirmeya bar Abba said: From where does Yehuda know this halakha? Actually, I taught this halakha to Giddul in Rav’s name and Giddul, in turn, taught it to Rabbi Yehuda. But Giddul corrupted my statement, as this is how I said it to him: An Israelite is deemed credible to say: I gave this firstborn animal to a priest with its blemish already inflicted upon it, and it may be slaughtered and eaten.

ישראל פשיטא לא צריך בקטן והגדיל מהו דתימא לא קים ליה קמ"ל

The Gemara asks: An Israelite? It is obvious that he is deemed credible to issue this claim, as he has no use for the firstborn animal. The Gemara answers: No, this ruling is necessary, as it is referring to an animal that was young when the Israelite gave it to the priest and it grew older by the time of his testimony. This ruling is necessary, lest you say that as the animal grew older in the interim, perhaps the Israelite does not recognize it and mistakenly assumes that it was the animal he gave the priest, when in fact it is a different firstborn animal upon which the priest intentionally caused a blemish. Rabbi Yirmeya bar Abba therefore teaches us that the Israelite is trusted to recognize the animal he gave the priest.

בסורא מתנו כלשנא בתרא בפומבדיתא כלשנא קמא והלכתא אפילו כלשנא קמא

The Gemara notes: In Sura, they teach the halakha in accordance with the latter version, as stated by Rabbi Yirmeya bar Abba, that an Israelite is deemed credible to testify. In Pumbedita, they teach the halakha in accordance with the first version, as taught by Rav Yehuda, citing Rav, that even a priest is deemed credible if he claims that an Israelite gave him an already blemished firstborn animal. The Gemara concludes: And the halakha is in accordance with even the first version.

רפרם בפומבדיתא הוה ליה בוכרא ויהביה ליה לכהן בלא מומא אזל שדא ביה מומא יומא חד חלש בעיניה אייתיה לקמיה א"ל בכור זה נתן לי ישראל במומו ארפסיניה לעיניה חזייה בשקריה א"ל לאו אנא דיהיבתיה לך

In this regard, the Gemara relates that Rafram, who resided in Pumbedita, had a firstborn animal and he gave it to a priest in an unblemished state. The priest went and caused a blemish in it. One day, Rafram had an affliction in his eyes, which rendered it difficult for him to open them. The priest to whom Rafram had given the firstborn animal brought it before him, as an expert examiner, for him to deem the animal permitted. The priest said to him: An Israelite gave me this firstborn animal with its blemish upon it. Rafram forced his eyes open and saw the animal and recognized it [bashkerei] as the one he himself had given the priest. Rafram said to the priest: Is it not I who gave this firstborn animal to you?

ואפ"ה לא חש לה למילתא האי הוא דחציף כ"ע לא חציפי

The Gemara notes: And even so, Rafram was unconcerned by the matter of the priest’s attempted chicanery, as he maintained that it is only this priest who is impudent, but all other priests are not impudent. This scenario did not cause Rafram to discredit any other priest’s claim that he received a blemished firstborn animal from an Israelite, as this was an exceptional case. This priest demonstrated extreme impudence by bringing it to be examined by Rafram himself, and therefore one cannot draw conclusions about the behavior of other priests from this incident.

ההוא שרוע דאתא לקמיה דרב אשי אמר למאי ניחוש ליה אי כהן הוא אי ישראל הוא הרי בכור ומומו עמו

§ The Gemara relates that there was a certain firstborn animal, one of whose eyes was larger than the other, whose owner came before Rav Ashi to have it deemed fit for slaughter on account of its blemish. Uncertain as to who brought the animal for examination, Rav Ashi said: For what should we be concerned with regard to this animal? In a case of such a blemish, whether it is a priest who brought it for examination, or whether it is an Israelite, there is no concern that the blemish might have been intentionally caused, as this is clearly a firstborn animal whose blemish was already with it naturally.

א"ל רבינא לרב אשי ודלמא ישראל הוא ואמר רב יהודה אין רואין בכור ישראל אלא א"כ כהן עמו

Ravina said to Rav Ashi: But perhaps it is an Israelite who brought the firstborn animal, and Rav Yehuda says that one may not examine the firstborn animal of an Israelite unless a priest is present with him in order to receive the animal if it is established as fit for slaughter. Rav Yehuda is concerned that if the Israelite’s firstborn animal is deemed fit for slaughter when no priest is present, the Israelite might improperly use the animal for his own purposes. If so, how can you, Rav Ashi, say that there is no problem if this animal was brought by an Israelite?

א"ל הכי השתא התם נהי דקדשים בחוץ לא אכיל אממוניה דכהן חשיד

Rav Ashi said to Ravina in response: How can these cases be compared? There, where the presence of a priest is required, it is referring to a case where the halakhic status of the blemish has yet to be determined. Now, granted an Israelite will not risk eating sacrificial meat outside the Temple courtyard, as that incurs a penalty of karet, and he therefore would have the blemish’s status determined by an expert. But he is suspected with regard to the property of a priest. Although the Israelite will have the status of the animal confirmed before risking a prohibition that entails karet, he might steal the firstborn offering if it is established as fit for consumption.

הכא מכדי ידע דהאי מום מובהק הוא מ"ט אתיוה קמיה רבנן משום כבודו דחכם על כבודו דחכם לא עביד איסורא עבד:

Conversely, here, in the case of the animal that had one eye larger than the other, since even an Israelite knows that this is a clear-cut blemish and the animal is clearly fit for slaughter, what is the reason he brought the animal before the Sages for examination? He brought it out of respect for the Sage. Now, if this Israelite does not neglect the respect due a Sage, would he commit a transgression and steal the possession of the priest? Certainly not. Therefore, in our case an Israelite would be trustworthy, and the presence of a priest is unnecessary.

מתני׳ הכל נאמנין על מומי מעשר.

MISHNA: Everyone is deemed credible to testify about the blemishes of an animal tithe offering, even the owner who is the beneficiary of a ruling that it is blemished.

גמ׳ מ"ט דאי בעי שדי ביה מומא מעיקרא מי ידע הי נפיק

GEMARA: What is the reason that even the owner is deemed credible to testify? The reason is that had he wanted, he could have caused a blemish in it initially, in a permitted manner, before tithing his animals. The Gemara raises a difficulty: But when he leads his animals out of the gate in order to tithe them, does he know which of them will emerge as the tenth, that you say he could have initially blemished that specific animal before it assumed the tithe status?

וכי תימא מפיק ליה בריש עשרה (ויקרא כז, לג) לא יבקר בין טוב לרע אמר רחמנא אלא דאי בעי שדי ביה מומא בכולי עדריה:

And if you would say that he intentionally leads an animal out as the head of the ten, i.e., so that it is the last of ten to emerge, one may not do so, as the Merciful One states: “He shall not search whether it be good or bad” (Leviticus 27:33), which teaches that the animal tithe may not be led out intentionally but must exit of its own accord. Rather, this is the meaning of the Gemara’s initial answer: The reason is that had he wanted, he could have caused a blemish in his entire flock, in a permitted manner, before leading them through the gate in order to tithe them.

מתני׳ בכור שנסמית עינו ושנקטעה ידו ושנשברה רגלו הרי זה ישחט על פי ג' בני הכנסת רבי יוסי אומר אפילו יש שם כ"ג אינו נשחט אלא על פי מומחה:

MISHNA: With regard to a firstborn animal whose eye was blinded or whose foreleg was severed or whose hind leg was broken, all of which obviously render the animal permanently blemished, that animal may be slaughtered on the basis of the ruling of three regular Jews who attend the synagogue, and it does not require a ruling by one of the Sages. Rabbi Yosei disagrees and says: Even if there is a court of twenty-three Sages there, it may be slaughtered only on the basis of the ruling of an expert in judging blemishes.

גמ׳ רבי שמלאי ור' יהודה נשיאה תרוייהו משמיה דרבי יהושע בן לוי אמרי ואמרי לה רבי שמלאי וריב"ל תרוייהו משום ר' יהודה נשיאה אמרי התרת בכור בחוצה לארץ על פי שלשה בני הכנסת אמר רבא ובמומין מובהקין

GEMARA: The Gemara relates that Rabbi Simlai and Rabbi Yehuda Nesia both say in the name of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, and some say that Rabbi Simlai and Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi both say in the name of Rabbi Yehuda Nesia: The permitting of the slaughter of a firstborn animal outside of Eretz Yisrael, where a firstborn offering is unfit for sacrifice even when the Temple is standing, may be performed on the basis of the ruling of three regular Jews who attend the synagogue. Rava said: And this ruling applies specifically in a case of clear-cut blemishes, i.e., those blemishes which clearly permit the slaughter of the firstborn animal.

מאי קמ"ל תנינא בכור שנסמית עינו ושנקטעה ידו ושנשתברה רגלו הרי זה ישחט על פי ג' בני הכנסת

The Gemara asks: What is Rava teaching us by this statement? We already learn this in the mishna: With regard to a firstborn animal whose eye was blinded or whose foreleg was severed or whose hind leg was broken, that animal may be slaughtered on the basis of the ruling of three regular Jews who attend the synagogue. The mishna is referring to clear-cut blemishes in contemporary times, in the absence of the Temple, when a firstborn animal is unfit to be brought as an offering. What, then, is the novelty of Rava’s statement?

אי ממתניתין הוה אמינא בח"ל אפי' מומין שאין מובהקין והאי דקתני מובהקין להודיעך כחו דר' יוסי קמ"ל

The Gemara answers: If the halakha that three regular Jews may permit the slaughter of a firstborn animal is learned from the mishna alone, I would say that according to the mishna, the power invested in three regular Jews to permit the slaughter of a firstborn animal in the absence of the Temple nowadays, or outside of Eretz Yisrael during Temple times, applies even to a firstborn animal that has blemishes that are not clear-cut. And the reason that the mishna specifically teaches a case of clear-cut blemishes is to convey the far-reaching nature of the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, who requires the examination of an expert even in such a case. Rava therefore teaches us that this is not so; rather, the mishna’s ruling is referring specifically to a case of clear-cut blemishes.

א"ר יהודה א"ר ירמיה בר אבא ספק משמיה דרב ספק משמי דשמואל ג' מתירין את הבכור במקום שאין מומחה מאי קמ"ל תנינא הרי זה ישחט על פי ג' בני הכנסת

§ Rav Yehuda says that Rabbi Yirmeya bar Abba says the following halakha, but he was uncertain whether Rabbi Yirmeya bar Abba said it in the name of Rav and uncertain whether he said it in the name of Shmuel: Three regular Jews may permit a firstborn animal with clear-cut blemishes in a place where there is no expert. The Gemara asks: What is Rav Yehuda teaching us by this statement? We already learn this in the mishna: That animal may be slaughtered on the basis of the ruling of three regular Jews who attend the synagogue.

אי ממתניתין הוה אמינא במקום מומחה קמ"ל במקום שאין מומחה אין במקום שיש מומחה לא

The Gemara answers: If the halakha is learned from the mishna alone, I would say that three laymen may permit a firstborn animal with clear-cut blemishes even in a place where there is an expert. Rav Yehuda therefore teaches us that in a place where there is no expert, yes, three laymen may permit it. But in a place where there is an expert, three laymen are not invested with this power.

אמר רב חייא בר עמרם ג' מתירין את הבכור במקום שאין מומחה ג' מתירין את הנדר במקום שאין חכם ג' מתירין את הבכור במקום שאין מומחה

Rav Ḥiyya bar Amram says: A group of three laymen may permit a blemished firstborn animal in a place where there is no expert to consult, and likewise a group of three laymen may dissolve a vow in a place where there is no Sage. The Gemara explains: The ruling that a group of three laymen may permit a blemished firstborn animal in a place where there is no expert to consult