Saul, when he conquers the Amalekites, offers up the best of their animals as sacrifices (instead of doing what he is supposed to do and killing everyone and everything). Again, animals brought from non-Jews are acceptable. The answer is that Saul did not actually sacrifice these animals. He sold them and then used the money to buy sacrifices. But this is strange—if he’s just selling the animals, why does it matter that they are the best? He could sell any of them. The answer is that the best animals are most easily sold.
The sugya continues to discuss the issue of offering sacrifices bought or received from non-Jews.
Again, we have a verse that seems to prove that sacrifices can be taken from non-Jews. This is resolved by R. Nahman who posits that Araunah was a resident alien, a special category of people who are not included in the general category of non-Jews. Evidently such people can offer sacrifices.
The Talmud digresses to figure out what the word “morigim” means in the verse from II Samuel. The conclusion is that it refers to a tool used for threshing.
Here the Jews offer as sacrifices cattle they took from the Philistines during a war. Again, this is proof that animals can be taken from non-Jews. Here, these are obviously non-Jews and obviously this was after the giving of the Torah. They resolve the difficulty by saying that it was a temporary ruling, in which the rules were suspended for the needs of that specific moment. They prove that this was indeed a temporary ruling by noting that these are female cattle, and normally female cattle cannot be used as burned offerings. Thus this must have been a special ruling.
The Talmud notes that it is indeed possible to offer a female burnt offering—Shmuel does so on a “high place,” a place where an altar stood before the Temple was built. This rejects the proof above from I Samuel 6. However, we are still left with the resolution that this was a temporary ruling.
Our sugya offers another resolution of the contradiction between the mishnah which did not allow a Jew to leave his animals alone with a non-Jew for fear of bestiality and the baraita which allowed a Jew to buy animals for sacrifices from non-Jews.
According to R. Yohanan whether or not the animal is made infertile by having sex with a human depends on the age of the animal. If the animal is over three, it will not be made infertile, and therefore non-Jews will copulate with it. But if the animal is under three, they will refrain from copulating with it.
All of the verses above which proved that one can bring sacrifices from the non-Jews refer to animals under the age of 3, for it is assumed that they did not copulate with the animal.
Again, R. Yohanan could state that any animal taken from the non-Jews to be a sacrifice must be under the age of three.
The continuation of the verse refers to the young born of these cattle. But there is a tradition that animals cannot give birth under the age of three. This is seen from a baraita that discusses a cow or donkey bought from a non-Jew. The issue is whether the next birth of the cow or donkey should be considered its first born and therefore must be given to the priest. The baraita says that if the animal is over three years old then we can assume that it might have given birth and the subsequent birth might not belong to the priest. But if the animal is three years old (or just about) then the birth must be its first. This proves that animals under three years old do not give birth, and therefore we cannot solve the verse as referring to animals under that age. This is refutation of R. Yohanan.
In yesterday’s sugya we encountered a verse about the cattle who were on their way to Bet Shemesh while the ark was being returned to the Israelites in the beginning of I Samuel. This section continues to discuss these verses.
This is a midrash on the cows that sang on their way to Bet Shemesh, while accompanying the ark as the Philistines returned it to the Israelites. The word “vayisharnah” literally means went straight. But a similar root means to sing. So the rabbis take it to mean that the cows sang on their way to Bet Shemesh. [Definitely brings to mind some Sesame Street skits].
These are five different versions of what song the cows sang as they made their way to Bet Shemesh. Psalm 98 is called the “orphaned” Psalm because the word “a Psalm (mizmor)” is not dedicated to anyone, nor is it connected to any particular event.
R. Yitzchak Nafha’s version of the song is not Scripture, but rather a song composed by the rabbis (or someone else) themselves. The acacia is a reference to the ark, which was made of acacia wood.
R Ashi teaches R. Yitzchak’s song in another context—it refers to the song that the Israelites sang when they wandered around in the wilderness with the Ark. Maybe R. Ashi did not like the idea of singing cows.
Two amoraim here connect a Persian word with a Hebrew word. In the quote of R. Yitzchak Nafha the word “devir” is used to mean “book.” This connects with the word in Judges 1:11. R. Ashi says that the Persian word for menstruant “dashtana” is connected with the phrase in Genesis 31 where Rachel says that she is menstruating. This is what we might term a “folk etymology” connecting a word in a foreign language with a familiar word in one’s own language.