This week’s daf begins with a mishnah from Tractate Shekalim that seems to accord with R. Meir. The issue is how to treat domesticated animals found in close proximity to Jerusalem which may be escaped sacrifices (reality TV show?).
The mishnah says that males must be considered burnt offerings and females peace-offerings. The problem is that males can also be peace-offerings.
R. Oshaia interprets the mishnah to refer to a case of one who finds the animal and wants to bring its value as an offering. What the mishnah says is that if he does so, he must bring the value of a burnt offering and a peace offering because a male animal may be either. Once he commits to this, the animal’s value is desacralized. This accords with R. Meir who holds that one may intentionally redeem hekdesh.
Yesterday’s sugya taught of a person who finds a sacrificable animal near Jerusalem and redeems it for money. The money is holy and the animal has been desacralized. The question our sugya asks is whether one can actually desacralize an animal dedicated to be a sacrifice.
This mishnah from Tractate Me’ilah teaches that misusing an animal dedicated to the Temple or a vessel from the Temple does not desacralize them. Thus no matter how many people use these items in a non-holy way, each person commits trespass. This shows that things that have intrinsic holiness, such as animals donated to be sacrifices, cannot be desacralized. This differs from things whose value was donated to the Temple. These do not have intrinsic holiness and can be redeemed.
In any case, this seems to prove that things with intrinsic holiness cannot be redeemed (i.e. desacralized), whereas in yesterday’s mishnah, about animals found near Jerusalem, we said they could be redeemed.
The Talmud resolves by saying that according to R. Meir animals with intrinsic holiness can be redeemed. This is the mishnah from Shekalim. But this mishnah, from Tractate Me’ilah, follows R. Yehudah who holds that they may not.
R. Yehudah holds that if one unwittingly uses hekdesh it is desacralized (our mishnah in Kiddushin). But one cannot desacralize things that have intrinsic sanctity (this mishnah in Meilah). R. Meir’s opinion should be parallel. He holds that if one uses hekdesh intentionally it is descralized. But he should also hold, like R. Yehudah, that things with intrinsic sanctity cannot be desacralized.
The answer is that R. Yehudah refers to a case where someone unwittingly uses hekdesh. He does not intend to desacralize it, and thus if it has intrinsic sanctity, it is not desacralized. But R. Meir refers to one who intentionally uses hekdesh. Since he is acting intentionally, he can desacralize even something with intrinsic holiness. But stay tuned—tomorrow’s section continues this holy discussion!
Today’s sugya continues to discuss whether R. Meir holds that things that have intrinsic sanctity can be desacralized.
This difficulty is raised against R. Oshaya who said that according to R. Meir if one finds an animal near Jerusalem he can redeem it and use the money to buy a peace-offering. A peace-offering is a sacrifice of lower sanctity. But we only know that R. Meir said this about something that is of the highest sanctity. Do we know that he said this about sacrifices of lower sanctity.
The argument here is pretty straightforward. If R. Meir holds that items of higher sanctity can be desacralized, all the more so items of lower sanctity.
The Talmud continues to discuss R. Meir’s opinion about desacralizing hekdesh.
This is a summary of what was stated in the previous few sections.