The Talmud continues to explain how we know that it is forbidden to derive benefit from the items listed in the mishnah.
The word “atonement” is used in connection with the heifer whose neck is broken (Deuteronomy 21:8). This connects this ritual with sacrifices and since one cannot derive non-sacred benefit from sacrificial animals, so too one cannot derive benefit from the heifer whose neck is broken.
When it comes to the leper’s mitzvoth, inside the Temple there is a mitzvah that enables—his guilt-offering, which allows him to eat sacrifices. Other sacrifices offered in the Temple atone. Outside the Temple, the leper’s bird offerings enable him to enter the camp. And there are other mitzvoth that atone that are performed outside the Temple, namely the breaking of the heifer’s neck. Just as in the first case, the mitzvah that enables is like the mitzvoth that atones, so too with mitzvoth outside the Temple, those that enable are equivalent to those that atone. Just as one may not derive benefit from the heifer whose neck is broken, so too one may not derive benefit from the leper’s bird offerings.
R. Yohanan and Resh Lakish disagree over when the leper’s bird sacrifices become prohibited—as soon as they are set aside to be the leper’s bird sacrifices or only once the one that is slaughtered has been slaughtered.
R. Yannai does not know when the heifer becomes prohibited, although from what we have seen, it must be before it is killed. Some other rabbis (colleagues) say that as soon as they begin to take the animal down into the wadi to break its neck it is prohibited.
The problem is that if the heifer is forbidden from the time it is taken down to the wadi, and not immediately when it is set aside, why are the birds prohibited immediately when they are taken? The answer is that there is no other determining point for the birds. They are set aside and then one is sacrificed and the other released. With the heifer there is another point from which the animal could be prohibited.
The Talmud continues to discuss when the leper’s birds become prohibited. To recall, R. Yohanan said from the time the bird is slaughtered, whereas Resh Lakish said they are prohibited already when they are set aside.
The baraita teaches that the bird that is slaughtered cannot be eaten but that the bird that is set free can be eaten. But if the birds becomes prohibited when they are taken, why would this baraita need to teach that it is prohibited after it was slaughtered?
We needed this baraita to teach us that even after slaughtered, one may not eat the bird. Otherwise we might have thought that this bird is like a sacrifice and permitted after it was slaughtered. But Resh Lakish can still hold that it is forbidden to derive benefit from the birds from the time they are taken.
The bird slaughtered is found to be a trefa, an animal with a fatal flaw, and therefore a new bird must be brought. The baraita teaches that another bird must be found to be sacrificed and be a partner for the remaining bird. But one may derive benefit from the bird found to be a trefa. This seems to prove that this bird was not prohibited already from the time it was set aside. Otherwise it would stay prohibited.
Resh Lakish explains that the baraita refers to a case where the bird was found to be flawed inside. This means that the bird was never holy and therefore it can be used after.
With the bird sacrifice, one must bring hyssop, cedar wood and scarlet thread. If one slaughtered the bird without these things, the rabbis disagree with regard to whether the slaughtering is considered slaughtering such that one may not derive benefit from the bird. But what is clear is that both R. Ya’akov and R. Shimon agree that the bird is not prohibited until it is slaughtered.
Resh Lakish admits that the baraita R. Yohanan used against him does not accord with him. But he cites another baraita that does. This baraita again makes “enabling” and “atoning” equivalent both in and out of the Temple. Inside the Temple, the leper’s guilt offering is like all guilt offerings. So too outside the Temple, the leper’s bird offering is like heifer whose neck is broken—both become prohibited while still alive.
Today’s sugya returns to discuss the prohibition of the leper’s sacrificed bird and the permission to eat the leper’s sent away bird.
The midrash teaches that the bird that is set free may be eaten but the slaughtered animal may not be. But why not teach the opposite—the bird that is set free would be prohibited and the slaughtered one permitted.
R. Yohanan posits a general rule—live animals cannot be permanently prohibited.