הַלּוֹקֵחַ עֻבַּר חֲמוֹרוֹ שֶׁל נָכְרִי, וְהַמּוֹכֵר לוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ רַשַּׁאי, וְהַמִּשְׁתַּתֵּף לוֹ, וְהַמְקַבֵּל מִמֶּנּוּ, וְהַנּוֹתֵן לוֹ בְקַבָּלָה, פָּטוּר מִן הַבְּכוֹרָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ג), בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, אֲבָל לֹא בַאֲחֵרִים. כֹּהֲנִים וּלְוִיִּם פְּטוּרִין מִקַּל וָחֹמֶר, אִם פָּטְרוּ שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּמִּדְבָּר, דִּין הוּא שֶׁיִּפְטְרוּ שֶׁל עַצְמָן:
With regard to one who purchases the fetus of a donkey that belongs to a gentile, and one who sells the fetus of his donkey to a gentile although he is not permitted to sell a large animal to a gentile, and one who enters into a partnership with a gentile in ownership of a donkey or its fetus, and one who receives a donkey from a gentile in order to care for it in exchange for partnership in its offspring, and one who gives his donkey to a gentile in receivership, in all of these cases the donkeys are exempt from the obligations of firstborn status, i.e., they do not have firstborn status and are not redeemed, as it is stated: “I sanctified to Me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and animal” (Numbers 3:13), indicating that the mitzva is incumbent upon the Jewish people, but not upon others. If the firstborn belongs even partially to a gentile, it does not have firstborn status. Priests and Levites are exempt from the obligation to redeem a firstborn donkey; this is derived from an a fortiori inference: In the wilderness the firstborn were redeemed in exchange for the Levites, as it is stated: “Take the Levites in exchange for all the firstborn among the children of Israel and the animal of the Levites in exchange for their animals” (Numbers 3:45). If the priests and Levites rendered exempt the firstborn children and donkeys of the Israelites in the wilderness from being counted firstborns, it is only logical that the priests and the Levites should render the firstborn of their own donkeys exempt from being counted firstborns.
פָּרָה שֶׁיָּלְדָה כְּמִין חֲמוֹר, וַחֲמוֹר שֶׁיָּלְדָה כְּמִין סוּס, פָּטוּר מִן הַבְּכוֹרָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר פֶּטֶר חֲמוֹר פֶּטֶר חֲמוֹר, שְׁנֵי פְעָמִים, עַד שֶׁיְּהֵא הַיּוֹלֵד חֲמוֹר וְהַנּוֹלָד חֲמוֹר. וּמָה הֵם בַּאֲכִילָה. בְּהֵמָה טְהוֹרָה שֶׁיָּלְדָה כְּמִין בְּהֵמָה טְמֵאָה, מֻתָּר בַּאֲכִילָה. וּטְמֵאָה שֶׁיָּלְדָה כְּמִין בְּהֵמָה טְהוֹרָה, אָסוּר בַּאֲכִילָה, שֶׁהַיּוֹצֵא מֵהַטָּמֵא, טָמֵא. וְהַיּוֹצֵא מִן הַטָּהוֹר, טָהוֹר. דָּג טָמֵא שֶׁבָּלַע דָּג טָהוֹר, מֻתָּר בַּאֲכִילָה. וְטָהוֹר שֶׁבָּלַע דָּג טָמֵא, אָסוּר בַּאֲכִילָה, לְפִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ גִדּוּלָיו:
A cow that gave birth to a donkey of sorts and a donkey that gave birth to a horse of sorts are exempt from their offspring being counted a firstborn, as it is stated: “And every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb” (Exodus 13:13); “and the firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb” (Exodus 34:20). The Torah states this halakha twice, indicating that one is not obligated unless both the birth mother is a donkey and the animal born is a donkey. And what is the halakhic status of offspring that are unlike the mother animal with regard to their consumption? In the case of a kosher animal that gave birth to a non-kosher animal of sorts, its consumption is permitted. And in the case of a non-kosher animal that gave birth to a kosher animal of sorts, its consumption is prohibited. This is because that which emerges from the non-kosher animal is non-kosher and that which emerges from the kosher animal is kosher. In the case of a non-kosher fish that swallowed a kosher fish, consumption of the kosher fish is permitted. And in the case of a kosher fish that swallowed a non-kosher fish, consumption of the non-kosher fish is prohibited due to the fact that the host fish is not the place of its development.
חֲמוֹר שֶׁלֹּא בִכְּרָה, וְיָלְדָה שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים, נוֹתֵן טָלֶה אֶחָד לַכֹּהֵן. זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה, מַפְרִישׁ טָלֶה אֶחָד לְעַצְמוֹ. שְׁתֵּי חֲמוֹרִים שֶׁלֹּא בִכְּרוּ, וְיָלְדוּ שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים, נוֹתֵן שְׁנֵי טְלָיִים לַכֹּהֵן. זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה, אוֹ שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים וּנְקֵבָה, נוֹתֵן טָלֶה אֶחָד לַכֹּהֵן. שְׁתֵּי נְקֵבוֹת וְזָכָר אוֹ שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים וּשְׁתֵּי נְקֵבוֹת, אֵין כָּאן לַכֹּהֵן כְּלוּם:
In the case of a female donkey that had not previously given birth and now gave birth to two male offspring, as there is no doubt that one of them is firstborn, its owner gives one lamb to the priest in redemption of that firstborn. If it gave birth to a male and a female and it is not known which was born first, he designates one lamb as firstborn in case the male was born first. Nevertheless, since it is merely a monetary debt to the priest, the burden of proof rests upon the claimant, in this case the priest. Due to that uncertainty, the priest can offer no proof and the owner keeps the lamb for himself. If an individual has two donkeys, and both of his two donkeys had not previously given birth and they now gave birth to two males, one each, the owner gives two lambs to the priest. If they together gave birth to a male and a female or to two males and a female, he gives one lamb to the priest, as one of the males is certainly a firstborn. If they together gave birth to two females and a male or to two males and two females, the priest receives nothing, as perhaps the two firstborn were females.
אַחַת בִּכְּרָה וְאַחַת שֶׁלֹּא בִכְּרָה וְיָלְדוּ שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים, נוֹתֵן טָלֶה אֶחָד לַכֹּהֵן. זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה, מַפְרִישׁ טָלֶה אֶחָד לְעַצְמוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות לד), וּפֶטֶר חֲמוֹר תִּפְדֶּה בְשֶׂה, מִן הַכְּבָשִׂים וּמִן הָעִזִּים, זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה, גָּדוֹל וְקָטָן, תָּמִים וּבַעַל מוּם. וּפוֹדֶה בוֹ פְּעָמִים הַרְבֵּה. נִכְנָס לַדִּיר לְהִתְעַשֵּׂר. וְאִם מֵת, נֶהֱנִים בּוֹ:
If one of his donkeys had previously given birth and one had not previously given birth and they now together gave birth to two males, the owner gives one lamb to the priest as redemption for the firstborn male. If they together gave birth to a male and a female he designates one lamb for himself, as it is uncertain whether or not the male was a firstborn and the burden of proof rests upon the claimant. From where is it derived that the firstborn of a donkey is redeemed with a lamb? It is derived from a verse, as it is stated: “And you shall redeem the firstborn of a donkey with a lamb [seh]” (Exodus 34:20). The owner may give a lamb either from sheep or from goats; from males or females, from older or younger animals, and from unblemished or blemished animals. If the priest returns the lamb to the owner, he may redeem firstborn donkeys with it many times. In a case where he designates a lamb due to uncertainty and keeps it for himself, it is his in every sense. Consequently, it enters the pen in order to be tithed with the other non-sacred animals (see Leviticus 27:32), and if it dies, one may derive benefit from its carcass.
אֵין פּוֹדִים לֹא בָעֵגֶל, וְלֹא בַחַיָּה, וְלֹא בַשְּׁחוּטָה, וְלֹא בַטְּרֵפָה, וְלֹא בַכִּלְאַיִם, וְלֹא בַכּוֹי. רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר מַתִּיר בַּכִּלְאַיִם מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא שֶׂה, וְאוֹסֵר בַּכּוֹי מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא סָפֵק. נְתָנוֹ לַכֹּהֵן, אֵין הַכֹּהֵן רַשַּׁאי לְקַיְּמוֹ עַד שֶׁיַּפְרִישׁ שֶׂה תַחְתָּיו:
One may not redeem a firstborn donkey, neither with a calf, nor with an undomesticated animal, nor with a slaughtered animal, nor with a tereifa, nor with a hybrid of a sheep and a goat, nor with a koy, which is an animal with regard to which it is uncertain whether it is domesticated or undomesticated. And Rabbi Eliezer deems it permitted to redeem a firstborn donkey with a hybrid of a sheep and a goat, because it is a lamb, i.e., that hybrid has the status of a lamb, but prohibits redeeming it with a koy, because its status is uncertain. If one gave the firstborn donkey to a priest, the priest may not keep it unless he first designates a lamb in its stead for redemption.
הַמַּפְרִישׁ פִּדְיוֹן פֶּטֶר חֲמוֹר וּמֵת, רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, חַיָּבִין בְּאַחֲרָיוּתוֹ, כַּחֲמֵשׁ סְלָעִים שֶׁל בֵּן. וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים, אֵין חַיָּבִין בְּאַחֲרָיוּתוֹ, כְּפִדְיוֹן מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי. הֵעִיד רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וְרַבִּי צָדוֹק עַל פִּדְיוֹן פֶּטֶר חֲמוֹר שֶׁמֵּת, שֶׁאֵין כָּאן לַכֹּהֵן כְּלוּם. מֵת פֶּטֶר חֲמוֹר, רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, יִקָּבֵר, וּמֻתָּר בַּהֲנָאָתוֹ שֶׁל טָלֶה. וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים, אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהִקָּבֵר, וְהַטָּלֶה לַכֹּהֵן:
In the case of one who designates a lamb for the redemption of a firstborn donkey and the lamb dies, Rabbi Eliezer says: The owner bears financial responsibility and must give the priest another lamb in its place. This is like the case of the five sela for redemption of a firstborn son, where if the money is lost before one gives it to the priest, he must give the priest another five sela. And the Rabbis say: The owner does not bear financial responsibility. This is like the case of money designated for redemption of second-tithe produce, where once the owner designates the money for redemption, the produce is desanctified. Rabbi Yehoshua and Rabbi Tzadok testified about a lamb designated for redemption of a firstborn donkey that died, that the priest has nothing here, i.e., in such a case, as the firstborn donkey has already been redeemed, and the owner no longer bears financial responsibility for the dead lamb, in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis. If after the lamb was designated, the firstborn donkey died, Rabbi Eliezer says: The donkey must be buried, and the owner is permitted to derive benefit from the lamb. And the Rabbis say: It does not need to be buried, and the lamb is given to the priest.
לֹא רָצָה לִפְדּוֹתוֹ, עוֹרְפוֹ בְקוֹפִיץ מֵאַחֲרָיו וְקוֹבְרוֹ. מִצְוַת פְּדִיָּה קוֹדֶמֶת לְמִצְוַת עֲרִיפָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות יג), וְאִם לֹא תִפְדֶּה וַעֲרַפְתּוֹ. מִצְוַת יְעִידָה קוֹדֶמֶת לְמִצְוַת פְּדִיָּה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שם כא), אֲשֶׁר לֹא יְעָדָהּ וְהֶפְדָּהּ. מִצְוַת יִבּוּם קוֹדֶמֶת לְמִצְוַת חֲלִיצָה, בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה, שֶׁהָיוּ מִתְכַּוְּנִין לְשֵׁם מִצְוָה. וְעַכְשָׁיו שֶׁאֵין מִתְכַּוְּנִין לְשֵׁם מִצְוָה, אָמְרוּ מִצְוַת חֲלִיצָה קוֹדֶמֶת לְמִצְוַת יִבּוּם. מִצְוַת גְּאֻלָּה בָּאָדוֹן הוּא קוֹדֵם לְכָל אָדָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כז), וְאִם לֹא יִגָּאֵל וְנִמְכַּר בְּעֶרְכֶּךְ:
If one did not wish to redeem the firstborn donkey, he breaks its neck from behind and buries it. The mitzva of redeeming the firstborn donkey takes precedence over the mitzva of breaking the neck, as it is stated: “If you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck” (Exodus 13:13). The mishna proceeds to enumerate other mitzvot in which one option takes precedence over another. The mitzva of designating a Hebrew maidservant to be betrothed to her master takes precedence over the mitzva of redeeming the maidservant from her master with money, as it is stated: “If she does not please her master, who has not betrothed her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed” (Exodus 21:8). The mitzva of levirate marriage takes precedence over the mitzva of ḥalitza, which dissolves the levirate bond, as it is stated: “And if the man does not wish to take his brother’s wife” (Deuteronomy 25:7). The mishna adds: This was the case initially, when people would intend that their performance of levirate marriage be for the sake of the mitzva. But now that they do not intend that their performance of levirate marriage be for the sake of the mitzva, but rather for reasons such as the beauty of the yevama or for financial gain, the Sages said that the mitzva of ḥalitza takes precedence over the mitzva of levirate marriage. With regard to a non-kosher animal that was consecrated to the Temple, the mitzva of redemption by the owner who consecrated it takes precedence over redemption by any other person, as it is stated: “And if it is of a non-kosher animal…and if it is not redeemed, it shall be sold according to your valuation” (Leviticus 27:27).