1) FULFILLING ONE'S FINANCIAL OBLIGATION TO "HEKDESH" BY BRINGING THE KORBAN INTO THE "AZARAH"
QUESTIONS" The Gemara (18b) derives from a Gezeirah Shavah ("Chet-Chet") between Terumah and Me'ilah several laws of Me'ilah. Despite the Gezeirah Shavah, the Gemara teaches that Me'ilah differs from Terumah in that one is liable only when he removes Terumah from the domain of Hekdesh to the domain of Chulin (such as when a non-Kohen eats it; see RASHI DH Ad). In contrast, one is liable for Me'ilah even when he uses money of Hekdesh for a different purpose of Hekdesh than the one for which it was intended. For example, if one took money of Hekdesh and used it to buy Kinim (birds) needed for his Korban Zav, Zavah, or Yoledes, or gave it as his half-Shekel, or used it to bring his Chatas or Asham, he is liable for Me'ilah. The Gemara says that according to Rebbi Shimon, he is liable from the moment that he spends the money, while according to Rebbi Yehudah he is liable only when the blood of the Korban that he bought is sprinkled on the Mizbe'ach.
RASHI (DH Ad), however, understands Rebbi Shimon's opinion differently. Rashi writes that according to Rebbi Shimon, as soon as one brings the Korban that he bought with money of Hekdesh into the Azarah, he has transgressed Me'ilah (but not when he merely buys the Korban with the money). Rashi explains that Rebbi Shimon maintains that a person is responsible to replace the Korban if it dies or is lost only until it is brought into the Azarah. Once it is brought into the Azarah, the person is no longer responsible for it. Similarly, once a person brings his Korban that he bought with money of Hekdesh into the Azarah, he has fulfilled his responsibility to bring the Korban and he is liable for Me'ilah at that moment.
Rashi in Chulin (139a, DH d'Michsar, as cited here by the GILYON HA'SHAS) makes a similar statement. Rashi there writes that when a person says, "Harei Alai Olah" -- "it is upon me to bring an Olah," he is responsible for the Korban until he brings it to the Azarah. The Gilyon ha'Shas in Chulin (139a) further cites the words of TOSFOS in Chulin (22b, DH v'Hevi) who writes that one fulfills his Neder to bring a Korban when he brings it to the Kohen.
This is difficult to understand. How can Rashi and Tosfos say that merely by bringing the Korban to the Azarah or to the Kohen one fulfills his obligation to offer a Korban? One does not fulfill the obligation until the Korban is offered on the Mizbe'ach! Indeed, the law is that if the Korban was brought to the Azarah and slaughtered there improperly (such as with the wrong intention, she'Lo Lishmah), one has not fulfilled his Neder. (See MISHNEH L'MELECH, Hilchos Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos 14:5, cited by Gilyon ha'Shas to Chulin 22b, and OR SAME'ACH, Hilchos Shekalim 3:10.)
Moreover, the Gemara in Megilah (8a) seems to contradict the words of Rashi and Tosfos. The Gemara there derives from the verse, "... and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him" (Vayikra 1:4), that the Korban is "accepted for him" only when the atonement is achieved, which occurs at the Zerikas ha'Dam (see Rashi there, DH Es she'Alav). One certainly does not receive atonement merely by bringing the Korban into the Azarah. (See TUREI EVEN to Megilah 8a, DH Rebbi Shimon, who has an entirely different approach to the Gemara here because of these questions.)
ANSWER: RAV SHACH zt'l in AVI EZRI (Hilchos Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos 14:5, DH v'Nir'eh) answers that certainly Rashi and Tosfos agree that according to Rebbi Shimon, one neither receives Kaparah nor fulfills one's vow until the blood of the Korban has been sprinkled on the Mizbe'ach. When they write that one fulfills his obligation by bringing the Korban to the Azarah and giving it to the Kohen, they refer specifically to the monetary obligation one has to Hekdesh as a result of his obligation to bring a Korban. The Gemara in Kidushin (13b) says that if a Yoledes died after she brought her Korban Chatas but before she brought her Korban Olah, her heirs are obligated to buy and bring the Olah from the properties she bequeathed to them, even if she had not set aside the Olah before she died, according to the opinion that the law of a "Shibud" (the lien that a creditor has on the property of the debtor) is mid'Oraisa. The Gemara there clearly understands that the obligation to bring a Korban is not only an obligation to fulfill a Mitzvah, but it is also a monetary commitment for which the treasurer of Hekdesh is entitled to appropriate the property of the debtor. When Rashi writes that one is no longer responsible once he brings his Korban to the Azarah, Rashi means merely that he thereby fulfills his monetary obligation to Hekdesh once the "money" that he owes reaches the domain of the Beis ha'Mikdash. Obviously, he does not fulfill his Mitzvah to bring a Korban until the Korban is offered on the Mizbe'ach.
Accordingly, Rebbi Shimon maintains that since one fulfills his monetary obligation as soon as he brings his Korban to the Azarah, it follows that when one used the money of Hekdesh to buy his Korban, he becomes liable for Me'ilah at that moment as well, since he fulfills his monetary obligation with the money of Hekdesh and thereby derives benefit from Hekdesh (even though he still is obligated to fulfill the Mitzvah of offering the Korban). (D. BLOOM)
2) COMPARING A "KORBAN CHATAS" TO A GOLDEN GOBLET
QUESTIONS: The Mishnah (18a) teaches that if an object normally depreciates in value through normal usage, then one who uses such an object of Hekdesh for personal benefit transgresses Me'ilah only if he causes its value to depreciate. If an object normally does not depreciate through normal usage, then one transgresses Me'ilah even when he does not cause its value to depreciate.
The Mishnah states that one does not transgress the Isur of Me'ilah when he derives benefit from a live animal sanctified as a Korban Chatas unless he damages it ("Ad she'Yifgom"). The Gemara here concludes that the Mishnah is referring to an animal that is a Ba'al Mum, because if it is unblemished, then it has the same law as a golden goblet of Hekdesh for which one transgresses Me'ilah even if he does not damage it.
RASHI (DH Mechdi) explains that just as one commits Me'ilah with a golden goblet by usage alone without damaging it (since it is not usually damaged through normal use), one commits Me'ilah with an unblemished Chatas by usage alone without damaging it, since it does not become any less fit for the Mizbe'ach through one's use of it. This is the ruling of the RAMBAM as well (Hilchos Me'ilah 6:2).
The RA'AVAD disagrees with Rashi's explanation here and with the Rambam's ruling. He asserts that there is no source in the Gemara to differentiate between an unblemished Chatas and a Ba'al Mum. (The commentators point out that the Ra'avad must have had a different text in the Gemara here, since the Rambam's ruling is clearly supported by the words in our text of the Gemara.)
The Ra'avad also asks two logical questions on the Rambam's ruling:
(a) Since an unblemished Chatas might still become blemished before it is offered, in which case its value indeed is depreciable, one who derives personal benefit from it should transgress Me'ilah only if he damages it.
(b) The hide of the Korban is Kadosh, and it is given to the Kohanim. Since pulling hairs from the hide of a Chatas will cause the hide to become less valuable to the Kohanim, an unblemished Chatas should have Me'ilah only when one has decreased its value, unlike a golden goblet!
ANSWERS: In response to the Ra'avad's logical questions on the ruling of the Rambam, the MAHARI KURKUS answers as follows.
(a) The requirement that one depreciate the value of the object of Hekdesh in order to be liable for Me'ilah is not determined solely by the potential of an object to lose value, because a golden goblet also has potential to be damaged (by abusing it). Rather, the requirement for depreciation is determined by whether damage is inflicted upon the object through ordinary usage. If an object normally depreciates through ordinary usage, then one transgresses Me'ilah with such an object only when he causes it to depreciate. One who uses an object of Hekdesh that normally does not depreciate as a result of common usage transgresses Me'ilah through usage alone, without causing any depreciation in its value. Thus, even though it is possible to blemish a Korban and render it unfit for the Mizbe'ach, since common usage does not render a Korban a Ba'al Mum, usage alone constitutes Me'ilah.
(b) The hide of a Korban is sanctified only because it is subsidiary to the rest of the animal. It must be given to the Kohanim as a "gift from the Mizbe'ach" ("mi'Shulchan Gavo'ah"), but not because it is Kadosh. Therefore, the laws of Me'ilah that apply to it are the same as the laws that apply to the animal, and thus one transgresses Me'ilah even without decreasing the value of the hide.
3) "MO'EL ACHAR MO'EL"
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that there is Me'ilah after Me'ilah -- a second person transgresses Me'ilah with an object even though another person already transgressed Me'ilah with the same object -- only for a Korban and a Kli Shares.
The Tosefta (2:1) states that when a person chopped with an ax of Hekdesh, and then his friend chopped with the same ax, and then a third person used it, they are all Chayav for Me'ilah. If the first person gave the ax to the second person, then the first person is Chayav and the second person is not. If a person gave a Korban Olah to his friend who then gave it to a third person, all of them are Chayav.
The Tosefta, which rules that there is "Mo'el Achar Mo'el" even with an ax, seems to contradict the Mishnah, which clearly states that there is "Mo'el Achar Mo'el" only for a Korban and a Kli Shares.
(a) TOSFOS (DH Ein) answers that the Tosefta is referring to a case where the ax was returned to Hekdesh after each person used it. Since it was returned to the domain of Hekdesh, each new use of the ax constitutes Me'ilah.
(b) Tosfos suggests further that the Tosefta is referring to a case where the ax was given from one Gizbar (treasurer of Hekdesh) to the next. Since they are all Gizbarim, the ax never actually leaves the domain of Hekdesh, and thus each one is liable for Me'ilah when he uses the ax for his personal benefit.
(c) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Me'ilah 6:3-4) suggests that there are two different categories of Me'ilah: using the object, and taking the object out of the domain of Hekdesh. For objects that are sanctified with Kedushas Damim (their value, but not the object itself, is sanctified), usage alone does not remove the object from the domain of Hekdesh, and thus there is "Mo'el Achar Mo'el." If the object was taken away from Hekdesh (that is, it was given to another person), then the first person has been Mo'el (for removing the object from the domain of Hekdesh) and not the second person.
In contrast, an object sanctified with Kedushas Mizbe'ach (such as a Korban) does not lose its Kedushah, even if it is given to different people. Giving the object to someone else does not remove it from the domain of Hekdesh, and thus there will be "Mo'el Achar Mo'el."
The Tosefta is referring to the Me'ilah of usage. In such a case, even an object with Kedushas Damim remains in the domain of Hekdesh and there is "Mo'el Achar Mo'el."
The Rambam in Perush ha'Mishnayos (Kapach edition) explains that when the Mishnah mentions "an animal and Kli Shares" as having Me'ilah after Me'ilah, it is not referring to Kedushas Mizbe'ach, but rather to an ordinary animal that has Kedushas Damim, and an ordinary vessel that has Kedushas Damim. Therefore, there is "Mo'el Achar Mo'el," since it was used but not given to someone else.
There are a number of difficulties with the Rambam's approach.
1. How can the Mishnah be referring to Kedushas Damim when it gives an example of plucking hair from a Korban Chatas, which obviously has Kedushas ha'Guf?
2. The Gemara quotes a Beraisa in which Rebbi Nechemyah teaches a Kal va'Chomer to explain why there is "Mo'el Achar Mo'el" for a Kli Shares. According to the Rambam, who says that the Mishnah is referring to a utensil of Kedushas Damim but not to an actual Kli Shares, the Kal va'Chomer is meaningless!
3. The Mishnah uses the expression "Bilvad" when it says that "there is no Me'ilah after Me'ilah except for...," which implies that it is excluding some type of Hekdesh. What is it excluding?
4. The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (28a) states that if one blows a Shofar made from an animal sanctified as a Korban Olah, the Shofar loses its sanctity and leaves the domain of Hekdesh ("Yotzei l'Chulin"). Why should it leave Hekdesh if a utensil leaves Hekdesh only by being given to someone else and not by being used for a non-holy purpose?
The OR SAME'ACH (introduction to Hilchos Me'ilah, ch. 6) explains that according to the Rambam there are three categories of sanctified objects: raw materials of Hekdesh, vessels that are Kadosh with Kedushas Damim, and Kodshei Mizbe'ach and Klei Shares. The Rambam rules that raw materials that belong to Hekdesh can leave the domain of Hekdesh through usage alone, without actually being given to someone. Accordingly, one may suggest that the intention of the word "Bilvad" in the Mishnah is to exclude raw materials of Hekdesh.
This also answers the question from the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah. The Shofar from an Olah is raw material of Hekdesh, and thus it can leave the domain of Hekdesh by merely being used.
(d) The RA'AVAD understands that the Tosefta disagrees with the Mishnah. The Ra'avad suggests that the second part of the Tosefta is inaccurate, since it suggests that even Kedushas Mizbe'ach remains in the domain of Hekdesh even when it is given away. The Ra'avad seems to concur with the opinion of Rashi (8a, DH Chatas), who implies that even Kedushas ha'Guf leaves the domain of Hekdesh when given to a third party. (See ACHI'EZER 2:47.)