1) ANNULING "HEKDESH"
QUESTION: The Mishnah (2b) states that Rebbi Shimon used to say that the Se'irim of Rosh Chodesh atone for a person who ate Kodshim that was Tamei. The Se'irim of the Regalim (Pesach, Shavuos, and Sukos) atone for a person who became Tamei and ate Kodshim or entered the Beis ha'Mikdash without knowing about his Tum'ah, either at the beginning or the end. The Se'irim of Yom Kippur atone for a person who was not aware initially that he became Tamei, but afterwards he became aware of it.
The Mishnah continues and relates that Rebbi Shimon was asked whether each day's Sa'ir may be offered on the other days. That is, if the Sa'ir that had been set aside to be brought on Yom Kippur was lost and another Sa'ir was offered in its place, and then the original Sa'ir was found on the Regel (or on Rosh Chodesh), may that Sa'ir (that was intended for Yom Kippur) be offered on the Regel or on Rosh Chodesh (RASHI DH Hayah)?
Rebbi Shimon replied that they indeed may be offered on the other days. The Mishnah explains that although the specific sins for which these Se'irim atone are different, they all share a common factor: they atone for the Tum'ah of the Beis ha'Mikdash and its holy items (see Rashi DH Kulan).
TOSFOS (10a, DH Mahu) points out that everyone agrees that if a Sa'ir of Rosh Chodesh was lost and another offered in its place, and then the original Sa'ir was found, it may be offered on a different Rosh Chodesh. The same applies to a Sa'ir of a Regel (it may be offered on a different Regel).
Tosfos asks that this seems to contradict the Gemara in Zevachim (6a). The Gemara there discusses a case in which a person designated an animal as a Korban Olah, which is burned in its entirety on the Mizbe'ach and which atones for transgressions of Mitzvos Aseh, and after he designated it he transgressed a Mitzvas Aseh. Does the Korban Olah which he already designated atone for his new transgression?
How can the Gemara in Zevachim entertain the possibility that the Olah does not atone for a sin committed after the animal was designated? The Mishnah here clearly says that a Sa'ir that was designated for one Rosh Chodesh may be offered on a subsequent Rosh Chodesh, and thereby atone for the sins of Tum'ah which occurred in the interim (after the Korban was designated)!
Tosfos answers that since the first Sa'ir was lost, its original designation was annulled. When the subsequent Rosh Chodesh arrives (and the original Sa'ir was found), the Sa'ir is designated anew, and thus it can atone for transgressions committed after the previous Rosh Chodesh. (See Tosfos to Zevachim 6a, DH Iy, who explains this in further detail.)
What does Tosfos mean when he writes that because the first Sa'ir was lost, its designation was annulled? How can the Kedushah of a Korban be annulled merely because the Korban became lost?
(a) The KEHILOS YAKOV (#7, DH Reish) writes that one might suggest that Tosfos' logic is based on the concept of "Lev Beis Din Masneh Aleihen" (see 11a). This means that Beis Din stipulates, at the moment that the Sa'ir is designated as a Korban for Rosh Chodesh, that if the Sa'ir should become lost the designation will never have been in force in the first place. The Kehilos Yakov explains that this answer is not viable, because the Gemara here follows the view of Rebbi Shimon who does not agree with the concept of "Lev Beis Din Masneh" (11b). The Kehilos Yakov cites Tosfos in Zevachim (6a) who writes explicitly that his answer applies even according to Rebbi Shimon who does not maintain "Lev Beis Din Masneh."
The Kehilos Yakov adds that one cannot say that the fact that it later transpired that the Sa'ir was not required is reason to annul the original designation, because if it is, then a Korban Tamid which is no longer needed should be able to be redeemed even according to Rebbi Shimon. The Gemara later (end of 11b), however, states that it cannot be redeemed according to Rebbi Shimon. It is clear, therefore, that this logic by itself is insufficient.
The Kehilos Yakov answers that Tosfos writes that the original designation is annulled because of the rule of "Hekdesh b'Ta'us" -- "consecration done under mistaken pretenses." If the overseer of the Korbanos in the Beis ha'Mikdash would have known that the Sa'ir would be lost and could not be offered, he would not have sanctified it in the first place. Alternatively, he would have done so only on condition that if it could not be offered later, the Hekdesh would not apply.
The Kehilos Yakov points out that although with regard to a sale, when an item which was in good condition at the time of the sale developed some sort of deficit after the sale, the sale certainly is not nullified, this law applies only to a sale, because a buyer is presumed to be willing to buy something even though the possibility exists that problems with the item might develop later. (See Tosfos to Kesuvos 47b, DH Shelo.) In contrast, when a person is Makdish a Korban, he does so based on the understanding that it will not become invalid or lost later. Therefore, when the overseer consecrated the Sa'ir, had he considered that it might become lost and not be offered, he would have made a condition that on such terms it should not become sanctified.
In contrast, when the Gemara later (10b) discusses the surplus Temidin, it cannot be that the overseer stipulated that the surplus animals should not be Hekdesh according to Rebbi Shimon (who does not maintain "Lev Beis Din Masneh"). The Mishnah (Erchin 13a; see following Insight) teaches that four sheep were leftover every year from the sheep that were consecrated as Temidin (as well as two and a half Maneh of incense consecrated as Ketores). Accordingly, since it was not possible for the overseer to make such a condition, it follows that these sheep remained Hekdesh even though they were no longer needed. (D. BLOOM)
2) CHECKING ANIMALS FOR BLEMISHES BEFORE THEY ARE SANCTIFIED
QUESTION: Ula says in the name of Rebbi Yochanan that animals designated to be used as Temidin which are no longer needed by the community may be redeemed, even though they possess no blemish.
RASHI (DH Temidin) explains that these animals were bought from the public funds. The Mishnah in Erchin (13a) teaches that there must never be less than six sheep that have been examined and found to be free of blemishes in the Lishkas ha'Tela'im (the room in the Beis ha'Mikdash where the sheep for the Korbanos are kept). Rashi explains that once Rosh Chodesh Nisan arrives, no Korban bought with the money of the previous year may be offered. Therefore, every year, after the two Korbanos of morning and evening Tamid of the last day of Adar are offered, at least four sheep are leftover which the no longer may be offered. Ula says that these animals may be redeemed.
The Gemara in Erchin (13b) explains that the reason why there must always be at least six examined sheep in the Lishkas ha'Tela'im is the law that requires that the Korban Tamid be examined four days before it is slaughtered.
It seems that there should be a way to avoid having any consecrated sheep leftover at the end of the year. The examinations could be performed on ordinary Chulin animals before Rosh Chodesh Nisan. Afterwards, when Rosh Chodesh arrives, those animals could be bought with the Hekdesh money of the new year and be consecrated as Korbanos for the next year. Why was this method not utilized to prevent having four consecrated sheep leftover every year?
(a) The TUREI EVEN in Megilah (29b, DH k'Man) answers that it is apparent from various Gemaras (and from Rashi here) that the law requires that the examinations must be done specifically after the animal has been consecrated as a Korban, and thus they must be bought from the previous year's money before they are examined. Accordingly, it would not help to check the animals while they are still Chulin. The Turei Even adds that although it is known in advance that these four sheep will not be able to be offered once Rosh Chodesh Nisan arrives, the Chachamim decreed that every day, without exception, there must be six sheep in the Lishkas ha'Tela'im. (See Menachos 49b.)
However, the MITZPEH EISAN, CHAZON ISH (OC 124), and others maintain that the examinations may be performed while the animals are still Chulin. According to these opinions, why must there always be four consecrated sheep leftover at the end of the year?
(b) The YOSEF DA'AS suggests an answer based on the words of the RITVA here. The Ritva asks, why did they not take two sheep on Erev Rosh Chodesh Nisan from the old money, borrow four sheep for the next day, and afterwards pay them back from the new money? He answers that the treasurers were not accustomed to taking merely six sheep at a time, because of the principle that "there is no poverty in the place of wealth" (in the Beis ha'Mikdash), and everything was done in abundance. Therefore, the treasurers would take many sheep at one time for the majority of the year, so that they could fulfill later the Mitzvah of taking the "one, special sheep" morning and evening for the Korban Tamid (see Megilah 28a). Afterwards, they would place six sheep in the special room reserved for the sheep that would be offered during the subsequent days.
Accordingly, although sheep could be borrowed for the next year, examined while Chulin, and then afterwards consecrated, this procedure would conflict with the practice of consecrating many sheep at one time. (D. BLOOM)