1) OFFERING A PUBLIC CHATAS AS A KORBAN AFTER ITS OWNER DIED
QUESTION: Some Amora'im maintain that if the Kohen Gadol dies on Yom Kippur after his bull has been slaughtered, the Kohen who replaces him may offer the blood of the same bull and he does not need to slaughter his own bull. The Gemara challenges this view from the Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai that teaches that when the owner of a Korban Chatas dies, the Korban that he designated (or its blood) may no longer be offered on the Mizbe'ach and instead must be put to death (or spilled, in the case of blood). Since the Kohen Gadol's bull is a Korban Chatas, how can it be offered after his death?
The Gemara answers in the name of Rav Amram that the Kohen Gadol's bull is a "Chatas Tzibur," a public Chatas offering, and the Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai that requires the animal to be put death applies only to a privately-owned Chatas, and not to a public Chatas.
The Gemara later cites a source for this distinction from a Beraisa in which Rebbi Yehudah argues with Rebbi Elazar and Rebbi Shimon with regard to what must be done with a public Chatas when another animal was offered in its place. Rebbi Yehudah maintains that the leftover Chatas is put to death because of the Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai that once the owner of a Chatas has offered another animal in its place, the remaining animal is put to death. Rebbi Elazar and Rebbi Shimon argue that the Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai does not apply to a public Chatas; in such a case, the remaining animal is left to graze until it develops a Mum (blemish) and its value is used to buy an Olah offering. The opinion expressed by Rav Amram reflects that of the latter two Tana'im, who teach that a Chatas Tzibur is not put to death when another animal is offered in its place. For the same reason, a Chatas Tzibur is not put to death when the owner of the Chatas Tzibur dies.
How, though, does the Beraisa justify offering the blood of the previous Kohen Gadol's Chatas, l'Chatchilah? Even Rebbi Elazar and Rebbi Shimon require that the animal be left to graze until it develops a Mum. They do not permit a Chatas Tzibur to be offered on the Mizbe'ach l'Chatchilah if another animal was already offered in its place. The same restriction should apply to a Chatas Tzibur whose owner died.
(a) TOSFOS in Temurah (15b, DH Ka Karvah), TOSFOS YESHANIM, and the RITVA here suggest that the only reason why the Chatas is left to graze according to Rebbi Elazar and Rebbi Shimon is because there is no other way to offer it on the Mizbe'ach. In that case, the proper Korban was already offered, and the Tzibur no longer has a need to offer this animal as a Korban. (A Chatas may not be offered as a Nedavah, a voluntary offering.) The reason why it is left to graze is not because the Chatas is disqualified from being offered once another Korban has been offered in its place. For this reason, a Chatas Tzibur whose owner died is not left to graze, because the Tzibur still needs to offer a Korban Chatas. Therefore, the new Kohen Gadol may offer the blood of the previous Kohen Gadol's bull.
(b) TOSFOS here (DH Chatas) suggests that a Chatas Tzibur does become disqualified when another one was offered in its place, and that is why it must be left to graze. However, this requirement is only a rabbinical enactment made to ensure that one not mistakenly offer a Chatas Yachid after its owner offered another animal in its place. Mid'Oraisa, the Chatas Tzibur may be offered on the Mizbe'ach.
Tosfos suggests that the rabbinical enactment applies only when another animal was offered instead of the Chatas Tzibur. When the owner (i.e. the Kohen Gadol) of the Chatas Tzibur dies, no one will confuse this case with a case in which the owner of a Chatas Yachid dies, and thus there is no reason for the Rabanan to enact that the Chatas Tzibur may not be offered on the Mizbe'ach and must be left to graze. The reason for this distinction is that the Kohen Gadol who died was only one of its owners (the other Kohanim are also owners of the bull, as the Gemara explains on 50b), and the other owners are still alive. It is not entirely comparable to a case in which the sole owner of a Chatas Yachid dies and the animal is left without any of its original owners. Moreover, in the case of the Kohen Gadol's death, another Kohen Gadol is appointed in his place, and thus the bull still has its owner in a sense.
(c) TOSFOS YESHANIM (DH u'Mai) suggests another answer in the name of his Rebbi. In the case of the death of the Kohen Gadol, even Rebbi Yehudah agrees that this Chatas Tzibur is not put to death. The Gemara (Horayos 6a) teaches that "Ein Tzibur Mes," a collective group does not "die," as there are always other members in the group. Hence, there is no such thing as a Chatas Tzibur whose owner has died. Even if the Kohen Gadol dies, his bull -- the Chatas Tzibur -- still has owners. (The owners of the Kohen Gadol's bull are all of the Kohanim, and a collective group such as the Kohanim does not "die"; see also Bava Basra 115b.)
The other Rishonim, who reject this straightforward approach, apparently maintain that a partnership is not comparable to a Tzibur. A partnership (such as all of the Kohanim) is defined as merely the sum of its parts, while a Tzibur (such as all of the Jewish people) is more than the sum of its parts. A Tzibur cannot die, since the people who comprise it are not the "Tzibur" itself; the Tzibur is a new, collective entity which is not affected by the deaths of specific members. In contrast, a partnership is simply the sum of its parts, and thus if any of the partners die, the partnership itself has died to a certain extent. Therefore, according to the Gemara's conclusion here that the Kohen Gadol's bull is a jointly-owned Korban, the death of the Kohen Gadol indeed should render the bull a "Chatas whose owner died." (M. Kornfeld)
2) WHEN PUBLIC PROPERTY IS PRIVATE
QUESTION: Rebbi Elazar discusses the opinion (of Rebbi Meir on 50a, as Rashi here explains) which considers the Kohen Gadol's bull to be a private Korban and not a public one. According to that opinion, may a Temurah be made with the Kohen Gadol's bull? Perhaps the atonement that the Korban provides for other Kohanim is considered direct ("mi'Kiv'a"), and thus the Korban is considered a jointly-owned Korban for which a Temurah cannot be made. On the other hand, perhaps the Korban atones primarily for the Kohen Gadol alone, and the other Kohanim attain atonement only incidentally along with him ("mi'Kufya"), and thus it is considered a privately-owned Korban and a Temurah may be made with it.
Why does Rebbi Elazar entertain the possibility that "the opinion that calls the bull a privately-owned Korban" considers it jointly-owned? The Gemara earlier makes it clear that when the Tana calls it a privately-owned Korban, the Tana means to exclude the possibility that it is a jointly-owned Korban. Accordingly, it is obvious that this opinion would allow a Temurah to be made with the bull.
(a) TOSFOS (DH l'Divrei) explains that although Rebbi Meir calls the bull a "privately-owned Korban," Rebbi Elazar is in doubt about Rebbi Meir's true intention. Does Rebbi Meir mean that the bull is literally a private Korban and is the exclusive property of the Kohen Gadol, or does he mean that it is not the public property of the entire nation, but it is not literally a privately-owned Korban as it is owned by all of the Kohanim? (Rebbi Meir's statement was made in response to the Tana Kama, who maintains that the bull is treated like a Korban owned by the entire nation.)
Rebbi Elazar's question is whether Rebbi Meir means that the Kohen Gadol's bull is literally a "privately-owned Korban," or whether he means that it is a jointly-owned Korban.
(b) The words of RASHI (DH b'Kevi'usa) imply that there are two types of ownership: the monetary ownership of the animal that is offered, and ownership of the animal insofar as atonement is concerned. Rebbi Meir considers the bull to be the property of the Kohen Gadol, since the bull was purchased with his private funds and no other Kohen contributed towards the purchase of the bull. However, perhaps Rebbi Meir agrees that as far as atonement is concerned, the other Kohanim are also considered owners of the bull. The laws of Temurah depend on whether the Korban atones for one person or for multiple people. Therefore, if the bull atones for more than one person, it may be considered a jointly-owned Korban as far as Temurah is concerned.
This approach answers a different question posed by the TOSFOS YESHANIM. The Tosfos Yeshanim (DH Oseh Temurah) asks why Rebbi Elazar inquires only whether a Temurah may be made with the bull. Why does he not also ask whether it must be put to death if the Kohen Gadol dies, as is done to a privately-owned Korban whose owner dies, or whether it may be offered even after his death, as is done with a publicly-owned Korban (see previous Insight)?
According to Rashi, the answer to this question may be that the bull is certainly put to death (and its blood spilled) if the Kohen Gadol dies, because it is unquestionably a privately-owned Korban (according to Rebbi Meir) as far as the ownership of the bull itself is concerned. Only with regard to the laws of Temurah might the bull be considered a jointly-owned Korban, because the laws of Temurah depend on who gains atonement from the Korban and not on the actual monetary ownership of the Korban. (M. Kornfeld)