Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Halocho #78 - Holy donkey

The Torah says that a firstborn male donkey has Kedusha (some holiness) and may not be used until it is redeemed; by giving a Cohen a sheep or goat in its stead. The result is a donkey for the owner and a sheep (or goat) for the Cohen, both without any Kedusha. The sheep or goat can be male or female, of any age and any physical condition as long as it's alive. If one does not want to redeem the firstborn donkey, the Torah instructs one to chop off its head and bury it. It is preferable to redeem it rather than killing it. A firstborn male donkey belonging to a Cohen or Levite does not need to be redeemed. (As opposed to a firstborn Kosher animal that has Kedusha even if belonging to a Cohen or Levite.) One should not sell (part of) first-time pregnant donkeys to a non-Jew, as one would be exempting oneself from a Mitzva, of either redeeming or killing it. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 178

שמות פרק י"ג
א וידבר ה' אל-משה לאמר. ב קדש-לי כל-בכור פטר כל-רחם, בבני ישראל--באדם, ובבהמה: לי, הוא. ג ויאמר משה אל-העם, זכור את-היום הזה אשר יצאתם ממצרים מבית עבדים, כי בחזק יד, הוציא ה' אתכם מזה; ולא יאכל, חמץ. ד היום, אתם יצאים, בחדש, האביב. ה והיה כי-יביאך ה' אל-ארץ הכנעני והחתי והאמרי והחוי והיבוסי, אשר נשבע לאבתיך לתת לך, ארץ זבת חלב, ודבש; ועבדת את-העבדה הזאת, בחדש הזה. ו שבעת ימים, תאכל מצת; וביום, השביעי, חג, לה'. ז מצות, יאכל, את, שבעת הימים; ולא-יראה לך חמץ, ולא-יראה לך שאר--בכל-גבלך. ח והגדת לבנך, ביום ההוא לאמר: בעבור זה, עשה ה' לי, בצאתי, ממצרים. ט והיה לך לאות על-ידך, ולזכרון בין עיניך, למען תהיה תורת ה', בפיך: כי ביד חזקה, הוצאך ה' ממצרים. י ושמרת את-החקה הזאת, למועדה, מימים, ימימה. יא והיה כי-יבאך ה', אל-ארץ הכנעני, כאשר נשבע לך, ולאבתיך; ונתנה, לך. יב והעברת כל-פטר-רחם, לה'; וכל-פטר שגר בהמה, אשר יהיה לך הזכרים--לה'. יג וכל-פטר חמר תפדה בשה, ואם-לא תפדה וערפתו; וכל בכור אדם בבניך, תפדה.

1 comment:

  1. Off topic somebody asked me:

    You don't know me but I recently joined Halacha a day and I like it very much.
    I just wanted to know if you could look at the group debateing Judaism...There is a guy who think that there is some custom that he has a zionist back round that you could learn Talmud Yershami before Bavli. I have never heard it before... My be you have not either...If you have I want to know where it comes from... If not could you help me tell this guy that you don't start with Talmud Yershami before Balvi... I tried everything! Thank you very much!

    I responed:

    Thanks for writing; I appreciate your feedback.

    I belong to the "Debating Judaism" group though I don't have much time to spend there; I couldn't find the post you were referring to.

    But to the question you raise, I suggest you look at Gemoro in Chagiga in Daf 10 3 lines from the top . There it says:

    וליוצא ולבא אין שלום אמר רב כיון שיוצא אדם מדבר הלכה לדבר מקרא שוב אין לו שלום ושמואל אמר זה הפורש מתלמוד למשנה ור' יוחנן אמר אפילו מתלמוד לתלמוד

    Rav says: "To the one who leaves and the one who comes, there is no peace" (Zecharyah 8:10) -- this refers to one who leaves Halachic discourse and goes to [learn] Scriptures, who has no more peace (for no Halachic ruling can be derived from the Scriptures alone).
    Shmuel says: This refers to one who leaves Talmud in order to learn Mishnah (for no Halachic ruling can be derived from the Mishnah alone).
    Rav Yochanan says: This refers to one who even leaves the Talmud Yerushalmi to learn Talmud Bavli (which is much more difficult).

    Check out what Rashi and Tosefos say over there - it's not complicated.

    It seems clear that one can learn either Bavli or Yerushalmi first; and one shouldn't learn the other until one has mastered the first.

    That said, we do pasken like the Bavli over the Yerushalmi nowadays, so there's a practical reason to concentrate on the Bavli. But there's a case to be made for learning the Yerushalmi first. (It's actually easier- listen to some here.)

    Hope this helps,

    - Danny