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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Horayoth

Folio 6a

so must not this sin offering be eaten. Similarly, said R. Jose: The children of the captivity, that were come out of exile, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel twelve bullocks … all this was a burnt offering;1  can it be imagined that 'all this was a burnt offering' [is to be taken literally]? Is it possible for a sin offering to be a burnt offering?2  But [this is the meaning]: all this was like a burnt offering, as a burnt offering must not be eaten so were those sin offerings not to be eaten,' for it was taught:3  R. Judah said, 'They brought them for the sin of idolatry'.4  Furthermore, Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: [They brought them] for the sin of idolatry that had been committed in the days of Zedekiah.

According to R. Judah one can well understand these twelve sin offerings to be possible in the case, for example, where the sin was committed by twelve tribes who must bring twelve goats — or again where the sin was committed by seven tribes where others must bring offerings on account of them.5  According to R. Simeon, also, this is possible in the case, for example, where the sin was committed by eleven tribes who bring eleven goats, the twelfth6  being that of the court, According to R. Meir, however, who said that the court, and not the congregation, bring the sin offering. how could [the bringing of] twelve offerings be possible? — In the case, for instance, where they sinned, and sinned again and again unto the twelfth time.

But surely, those who had committed the sin7  were dead!8  — R. Papa replied: The tradition that a sin offering the owner of which died must be left to die,9  is applicable only to the offering10  of an individual, but not to that of a congregation — because a congregation does not die.11

Whence does R. Papa derive this law? If it be suggested, from the Scriptural text, Instead of thy fathers shall be thy sons,12  if so, [it may be asked], this should apply to the offering of an individual also! — But R. Papa draws his inference from the goat of the new moon13  concerning which the All Merciful said that it was to be brought from the funds of the Temple treasury.14  but surely, some of Israel had died,15  how then16  could those who survived bring [the new moon sin offering]? From this it must consequently be inferred that a sin offering of the congregation — whose owners bad died, may be offered. Are these at all alike? [In the case of] the goat for the new moon it is possible that none of the congregation bad died, but here17  [the owners] had certainly died! — R. Papa's proof. however, is derived from here: Because it is written, Forgive, O Lord, thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed18  [which implies that] this offering is fit to atone even for those who departed from Egypt,19  for it is written, Whom thou hast redeemed.20  Is this, however, a proper analogy? There21  they were all22  present, and since [the heifer] atones for the living it may also atone for the dead: here,23  however, were there any survivors? — Yes; there were indeed, for it is written, But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers' houses etc.24  Is it not possible that they25  were only a minority26  and not a majority?27  — Surely it is written, So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people. … and the noise was heard afar off.28  Were they not, however, wilful sinners?29  — That30  was a temporary measure. This31  may also be arrived at by reasoning. For should this not be granted, on whose behalf, [it may be asked,] were the ninety and six rams and seventy and seven lambs?32  But, [it must be granted, that] it was a temporary measure; in this respect also it must have been a temporary measure.

Our Rabbis taught: If one of the congregation died33  they are still liable; if one of the court, they are exempt. Who is the author [of this statement]? — R. Hisda, in the name of R. Zera in the name of R. Jeremiah, in the name of Rab, said: It is R. Meir who maintains that the court, and not the congregation, bring the sin offering. Hence, when one of the congregation dies they are still liable since all the members of the court are alive; if, however, one of the court dies they are exempt, because it is then a sin offering one of whose joint owners died; and for this reason they are exempt.

R. Joseph demurred: Let this statement be established in accordance with the view of R. Simeon who maintains that the court together with the congregation [bring the sin offering]. Hence, when one of the congregation dies, they are still liable because a congregation does not die;34  if one of the court dies they are exempt for the reason given, because it is a sin offering [one] of [whose] joint owners [died]! — Abaye said to him: We have heard R. Simeon say that a sin offering in joint ownership is not to be left to die;35  for it was taught, 'If the bullock and the goat of the Day of Atonement were lost and others were set aside in their stead,36  all these must be left to die; so R. Judah. R. Eleasar and R. Simeon said: They shall be left to the pasture,37  because no congregational sin offering may be left to die.'38  — Said R. Joseph to him: Do you speak of priests! Priests are different, because they are called 'congregation'; for it is written, And he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the congregation.39

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Ezra VIII, 35.
  2. The text referred to enumerates sin offerings as well as burnt offerings.
  3. [Read with MS.M. 'And it was taught.' as R. Jose would not likely appeal for support to a statement of R. Judah his contemporary. v. D.S. a.l.]
  4. Such sin offerings must not be eaten (v. Zeb. 47a).
  5. V.supra p. 30, n. 14.
  6. Lit., 'and the other',
  7. The generation of Zedekiah, as stated supra.
  8. In the time of Ezra when the offerings were brought. This difficulty arises according to the views of both R. Judah and R. Simeon as well as according to that of R. Meir, since a sin offering, the owner of which had died, must not be offered up.
  9. I.e., not offered up on the altar.
  10. Lit., 'these words'.
  11. Though the whole generation had passed away.
  12. Ps. XLV, 17.
  13. Which was a sin offering. V. Num. XXVIII, 15.
  14. All congregational offerings were purchased from the funds to which all Israel contributed,
  15. Between the time they contributed to the funds and the time the sacrifice was offered.
  16. Since owners of the sacrifice were dead.
  17. The sin offerings in the days of Ezra brought for the idolatry of the generation of Zedekiah.
  18. Deut. XXI, 8.
  19. Who were obviously dead when the heifer was brought (v. Deut, XXI, I ff).
  20. An allusion to those 'redeemed' from the slavery of Egypt. As a sin offering could be brought for the dead men of the Exodus so it could be brought for the dead generation of Zedekiah.
  21. In the case of the heifer (Deut. ibid.).
  22. All living men concerned,
  23. The offerings in the days of Ezra,
  24. Ezra III, 12. The conclusion of the verse reads, The old men that had seen the first house … wept with a loud voice, which shows that there were survivors from the days of the first Temple.
  25. The survivors.
  26. Of the generation of Ezra.
  27. If a majority of the sinners had died, the sin offering must not be offered up.
  28. Ezra III, 13. This shows that the survivors formed a majority of the people. Where a majority of its owners ate alive, a sin offering may be offered up.
  29. The idolaters in the days of Zedekiah, whose sin, therefore, could not be atoned by an offering.
  30. The privilege of bringing an offering for a wilful sin.
  31. That it was a temporary measure.
  32. Ezra VIII, 35.
  33. Before the sin offering, for an erroneous ruling of the court that resulted in a transgression by the public, had been offered.
  34. And consequently a congregational sin offering is to be offered on the altar though a number of individuals (its joint owners) died.
  35. If one of the owners died: but is to be offered on the altar.
  36. And after the rite of atonement had been performed with the substituted animal the lost one was found.
  37. Where they graze until they contract some disqualifying blemish when they are sold and the sum they realize is used for the purchase of free will offerings.
  38. V. Shebu. 11a, The bullock of the Day of Atonement brought by Aaron nd his sons as a sin offering is of joint ownership, and concerning it R. Simeon stated that, unlike the sin offering of an individual, it must not be left to die. Now, since according to R. Simeon no sin offering in joint ownership may be left to die, it is possible that in this case only, where the atonement was performed with a substituted animal, are the original ones to be left to the pasture, but where one of the joint owners died (no animal having been substituted for the original one) it is possible that R. Simeon even allows the sacrifice to be offered on the altar, Hence the Baraitha cited cannot be taken, as A. Joseph suggested, to represent his view (Rashi). [Or, better, since the other joint owners (the surviving members of the court) are alive there is no reason why it should not be sacrificed by them (Tosaf. Asheri).]
  39. Lev, XVI, 33. 'priests' being placed on the same footing as 'congregation', [Tosat. Asheri reads, 'they are considered a people by themselves, since they ate mentioned separately.] A court, however, cannot be regarded as a 'congregation' and if one of them died their joint sin offering, according to R. Simeon, may have to be killed.
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Horayoth 6b

If so,1  however, let them also bring a bullock in the case of an erroneous ruling! And if it be said that this is really the case,2  then there would be more tribes!3  — But, said R. Aha, son of R. Jacob: The tribe of Levi is not called 'congregation',4  for it is written, Behold, I will make thee fruitful and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a congregation of peoples etc.5  He who has a possession is designated 'congregation', but he who has no possession is not designated 'congregation'.6  If so,7  there would be less than twelve tribes! — Abaye replied: Ephraim and Manasseh, even as Reuben and Simeon, shall be mine.8  Said Raba: But, surely, it is written, They shall be called after the name of their brethren it, their inheritance,9  [which shows that] they were compared only in regard to 'inheritance' but not in any other respect!10  — Were they not? Surely, they were also separated [when mentioned] in [connection with] the banners!11  — Their campings were like their possessions; in order to show respect to their banners. But, surely, they were also separated in respect of their princes!12  — That was done in order to show honor to the princes, as it was taught: 'Solomon celebrated seven days of dedication; what reason did Moses have for celebrating twelve days of dedication? In order to show honor to the princes.'

What becomes of that?13  — Come and hear that which has been taught: R. Simeon said: The following five kinds of sin offerings are to be left to die.14  The young of a sin offering,15  the exchange of a sin offering, a sin offering whose owner died — a sin offering whose owner has received atonement16  and a sin offering that passed the age of a year. And since in the case of a congregation one cannot speak of the young of a sin offering, because no female offering is ever brought17  by a congregation; and one cannot speak of an exchange of a sin offering in the case of a congregation because a congregation may not exchange an offering;18  and one cannot speak, in the case of a congregation, of a sin offering whose owner died because a congregation does not die; while as regards one whose owner had received atonement and one that passed the age of a year we have not heard;19  one might suppose that they should be left to die, it is, therefore, pointed out20  that what is vague may be inferred from what is explicit; as in regard to the law21  of the young of a sin offering, the exchange of a sin offering and one whose owner had died we find that it applies only to an individual owner22  and not to a congregation, so also the law21  in regard to the case of one whose owner has received atonement and one that passed the age of a year it is applicable to an individual and not to a congregation.23  But may that which is possible24  be deduced from that which is impossible?25  — R. Simeon received the tradition [in regard to the five kinds of sin offering that they must be left to die] from one common source.26



GEMARA. THROUGH ERROR AND ACTED UNWITTINGLY ACCORDINGLY MUST BRING A SIN OFFERING OF A BULLOCK. Is not this Obvious? — Abaye replied: The case dealt with here is one, for example, where31  he made a decision and forgot on what ground his decision had been made, and at the time of his action32  he declared, 'I am acting on the strength of my33  decision;' in view of the fact that [in such a case] it might be assumed that, since, had he recollected34  he might have retracted, he is like a wilful sinner35  and, therefore, not liable to a sin offering, hence it was taught [that it is not so].

OR MADE IT WILFULLY BUT ACTED UPON IT UNWITTINGLY etc. Whence these words? — For our Rabbis taught: So as to bring guilt upon the people,36  proves37  that the anointed High Priest is like the congregation.38  Could not this be arrived at by deduction?

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Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Lit., 'From now', if the priests are designated 'congregation'.
  2. Lit., 'thus also'.
  3. Thirteen; while R. Simeon speaks of no more than twelve tribes,
  4. And the same applies to the priests who are descendants of that tribe. Hence the Baraitha, contrary to R. Joseph's arguments, cannot be reconciled with the view of R. Simeon (Rashi). [Tosaf. Asheri: priests nevertheless are considered a 'people' in respect of the sacrifice one of the joint owners of which died, so that the Baraitha can be in agreement with R. Simeon.]
  5. Gen. XLVIII, 4, the conclusion of the verse being 'And I will give this land to thy seed … for an everlasting possession.'
  6. Priests and Levites received no possess ions when Canaan was divided between the tribes.
  7. That the tribe of Levi was not included in the number of the tribes.
  8. Gen. XLVIII, 5. The tribe of Joseph was divided into two tribes.
  9. Ibid. 6.
  10. In the case, e.g., of the number of offerings on the occasion of an erroneous ruling of the court Ephraim and Manasseh would, consequently, be regarded as one tribe. How, then, is the number twelve in the total of the tribes arrived at?
  11. V. Num. II, 18-21.
  12. V. ibid, Vli, 45, 54,
  13. Lit., what is on it'; the question, supra, whether, according to R. Simeon, a sin offering belonging to joint owners, one of whom has died, is to be offered on the altar or left to die,
  14. I.e., must not be offered up on the altar,
  15. Born after its dam had been consecrated.
  16. Through another offering, in the case where the original could not be found at the time.
  17. Lit., 'separate'.
  18. Cf. Tem. 13a.
  19. Whether, if their owners were a congregation, they were to be offered up on the altar or left to die.
  20. Lit., 'you said',
  21. That it must be left to die,
  22. Lit., 'in an individual the words are said'.
  23. Tem. 26a.
  24. The last two cases which may be applicable to a congregational sin offering.
  25. The first three cases which can never occur with regard to an offering of the congregation.
  26. Lit., 'place'. Consequently, they must all be subject to the same reservations, and since the first three cannot apply to a Congregation, the last two must all deal with the case of an individual. Similarly since the second case (the 'exchange') applies only to an individual to the exclusion even of joint partners (v. Tem, 13a), the others too must be similarly restricted, It thus follows that according to R. Simeon a sin offering of joint owners, one of whom died, may be offered, Therefore the Tanna of the Baraitha which exempts the court when one of its members died, because the sin offering must be left to die, cannot be R. Simeon,
  27. [H] the title of the High Priests in the days of the first Temple when they were anointed with the 'holy anointing oil' (v. Ex. XXX, 30 ff).
  28. In ritual, or other religious matters.
  29. v. Lev. IV, 3 ff.
  30. Both action and ruling most he the result of an error.
  31. Lit., 'here in what are we engaged? As for instance.'
  32. So MS.M., Cur. edd. 'when he erred'.
  33. So MS.M. Cur. edd. 'his'.
  34. The reason for his decision.
  35. He should have hesitated in his act, in view of the fact that he could no longer recollect the reason of his decision.
  36. Lev. Iv., 3.
  37. Lit., 'behold'.
  38. It is explained infra in what respect.
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