Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Nazir 26: Unallocated Offerings?

Further theories are offered to explain what should be done when offerings are not specifically designated as burnt, sin, or gift offerings.  We learn that a baraita suggests that all unallocated funds should be thrown into the Dead Sea.  Rav Ashi disagrees.  Perhaps he said that non-specific offerings are still valid.  On the other hand, perhaps he said that a simple statement like "these are for my obligation" was enough to transform the status of the offerings from void to valid.  

Rava then suggests that all unallocated money should go toward a communal gift offering.  And if some funds are separated from the rest, those 'fallen' funds should go toward a sin-offering.  That sin-offering would then be thrown into the Dead Sea.

The Gemara spins around and around the various possibilities when managing unallocated funds.  Of grave concern to our rabbis was the possibility of transgressing the sin of misusing consecrated property.  

Rav Chuna teaches that Rav believed that animals were different from other offerings.  They should continue with their designated purpose following the death of their owner (or the nullification of their owner's vow by her husband).  Nazirites were allowed specific animals for specific offerings, and thus all would know which animal was allocated for which offering.  And after the owner dies, the female sheep - the sin offering - would be left to die (like all other offerings whose owners have died).  The male sheep - the burnt offering - would be sacrificed as a burnt offering.  The two-year old ram would be brought as a peace offering, though it would be eaten in one day and did not require bread.

Our daf ends with a discussion about which items can be considered 'unallocated'.  Animals?  Birds?  Money?  Silver bars?  The rabbis note that allocation often takes place at the point of acquisition, or transfer to one's possession.

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