1) HALACHAH: GIVING FIVE "SELA'IM" TO A "KOHENES" FOR "PIDYON HA'BEN"
QUESTION: The Gemara says that Rav Kahana ate Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah "because of his wife." RASHI (DH Rav Kahana) explains that Rav Kahana was a Yisrael and his wife was a Kohenes.
However, the Gemara in Kidushin (8a) relates that Rav Kahana accepted a scarf in place of money for Pidyon ha'Ben, implying that Rav Kahana himself was a Kohen (as his name itself implies)! Was he a Kohen or not?
(a) TOSFOS here (DH Rav Kahana) answers that the Gemara in Kidushin is discussing a different Rav Kahana, who indeed was a Kohen.
(b) Tosfos in Kidushin (8a, DH Rav Kahana) answers that Rav Kahana accepted the scarf for Pidyon Ha'Ben on behalf of his wife, who was a Kohenes.
The first answer of Tosfos apparently maintains that one may redeem a firstborn son only by giving money to a male Kohen, not to a female Kohenes (see previous Insight), in contrast to the law of Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah. Therefore, Tosfos answers that Rav Kahana mentioned in Kidushin was a different Rav Kahana who indeed was a Kohen.
HALACHAH: The CHASAM SOFER (Teshuvos YD 401) rules that in practice we do not rely on the answer of Tosfos in Kidushin. One should redeem his firstborn son only through a male Kohen. He adds, however, that if one cannot find a male Kohen, then he may perform Pidyon ha'Ben with a Kohenes, but without reciting a Berachah. He should stipulate that if he later finds a male Kohen, he will do the Pidyon through the male Kohen and the present Pidyon will not be valid.
2) GIVING "MATNOS KEHUNAH" FROM A "BECHOR"
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that when a Bechor becomes mixed with a herd of cows and all of them are slaughtered by a single Shochet, Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah must be given from all of the cows except for one. RASHI (DH v'Im Echad) explains that Matnos Kehunah are not given from a Bechor, because "Ein Kedushah Chal Al Kedushah" -- one form of Kedushah (Kedushas Matnos Kehunah) cannot take effect on an object that already has Kedushah (Kedushas Bechor).
There are a number of difficulties with Rashi's explanation.
(a) Rashi seems to contradict his own statement later in Chulin (134b, DH Reishis), where he writes that Matnos Kehunah do not have any Kedushah. (RASHASH, TAZ YD 61:21)
(b) Why does Rashi not give a more basic source for not giving Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah from a Bechor? The Mishnah itself (130a) says that an animal that has Kedushah is exempt from Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah because of the verse, "va'Eten Osam" (Vayikra 7:34).
(c) What is Rashi's source for applying the rule of "Ein Kedushah Chal Al Kedushah" to Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah?
(a) The TAZ answers that Rashi here does not mean that the Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah have the same type of Kedushah that Hekdesh and Korbanos have. Rather, Rashi is referring to the sanctity of the performance of a Mitzvah. This type of Kedushah cannot be applied to a Bechor, because it is already sanctified with the Kedushah of a Korban.
The Taz does not explain the logic behind why the Kedushah of the performance of a Mitzvah cannot take effect on an animal that has the Kedushah of a Korban. Nevertheless, there seem to be a number of sources for this principle. The expression "Kedushas Damim" is used with regard to Reishis ha'Gez (and applies, presumably, to Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah as well) in the Gemara later (beginning of 135b; Rashi (DH Terumah) points out that the expression there is not meant literally). The Gemara there certainly justifies Rashi's use of the word "Kedushah" here.
(b) Rashi does not write the source given by the Mishnah to explain why Matanos are not taken from a Bechor, because that source does not explain why they are not removed from a blemished Bechor that will not be offered as a Korban.
(c) The source for not giving Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah to a Kohen from a blemished Bechor (which is Pesulei ha'Mukdashin) is recorded in Bechoros (15a). The Gemara quotes a verse (Devarim 12:15) which compares an animal of Pesulei ha'Mukdashin to a Tzvi and Ayal. The Gemara says that just as Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah are not separated from a Tzvi and Ayal (since they are Chayos and not Behemos), Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah also are not separated from an animal of Pesulei ha'Mukdashin.
Rashi in Bechoros (14a, DH Kedushas Damim) adds that one can infer from the Gemara's teaching that Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah are not separated from an animal that is Kadosh with Kedushas Damim as well. TOSFOS there (DH Kedushas Damim) disagrees and asserts that the verse exempts only animals of Pesulei ha'Mukdashin that were redeemed from their full degree of Kedushah (and retain only a certain degree of Kedushah). It cannot be applied to animals of Kedushas Damim, which are exempt from Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah only before they are redeemed; after they are redeemed, Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah must be separated.
Rashi here is addressing the question of Tosfos in Bechoros. Rashi understands that it is logical to assume that the reason why the verse exempts Pesulei ha'Mukdashin from Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah is because of the remnant of Kedushah that they contain. Accordingly, the verse is teaching that we do not apply the "Kedushas Damim" of Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah (that is, its sanctity as having been chosen as the Kohen's portion) to an animal which has any type of Kedushah at all. This is what Rashi means here when he writes, "Ein Kedushah Chal Al Kedushah." (M. KORNFELD)
3) AN ANIMAL OWNED IN PART BY A KOHEN
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes Rava who derives from the verse, "me'Es Zovchei ha'Zevach" (Devarim 18:3), that a Kohen who is a professional butcher is not exempt from separating the Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah from his animals. He must separate them and give them to another Kohen.
The Gemara relates that Rav Tavla advised a poor Kohen to enter into a partnership with butchers. The butcher will welcome the Kohen as a partner in the ownership of his animals, because an animal that is partially owned by a Kohen is exempt from Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah. He will give the Kohen a share of each animal that is less than the value of the Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah, and thereby both the butcher and the Kohen will benefit.
Rav Nachman, however, ruled that Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah must be given from all of the jointly-owned animals. His ruling is based on the statement of Rebbi Acha bar Chanina in the name of the "Ziknei Darom," who said that a Kohen who is a butcher is exempt from Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah only for two or three weeks. After that time, he acquires the status of an established slaughterhouse. A Kohen who has an established slaughterhouse is not exempt from separating the Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah from his animals and from giving them to another Kohen.
Why did Rav Tavla assume that the Kohen's partial ownership would exempt the butcher's animals from Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah? Was he not aware of Rava's teaching?
Moreover, why did Rav Nachman exempt a Kohen butcher for two or three weeks if, as Rava expounds, the Torah obligates a Kohen butcher to give Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah immediately?
(a) TOSFOS (DH k'she'Hu) explains that there are two types of Kohen butchers. The first type is a butcher who slaughters animals that are brought to him by others. The second type is a butcher who slaughters his own animals and sells them. The verse that Rava cites obligates the first type of Kohen butcher to give Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah. Since the animals that he slaughters do not belong to him, Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah must be separated from them. In contrast, the second type of Kohen butcher is exempt from Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah, because the animals belong to him.
Rav Tavla advised the Kohen to make a partnership with a butcher who slaughters his own animals and sells them. The partnership would exempt the butcher from separating Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah from his own animals.
Rav Nachman ruled that the Rabanan obligated a Kohen to separate the Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah even from his own animals when he owns an established slaughterhouse.
(b) RASHI (DH k'she'Hu) gives another explanation. Rava rules that even when the Kohen butcher slaughters his own animals, he must separate Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah if he plans to sell the animals to others. Only when he plans to keep the animals for himself is he exempt from separating Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah. Since Rav Tavla was advising the Kohen to become a partner with a butcher in animals that would be sold to others, why did Rava's Derashah not apply to obligate the butcher and Kohen to separate Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah?
It must be that, indeed, Rav Tavla was not aware of Rava's Derashah that obligates a Kohen butcher to give Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah. Moreover, the reason why Rav Nachman exempted the Kohen butcher for up to two or three weeks was that the Kohen, until that time, is not called a "butcher." He merely happens to be making business deals with animals.
4) FORCING A PERSON TO FULFILL A "MITZVAS ASEH" THAT INVOLVES A FINANCIAL LOSS
The Gemara quotes the Beraisa that states that Beis Din may force a person to fulfill a Mitzvas Aseh, such as the Mitzvos of Sukah, Lulav, and Tzitzis. RASHI
(DH Kegon Omrim Lo) writes that the Gemara gives these specific examples in order to teach that this law applies only to Mitzvos that do not cause a person to suffer a financial loss. Beis Din may not force a person to fulfill Mitzvos that incur a financial loss. (Rashi earlier (110b, DH Kafsuhu) offers a different explanation for why the Gemara lists these examples. See Insights to Chulin 110:2
Why is there a difference between Mitzvos that cause a financial loss and Mitzvos that do not cause such a loss?
(a) The TIFERES YAKOV quotes a Mishnah in Yerushalmi Pe'ah that states that a person is not obligated to beg for money in order to obtain the money required to fulfill a Mitzvas Aseh. Based on that Mishnah, Rashi here is teaching that Beis Din may not force a person to fulfill a costly Mitzvah, since he might not have the means to do so.
(b) The RAMBAN (to Shemos 20:8) explains that Beis Din may force a person to fulfill a Mitzvas Aseh only when he refuses to perform the Mitzvah out of a spirit of rebellion. Perhaps Rashi means that when a person does not fulfill a Mitzvah due to the expense involved, it cannot be considered a rebellion. (Heard from RAV HILLEL RUVEL shlit'a.)
5) GIVING ALL OF THE "MATANOS" TO ONE KOHEN
OPINIONS: Rav Chisda says that when one distributes his Matnos Kehunah, he should give the Zero'a to one Kohen, the Keivah to one Kohen, and the Lechayayim to two other Kohanim. The Gemara asks that this was not the practice in Eretz Yisrael, where they would divide every limb into two portions and give them to separate Kohanim. The Gemara answers that the practice in Eretz Yisrael was done only with a bull, which is a very large animal.
RASHI (DH Hasam bid'Tura) explains that the verse, "v'Nasan la'Kohen" -- "and he will give to the Kohen" (Devarim 18:3), written with regard to the giving of the Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah, teaches that the act of giving should be a "Nesinah Yafah," a nice, significant giving. When one slaughters a large bull, one fulfills the "Nesinah Yafah" even when the portions are divided, because each Kohen's portion is still a significant amount of meat.
The Gemara does not mention whether or not one may give all of his Matanos from an animal to a single Kohen. Is the Gemara discussing merely the minimum portions that one may give to a Kohen (but one may give all of the Matanos to one Kohen if he wants), or does Rav Chisda's statement include an additional Halachah that it is preferable to split up the Matanos among several Kohanim?
(a) The RAMBAM (in Perush ha'Mishnayos) writes that it is forbidden to give all of the Matanos from a single animal to one Kohen. He says that people are very careful not to do this.
The source of the Rambam's ruling seems to be the Gemara in Eruvin (63a), which relates that David ha'Melech gave all of his Matanos to his Rebbi who was a Kohen. The Gemara says that this was a direct cause of the famine that occurred in his days. The Gemara adds that anyone who gives all of his Matanos to one Kohen causes famine to come to the world.
The KEREISI U'PLEISI (YD 61:6) seems to support this opinion with an incident involving his scholarly son-in-law. He says that at the same time that his son-in-law made a Pidyon ha'Ben, he also slaughtered an animal. He wanted to give the Matanos from the animal to the same Kohen who did the Pidyon ha'Ben. However, he was worried that he would transgress the words of the Gemara in Eruvin, so he refrained.
(b) However, the RAMBAM (Hilchos Bikurim 9:17) retracts the opinion he stated in Perush ha'Mishnayos and writes that one is allowed to give the Zero'a, Lechayayim, and Keivah of one animal to one Kohen.
The YAD AVRAHAM questions the Rambam's ruling from the Gemara in Eruvin (ibid.). However, the DARCHEI TESHUVAH (YD 61:54) quotes the PRI CHADASH who says that the answer is simple. The Gemara in Eruvin is stating merely that one should not give to one Kohen all of the Matanos, all of the time. He should give the Matanos from different animals to more than one Kohen. If he wants to give all of the Matanos from one animal to one Kohen, then he certainly may do so. The YAD EFRAYIM (YD 61:21) says that according to the Pri Chadash, the Kereisi u'Pleisi's son-in-law could have given the Matanos to the same Kohen who did the Pidyon ha'Ben.
This also seems to be the opinion of the SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 61:9). Before he writes that one should give the Matanos in four parts, the Shulchan Aruch prefaces the statement by saying that "one should not give the Matanos to many Kohanim, since each one must receive a nice portion; rather, one should give...." If the Shulchan Aruch maintains that Rav Chisda was not merely stating the minimum amount that a Kohen should receive but also how a person should divide, l'Chatchilah, the Matanos, then he should have specified this and not prefaced his remarks to imply that the only requirement is that the Kohen receive a nice portion. (This also seems to be the implication of the Shulchan Aruch earlier (61:7) that "he should give them to a Kohen who is a Chaver, and if there is no Chaver he should give them to an Am ha'Aretz.") (Y. MONTROSE)