1) MAY AN ANIMAL THAT IS A "NIRBA" BE EATEN?
OPINIONS: The Mishnah lists various types of animals that are not only forbidden from being offered as Korbanos, but that also forbid other animals with which they become mixed (when the forbidden animal is no longer discernible) from being offered as Korbanos. One of these animals is a "Nirba," an animal with which a person (even a Nochri) had relations.
What is the Halachah with regard to slaughtering such an animal and eating it as Chulin?
(a) The CHACHAM TZVI (#84) relates that he received a letter in which the writer asserted that the BACH had prohibited such an animal from being eaten. It seems that the Gemara here may support the Bach's opinion. The Gemara says that when two witnesses testify that an animal is a Nirba, it becomes forbidden to be eaten. This implies that whenever there is valid evidence that an animal had relations with a person, it is forbidden to be eaten.
(b) The TAZ (YD 153:1) argues that, on the contrary, the Gemara here is proof that it is usually permitted to eat such an animal. RASHI (DH Poslaso me'Achilah) explains that the reason why the testimony of witnesses prohibits the animal from being eaten is "she'Harei b'Sekilah Hu" -- that their testimony makes the animal Chayav Sekilah. It is clear that Rashi learns that the reason why the animal is forbidden to be eaten is not that it is a Nirba, but that it is now Chayav Sekilah, and one may not benefit from an animal that is Chayav Sekilah. This implies that Rashi maintains that if an animal that was Nirba is not Chayav Sekilah, then it is permitted to be eaten. This is also the opinion of the Chacham Tzvi himself.
The Chacham Tzvi concludes by quoting the SEFER CHASIDIM (#909) who clearly implies that such an animal may be eaten. The Sefer Chasidim writes, "If there is something that the Nochrim are accustomed to prohibit and it is not forbidden [by Halachah] to Jews, it is forbidden for a Jew to eat it lest he cause a Chilul Hash-m. For example, when a Nochri saw a fellow Nochri have relations with an animal -- and the Nochrim forbid eating such an animal -- a Jew should not eat such an animal." The Sefer Chasidim clearly maintains that according to Halachah such an animal is permitted, but one should not eat it because of the concern for Chilul Hash-m.
(The reasoning of this statement of the Sefer Chasidim was the subject of controversy between RAV MOSHE FEINSTEIN zt'l and the CHELKAS YAKOV (see the comments of both on this matter in Chelkas Yakov EH 17). In summary, the Chelkas Yakov understood that the Sefer Chasidim means simply that Jews should not permit things that the Nochrim say are prohibited. Rav Moshe Feinstein zt'l argued that this cannot be the intention of the Sefer Chasidim, because we find that the Jews in Mitzrayim ate sheep, which the Egyptians prohibited (since they worshipped the sheep). He explains that the Sefer Chasidim means that things that the Nochrim refrain from eating not because of religious considerations but because such things are considered disgusting should not be eaten by Jews, because of the Chilul Hash-m involved when people say that Jews do disgusting things.) (Y. MONTROSE)
2) "MUKTZAH" FOR SEVEN YEARS
OPINIONS: Reish Lakish says that the prohibition against offering as a Korban an animal that is Muktzah (designated to be offered for Avodah Zarah) applies only to an animal that is Muktzah "for seven years." He derives this from Hash-m's command to Gideon to offer Korbanos. The verse says, "Take the bull that is your father's and the second bull of seven years" (Shoftim 6:25). Gideon was commanded to demolish the altar of Avodah Zarah that belonged to his father, and cut down the Asheirah tree near it. He was then to build a Mizbe'ach for Hash-m and offer upon it the second bull.
What is the meaning of an animal that is "Muktzah for seven years"?
(a) RASHI (DH l'Shiv'ah and u'Par) explains that "Muktzah for seven years" refers to an animal that was designated to be offered to Avodah Zarah at the end of seven years of being fattened.
(b) Alternatively, Rashi (DH Lishna Acharina) explains that only an animal that was designated within the last seven years is prohibited as Muktzah. If seven years have passed from the time that it was designated, then the prohibition no longer applies.
The Gemara questions Reish Lakish's source from the Korbanos of Gideon. The bull of Gideon's father was not merely Muktzah for Avodah Zarah, but it was also "Ne'evad" -- it was worshipped as Avodah Zarah itself. Such an animal is permanently prohibited to be offered as a Korban!
How does the Gemara know that the bull of Gideon's father was worshipped? Indeed, Rashi (DH Ne'evad Nami) writes that he does not know the source for this assertion.
RABEINU GERSHOM answers that the Gemara derives this from the verse. After Hash-m told Gideon to take these bulls, He told Gideon, "And you shall destroy the altar of the Ba'al which is your father's" (ibid.). Rabeinu Gershom explains that the fact that the verse calls the altar an "altar of the Ba'al" shows that they worshipped this animal as an Avodah Zarah called "Ba'al."
The KORBAN HA'EDAH on the Yerushalmi (Megilah 1:12) gives a different answer. The verse in Shoftim mentions two animals -- "the bull that is your father's and the second bull of seven years." However, in the following verse, Gideon is instructed only to offer the second bull, and he is not told what to do with the first. It appears, therefore, that there was only one bull. When the verse mentions two bulls, it is referring to two different things that happened to the one bull. When the verse says, "Take the bull that is your father's," it means the bull that Gideon's father worshipped. When the verse continues and says, "and the second bull of seven years," it refers to the same bull that it just mentioned, and it is teaching that a second thing was done to the bull: it had been set aside to be brought as a Korban by others for seven years.
A similar explanation is cited by RABEINU YESHAYAH on the verse in Shoftim. He says that the verse means, "bring the bull that is your father's, a bull that has been fattened for seven years." (Y. MONTROSE)