If a lost chatas was found and is now overage, one waits until it develops a blemish and then sells it. Given that it could take 6 months to develop a blemish, is one allowed to wait that long for atonement?
Barry Epstein, Dallas, USA
There is a Machlokes Tana'im as to whether 'Tevilah b'Zemanah Mitzvah' or not. I am not aware of such an opinion which holds 'Kaparah b'Zemanah Mitzvah', though, if Kaparah is a Mitzvah, the principle 'Zerizim Makdimin le'Mitzvah' ought to apply here as well.
This is borne out by Rabeinu Gershom, who says that the Mishnah speaks about where he specifically wants to use his original Chatas (implying that he is permitted to take a new Chatas, should he so wish, and to bring it straightaway). And the Meleches Shlomoh in the Mishnah says the same thing. Incidentally, there is at least one case of a Mechusar Kipurim not being able to bring his Chatas at all, though I don't recall what it is.
Be'Virchas Kol Tuv,