1) DOES YOM KIPPUR ATONE FOR AN UNSOLVED MURDER
QUESTION: The Gemara questions the opinion that Yom Kippur atones for every doubtful transgression (Safek Aveirah) from the law of Eglah Arufah. If a corpse was found prior to Yom Kippur, and then Yom Kippur passed before Beis Din could bring the Eglah Arufah to atone for the murder, Beis Din is not exempt from the Eglah Arufah. If Yom Kippur atones, then why is Beis Din not exempt from bringing the Eglah Arufah? An Eglah Arufah is brought when the identity of the murderer is unknown, and since Yom Kippur atones for any Aveirah for which the details are unknown, it should also atone for the murder!
The Gemara quotes a number of answers. Rava answers that the verse says, "The land will not have atonement for the blood that was spilled on it, except through the blood of the one who spilled it" (Bamidbar 35:33).
How does Rava's answer resolve the question? The verse that he quotes is not discussing the laws of Eglah Arufah at all. Rather, the verse is discussing a case in which the identity of the murderer is known! Perhaps only in such a case will Yom Kippur not atone, but in a case of an Eglah Arufah, when the identity of the murderer is not known, Yom Kippur will atone.
(a) RASHI (DH v'la'Aretz) answers that since the verse teaches that when the identity of the murderer is known he has no atonement except for that which the Torah specifically designates for him (i.e. execution), we derive that when the murderer is not known the only atonement is that which the Torah specifically designates -- the Eglah Arufah (and not Yom Kippur).
(b) RABEINU GERSHOM writes that Rava's intention is to say that the Eglah does not atone for the murderer (only his death atones for him, as the verse implies).
What does Rabeinu Gershom mean by this? We know that the Eglah Arufah does atone for the entire community (Tzibur), as the Torah says (Devarim 21:8). Accordingly, if the Eglah Arufah was not brought, Yom Kippur should atone for them!
Perhaps the atonement that the Eglah Arufah provides for the Tzibur is not considered an atonement for a doubtful transgression at all. Rather, the Eglah Arufah is brought when we are certain that the Tzibur needs an atonement; we know for certain that they allowed a killer to get away with murder in their midst. The Gemara is not suggesting that Yom Kippur should provide atonement for them in the same way that it provides atonement in a case of a doubtful transgression. Rather, the Gemara means that Yom Kippur should provide atonement for the murderer; since we are in doubt about the identity of the murderer, the atonement of Yom Kippur can apply to him as it applies in cases of Safek. The Gemara answers that the Eglah Arufah is not brought for the atonement of the murderer (but rather for the Tzibur), and nothing but his execution will provide him with atonement. (M. KORNFELD)
(c) The RASHASH answers this question based on the words of the RAMBAN (end of Parshas Shoftim). The Ramban quotes the RAMBAM (in Moreh Nevuchim) who explains that the reason why we bring an Eglah Arufah is that, in most cases, the murderer lives in the city closest to where the corpse was found. When the elders of that city bring the Eglah Arufah, the people of that city start talking about it so much that eventually the identity of the murderer is revealed. It could be, therefore, that Rava means to say that the primary purpose of bringing the Eglah Arufah is not for atonement, but to cause the identity of the murderer to be revealed, so that justice may be carried out. This is why he cites the verse that discusses the punishment of the known murderer. Accordingly, it is obvious that Yom Kippur will not accomplish what the Eglah Arufah is meant to accomplish.
2) ONLY THE STATUS OF A "NASI" CAN CHANGE
QUESTION: The Gemara says that a Nasi is different from a commoner and from a Tzibur in that his status can change and he can become a commoner, and his Korban can change accordingly.
Why does the Gemara say that only a Nasi can change into a commoner? A commoner can also become a Nasi!
(a) The SHITAH MEKUBETZES (#1) explains that the commoner that the Gemara is discussing is a Mamzer or a Pasul who cannot become a Nasi. He indeed is different from a Nasi since his status cannot change.
(b) The MITZPEH EISAN suggests that the likelihood that a commoner will become a Nasi is far less than the likelihood that a Nasi will lose his status. There is only one Nasi, and a Nasi can be deposed. In order for a commoner to become a Nasi, the Nasi must first be deposed, and then the commoner must be chosen from all other commoners to be appointed in his place.
3) THE MORE SEVERE FORM OF "ME'ILAH"
QUESTION: The Mishnah discusses the case of a person who designated two Sela'im to be used for his Korban Asham. He used the money to buy two animals for Chulin purposes, and one of the animals is worth two Sela'im (the required value of an Asham) and the other animal is worth ten Zuzim (two and a quarter Sela'im). (Even though he paid only one Sela for each animal, he either fattened them and increased their value, or he received a discount on the purchase price.) The Mishnah states that he may use the two-Sela animal for his Asham Me'ilos, and the ten-Zuz animal as his original Asham (since the ten Zuz include the Keren and Chomesh of the two Sela with which he was Mo'el).
If, however, he bought one animal (that is now worth two Sela'im) for his Asham and one animal (worth one Sela) for Chulin, then he brings the first animal for his Asham obligation, and the second animal (that is now worth two Sela'im) for his Korban Me'ilah, and he must pay the Keren and Chomesh for his act of Me'ilah.
Why is the penalty for using all of the Hekdesh money for Chulin less severe than the penalty for using only half of the Hekdesh money for Chulin? When he used all of the Hekdesh money for Chulin, he is not required to add any additional payments, but when he used only half of the Hekdesh money for Chulin, the Mishnah requires him to add additional payments!
ANSWER: In the second case, when he bought one animal for an Asham and one animal for Chulin, he does not actually pay more as a penalty. Rather, the Asham that he bought for one Sela retains its status as an Asham, since it is now worth two Sela'im. For the remaining Sela with which he was Mo'el, he must bring an Asham Me'ilos and pay the Keren and Chomesh. Since the second animal that he bought is now worth two Sela'im, he may bring that animal as his Asham Me'ilos. However, he still must add one Sela and a fifth in order to complete the Keren and Chomesh that he owes. In the first case, since one of the animals itself is now worth the full value of the Keren and Chomesh, he does not have to add any money to his payment. (RASHI, RAMBAM in Perush ha'Mishnayos)