QUESTION: The Mishnah says that when different types of Korbanos become mixed together and are indistinguishable from each other, such as a Korban Pesach, an Asham, and an Olah, one must wait until they all develop blemishes. Then, he must transfer the Kedushah of each animal onto money, and use that money to buy three new animals. Since he does not know which animal was which Korban, he must add to the value of the lesser two so that all three new animals are each worth the same as the most expensive of the former animals.
The wording of the Mishnah is, "They must graze until they get a blemish, and then they must be sold, and the value of the most expensive one is used [to buy the new Korbanos]." Why must he sell the old Korbanos and use the money to buy new ones? Let him simply transfer the Kedushah of each of the three old animals onto three new animals (each of which is worth the same as the most expensive of the old animals). He should say, "Wherever the Korban Pesach is, its Kedushah shall be transferred to this new animal," and "Wherever the Korban Olah is, its Kedushah shall be transferred to this other new animal," and so on. Why does he have to transfer their Kedushah onto money first? (See RASHASH 98b, on Rashi DH v'Neima.)
(a) Perhaps the Mishnah merely means to give a practical suggestion. If he wishes, of course he may transfer the Kedushah from the old animals directly to the new animals, without the use of money. In fact, when the Gemara later (98b) discusses a Korban Pesach that became mixed up with a Bechor, Rava says that the animals are left to graze until they become blemished. Then, a fat animal is brought and the person says, "Wherever the Korban Pesach is, its Kedushah shall be transferred to this animal" (which is then offered as the Korban Pesach, and the other two animals are both eaten as if they were Bechoros which became blemished). That Gemara implies that one may transfer the Kedushah directly from the old animal to the new animal, as the RAMBAM (Hilchos Korban Pesach 4:8) rules.
Accordingly, the Rambam might explain the Mishnah here in the same manner. The Mishnah recommends that the animals be sold only as a matter of convenience. In order to transfer the Kedushah directly to new animals, one must first wait for all three original animals to become blemished (otherwise he cannot redeem any specific Korban, since he is not sure which Korban is the one that has become blemished). Furthermore, he does not want to wait any more time than necessary before he redeems the blemished animal, lest something happen to it in the interim. Therefore, the most convenient solution is to sell each animal as soon as it becomes blemished. In this way, he can store the sanctified money until all three animals have been sold, and then he can buy three new Korbanos. In the Gemara's case of a Korban Pesach and a Bechor, there is only one animal that needs to have its Kedushah transferred, so the Gemara does not suggest that one should redeem it with money first.
Alternatively, ha'Ga'on Rav Moshe Shapiro shlit'a suggests that the words of the Mishnah may not mean that the animals must be sold for cash. Rather, when one redeems the blemished animals directly onto other animals, he effectively "sells" the blemished animals for new ones. This is why the Mishnah calls it "selling" the blemished animals. (In such a case, the new animals should have only Kedushas Damim (like Bedek ha'Bayis) and not Kedushas ha'Guf (like a Korban). However, because of the rule that "when the value of an animal becomes Kadosh, the Kedushah 'spreads' and becomes Kedushas ha'Guf (i.e. a Korban)," the second animals also become usable as Korbanos.)
(b) However, RASHI (98b, DH v'Neima) says that in the case of the Korban Pesach and the Bechor, the Gemara clearly means that one must transfer the Kedushah of the blemished animal onto money before he buys a new animal. According to Rashi, the Mishnah means that one must redeem the animals with money, and not with other animals. Why can one not transfer the Kedushah from the old animal itself directly onto a new animal?
Perhaps Rashi is of the opinion that one cannot transfer Kedushah from a cheaper animal onto a more expensive one. That is, while the original animals are all worth different amounts, the new animals must all be equal in value to the most expensive of the old animals, as explained earlier. Consequently, if one would transfer the Kedushah directly from the old animal to the new one, he would sanctify only part of the new animal, but not the entire animal. Perhaps Rashi compares this to one who sanctifies only half of an animal. One should not sanctify an animal, or transfer an animal's Kedushah, in such a way.
Once the animals have been redeemed for money, one must add more money to the lesser piles, so that he has equal amounts in each pile (and each amount is equal to the most expensive of the original three animals). Afterwards, he can sanctify each entire pile of money, and then use the money to buy a new animal. (Rav Moshe Shapiro, however, pointed out that because "Ein Ona'ah l'Hekdesh" (Bava Metzia 56b), one should be able to redeem an item of Hekdesh of any value with another item of Chulin of any value. Nevertheless, it is possible that the Gemara uses the rule of "Ein Ona'ah l'Hekdesh" only to protect the interests of Hekdesh. In this case, where the one who buys the animal from Hekdesh is shortchanged (he has to pay more than the actual value of the animal), the rule does not apply. Perhaps Hekdesh of smaller value cannot be transformed into Hekdesh of greater value through redemption. -M. KORNFELD)
Alternatively, Rashi may assume that Hekdesh cannot be transferred from one object to a like object directly. There must be a stage in between where the Kedushah is passed to a different item (in this case, money), and then back to the like object (the second animal). The precedent for such an assumption can be found with regard to Ma'aser Sheni, where the Chachamim (Ma'aser Sheni 2:6) rule that one cannot redeem silver Ma'aser Sheni money with other silver coins. Rashi (Bava Metzia 56a) explains that the logic for their ruling is that the transfer of Kedushah from silver coins to other silver coins "is not a proper form of Chilul" (transfer of Kedushah). The same may be suggested with regard to animals; perhaps the transfer of Kedushah from one animal directly onto another is not the proper form of Chilul (except in the case of Temurah, which, of course, is a Gezeiras ha'Kasuv). (M. KORNFELD)