1) REDEEMING "KODSHIM" TO FEED TO THE DOGS
QUESTION: The Gemara cites a Beraisa in which two Tana'im argue with regard to one who eats Chametz of Hekdesh (Chametz that was designated as a gift of Bedek ha'Bayis to the Beis ha'Mikdash) on Pesach. The Tana Kama maintains that one is liable for transgressing the prohibition of Me'ilah (using sanctified property for one's personal benefit). The second Tana ("Yesh Omrim") maintains that one is not liable for Me'ilah.
The Amora'im offer different ways of understanding the dispute in the Beraisa (see following Insight). Rav Yosef explains that the dispute depends on whether one is allowed to redeem Kodshim in order to feed it to dogs. The Tana Kama maintains that one may redeem Kodshim to feed it to dogs, and thus the Chametz of Hekdesh is considered to have monetary value. Consequently, if one uses that value for personal benefit, he is liable for Me'ilah. The second Tana maintains that one may not redeem Kodshim to feed it to dogs. Accordingly, Chametz of Hekdesh on Pesach has no monetary value, and one who eats that Chametz on Pesach is not liable for Me'ilah.
According to Rav Yosef, the second Tana clearly maintains that one may not redeem Hekdesh of Kedushas Damim (such as Chametz designated as a gift to the Beis ha'Mikdash). However, the Mishnah in Bechoros (14a) clearly states the contrary. The Mishnah there states that any animal of Kodshim that possessed a permanent blemish (Mum Kavu'a) before it was consecrated as a Korban, and it died before it was redeemed, may be redeemed after its death, except for a Bechor and an animal of Ma'aser Behemah. RASHI there (DH v'Yotz'in) explains that even after an animal is consecrated it does not have "Kedushah Chamurah," a strong degree of Kedushah, because it possessed a permanent blemish before it was consecrated, and thus it was not fit to be offered on the Mizbe'ach as a Korban. Rashi (DH v'Im Mesu) explains further than since it does not have "Kedushah Chamurah," it may be redeemed after its death and its corpse may be fed to dogs. In contrast, a Bechor and Ma'aser Behemah cannot be redeemed, because they have Kedushah even when they have a Mum.
The Mishnah in Bechoros explicitly states that a dead animal which has Kedushas Damim (one that was consecrated but cannot be offered on the Mizbe'ach) may be redeemed. How is the explanation of Rav Yosef here to be reconciled with the Mishnah there?
ANSWER: The SHITAH MEKUBETZES in Bechoros (14a, #1) answers that everyone agrees that, mid'Oraisa, one may redeem Kodshim that cannot be offered on the Mizbe'ach. Even the Tana here in Pesachim that maintains that one may not redeem Chametz of Hekdesh maintains that one is prohibited only mid'Rabanan from redeeming it. Accordingly, this Tana maintains that when the Mishnah in Bechoros states that one may redeem a blemished animal that died, it means that mid'Oraisa it may be redeemed. Mid'Rabanan, however, one may not redeem it.
However, if it is true that the Rabanan decreed that one may not redeem Kodshim in order to feed it to dogs, such a decree renders Chametz of Hekdesh to have no monetary value. Consequently, the prohibition of Me'ilah no longer applies to such Chametz. How is it possible for the Rabanan to remove an Isur d'Oraisa of Me'ilah?
TOSFOS here (DH Ein) explains that in reality the Rabanan did not remove the Isur d'Oraisa of Me'ilah. Rather, they decreed merely that one may not redeem Chametz of Hekdesh. Only as a consequence of their decree does the Chametz lose its monetary value. Since the Isur of Me'ilah applies only to an object that has some monetary value, the Isur of Me'ilah does not apply to Chametz of Hekdesh, since it is now worthless. (D. BLOOM)
2) SELLING CHAMETZ TO A NOCHRI ON PESACH
QUESTION: The Gemara (29a) cites a Beraisa in which two Tana'im argue with regard to one who eats Chametz of Hekdesh (Chametz that was designated as a gift of Bedek ha'Bayis to the Beis ha'Mikdash) on Pesach. The Tana Kama maintains that one is liable for transgressing the prohibition of Me'ilah (using sanctified property for one's personal benefit). The second Tana ("Yesh Omrim") maintains that one is not liable for Me'ilah.
The Amora'im offer different ways of understanding the dispute in the Beraisa (see previous Insight). Rav Acha bar Yakov explains that the dispute depends on the dispute between Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Shimon (28b). The Tana Kama, who says that one is liable for Me'ilah, agrees with Rebbi Shimon. Since the Chametz will not be forbidden (mid'Oraisa) after Pesach, as Rebbi Shimon maintains, and will have value at that time, it is considered to have value now. One who benefits from Hekdesh which has value is liable for Me'ilah. The second Tana, who says that one is not liable for Me'ilah, agrees with Rebbi Yehudah, who says that Chametz after Pesach remains Asur b'Achilah and Asur b'Hana'ah. Since the Chametz will have no value, one is not liable for benefiting from Chametz of Hekdesh.
RASHI (DH Man d'Amar) questions the explanation of Rav Acha bar Yakov. Even according to Rebbi Yehudah, one should be liable for Me'ilah if he eats Chametz of Hekdesh on Pesach. Since the Chametz can be sold to a Nochri on Pesach, it has value! Rashi answers that one is forbidden to feed Hekdesh to anyone other than a Jew, even after it has been redeemed, and thus Chametz of Hekdesh has no value.
Why does Rashi ask that the Chametz could be sold to a Nochri? Selling Chametz is a form of benefiting from it, and both Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Shimon agree that during Pesach, one is forbidden to benefit from Chametz.
ANSWER: The prohibition against deriving benefit from Chametz applies only to a Jew. Chametz of Hekdesh is not owned by the Jew; it is owned by Hekdesh. The entity known as "Hekdesh" is not bound by Mitzvos. Therefore, the official treasurer of Hekdesh is permitted to sell Chametz of Hekdesh to a Nochri, because Hekdesh is allowed to benefit from Chametz on Pesach. (RAV YAKOV EMDEN and others)
3) SELLING CHAMETZ TO A JEW ON PESACH
QUESTION: The Gemara presents one more explanation for the dispute in the Beraisa with regard to whether or not one is liable for Me'ilah when he eats Chametz of Hekdesh on Pesach (see previous Insights). Rav Ashi explains that both Tana'im in the Beraisa agree that one is not permitted to let a Nochri eat Hekdesh that has been redeemed. Rather, the dispute is based on the dispute between Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili and the Rabanan (Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Shimon). The Tana Kama, who says that one is liable for Me'ilah, agrees with Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili who says that Chametz on Pesach is Mutar b'Hana'ah. Since one may derive benefit from Chametz on Pesach, one may sell it to another Jew who may derive benefit from it, and thus it has monetary value. The second Tana agrees with the Rabanan, who say that Chametz is Asur b'Hana'ah on Pesach, and thus it has no monetary value.
How can the Gemara say that according to Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili, Chametz has value on Pesach because a Jew could buy it and derive benefit from it? Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili agrees that a Jew may not buy Chametz, because he is not allowed to own Chametz on Pesach. If he buys Chametz, he transgresses the prohibitions of Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei. What does the Gemara mean when it says that Chametz on Pesach has value according to Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili?
(a) Perhaps the Gemara means that according to Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili, one may sell the Chametz to a Nochri (but not to a Jew) on condition that the Nochri allows a Jew to benefit from it during Pesach. In that way, one is permitted to let a Nochri redeem the Chametz, and thus the Chametz has value even during Pesach.
However, the Rishonim (see TOSFOS DH Rav Ashi) reject this approach. If this is the reason why Chametz has value, then it has value even according to the Rabanan who argue with Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili. According to the Rabanan, one should be able to sell the Chametz to a Nochri on condition that the Nochri not eat it but only derive benefit from it (for example, by using it as fuel). One is prohibited only to feed redeemed Hekdesh to a Nochri, but not to allow a Nochri to benefit from it in other ways. It must be that one is not permitted to sell it to a Nochri on condition that he (or a Jew) benefits from it, because one cannot trust him that he will not eat it. Rather, the Gemara must mean that according to Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili, the Chametz of Hekdesh is sold to a Jew and not to a Nochri, and our question remains. How can the Gemara say that a Jew may redeem Chametz of Hekdesh on Pesach, if he thereby transgresses the prohibitions of Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei?
(b) TOSFOS (DH Rav Ashi) and other Rishonim conclude that a Jew is permitted to own Chametz on Pesach as long as he has intention to destroy it. He is even permitted to buy Chametz, l'Chatchilah, in order to use it as fuel, according to Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili. The reason for this is because the prohibitions of Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei are "Nitak l'Aseh" -- they can be rectified by the fulfillment of the Mitzvas Aseh of "Tashbisu," the Mitzvah to destroy Chametz. When the person fulfills the Mitzvas Aseh, retroactively his transgression of the prohibition is uprooted (see Makos 15a, "Kiyemo v'Lo Kiyemo," and RASHI DH Hanicha l'Man d'Tani).
(c) TOSFOS RABEINU PERETZ explains, like Tosfos, that if a person buys Chametz on Pesach with intention to destroy it, he does not transgress Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei. However, he gives a different reason. From the moment that a person begins to be involved in destroying Chametz, his Chametz is considered as though it has been destroyed. Therefore, from the moment that the Jew redeems the Chametz with intention to burn it, the Chametz is considered to have been burned already, and he is not in possession of Chametz.
The explanation of Tosfos Rabeinu Peretz seems consistent with the opinion of RASHI (6b, DH Da'atei Alei), who says that as long as a person is involved in trying to burn his Chametz, he does not transgress Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei. He transgresses the prohibitions only if he chooses to delay the burning (for even a moment).
(d) The SHA'AGAS ARYEH suggests another possible way for a Jew to derive benefit from Chametz during Pesach without owning it. One could sell the Chametz of Hekdesh in small increments of half of a k'Zayis at a time to different Jews. When each Jew buys half of a k'Zayis of Chametz, he does not transgress any prohibition, because he does not own the minimum amount of Chametz necessary to transgress Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei.
However, the Gemara in Yoma (74a) teaches that "half of a Shi'ur" of a Torah prohibition is also prohibited (either mid'Oraisa or mid'Rabanan). Why, then, is one permitted to sell half of a Shi'ur of Chametz to another Jew on Pesach?
The Sha'agas Aryeh explains that the principle of Chatzi Shi'ur does not apply to the prohibition of Bal Yera'eh for the following reason. Why is a Chatzi Shi'ur of a prohibited food forbidden? The Gemara in Yoma explains that it is forbidden because a small amount of food is "Chazi l'Itzterufi" -- it is fit to join together with other small amounts of food and become a proper Shi'ur. This means, according to one way of understanding, that one may not eat a half-Shi'ur, because he might eat another half-Shi'ur. He will thereby consume an entire Shi'ur and will transgress the Isur d'Oraisa retroactively through the first half-Shi'ur that he ate. Anything which can lead to the transgression of an Isur retroactively is deemed forbidden now as well.
The prohibitions of Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei are different. It is not possible for Chatzi Shi'ur to be forbidden, because in order to transgress Bal Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei, the full Shi'ur of a k'Zayis of Chametz must be in one's house all at one time. One transgresses Bal Yera'eh without doing any action with the prohibited item; he transgresses only when the full Shi'ur is in his possession. In contrast, one transgresses an Isur Achilah, a prohibition against eating a forbidden food, even when he performs two acts at two different times (within Kedei Achilas Peras) with two partial Shi'urim which join together to make one full Shi'ur. When no action is involved in the transgression, no temporal element can join two partial Shi'urim; one must have the entire Shi'ur at once in order to transgress.
Accordingly, a Jew is permitted to own a Chatzi Shi'ur on Pesach, because the Chatzi Shi'ur of Chametz cannot become forbidden retroactively. If another Chatzi Shi'ur of Chametz is brought into the house later, only from that point on does the first Chatzi Shi'ur become forbidden. (For more on the subject of Chatzi Shi'ur and Bal Yera'eh, see Insights to Pesachim 45:1 and Yoma 74:2.)