Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Daf Yomi - Yoma 41 - A Pauper Bringing the Korban of a Rich Person

The Gemora quotes a Mishna in נגעים, if a poor person who is a מצורע brings the קרבן that a rich person is supposed to bring, he fulfills his obligation. The Chinuch (123) states by a קרבן עולה ויורד - (certain sins which require a korban chatos, he either brings an animal, bird or flour offering depending on his status - this is called a fluctuating korban) if an עני brings the קרבן of an עשיר, he does not fulfill his obligation. The Chinuch explains the reason: the Torah had compassion on the poor person, it is not proper for him to compel himself to bring a korban which he cannot afford. How can the Chinuch hold against the Mishna, which explicitly states that he does fulfill his obligation?

The Chasam Sofer answers based on a Gemora Shabbos that states that Hashem punishes each person according to what he can afford. A rich person who sins will lose his cow. A poor person, on the other hand, will lose his chicken or some eggs. Therefore, there is a distinction between the קרבן of a מצורע or יולדת (a woman who gave birth) and the קרבן עולה ויורד. A מצורע is not required to bring a קרבן because he sinned, it is to purify him and allow him to eat kodoshim. If a poor מצורע decides to bring the rich man's קרבן, he will be יוצא. Conversely, a sinner who does that will not be יוצא, for here the Torah prescribed for him the קרבן which will give him atonement according to his status. The קרבן is in place of the punishment. It is not decided by the עני what his punishment should be and therefore when he brings the קרבן of an עשיר, he does not fulfill his obligation.

The Sfas Emes (here and quoted in Moadim U'zmanim as a story which occured by a כנסיה גדולה) answers that there is a basic distinction. A מצורע disregarding if he is an עשיר or an עני is required to bring a חטאת and an עולה. The rich man brings animals and the pauper brings birds. If the עני brings the קרבן of an עשיר, he fulfills his obligation, for he brought the prescribed amount. A קרבן עולה ויורד is different. A rich person brings an animal for a קרבן חטאת and an עני brings two birds, one for a חטאת and one for an עולה. If an עני will force himself to bring the קרבן of an עשיר, he will not fulfill his obligation because he cheated the מזבח out of one קרבן - namely the עולה.

There are two questions on this explanation (look in שמועת חיים and in מצות המלך from Harav Ezriel Cziment). Firstly, the chinuch says a different reason for his not being יוצא. He says because the Torah doesn't want the עני to overburden himself. He does not say the reason of the Sfas Emes that he missed a קרבן? Secondly, one must ask, why is it that an עני is required to bring two קרבנות and an עשיר only brings one? The אבן עזרא explains the reason for this: A חטאת העוף is completely eaten and an עולת העוף is completely burned on the מזבח. These two birds together replace a regular קרבן which entails אכילת אדם and אכילת מזבח. They are actually one קרבן. Therefore, one can say that the עני is not missing a קרבן by bringing one animal instead of two birds?

It would seem, however, that this question can be answered. Even according to the אבן עזרא, the two birds are not one קרבן. They are two קרבנות complimenting one another. The rationale behind bringing the two קרבנות could be because the Torah wants אכילת אדם and אכילת מזבח, nevertheless, it is still two קרבנות and the עני is missing one קרבן when he brings the קרבן of an עשיר.