According to R. Judah one can well understand these twelve sin offerings to be possible in the case, for example, where the sin was committed by twelve tribes who must bring twelve goats — or again where the sin was committed by seven tribes where others must bring offerings on account of them.5 According to R. Simeon, also, this is possible in the case, for example, where the sin was committed by eleven tribes who bring eleven goats, the twelfth6 being that of the court, According to R. Meir, however, who said that the court, and not the congregation, bring the sin offering. how could [the bringing of] twelve offerings be possible? — In the case, for instance, where they sinned, and sinned again and again unto the twelfth time.
But surely, those who had committed the sin7 were dead!8 — R. Papa replied: The tradition that a sin offering the owner of which died must be left to die,9 is applicable only to the offering10 of an individual, but not to that of a congregation — because a congregation does not die.11
Whence does R. Papa derive this law? If it be suggested, from the Scriptural text, Instead of thy fathers shall be thy sons,12 if so, [it may be asked], this should apply to the offering of an individual also! — But R. Papa draws his inference from the goat of the new moon13 concerning which the All Merciful said that it was to be brought from the funds of the Temple treasury.14 but surely, some of Israel had died,15 how then16 could those who survived bring [the new moon sin offering]? From this it must consequently be inferred that a sin offering of the congregation — whose owners bad died, may be offered. Are these at all alike? [In the case of] the goat for the new moon it is possible that none of the congregation bad died, but here17 [the owners] had certainly died! — R. Papa's proof. however, is derived from here: Because it is written, Forgive, O Lord, thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed18 [which implies that] this offering is fit to atone even for those who departed from Egypt,19 for it is written, Whom thou hast redeemed.20 Is this, however, a proper analogy? There21 they were all22 present, and since [the heifer] atones for the living it may also atone for the dead: here,23 however, were there any survivors? — Yes; there were indeed, for it is written, But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers' houses etc.24 Is it not possible that they25 were only a minority26 and not a majority?27 — Surely it is written, So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people. … and the noise was heard afar off.28 Were they not, however, wilful sinners?29 — That30 was a temporary measure. This31 may also be arrived at by reasoning. For should this not be granted, on whose behalf, [it may be asked,] were the ninety and six rams and seventy and seven lambs?32 But, [it must be granted, that] it was a temporary measure; in this respect also it must have been a temporary measure.
Our Rabbis taught: If one of the congregation died33 they are still liable; if one of the court, they are exempt. Who is the author [of this statement]? — R. Hisda, in the name of R. Zera in the name of R. Jeremiah, in the name of Rab, said: It is R. Meir who maintains that the court, and not the congregation, bring the sin offering. Hence, when one of the congregation dies they are still liable since all the members of the court are alive; if, however, one of the court dies they are exempt, because it is then a sin offering one of whose joint owners died; and for this reason they are exempt.
R. Joseph demurred: Let this statement be established in accordance with the view of R. Simeon who maintains that the court together with the congregation [bring the sin offering]. Hence, when one of the congregation dies, they are still liable because a congregation does not die;34 if one of the court dies they are exempt for the reason given, because it is a sin offering [one] of [whose] joint owners [died]! — Abaye said to him: We have heard R. Simeon say that a sin offering in joint ownership is not to be left to die;35 for it was taught, 'If the bullock and the goat of the Day of Atonement were lost and others were set aside in their stead,36 all these must be left to die; so R. Judah. R. Eleasar and R. Simeon said: They shall be left to the pasture,37 because no congregational sin offering may be left to die.'38 — Said R. Joseph to him: Do you speak of priests! Priests are different, because they are called 'congregation'; for it is written, And he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the congregation.39
If so,1 however, let them also bring a bullock in the case of an erroneous ruling! And if it be said that this is really the case,2 then there would be more tribes!3 — But, said R. Aha, son of R. Jacob: The tribe of Levi is not called 'congregation',4 for it is written, Behold, I will make thee fruitful and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a congregation of peoples etc.5 He who has a possession is designated 'congregation', but he who has no possession is not designated 'congregation'.6 If so,7 there would be less than twelve tribes! — Abaye replied: Ephraim and Manasseh, even as Reuben and Simeon, shall be mine.8 Said Raba: But, surely, it is written, They shall be called after the name of their brethren it, their inheritance,9 [which shows that] they were compared only in regard to 'inheritance' but not in any other respect!10 — Were they not? Surely, they were also separated [when mentioned] in [connection with] the banners!11 — Their campings were like their possessions; in order to show respect to their banners. But, surely, they were also separated in respect of their princes!12 — That was done in order to show honor to the princes, as it was taught: 'Solomon celebrated seven days of dedication; what reason did Moses have for celebrating twelve days of dedication? In order to show honor to the princes.'
What becomes of that?13 — Come and hear that which has been taught: R. Simeon said: The following five kinds of sin offerings are to be left to die.14 The young of a sin offering,15 the exchange of a sin offering, a sin offering whose owner died — a sin offering whose owner has received atonement16 and a sin offering that passed the age of a year. And since in the case of a congregation one cannot speak of the young of a sin offering, because no female offering is ever brought17 by a congregation; and one cannot speak of an exchange of a sin offering in the case of a congregation because a congregation may not exchange an offering;18 and one cannot speak, in the case of a congregation, of a sin offering whose owner died because a congregation does not die; while as regards one whose owner had received atonement and one that passed the age of a year we have not heard;19 one might suppose that they should be left to die, it is, therefore, pointed out20 that what is vague may be inferred from what is explicit; as in regard to the law21 of the young of a sin offering, the exchange of a sin offering and one whose owner had died we find that it applies only to an individual owner22 and not to a congregation, so also the law21 in regard to the case of one whose owner has received atonement and one that passed the age of a year it is applicable to an individual and not to a congregation.23 But may that which is possible24 be deduced from that which is impossible?25 — R. Simeon received the tradition [in regard to the five kinds of sin offering that they must be left to die] from one common source.26
MISHNAH. AN ANOINTED HIGH PRIEST27 WHO MADE A DECISION FOR HIMSELF28 THROUGH ERROR AND ACTED UNWITTINGLY ACCORDINGLY, MUST BRING A SIN OFFERING OF A BULLOCK.29 IF, HOWEVER, HE MADE THE DECISION THROUGH ERROR BUT ACTED UPON IT WILFULLY, OR MADE IT WILFULLY BUT ACTED UPON IT UNWITTINGLY, HE IS EXEMPT; FOR A DECISION A HIGH PRIEST MADE FOR HIMSELF IS LIKE A RULING ISSUED BY THE COURT TO THE CONGREGATION.30
GEMARA. THROUGH ERROR AND ACTED UNWITTINGLY ACCORDINGLY MUST BRING A SIN OFFERING OF A BULLOCK. Is not this Obvious? — Abaye replied: The case dealt with here is one, for example, where31 he made a decision and forgot on what ground his decision had been made, and at the time of his action32 he declared, 'I am acting on the strength of my33 decision;' in view of the fact that [in such a case] it might be assumed that, since, had he recollected34 he might have retracted, he is like a wilful sinner35 and, therefore, not liable to a sin offering, hence it was taught [that it is not so].
OR MADE IT WILFULLY BUT ACTED UPON IT UNWITTINGLY etc. Whence these words? — For our Rabbis taught: So as to bring guilt upon the people,36 proves37 that the anointed High Priest is like the congregation.38 Could not this be arrived at by deduction?
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