Anyone who transfers holiness from one animal to another is liable for lashes for every animal from which he transferred the holiness, as Leviticus 27:10 states: "Do not exchange it and do not transfer its holiness," even though he did not perform a deed. According to the Oral Tradition, it was taught that any negative commandment that does not involve a deed is not punishable by lashes with the exception of one who takes a false or unnecessary oath, one who transfers the holiness of a sacrificial animal, and one curses a colleague mentioning God's name. These three negative commandments can never involve a deed at all, and yet one is liable for lashes for their violation.
Why is one liable for lashes for transferring the holiness of an animal, it is a negative commandment that can be corrected by a positive commandment, as ibid.:33 states: "If he will transfer its holiness, it and the animal to which its holiness will be transferred shall be consecrated"? Because it has one positive commandment and two negative commandments and because the negative commandment it involves is not of the same nature as the positive commandment.This is reflected in the ruling that if the Jewish community or partners try to transfer the holiness of a sacrificial animal, the transfer is not effective. Nevertheless, they are warned not to transfer the holiness. Thus when an individual transfers the holiness of a sacrificial animal, the animal to which he transferred the holiness is consecrated. Even if he transfers holiness on the Sabbath, he is liable for forty lashes. If, by contrast, partners in a sacrificial animal endeavors to transfer its holiness or an endeavor is made to transfer the holiness of an animal designated for a communal sacrifice - since that person has a share in these sacrifices he is liable for lashes, but the animal to which he endeavored to transfer the holiness is not consecrated.
Whether one transfers the holiness of an animal as an intentional transgression or one does so inadvertently, the transfer of holiness is effective and the person is liable for lashes.
What is implied? One intended to say: "This animal should be considered as an exchange for an animal consecrated as a burnt-offering that I possess," and instead, he said: "This animal should be considered as an exchange for an animal consecrated as a peace-offering that I possess," the transfer of holiness is effective and he is liable for lashes. If, however, he thought that it was permitted to transfer holiness or he said: "I will enter that house and transfer the holiness of a sacrificial animal willfully," and instead, he entered and transferred the holiness of the animal unknowingly, the transfer of holiness is effective, but he is not liable for lashes for it.
A person cannot transfer the holiness of a sacrificial animal that does not belong to him. If the owner of a sacrificial animal says: "Whoever desires to transfer the holiness of my sacrificial animal may come and do so," another person may transfer the holiness of that animal.
If a person transferred the holiness of a sacrificial animal belonging to him to another animal that does not belong to him, the transfer is not effective. The rationale is that a person cannot consecrate an entity that does not belong to him.
It is the one who will receive atonement who has the potential to exchange the holiness of a sacrificial animal, not the person who consecrates it.
What is implied? A person consecrated an animal so that his colleague could gain atonement through its sacrifice, e.g., one consecrated the animals required for the sacrifices of a nazirite so that so-and-so, the nazirite, could gain atonement thereby. It is that nazirite who can transfer their holiness, but not the person who consecrated them, because they do not belong to him.
An heir can transfer the holiness of a sacrificial animal he inherits. If a person dies, leaving a sacrificial animal to his two sons, this animal should be offered, but its holiness cannot be transferred. The rationale is that the sons are partners and partners cannot transfer the holiness of a sacrificial animal, as we explained.
The holiness of sacrificial animals consecrated by gentiles may not be transferred according to Scriptural Law. According to Rabbinic Law, however, if a gentile transfers the holiness of a sacrificial animal, the transfer is effective. If a gentile consecrated a sacrificial animal with the intent that a Jew receive atonement through its being offered and then the gentile transferred its holiness to another animal, there is an unresolved question whether the transfer is effective.
When either a man or a woman seek to transfer the holiness of a sacrificial animal, the transfer is effective.
Even though he is not liable for lashes, there is an unresolved question whether a transfer of holiness made by a minor who has reached the age when his vows are binding is effective or not.
The priests cannot transfer the holiness of animals to be sacrificed as sin-offerings and guilt-offerings that were given to them to offer. Although portions of the animal belong to them, they do not acquire them during the lifetime of the animal, for they do not receive a portion of the meat until the blood is cast on the altar.
A priest cannot transfer the holiness of a firstborn animal; even though he does acquire it while it is alive, he does not acquire it at the outset. On the contrary, at the outset, it should be in the home of the Israelite. When, by contrast, an owner transfers the holiness of a firstborn animal, as long as it is in his household, the transfer is binding.Similarly, when a priest transfers the holiness of a firstborn animal born in his herd, not a firstborn animal given to him by an Israelite, the transfer is binding.
The holiness of the ram of the High Priest can be transferred to another animal. The holiness of his bull, by contrast, cannot be transferred to another animal. Even though it is brought from his own resources, since his priestly brethren derive atonement through its sacrifice, they are considered as partners in it.
The holiness of fowl and meal-offerings cannot be transferred, for the relevant verses mention only animals.
The holiness of animals consecrated for the upkeep of the Temple may not be transferred, for with regard to the tithe offering, Leviticus 27:33 states: "He shall not distinguish between good and bad and he should not transfer its holiness." Now the tithe offering was part of the general category of all the sacrifices, why was it singled out?To teach us a concept that applies to the entire general category. The tithe-offering is the sacrifice of an individual, thus excluding communal offerings and sacrificial animals owned by partners. The tithe-offering is a sacrifice offered on the altar, thus excluding animals consecrated for the sake of the upkeep of the Temple. There is an association between the tithe-offerings and the tithes of the crops in which are obligated Jews and not non-Jews; thus excluding sacrifices of the gentiles whose holiness cannot be exchanged as stated.
When a person consecrates an animal that has a permanent disqualifying blemish, its holiness cannot be transferred to another animal, because its body has not been consecrated in a complete way; only its worth was consecrated. If, however, one consecrates an animal with a temporary blemish or one consecrates an unblemished animal and then it contracted a permanent blemish, its holiness can be transferred.
Whether one transfers the holiness of a blemished animal to an unblemished one or that of an unblemished animal to a blemished one, one transferred the holiness of sheep to cattle, or the holiness of cattle to sheep, or that of goats to sheep or that of sheep to goats, or that of males to females or that of females to males, or transferred the holiness of 100 animals to one or that of one to 100, whether he did so all at once or one after another, the transfer is effective and he is liable for the same number of sets of lashes as animals to which he transferred holiness.
The holiness of an animal to which holiness has been transferred cannot be transferred to another animal, nor may the holiness of the offspring of a consecrated animal be transferred to another animal. This is derived from Leviticus 27:10: "And it and the animal to which its holiness was transferred shall be holy." Implied is "it" and not its offspring, "the animal to which its holiness was transferred" and not an animal to which there was an attempt to transfer the holiness of the animal to which its holiness was transferred. If, however, one transferred the holiness of an animal and then transferred its holiness a second time, even 1000 times, the holiness has been transferred to each of them, and one is liable for lashes for each transfer, as we explained.
The holiness of an entire animal may not be transferred to limbs or fetuses, nor may the holiness of the latter be transferred to an entire animal.
What is implied? If one says: "The hindfoot of this animal..." or "Its forefoot should be substituted for this burnt-offering," or he said: "The fetus of this animal should be substituted for this burnt-offering," the holiness is not transferred. Similarly, if one says: "This animal should be substituted for the forefoot..." or "the hindfoot of this burnt-offering," or he said: "This animal should be substituted for the fetus of this sin-offering," the holiness is not transferred.
When one seeks to transfer the holiness of a consecrated animal to a hybrid, and animal that is tereifah, one born of Caesarian section, a tumtum, or an adrogynus, the holiness is not transferred to them and it is as if one sought to transfer the holiness of a sacrificial animal to a camel or a donkey. The rationale is that this type of animal is not fit for sacrifice. Therefore one who tries to transfer the holiness of a sacrificial animal to it is not liable for lashes.
What is the difference between these and an animal that is blemished? There is the possibly of the type of animal that is blemished serving as a sacrifice, while these types of animals cannot serve as sacrifices.
An animal that was engaged in intercourse with humans - whether it acted as the male or female - is considered as a blemished animal and the holiness of a sacrificial animal can be transferred to it. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.
When an animal was half consecrated and half unconsecrated, holiness cannot be transferred to it, not may its holiness be transferred.
The holiness of all of the sin-offerings that are consigned to death may not be transferred to another animal. By contrast, the holiness of all of the sin-offerings that are designated to pasture until they contract a blemish and are sold may be transferred to another animal.
When a person sets aside a female animal for his Paschal sacrifice, burnt-offering, or guilt-offering, its holiness can be transferred even though it is not fit to be offered. The rationale is that since its worth is consecrated and it is unblemished, it is considered as if its body was consecrated.
If, by contrast, one separated a goat as a sin-offering, a king separated a she-goat as a sin-offering, and a High Priest separated a cow as a sin-offering, their holiness cannot be transferred. The rationale is that anyone who deviates from the commandments prescribed for a sin-offering does not cause the designated animal to be consecrated at all, not even its worth, as we explained in Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashim.
The content on this page is copyrighted by the author, publisher and/or Chabad.org, and is produced by Chabad.org.
If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with the copyright policy.
Moznaim is the publisher of the Nehardaa Shas, a new, state-of-the-art edition of the Talmud and all major commentaries in 20 volumes. Click here to purchase or email the publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org