1

The following laws apply when a sheep that had not given birth before gives birth to two males. Even if both of their heads emerged at the same time, it is impossible that one did not emerge before the other. Since it is not known which emerged first, the priest should take the weaker one and the second one is a firstborn of doubtful status.

If one of them died, the priest does not receive anything, for the living offspring is of doubtful status and we follow the principle: "When one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him." Similarly, if the mother gave birth to a male and a female, the male is of doubtful status, for perhaps the female emerged first. Therefore the priest does not receive anything, for when one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him.

א

רָחֵל שֶׁלֹּא בִּכְּרָה וְיָלְדָה שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים. אֲפִלּוּ יָצְאוּ שְׁנֵי רָאשֵׁיהֶן כְּאֶחָד אִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁלֹּא קָדַם אֶחָד. הוֹאִיל וְאֵין יָדוּעַ אֵי זֶה מֵהֶם יָצָא רִאשׁוֹן הַכֹּהֵן נוֹטֵל אֶת הַכָּחוּשׁ וְהַשֵּׁנִי סְפֵק בְּכוֹר. מֵת אֶחָד מֵהֶן אֵין לַכֹּהֵן כְּלוּם שֶׁזֶּה הַחַי סָפֵק הוּא וְהַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. וְכֵן אִם יָלְדָה זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה הֲרֵי הַזָּכָר סָפֵק שֶׁמָּא הַנְּקֵבָה יָצָאת תְּחִלָּה לְפִיכָךְ אֵין לַכֹּהֵן כְּלוּם שֶׁהַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה:

2

When there are two sheep that have not given birth previously and they give birth to two males, they are both given to the priest. If they gave birth to a male and a female and they become intermingled, the male is given to the priest. If they gave birth to two males and a female, the priest may take the weaker one. If one of them died, the priest does not receive anything. The rationale is that the male that is alive is a firstborn of doubtful status and when one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him.

If the two sheep gave birth to two females and a male or two males and two females the males are firstborn of doubtful status. For it is possible to say that the female was born first and then the male. Hence the priest does not receive anything, because when one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him.

If one of the sheep had given birth beforehand and one had not, should they give birth to two males and they become intermingled, they are both firstborn of doubtful status and the priest may take the weaker one. If one dies, the priest does not receive anything, for the living offspring is of doubtful status. Similarly, if the two sheep give birth to a male and a female and it is not known which gave birth to which, the priest does not receive anything, for the male is of doubtful status.

ב

שְׁתֵּי רְחֵלוֹת שֶׁלֹּא בִּכְּרוּ וְיָלְדוּ שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים. שְׁנֵיהֶן לַכֹּהֵן. זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה הַזָּכָר לַכֹּהֵן. שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים וּנְקֵבָה הַכֹּהֵן נוֹטֵל אֶת הַכָּחוּשׁ וְהַשֵּׁנִי סְפֵק בְּכוֹר. וְאִם מֵת אֶחָד מֵהֶן אֵין לַכֹּהֵן כְּלוּם. שֶׁזֶּה הַזָּכָר הַחַי סְפֵק בְּכוֹר הוּא וְהַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. יָלְדוּ שְׁתֵּי נְקֵבוֹת וְזָכָר אוֹ שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים וּשְׁתֵּי נְקֵבוֹת הֲרֵי הַזְּכָרִים סְפֵק בְּכוֹר. שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹמֵר שֶׁמָּא הַנְּקֵבָה נוֹלְדָה תְּחִלָּה וְאַחַר כָּךְ הַזָּכָר. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין כָּאן לַכֹּהֵן כְּלוּם שֶׁהַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. אַחַת בִּכְּרָה וְאַחַת שֶׁלֹּא בִּכְּרָה וְיָלְדוּ לוֹ שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים. אֶחָד לוֹ וְאֶחָד לַכֹּהֵן וְכָל אֶחָד מֵהֶן סְפֵק בְּכוֹר וְהַכֹּהֵן נוֹטֵל אֶת הַכָּחוּשׁ. מֵת אֶחָד מֵהֶן אֵין כָּאן לַכֹּהֵן כְּלוּם שֶׁזֶּה הַחַי סָפֵק הוּא. וְכֵן אִם יָלְדוּ זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה אֵין כָּאן לַכֹּהֵן כְּלוּם שֶׁזֶּה הַזָּכָר סְפֵק בְּכוֹר הוּא:

3

Whenever a firstborn is of doubtful status, the law is that it should be allowed to pasture until it becomes blemished and then it may be eaten by its owner. If a priest takes possession of it, it is not expropriated from him. He must partake of it only after it becomes blemished. He may not offer it as a sacrifice, for only an offspring that is definitely a firstborn is offered as a sacrifice, lest one slaughter an ordinary animal in the Temple Courtyard.

ג

כָּל בְּכוֹר שֶׁהוּא סָפֵק דִּינוֹ שֶׁיִּרְעֶה עַד שֶׁיִּפּל בּוֹ מוּם וְיֵאָכֵל לִבְעָלָיו. וְאִם תְּפָשׂוֹ הַכֹּהֵן אֵין מוֹצִיאִין אוֹתוֹ מִיָּדוֹ וְאוֹכֵל אוֹתוֹ בְּמוּמוֹ. אֲבָל אֵינוֹ מַקְרִיבוֹ שֶׁאֵין מַקְרִיב לְעוֹלָם אֶלָּא בְּכוֹר וַדַּאי שֶׁמָּא יִשְׁחֹט חֻלִּין בָּעֲזָרָה:

4

When a person had both animals that had given birth before and animals that had not given birth before in his herd and they both gave birth while no one was present. If the owner entered and found those who had given birth previously giving suck to females and those who had not given birth previously giving suck to males, we do not suspect that the offspring of one went to another to suck and the offspring of the other went to the first. Instead, we follow the presumption that every animal is giving suck to its own offspring.

ד

מִי שֶׁהָיָה בְּעֶדְרוֹ מְבַכְּרוֹת וְשֶׁאֵינָן מְבַכְּרוֹת וְיָלְדוּ וְאֵין שָׁם אָדָם וְנִכְנַס וּמָצָא אֶת הַמְבַכְּרוֹת מֵינִיקוֹת נְקֵבוֹת וְאֶת שֶׁאֵינָן מְבַכְּרוֹת מֵינִיקוֹת זְכָרִים. אֵינוֹ חוֹשֵׁשׁ שֶׁמָּא בְּנָהּ שֶׁל זוֹ בָּא לוֹ אֵצֶל זוֹ וּבְנָהּ שֶׁל זוֹ בָּא לוֹ אֵצֶל זוֹ אֶלָּא הֲרֵי הַדָּבָר בְּחֶזְקָתוֹ שֶׁכָּל אַחַת מֵינִיקָה בְּנָהּ:

5

When two individuals entrusted male animals - one a firstborn and one an ordinary animal - with a shepherd and one of the animals died, the shepherd may leave the second animal between them and depart. This animal is considered a firstborn of doubtful status and should be divided between the two owners, because neither can identify his animal.

ה

שְׁנַיִם שֶׁהִפְקִידוּ שְׁנֵי זְכָרִים אֵצֶל הָרוֹעֶה הָאֶחָד בְּכוֹר וְהַשֵּׁנִי פָּשׁוּט וּמֵת אֶחָד מֵהֶן. מַנִּיחַ הָרוֹעֶה הַשֵּׁנִי בֵּינֵיהֶן וּמִסְתַּלֵּק וַהֲרֵי הוּא סְפֵק בְּכוֹר וּשְׁנֵיהֶן חוֹלְקִין אוֹתוֹ שֶׁאֵין אֶחָד מֵהֶן מַכִּיר אֶת שֶׁלּוֹ:

6

When a person entrusts a firstborn animal to another person who placed it together with his own ordinary animal and then one of them died, but they do not know which one, we follow the principle: When one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him. The animal is considered a firstborn of doubtful status.

Even if a priest who is a shepherd leaves his firstborn animal in a person's courtyard together with that person's ordinary animal, should one of them die, we follow the principle: When one desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him. We may not expropriate property from a person's courtyard unless there is substantial proof, for it is with the consent of the owner of the firstborn that it was placed together with the ordinary animal belonging to the other person.

ו

הִפְקִיד בְּכוֹר אֵצֶל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת וְהִנִּיחוֹ בַּעַל הַבַּיִת עִם פָּשׁוּט שֶׁלּוֹ וּמֵת אֶחָד מֵהֶן וְאֵין יָדוּעַ אֵיזֶהוּ. הַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. וַהֲרֵי הוּא סְפֵק בְּכוֹר. וַאֲפִלּוּ רוֹעֶה כֹּהֵן שֶׁהִנִּיחַ בְּכוֹרוֹ בַּחֲצַר בַּעַל הַבַּיִת עִם פָּשׁוּט שֶׁל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת וּמֵת אֶחָד מֵהֶן הַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. וְאֵין מוֹצִיאִין מֵחֲצַר בַּעַל הַבַּיִת אֶלָּא בִּרְאָיָה. שֶׁהֲרֵי מִדַּעַת בַּעַל הַבְּכוֹר הִנִּיחוּ עִמּוֹ הַפָּשׁוּט שֶׁל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת:

7

Israelites are not suspect to cause blemishes to firstborn animals. Therefore the word of an Israelite is accepted if he states: "This is a firstborn of doubtful status." We inspect the blemish and permit him to partake of the animal if it is blemished.

ז

לֹא נֶחְשְׁדוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל הַבְּכוֹרוֹת לְפִיכָךְ נֶאֱמָן הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל לוֹמַר זֶה סְפֵק בְּכוֹר הוּא וְרוֹאִין לוֹ מוּמוֹ וְאוֹכֵל אוֹתוֹ בְּמוּמוֹ:

8

Whenever a consecrated animal received a permanent blemish before it was consecrated and was later redeemed, its offspring are governed by the requirements of the firstborn. If they received a temporary blemish before they were consecrated or they were consecrated while unblemished and received a permanent blemish and were then redeemed, their offspring are exempt from the requirements of the firstborn. The rationale is that they did not become ordinary animals in all respects, as indicated by the fact that they are forbidden to be shorn and work is forbidden to be performed with them, as we explained in Hilchot Me'ilah.

ח

כָּל הַקָּדָשִׁים שֶׁקָּדַם לָהֶם מוּם קָבוּעַ לְהֶקְדֵּשָׁן וְנִפְדּוּ חַיָּבִין בִּבְכוֹרָה. וְאִם קָדַם מוּם עוֹבֵר לְהֶקְדֵּשָׁן אוֹ שֶׁהִקְדִּישָׁן תְּמִימִים וְאַחַר כָּךְ נוֹלַד לָהֶם מוּם קָבוּעַ וְנִפְדּוּ פְּטוּרִין מִן הַבְּכוֹרָה. שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא יָצְאוּ לְחֻלִּין לְכָל דָּבָר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן אֲסוּרִין בְּגִזָּה וַעֲבוֹדָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת מְעִילָה:

9

When a person purchases an animal with money from the second tithes in Jerusalem, its offspring is obligated in the requirements of the firstborn. If, however, a person purchases an animal with the produce of the Sabbatical year, their offspring are exempt from the requirements of the firstborn. The rationale is that one is not allowed to perform commercial activity with the produce of the Sabbatical year, for concerning that, Leviticus 25:6 states: "to partake of it." Implied is that license is granted "to partake of it" and not to perform commercial activity with it. And if its offspring were obligated in the requirements of the firstborn, it is considered as if he would be performing commercial activity with a firstborn, because it is released from the category of the produce of the Sabbatical year.

We already explained in Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot that it is forbidden to perform commercial activity with substances that are forbidden to be eaten. And we already explained in Hilchot Terumot that it is forbidden to perform commercial activity with terumot. Similarly, it is forbidden to perform commercial activity with the firstborn even though it is permitted to sell them in the manner explained above.

ט

הַלּוֹקֵחַ בְּהֵמָה מִמְּעוֹת מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם חַיֶּבֶת בִּבְכוֹרָה. אֲבָל הַלּוֹקֵחַ בְּהֵמָה מִפֵּרוֹת שְׁבִיעִית הֲרֵי זוֹ פְּטוּרָה מִן הַבְּכוֹרָה לְפִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ רַשַּׁאי לַעֲשׂוֹת סְחוֹרָה בְּפֵרוֹת שְׁבִיעִית שֶׁהֲרֵי נֶאֱמַר בָּהּ (ויקרא כה ו) "לְאָכְלָהּ" לְאָכְלָהּ וְלֹא לִסְחוֹרָה. וְאִם תִּהְיֶה חַיֶּבֶת בִּבְכוֹרָה הֲרֵי זֶה מִשְׂתַּכֵּר בִּבְכוֹר שֶׁהֲרֵי יָצָא מִתּוֹרַת פֵּרוֹת שְׁבִיעִית. וּכְבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת מַאֲכָלוֹת אֲסוּרוֹת שֶׁאָסוּר לַעֲשׂוֹת סְחוֹרָה בִּדְבָרִים הָאֲסוּרִים בַּאֲכִילָה וְכֵן בֵּאַרְנוּ בִּתְרוּמוֹת שֶׁאָסוּר לַעֲשׂוֹת סְחוֹרָה בִּתְרוּמוֹת וְכֵן אָסוּר לַעֲשׂוֹת סְחוֹרָה בִּבְכוֹרוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמֻּתָּר לְמָכְרָן עַל דֶּרֶךְ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

10

If a person purchased a firstborn for a wedding feast for his son or for a festival and he did not need it, it is permitted to sell it.

י

לָקַח בְּכוֹר לְמִשְׁתֵּה בְּנוֹ אוֹ לָרֶגֶל וְלֹא צָרִיךְ לוֹ מֻתָּר לְמָכְרוֹ:

11

We do not evaluate unblemished firstborn animals for Israelites, but we do evaluate blemished firstborn. We evaluate unblemished firstborn animals for priests in the present age, because ultimately, they will be eaten after they are blemished. Needless to say, we evaluate blemished animals for them.

יא

אֵין שָׁמִין בְּכוֹרוֹת תְּמִימִים לְיִשְׂרָאֵל אֲבָל שָׁמִין לָהֶן בְּכוֹרוֹת בַּעֲלֵי מוּמִין. וְשָׁמִין בְּכוֹרוֹת תְּמִימִים לַכֹּהֲנִים בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה שֶׁהֵן עוֹמְדִין לְהֵאָכֵל בְּמוּמָן. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר שֶׁשָּׁמִין לָהֶן בַּעֲלֵי מוּמִים: