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The Mishnah in Sheviis 7:4 seems to imply that it was fairly standard for people to buy a bechor (baal mum, obviously) from a Kohen to serve at special occasions, like Yom Tov or a wedding.

Is that practice mentioned more explicitly anywhere? I'm interested both in the times of Chazal and more recently. Does anyone give a reason (like if you can't give it as a korban, at least use it for a mitzvah)?

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    Could be just because bechor meat is usually sold more cheaply (since you can't weigh it or sell it in a butcher shop, Bechoros 5:1), so when you have a lot of people to serve, that would make a real difference to your budget. – Meir Mar 3 at 17:58
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    I disagree with your premise. The mishnah is saying a leniency for the case where one bought a bechor for a specific purpose, and gave two examples of when a person might do that and end up not needing it. Shabbos would not be a good example, because he could save it for next week. But how do we see that this was standard? – Mordechai Mar 3 at 22:00

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