The רמבם in מעשה הקרבנות א יד writes:

כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בַּתּוֹרָה כֶּבֶשׂ אוֹ כַּבְשָׂה אוֹ כְּבָשִׂים הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ בְּנֵי שָׁנָה. וְכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אַיִל אוֹ אֵילִים הֵם הַזְּכָרִים בְּנֵי שְׁנָתַיִם. וּמֵאֵימָתַי יִקָּרֵא אַיִל מִשֶּׁיִּכָּנֵס בְּשָׁנָה שְׁנִיָּה אֶחָד וּשְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. אֲבָל בְּיוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים אֵינוֹ כָּשֵׁר לֹא לְכֶבֶשׂ וְלֹא לָאַיִל וְהוּא הַנִּקְרָא פִּלְגָּס. וְכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בּוֹ עֵגֶל הֲרֵי זֶה בֶּן שָׁנָה. פַּר בֶּן שְׁתַּיִם. שְׂעִיר עִזִּים [בֶּן שָׁנָה. שָׂעִיר] בֶּן שְׁתַּיִם. כָּל שָׁנָה שְׁנִיָּה הוּא נִקְרָא שָׂעִיר:

-> a שעיר עזים is a goat in its first year, and שעיר is a goat in its second year.

I was then trying to summarize the מוספים in במדבר כח-כט, and got confused by the קרבן חטאת.

Sometimes the תורה says the חטאת is a שעיר עזים (e.g. ראש חודש in כט טו), and sometimes just a שעיר (e.g. פסח in כח כב).

My assumption was that some of these קרבנות require a goat in its first year, and some in its second. But then I saw that אבן עזרא on that verse (כח כב) explains:

ושעיר חטאת. כמו שעיר עזים והוא דרך קצרה

saying that this שעיר, like the others, is a שעיר עזים, in its first year.

Now I am confused. Is there a rule for how I can tell if a שעיר mentioned in the תורה is a שעיר עזים versus a שעיר? Is this a case by case basis which requires the oral law to explain? Is there a reliable summary somewhere where I can see exactly which type of animal is brought for each קרבן, with sources?


1 Answer 1


There are many who ask this question. To name a few;

The Mishna L'Melech on the Rambam 1:14 seems to be the first to point it out. The Minchas Chinuch Mitzvah 299:1 brings the question as well. The Tiferes Yisroel in Boaz Mesechtas Parah 1:3 asks the same question.

The Aruch Hashulchan HeAtid in Kodshim 63:25 offers an answer that Korbonos Tzibbur are known to all be one year old since it says by Pesach a כבש or a שעיר, and since a sheep is one year so is a שעיר. Therefore it does not matter which word was used. The Rambam is only explaining the difference by Korbon Yachid of שלמים etc.

The Har Hamoriyah on the Ramabm offers a different answer. He says that the word שעיר חטאת is equivalent to שעיר עזים so each time it says just the word שעיר by a Korban Tzibbur it also says חטאת or עזים next to it.

It is interesting to note that the Aruch Hashulchan seems to be answering according to the old version of the Rambam that was opposite of what the Kesef Mishna changed it to (the version you used in the question is the Kesef Mishna version) while the Har Hamoryiah is answering according to the Kesef Mishna version.

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