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 אֶתְנַן זוֹנָה וּמְחִיר כֶּלֶב are invalid for an offering. Devorim 23:19.

For example, as Rashi explains, “If one exchanged a dog for a lamb [this lamb is unfit for a sacrifice].”

How does the person taking the animal to shecht it for the altar know that it is not an  אֶתְנַן זוֹנָה וּמְחִיר כֶּלֶב?

Do we follow the majority and assume that unless he knows otherwise the animal is suitable for an offering or are there more stringent rules for sacrifices?

How do we know that a potential korban is not  אֶתְנַן זוֹנָה וּמְחִיר כֶּלֶב?

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This is a classic ruba d'leisa kaman. In the overall population, a very, very small number of animals are prohibited. Knowing nothing else, presented with an animal before us, we assume it is permitted.

(This is known as "leisa kaman", "it does not appear before us", as the negative outcome is a theoretical. A weaker form of rov is "ruba d'isa kaman", "a majority appearing before us", e.g. we know that there is one non-kosher item mixed in with these ten kosher ones, but we don't know which is which.)

The Gemara in Chulin uses the concept of ruba d'leisa kaman with regards to checking for treifos. An animal with a brain aneurysm is going to die soon and is a treifa, therefore not fit as a sacrifice; however for a korban olah we burn the brain whole, rather than dissect it. Isn't there a small chance this animal is invalidated? We don't concern ourselves with that chance.

If we need not concern ourselves with the miniscule theoretical probability that this cow has a brain tumor, then we also wouldn't concern ourselves with the miniscule theoretical probability that it was used as a harlot's wage or as barter for a dog. (Unless you're living in a time or place where that's incredibly super-duper common.)

  • +1 - source in Chullin? – Y     e     z Aug 20 '14 at 18:19
  • @YEZ 11 +/- 2 . – Double AA Aug 20 '14 at 18:20
  • Yes. Is the din the same whether it is a physical blemish of which you speak or the rather different sort of problem of harlot's wage or barter for a dog? – Avrohom Yitzchok Aug 20 '14 at 21:06
  • @AvrohomYitzchok why should it be any different? We don't concern ourselves with theoretical rare events. – Shalom Aug 20 '14 at 23:42
  • @Shalom My concern was that the אֶתְנַן זוֹנָה וּמְחִיר כֶּלֶב was more abhorrent than a physical defect. If so I would expect אֶתְנַן כֶּלֶב וּמְחִיר זוֹנָה to be equally bad. But it isn't halacha 17. So I am finally convinced. Thanks. – Avrohom Yitzchok Aug 21 '14 at 7:29

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