I've been studying Masechet Zevachim, and it seems very easy for a sacrifice to become invalid. Even if it doesn't become invalid, it seems that even the slightest wrong intention can force the person offering the korban to replace the korban when he did not fulfil his obligation e.g a Neder (nedava is exempt from replacement)

Under the circumstances, it seems that a negligent Kohen could cause great financial losses to other Jews. Would such a Kohen be required to pay for sacrifices that he disqualified? If so, under what circumstances? Could he be excluded from bringing offerings for making too many mistakes?


1 Answer 1


A Kohen would be liable to pay for intentionaly invalidating any Sacrifice whether Neder(voluntary sacrifice that must be replaced) or Nedavah(voluntary sacrifice that does'nt need to be replaced) or chovah(obligatory Sacrifice) even though there is no visible damage.

The Tashbeitz (14th century) Chelek Gimmel 82 gives a good summary of what the Halacha is for Hezek sheeino Nikar (no visible damage) with Kodshim

בענין מטמא טהרותיו של חבירו ובכלהו אינך דפ' הנזקין (נ"ג ע"א) קי"ל כר' יוחנן דאמר היזק שאינו ניכר לא שמיה היזק כמו שכתב הריא"ף ז"ל בפ"ק דבבא קמא ולא קיימא לן כחזקיה דאמר שמיה היזק אע"ג דחזקיה רביה דר' יוחנן הוא ואין הלכ' כתלמיד במקום הרב כיון דרב נחמן בר רב יצחק דבתרא לא מתרץ למתניתא הכי. כוותי' קי"ל ועוד דהכי אסיק רב פפא האי דחזקיה בתיובתא וכיון דהיזק שאינו ניכר אינו הזיק שוגג פטור מן הדין והכא דמזיד חייב אינו אלא מפני תקון העולם שלא יטמא כל אחד טהרותיו של חבירו ויאמר פטור אני כדמפרש תלמודא התם

Someone who metamei (contaminates) a sacrifice or teruma or causes any other Damage not noticeable, that if done by mistake one is exempt from paying Damages like Rabbi Yochanan (gittin 53a) since non visible damage is not considered damage.
Even though Chizkia argues that one has to pay for non visible damage even by mistake, was proven wrong by a Braisa, and Rav Nachman Bar Yitzchok and Rav Popo the later Amoraim support Rabbi Yochanan against his Rebbe Chizkia so one is not liable for inadvertent non visible damage.
But if someone is metameh (or any other type of damage that is not physical e.g Pigul or other wrong intentions that invalidate) a Korban on purpose, everyone agrees he has to pay for his damages. because of tikkun olam (people who don't like each other would cause losses to each other with unless punished like Rabbi Yehuda and the Stam Mishna)

There are 4 things included under Hezek sheeino Nikar with Kodshim mentioned later in the Tashbeitz:
1. מטמא - Ritually contaminating a Korban (or teruma or any chullin that was supposed to be eaten Betohoro)
2. מדמע - throwing a peice of Teruma in a pile of less than 100 times its size (not Kodshim but related) and rendering the pile unfit to eat by a Yisroel or Cohen Tamei
3. מנסך - Mixing a Libation offering (or regular wine) with Avoda Zara wine (making it a libation for avoda zara would be Kam Lei Bidraba Minei and chayav Misa)
4. כהנים שפגלו - Kohanim who render a Korban Invalid by saying (according to some opinions even thinking) during Avoda that it should be eaten outide the time limit or out of the bounderies or doing an Avodah for the sake of the wrong Korban e.g. Shechting a chatas with intention for Shelamim (see Rashi Gittin 54b)

A cohen would have to pay in all cases when damaging purposefully, even when damaging a Nedavah which does not need to be replaced since the victim intended to donate a present to the Beis Hamikdash and couldn't because of the damage Rashi Gittin 53a:

חייבין - לשלם דמיהן לבעלים שהרי צריכין להביא אחרים ואי נמי נדבה היא קשה בעיניו שלא הקריב קרבנו שהרי להביא דורון היה מבקש:

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