Moneys found between the chests, and cattle for offerings found in the vicinity of the city of Jerusalem
MISHNA: (a) If money is found between the chest marked "Shekalim" and that marked "voluntary offerings," it belongs to the chest marked "Shekalim" if it lies nearer to the same, and to the one marked "voluntary offerings" if it be nearer that. So also does it belong to the voluntary offerings if it be found midway between the two chests. Money found lying between the chests marked "wood" and "incense" belongs, if it be nearer the former, to the former; if nearer the latter to the latter, and also to the latter if found midway between the two. Money found lying between the chest marked "bird-offerings" and the one marked "doves" for whole-offerings belongs to the former if it be nearer the former; and if nearer the latter to the latter, and also to the latter if midway between the two. Money found between ordinary moneys and the moneys of the second tithes belongs, if nearer the former to the former; if nearer the latter to the latter, and also to the latter if found midway between the two. a1 The rule is: One must be guided by the proximity, even in the case of the less important; but in the event of equidistance, (one must be guided) by the greater importance (of the moneys).
(b) Money found (in Jerusalem) on the place of the cattle-dealers is regarded as second tithe. b1 Money found on the Temple-mount is ordinary. b2 Other money found in Jerusalem generally, during the festivals, is regarded as second tithe; at other times of the year as ordinary. b3
(c) Meat found in the outer court (of the Temple) is considered whole-offering if in complete joints; if cut in pieces it is sin-offering. c1 Meat found in the city is considered peace-offering. c2 All such meat must be laid aside for putrefaction, and then be burned in the crematory. Meat found anywhere else in the land is prohibited (to be used) as carrion, if found in whole joints; if found cut in pieces, it may be eaten; and during the festivals, when a great deal of meat is on hand, even whole joints may be eaten. c3
(d) Cattle found all the way from Jerusalem to Migdal Eder, and in the same vicinity in all directions, are considered, if male, as whole-offerings, and if female as peace-offerings. R. Jehudah says: "If they are fit for Passover-offerings they may be used for such purpose, providing Passover is not more than thirty days off." d1
(e) In former days, the finder of such cattle was pledged until he brought the drink-offerings belonging to such sacrifices; every finder, however, letting such cattle stand and going on his way, the high court decreed, that the costs of the drink-offerings belonging thereto be defrayed out of the public money.
(f) R. Simeon says: Seven decrees were promulgated by that court, and the latter was one of them. Further: If a non-Israelite send whole-offerings with the necessary drink-offerings from over the sea, they are offered up; but if sent without the necessary drink-offerings, the costs of the latter are defrayed from public money. If, again, a proselyte died and left offerings, the drink-offerings, if also left by him, are offered up with the others; if not left, the costs of same are defrayed out of public money. It was also a decree of the court, that in the event of a high priest dying, the necessary meat-offering [Leviticus vi. 13] should be paid for out of the public treasury. R. Jehudah, however, declared, that this should be done at the expense of the heirs. In both cases a tenth of an ephah should be offered.
(g) Further, that the priests may (at the sacrificial meals) make use of the salt and the wood (from the sanctuary); that the priests do not commit a breach of trust when misusing the ashes of the red heifer g1; lastly, that the public treasury reimburse for paid bird-offerings that had become unfit. g2 R. Jose, however, says: "He who contracts for the furnishing of the bird-offerings must reimburse for the spoilt."
MISHNA a. There are different degrees of sanctification attached to the several kinds of offerings, some greater and some lesser. In order not to appropriate money belonging to an offering of a greater degree of sanctification to one of a lesser degree, it was decided that proximity of the stray coins should govern the disposition of such money. Where, however, the money was equidistant, it was appropriated to the offerings of a greater degree of sanctification, and the degree may be determined from the Mishna itself.
29:b1 MISHNA b. Because it was rare for priests to visit the cattle-market, but the Israelites who at any time came to buy cattle for sacrifices generally bought the same with the money exchanged for their second tithes.
30:b2 Money found on the Temple-mount was presumably dropped there by priests. It never occurred that a priest should carry money belonging to the treasury about with him; for even if he drew some money for the purpose of purchasing necessaries, he immediately turned it over to the vender. Hence, any money which a priest may have lost was his own, and ordinary.
30:c1 MISHNA c. Because whole-offerings were sacrificed in complete joints, but sin-offerings, which were eaten by the priests, were usually cut in pieces. Neither must be eaten, because it might be that the latter had been left over from the preceding day and should be burned; but the distinction is made simply in case one had eaten of the meat that was cut up. If he had eaten of the complete joint, he was certainly guilty, but if he had eaten of the cut meat, it could not be said positively that he was guilty.
30:c3 Incidentally the rule is laid down as to meat found anywhere in Palestine. If the meat is found in whole joints, it is presumed to be carrion left for dogs, and must not be eaten. During the festivals, when meat is plentiful, it is presumed to be slaughtered meat, and may be eaten.
31:d1 MISHNA d. R. Jehudah states, that if the animal found was a yearling and a male, it is considered a Passover-offering, but may be sacrificed only as a peace-offering, because a Passover-offering must be intended for a stipulated number of persons. (See Exod. xii. 4.) The sages, however, say, that on account of the number of whole-offerings which were brought at the time, the animal found must not be eaten, for fear lest it be intended for a whole-offering and a grave offence be committed. Hence it should be sacrificed as a whole-offering only.
31:g1 MISHNA g. It was not allowed to appropriate any part of a sacrifice designated for some special use for any other purpose. If this was done, however, (unintentionally,) it was considered a trespass, and a trespass-offering had to be sacrificed as expiation for the sin. The ashes of the red heifer did not come under the above ruling previously (for reason, see Siphri), but on account of the frequent misuse of those ashes a decree was promulgated placing them under the same ruling as other parts of sacrifices, which were not to be misappropriated. Subsequently, this Mishna teaches that, there being no further necessity for the precautionary measure, the decree was reversed and the ashes restored to their former insignificance. This was included among the seven decrees.
32:g2 A special decree had to be promulgated to cover this case. Had this not been done, contractors would have refused to furnish birds for offerings, because there were very many birds used, and it was burdensome to properly care for them. Still, R. Jose does not agree to this, claiming that the contractor might use it for other purposes and thus save the Sanctuary the loss. According to Maimonides, the halakhah prevails according to R. Jose.
Sources: Sacred Texts