Chullin 72 - 78
The Lamb Mystery
The firstborn of an ass, commands the Torah, must be redeemed by giving a lamb to a kohen. (Shmot 13:13)
Can one use a ben pakua the firstborn lamb which was still inside its mother when she was slaughtered for this purpose?
According to the position of Rabbi Meir that such an animal requires shechita of its own and cannot be considered as having been already slaughtered, there is no problem in using such a lamb for redemption since it has the status of a full-fledged lamb. In regard to the position of the other Sages who rule that such an animal requires no shechita because the slaughtering of its mother suffices for it as well there is a difference of opinion amongst the later Sages.
The Sage Mar Zutra contends that such a lamb cannot be used for redemption because the same term lamb used here appears in regard to the animal used for the korban Pesach (Vayikra 12:2).
Just as a ben pakua is not qualified to serve as a korban Pesach so too can it not qualify for redemption.
But why is a ben pakua not eligible to serve as a korban Pesach?
Rashi offers two different explanations. The first is that no animal delivered by Caesarian section and not born through the womb is eligible to be a sacrifice and therefore is ineligible for redemption. This is rejected by Tosefot because it would leave us with a problem as to how Rabbi Meir permits redemption with such an animal. The other explanation is that since this animal in the view of the other Sages, is considered as slaughtered we view it as "meat in the basket" which cannot be used for redemption purposes.
- Chullin 74b
A sick tree that sheds its fruits is marked with a red dye. The purpose of this marking, explains our gemara, is not to invoke some pagan, superstitious cure but to draw the attention of passersby and invite them to pray for its recovery.
The basis for such action is what the Torah prescribes for one who has become ritually impure through the leprosy-like condition of tzaraat. In addition to being isolated from the community with rent garments and uncut hair the metzora is also required to call out "Impure, impure!" (Vayikra 13:45). This is done in order not only to warn others from approaching him and becoming ritually impure through contact with him but also to evoke the compassion of passersby who will be moved to pray for his recovery.
The gemaras conclusion that this same course is advisable for anyone suffering from a tragic condition received an interesting application in an observation made by the Torah giant of our generation, Hagaon Rav Yosef Sholom Eliyashiv, shlita. He calls attention to a note which appears in the writings of one of the great early Talmudic commentators. MahaRYT, in his commentary on the first perek in Mesechta Kiddushin, states that he had many innovative explanations on a certain topic but unfortunately forgot them.
What purpose did this great author have in mentioning this? Since there was no expectation from anyone studying his works that he would have something innovative to offer on every point such an apology seems superfluous. Rav Eliyashiv explains that it was not an apology but an invitation for those studying his works in his lifetime to pray for him to recall those insights which he viewed as fruits falling from the tree of Torah.
- Chullin 78a