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49. Sacrilege - Me'ilah

It is forbidden to derive benefit from sacred things (except for those parts of sacrifices that are eaten) or from things forbidden to oneself by a vow, as it says "You must not eat... the vows that you make".1 If one derives benefit from or damages a sacred thing in error he pays 5/4 of what he benefitted and brings a guilt-offering, as it says "If a person commits sacrilege against Ha-Shem and sins in error with the sacred things of Ha-Shem he must bring his sin-offering... and that [with] which he sinned of the sacred things he shall pay for and shall add a fifth to it...2. However, this prohibition does not apply to peace-offerings, firstborn, tithes, and the Passover; until after their blood has been sprinkled on the altar these sacrifices are called "holy in a minor degree". It is forbidden to do work with or to shear a sacrificial animal, as it says "You shall not work with the firstborn of your ox nor shear the firstborn of your sheep".3,a

Sources:

1. Deut. 12:17 a. 1:1-3,7; 2:1; 3:9; 6:1; Maaseh ha-Korbanos 1:17. On the "fifth" see Shevuos, Note c.
2. Lev. 5:15-16
3. Deut. 15:19



 
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