God vs The Multiverse

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Switcharoo (Part 3: Svara)

The place to begin is by defining the difference between the three different cases of switching:

1) "Bad for good" is a downgrade of the animal of קדשים.
2) "Good for bad" is an upgrade to the animal of קדשים.
3) "Good for good" is an even exchange for the animal of קדשים.

According to Rava, these three cases are qualitatively different types of exchanges.  If you only knew that "bad for good" was prohibited, you would say that the Torah only prohibits downgrading the animal of קדשים.  Thus, the Torah teaches "good for bad", that even an upgrade of קדשים is prohibited.  Rava argues that this still does not teach us that an even exchange is prohibited.  In order to extend the prohibition from an upgrade to an even exchange, you would need a קל וחומר.  However, this would not result in lashes because of אין עונשין מן הדין.

Abaye argues that there is another way to understand the לימוד of "good for bad".  You can look at the three types of exchanges as quantitatively differentiated.  There are exchanges where you give less, give an even amount, or give more for the original animal.  When the Torah says you can not exchange good for bad, it is teaching that you cannot exchange the animal of קדשים no matter what, even if you give a more valuable animal than the original. This conceptually includes an even exchange.  This would be akin to the Torah saying that you could not exchange it for $200; this would then include the idea that you cannot exchange it for $100 (בכלל מאתים מנה). You do not need a קל וחומר for this.

In summary, if you look at the "good for bad" as teaching a different qualitative exchange (an upgrade), then you need a קל וחומר to extend to the third qualitative category of an even exchange. However, if you look at "good for bad" as prohibiting any exchange even if you give the highest quantity (good), then this includes an even exchange where you give the same quantity, without the need for a קל וחומר.

According to this svara, the machlokes is really about how to learn the לימוד regarding the different categories of תמורה.  The discussion between Abaye and Rava about אין עונשין מן הדין is a result of this machlokes.  In the next post, we will suggest a different svara which learns this as a machlokes regarding how Abaye and Rava understand אין עונשין מן הדין.


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