I just want to expand a bit on a point raised in the comments to yesterday’s post regarding the distinction between kodshei mizbeyach and kodshei bedesk habayis. The former type of hekdesh is a function of an animal being designated for the mitzvah purpose of being a korban; the latter type of hekdesh is a result of hekdesh becoming the owner of an object. This distinction is clear from the Rambam’s ruling (Archin 6:8) that kodshei mizbeyach can be pledged to bedesk habayis, and the animal would have to be redeemed, the money donated, and then the animal offered as a korban to fulfill its original purpose; however, kodshei bedek habayis cannot be pledged for use as kodshei mizbeyach because “ain adam makdish davar she’aino shelo”. In the case of kodshei mizbeyach, the original owner retains rights to the animal, and therefore can pledge it elsewhere - hekdesh is just a designation of purpose. In the case of kodshei bedesk habayis, the ownership of the animal has changed.
Similarly, a thief would not be chayav the extra penalty for mechira if he was makdish an animal because hekdesh mizbeyach does not remove the original owner’s kinyan (Bava Kama 76).
R’ Chaim uses this idea to explain the Rambam (Meilah 2:5) that there is no issur me’ila on ashes of parah adumah, even though the parah is kodsehi bedek habayis, because the parah is also called “chatas”. The Kesef Mishne asks: what is the meaning of this “even though…” – kodshei bedek habayis are also subject to the issur mei’ila?
R’ Chaim answers that when the Rambam writes that the parah is called “chatas” he is not explaining why there IS an issur meilah - the issur meilah obviously also apply to bedek habayis. The Rambam is explaining why there is NO issur meila once the parah becomes ashes. Kodshei mizbeyach are endowed with the status of hekdesh by virtue of their being designated for the mitzvah of korban; once the mitzvah purpose has been fulfilled, the status of hekdesh is lifted. Kodshei bedek habayis are endowed with hekdesh status by virtue of being owned by hekdesh; fulfillment of a function with bedek habayis does not change its status. Even though a parah is kodshei bedek habayis, and therefore even though its function has been fulfilled by its being burnt it should remain hekdesh, the Torah calls the parah “chatas” and the rules of me’ila work like kodshei mizbeyach – once burnt, the the status of hekdesh is lifted.
Anon1 raised the issue of why kinyanei kesef are needed for pidyon of kodshei mizbeyach when fundamentally no ownership change has occurred (Anon1, correct me if I misunderstood your point). Let me answer that question with another question – the whole issur of me’ila is a form of theft from hekdesh (I know I have to defend that assertion – see R’ Chaim in Hil Meila, bl”n I’ll come back to it). How can you steal what hekdesh does not own?
I think the simple answer is that hekdesh does have kinyanim in kodshei mizbeyach, but that does not mean the ba’alim relinquish their ownership. I don’t know if it is a good analogy, but a shomer has kinyanim in an object even while the original owner is still the true ba’alim. Would a ganav be chayav for mechira if he gave a stolen ox to a shomer to watch?