Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
on the Weekly Parsha

subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues


Ch. 6, v. 16: "V'chol minchas Kohein kolil t'h'yeh" - The Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim 3:48 says that the rationale behind the Kohein's meal offering being totally consumed on the altar in contra-distinction to a non-Kohein's meal offering being eaten by a Kohein after a handful is separated through the act of "k'mitzoh" and being burned on the altar, is that if a Kohein were allowed to eat his own meal offering it would seem as if he offered almost nothing to Hashem, the handful going to the altar being such a small amount. The Daas Z'keinim explains that the Kohein's eating the meal offering of another person is viewed as Hashem receiving the complete offering and the Kohein receiving it from Hashem as a heavenly gift. A Kohein's own offering, if he were to eat it, even though it is also received from the "Celestial table - mi'shulchan Govoah," nevertheless is not viewed as such, but rather as just eating his own food.

An obvious question on this line of reasoning is that we find by the bird atonement offering, "chatos ho'ofe," the Kohein eats the bird and the altar receives only a bit of blood in the "mitzuy" process, even when it is the Kohein's own offering. This can be answered with the following insight of the MESHECH CHOCHMOH:

>> Vayikroh, Ch. 5, v. 7: "Echod l'chatos v'echod l'oloh" - For the atonement of certain unintentional sins, a sin offering must be brought. This is either a sheep or a goat. If the sinner is so poor that he cannot afford a sheep or goat, the Torah allows him to bring two birds, one as a sin offering, a "chatos," which is eaten by the Kohein, and one as an "oloh" offering, which is totally consumed on the altar.

The gemara Chulin 22a says that the processing of the bird "oloh" may not be done at night because it is compared to the "chatos" bird offering that accompanies it, which may only be done by day. Someone asked the Rashbo (Tshuvos hoRashbo vol. 1, responsa #276), "How could anyone even entertain the thought that the "oloh" offering could be processed at night, since we have a teaching from Vayikroh 7:37,38 that ALL sacrifices must have their blood processing, "avodas hadam," done by day?" The Rashbo wrote that he had no answer for this question, but suggested another text in the above gemara which totally leaves out the comparison of "olas ho'ofe" to "chatos ho'ofe." The Ibn Ezra asks, "Why is there a need for an "oloh" altogether when offering birds, since the original sacrifice was only a "chatos?" He answers that since the original sacrifice was a sheep or goat (5:6), there would have been a portion for the Kohein and a portion for the altar as well. However, if the poor person were to only bring a "chatos" offering of a bird, there would be nothing for the altar. The sole purpose of bringing the "oloh" bird offering is to give the altar its portion.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that according to this Ibn Ezra we can understand why there is a need for a special teaching that THIS "olas ho'ofe" cannot be processed at night. Although no sacrifices may be processed at night, but since the whole purpose of bringing this "oloh" was to offer the altar its portion, there is good reason to believe that this would be an exception. The burning of "olos" may be done at night, as mentioned in the first Mishneh of Brochos regarding burning of parts of korbonos at night. Similarly, one might think that the complete processing of this particular "oloh" may be done at night. Therefore we need a special comparison to its accompanying offering, the "chatos ho'ofe", that it may only be done by day. (See preface to M'kore Boruch and MESHECH CHOCHMOH on Rambam hilchos maa'seir sheini v'neta rva'i 7:3) <<

Given this information, we see that the "chatos ho'ofe" works in tandem with the "olas ho'ofe," the "chatos" being the eaten component and the "oloh" being the burnt component. Hence, we view this pair of birds as supplying a respectable portion for the altar via the "oloh," and the Kohein may therefore eat his own "chatos ho'ofe" offering.

Ch. 8, v. 15: "V'es hadom YOTZAK el y'sode hamizbei'ach" - How does "y'tzikoh" (Vayikroh 8:15, 9:9) differ from "shfichoh" (Shmos 12:7)? We find in 8:15 the added words "va'y'kadsheihu l'chap'eir olov" after "v'es hadom YOTZAK el y'sode hamizbei'ach." As well, in 9:9 Targum Yonoson ben Uziel adds these words to the meaning of the verse. The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that we see from this as well as from 8:12, "Va'YITZOKE mishemen hamish'choh al rosh Aharon va'yimshach oso l'kadsho" that "y'tzikoh" is pouring for the benefit of the recipient, to either sanctify a person or the altar. Physically it might not be different from "shfichoh." However, "shfichoh" is the pouring of the blood onto the altar for the required service of the sacrifice.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH adds that the source word form for "y'tzikoh" might be "mutzok," meaning placed in a permanent fashion. Blood of "shfichoh" was meant to drain away through the opening at the base of the altar, but the sanctifying "y'tzikoh" blood remained on the altar until it was consumed by the heavenly fire (10:24).


See also Sedrah Selections and Chasidic Insights

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to parsha@shemayisrael.co.il

Jerusalem, Israel