Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 6, v. 16: "V'chol minchas Kohein kolil ti'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 insight of the MESHECH CHOCHMOH mentioned in last year's parshas Vayikra issue.

>> Vayikra, 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. 6, v. 23: "V'chol chatos asher yuvo domoh l'ohel mo'eid l'cha'peir bakodesh lo sei'o'cheil bo'aish tiso'reif" - And any chatos whose blood is brought into the ohel mo'eid to atone in the sanctified location shall not be eaten it shall be burned in fire" - The blood of a regular chatos is placeded upon the outer altar and the Kohanim consume its meat. A communal sin offering, for example of a Kohen Gadol or that of Yom Kipur, is placed upon the inner altar and its flesh is burned. The Meshech Chochmoh explains these differences. A standard chatos atones for a sin performed unintentionally, where the physical part of man sins, but without the participation of the intellect. In turn it is sufficient for his atonement to take place on the outer altar, which represents the outer aspect of man, namely his physical body, which sinned without the intellect taking full control. The flesh of the sacrifice corresponds with his body, which has sinned, and must be elavated, not discarded. By having the meat eaten in sanctity by the Kohanim, the unintentional sinner imbibes the concept of elevating his physicality, which sinned.

A communal sin offering and that of the kohein Godol, although also based upon a wrong ruling, and in turn are also unintentional, are nevertheless sins that stem from the mind, as they have made an incorrect ruling, which could have been concluded correctly. The service is in turn done in the inside of the Sanctuary, corresponding to the mind of man, his inner capacity. Its meat is not eaten, as an internal mental sin neeeds to be eradicated.

The Meshech Chochmoh is differentiating between the unintentional aspect of a regular person, as for example he might have sinned by desecrating the Shabbos, thinking that the day was a weekday, or by lack of knowledge that the particular act is a desecration of Shabbos, and that of a court, which is deliberately deciding on a Torah ruling. The difference between the common man and the Kohein Godol seems to need further clarification.

Ch. 7, v. 15: "Uv'sar zevach todas shlomov b'yom korbono yei'o'cheil lo yaniach mi'menu ad boker" - Rashi comments that although our verse clearly states that the "todoh" sacrifice may not be left until the morning, thus indicating that it may be eaten all night, nevertheless, our Rabbis have restricted its consumption until midnight (gemara Z'vochim 56b) as a safeguard that it not be left over until the morning (gemara Brochos 2a).

Tosfos on the gemara Zvochim 57b d.h. "l'harchik" says that our Rabbis did not institute this safeguard for a regular "shlomim" that may be eaten the day of its being sacrificed, the following night, and the following day, to restrict the second day's consumption until midday, because a person realizes when the day comes to an end and will make sure to have all the meat consumed earlier. However, a person sometimes thinks that there are many hours left to the night and is surprised that it is suddenly daybreak.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH approaches the safeguard at midnight and no safeguard at midday differently. He notes that the Torah writes clear prohibitions for leaving over hallowed meat of all sacrifices, save "shlomim" that are eaten for a day, a night, and a day, (Shmos 12:10, 23:18, here, and Vayikroh 22:30). Since "shlomim" have no clear prohibition, but only by inference of limitation of time allotment, the Rabbis did not institute a safeguard.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH goes on to explain why indeed the Torah was not as explicit by "shlomim." The gemara Taanis 30a and Sanhedrin 70a says that meat that is left for longer than the permitted time of eating "shlomim" loses its "geshmak" flavour, to the point that it no longer gladdens the heart (see Dvorim 27:7 "v'zovachto shlomim v'ochalto shom v'somachto"). Since meat that is left over that long deteriorates, the Torah did not find it necessary to express the time limitation with a clear prohibition, "lo saa'seh."

Ch. 7, v. 38: "B'yom tzavoso es bnei Yisroel l'hakriv es kor'b'nei'hem laShem b'midbar Sinoi" - The gemara Z'vochim 98a derives from the word "b'yom" of our verse that the slaughtering and blood service of the sacrifice must all be done by day. We now understand why the verse ends with "b'midbar Sinoi," seemingly superfluous words. The Torah is pointing out that this ruling was given for the time they were in the desert, but not for the first years that they would later be in Eretz Yisroel. When the Mikdosh was in Gilgol, private altars, "bomos," were permitted. The gemara Z'vochim 120a says that slaughtering, etc., of a sacrifice that is offered on a private altar may be done at night according to one opinion. (MESHECH CHOCHMOH)

Ch. 8, v. 13: "Va'yachgor osom AVNEIT" - Should not the verse have said AVNEITIM? The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that the Torah always says AVNEIT in the singular, save in Shmos 28:40, "V'osiso lo'hem AVNEITIM." The Rambam in hilchos klei hamikdosh 8:9 writes that the sash, the "avneit," was 32 "amos" long and 23 finger breadths wide. We thus have a "one size fits all" AVNEIT, hence it is singular. (The exception is where the Torah tells us to make numerous sashes.) All other garments were custom sized for each Kohein. Therefore when the Torah says that they were dressed with "kutonos" and "migbo'os," the plural is used.

Ch. 8, v. 15: "V'es hadom YOTZAK el y'sode hamizbei'ach" - How does "y'tzikoh" (Vayikra 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, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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