כ״ט בניסן ה׳תשע״ב (April 21, 2012)

Me’ilah 6a-b – Adding new prohibitions

As we have learned, the prohibition of me’ilah – of benefiting from consecrated objects – applies only when benefiting from that object is not permitted. For example, in the case of sacrifices whose meat is eaten by the kohanim in the Templeafter the animal was slaughtered and its blood sprinkled on the altar, once the sprinkling of the blood takes place, the laws of me’ilah no longer apply.

The Mishnah on today’s daf (=page) introduces a case where the sacrifice was removed from the Temple precincts prior to sprinkling the blood on the altar. In such a case – even if the sacrifice was returned to its place – Rabbi Eliezer rules that the sacrifice has been disqualified, so the sprinkling has no significance, and the meat never becomes permitted to the kohanim; in consequence, the laws of me’ilah remain in effect. Rabbi Akiva disagrees, ruling that the sprinkling is meaningful and the sacrifice will now be treated as an ordinary korban. Therefore the laws of me’ilah will no longer apply and the rules of pigul (an abhorrent sacrifice, i.e., when the intent was to perform the sacrificial service at the wrong time), notar (a left-over sacrifice) and tameh (a sacrifice that became ritually defiled) are applied to this animal.

One question that is raised regarding Rabbi Akiva’s opinion is how these laws might be applied in this case. Since the meat of this sacrifice is forbidden to all once it was taken out of the Temple precincts, we should apply the general principle of ein issur hal al issur – that we do not “pile on” new prohibitions onto an already existing prohibition. A common approach to this is to suggest that in this case new prohibitions can be added because they are either an issur kollel or an issur mosif.

Issur kollel means an inclusive prohibition. In a case of issur kollel we do not find an extra prohibition added, rather the new issur expands the context of the already existing prohibition so that this activity is now included under a different category at the same time that it retains its original prohibition. Issur mosif means an additional prohibition. There are some cases where the issur does not fall under a larger category that adds a prohibition to it, rather there is an actual addition made to it that did not exist beforehand. Since the laws of pigul, for example, apply even to the parts of the sacrifice that were not removed from the Temple, the new prohibition applies to more than the old one did, and it is therefore considered significant.

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