ל׳ בניסן ה׳תשע״ב (April 22, 2012)

Me’ilah 7a-b – Sacrificial meat and limbs

The Mishnah on today’s daf (=page) discusses the effect that sprinkling the blood of the sacrifice on the altar has on different types of korbanot. According to the Mishnah, sprinkling the blood offers both stringencies and leniencies when dealing with kodashei kodashim (the holiest sacrifices, e.g. a sin-offering, a guilt-offering or a burnt-offering), but only stringencies when dealing with kodashim kalim (simple sacrifices, e.g., a peace-offering or a thanksgiving-offering).

In cases of kodashei kodashim, prior to sprinkling the sacrificial blood, the laws of me’ilah that forbid inappropriate use of sanctified objects will apply to both the meat of the sacrifice and its limbs that are destined for the altar – the eimurim – since they are both considered kodashei ha-Shem – holy to God – at that time. Once the blood has been sprinkled and the meat is permitted to the kohanim, the laws of me’ilah no longer apply to the meat, although those laws remain in force regarding the eimurim, which remain kodashei ha-Shem – holy to God – inasmuch as they never become permitted for mundane use. In contrast, the laws of me’ilah do not apply to kodashim kalim, which are not considered to be kodashei ha-Shem – neither to the meat of the sacrifice nor to its limbs that are destined for the altar – until after the blood is sprinkled on the altar. Once the blood has been sprinkled, the laws of me’ilah apply to the eimurim that will be placed on the altar, but not to the meat of the sacrifice, which is permitted for consumption.

There are several different explanations for the term eimurim. In his medieval dictionary, the Arukh suggests that the source of this term is morim, or rulers, since the eimurim are the most important of all parts of the sacrifice, since they are placed on the altar in the service of God. According to the Rambam, the root of eimurim is amar – to say (or to command) since the source of the requirement to sacrifice these on the altar is the statements made by God in the Torah. Others suggest that it comes from the idea that these limbs are set aside and raised up in honor of God (see Devarim 26:17).

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