י״ט בסיון ה׳תשע״א (June 21, 2011)

Menahot 104a-b – When you haven’t specified your meal-offering

In general, when a person makes a statement that indicates that he accepts upon himself the obligation to bring a sacrifice, through the power of his stated intention the object referred to becomes sanctified. Nevertheless, since it is his statement that sanctification takes effect, we must clarify what must be said and how to deal with situations where someone’s intentions are not clearly expressed. The thirteenth perek (=chapter) of Masechet Menahot begins of today’s daf (=page), and its focus is on the language that is used when committing to bring a meal-offering.

 

According to the Mishnah, if a person simply says “I accept upon myself a meal-offering” he can choose any one of the five different types of menahot that an individual can bring. The five different types are enumerated in Sefer Vayikra 2:1-10, and they include

1. solet – a simple flour mixture

2. hallot – unleavened cakes

3. rekikim – unleavened wafers

4. mahavat – fried

5. marheshet – cooked

Rabbi Yehudah disagrees, and he rules that the person must bring a meal-offering of solet, since it is the meal-offering that is simply referred to as a minhah in the Torah (see 2:1).

 

It appears that there is a disagreement among the rishonim regarding how to rule in this case. The Mishneh la-Melekhpoints out that while the Rambam in Hilkhot Ma’aseh ha-Korbanot (17:5) clearly accepts the first position – that the person bringing the offering can choose any one of five types of menahot – Rashi, in his commentary on the Torah (Vayikra 2:1) appears to explain the passage by accepting the position of Rabbi YehudahRav Eliyahu Mizrahi, however, in his supercommentary on Rashi, argues that in his Torah commentary Rashi does not aim to offer rulings of halakhah, rather he simply tries to present the approach that best fits in with the simple, straightforward, meaning of the Torah. In this case, Rabbi Yehudah’s approach fits in with the simple meaning of the Torah, but we cannot conclude that this is Rashi’s ruling on the matter.