ט״ז באדר ב׳ ה׳תשע״א (March 22, 2011)

Menahot 13a-b – Inappropriate thoughts during animal sacrifice vs. meal offerings

The second perek (=chapter) of Masechet Menahot begins on today’s daf (=page). Perek haKometz et haMinhahcontinues the discussion of the problems associated with improper thoughts when bringing a meal-offering. As we saw onyesterday’s daf, menahot are similar to animal sacrifices in that the offering will become invalid if someone has improper thoughts during key parts of the sacrificial service, regarding when or where the offering would be sacrificed or eaten.

 

There are, however, differences between meal-offerings and animal sacrifices. While in an animal sacrifice, the single activity that permits the sacrifice to be eaten is the service of sprinkling the blood of the sacrifice, there are two essential elements that must be done in order for a meal-offering to be permitted. Those two elements are the placing on the altar of the kometz – the flour-oil mixture removed by the kohen – and the levonah – the frankincense.

 

In the first Mishnah of the perek we find a disagreement between Rabbi Yossi and about a case where during the kemitzah – when the kohen takes the fistful of flour from the minhah to be placed on the altar – the kohen thinks that he will sacrifice the levonah at the wrong time. The Sages rule that this meal-offering becomes pigul – abhorrent – and the penalty for eating it would be karet – excision – since that is the law for someone who had this inappropriate thought while involved in the preparation of the minhah. Rabbi Yossi argues that it cannot become pigul (although he allows that the offering becomes invalid), since inappropriate thoughts can only affect the service that is being done and not the other service.

 

The Mishnah relates that the Sages asked Rabbi Yossi why he distinguishes between meal-offerings and animal sacrifices, and he responded that all parts of the animal sacrifice are essentially one – the blood, the meat and the innards that are to be sacrificed. The levonah, however, is a separate entity that is added to the minhah, but is not truly part of theminhah. As such, an inappropriate thought about the levonah cannot make the minhah become pigul.