י״ט באדר ב׳ ה׳תשע״א (March 25, 2011)

Menahot 16a-b – Inappropriate thoughts while sacrificing a meal-offering

The rule with regard to meal-offerings is that the parts of the offering that are eaten by the kohanim are permitted to them only after both the kometz – the fistful of flour taken for sacrifice – and the levonah – the frankincense – are placed on the altar.

 

The Mishnah on today’s daf (=page) discusses whether having an inappropriate thought about eating the meal-offering – that is, planning to eat it when it is forbidden to do so – will disqualify the offering if it happened only when sacrificing just one of these elements. According to the , it is only if the inappropriate thought occurred during both the sacrifice of the kometz and that of the levonah that the offering will become pigul and the person who eats of it will be liable to receive karet – excision (a Heavenly punishment). Rabbi Me’ir rules that an inappropriate thought during either one of those times will suffice to disqualify the offering.

 

The Mishnah continues and explains that there are some meal-offerings that do not include levonah

  • The meal-offering brought by a sinner – when a person is obligated to bring a sacrifice for one of a number of specific sins, in the event that he cannot afford a more expensive sacrifice, he can bring a meal offering (seeVayikra 5:1-13).
  • The meal-offering brought by a – a woman suspected of an affair (see Bamidbar 5:25).

In those cases, since there is only one element of sacrifice that acts to permit eating the offering, there is no disagreement.

 

In the first Mishnah of this perek (=chapter) on daf 13a, we found a disagreement between Rabbi Yossi and theHakhamim about whether an inappropriate thought about sacrificing the levonah would be a problem if it happened when sacrificing the kometz or vice versa. Today’s discussion is a different one – whether thoughts about eating the offering are significant when they occur during only one of the parts of the sacrifice, or if we need both elements together. According to the Sages of our Mishnah, since the offering cannot be eaten until both the levonah and the kometz had been brought, in order for the offering to become pigul the inappropriate thoughts would have to have occurred in both.