י״ט בטבת ה׳תשע״א (December 26, 2010)

Zevahim 46a-b – Proper intent when bringing a sacrifice

According to the Mishnah on today’s daf (=page), a standard sacrifice needs to be brought with six things in mind:

  1. Zevah – The intent must be for the specific sacrifice that is being brought
  2. Zovei’ah – The intent must be for the owner of the sacrifice
  3. HaShem – The sacrifice must be brought with God in mind
  4. Ishim – The intent must be to sacrifice the animal on the altar
  5. Rei’ah – It must be brought in a manner that will raise the scent of the sacrifice
  6. Niho’ah – The intention must be to fulfill God’s will.

In addition, a sin-offering or a guilt-offering must be brought with the specific transgression in mind.

 

Rabbi Yossi argues that even if someone did not have any of these ideas in mind, the sacrifice is fine, since this is a condition established by , that the intent that is necessary is that of the person who is performing the sacrificial service.

 

Rashi explains this last statement as meaning that the Sages insisted that the person who brings the sacrifice should not say aloud anything about his intentions, because if he makes a mistaken statement, his words may invalidate the sacrifice.

Rav Avraham Hayyim Shor in his Tzon Kodashim explains that this refers specifically to the kohen who brings the sacrifice, and we fear lest the incorrect statement made by the kohen will invalidate the sacrifice being brought on behalf of another.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah, the Rambam offers an alternative approach to this Mishnah. He explains that the Tanna Kamma (=first) requires the owner of the sacrifice to have these six issues in mind, and Rabbi Yossi argues, saying that the condition established by the Sages is that we do not consider the thoughts of the owner at all; all that is important are the thoughts of the kohen who is performing the sacrificial service.