The Weekly Daf

30 Sivan-6 Tamuz 5756 / 17-23 June 1996

Menachos 44-50 -- Issue #123

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Examination and Determination

The animal offered as the daily korban tamid had to be checked for four days before its offering in order to determine that it was free of any disqualifying blemishes. This rule is derived by the Sage Ben Bag Bag from the parallel which the Torah indicates between this sacrifice and the korban pesach which was set aside on the tenth of Nissan and offered only on the fourteenth.

This four-day requirement of examination for blemishes does not apply to the additional sacrifices - korban mussaf offered on Shabbos and holidays. It does apply, however, not only to the korban pesach in Egypt where it was first commanded, but also to every korban pesach in the generations to come.

The mishnah in Mesechta Pesachim (96a), however, declares that only the korban pesach in Egypt had to be set aside on the tenth and not that of future generations. How do we reconcile this with the aforementioned rule that every korban pesach requires four days of examination?

Rashi explains that in regard to the korban pesach in Egypt the animal which would be used for the sacrifice had to actually be designated on the tenth. In future generations this designation was not required. One could set aside a few animals which he would examine for four days and save the actual determination of which to offer for the fourteenth.

Menachos 49b

Sense in Incense

Ketores, the incense offered each morning and evening on the golden inner altar of the Beis Hamikdash, could only be offered by the community. No individual could donate incense to the Sanctuary to offer in his behalf. In similar fashion the community could not offer incense on the outer altar reserved for sacrifices.

The only exception to both rules was the incense brought by the heads of each of the tribes at the time of the inauguration of the Mishkan, as we recently read in Parshas Naso. This was a heavenly dictated exception limited to the special circumstances of the occasion and the donors.

A problem, however, arises. In Mesechta M'eilah (9b) one of the Sages states that one who involuntarily eats from the flesh of a kodshei kodshim sacrifice before its blood has been applied to the altar must atone for his sin by using the money he is required to repay the Sanctuary (the monetary value of what he consumed, plus a chomesh, in addition to a korban asham sacrifice) to purchase incense which will be completely consumed on the altar. This would seem to indicate that an individual can offer incense, not only the community.

Tosefos explains that the rule restricting incense offerings to the community remains intact, for the individual sinner purchasing the incense must turn it over to the ownership of the communal Sanctuary before it can be offered. Allowing him to do so is merely a way of helping him in achieving atonement for his sin by playing an auxiliary role in placing something on the altar which will be consumed in its entirety for the sake of Hashem.

Menachos 50a

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