TalmuDigest

For the week ending 2 April 2011 / 26 Adar II 5771

Menachot 23 - 29

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • Two mincha offerings that got mixed up before kemitzah
  • When kosher and non-kosher meats get mixed up
  • If the kometz becomes ritually impure or is taken out of the Sanctuary
  • The impact of the tzitz headplate of the Kohen Gadol on disqualified offerings
  • If the remainders of the mincha are no longer available for consumption after kemitzah
  • The need to sanctify the kometz with a sacred vessel
  • Which elements of sacrifices are inseparable
  • The interdependence of the four species on Succot
  • Menorah, mezuzah and tzitzit
  • The material from which the menorah must be made
  • Some rules regarding the letters of the mezuzah

The Fiery Coin

  • Menachot 29a

In regard to three things Moshe found difficulty in visualizing and needed Heavenly assistance. He had to be shown how the menorah for the Miskhan Sanctuary should look, how much of the new moon must be visible in order to determine when to declare Rosh Chodesh, and which of the creeping creatures are the forbidden ones.

This statement by the Sages of Rabbi Yishmael's Yeshiva seems to overlook one other instance when Moshe had to actually be shown something. When G-d commanded that Jews had to contribute a machatzit hashekel coin for the construction of the Mishkan Sanctuary, Moshe found difficulty in visualizing and had to be shown a coin of fire, the size of which should be contributed in silver.

One of the resolutions offered by the commentaries is that Moshe's difficulty was not in regard to the nature of the coin itself but rather in regard to its purpose. Since the construction of the Mishkan was in atonement for the sin of the Red Heifer, it was inconceivable to Moshe that so small a contribution as half-shekel should achieve atonement for each individual.

The answer he received from Heaven was a coin of fire whose message was that what would achieve atonement was not merely the value of the coin but the fiery spirit of repentance and devotion with which it was given.

What the Sages Say

"Just as the four species on Succot must all be taken together, so too do Jews find favor only when they are united together."

  • Beraita - Menachot 27a

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