TalmuDigest

For the week ending 30 April 2011 / 25 Nisan 5771

Menachot 51 - 57

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • How and when the minchat chavitinwas prepared
  • If the kohen hagadol dies before completing the offering of the minchat chavitin
  • The libations of a sacrifice of a non-Jew or a convert who dies without heirs
  • Which menachot contain chametz and how are they prepared
  • The homiletics of the Sage with a proud genealogy
  • Comparing the Jewish People to an olive
  • The changing dimension of meat in regard to impurity and sacrificial laws
  • Avoiding chametz in mincha offerings and their remainders
  • A violation atop another violation
  • Anointment of sacred vessels

Might Meets Might

  • Menachot 53a

"They sank like lead" is how our ancestors described the drowning of their Egyptian pursuers in their Song of the Sea. While this part of the passage (Shmot 15:10) is clearly understood, there is room for misinterpretation in the ensuing description of who drowned where.

Reference is made to "in the water" and to "the mighty". Although the order of the words gives the impression that it is the water that is described as mighty, the truth is that "the mighty" refers to the Egyptians who drowned in the water. This is why our halalchic authorities caution us to be careful in our daily recital of the Song of the Sea to pause between the words "water" and "mighty" in order to stress that the latter term is a reference to the Egyptians rather than to the water.

This understanding is based on our gemara in which Rabbi Ezra picks up on the word "mighty" which his host, Rabbi Preida, used and states the following poetical description of G-d's declaration at the time of the splitting of the sea.

"Let the mighty (G-d) take revenge for the mighty (the Israelites) from the mighty (the Egyptians) through the mighty (the water). A passage is cited to show that each of the forces mentioned are called mighty, and the one showing that the Egyptians were called mighty is the one found in the Song of the Sea describing their drowning.

What the Sages Say

"Why are the Jews compared to an olive? To teach us that just as the olive does not produce its oil until it is pressed, so too do Jews only repent through suffering."

  • Rabbi Yochanan - Menachot 53b

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