TalmuDigest

For the week ending 29 January 2011 / 23 Shevat 5771

Zevachim 79 - 85

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • The Pesach sandwich of the Sage Hillel
  • Sacrificial blood that got mixed with disqualified blood or blood of a different sacrifice
  • Do we assume that two liquids mixed together become completely assimilated ("yesh bilah")
  • Mixup of sacrificial blood to be applied in the heichal with blood to be applied to altar
  • When one part of the blood of a chattat sacrifice was mistakenly brought into heichal
  • What the tzitz headplate of the kohen gadol atones for
  • When something disqualified is mistakenly placed on the altar
  • Which things are removed from the altar even if mistakenly placed there
  • The compromise of Rabbi Yehuda in regard to the aforementioned
  • The dignity which must accompany a mitzvah

Bloody Catch 22

  • Zevachim 80a

What happens when the bloods of different sacrifices become mixed together before they have been applied to the altar?

If both bloods come from sacrifices which require the same number of applications, there is no problem in applying the bloods and assuming that each blood reached its destination.

But if the blood of an olah sacrifice, which must be applied to four sides of the altar, becomes mixed with the blood of a bechor sacrifice, which requires only a single application, we are faced with a problem. The Torah has prohibited us from making any addition to (bal tosif) or subtraction from (bal tigra) any mitzvah. In this catch-22 case we must apply the mixed blood but seemingly cannot avoid transgressing one of these two prohibitions!

Both Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua posit that there is no transgression either way since the blood that is being applied too much or too little is not alone, but together with other blood that is being properly applied. They differ, however, as to how many applications should be made. While Rabbi Eliezer favors applying to four walls, Rabbi Yehoshua rules that the mixed bloods should be applied only to one wall. His explanation is that when only one application is made there is only a passive subtraction of the number of applications required for the olah, while if the blood is applied to four walls there is an active addition to the amount of applications for the bechor sacrifice and creates the impression of violating the prohibition of adding to a mitzvah.

What the Sages Say

"The taste of one mitzvah food does not nullify the taste of another mitzvah food consumed together with it."

  • The Sage Hillel - Zevachim 79a

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