Daf Yomi

For the week ending 15 November 2003 / 20 Heshvan 5764

Menachot 40-47

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Count Your Blessings

A Jew, Rabbi Meir rules, is supposed to make at least one hundred blessings daily. This is easily accomplished on a weekday when he says the 19 blessings of the Shmone Esrei Amida three times a day. On Shabbat and Festivals when there are far less blessings in the Amida prayers, Rabbi Chiya, the son of Rabbi Ivya, suggested making up this shortfall by indulging in delicacies and fragrances which require blessings.

The source for the number 100 lies in the words of a challenge issued by Moshe to his people: Mah (What) does Hashem, your G-d, ask of you (Devarim 10:12). Although the essence of the challenge was to fear G-d and serve Him wholeheartedly, Rabbi Meir saw in the words of the passage a subtle signal for making a hundred blessings.

Rashis understanding of this signal was the similarity between the opening word mah and the word meah, which means one hundred. Tosefot, however, shies away from this approach, because when such interpretation is done elsewhere, the gemara introduces it by guiding us not to read it only this way but another way as well. Rabbeinu Tam therefore points out that if you count all the letters in that passage you will arrive at a total of one hundred.

Both approaches saw in Moshes challenge about responding to G-ds expectation of fear and service a hidden reference to how this is accomplished by constantly acknowledging G-d through the blessings.

Menachot 43b

Counting the Lambs

On the Festival of Shavuot in the Beit Hamikdash additional sacrifices were offered in honor of the day as on other holidays. In regard to the Shavuot ones, however, we find two different passages as to which animals were to be sacrificed as olah burnt offerings:

And you shall offer together with the bread (the two loaves of a new mincha offering mentioned in the previous passage as a Shavuot service) seven lambsone bullock and two rams. (Vayikra 23:18)

And you shall offer two bullocks, one ram and seven lambs (Bamidbar 28:27).

Are the seven lambs mentioned in both passages the same or is there a need to offer fourteen lambs?

The first indication that these are two completely separate sets of sacrifices, one for the Festival itself and one as an accompaniment to the offering of the two loaves, is the switch in the number of the bullocks and rams brought to the altar along with them. But this alone would be inconclusive as proof that the Torah insisted on two separate sets. There still could be an understanding that the Torah required only seven lambs but in regard to the accompanying bullocks and rams gave an option of offering either one bullock and two rams or two bullocks and one ram.

What proves to be conclusive is the switch that the Torah makes in listing the order of the animals sacrificed. In the first passage the lambs are mentioned before the bullock and rams, while in the other one the lambs are mentioned after the bullocks and ram, providing a subtle signal that the lambs mentioned in the two passages, although equal in number, were part of a separate set and for a different purpose. The result is that the olah offered on Shavuot consisted of 14 lambs, 3 bullocks and 3 rams.

Menachot 45b

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