Daf Yomi

For the week ending 20 December 2003 / 25 Kislev 5764

Menachot 76-82

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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The Economic Factor

In its instructions for preparing the showbreads placed on the table in the Sanctuary the Torah uses the term "You will take" (Vayikra 24:5) to indicate that there is no need to purchase flour and that it is proper to purchase wheat and process it into flour. This permission to buy wheat rather than flour is limited to this mincha because the Torah took into consideration the fact that a considerable amount of money is saved by purchasing the raw material rather than the finished product. Since a very large amount of flour went into the preparation of the showbreads and they had to be prepared every week of the year, this economy was significant.

As the source for this oft-quoted principle that "the Torah showed consideration for the money of Yisrael", Rabbi Elazar cites the passage in which Hashem told Moshe to bring water forth from a rock in the wilderness "to provide water for the people and their cattle" (Bamidbar 20:8).

An interesting question is raised in regard to this source. Our Sages (in Mesechta Brachot 40a) have told us that if someone has animals which are dependent on him he must feed them before he eats his own meal since the Torah in the second parsha of the Shma (Devarim 11:15) conveys the reward for mitzvah observance as "I shall give grass in your field for your animal and you shall eat and be satisfied" a sequence giving precedence to the animals feeding. The Sefer Chasidim, however, notes that this is true only in regard to food. In regard to drinking, however, man comes first. The proof is the behavior of Rivka who first provided Eliezer with water and his camels only afterwards.

How then does our gemara conclude from the passage about Moshe drawing water for the people and their cattle that this shows Hashems consideration for Jewish money when the purpose of mentioning the animals may be to teach us that in regard to drinking man takes precedence over his livestock?

The answer given by Eliyahu Rabbah (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 167) is that the Torah already taught us this lesson in recording Rivkas behavior. This leaves us with no other option for explaining the mention of the animals in the later passage except for teaching us how much the Torah cares about the money of Jews.

Menachot 76b

Guard or Heed

When a Jew offered a todah thanksgiving sacrifice he was obligated to offer along with it forty chalot loaves. What if he vows to offer the todah without the loaves and when told that he must bring both he responds that had he been aware that he would be thus obligated he would not have made such a vow?

The rule is that we compel him to nevertheless bring the chalot since he has obligated himself to offer a todah and the chalot are an inseparable component of this sacrifice. The gemara adds, however, that we accompany this coercion with a quote from the Torah. After relaying to the people a number of commands regarding the consumption of meat and the offering of sacrifices Moshe urged them to "guard and heed" all the matters which he had commanded them (Devarim 12:28).

There are two approaches in regard to how these words apply to this case of enforcing the offering of chalot along with the todah. The Sage Abaye sees "guard" as a reference to his obligation to offer the todah which he is now trying to back out of, while "heed" refers to the obligation of chalot, which he never wished to accept. The Sage Rava, however, states that "guard" refers to both the todah and the chalot while the "heed" relates to the warning we give this fellow not to ever again vow to bring a todah without the chalot.

In his commentary on the above-mentioned passage, Rashi cites a midrash which explains "guard" as an order to preserve what one has learned to assure that he does not forget. Only by retaining his Torah knowledge can one be capable of fulfilling the following command to "heed" the mitzvot, for without learning there can be no practice.

This relationship between learning and observance is expressed in the relationship between the todah and the chalot. It is clear from the gemara that the essence of the sacrifice is the animal and that the chalot are an accompaniment. In the same way it is the study of Torah and the retention of the knowledge gained from it which is the starting point from which practice will flow. But should someone think that study is sufficient and need not result in observance of the mitzvot this is as futile as trying to offer a todah without the chalot.

Menachot 81b

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