Zevachim 100 - 106
Saving the Skin
The kohanim who perform the service of offering a korban olah are entitled to the skin of that animal whose entire body is burned on the altar. (Vayikra 7:8)
The mishnah on 103a declares that if the flesh of that korban became disqualified for offering on the altar the skin does not go to the kohanim but is burned along with the flesh at a site off the altar. The source for this rule is the phrase "the olah of a man" which appears in the above cited passage, a phrase which indicates that the skin goes to the kohanim only when the olah was indeed offered on behalf of a man and not when it was disqualified from the altar.
Two modifications of this rule emerge from cases arising in this mishnah and the next one:
- What if the olah was slaughtered not for the sake of offering it as an olah but for the sake of shlamim? At the very outset of Mesechta Zevachim we learned that such a korban is considered kosher for offering on the altar but is not considered a fulfillment of the vow made by its owner, who is required to bring another animal for a korban. If we interpret "the olah of a man" in the strictest literal way, the skin of such an animal will not go to the kohanim because the korban did not serve as the olah of the man who brought it. But the mishnah rules that the skin will go to the kohanim, because the requirement of "olah of a man" is only that the flesh be offered on the altar, completing the process for which a man had designated it.
- What if the skin was removed from the olah before its blood was applied to the altar and the flesh became disqualified in between? In normal circumstances this will not occur because it is improper to delay the application of the blood until after flaying. This mishnah therefore categorically states that if the flesh became disqualified the skin will not go to the kohanim since the disqualification affected the flesh and skin as one unit. The next mishnah, however, suggests a situation where the skin was removed from the flesh before the blood was applied to the altar and was therefore not affected by the disqualification of the flesh. In such a case the blood is applied to the altar and grants sacred status to the skin which is awarded to the kohanim.
- Zevachim 103
Respect for Royalty
How should one relate to royalty?
With great respect, say our Sages, and cite two examples from Scripture.
Rabbi Yannai's model is Moshe Rabbeinu, who said to Pharaoh that following the plague of the first born "all these, your servants, shall come down to me and shall bow to me saying: Be gone, you and your people." (Shemos 11:8) Although the intention of his warning was that the Egyptian ruler himself would thus be humbled, as did eventually happen, (Shemos 12:31), Moshe did not explicitly say so out of respect for the king.
Rabbi Yochanan points to the prophet Eliyahu of whom it is written that "the hand of Hashem was on Eliyahu and he girded his loins and ran before Achav" (Kings II 18:46). Rashi explains that the king was alone so the prophet ran ahead of him as an escort and Radak comments that the very act of running was an expression of respect.
Why did even such wicked vilers as Pharaoh and Achav deserve to be honored?
Maharsha quotes the statement of our Sages in Mesechta Brachos (58a) that earthly government is a reflection of Heavenly rule. One who shows a lack of respect for a king below is therefore guilty of a lack of respect fro the King above.
- Zevachim 102a