For the week ending 18 June 2011 / 15 Sivan 5771

Menachot 102 - 110

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • The status of an animal designated as an atonement for an action which might have been a sin after the discovery that there was no sin
  • Bringing a mincha offering other than the one pledged
  • When one must provide a mincha offering more than what he pledges
  • When one pledges more of a mincha than one vessel can contain
  • The amounts of wine one can offer for libation
  • Can oil alone be offered as a sacrifice
  • When one is not certain of the amount he pledged
  • The unusual sacrifice of wood
  • When the donor fails to specify which of his animals he is offering as a sacrifice
  • The designated sacrifice which became disqualified
  • The kohanim of Beit Chonyo
  • Learning Torah as a virtual sacrifice

An Unusual Sacrifice

  • Menachot 106b

Throughout the last two mesechtot we have learned about sacrifices consisting of animals, fowl, flour and wine. All of these are edible items. There is, however, another sort of sacrifice which is not edible – wood for the fire on the altar.

What is the source for wood being considered a sacrifice which one can voluntarily offer?

Our Sages refer us to a passage in Sefer Nechemia(10:35):

"And we have cast lots among the kohanim, the Levites and the people for the wood offering… at times appointed year by year, to burn upon the altar of the L-rd our G-d as it is written in the Torah."

With the construction of the second Beit Hamikdash there was a lack of communal funds and it became necessary to impose on individuals to contribute the wood needed for the altar fire. Lots were cast to determine which date in the year each donor would make his contribution of this unusual sacrifice.

Once it is established that wood is considered a sacrifice, say our Sages, it is subject to all the rules pertaining to regular sacrifices. This includes salting, bringing it into contact with the southwest corner of the altar like a mincha offering, making kemitza on its shavings and even providing kindling wood to start the fire.

What the Sages Say

"Torah scholars who study the laws of the sacrificial service are considered as if the Beit Hamikdash was built in their days."

  • Rabbi Yochanan - Menachot 110a

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