For the week ending 25 February 2012 / 1 Adar I 5772

Temurah 9 - 15

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Exchanging one breed or gender of an animal for a different breed or gender
  • Exchanging one animal for many and vice versa
  • Exchange involving a fetus or part of animal
  • At what stage does the offspring of a consecrated animal become sacred
  • When only a part of an animal is consecrated
  • The effect of "drawn water" upon a mikveh
  • Mixing of red heifer ashes with spring water
  • Exchange of animal made by more than a single owner
  • Differences between individual and communal sacrifices
  • Recording the Oral Law
  • When the person who designated an animal as a sin offering dies before it is offered

Cheers and Tears

Cheers and tears hardly seem to go together. But such was the scene which is recalled in our gemara in its discussion about the atonement sacrifices offered in the second Beit Hamikdash by the Jews returning to Eretz Yisrael from Babylonian captivity.

Rabbi Yossi explains that the sacrifices were atonement for the sin of idol worship during the reign of King Tzidkiyahu in the last years of the first Beit Hamikdash. A suggestion is made that although some seventy years had passed, there were still some of that sinful generation around when the second Beit Hamikdash was completed. This is based on the scene of that completion described in the Book of Ezra (3:11-13):

"The people shouted a great cheer of praise to G-d for the establishment of the House of G-d. But many of the kohanim, levites and elders who had seen the first Beit Hamikdash cried in a loud voice."

They wept because the building now being inaugurated was considerably smaller in size than the building they remembered. Their weeping was so loud that it even drowned out the cheering of those who rejoiced.

  • Temurah 15b

What the Sages Say

"It is preferable to uproot one letter of the Torah (the ban on writing the Oral Law) than to allow Torah to be forgotten by Jews."

  • Rabbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish - Temurah 14b

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