Daf Yomi

For the week ending 5 March 2011 / 28 Adar I 5771

Zevachim 114 - 120

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Sacrifice of the South

Korbanos - the offer of sacrifices - was not a Jewish monopoly, for non-Jews - "Bnei Noach" - offered sacrifices as well.

But what sort of sacrifices did they offer?

This point was disputed between Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Yossi bar Chanina. One view was that they were also able to offer Shlamim sacrifices in which only some fatty parts of the animal were burned on the altar while the flesh was consumed by the owner of the sacrificial animal. The other view contends that the non-Jew was limited to the Olah sacrifice which is burned in its entirety.

The latter view bases his position on a passage in Shir Hashirim (4:16): "Let the north be aroused and the south enter," which he interprets in this fashion: "Let those whose service is in the north (the non-Jews who can offer only an Olah whose slaughter took place only in the north part of the Sanctuary) be removed from their prominence in favor of those whose service is in the south (the Jewish nation who may also offer Shlamim which may be slaughtered even in the southern part.)" This transfer of importance from the nations of the world to the Jewish nation, Rashi points out, refers to the welcoming of the Mashiach as redeemer.

What is the significance of this distinction between Olah and Shlamim?

The Olah represents a total offering of an earthly possession to Heaven, a universal concept which even those without Torah are capable of appreciating. Shlamim, however, comes from the word "Shalom" - peace - because its offering effects peace between the altar, the Kohanim and the owner who all share in its parts. This sublime concept that even through his eating of sacrificial flesh a man participates in the service of his Creator is limited to the nation whose multitude of Torah commandments trains it to comprehend such a challenge and opportunity.

  • Zevachim 116a

Where East Meets West

The site upon which the Beis Hamikdash stood, says Rabbi Chama bar Chanina, was divided between the Tribes of Yehuda and Binyamin. The eastern part, which contained the entrance from the Temple Mount and the courtyards leading up to the altar belonged to Yehuda. The western part, containing the Sanctuary itself, belonged to Binyamin. In regard to the altar itself it stood on Binyamin's territory but a narrow corridor extended from Yehuda's territory to encompass the eastern wall of the altar.

The saintly Binyamin saw in a divine revelation that he would not have the entire altar in his share and felt deep anguish that he could not absorb that corridor so that he should have the privilege of the entire sacrificial service being performed in his area. As a reward for such a sacred longing he was given the honor of hosting the Divine Presence which rested in the western part of the Beis Hamikdash which was indeed in his area.

This teaches us, points out Rabbi Yaakov bar Shlomo Ibn Chovav, the author of Ein Yaakov, that when someone has an ambition to personally complete a mitzvah with his own efforts and resources, his ambition is not to be condemned as an expression of self-centered craving for honor but is rather a demonstration of a will to serve Hashem which is deserving of praise and reward.

  • Zevachim 118b

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