Daf Yomi

For the week ending 17 January 2004 / 23 Tevet 5764

Menachot 104 - 110

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

The Day With the Most

When were the most communal sacrifices offered in one day?

The answer to this question is relevant to a ruling in our mishna. Should a Jew make a vow to supply oil or wine for the mincha flour offerings and libations which accompanied communal sacrifices, but cannot recall the amount to which he committed himself, he is obligated to supply the maximum amount of these ingredients that are ever needed in one day.

The gemara identifies this day as the first day of Succot when it falls on Shabbat. This serves as an invitation to go back to our Chumash and make a calculation of how much oil and wine this adds up to.

In Parshat Pinchas we read about the two lambs offered as daily sacrifices (Bamidbar 28:3), the additional two lambs offered on Shabbat (ibid. 28:9) and the additional number of animals offered on the first day of Succot (ibid. 29:13). This last item was comprised of 13 bullocks, two rams and 14 lambs. Although the very next passage spells out how much flour was required for the mincha offering accompanying each of these sacrifices, we must search elsewhere to learn how much oil was blended with the flour in these mincha offerings and how much wine was poured in the accompanying libations.

For this information we turn to Parshat Shlach where the Torah spells out these amounts six lugim (half a hin) of oil and six lugim of wine for each bullock, four lugim (third of a hin) for each ram and three lugim (fourth of a hin) for each lamb (Bamidbar 15:4-10).

From here on it is a matter of simple arithmetic. The total amount of bullocks was 13, which were accompanied by 78 lugim of oil and 78 lugim of wine. The two rams required 8 lugim of each and the 18 lambs called for 54 of each. Since the total amount of oil and wine offered on that day was 140 lugim of each, the Jew who does not remember how much oil or wine he made a vow to donate is obligated to supply this maximum amount, which may be what he had in mind.

If you are making a calculation of the number of animals offered on that day your total of 33 based on the above figures will be one shy of the actual amount. This is because on every Festival a goat was offered as a chatat sin offering in addition to all of the above-mentioned sacrifices which were olah burnt offerings. A sin offering, however, was not accompanied by a mincha or libation.

Menachot 107a

The Torah Night Shift

"All the servants of G-d who stand in the House of G-d during the nights" is how the Psalmist describes those upon whom he calls to offer a blessing to G-d (Tehillim 134:1).

Who are these servants of G-d, and what sort of service are they involved in?

They are the Torah scholars who are involved at night in the study of Torah, says Rabbi Yochanan, and they are considered as if they were performing sacrificial service in the House of G-d, the Beit Hamikdash.

Maharsha explains that Rabbi Yochanan concluded that the passage could not be referring literally to the service performed in the Beit Hamikdash because it stresses the service performed at night, while the principal service in the Beit Hamikdash took place during the day. He therefore applies it to those who study Torah at night.

The reason for stressing the night as the time of Torah study, adds Maharsha, is because most people are too preoccupied during the day and the opportunity to dedicate oneself to learning Torah comes only at night. It may be suggested, however, that the accent on night learning is based on what Rambam writes in his Laws of Torah Study (3:13):

"Although it is a mitzvah to learn Torah day and night one acquires most of his wisdom from learning at night. Therefore, if one wishes to gain the crown of Torah he must be careful in regard to all of his nights and not waste any of them in sleeping, eating, drinking, talking or similar matters."

Whether it is the minimal learning done at night by the Jew preoccupied during the day mentioned by Maharsha or the special quality of nighttime learning highlighted by Rambam, this Torah study is so precious in the eyes of G-d that He equates it with the offering of sacrifices in the Beit Hamikdash.

Menachot 110a

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