For the week ending 4 December 2010 / 26 Kislev 5771

Zevachim 23 - 29

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • If the ritually impure person can send an animal as a korban Pesach
  • Which sort of disqualification of a sacrifice is prevented by the tzitz headplate of the Kohen Gadol
  • Sitting, improper standing and left-handed handling as disqualifications of sacrificial service
  • Sacrificial blood – its reception and application
  • Which thoughts disqualify a sacrifice
  • Blood applied to wrong part of the altar
  • Difference between passul and pigul
  • Torah sources for both
  • Lateness in bringing sacrifice

Pigul – The Hidden Meaning

  • Zevachim 29a

"If some of the meat of this shlamim sacrifice will be eaten on the third day, it is not acceptable... it is pigul." (Vayikra 7:18)

Thus the Torah introduces us to the concept of pigul. But the literal interpretation of these words – that one who eats the meat of the shlamim sacrifice beyond the two-day limit disqualifies the sacrifice – is an incorrect one.

Our gemara points out that this cannot be the meaning of this passage for it is inconceivable that a sacrifice can be disqualified after all of the services — from slaughter to blood application — have been properly performed.

What then is the hidden meaning?
The answer lies in the term pigul.

If the kohen performing one of the sacrificial services had in mind that the meat of that sacrifice would be consumed beyond the time limited by the Torah, the sacrifice is considered pigul. Anyone who eats the meat of that sacrifice, even within the time frame allotted for eating, is liable for the punishment of karet (spiritual excision).

There are other situations in which improper thought affects the status of the sacrifice. In the beginning of this mesechta we learned that if the kohen performs a service with an intention for a different sacrifice or for a different owner, the sacrifice is valid but the owner is not credited. Another situation is one in which the kohen had in mind that the meat of the sacrifice would be eaten outside of the prescribed precincts. This disqualifies the sacrifice but does not render its meat the status of pigul.

What the Sages Say

"When the Torah states that the kohanim have been chosen 'to stand and serve' (Devarim 18:15), it means that they have been chosen to do so while standing and not while sitting."

  • Rabbi Nachman - Zevachim 23b

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