For the week ending 11 December 2010 / 3 Tevet 5771

Zevachim 30 - 36

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Improper thoughts during sacrificial service
  • When one thought contradicts another
  • The dogs that devoured the flesh of a queen
  • Who may perform the slaughtering of a sacrifice
  • The long knife
  • Partial entry of the ritually impure into Beit Hamikdash
  • The role of semicha in the sacrificial service
  • The penalty for touching sacred meat in an impure state
  • Placing on the altar the parts of a forbidden or wild animal
  • Problems in the receiving of blood from slaughtered sacrifice
  • If pigul applies to something which is not normally eaten
  • Improper thoughts which do not result in pigul

The Pigul Puzzle

  • Zevachim 31a

A major part of this mesechta deals with the concept of pigul — the disqualification of a sacrifice resulting from the kohen having in mind, while performing one of the four vital services, that the meat of the sacrifice will be consumed beyond the time limit set by the Torah.

Is this rule limited to human consumption?

While it certainly applies as well to the consumption of its blood or innards on the altar, there is still the question as to whether it also applies to eating the meat by an animal.

Rabbi Yannai offers an interesting source for ruling that if the kohen had in mind the sacrificial meat would be eaten by dogs beyond the time limit for consumption, the result would be pigul.

The Prophet Eliyahu had predicted that "the dogs shall eat the flesh of Izevel" (Melachim II, 9:36) as punishment for the propagation of idol worship by this wicked queen of Israel. This indicates that consumption by dogs is also considered eating.

What about consumption by other animals?

In his commentary, Rabbi Yaakov Emden directs us to the confrontation between David and the giant Goliyat. Outraged by David's challenging him with a puny slingshot, this Philistine giant cried, "Come to me and I will give your flesh... to the beasts of the field." (Shmuel II 17:24). The midrash states that upon hearing this taunt David concluded that the giant was deranged — since domesticated animals are not accustomed to meat — and that he would therefore succeed in defeating him.

Based on this midrash he concludes that having in mind the consumption of sacrificial meat by animals will not result in pigul.

What the Sages Say

"No doorway could be added in the Beit Hamikdash to accommodate the metzora whose entry was forbidden, because King David had declared, 'All this has been put into writing by the hand of G-d Who instructed me regarding all the works of the structure' (Divrei Hayamim I, 28:19)."

  • The Sages Abaye and Rava

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