For the week ending 5 February 2011 / 30 Shevat 5771

Zevachim 86 - 92

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Which things must be returned to the altar if they fell from it
  • The timing for ritual removal of ashes from altar
  • The impact of the altar on whatever touches it
  • How sacred vessels sanctify their contents
  • Restoring vessels and washing kohanim garments
  • Regularity and sacredness as factors for precedence
  • The scales of sacredness in sacrifices
  • The ages of animals eligible for sacrifice
  • When regularity competes with sacredness for precedence
  • The various functions of oil in the Beit Hamikdash
  • Which sacrificial blood must be laundered if spilled on garment

What Comes First?

  • Zevachim 89a

Why do we first put on a tallit before we put on tefillin?

The answer, of course, is that there is a rule that precedence is given to something which is more regular. Since the mitzvah of tzitzit applies every day, while tefillin is not worn on Shabbat and holy days, this mitzvah must be performed first.

The source for this rule is the mishna which states, in regard to the offering of sacrifices, that a sacrifice which is more regular must be offered before one less regular. This rule is based on the Torah passage (Bamidbar 28:23), which concludes the list of additional sacrifices to be offered on Pesach with the reminder that they are "aside from the olah sacrifice of the morning which is regularly offered". This is interpreted as giving precedence to the daily olah sacrifice because it is more regular.

Tosefot raises the question as to why the mishna found it necessary to cite this source, since we find (Mesechta Pesachim58b) another source based on the word ha’olah(Vayikra6:1) used to describe the daily olah sacrifice. The definitive prefix (the olah) indicates that it must be the first sacrifice to be offered.

The resolution of the problem presented by Tosefot is a distinction between the slaughtering of the animal and application of its blood to the altar, whose precedence to other sacrifices is based on the source cited in our gemara, and the burning of the olah parts on the altar whose precedence is based on the gemara in Pesachim. This distinction can be understood by noting that the passage quoted in Pesachim is in a chapter that deals with the burning of the sacrifice rather than with its slaughter and blood application.

What the Sages Say

"The Torah chapter about the kohen's garments is next to the chapter about sacrifices in order to teach you that just as sacrifices provide atonement, so too do the kohen's garments."

  • Rabbi Eineini bar Sasson - Zevachim 88b

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