Vol. 8 No. 23
This issue is sponsored l'iluy Nishmos
Joseph & Rachel Intract z"l
(incorporating Parshas Tzav)
The Law of the Chatos
All Chato'os are classified as Kodshei Kodshim, which means that they have to be shechted on the north side of the Azoroh, and (as far as the vast majority that are eaten is concerned), they have to be eaten by male Kohanim in the Azoroh.
Generally, someone who transgresses a La'av which carries with it a Chiyuv Koreis (excision), is obliged to bring a Chatas Beheimah, if he transgresses be'shogeg (inadvertently - without realising the severity of what he was doing). There are forty-three such la'avin, explains the Seifer ha'Chinuch, most of them connected with incest and forbidden relationships. The number does not include however, eating chometz on Pesach and failing to perform B'ris Milah on oneself (since these are Mitzvos Asei, and not la'avin). They also preclude a tomei person who eats Kodshim or who enters the Beis Hamikdosh (both of whom bring a Korban Oleh ve'Yored [consisting of a bird or flour], and not a Chatas Beheimah), and someone who curses Hashem, which the Torah specifically precludes from a Chatos.
There are various categories of Korban Chatos, which are by and large described in Perek 'Eizehu Mekomon'.
A Chatos, which cannot be brought voluntarily, can be a Korban Tzibur as well as a Korban Yachid. Indeed, the Mishnah in 'Eizehu Mekoman' lists 'Chatos ha'Tzibur ve'ha'Yochid' together, and prescribes the same Avodah for both. Chatos ha'Tzibur constitutes the she-goats that are brought with every Musaf on Rosh-Chodesh and Yom-tov.
The owner first brings his Chatos to the Azoroh, leans his hands on it and confesses his sin, during which time the animal is made to stand with its head facing west. After shechting the Chatos on the north side of the Azarah, a Kohen receives the blood in a k'li shoreis, and takes it to the front of the Mizbei'ach ho'Oloh on its southern side. Then he ascends the ramp, turning off to the right until he arrives at the Soveiv (the ledge going round the Mizbei'ach half way up) via the side-ramp that branches off from the main ramp. Arriving at the south-eastern Keren (the block on the corner of the Mizbei'ach), he sprinkles some blood with his finger (as opposed to other Korbonos, where he sprinkles the blood directly from the bowl, on the lower half of the Mizbei'ach) on the upper half of the Mizbei'ach. He then walks round the Soveiv to the right, repeating the same ritual as he arrives at each of the three remaining keronos (i.e. on the north-east, the north-west, and the south-west, respectively).
After pouring any blood that remains in the bowl on to the southern Yesod, he burns the fat pieces on the Mizbei'ach, and the animal is eaten by male Kohanim in the Azoroh until the following midnight.
Most individuals who sin have the choice of bringing a lamb or a she-goat (both in their first year), the exceptions being the Kohen Godol and the King. The former brings a bull as a Chatos and the latter, a he-goat. Besides this, the Chatos of a Kohen Godol differs from other Chato'os Yochid, inasmuch as its blood is not sprinkled on the Mizbei'ach ho'Oloh. Instead, the Kohen Godol (who performs the entire ritual himself), takes it inside the Heichal and sprinkles it seven times in the direction of the Poroches (the Holy Curtain). Then, he sprinkles some of the remaining blood on the Mizbei'ach ha'Ketores (in the same way as he does with the blood of the bull and the goat on Yom Kipur).
All of these Chato'os (with the exception of the Chatos of the Kohen Godol), are distributed among the Kohanim who were on duty that day in the Beis-Hamikdosh. They are obliged to eat it by midnight. The Kohen Godol's Chatos, together with the 'Par He'elam Dovor shel Tzibur' (the bull brought by the community, who, following an erroneous ruling of the Sanhedrin, contravene a Chiyuv Koreis) comprises the 'Porim ha'Nisrofin', which has to be entirely burned. And the same applies to the Se'irim Nisrofim', where the community follows a similar ruling permitting something in the realm of idolatry for which one would be Chayav Koreis. The principle is that, whenever the blood of a korban has to be taken inside the Heichal to be sprinkled, the body has to be taken outside the camp (to a specially designated spot) and burnt.
(adapted from the Ba'al ha'Turim)
And He Called to Moshe
"And He called to Moshe, and Hashem spoke to Moshe ... and He spoke to him" (1:1).
What a strange sequence, comments the Ba'al ha'Turim. Why did the Torah not begin the sentence "And Hashem called to Moshe"?
He explains that Hashem called to Moshe and spoke with him as a person speaks to his friend (as the Torah described at the end of Ki Siso). And when a person speaks to his friend, it is considered etiquette to mention his (friend's) name first.
This posuk contains five 'alfin', corresponding to the five Chumoshim of the Torah; and it contains nine words, as does that of "Onochi", the first posuk of the Ten Commandments. This teaches us that when someone learns Torah, it is as if he had brought all the sacrifices. And by the same token, there are nine words in the posuk "Zos ha'Torah, lo'Oloh, la'Minchah ... " (Tzav 7:37) from which we can derive exactly the same lesson.
Perhaps the Ba'al ha'Turim might have added that the nine words correspond to the nine korbonos: the Oloh, the Chatos, the Oshom, the Minchah, the Sh'lomim, the Todah, the B'chor, the Ma'aser and the Pesach.
The More, the Merrier
By a bull the Torah writes (1:3) "li'retzono" (to his goodwill), whereas by sheep and birds, this word is omitted it, because when all's said and done, a person who brings a bull has dug deep into his pocket, a gesture that Hashem, (kevayochol), appreciates.
The Ben ha'Bokor
"And he shall Shecht the Ben ha'bokor before Hashem, and they shall sprinkle the blood ... " (1:5).
A Ben ha'bokor must be at least a year old. Interestingly, the numerical value of "Ben ha'bokor" is 354 (the number of days in a regular calendar year), the Ba'al ha'Turim points out.
The reason the Torah writes by a bull "ve'zorku es ha'dom", and by a sheep "ve'zorku es domo", he explains, is because the blood of a bull does not resemble that of a person, whereas that of a sheep does. The Torah therefore writes "domo", (his blood) to teach us that it is as if he had brought his own blood on the Mizbei'ach.
No Yeitzer ho'Ra, Thank You
"Every Minchah that you bring to Hashem shall not be made with 'chometz', because no yeast and no honey may you burn as a fire-offering to Hashem" (2:11).
The Ba'al ha'Turim explains that this is because the Yeitzer ho'Ra is compared to yeast (referring to the characteristic of pride). By the same token, he approaches a person 'sweet as honey' (referring to the characteristic of desire). Hashem it appears, does not want the Yeitzer ho'Ra on the Mizbei'ach.
Salt, Salt and Salt
"And all your Korbonos you shall salt ... " (2:13).
The word "salt" occurs three times in this posuk, hinting at the three locations where salt was placed - in the chamber of salt, on the ramp and on the Mizbei'ach.
Two Kinds of Leaning
"And he shall lean his hands ... " (3:2).
In the case of the bull, the Torah writes "Ve'somach yodo", whereas by the sheep and the goat, it writes "ve'Somach es yodo", which has connotations of weakness.
This is, explains the Ba'al ha'Turim, because a bull is strong and can withstand pressure, so one leans on it with full force; whereas when one leans on a sheep or a goat, which will fall under such pressure, one leans with less force.
All the sections of cheilev (the loose fat that we are forbidden to eat) are removed from every korban and burned on the Mizbei'ach. This is because by and large, the object of Korbonos is to atone for one's sins, sins that one performed through being what the Torah refers to as "too fat" ("And Yeshurun waxed fat, and lashed out, you became fat, thick and gross" - Ha'azinu 32:15). It is therefore correct that, as an atonement for one's sins, one brings specifically the fat, in lieu of his own fat which caused him to sin and which he is now considered as having brought on the Mizbei'ach (Ba'al ha'Turim).
The Greater One Is ...
By all the sin-offerings, The Torah inserts an expression of forgiveness, with the exception of the Chatos of the Kohen Godol. To teach us, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, that the greater one is, the more G-d expects of him.
Consequently, when a Kohen Godol sins, he may have only sinned inadvertently (otherwise he would not be bringing a Chatos), but G-d considers it as if he has sinned deliberately. Because he, more than anyone else, should have taken more care not to sin, even by mistake ('she'shigegas talmud olah zodon' - because an error made in learning counts as if he had sinned deliberately).
Better to Be Shamed In This World
" ... It (the Chatos of the Kohen Godol) shall be burned on the spot where the ashes are burned" (4:12).
The Torah commands that the sin-offering of the Kohen Godol should be burned in a public location, so that everyone should take their cue from him. If the Kohen Gadol, the very epitome of holiness, had the courage to confess his sin and bring a Korban, then there is no excuse for anybody else not to do likewise.
The Avodas ha'Korbonos
The Sh'lomim (cont.)
We have already discussed the Korban Sh'lomim and the Todah of a yochid (a private individual), both of which are Korbenos Nedovoh (freewill-offerings).
There are a number of Sh'lomim however, which are obligatory (Shalmei Chovah). To begin with, there are the Shalmei Simchah and Chagigah that one brings on Yom-tov, and these did not differ from the Shalmei Nedovoh at all in the manner in which they were sacrificed.
Then there is the Eil Nozir (the Ram of the Nozir), one of a number of sacrifices that a nozir had to bring upon the termination of his nezirus. Effectively, this Sh'lomim does not differ from the Shalmei Nedovoh either, except that the right foreleg is cooked and given to the Kohanim, over and above the chest and the right calf, which was their due from all Sh'lomim.
Finally, we have the Bechor, the Ma'aser Beheimah and the Pesach, all of which are, to all intents and purposes, Shalmei Chovah. These however, differ radically from regular Sh'lomim in the manner of ritual. As the Mishnah in 'Eizehu Mekoman' teaches us, their blood is sprinkled only once (instead of the regular 'two that comprise four' sprinklings on the two diagonally-opposite corners of the Mizbei'ach). This sprinkling can be performed anywhere on the wall of the Mizbei'ach below which was the Yesod (the foundation that ran round the foot of the entire northern and western sides of the Mizbei'ach, and one amoh on the east and on the south).
The Bechor, the Mishnah concludes, can be eaten only by Kohanim, and Ma'aser (constituting one tenth of all kosher animals that were born that year in one's flock or herd) by anybody, provided of course, they are tohor.
The Pesach (which we have already discussed in detail), is unique inasmuch as it can only be eaten for one night (or even only until midnight, as opposed to all other regular Sh'lomim, including the above, which could be eaten for two days and the intervening night). And it can only be eaten by those who have been designated to eat it up to the time it is shechted, and roasted (as opposed to other Sh'lomim, which may be eaten by anyone, designated or not, and prepared in any way that one wishes - cooked, roasted or fried).
THE DINIM OF SH'MITAH
(Adapted from 'Mitvos ha'T'luyos bo'Oretz' by R' Kalman Kahana z.l.,
based on the rulings of the Chazon Ish)
The Dinim of Bi'ur (Clearing away) cont.
80. Once the time of Bi'ur arrives, one may not continue to eat Sh'mitah-fruit on account of fruit of the eighth year that has already grown in the fields, because the latter do not possess the sanctity of Shevi'is and are not subject to bi'ur, whereas the former are.
81. Before fulfilling the mitzvah of Bi'ur, one is permitted to distribute sufficient fruit for three meals of Sh'mitah-produce to one's neighbours, and to retain the equivalent amount for oneself. This fruit is not subject to the mitzvah of Bi'ur.
82. Chulin food that absorbed the taste of Sh'mitah produce (e.g. if they were cooked together) must be treated like Sh'mitah food, even after the latter has been removed. Consequently, it is subject to Bi'ur when the time arrives.
If a Shmitah food whose time of Bi'ur has not yet arrived absorbed one that has, it is not subject to Bi'ur; but vice-versa, it is.
83. Only food that is fit for human consumption or for the consumption of domesticated animals is subject to Bi'ur, but not if it is fit only for wild animals. Food that can be eaten by humans or by domesticated animals in cases of emergency, is not subject to Bi'ur according to the opinion of the Rambam, though the other Rishonim disagree with him. Peels and pips are not subject to Bi'ur.
84. Even after one has performed Bi'ur with the fruit, the sanctity of Sh'mitah remains, and the fruit must be treated in the same way as before the Bi'ur.
85. The Din of Bi'ur also applies to money of Shevi'is (i.e. with which one purchased Sh'mitah produce), or to food which one exchanged for Sh'mitah produce. The time of Bi'ur will then correspond to that of the original fruit.
Shevi'is in the Field of a Gentile,
and the Fruit of a Gentile
86. When a gentile purchases a field in Eretz Yisroel, this does not negate its sanctity, and all the laws of Shevi'is remain intact (we have already pointed out that this is the opinion of the Chazon Ish, but not the accepted minhag in Yerusholayim).
Since all fields in Eretz Yisroel belong to Yisroel and even those that have been sold to gentiles retain their sanctity, it is forbidden to work in such a field, to perform any task forbidden in the Sh'mitah, whether the prohibition is min ha'Torah or mi'de'Rabbonon (see previous paragraph).
87. If a gentile worked in such a field, the produce that subsequently grows there has kedushas She'vi'is. If however, the final task (that renders any particular fruit ready to be ma'asered) was performed at the hand of a Jew, he must ma'aser the fruit without reciting a b'rochoh.
88. Although the Din of 's'fichim does not pertain to the produce of a gentile, they are however, subject to Bi'ur (as we explained earlier), since they have a kedushas Shevi'is.
89. One is permitted to buy fruit of a species that is not subject to the isur of s'fichim from a gentile, even though one does not know whether he is a merchant (who purchased his produce from a Jew, in which case it would be forbidden), or whether he brought it from his own garden.
And this concession applies even if the majority of that particular species happen to be grown by Jews.
90. When it comes to a species that is subject to the isur of s'fichim however, there is a safek. It is doubtful that one may buy fruit from him in a place where the majority of that species is grown by Jews, if one does not know whether he is a merchant (who probably purchased it from a Jewish grower) or whether he brought it from his own field.
Would You Believe it?
"And you shall make the Poroches (the Holy Curtain)" (26:31).
The Mishnah in Shekolim gives the measurements of the Poroches as one Tefach thick, and forty amos by twenty. It was made of eight hundred and twenty thousand threads, and three hundred kohanim would tovel it.
The G'ro points out that the circumference of the Poroches was one hundred and twenty amos. Bearing in mind that each amoh of the Holy vessels comprized five tefochim, making a circumference of six hundred tefochim. This explains the three hundred kohanim who would tovel it. All the kohanim were eager to participate in the mitzvah, he explains. Consequently, as many of them as possible would hold on to it with their two hands. In this way, the six hundred tefochim would allow exactly three hundred kohanim to participate.
The Mishkon and all its vessels are merely physical images, reflections of celestial bodies to which they bear a resemblance, explains Rabeinu Bachye. In this light, the Mishkon was divided into three sections, corresponding to the universe: the Kodesh Kodshim (corresponding to the world of the angels), the Kodesh (to the world of the constelations), and the Courtyard (corresponding to Earth).
In similar fashion, he continues, man, the most prominent of all creations, (who like the Mishkon, is also known as 'a miniature world') comprises three parts, corresponding to the world of speech (his head), the world of life (his heart) and the world of nature (the lower part of his body). In fact, these three are similar to the three worlds of which the Mishkon is a reflection.
The first section of the Mishkon is within the Holy Curtain, which houses the Aron, the Luchos and the Keruvim, all of which are inner vessels, hidden from view because they represent the Merkovoh (the Chariot which, in turn, supports G-d's Throne), as the prophet Yechezkel described. The human manifestation of that is the part of man that comprises speech, man's head, the dwelling of wisdom, symbolising the tzadik (who is governed by his brain and) who serves as a Merkovoh to the Shechinah. Indeed, the Ovos (whose sum numerical value is equivalent to that of "Sh'nei K'ruvim"), are described as the 'Merkovoh' of the Shechinah.
And the Shechinah rests on him by means of the Tefilin that he wears on his head and on his arm, which in turn, corresponds to the two Keruvim.
The second section is the one outside the Holy Curtain, known as the Ohel Mo'ed, which housed the Table, the Menorah and the Golden Mizbei'ach, the Mizbei'ach ha'Ketores. These too, are distinguished, inner vessels, though on a lower level than the previous ones. They correspond to the world of the constellations, which tell of Hashem's glory, and through whose movements the world continues to exist. Correspondingly in man, it is the heart, one of the inner limbs, which keeps him alive through its constant movement.
The third section is that of the Chatzer ha'Mishkon, the Courtyard, which housed the copper Mizbei'ach, the Mizbei'ach ho'Olah, on which they brought sacrifices. These were in the form of animals, which deteriorate, corresponding to this lowly world Earth, which is physical and therefore destructible. Correspondingly in man, this represents the world of nature, downwards from the navel (which is the source of his existence).
And it is about these three worlds that Shlomoh ha'Melech wrote in Tehilim (103:20) "Bless Hashem, His mighty angels; Bless Hashem, all His Hosts: Bless Hashem all His works".
And his son Shlomoh, referred to the same three worlds, when he wrote in Shir ha'Shirim "His cheeks are like a row of spices; His arms are like golden pillars; His thighs are marble pillars".
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