Meilah – Kodshei Kodshim and Kodshei Kalim

Meilah (1:1) | Yehuda Gottlieb | 7 years ago

The opening Mishna of Masechet Meilah teaches us that if Kodshei Kodshim become pasul prior to the throwing of the blood, its pesul does not exempt it from the prohibition of meilah. In fact, this situation is detrimental to the korban as in a normal case, the meat of the korban becomes permitted for consumption after the blood is thrown, while the sacrificial parts remain unable to be deconsecrated. However, if the korban was made pasul prior to the blood being thrown,**benefiting from both the limbs and the meat remain forbidden.

The above only applies when dealing with kodshei kodshim. Prior to the throwing of the blood of a korban classified as kodshei kalim, the laws of meilah do not apply. These kodshei kalim are eaten by the owners and their sacrificial parts are burnt on the mizbeach. It is only after the avodah of throwing the blood that the din of meilah applies, yet it is limited only to the parts that are to be burned on the mizbeach.

The Tosfot points out this difference and queries why kodshei kodshim should still be subject to meilah even after they have been rendered pasul, and why should this be different to kodshim kalim? The Tosfot answers that only kodshei kodshim are referred to by the Torah as “kodshei Hashem”(literally: “G-d’s holies”), and this classification applies from the time of sanctification. This classification would still apply to kodshei kodshim up until the time of the throwing of the blood, even if they were rendered pasul prior to that. On the other hand, kodshei kalim are not referred to by the Torah in this manner. It is only after the blood has been thrown, that the sacrificial parts have been designated for burning on the mizbeach and it is from that point on that one can commit the sin of meilah. Prior to that point, kodshei kodshim cannot be classified as “Kodshei Hashem”, and therefore one is not be chayav meilah for its misappropriation.

The Takanat Ezra poses a question on Tosfot’s explanation. Even though prior to the throwing of the blood of a korban kodshei kalim the sacrificial parts have not been designated for the mizbeach, we are still aware precisely which parts will eventually be burned and which will be eaten. Therefore, those parts that are to be burned should be subject to meilah even prior to the throwing of the blood. The answer given is that as long as the animal is alive, each part of the body is joined and dependent on one another. This same logic applies even after the shechita is performed and the body is still whole. While each part is dependent, we can not say that it is only the sacrificial parts that are to be considered separated and designated to Hashem, and therefore subject to meilah. It is only after the throwing of the blood, that the portion for Hashem is considered separate and as such subject to meilah.

The Mishneh Lamelech adds, quoting a Tosfot in Nedarim, that even if there is no prohibition of Meilah associated with misappropriating kodshei kalim, there is however, still a Torah prohibition forbidding one from doing so. This is proven from a Gemara in Rosh Hashana (28a) which states that one is not yotze the mitzvah of tekiat shofar from a shofar taken from a korban shelamim. This is because one is not able to fulfil one mitzva d’orayta (tekiat shofar) by transgressing another


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