Chametz Menachot

Menachot (5:1) | Yisrael Bankier | 6 years ago

The fifth perek compares different mincha offerings by outlining the laws that apply to some of the korbanot. The first Mishnah teaches that while most of the baked menachot were matzot, the some of the lachmei todah and the shtei halechem were chametz. A debate ensues as to how the korbanot became chametz. To be more precise the tenaim argue regarding how the se’or (sourdough) was created that would be added to the mincha to stimulate the leavening.

R’ Meir maintains that some of the flour is separated from the already measured issaron and then kneaded and covered in the remaining flour in order to create the se’or (Rashi1). This approach has the advantage that a complete issaron was accurately brought. R’ Yehuda however maintains that the se’or prepared in this manner is not potent enough and it is better to use se’or from home that was prepared well in advance and a vigorous leaven. It can be placed in the issaron measuring container and then filled with the flour to make up the required volume.

R’ Meir however is not satisfied with R’ Yehuda’s approach due to the likely inaccuracy in the required volume of flour. The density of the se’or will vary depending on it preparation so a full issaron of flour, despite being measured, cannot be guaranteed. The Tosfot (54a)*explains that R’ Yehuda is not concerned since a full issaron* volume, not necessarily all dry flour, is required.

With Pesach preparations well underway, the following question of the Tifferet Yisrael seems justified. The Mishnah and Gemara discuss when dough becomes chametz. There are two stages. The first is se’or, which one must burn but one is exempt if they eat it. The second is sidduk and one is chayav karet if they eat it. R’ Yehuda maintains that se’or is when the dough begins to form cracks (resembling grasshopper antennae) and sidduk is when the cracks begin to intersect. R’ Meir maintains that both are already chametz. Se’or is when the dough turns white. That being the case, why does R’ Meir require the separation of some of the flour to prepare the se’or? Simply add water to the entire mixture, wait for the cracks to form and the mincha is chametz

The Tifferet Yisrael explains the R’ Meir agrees that we need a good chimutz for the mincha and leaving the dough for one day would not be enough (despite being chayav karet for its consumption on pesach). A small portion must be separated to make a starter and left for a number of days.2 Even though the flour was measured in the issaron, he explains that the dry measures would not sanctify it such that it would be invalid having be left over night. That said, the entire amount could not be kneaded days in advance since the preparation must be done inside using the kli sharet which would sanctifying thereby causing it to be invalid when left over night.

The Tifferet Yisrael continues that R’ Yehuda is not satisfied with this solution since it is likely that one would be apprehensive and not separate and prepare the sour early enough. One would be concerned about a mishap that might occur with the rest of the flour that has already been set aside for the korban. Consequently the leaven would not be potent enough.


1 The necessity of burying it in the remaining flour is based on the later concern in the Gemara(53b). Warming it or wrapping it in other leaven could make a better leaven. There is a concern that in the end one would see the prepared se’or be returned to the remaining flour and think that it is being added to a full issaron – more than is required – and do that in the future. This is based on Rashi’s first explanation there.

2 Regarding the previous footnote, the Tifferet Yisrael here is following Rashi’s second explanation.

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