Errors in Menachot

Menachot (1:2) | Yisrael Bankier | 9 years ago

This week we made a transition from learning about korbanot from animals to learning about Menachot – meal offerings most primarily consisting of flour. There are many different type of Menachot. Some are mixed with oil and they are prepared and offered in different manners; we will cover these in our learning. One detail important for this article is the avodah of kemitzah. Most of the Menachot involved the kohen taking three fingers full of flour and burning it on the mizbeach.

The first Mishnah deals with issues regarding intent and is reminiscent of the beginning of Zevachim, albeit focused on Menachot. The second Mishnah begins with the discussion around issues that would invalidate a Mincha offering. For example if a non-kohen or a kohen who was seated performed kemitza. The final one in the list is a kohen that performed kemitza with his left hand instead of his right and the case is listed separately. There, Ben Beteira argues that returning the kemitza and performing it again properly can remedy the situation.

The Bartenura notes that even though textually it appears that this particular case has been singled out, Ben Beteira argues that in all the cases listed in the Mishnah, the kemitza can be returned and a kohen can continue by performing kemitza properly. Indeed, this is the position of the Gemara that explains that Ben Beteira derives his position from a pasuk (Vayikra 2:2 – “vekamtz m’sham”) based on which there would be no reason to differentiate between the pesulim.

The Tosfot Yom Tov directs us to the Tosfot who ask, if there is no reason to differentiate why then was this particular pesul, performing kemitza with the left hand, singled out? They suggest that performing avoda with the left hand is different to the other pesulim listed since it is valid in one context, on Yom Kippur. Consequently one might think that it has significance during the rest of the year and is defined as an avodah – albeit invalid – there by making the action more concrete. One might therefore think that Ben Beteira would agree that the situation could not be remedied and the korban Mincha would be invalid. Singling this out was therefore necessary to assert that R’ Yehuda also argues in this case.

The Shita Mekubetzet cites the Tosfot Chitzoniyot who questions this rationale. We find in the Gemara (6a) that the logic was applied in the reverse. During the early assumption that R’ Yehuda only argued about this case, it reasoned that this was because using the left hand was valid on Yom Kippur. In other words, while it was exploring the position of R’ Yehuda the Gemara thought that there was more of a reason to permit this case, while the Tosfot understand it to be the reverse. The Tosfot Chitznoyot answer that even though the logics are indeed opposite, given the distinction of this case both are reasonable assumptions and both are dealt with by the Mishnah’s structure.

The Rashash however presents a different solution. In Zevachim (2:1) we learnt about those things that invalidate a korban and that Mishnah shares many similarities with this one. There, the case of receiving the blood with the left hands is singled out because that case alone is debated whether it invalidates the korban. The Chachamim maintain it does, where as R’ Shimon disagrees. The Rashash explains that the author of this Mishnah is following that one and structuring it in a similar manner, even though everyone agrees that kemitza with one’s left hand is an issue.1

1 This position is also found in the Chidushei Mahariach.


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