Korban Chagigah

Pesachim (6:3) | Yisrael Bankier | 7 years ago

The Mishnah (6:3) teaches that an additional korban was brought alongside the korban pesach – the korban chagigah. The Mishnah continues that this was only if three conditions were met. Erev Pesach must be a week day, those bringing the korban pesach are tahor1 and there is not enough of the korban pesach to satisfy everyone nominated to take part in the korban.

The Gemara (70a) understands that according to our Mishnah, the korban chagigah is not obligatory. The Tosfot (s.v. lav chova hi) explains that the Gemara means that the korban chagigah is not obligatory on a biblical level. If it was then it would be offered on Shabbat as well.

The Tosfot explains that the obligation of the korban chagigah on a rabbinic level is so the that the korban pesach is eaten “al asovah”. This means that this is to ensure that the one becomes satisfied with the consumption of the korban pesach. This explains why, according the Mishnah, that if there was enough meat in the korban pesach to satisfy everyone, then the korban chagigah was not brought. The Tosfot continue with the Riva citing the Yerushalmi that this rabbinic requirement was motivated out of concern that if one was hungry, there the was a risk that one might break a bone when trying to eat the meat around. This concern is real as there is a biblical prohibition against breaking any of the bones of the korban pesach.

The Tosfot Yom Tov is bothered by the structure of our Mishnah. When listing the circumstances when the korban chagigah are brought, the order is chol (weekday), tahara (everyone being pure) and mu’at (a proportional small amount of meat per person). The Mishnah then continues by listing when the korban chagigah is not offered. Put simply, they are when any of the above requirements are not met. The Mishnah however list them in a different order: Shabbat, merubah (a large amount of meat per person) and tumah (impurity). The change of order, which would likely go unnoticed for many people, troubles the Tosfot Yom Tov and he writes that he is unsure why the order changed.

The Nimukei HaGriv directs our attention to another comment of the Tosfot Yom Tov in attempt to answer his question. Previously the Tosfot Yom Tov cites that explanation of the Bartenura who explains, “that even though the korban pesach overrides Shabbat and tumah, the chagigah does not override Shabbat.” The Tosfot Yov Tov notes that the Bartenura stopped short and did not write “the chagigah does not override Shabbat and tumah”. The reason is that one might misunderstand that the chagigah does not override Shabbat and tumah together, but does override either of them on their own. By writing that the chagigah does not override Shabbat this misunderstanding is avoiding. The Nimukei HaGriv writes, the Mishnah changes the order, inserting merubah between Shabbat and tumah to avoid the same potential misunderstanding.

The Tifferet Yisrael however suggests a different explanation. In the beginning of the Mishnah, chol and tahara are grouped together, since they are based on the same reason. Since the chagigah is not obligatory it does not override Shabbat or tumah. Mu’at however was based on the fact that the chagigah is needed specifically when there was an insufficient amount of meat in the korban pesach. He explains that the order in the end of the Mishnah was changed to teach an important law. If there is a sufficient amount of meat in the korban pesach, while it is not required to bring a korban chagigah, one might have thought that they can nonetheless choose to do so. The Mishnah therefore lists merubah in between Shabbat and tumah to teach that just as one is not allowed to bring the chagigah on Shabbat, one is not allowed to bring a chagigah if there is sufficient meat in the korban pesach to satisfy everyone. Why not? The Tifferet Yisrael explains that there is a concern that one might leave over some of the korban beyond the allotted time making it notar.

1 Recall that if a majority of Israel are tameh met then the korban pesach is brought be everyone – both tameh and tahor. See Volume 8, Issue 22 “Pesach Sheni”.


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