The Blood of a Chatat in the Heichal

Zevachim (8:12) | Yisrael Bankier | 9 years ago

The Torah teaches that if one brings the dam(blood) of a chatat offering into the heichal (that is not offered there) it is invalid. The Mishnah (8:12) presents three opinions regarding the point at which the blood becomes invalid. R’ Eliezer maintains that it is a soon as it enters. R’ Shimon argues that it is not invalid until the dam is placed in there. R’ Yehuda however explains that if the blood was brought in be’shogeg then it is not invalid. We shall try to understand the position of R’ Yehuda.

The Gemara asks, does R’ Yehuda invalidate the korban if it was deliberately brought inside or only if it was offered? Ostensibly, it appears to be asking whether he is commenting on the position of R’ Eliezer or R’ Shimon. The conclusion is that he agrees with R’ Shimon insofar as that if placed the blood deliberately then the blood is pasul.

But how do we define be’shogeg in this case? There are a number of possibilities and they are found in a comment of the Sefat Emet. On the day Nadav and Avihu died, Aharon offered the korban for Rosh Chodesh – a Chatat offering. Instead of eating from the parts that are usually eaten by the kohanim, Aharon burnt them. Moshe questioned Aharon saying, “Behold, its blood was not brought into the Sanctuary within; you should have eaten it in the Holy as I commanded.” Since it was the day that Aharon’s son’s had died he was defined as an onen. Aharon answered that even though a kohen (by exception) is allowed to perform avodah when he is an onen, he is not allowed to eat from the korbanot.

The Sefat Emet (Zevachim 82b) notes that the halacha is like R’ Yehuda and according to the simple reading of the Gemara the dam is only invalid if it was brought inside and offered against halacha deliberately (be’meizid). How could Moshe suspect Aharon and his sons of doing so?

He answers the question by directing our attention to a doubt of the Raavad who was unsure of the definition of be’shogeg in our case. It could either be that the kohen mistook the blood for that of a chatat that is offered inside. Alternatively, it could be that the kohen did not know that the blood of a regular chatat is invalid if brought inside. The Sefat Emet understands that because there is a doubt, it must mean that there is a form of shogeg that would invalidate the blood. Consequently, Moshe Rabbeinu might have suspected Aharon of bringing the blood of the chatat inside the heichal in the type of shogeg that would have invalidated the korban.

The Rambam however writes as follows:

The blood of a chatat that is brought inside for atonement and atonement was not achieved, rather it was brought out again and no blood was placed, if it was be’shogeg then it is valid… if it was deliberate then it is invalid.

This appears to contradict the Gemara where it is only R’ Yehuda that differentiates between shogeg and meizid and he does so only when the blood is offered.

R’ Chaim (al Ha’Rambam Psulei Mukdashim 2:16) explains that the issue at hand is not the dam’s presence in the heichal. Rather it is, as the pasuk states, with bringing the blood inside when it is “le’chaper” – for atonement. If brought in beshogeg then it would not qualify – for the intent of le’chaper is no longer. If however the blood was offered, then we can no longer say his original intention to achieve atonement is void. While this explains the rational, how does it explain the Rambam’s apparent contradiction with the Gemara?

R’ Chaim directs us to another Gemara (Zevachim 26a) that teaches, if dam that was meant to be offered on the outer mizbeach was offered on the mizbeach in the heichal, then atonement is nevertheless achieved for the owners; yet the meat cannot be consumed. This law only apply if placed on the inner mizbeach and not if placed before the parochet (curtain) or between the badim (poles of the aron). Recall that the R’ Chaim explains that according to the Rambam if one entered be’shogeg and “kiper” – atonement is achieved – the issue of “le’chaper” still exist and the blood would be invalid. R’ Chaim understands that this would only be the case if the blood was placed on the inner mizbeach but not if it was sprinkled in the other locations. Consequently, the Rambam was referring to when the blood was placed on the inner mizbeach – even be’shogeg would be an issue. The Gemara however was referring to where the blood was placed before the curtain, and only be’meizid would make the blood invalid.


Weekly Publication

Receive our publication with an in depth article and revision questions.

Subscribe Now »

Audio Shiurim

Listen to the Mishnah Shiurim by Yisrael Bankier

Listen Now »