Korban Olah

Zevachim (5:4) | Yisrael Bankier | 21 days ago

The familiar fifth begins by listing the kodshei kadashim – the holiest offerings. These korbanot share the following laws. Firstly, they are slaughtered in the northern part of the temple courtyard. Furthermore, the parts that are consumed, must be eaten within the temple courtyard, by male kohanim and within the day it was slaughtered and following night. Finally, the prohibition of meilah applies to the korban from the moment it is consecrated.

The fourth Mishnah discusses the korban olah – the burnt offering. The Mishnah states that it too is considered kodshei kadashim. The Bartenura explains the Mishnah needed to spell this out, since the Torah does not mention that the korban olah is kodshei kadashim, as it does with the chatat (sin offering) and asham (guilt offering). The Bartenura explains that since the limitation on where it is slaughter is shared with those korbanot, the author of the Mishnah taught that the korban olah is also kodesh kadashim.

Rashi provides a different basis for the korban olah, being considered kodshei kadashim. He reasons that since the offering is fully burnt, with no parts given for human consumption, there is no better qualification for it being on of the "holiest offerings".

The Tosfot Yom Tov however finds the Bartenura's explanation difficult. The next Mishnah discusses shalmei tzibur (communal peace offerings) about which the Torah also does not describe as being kodshei kadashim. We know that they are, only through a hekesh – a textual connection – between the shalmei tzibbur and korban olah (Zevachim 55a). According to the Bartenura's logic, the next Mishnah should have also explicitly mentioned that the shalmei tzibbur are kodshei kadashim.

The Ahavat Eitan however cites Rashi (55a, s.v. kodesh ikri) who explains that since the Torah describes the shalmei tzibur as "kodesh la'Hashem", it is as if it is described as kodshei kadashim. Consequently, shalmei tzibbur have a Torah source. The Ahavat Eitan is unsure why the Tosfot Yom Tov did not cite this Rashi.

In defence of the Tosfot Yom Tov, we can site the Shitah Mekubetzet's who asks that if the pasuk implies that the shalmei tzibbur is kodshei kadashim why then did we need hekesh cited above? The Shitah Mekubetz explains that "kodesh la'Hashem" is not enough to define it as kodshei kadashim. Instead kodesh la'Hashem is needed, otherwise one might think that since the Torah describes the korban as "kodesh", and not "kodshei kadashim", it would block the hekesh with the korban olah. Since the Torah describes it as kodesh la'Hashem the hekesh is preserved. Consequently there is still no direct Torah source of the shalmei tzibur as being kodshei kadashim.

The Chidushei Maharich answer that textually it would not make sense to mention that shalmei tzibbur are kodshei kadashim. Note that the shalmei tzibbur and asham are mentioned together in the next Mishnah (since they share the same laws). Stating that they are both kodshei kadashim would be unnecessary since the Torah already states that by the asham. Alternatively stating that the shalmei tzibbur is kodshei kadashim and then continuing mentioning the asham would be grammatically clumsy. Consequently, it omitted this point in the next Mishnah and simply relied on our Mishnah's assertion that the olah is kodshei kodshim and the hekesh that that connects it with the shalmei tzibbur.

The Shoshanim Le'David answers, that since the shalmei tzibbur is learnt by way of a hekesh, which is one of the accepted methods of deriving Torah law, it is considered as if it is written in the Torah. Consequently, there was no need in the next Mishnah to make the point explicitly. Our Mishnah however is different, because the fact that the korban olah is considered kodeshei kodashim is derived by way of logic alone.

The Nimukei HaGriv agrees with the Shoshanim Le'David. He however adds the when the Mishnah continues by explaining that the korban olah is "slaughtered in the north, and its blood collected in a vessel of service in the north" it is not simply listing the laws that apply to the korban. Instead the Mishnah is providing the logical basis for the oleh being considered kodshei kadashim (as per the Bartenura's explanation above).

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