Mixed Blood, Up and Down

Zevachim (8:9) | Yisrael Bankier | a month ago

The eighth perek of masechet Zevachim deals with various mixtures – mixtures of offerings, parts of offering, etc. The ninth Mishnah records the debate regarding the mixture of blood from two different korbanot; one whose blood is meant to be placed on the top half of the mizbeach (a chatat) and the other on the bottom (e.g. olah). R' Eliezer maintains that the mixed blood can be offered on the top half and then the bottom, and we simply view the blood that is not meant to be placed in either of these sections as if they are water. The Bartenura explains that R' Eliezer maintains this position since when placing the blood on the top half, one does not intend for the bottom bloods to be placed there. The Chachamim however disagree with R' Eliezer's logic, and the entire mixture must be poured away into the stream that ran under the azarah.

The Mishnah however continues that if the kohen only asked what to do after the blood was placed on the top half the mizbeach, then it is valid. The Tifferet Yisrael explains that we would instruct the kohen to continue and place the blood on the bottom half of the mizbeach as well. Why in this case would the Chachamim allow the kohen to continue? Once the blood that was required to be placed on the top of half has been performed, the remainder, the shirayim, must be poured at the base of the mizbeach. Consequently, the kohen now has a mixture of blood to be thrown on the bottom half and shirayim, both of which are valid in the bottom half. The issue the Chachamim have is instructing one to place blood on the wrong part of the mizbeach. Once the kohen then places the blood on the bottom half, both korbanot would be valid.

The Tifferet Yisrael (Boaz 3) however asks why the olah should be consider valid after we allow the kohen to throw the blood in the bottom half? Recall, we learnt (2:1) that if the blood from an olah was placed on the top half of the mizbeach the korban is invalid. That is effectively what happened in this case when the mixture was first placed on the top half of the mizbeach.

The Tifferet Yisrael suggest that the earlier Mishnah is different since we are not dealing with a case of a mixture. The kohen took the blood from the olah and placed it on the top half in order to achieve an atonement. Such an action would invalidate the korban. In this case however, the kohen placed the mixed blood on the top half from the purpose of the chatat and not the olah. The blood of the olah only reached the top half since the was no other way for the kohen to achieve that goal. He terms that case one of ones – being forced to do so. The Tifferet Yisrael argues that that is why in this case the olah is still valid.

The Tifferet Yisrael compares this case to one where the kohen brought the blood of a chatat that was meant to offered on the outer mizbeach into the heichal. Despite the fact doing so would ordinarily render the korban invalid, the Rambam (2:16) rules that doings so by mistake, be'shogeg, would not affect the korban. The Tifferet Yisrael argues that one can satisfactorily learn from the case of shogeg to ours of ones. The Tifferet Yisrael admits that the cases are not exactly parallel, because in that case, if the blood was offered inside, the korban would indeed be invalid. Nevertheless, he asserts that our case being one of ones is more of a reason to maintain the korban is still valid.

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