Shechita by a non-Kohen on Shabbat

Zevachim (3:1) | Yisrael Bankier | a month ago

There are four critical avodot in the offering of a korbanshechita (slaughter), kabbalah (collecting the blood), holacha (taking the blood to the mizbeach) and zerika (placing the blood on the mizbeach). With the beginning of the third perek we learn, that while ordinarily all avodah in the Beit HaMikdash must be performed by the kohanim, shechita can be performed by anyone.

The Bartenura explains that this fact is based on the pasuk "He shall slaughter the bull before Hashem; the sons of Aharon the Kohanim, shall bring the blood and throw the blood on the alter." (Vayikra 1:5) Note that the exclusive kohanim involvement is only mentioned after the slaughter.

One question raised is that even though a zar (non-kohen) can perform shechitah, can the zar do so for a korban that is offered on Shabbat?

The Gemara (Yevamot 33b) cites a Beraita that explains that if a zar performs avodah on Shabbat he is liable for desecrating Shabbat and performing avodah (which can only be performed by a kohen). The Gemara asks which avodah is being discussed in the Beraita. It cannot be shechita since that can be performed by a zar. Rashi explains that if it were shechita the prohibition of zarut (a non-kohen performing avodah) would not be violated. The Rashash notes that Rashi did not add that the prohibition of Shabbat would also not be violated.

The Rashash therefore understands that while it is true that a zar can perform shechitah during the week, he may not do so on Shabbat. In other words, despite avodah being permitted in the Beit HaMikdash for public offerings on Shabbat, it was only permitted for kohanim. The Beit HaLevi explains that since the mitzvah of avodah rests with the kohanim, the permit to perform the avodah on Shabbat is given to them exclusively.

The Aruch LaNer (31b) cites the Shaar HaMelech that also derives the same conclusion from Rashi. The Aruch LaNer however disagrees. He argues that since the zar can perform shechitah, even as a first choice, how then could he violate the prohibition of performing shechitah on Shabbat, if the Torah commands that this korban must be slaughtered?

According to the Aruch LaNer, why then does Rashi make no mention of the exemption of the prohibition of Shabbat as well. Recall that it is only public offerings that are brought on Shabbat. The Aruch LaNer suggests that the Beraita was discussing a private korban that may not be offered on Shabbat. Anyone who would do so, including a kohen, would be desecrating Shabbat.

The Chazon Ish (Even HaEzer 134:16) also maintains that a zar can perform shechita for a korban on Shabbat. He however explains that Rashi only mentioned the prohibition of zarut, because once that disappears, so does that prohibition of Shabbat.

The Chazon Ish cites the Gemara (Yoma 42a) where there is an opinion that the shechita of the kohen gadol's bull on Yom Kippur can be performed by a zar. The Chazon Ish understands that the Gemara is discussing the selection of the zar in the first instance. This is opposed to the Rashash that also deals with the Gemara and understands that it is ruling regarding the validity of the korban after the fact, despite the desecration of Yom Kippur according to his position. The Chazon Ish therefore understands that the same should then be true on Shabbat also – the zar could be perform shechitah. Similarly, the Chazon Ish cites the Mishnah (Yoma 31b) that rules that a regular kohen can complete the shechita for the kohen gadol. Considering that all the avodah on Yom Kippur must be performed by the kohen gadol, a regular kohen completing the shechitah would be equivalent to a zar perform shechitah on Shabbat – both of which are therefore permitted.

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