Zevachim (5) | Yisrael Bankier | 9 years ago

The fifth perek of Zevachim, a chapter of Mishnayot learnt by many every day, deals with various animal sacrifices. It compares and contrast their manner of slaughter, how and where the blood is placed, which parts are offered and if it can be consumed, by who and where. When discussing the various sin offerings, the Mishnah teaches that the shirayim – remaining blood after it has been placed, cast or poured where required – is poured out at the base of the outer mizbeach down one of the two holes (depending on the sacrifice). There is no reference however to the shirayim for the other korbanot. We shall investigate why.

The requirement for pouring out shirayim is mentioned in the Torah explicitly when teaching about the various chatat offerings. The Gemara (37a) provides two sources that this law applies to all korbanot (according to Rashi). The first is “…and the blood of your korban will be poured…” (Devarim 12:27) which discusses the korban Olah. The second source is that from the superfluous reference to be’dam in the pasuk discussing to chatat ha’of (Vayikra 5:9). Indeed, we find that there is a reference to shirayim for the korban Tamid in Mishnah Tamid (4:1). That being the case, why is the mention of shirayim absent from the other korbanot in our perek?

The Raavad (Tamid 3, s.v. Shiyarei) cites his teacher R’ Efrayim that learns that really no other korban had the requirement of pouring the shirayim at the based. The Gemara above was not referring to the source of pouring the shirayim at the base, but rather that requirement that the blood be cast on the mitzbeach on the corners where the yesod (base) protrudes. The Raavad is not sure however how R’ Efrayim would explain the Mishnah in Tamid that refers to the shirayim for the korban tamid –an olah offering. He suggests that perhaps korban tamid was different to the other olah offerings.

The Tosfot (53b, s.v. HaOlah) cites two answers. R”R Moshe MiPontiza takes a practical approach. Since for an olah, the blood is cast from a utensil it is possible that there will be nothing left. For a chatat however, the kohen places the blood on the mitzbeach using his finger so there will definitely be blood remaining.

The Gra (Meorot Ha”Gra) adds that this is not just a practical approach. He understands, based on Rashi, that for an olah there is not even a mitzvah of ideally leaving some shirayim to pour away at the base. For a chatat however, there is a mitzvah have some shirayim to fulfil the mitzvah of pouring at the base of the mizbeach.

Sefat Emet draws a similar conclusion from Rashi, yet notes that it appears that the Rambam does not agree. He continues that for bechor, maaser and pesach korbanot the Rambam makes not mentions of shirayim. The Raavad explains that for these korbanot one pouring was performed for the placement of the blood and therefore no additional pouring of shirayim was needed. The Sefat Emet suggests that if we learn from the first source above, these korbanot must not be included in the term “your korban”. Yet based on the second pasuk there should be no distinction between korbanot. Indeed he cites the Tosfot (52b) that requires pouring the shirayim for these korbanot as well.

R”R Yaakov Mi’Orleans, the second answer brought in the Tosfot, explains that there was legal reason. There were two holes near the south-western corner of the mizbeach. While the shirayim for all the other korbanot were poured down the southern hole, for the chatat offering, it would be depend on the type. Consequently the shayim were mentioned for the chatat offerings so their locations would be stated explicitly. The Sefat Emet adds in this manner, that it was also needed to reject the opinion that the shirayim of all sin offerings were poured down the western hole.


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