Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Parshas Emor Vayikra 21:24 A Non-Kohen that Shechts a Korban

 When a Yisrael Shechts a Korban

21:24. V’el kol Bnei Yisroel. At the end of the Parsha that describes the mumim, the physical disfigurements, that disqualify a kohen from doing the sacrificial service in the Temple, the passuk says that Moshe told these dinim to Aharon and his sons and to all the Bnei Yisroel. The kashe is, what does this have to do with the Bnei Yisroel? This does not seem to have any relevance to non-kohanim, and, like the vast majority of Korban law, it should be addressed only to the Kohanim.

Rashi answers this by saying that this is a command to Beis Din to know and enforce these halachos for the Kohanim.

The Ibn Ezra here in 21:24 (as understood by Reb Meir Simcha here) says something much more interesting. As we know, the vast majority of the avodah, the sacrificial service, may be done only by a Kohen. However, the Shechita of Korbanos, even Kodshei Kodoshim, may be done by any Jewish person, male or female, tahor or tamei. Inasmuch as whoever can shecht chulin for consumption can shecht kodashim, one assumes that Shechita does not carry with it any particular restrictions. The Ibn Ezra is mechadesh that a Yisrael who shechts a korban cannot be a ba’al mum. (Can you imagine what Erev Pesach looked like in the Beis Hamikdash? I assume that the pesachim were shechted by the Yisraelim that brought them, or that all the shochtim in Israel were called up for duty. According to the Ibn Ezra, they would all have to strip and be examined by Beis Din to establish that they are not ba'alei mum! Unless perhaps the Beis Din trusted people to reveal and ask about any possible mum problem, since there is a chezkas kashrus and, I suppose, a rove that they are not ba'alei mum.)

Reb Meir Simcha asks from an open Mishna in the beginning of the third perek of Zvachim that says “kol hapsulim sheshachtu shchitasam ksheira,” and this includes ba’alei mum.

The sefer Kanfei Yona, by a Yona Voller, suggests that the Ibn Ezra means lechatchila. (He brings the Gemora there that asks that ‘sheshachtu” is mashma bedi’eved, but a passul can shecht lechatchila, and the Gemara answers that a tomei shouldn’t shecht lechatchila because he might be mitamei the korban, which is mashma that all the other psulim can shecht lechatchila, and he is madche that tomei is befeirush in the Mishneh, but ba’al mum is not, so the Gemara can’t use ba’al mum to be meyasheiv the loshon hamishneh.)

This Ibn Ezra reminds me of several things.
First, R’ Gifter in Parshas Shemini (Vayikra 10:9) says that the issur of shasui yayin (that one who has drunk wine cannot do avodah) applies equally to a Yisrael that shechts; this is similar to the idea of the Ibn Ezra here. So Erev Pesach, not only do you have to strip, you also have to breath into a breathalyzer.
Also, this issue relates to the machlokes (Rashi in Yevamos) about whether a Yisrael can shecht a korban tzibur on Shabbos.
Also, this relates to the machlokes Rabbeinu Efraim and Tosfos about whether a sakin has to be a kli shareis-- it seems to me that if the sakin does not have to be a kli shares, the shochet would have no particular requirements. Yes, of course it's easy to disagree with this.
It is universally accepted that the Yisrael, or the Kohen, who shechts, can be mefagel during shechita. If so, it obviously has aspects of avoda, so it’s logical that a Mum would be a problem.

But I still need to understand why mum and shasui are problems when tumah is not.


  1. I would like to propose a (seemingly)obvious answer to the original question: Maybe the halachos were told to B'nai Yisrael so they could learn them and be mikayeim mitzvas talmud torah. Not to mention, the question seems to assume that laws that aren't relevant should not be learned- which would effectively cut out much of shas. Further, i don't understand this hatred of latin- without it we wouldnt have half the eglish language so i don't understand what's wrong with it further- This is taken from wikipedia:

    The American magazine National Geographic described the legacy of the Roman Empire in The World According to Rome:

    The enduring Roman influence is reflected pervasively in contemporary language, literature, legal codes, government, architecture, engineering, medicine, sports, arts, etc. Much of it is so deeply inbedded that we barely notice our debt to ancient Rome. Consider language, for example. Fewer and fewer people today claim to know Latin - and yet, go back to the first sentence in this paragraph. If we removed all the words drawn directly from Latin, that sentence would read; "The.

  2. You are making two very good points, Gush. And now I will explain why you are wrong from beginning to end.

    I know that all mitzvos were given to be learned. I know there are some that were given PRIMARILY to be learned, such as ben sorer umoreh and ir hanidachas. What I don't know is why Hashem ADDRESSED the parsha to us. Tell it to Moshe and Aharon and the kohanim, as was done by all the rest of the dinei kodshim. This is what bothered me and bothered Rashi as well.

    As for this Latino proclivity of yours: I like Latin. I love Latin. It is a wonderful language for philosophy and for beaurocracy. What I don't like is
    1. when people chose Latin to make themselves sound profound when in fact they are saying nothing. Bishlema when the foreign phrase adds a shade of meaning that is not present in the common tongue, fine. But often it is used to hide lazy thinking, like using cologne instead of taking a shower. EWWWW!
    2. Using Latin phrases that have a perfectly good and clear Hebrew or English equal.For example: "imitatio Dei" means to emulate and imitate God. We call this "laleches bidrachav." Why can't you use the language you were born to use? Is Hebrew inferior or embarrassing?
    3. Using Latin phrases that over the centuries have acquired secondary meaning. For example, once again, "imitatio Dei", which in the world as a whole has come to mean to suffer just as Yoshkeh suffered on the cross.

  3. Can you give a MAreh Makom for this Ibn Ezra?

  4. Perhaps the issue was addressed to all Bnai Yisrael precisely because one might think that the laws DON'T have to be learned by non Kohanim.

  5. Anonymous 11:22, I fixed the post to show the citation. The Ibn Ezra is a little unclear, but Reb Meir Simcha says that's pshat, and after thinking about it, I don't think there's any other way to read it.

    Gush, the only thing I can say is, that's not how the Torah is written. The chiyub talmud torah as applying to every halacha, relevant or not, is a meta-halacha and does not need to be stated in the context of any particular din.

    But it would be nice if your were right, because it always bothered me why at the beginning of this parsha of dinei ba'al mum Hashem tells Moshe to tell it to Aharon, and the last passuk says that he said it to Aharon and the Bnei Yisrael. Where was the tzivui to tell it to the Bnei Yisrael? It contradicts Hashem's instructions! But if pshat is that the first passuk, directed to Aharon, is for halacha le'maaseh, and the last passuk is just the mitzvah of limud hatorah, then it would be good.

    Unfortunately, I can't be mekabeil that it is correct within the parameters of PSHAT. It does work well, but only as drush. Anyway, obviously Rashi and the Ibn Ezra did not hold like that.

  6. OK, I'm missing something. The Ibn Ezra is explaining pshuto shel mikra, which does not have to accord with halacha. He even says that his pshat is "lulei divrei hakabalah", i.e. if not for the fact that we know from halacha that a zar (and hence ba'al mum) is allowed to do shechita. So what's the problem?

  7. I'm taking Reb Meir Simcha's approach, in which he takes the Ibn Ezra's pshat seriously and at face value. Also, whether the Ibn Ezra meant it or not, it's interesting to see it in the context of Rav Gifter's zug. Anyway, I have a feeling that the "lulei hakabalah" is a bet-hedging proto-artscroll editorial interposition. I will bl'n check the annotated Ibn Ezras later.