Kiddushin, Chapter One, Mishnah Eight

 

Introduction

This mishnah lists a number of ritual procedures performed upon bringing a sacrifice which are performed by men and not by women.  The exclusion of women from performing these rites is derived in the Talmud from the frequent use in the Torah of the language “Speak to the sons (b’nei) of Israel”, where the word “sons” is understood to preclude daughters.

 

Mishnah Eight

The [rites of] laying hands, waving, presenting [the meal-offering], taking the handful, burning [the fat], cutting [the neck of bird sacrifices], sprinkling and receiving [the blood] are performed by men but not by women, except the meal-offering of a sotah and a female nazirite, where they [themselves] wave the offering.

 

Explanation

The [rites of] laying hands:  Most animal sacrifices require the person offering the sacrifice lay his hands upon the animal before the animal is slaughtered (see for instance Lev. 1:4).  Only men lay their hands upon the sacrifice. When women bring the sacrifice, no one lays their hands. 

Waving:  After the animal is slaughtered parts of it are waved jointly by the priest and by the male owner of the sacrifice (see Lev. 7:30).  If a woman brought the sacrifice the priest waves it by himself.     

Presenting [the meal-offering]:  When a person brings a meal-offering (a minhah), they present it to the priest. The priest then takes it and presents it to the altar (Lev. 6:7).  Only male priests present the minhah—daughters of priests do not.

Taking the handful:  With a minhah offering, the priest takes a handful of the offering (Lev. 2:2).  Again, only male priests perform this rite.   

Burning [the fat]:  See Lev 3:5.

Cutting [the neck of bird sacrifices]:  See Lev 1:15.

Sprinkling and receiving [the blood]:  See Lev 5:9.   

Except the meal-offering of a Sotah and a female nazirite, where they [themselves] wave the offering:  The Sotah waves a minhah offering and the nazirite waves the leg of the animal she/he brings, a bread-offering and a wafer (see Sotah 3:1 and Nazir 6:9).   In each case the woman and the priest would jointly wave the offering. 

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