Menahot, Chapter 1, Mishnah 1

Menahot, Chapter One, Mishnah One



Today’s mishnah discusses minhahs that are offered by the priest with the intent of their being a different type of minhah from that which the person bringing them intended them to be. For instance a voluntary minhah is offered with the intent of its being a sinner’s minhah. There are two issues at stake: 1) Does the owner get credit for having brought the sacrifice? 2) Can the sacrifice be eaten?

The discerning reader will note that this mishnah is nearly identical to the mishnah that began Zevahim, and also to Zevahim 1:4. So consider this a great opportunity for some review!


Mishnah One

1)      All minhahs from which the handful was taken not in their own name are valid, except that they do not count in fulfilling their owners’ obligation, with the exception of the sinner’s minhah and the minhah of jealousy.  

2)      A sinner’s minhah and the minhah of jealousy from which he removed the handful not in their own name, or he put into the vessel, or brought [to the altar], or burned not in their own name, or for their own name and not for their own name, or not for their own name and for their own name, they are invalid.

3)      How can they be “for their own name and not for their own name”? [If offered it] as a sinner’s minhah and as a voluntary minhah.

4)      And how can they be “not for their own name and for their own name”? [If offered it] as a voluntary minhah and as a sinner’s minhah.



Section one: If the priest removes the handful from the minhah in order to burn it on the altar, but he thinks that the minhah is a different type than what it really was supposed to be, for instance it was supposed to be a voluntary minhah and he thought it was a sinner’s minhah, the minhah is valid. This means that the fistful can be put on the altar and the remainder of the minhah can be eaten. However, it does not discharge the owner of his obligation and the owner will have to bring another in its stead.

There are two exceptions to this rule: the sinner’s minhah (Leviticus 5:11) and the minhah of jealousy, which is the minhah brought by the Sotah, a woman suspected of adultery (Numbers 5:15). In both of these cases if the priest offering the minhah thinks that the minhah is something else, the minhah is disqualified and cannot be offered on the altar, and the remainder cannot be eaten.

Section two: When it comes to the sinner’s minhah or the minhah of jealousy if any of the four critical actions, or even a part thereof, are done with the intent of the minhah being a different sacrifice, the minhah is invalid.

Sections three and four: If while performing one of the four actions the priest had the correct intent and then when performing a subsequent action he thought that the minhah was something else, it is disqualified. The same holds true in the reverse: if he makes a mistake during one of the first actions but then subsequently corrects himself and offers it with the correct intent, it is still disqualified.