Menahot, Chapter Three, Mishnah Six

 

Introduction

This mishnah continues to provide cases where the absence of one element of a mitzvah prevents the entire mitzvah from being fulfilled.

 

Mishnah Six

1)      Regarding the two goats of Yom Hakippurim, the [absence of] one invalidates the other.

2)      Regarding the two lambs of Shavuot, the [absence of] one invalidates the other.

a)      Regarding the two loaves [that accompany the lambs] the [absence of] one invalidates the other.

3)      Regarding the two rows [of the showbread] the [absence of] one invalidates the other.

a)      Regarding the two dishes [of frankincense] the [absence of] one invalidates the other.

b)      Regarding the rows and the dishes the [absence of] one invalidates the other.

4)      Regarding the:

a)      two kinds [of cakes] used in the offering of the nazirite,

b)      the three kinds used for the red cow,

c)      the four kinds [of cakes] used in the todah,

d)      the four kinds [of species] used for the lulav,

e)      and the four kinds used for the [purification of the] leper,

i)        the [absence of] one invalidates the others.

5)      Regarding the seven sprinklings [of the blood] of the red cow the [absence of] one invalidates the others.

6)      Regarding the seven sprinklings between the staves of the ark, and of those towards the veil and upon the golden altar, the [absence of] one invalidates the others.

 

Explanation

Section one: On Yom Kippur two male goats are brought, one is sacrificed and one is sent to Azazel. The absence of one goat prevents the fulfillment of any mitzvah with the other goat.

Section two: On Shavuot two lambs are brought, accompanied by two loaves of bread. If one of the lambs is missing, it prevents one from fulfilling any mitzvah with the other lamb. Similarly, with regard to the loaves.

Section three: The showbread consisted of two rows of six loaves. On each row was placed a dish of frankincense. The absence of one of the rows or one of the dishes prevents the fulfillment of the other. And, the absence of the rows prevents one from being able to fulfill the mitzvah of the frankincense, and vice versa, the absence of the dishes prevents the fulfillment of the mitzvah of the showbread.

Section four: The mishnah now lists a series of mitzvoth that have multiple components, the absence of which prevents the fulfillment of the others. I shall give biblical references for each:

Two kinds [of cakes] used in the offering of the nazirite: loaves of matzah and wafers of matzah, see Numbers 6:15.

The three kinds used for the red cow: cedar wood, hyssop and crimson thread, see Numbers 19:6.

The four kinds [of cakes] used in the todah: loaves of matzah, wafers of matzah, boiled flour, and hametz, see Leviticus 7:12.

The four kinds [of species] used for the lulav: palm, myrtle, willow and etrog, see Leviticus 23:40.

And the four kinds used for the [purification of the] leper: two birds, cedar wood, hyssop and crimson thread, see Leviticus 14:4.

Section five: During the red cow purification ceremony, they sprinkle its blood seven times  (see Numbers 19:4). If one of these sprinklings is not done, the entire ceremony is invalid.

Section six: On Yom Kippur the blood is sprinkled seven times between the staves of the ark, seven times on the curtain and seven times on the golden altar (see Leviticus 16:14-15). If even one of these is not done, they are all invalid.

 

 

 

 

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