Menahot, Chapter Two, Mishnah Two

 

Introduction

In this mishnah Rabbi Yose and the sages continue to debate cases where a priest has a disqualifying intention concerning one of the components of a sacrifice. The question is: does this cause the entire sacrifice to become piggul or just the part over which he had a disqualifying intention.

 

Mishnah Two

1)      If he slaughtered the two lambs [intending] to eat one of the [two] loaves the next day, or if he burned the two dishes [of the frankincense intending] to eat one of the [two] rows of the showbread the next day:

a)      Rabbi Yose says: that loaf or that row about which he expressed the intention is piggul and he is liable for karet for it, while the other is invalid but he is not liable for karet for it.

b)      But the sages say, both are piggul and he is liable for karet for both of them.

2)      If one of the [two] loaves or one of the [two] rows [of the showbread] became unclean:

a)      Rabbi Judah says: both must be taken out to the place of burning, for the offering of the congregation may not be divided.   

b)      But the sages say, the unclean [is treated] as unclean, but the clean may be eaten.

 

Explanation

Section one: On Shavuot there are two lambs offered on behalf of the community, and with them are brought two loaves of bread. When the lambs are sacrificed the loaves become sanctified (see Leviticus 23:17, 19-20). In the case here, when sacrificing the lamb the priest has the intention to eat one of the two loaves after the proper time.

On top of the showbread the priest puts two dishes of frankincense. When he burns this frankincense on Shabbat, the showbread can be eaten that day and the following night. In the case here, the priest intends to eat one of the two rows of the showbread the following day, after its time has expired.

The debate concerning these two circumstances is similar to the debate in yesterday’s mishnah. According to Rabbi Yose, a disqualifying intention with regard to one of the component parts does not cause the entire sacrifice to become piggul. Thus the loaf which he intended to eat the next day is piggul and one who eats it is liable for karet. The other loaf is invalid, but it is not piggul. The same is true with regard to the two rows of bread; only the one which he intended to eat the next day is piggul.

The rabbis are consistent with their position in the previous mishnah. If the priest intends to eat one part of the sacrifice after its time has expired, then the whole sacrifice is piggul and one who eats any part of it is liable for karet.

Section two: Since the previous section dealt with the two loaves and the two rows of showbread, the mishnah relates another law concerning these sacrifices. If one of the two things (either loaves or rows) becomes impure and thus cannot be eaten, Rabbi Judah says they both must be burned. A sacrifice of the congregation cannot be divided in two, and therefore neither can be eaten.

The rabbis say that only the part that was actually impure cannot be eaten. The other part is still permitted.

 

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