Monday, June 27, 2011

Last Daf in Menachos - learning about the sacrifices

Anyone who learns about the chatas is as though he sacrificed it

By: Meoros HaDaf HaYomi

With the conclusion of Menachos the Gemora teaches us: “Rabbi Yitzchak said, “…Anyone who learns about the chatas is as though he sacrificed it and anyone who learns about the asham is as though he sacrificed an asham.”

The Tur wrote (O.C. 1) that one had well say the parshah of the sacrifices every day and after saying the verses of the sacrifce one should say “May it be Your will” that saying the verses should be accepted as though the sacrifice were offered (see an expansion of this topic in the article “The parallel between saying korbanos and offering sacrifices” in Vol. 224).

Temporary atonement: Many sugyos indicate that even one who says the parshyos of the sacrifices devotedly does not become exempt from the obligation of his sacrifice and when the Temple will be built, he must offer them. Saying korbanos is temporary atonement, “as though he offered”, but he is surely not exempt from the Torah’s obligation (Responsa Har Tzvi, O.C. 1; Bnei Yisaschar, Maamar Rosh Chodesh, maamar 2, os 8; Responsa Torah Shleimah, 120; and see Kemotzei Shalal Rav, parshas Tzav).

Apropos, as we approach the end of Menachos, we mention two augmentive tidbits to explain Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha’s famous words when once, on Shabbos, he tilted a light unintentionally and wrote down “I, Yishmael ben Elisha, read and tilted a light on Shabbos; when the Temple will be built, I’ll bring a fat chatas” (Shabbos 12b). Why wasn’t he satisfied with reading the parashah of the chatas?

Saying korbanos lacks the advantage of the kohanim’s eating:. The author of Yeshu’os Ya’akov (O.C. 1) wrote in the name of the Rishonim that as the atonement of the chatas is also achieved by the kohanim’s eating – “kohanim eat and the owners are atoned” (Pesachim 59b) – hence by saying the verses of the chatas we do not achieve that same level accomplished by offering the sacrifice. This is also the reason, he adds, that Rabbi Yishmael undertook a fat chatas – to emphasize the inability to make up for the kohanim’s part by saying the verses.

By saying the verses we do not achieve the advantage of an embellished sacrifice: Rabbi Yitzchak Shvadron, the Maharsham’s son, solved this question in the following manner (in the preface to Responsa Maharsham, II, os 32). A few times we have already cited the halachah mentioned by Rambam (Hilchos Isurei Mizbeiach 1:1): “It is a positive mitzvah that all the sacrifices should be perfect and choice, as we are told: „It should be perfect for a good will. This is a positive mitzvah.” It is obvious that though saying the verses of the sacrifices is considered like offering them, it can never achieve the level of observing the mitzvah with embellishment such as offering a fat sacrifice. This is what Rabbi Yishmael meant when he said “I’ll bring a fat chatas.”

Still, saying the verses of the sacrifices has advantages over their being offered. The first is if a person has a doubt as to if he committed a transgression unintentionally, he is forbidden to bring a sacrifice because of the doubt but he may say the appropriate verses and that is considered his atonement (Responsa Har Tzvi, ibid; see ibid, that he proves so from the Tur).

Saying korbanos atones for intentional sins: The Bnei Yisachar of Dinov zt”l tells of the second advantage (in the preface to his Derech Pikudecha, preface 5, os 8; cf Rabeinu Yonah to Rif, Berachos 3a, s.v. kivan), that saying korbanos can atone for intentional sins! This is based on Chazal’s statement (Taanis 27a, etc.) that Avraham said, “Ribono shel ‘olam…when there’s no Temple what will be with them?” He told him, “I already arranged the order of korbanos. When they read them before Me, I attribute to them as though they offered them and forgive them all their sins (‘avonoseihem).” An ‘avon is an intentional sin. We thus see that learning the verses of the sacrifices can ease atonement for intentional sins (Kemotzei Shalal Rav, ibid).

Hadran Aloch Maseches Menachos. We shall review it and learn about the sacrifices to atone for us before Hashem.



It is told about HaGaon Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l (Halichos Shlomo, I, Ch. 6, remarks 20 and 24) that he took care to come ten minutes before the start of prayers to say birchos hashachar and korbanos patiently and pleasantly. He told to those who asked to at least be careful to say the parshah of the tamid and the ketores (incense). If he didn’t say them before prayers, it is fitting to say the parshah of the tamid after prayers but not the ketores as they already said it at the end of the prayer. He was unsatisfied that people were careless about saying korbanos and would urge his pupils to heed such and in cheider the pupils should be taught to say at least part of korbanos.

A Minchah:
 Like a Body Without a Soul

At the start of Menachos (Vol. 228) we cited the following peninah: The pupils of HaGaon Rav Chayim of Volozhin zt”l write in the name of their mentor: Prayer resembles the tamid. “Prayer without concentration is like a body without a soul.” This means that prayer without concentration does not have the advantage of an animal sacrifice, which has a soul, but the advantage of a minchah, which is “a body without a soul” (Tosefes Ma’aseh Rav, 12; Keser Rosh, 22; Beiurei Rabeinu Chayim MiVolozhin, 163).

A reader sent us an interesting addition which he heard from HaGaon HaTzadik Rav Gedalyah Eiseman, mashgiach of Kol Torah Yeshivah. Chazal’s satement, that prayer without concentration is like a body without a soul, denegrates the value of such prayer while Rav Chayim’s statement apparently enlivens it as he treats such prayer as a minchah! However, a minchah was offered by a poor person who could not afford to offer an animal. From such a person, who is not able to pray with concentration, his prayer is accepted like a minchah. But someone who could have prayed with concentration should not expect his prayer to be regarded…