Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Eating the Size of a Bean

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The Gemora (Kiddushin 53) states: The righteous Kohanim would withdraw their hands from the lechem hapanim (for eating a portion the size of a bean would not be regarded as a mitzvah), but the gluttons would divide their shares (seemingly this means that they would leave a large amount for one Kohen, and they would take his share a different time)

Rashi cites the Gemora in Yoma 39a which states that in the times of Shimon Hatzadik, there was a blessing in the lechem hapanim and a Kohen who would eat a k’zayis would be satisfied, but afterwards, they would only receive a portion the size of a bean, and still not be satiated.

Tosfos Yeshonim comments that if they would have become satiated from a portion the size of a bean, they would have fulfilled their mitzvah.

Chasam Sofer notes that there exists a novelty in the mitzvah of eating kodoshim. If one person eats from the korban the size of a k’zayis and the rest of the Kohanim all have less than a k’zayis, that is sufficient in respect to the korban. The first Kohen is the only one that fulfilled his mitzvah. This is why the righteous ones held back from eating when it was only the size of a bean.

The Beis Halevi explains the Tosfos Yeshonim that there is a distinction between the korban pesach and other korbanos. By the korban pesach, there is an obligation on the individual and he is required to eat a k’zayis. By the other korbanos, the mitzvah is that the korban should be eaten, and if accumulatively, the korban was eaten, even though there was no Kohen who had a k’zayis, that is sufficient.

According to the Beis Halevi, we do not understand why the righteous ones held back from eating when it was only the size of a bean; as long as everyone ate the entire lechem hapanim, the mitzvah would be fulfilled!?

(Shemuas Chaim attempts to answer this, however, it is not clear to me)