[Avodah] Menachot Question 79a

Arie Folger afolger at aishdas.org
Sun Jan 6 11:35:53 PST 2019

Dear Ovedim,

Menachot 78b-79a deals with the question of the sanctity of the loaves of a
todah sacrifice that was deficient in some way. In particular, the Gemara
explains that our Mishna, which posits a disagreement between Rabbi
Eli'ezer and teh Sages about the status of the loaves brought with an
animal that was found after shechita to have been a ba'al mum (i.e. a
blemish that preceded slaughter), obviously was authored by Rabbi Meir.

The reaosn the Gemara posits our Mishna was authored by Rabbi Meir is that
in the Tosefta, that is Rabbi Me'ir analysis, while Rabbi Yehudah disagrees
and posits that Rabbi Eli'eser and Rabbi Yehoshua' (the latter being "the
Sages" of our Mishna) do not disagree regarding the status of the loaves
accompanying an animal with a blemish, but rather regarding the status of
such loaves accompanying an animal that was sacrificed with the
disqualifying intention chutz limqomo.

The Gemara spends a considerable amount of space working out the logic of
the two sides according to Rabbi Yehuda. The Rambam, however, doesn't rule
according to Rabbi Yehuda, but rather follows our Mishna, meaning he
follows Rabbi Meir (and within Rabbi Meir follows the Sages, i.e. Rabbi
Yehoshua' as opposed to Rabbi Eli'ezer). Now that isn't in and of itself

Often the Gemara will spend considerable efforts to understand the rejected
shittah, too, and sometimes spend more effort on it than on the shittah we
eventually follow.

Rambam's psak also accords with the two kelalim of halakha kestam mishna
and also Rabbi Meir veRabbi Yehudah halakha keRabbi Meir.

And yet, I find that here it is difficult, because... Towards the end of
the sugya (on 79a), there is a disagreement between Rabba and Rava
regarding what to do with a Chatat that had been slaughtered with the
disqualifying intention of chutz limqomo and then erroneously brought up
upon the altar. The Gemara explains the disagreement between them as
flowing forth from the disagreement  between Rabbi Eli'ezer and Rabbi
Yehoshua' regarding a Todah sacrificed with that same disqualifying

The problem is that Rabbi Eli'ezer and Rabbi Yehoshua' only disagree
regarding the loaves of a Todah sacrificed chutz limkomo according to Rabbi
Yehudah's analysis, while according to Rabbi Meir there ain't no such
disagreement between them.

Hence, the conlcusion of the sugya, citing the disagreement between Rabba
and Rava, seems to indicate that the correct interpretation is according to
Rabbi Yehudah. This gives rise to the two following difficulties: Either
this proves that the Halakha is like Rabbi Yehuda, so why does Rambam rule
like Rabbi Meir, and also: why is the halakha like Rabbi Yehuda and not
like Rabbi Meir?

Now perhaps a reader only casually looking at this difficulty of mine may
ask whether it is possible that the Rambam ruled according to a particular
mehalakh which works out both according to Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Yehudah.
Alas, no, that is not the case. The Rambam rules that chutz limqomo the
loaves are nonetheless sanctified (and consequently prohibited in
consumption as any sacrifice brought with the intention of chutz limqomo),
which is only the case acording to Rabbi Meir or according to Rabbi
Eli'ezer as understood by Rabbi Yehudah. However, as the Gemara explains,
Rabbi Eli'ezer ends up changing his mind and agreeing to Rabbi Yehoshua',
so that the Rambam couldn't rule the loaves to be sanctified if he had been
following Rabbi Yehudah.

Bottom line: I am confused. Why does the sugya present the Amoraim as
following Rabbi Yehudah's understanding, when the halakha ought to follow
Rabbi Meir?

Arie Folger,
Recent blog posts on http://rabbifolger.net/

* Koscheres Geld (Podcast)

* Kennt die Existenz nur den Chaos? G”ttliches Vorsehen im Jüdischen
Gedankengut (Podcast)

* Halacha zum Wochenabschnitt: Baruch Hu uWaruch Schemo

* Is there Order to the World? Providence in Jewish Thought

* What is Modern Orthodoxy (from a radio segment)
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