Menahot 77a-b - Thanksgiving offerings

May 25, 2011


The eighth perek (=chapter) of Masechet Menahot begins on today's daf (=page). Its focus is the korban todah - the thanksgiving offering - which is a type of korban shelamim (peace offerings) discussed in Masechet Zevahim with the other animal sacrifices. Nevertheless its unique character brings it into Masechet Menahot, as well, since every korban todah was accompanied by four meal-offerings, some made of matzah and some made of hametz (see Sefer Vayikra 7:11-15). This chapter is dedicated to explaining the laws pertaining to these menahot, how they are made, their size, and so forth.


Among the unique halakhot connected with these meal-offerings was the requirement to offer terumah - a gift to the kohen - from them (see Vayikra 7:14). The Torah offers no explanation for the terumah beyond its requirement; the Mishnayot in this perek deal with questions of whether it has the same laws as ordinary terumah (e.g. that a non-kohen who eats it is liable to receive a Heavenly death penalty and must repay its value plus a 20% penalty), or if it simply must be given to the kohen.


The Mishnah teaches that accompanying a korban todah there were ten loaves made of hametz (leaven) and 30 of matzah. The 30 matzot were divided into ten each of three types - hallot (loaves), rekikim (wafers) and revukhah (boiled). The Mishnah continues and teaches that one of each type was taken and set aside as terumah for the kohen who sprinkled the blood of the associated thanksgiving sacrifice, while the rest were left for the owner of the sacrifice to eat.


The Mishnah does not explain clearly who takes the terumah - does the kohen do it himself, or is it the responsibility of the owner of the sacrifice? One suggestion is that the Torah seems to indicate that it is the kohen who takes it, since we find that Moshe - who was acting as a kohen during the ceremony anointing Aharon as High Priest (see Vayikra 8:26) - is the one who took the terumah from the meal-offering and handed it to his brother, Aharon.



This essay is based upon the insights and chidushim of Rabbi Steinsaltz, as published in the Hebrew version of the Steinsaltz Edition of the Talmud. To learn more about the Steinsaltz Daf Yomi initiative, click here.

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