SALT - Tuesday, 8 Nisan 5777 - April 4, 2017

  • Rav David Silverberg

            In its discussion of the shelamim sacrifice, the Torah in Parashat Tzav establishes that meat of a shelamim may be eaten until the end of the day after the day when the sacrifice was offered.  This means that if a person brought his shelamim offering on Sunday, the meat may be eaten until sundown on Monday.  The shelamim differs in this regard from other sacrifices (chatat, asham and mincha), whose meat may be eaten only through the night following the offering.  The exception to this rule is the korban toda (thanksgiving offering), which, though it generally shares the properties of a shelamim, may be consumed only through the night after the sacrifice is brought (7:15-16).

            In formulating the halakha regarding standard shelamim offerings, the Torah writes, “...it shall be eaten on the day the offering is sacrificed, and the next day – that which remains from it shall be eaten” (7:16).  The Ramban understood from this formulation that the primary mitzva is to partake of the shelamim on the day the offering was brought.  Meat that was not consumed on that day may be eaten the following day, but the primary obligation requires eating the sacrificial meat on the day of the offering, as is done when other sacrifices are offered.

            Rav Meir Simcha Ha-kohen of Dvinsk, in his Or Samei’ach (Hilkhot Ma’aseh Ha-korbanot 10:6), notes that the Rambam does not appear to follow this view.  The Rambam writes simply that shelamim sacrifices may be eaten on the day it is offered and through the next day, without giving any indication that there is a preference to eating the meat on the first day, suggesting that he disagreed with the Ramban’s position. 

Rav Meir Simcha observes further that this issue seems to underlie a debate among the Rishonim concerning the Gemara’s discussion in Masekhet Pesachim (59a) regarding the rule of hashlama, which forbids offering sacrifices in the Beit Ha-mikdash after the offering of the afternoon tamid (daily) sacrifice.  According to one view – that of Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yochanan ben Beroka – an exception is made in the case of a mechusar kippurim, somebody who had been tamei (ritually impure) and has completed his process of purification except for the offering of a sacrifice.  A zav or zava (person who experienced certain abnormal bodily emissions), for example, must offer a sacrifice in order to complete the purification process.  A mechusar kippurim is still considered impure with respect to the fact that he may not enter the Beit Ha-mikdash or partake of sacrifices.  If a mechusar kippurim had sent a voluntary shelamim sacrifice to the Beit Ha-mikdash, he now bears an obligation to partake of the meat, but he is forbidden from eating sacrificial meat by virtue of his status of mechusar kippurim.  Rabbi Yishmael maintained that in such a case, the purification offering of a mechusar kippurim may be brought even if the afternoon tamid had already been offered.  Although we generally forbid offering sacrifices after the offering of the afternoon tamid, this prohibition is overridden by the need to complete this individual’s purification process to allow him to partake of his shelamim

The Rishonim debate the question as to the scope of this ruling.  The Ba’al Ha-ma’or claimed that Rabbi Yishmael’s stated his ruling only with regard to the day after the shelamim offering was brought.  If a mechusar kippurim had not offered his purification sacrifice on this day, then the sacrifice may be brought even after the tamid, because otherwise he would be unable to partake of his shelamim.  Since the time for eating his shelamim ends at sundown that day, the rule of hashlama is waived so he can fulfill his mitzva to partake of the meat of his shelamim sacrifice.  On the day his shelamim is offered, however, Rabbi Yishmael would not allow his purification sacrifice to be offered after the tamid, as he can still partake of his shelamim the following day.  According to the Ba’al Ha-ma’or, since the only justification for suspending the rule of hashlama is to enable the individual to fulfill his mitzva of eating his shelamim sacrifice, it is suspended only if the time for eating the shelamim ends that day.  The Ra’avad, however, disagrees.  Following the view of the Ramban, the Ra’avad maintained that the primary mitzva of eating the meat of the shelamim is on the day it is offered, and therefore, the rule of hashlama is suspended even to facilitate the consumption of a shelamim on that day.  Even though the meat may also be eaten the following day, nevertheless, Rabbi Yishmael permits offering the purification sacrifice after the tamid to enable the individual to partake of his shelamim already that day.  The Ba’al Ha-ma’or’s view, by contrast, seems to reflect the position implied by the Rambam, that there is no preference to eating the meat of a shelamim on the day it is offered, and the mitzva is fulfilled at the same standard even if the meat is eaten the next day.