SALT - Wednesday, 9 Nisan 5777 - April 5, 2017

  • Rav David Silverberg

            Yesterday, we saw the view taken by the Ramban, in his commentary to Parashat Tzav (7:16), that the primary mitzva of eating a shelamim sacrifice requires partaking of the meat on the day the offering is brought.  Although the Torah permits partaking of the meat even the next day, the mitzva is to eat the meat already on the first day.  As we saw, Rav Meir Simcha Ha-kohen of Dvinsk notes in his Or Samei’ach (Hilkhot Ma’aseh Ha-korbanot 10:6) that this issue is actually subject to debate, as the Rambam (there in Hilkhot Ma’aseh Ha-korbanot) and the Ra’avad (in his critique of the Ba’al Ha-ma’or, to Pesachim 59a) seem to disagree.

            Rav Meir Simcha concludes his discussion of this topic by observing that the Ramban’s view provides a simple answer to a question raised by Tosefot in Masekhet Zevachim (57b).  Tosefot ask why in regard to some sacrifices, Chazal enacted a safeguard to protect against eating sacrificial meat beyond the Torah’s deadline, but they did not enact such a provision in regard to other sacrifices.  Specifically, the Torah enacted a safeguard when it comes to the meat of sacrifices that may be eaten on the day of the offering and throughout that night.  As the Mishna famously teaches in the beginning of Masekhet Berakhot (2a), the Torah permits eating the meat of these sacrifices throughout the night, until daybreak, but Chazal enacted a provision requiring that the meat be consumed no later than midnight (as defined by Halakha).  This was done to protect against possible violations of the strict Torah prohibition that forbids eating sacrificial meat beyond the stipulated deadline.  However, when it comes to shelamim offerings, which may be eaten also on the day after the sacrifice is offered, we find no such safeguard.  Halakha permits eating the meat of the shelamim throughout the second day, until sundown, without any rabbinic provision requiring that the consumption be completed earlier to safeguard against violating the Torah’s deadline.  Tosefot answer that sundown is more discernible than daybreak, and thus Chazal felt inclined to enact a provision only with regard to sacrifices that may be eaten until morning.  When it comes to this sacrificial meat, Chazal feared that if Halakha permitted eating until daybreak, people might mistakenly eat the meat beyond this deadline, not realizing that light has already appeared on the eastern horizon.  With regard to sacrifices that may be eaten until sundown of the second day, however, there was no such concern, as people can easily recognize the advent of sunset, and thus Chazal permitted the consumption of sacrifices throughout the day.

            According to the Ramban, Rav Meir Simcha suggests, a simpler answer may be offered.  Since the primary obligation is to partake of the shelamim already on the first day, there was no need to enact an earlier deadline on the second day.  In the vast majority of cases, the meat of the shelamim would be completed before the second day, or, at least, just a small portion of meat would be left for the second day.  It was thus very unlikely that people would mistakenly miss the sunset deadline on the second day, and partake of the meat beyond that point.  As such, Chazal had no need to enact a safeguard to protect against such violations.  (This point is also made by the Tzelach to Berakhot 2a.)