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Steinsaltz

The Gemara responds: And according to your reasoning, one could infer the opposite from the following clause: The meat of any bird whose disqualification did not occur in the sacred Temple courtyard transmits ritual impurity to one who swallows it. Here, according to Rabbi Yoḥanan, what disqualification is added if not pinching by a non-priest?

Rather, both clauses add other disqualifications not mentioned in the mishna. The former clause, concerning an offering that was disqualified in the Temple courtyard, is written to add that the slaughter of sacrificial birds inside the Temple courtyard does not render them carcasses. The latter clause, with regard to an offering disqualified outside the Temple courtyard, is written to add that the pinching of non-sacred birds outside the Temple courtyard does render them carcasses.

It is taught in a baraita in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yoḥanan: In a case where a non-priest pinched a bird offering, or a priest disqualified from the Temple service pinched it, or it became piggul, i.e., it was sacrificed with the intent to consume it beyond its designated time, or it became notar, i.e., its meat remained uneaten beyond its designated time, or it became ritually impure, in all these cases, even though the meat of these birds may not be consumed, they still do not render one who swallows them ritually impure when they are in the throat.

Rabbi Yitzḥak says: I heard [shamati] two halakhot, one concerning the removal of a handful from a meal offering by a non-priest for burning on the altar, and one concerning the pinching of a bird offering by a non-priest. Although both offerings are disqualified, I heard that one shall descend from the altar if it ascended, and one shall not descend; but I do not know which halakha applies to which case. Ḥizkiyya said: It stands to reason that in the case of the removal of the handful the offering shall descend and in the case of pinching the offering shall not descend.

The Gemara asks: What is different about pinching by a non-priest that would allow the bird to be sacrificed if it ascended onto the altar? If the difference is that for a non-priest to do so would be valid on a private altar, where all sacrificial rites were performed by non-priests, this does not constitute a difference, as the removal of the handful by a non-priest would also be valid on a private altar.

And if you would say that no handfuls were removed on private altars because no meal offering was sacrificed on a private altar, as meal offerings were brought before the construction of the Temple only on the altar in the Tabernacle, you must also say that there was no pinching either, as according to this opinion no birds were sacrificed on a private altar either.

As Rav Sheshet says: According to the statement of the one who says that a meal offering was sacrificed on a private altar, birds were sacrificed on a private altar. According to the statement of the one who says that no meal offering was sacrificed on a private altar, no birds were sacrificed there either. What is the reason for this? This is because the Torah, in describing the offerings brought at Mount Sinai, before the Tabernacle was built, mentions slaughtered offerings (see Exodus 24:5) but not meal offerings; it mentions slaughtered offerings, i.e., animal offerings, but not birds.

Rather, say that even though both pinching the nape of a bird offering and removing the handful of a meal offering by a non-priest are valid on a private altar, the halakhot of meal offerings sacrificed on a private altar cannot be compared to those of meal offerings sacrificed in the Temple. This is because in the case of a meal offering sacrificed on a private altar, there is no consecration in a service vessel of the handful removed from it. By contrast, in the Temple, the handful must always be consecrated in a service vessel.

§ The mishna rules that if a priest pinched with his left hand, or if he pinched at night, the offering does not render one ritually impure when in his throat. With regard to this issue the Sages taught: One might have thought that invalid pinching that occurs inside the Temple courtyard, such as pinching with the left hand or pinching at night, would cause the offering to render the garments of one who swallows it ritually impure when it is in the throat. Therefore the verse states: “Every soul that eats a carcass…shall be impure until the evening” (Leviticus 17:15). Bird offerings whose napes were pinched inside the Temple courtyard are not considered carcasses.

The Gemara asks: Isn’t a bird offering whose nape was pinched inside the Temple courtyard also a carcass? Rather, the halakha of the mishna is derived from that which the verse states: “Every soul that eats a carcass or a tereifa…shall be impure until the evening” (Leviticus 17:15). A tereifa is an animal with a wound that will cause it to die within twelve months. It is derived from this verse that just as having the status of a tereifa does not render permitted any forbidden bird, so too, any type of death that does not render permitted any forbidden bird renders the animal a carcass with regard to ritual impurity.

Consequently, invalid pinching that is performed inside the Temple courtyard is excluded, since it renders permitted a forbidden bird, as it is permitted to sacrifice such a disqualified offering if it ascended onto the altar, whereas it was prohibited to sacrifice such a disqualified offering if it was not pinched. The meat of such an offering therefore does not render the garments of one who swallows it ritually impure when it is in the throat.

This principle includes two other cases of invalid pinching, for which the Gemara gives a two-word mnemonic: Ketz, ḥefetz. These words are acronyms for the cases of one who pinches the napes of sacrificial birds outside the Temple courtyard, and one who pinches the napes of non-sacred birds whether inside the Temple courtyard or outside of it. Since these offerings do not render permitted any forbidden bird, as these offerings may not be sacrificed even if brought onto the altar, they render the garments of one who swallows them ritually impure when they are in the throat.

It is taught in another baraita: One might have thought that the slaughter of non-sacred birds inside the Temple courtyard, or the slaughter of sacrificial birds whether inside or outside of it, would cause their meat to render the garments of one who swallows it ritually impure when it is in the throat. Therefore the verse states: “Every soul that eats a carcass…shall be impure until the evening.” Birds that have been slaughtered in this manner are not considered carcasses, and so they do not impart ritual impurity.

The Gemara asks: Isn’t a bird slaughtered in one of these manners also a carcass? Rather, it is derived from that which the verse states: “Every soul that eats a carcass or a tereifa…shall be impure until the evening,” as follows: Just as the status of a tereifa is the same, if the bird is slaughtered inside the Temple courtyard as it is if the bird is slaughtered outside of it, i.e., forbidden, so too all forbidden birds whose status is the same if slaughtered inside the Temple courtyard as it is if they were slaughtered outside of it constitute carcasses.

Consequently, the slaughter of non-sacred birds inside the Temple courtyard, or of sacrificial birds whether inside or outside of it, is excluded, since the status of such birds is not the same if they are slaughtered inside the Temple courtyard as if they are slaughtered outside of it. The meat of such an offering therefore does not render the garments of one who swallows it ritually impure when it is in the throat.

The Gemara challenges: Granted, the status of non-sacred birds is not the same if slaughtered inside the Temple courtyard as if they are slaughtered outside of it, as if slaughtered inside the Temple courtyard they are forbidden, while if slaughtered outside of it they are permitted. But with regard to sacrificial birds, in both this case and that case, whether slaughtered inside the Temple courtyard or outside of it, they are disqualified.

Rava says: The halakha with regard to slaughtered sacrificial birds outside the Temple should not be derived from the verse at all, but rather by logic. If the slaughter of a sacrificial bird outside the Temple courtyard has sufficient effect on it as proper slaughter to render the one who slaughtered it liable to excision from the World-to-Come [karet], which is the punishment for slaughtering offerings outside the Temple courtyard (see 107a), could it be that it does not have sufficient effect on the bird as proper slaughter to render it ritually pure by preventing it from assuming the status of a carcass?

The Gemara asks: We found a source for the halakha with regard to the slaughter of sacrificial birds outside the Temple courtyard; from where do we derive this halakha with regard to their slaughter inside the Temple courtyard? The Gemara answers that it is derived from the principle articulated above: Since their status is not the same if they are slaughtered inside the Temple courtyard as if they are slaughtered outside of it, as one who slaughters a sacrificial bird outside the Temple courtyard is liable to receive karet, the status of a carcass does not apply.

The Gemara challenges: If so, it follows that if the priest pinched sacrificial birds outside the Temple courtyard, they are also not considered carcasses, as their status is not the same if they are pinched inside the Temple courtyard as if they are pinched outside of it; if they are pinched inside, they are fit offerings, and if they are pinched outside, they are disqualified. This conclusion would contradict the mishna, which rules that sacrificial birds pinched outside the Temple courtyard are considered carcasses, and they render one who eats their meat impure.

Rav Shimi bar Ashi says: One can derive the halakha with regard to an item that is prepared not in its valid manner, i.e., sacrificial birds slaughtered outside the Temple courtyard, from the halakha with regard to another item that is prepared not in its valid manner, i.e., sacrificial birds slaughtered inside it. But one cannot derive the halakha with regard to an item that is prepared not in its valid manner, i.e., sacrificial birds pinched outside the Temple courtyard, from the halakha with regard to an item that is prepared in its valid manner, i.e., those pinched inside it. The cases of a bird pinched outside and a bird pinched inside the Temple courtyard are not subject to comparison, so one cannot derive conclusions from the differences between them.

The Gemara asks: And can one not derive the halakha with regard to disqualified offerings from the halakha with regard to fit offerings? But isn’t it taught in a baraita: From where is it derived with regard to an item that emerged from the Temple courtyard and was thereby disqualified, that if it nevertheless ascended upon the altar it shall not descend? It is derived from the fact that an item that emerged is valid for sacrifice on a private altar, i.e., that disqualification was not applicable to an offering sacrificed on a private altar, as there was no Temple. Here, the baraita derives the halakha with regard to an disqualified offering from the halakha with regard to a fit one.

The Gemara answers: The tanna of that baraita relies on the phrase: “This is the law of the burnt offering [ha’ola]” (Leviticus 6:2), a seemingly superfluous general phrase which is interpreted homiletically to include the halakha that any item that ascends [ola] upon the altar shall not descend from it, even if it was disqualified. The verse is the actual source for the halakha of the baraita, whereas the case of a private altar is cited merely in support of this ruling.

MISHNA: If the priest pinched the nape of the bird’s neck properly and then it was found to be a tereifa, and it was therefore disqualified from being sacrificed and forbidden for consumption by a priest, Rabbi Meir says: An olive-bulk of its meat does not render one who swallows it ritually impure when it is in the throat, as the pinching prevents it from assuming the status of a carcass.

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
אדם סלומון
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