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and circle the altar until reaching the southwest corner and descend via the left side of the ramp, except for one who ascends for one of these three matters, where they would ascend directly to the southwest corner of the altar, and descend by turning on their heels and retracing the path by which they ascended rather than circling the altar.

GEMARA: The Gemara asks a question about the mishna’s statement that the sacrificial rite of a bird sin offering is performed at the southwest corner of the altar: From where are these matters derived? Rabbi Yehoshua says: The verse states with regard to the sin offering of a destitute sinner, which is a meal offering brought in lieu of an animal or bird: “He shall put no oil upon it, neither shall he put any frankincense on it; for it is a sin offering” (Leviticus 5:11). From this verse it is evident that a sin offering is called a meal offering and a meal offering is called a sin offering, so that their halakhot may be compared.

Just as a sin offering requires slaughtering in the north section of the Temple courtyard, so too, the handful of a meal offering requires sanctification in a service vessel in the north. And just as a meal offering is brought near to the southwest corner of the altar, so too, the blood of a sin offering is sprinkled on the southwest corner of the altar.

The Gemara asks: And with regard to a meal offering itself, from where do we derive that it must be brought near the altar at the southwest corner? As it is taught in a baraita with regard to the verse: “And this is the law of the meal offering…before the Lord, in front of the altar” (Leviticus 6:7). From the phrase: “Before the Lord,” one might have thought that the rite of bringing the meal offering near the altar must be performed at the west side of the altar, which faces the Sanctuary. Therefore, the verse states: “In front of the altar,” which is its south side, from where the priests ascend the ramp.

The baraita continues: If the verse merely stated: “In front of the altar,” one might have thought that the practice of bringing the meal offering near the altar must be performed at the south side of the altar. Therefore, the verse states: “Before the Lord,” which indicates the west side. How can these texts be reconciled? The priest brings it near at the southwest corner of the altar, opposite the edge of the corner of the altar, and that is sufficient.

The baraita continues: Rabbi Eliezer says: One might have thought that the priest may bring it near the altar to the west of the southwest corner or to the south of the southwest corner. You must say: Anywhere you find two verses, and acting in accordance with one of them fulfills itself, i.e., the requirement stated in that verse, and fulfills the requirement stated in the other verse, whereas acting in accordance with the other one of them fulfills itself and negates the requirement stated in the other verse, one leaves the verse that fulfills itself and negates the other, and seizes the verse that fulfills itself and fulfills the other verse as well.

The Gemara explains: In this context, when you say: “Before the Lord,” which indicates that the meal offering should be brought near the altar at the west side of the altar, how have you fulfilled the other part of the verse: “In front of the altar,” which indicates the south side? But when you say: “In front of the altar,” and bring it near the altar at the south side, you have also fulfilled the phrase: “Before the Lord.” Consequently, the meal offering must be brought near the south side of the altar.

The Gemara asks: If one brought the meal offering near the altar at the south side, how have you fulfilled the phrase: “Before the Lord”? Rav Ashi says: This tanna holds that the entire altar stood in the north section of the Temple courtyard. The southern side of the altar was directly aligned with the midpoint of the Temple courtyard, directly opposite the entrance of the Sanctuary, and therefore it is considered “before the Lord.”

§ The mishna teaches that if the sacrificial rite of a bird sin offering was performed in any place on the altar, the offering is valid, but the southwest corner was its designated place. The Gemara asks: What is the mishna saying when it states that the southwest corner was its designated place? The mishna already stated that the sacrificial rite of a bird sin offering should be performed at the southwest corner. Rav Ashi said: This is what the mishna is saying: Any place was valid for its pinching, but the southwest corner was the place for the sprinkling of its blood.

The Gemara notes: We learn in this mishna that which the Sages taught explicitly in a baraita with regard to a bird sin offering: If the priest pinched its nape in any place on the altar, it is valid. If he sprinkled its blood in any place on the altar, it is valid. If he sprinkled the blood, but did not squeeze out the remaining blood upon the lower part of the wall of the altar, in accordance with the verse: “And he shall sprinkle of the blood of the sin offer-ing upon the side of the altar; and the rest of the blood shall be squeezed out at the base of the altar” (Leviticus 5:9), it is nevertheless valid, provided that he places some of the blood of the soul anywhere on the altar from the red line and below.

The Gemara asks: What is the baraita saying? It first states that the offering is valid no matter where on the altar its blood is sprinkled, and it then states that blood must be placed specifically below the red line. The Gemara answers: This is what the baraita is saying: If he pinched its nape in any place on the altar, it is valid. If he squeezed out its blood in any place on the altar, it is valid,

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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