The seventh perek (=chapter) of Masechet Menahot begins on today’s daf (=page). Perek “Elu Menahot” deals mainly with clarifying the way the different meal-offerings are brought: the activities done to prepare for each type of minhah, the offering itself, and the laws pertaining to the remainder of the meal-offering that is left over after the fistful of flour is taken to the altar.
For example, the Torah requires kemitzah as a prerequisite for the minhah offering, and that the remnants of the flour are to be given to the kohanim to eat (see Sefer Vayikra 2:1-10). The Torah does not specify, however, whether these rules apply to each and every meal-offering, or whether kemitzah applies in those cases where the entire meal-offering is sacrificed on the altar.
The first Mishnah lists those meal-offerings where the ordinary rules apply: the fistful of flour – the kemitzah – is separated from the rest of the offering and is sacrificed, while the remainder is given to the kohanim to eat. These include five types of voluntary menahot typically brought by Jewish men –
1. minhat solet – a simple flour mixture
2. hallot – unleavened cakes
3. rekikim – unleavened wafers
4. mahavat – fried
5. marheshet – cooked
or those same voluntary menahot that are donated by non-Jews – minhat goyim – or by women – minhat nashim.
There are also a number of obligatory menahot, that have this rule, like –
- minhat ha-omer – the meal offering brought on Passover, celebrating the new harvest (see Vayikra 23:10-11)
- minhat hoteh – when a person is obligated to bring a sacrifice for one of a number of specific sins, in the event that he cannot afford a more expensive sacrifice, he can bring a meal offering (see Vayikra 5:1-13).
- minhat kena’ot – the meal-offering brought by a sotah – a woman suspected of an affair (see Bamidbar 5:25).