In general, when a person makes a statement that indicates that he accepts upon himself the obligation to bring a sacrifice, through the power of his stated intention the object referred to becomes sanctified. Nevertheless, since it is his statement that sanctification takes effect, we must clarify what must be said and how to deal with situations where someone’s intentions are not clearly expressed. The thirteenth perek of Massekhet Menaḥot begins of today’s daf, and its focus is on the language that is used when committing to bring a meal offering.
According to the Mishna, if a person simply says “I accept upon myself a meal offering” he can choose any one of the five different types of menaḥot that an individual can bring. The five different types are enumerated in Sefer Vayikra 2:1-10, and they include
- solet – a simple flour mixture
- ḥallot – unleavened loaves
- rekikim – unleavened wafers
- maḥavat – fried (shallow pan)
- marḥeshet – cooked (deep pan)
It appears that there is a disagreement among the rishonim regarding how to rule in this case. The Mishneh LaMelekh points out that while the Rambam in Hilkhot Ma’aseh HaKorbanot (17:5) clearly accepts the first position – that the person bringing the offering can choose any one of five types of menaḥot – Rashi, in his commentary on the Torah (Vayikra 2:1) appears to explain the passage by accepting the position of Rabbi Yehuda. Rav Eliyahu Mizrahi, however, in his supercommentary on Rashi, argues that in his Torah commentary Rashi does not aim to offer rulings of halakha, rather he simply tries to present the approach that best fits in with the simple, straightforward, meaning of the Torah. In this case, Rabbi Yehuda’s approach fits in with the simple meaning of the Torah, but we cannot conclude that this is Rashi’s ruling on the matter.