ד׳ באלול ה׳תשע״ח (August 15, 2018)

Menahot 5a-b: Permitting the New Grain

On yesterday’s daf we learned about a unique meal-offering – the minḥat ha-omer – that was brought on the day after the first day of Pesaḥ and whose purpose was to permit use of the grain from the new harvest. Rav taught that in this case, if the kohen took the required fistful of flour she-lo lishmah – with inappropriate intentions – the minḥat ha-omer is totally invalid, since the purpose of this minḥa was to permit the new harvest and it did not fulfill that purpose.

On today’s daf we find that not all of agree with Rav’s ruling.

Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish rules that in such a case the meal offering remains valid and the kometz – the fistful of flour taken from the minḥa – can be offered on the altar. Nevertheless, the rest of the flour cannot be eaten by the kohanim until a second minḥat ha-omer is brought, since the first one did not fulfill the necessary requirement and the new grain has not yet been permitted. Rav Pappa explains that this is based on the fact that Reish Lakish believes that the new grain becomes permitted automatically with dawn of the morning of the 16th day of Nisan (see the first part of the passage in 23:14), although bringing the special minḥat ha-omer is required if the sacrifice can be brought (see the continuation of the abovementioned passage).

Rava disagrees with both Rav and Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish, and rules that the minḥat ha-omer is valid and succeeds in permitting the new grain even if the kohen had improper intentions at the time that he took the kometz. He argues that the minḥat ha-omer really is unique inasmuch as it is the only meal offering brought from barley (all others are brought from wheat), so the ordinary sacrificial rules do not apply. Rashi explains that according to this approach, the minḥat ha-omer should not be viewed as a sacrifice, but simply as the required method of permitting the new grain. Therefore the ordinary rules of sacrifices do not apply to it.