כ״ט בתשרי ה׳תשע״ט (October 8, 2018)

Menahot 59a-b: The Basic Rules of Meal Offerings

As we learned in the introduction to Massekhet Menaḥot, there are a variety of different types of meal offerings. The Mishna on today’s daf teaches some of the basic rules of menaḥot:

Some meal offerings require oil and frankincense, some require oil but not frankincense, some frankincense but not oil, and some neither oil nor frankincense.

1.  These require oil and frankincense:

the meal offering of fine flour,

that prepared in a pan,

that prepared in a deep pan,

the loaves and the wafers,

the meal offering of the priests,

the meal offering of the anointed ,

the meal offering of a non-Jew,

the meal offering of women,

the meal offering of the omer.

2. The meal offering offered with libations that come with an ola (burnt offering) or a shelamim (a peace offering) requires oil but not frankincense.

3. The shewbread (leḥem ha-panim) requires frankincense but not oil.

4. The two loaves,the sinner’s meal offering and the meal offering of jealousy (of a ) require neither oil nor frankincense.

The first minḥa that we find listed is “the meal offering of fine flour.” Among the reasons offered for placing this minḥa first is that it is the meal offering where we find the requirement of both oil and frankincense clearly mentioned (see 2:1), and therefore serves as the source for the other examples in the list. Rashi adds that someone who volunteers to bring a minḥa without specifying which type will be required to bring a standard meal offering of fine flour.

In his Tosafot Yom Tov, Rav Yom Tov Lippman Heller points out that it is strange to find that the Mishna brings up the case of leḥem ha-panim in the list together with all of the different meal offerings, for although it does have frankincense included in its composition, it is not really a korban minḥa. In response, the Rashash explains at length how we must conclude that in fact the leḥem ha-panim must be viewed as belonging to the general category of meal offerings.