י״ב במרחשון ה׳תשע״ט (October 21, 2018)

Menahot 72a-b: Rules of Meal Offerings

The seventh perek of Massekhet Menaḥot begins on today’s dafPerekElu Menaḥot” deals mainly with clarifying the way the different meal offerings are brought: the activities done to prepare for each type of minḥa, 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 kemitza as a prerequisite for the minḥa 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 kemitza applies in those cases where the entire meal offering is sacrificed on the altar.

The first Mishna lists those meal offerings where the ordinary rules apply: the fistful of flour – the kemitza – 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 menaḥot typically brought by Jewish men –

1. minḥat solet – a fine flour mixture

2. ḥallot – unleavened loaves

3. rekikim – unleavened wafers

4. maḥavat – prepared in a pan

5. marḥeshet – prepared in a deep pan

or those same voluntary menaḥot that are donated by non-Jews – minḥat goyim – or by women – minḥat nashim.

There are also a number of obligatory menaḥot, that have this rule, like –

  • minḥat ha-omer – the meal offering brought on Passover, celebrating the new harvest (see 23:10-11)
  • minḥat ḥoteh – 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 5:1-13).
  • minḥat kena’ot – the meal offering brought by a  – a woman suspected of an affair (see Bamidbar 5:25).