י״ז במרחשון ה׳תשע״ט (October 26, 2018)

Menahot 77a-b: Thanksgiving Offerings

The eighth perek of Massekhet Menaḥot begins on today’s daf. Its focus is the korban toda – the thanksgiving offering – which is a type of korban shelamim (peace offerings) discussed in Massekhet Zevaḥim with the other animal sacrifices. Nevertheless its unique character brings it into Massekhet Menaḥot, as well, since every korban toda was accompanied by four meal offerings, some made of matza and some made of ḥametz (see Sefer Vayikra 7:11-15). This chapter is dedicated to explaining the laws pertaining to these menaḥot, how they are made, their size, and so forth.

Among the unique halakhot connected with these meal offerings was the requirement to offer teruma – a gift to the kohen – from them (see 7:14). The Torah offers no explanation for the teruma beyond its requirement; the Mishnayot in this perek deal with questions of whether it has the same laws as ordinary teruma (e.g. that a non-kohen who eats it is liable to receive a Heavenly death penalty and must repay its value plus a 20% penalty), or if it simply must be given to the kohen.

The Mishna teaches that accompanying a korban toda there were ten loaves made of ḥametz (leaven) and 30 of matza. The 30 matzot were divided into ten each of three types – ḥallot (loaves), rekikim (wafers) and revukhah (boiled). The Mishna continues and teaches that one of each type was taken and set aside as teruma for the kohen who sprinkled the blood of the associated thanksgiving sacrifice, while the rest were left for the owner of the sacrifice to eat.

The Mishna does not explain clearly who takes the teruma – does the kohen do it himself, or is it the responsibility of the owner of the sacrifice? One suggestion is that the Torah seems to indicate that it is the kohen who takes it, since we find that Moshe – who was acting as a kohen during the ceremony anointing Aharon as (see 8:26) – is the one who took the teruma from the meal offering and handed it to his brother, Aharon.