ו׳ באלול ה׳תשע״ח (August 17, 2018)

Menahot 8a-b: The Ingredients in a Meal Offering

Most meal offerings were made up of fine wheat flour that was mixed with oil and frankincense. On today’s daf we learn that according to Rav a minḥa – a meal offering – can become sanctified even without its oil, since we find that there is a minḥa that is brought without oil, that is, the leḥem ha-panim – the Shewbread. Similarly, a minḥa can become sanctified even without its levona – its frankincense, since the minḥa that is a wine libation is brought without frankincense (see 15:1-16). Even if both the oil and the levona were missing the minḥa could become sanctified, since we find that a minḥat ḥoteh – the meal offering brought by a person who commits one of a number of specific sins and cannot afford a more expensive sacrifice, is brought without oil and without levona (see 5:1-13, and in particular, verse 11).

Rabbi Ḥanina disagrees with Rav, arguing that without all of the ingredients, the flour will not become sanctified.

It should be noted that this discussion is not about actually bringing the meal offerings when they are missing one or more of their required elements, since the Mishna later on in Massekhet Menaḥot (daf 27a) makes it clear that each of these elements is essential if the offering is to be brought. The issue at hand is whether the flour will become sanctified if it is placed in one of the Temple vessels even if one (or more) of the ingredients is missing.

While Rav explained his position based on parallels to other types of menaḥot, Rabbi Ḥanina offers no explanation for his position. In his Netivot HaKodesh, Rabbi Avraham Moshe Salman of Harkov suggests that Rabbi Ḥanina believes that all of the ingredients are essential for the flour to be considered having the potential to become a meal offering, and without one of those ingredients even placement in one of the Temple vessels will have no effect.