As we learned on yesterday’s daf (=page), the thirteenth perek (=chapter) of Masechet Zevahim focuses on the prohibition against bringing sacrifices outside of the Temple. The Mishnah on today’s daf discusses the question of whether a sacrifice that is brought outside the Temple must be brought on an altar in order for the person who brought the sacrifice to be deemed liable. According to Rabbi Yossi, without an altar there is no sacrifice, and it cannot be considered a korban that is brought in a forbidden manner. Rabbi Shimon disagrees, arguing that even if the sacrifice was brought on a rock or a stone it is considered an attempt to bring a korban, and the person who performed that service would be held liable.
What are the sources for these two opinions?
Rav Huna explains that both positions are based on biblical passages. Rabbi Yossi, who requires an altar for the sacrifice to be considered significant, learns this from the story of Noah, who, the Torah teaches, built an altar and brought animals as sacrifices on it (see Sefer Bereshit 8:20). In his Yad David, Rabbi David Zintzheim explains that the continuation of that pasuk (=verse) makes clear that the animals were brought as a sacrifice on an altar. The Torah’s emphasis on Noah’s building the altar is understood as requiring the altar for the sacrifice.
The source for Rabbi Shimon, who does not require an altar, is the story of Shimshon’s father, Mano’ah, who brings a sacrifice after being informed that his son would redeem the Jewish people from their troubles. The navi clearly describes that the sacrifice was brought on a tzur – a rock (see Sefer Shoftim, or Judges, 13:19). The Gemara explains that Rabbi Yossi rejects this as a source since it was a hora’at sha’ah – a one-time exception to the rule.