ל׳ בשבט ה׳תשע״א (February 4, 2011)

Zevahim 86a-b – More mistakes in the Temple

In the first Mishnah of this perek, or chapter (daf, or page, 83a) we learned – based on the passage in Sefer Shemot(29:37) which teaches that “anything that touches the altar will become holy” – that animals that are appropriate for sacrifice will become fully sanctified if they are brought onto the altar, even if there is a problem that would, ordinarily, cause them to be invalid for sacrifice.


The Mishnah on today’s daf extends that law to other cases. Here we learn that this same rule applies to the ramp leading up to the altar – the kevesh – as well. Similarly, the Temple vessels – the klei sharet – also will serve a similar function, and anything that enters them will become sanctified. The source for this is the passage referring to the vessels of the Tabernacle that teaches that the vessels became sanctified and that all that came into contact with them became sanctified, as well (see Shemot 30:29).


In truth, not everything that comes into contact with these things becomes sanctified.  Just as the first Mishnah in the perek makes clear that this law does not apply to everything that is brought to the altar, but only to animals that are ra’uy lo – those that are appropriate for sacrifice – similarly the only things that become sanctified from contact with the keveshor the klei sharet are things that are ra’uy lahem. Thus, as the next Mishnah (see daf 88a) explains, Temple vessels that are used for liquids (e.g. blood, wine, oil or water) will not sanctify solids that are placed in them and those that are used for solids (e.g. flour) will not sanctify liquids that are placed in them.


Another caveat that should be noted is the idea that there is a difference between the type of sanctification that is conferred on the things that are brought to the altar or its ramp as opposed to things that are placed in the Temple vessels. Once a sacrifice is brought to the mizbe’ah or to the kevesh, it cannot be removed and is sacrificed. On the other hand, when something is placed in a keli sharet it is not fully sanctified; it simply can no longer be redeemed.