כ״ה באייר ה׳תשע״ח (May 10, 2018)

Zevahim 27a-b: The Right Time and Place

Sacrifices are limited by both time and by place. Thus a korban must be brought and eaten during a specific time period, usually the same day that they are slaughtered, or, in the case of a shelamim, or peace-offering, one day beyond the day that they are slaughtered. They are also limited by where they can be brought and eaten, usually within the precincts of the Temple, or, in the case of kodashim kalim – sacrifices of lesser holiness – within the walls of the city of Jerusalem.

The Mishna on today’s daf teaches that someone whose intent is to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice at the wrong time, or to burn the sacrifice on the altar at the wrong time or to eat the meat of the korban or the skin of the alyah at the wrong time, will make the korban invalid. Furthermore, the sacrifice becomes piggul – abhorrent (see 7:16-18) – and eating of the meat of such a korban will make the person liable to receive karet, a severe punishment at the hands of Heaven. Someone whose intent was to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice in the wrong place, or to burn the sacrifice on the altar in the wrong place or to eat the meat of the korban or the skin of the alyah in the wrong place, will make the korban invalid, but the person who ate of this meat would not receive karet.

What is “the skin of the alyah“?

The alyah was the long, thick, fatty tail of the type of sheep that was common in Israel and the surrounding areas during Temple times. This tail covered the entire back of the sheep to the extent that it was difficult to determine the gender of the sheep because of the heavy covering. The Torah commands that when a sheep is brought as a shelamim sacrifice, the alyah must be burned on the altar together with the other parts that were burned. This rule applied only to sheep, since other animals that were sacrificed, like goats, did not have an alyah.