א׳ באב ה׳תשע״ח (July 13, 2018)

Zevahim 91a-b: Frequent Vs. Common

As we learned on yesterday’s daf the Gemara is discussing how to deal with a situation where we find a conflict with regard to setting priorities in sacrifices. Should sacrifices that are brought on a more regular basis (tadir) be given priority or should the holier sacrifice (kadosh) be brought first?

One of the issues that the Gemara grapples with while discussing this question is how to define the term tadir, which we have translated as “frequent,” that is to say, the sacrifice that is brought with greater frequency. The Gemara tries to bring a proof from the fact that a ḥatat (a sin offering) and an asham (a guilt offering) take precedence over a shelamim (a peace offering), even though the shelamim was the sacrifice that was brought most often by people who accepted upon themselves the obligation to bring a korbanRava objects to this proof, explaining that we must distinguish between tadir, which means “frequent” and matzui, which means “common.” The fact that a korban is brought most often does not make it a constant obligation.

Rav Huna bar Yehuda questions Rava’s assertion by quoting a baraita that contrasts two positive commandments for which a person will receive the punishment of karet (a Heavenly punishment) if he neglects. The baraita states that the Passover sacrifice is not tadir, while the commandment of circumcision is tadir. In that case it does not appear that a circumcision is more frequent that the korban Pesaḥ, rather it is more common.

The Gemara’s answer is that the word tadir in the case of circumcision means tadir be-mitzvot.

Rashi explains this statement by the Gemara as referring to the idea that the commandment of circumcision contains many mitzvot. According to the Gemara in Massekhet Nedarim (31b) the commandment of brit mila involves a thirteen-fold covenant – based on the fact that the word brit appears 13 times in Chapter 17 of Sefer Bereishit, where this commandment first appears. This raises brit mila to a higher level of importance. The Or Same’aḥ offers an alternative approach, arguing that once a person is circumcised he remains in that state for his entire life and thereby lives in constant fulfillment of this mitzva.