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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Vayikra. A Brisker Discussion on Korbanos and Chametz

I've written the English parts, on a whim, almost completely in standard English, excepting words like Chametz and passuk. 


This is what the Briskers call "A Famous Question."  


The Gemara in Pesachim 5a and 28b brings opinions that Chametz is prohibited on the fourteenth of Nissan in the afternoon, even before Pesach begins that night.  The Gemara derives this from two pesukim.  Rava on 5a derives it from Shemos 34:25 לא תשחט על חמץ דם זבחי, and Reb Yehuda on 28b derives it from Devarim 16:3- ומנין לאוכל חמץ משש שעות ולמעלה שהוא בלא תעשה שנאמר לא תאכל עליו חמץ.  The language of the Rambam (1 Ch'uM 8) is 
אסור לאכול חמץ ביום ארבעה עשר מחצות היום ולמעלה שהוא מתחלת שעה שביעית ביום. וכל האוכל בזמן הזה לוקה מן התורה שנאמר לא תאכל עליו חמץ, כלומר על קרבן הפסח. כך למדו מפי השמועה בפירוש דבר זה לא תאכל חמץ משעה שראויה לשחיטת הפסח שהוא בין הערבים והוא חצי היום

The Ra'avad argues and says 
 וכל האוכל בזמן הזה לוקה מן התורה. א"א מלקות מחצות ואילך אינו מחוור דכיון דקי"ל כר"ש בלפני זמנו ואחר זמנו דלא דריש הנך קראי לא תאכל לא תאכלו בלפני זמנו ואחר זמנו נהי דאסור באכילה מן התורה מביום הראשון תשביתו שאור או מלא תשחט על חמץ כדרבה אבל איסור הנאה ליכא מן התורה ומלקות נמי ליתא

Note that the Rambam says that the source of the prohibition is Rava's passuk from Daf 5a, and the Ra'avad's is Reb Yehuda on 28b.

The Gemara in Zevachim 56a says: How do we know that the blood of a Korban becomes deconsecrated and profaned with sunset/Shkiah?  
אמר רב יצחק בר אבודימי מנין לדם שנפסל בשקיעת החמה שנאמר (ויקרא ז) ביום הקריבו את זבחו יאכל ביום שאתה זובח אתה מקריב ביום שאי אתה זובח אי אתה מקריב 
Only on the day that you shechted the Korban may you place its blood on the altar; afterwards, the blood is passul.  


Tosfos asks, who needs this passuk?  We know that sacrificial service can only be done during the daytime from Vaykira 7:38, ביום צוותו את בני ישראל להקריב את קרבניהם, and so the blood service can only be done during the day.  Once sunset has passed, it is no longer day, and you would have to wait until the next day to continue- which is impossible, because all items that have been sanctified for use on the altar are profaned with the break of dawn.  So who needs to know that Sunset profanes the blood, when you won't be able to use it until the next day, at which point it is profaned, on the basis of a different passuk, at the break of dawn?  Although there is an opinion that items that are kept on the roof of the Altar are protected from the profanation caused by Daybreak, what of the other opinion, that being on the Altar affords no protection at all?

Tosfos in Zevachim 56a and in Menachos 20b says two answers.

1. That although there is a general profanation of sacrificial items at daybreak, there is reason to think this problem would not apply to sacrificial blood. Our passuk is needed to tell us that sacrificial blood is subject to the same profanation. 

2. That although, according to Rabbeinu Tam, night begins with the second definition of Sunset, Shkiah Shni'ah, which is fifty nine minutes after what we call Shkiah Rishonah, the first Sunset, this does not apply to Sacrifices.  The tremendous novelty of this passuk is that unlike all other definitions of day, which, according to Rabbeinu Tam, ends at the second Shkiah, in the context of Sacrifices, day ends with Shkiah Rishonah.

The Rambam (4 Ma'Hak 1) says
כל הקרבנות אין מקריבין אותן אלא ביום שנאמר ביום צוותו את בני ישראל להקריב את קרבניהם ביום ולא בלילה. לפיכך אין שוחטין זבחים אלא ביום ואין זורקין דמים אלא ביום השחיטה שנאמר ביום הקריבו את זבחו ביום הזביחה תהיה ההקרבה. וכיון ששקעה החמה נפסל הדם
In this Rambam we see that he attributes the profanation of the sacrificial blood to the passuk that requires the service to be done by day, which is consistent with the first answer of Tosfos- that the problem with left over blood is that daybreak profanes it, and we need our passuk only to tell us that sacrificial blood is no different than other sacrificial items, and so once you can't continue the service at night, the next day it is profaned already by daybreak.

So someone asked Reb Chaim Brisker the following question:
If the prohibition of Chametz on the fourteenth is based on לא תאכל חמץ משעה שראויה לשחיטת הפסח, that you cannot eat chametz when you may shecht the Korban Pesach, then this issur should end as soon as the time of Shechita ends.  Of course, at that point it is already Pesach, and the Yomtov prohibition of Chametz is in place.  But if you combine the Rambam with Rabbeinu Tam, then this creates an absurdity:  The time of Shechita ends at the first shkiah, and the Yomtov only begins at the second shkiah, then there are 59 minutes during which the prohibition of "chametz during Shechita time" has ended, and the prohibition of "chametz during Pesach" has not yet begun.  This, of course, is impossible.

Reb Chaim answered him that although it is true that the sacrificial blood is profaned at the first Shkiah, this does not prove that it is not "the time of Shechita."  The profanation of the sacrificial blood is specific to the blood, but if one were to shecht the korban at that time, although the blood produced would indeed be absolutely profaned, the act of Shechita would be viewed as a legitimate sacrificial act.  Therefore, it is incorrect to claim that the inevitable profanation of the sacrificial blood proves that this is not "the time of Shechita."  It is the time of shechita, but if you shecht, the blood will become profaned.  True, the profanation of the blood would render the shechita futile, but that does not prove that the act of Shechita was not a legitimate sacrificial act.


I have several major problems with Reb Chaim's answer.  (I know that the person who asked the question was not worried about either the Rambam or Rabbeinu Tam, because there is no reason on Earth to think they agree with each other on the derivation of the pre-pesach issur and they certainly don't agree on the shkiah issue.  He was just asking a clever what-if question.  But Reb Chaim's answer has to make sense.  And Reb Chaim was not playing games, because he is quoted by the Brisker Rov and by Rav Shach in his Avi Ezri 1 Ma'Hak 4, who says he was very happy to have thought of Reb Chaim's answer before hearing it from the Brisker Rov.)  


Problem 1.  While Shechita is a sacrificial act, the purpose of shechita is to produce sacrificial blood.  The Gemara in Chulin (33a) states that unlike the shechita of non-hekdesh animals, 
אי בקדשים, כי לא יצא מהן דם כשרה? הוא עצמו לדם הוא צריך 
 that an act of Shechita of a korban that did not produce blood is not shechita.  If so, to say that shechting at a time when the blood will inevitably become useless is, to my mind, exactly the same as a shechita that does not produce blood at all.  Therefore, you cannot call this "the time of Shechita" because the Shechita itself will be passul for having produced no blood.


Problem 2.  The Rambam, like Tosfos' first answer, doesn't hold that Shkiah profanes the blood.  He says that you can't do the service after the day ends, because sacrificial service must be done during the day, and since you have to wait until the next morning to continue, daybreak will then profane the blood.  So techincally, there is no "Profanation of the sacrificial blood caused by Shki'ah."  There is only a forced end of the service of the day.  So how can Reb Chaim say that it is day for shechita despite a tangential profanation of the blood.  The Rambam clearly stated that the reason the blood becomes useless is because the day's sacrificial work has come to an end, and that includes the shechita.  It is no longer "the time of Shechita."


In thinking about this second problem, I realized that even according to Tosfos first answer/the Rambam, the blood does become profaned at the moment of Shkiah.  Since at the moment of shkiah its fate was sealed, there is nothing you're going to able to do with it, then even though the cause of that problem is the inability to use it at night and the inevitable profanation of daybreak, this causes it to become immediately profaned under the rule of Mishmeres/Hesech HaDaas, that items of sacrificial service have to be held in preparation, in expectation, in anticipation of service.  Here, their uselessness is immediate with shkiah, so they become profaned at the very moment that their uselessness becomes inevitable.  But this doesn't help Reb Chaim.  The blood is only useless because it's not day any more, and if it's not day for the blood, it's not day for Shechita either.


3.  Why would anyone think that the erev Pesach prohibition of Chametz, which begins when you can shecht the Korban, ends before you've eaten the korban?  To me, it is self evident that if the Torah prohibits chametz when you can begin the sacrificial service of the Pesach, then how much more so is chametz prohibited when the Korban is ready and waiting to be eaten.  This is not a kal vachomer, an a fortiori.  It is too obvious to need any rule of a fortiori.  There is no logic on Earth to think that chametz is prohibited during the initial preparatory stages of a korban but permitted during the pendency or the denouement of the korban.  So although the Rambam uses a passuk that refers to "the time of shechita,"  it is obvious that the same prohibition applies FROM "the time of the shechita" until the korban has been consumed (at which point, of course, the Pesach prohibition of Chametz has come into effect.)

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