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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Pesulei Hamukdashim - Chapter 1

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Pesulei Hamukdashim - Chapter 1

Introduction to Hilchot Pesulei Hamukdashim

They contain eight mitzvot: two positive commandments and six negative commandments. They are:

1) Not to eat offerings that have become unfit or blemished;
2) Not to eat of an offering that is vile;
3) Not to leave the offerings beyond the time for their consumption, as specified (in the Torah);
4) Not to eat what has been left over of the sacrifice beyond the specified time;
5) Not to eat sacrifices that have become unclean;
6) That a man who has become unclean shall not eat of the sacrifices;
7) To burn that which has been left over;
8) To burn that which has become unclean.

These mitzvot are explained in the ensuing chapters.

הלכות פסולי המוקדשין - הקדמה

יש בכללן שמונה מצוות: שתי מצוות עשה, ושש מצוות לא תעשה. וזה הוא פרטן:

(א) שלא לאכול קדשים שנפסלו או שהוטל בהם מום.
(ב) שלא לאכול פיגול.
(ג) שלא יותיר קדשים לאחר זמנם.
(ד) שלא יאכל נותר.
(ה) שלא יאכל קדשים שנטמאו.
(ו) שלא יאכל אדם שנטמא את הקדשים.
(ז) לשרוף הנותר.
(ח) לשרוף הטמא.

וביאור מצוות אלו בפרקים אלו:

1

All persons disqualified from performing sacrificial service1 may slaughter sacrificial animals, even sacrifices of the most sacred order, as an initial preference2 with the exception of a person who is ritually impure who may not slaughter as an initial preference. Even though he stands outside the Temple Courtyard3 and inserts his hands and slaughters in the Courtyard,4 [he was restricted]. This a decree, lest he touch the [sacrificial] meat.5

א

כל הפסולין לעבודה מותרין לשחוט קדשים לכתחלה ואפילו קדשי קדשים חוץ מן הטמא שאינו שוחט לכתחלה ואע"פ שהוא חוץ לעזרה ופשט ידיו ושחט בעזרה גזירה שמא יגע בבשר:

2

If [an impure person] transgressed and slaughtered [a sacrificial animal], the sacrifice is acceptable. Similarly, with regard to the bull [brought by] the High Priest on Yom Kippur even though [Leviticus 16:11] states: "And Aaron... shall slaughter [the bull],"6 if a non-priest slaughtered it, it is acceptable. Even a red heifer that was slaughtered by a non-priest is acceptable,7 for there is no slaughter by a non-priest that invalidates [a sacrifice].

ב

ואם עבר ושחט הזבח כשר וכן פר כהן גדול של יוה"כ אע"פ שנאמר בו ושחט אהרן אם שחטו זר כשר אף פרה אדומה ששחט הזר כשירה שאין לך שחיטה פסולה בזר:

3

When a person slaughters sacrificial animals, but does not have the intent to slaughter them, but instead, is merely busying himself [thoughtlessly], they are disqualified. [He must] have the intent to slaughter them.

ג

השוחט את הקדשים ולא נתכוין לשחיטה אלא כמתעסק הרי אלו פסולין עד שיתכוין לשחיטה:

4

One should not slaughter the heads of two sacrificial animals at the same time.8 If one slaughtered [in this manner], the sacrifices are acceptable.9

ד

ולא ישחוט שני ראשים כאחד בקדשים ואם שחט הרי אלו כשרים:

5

Two people may slaughter a sacrificial animal together, just as they may slaughter an ordinary animal.10

ה

אבל שנים שוחטין בהמה אחת בקדשים כחולין:

6

A minor may not slaughter sacrificial animals even if an adult is standing over him.11 [The rationale is that the slaughter of] sacrificial animals requires concentrated intent and a minor does not have such a potential. Even when [a minor's] deeds indicate that he is acting with intention, [he is] not considered [to have acted] with intention if that will produce a leniency,12 only if it will produce a stringency.

What is implied? If [an animal to be sacrificed as] a burnt-offering was standing in the southern [portion of the Temple Courtyard] and a minor led it and brought it to the north where he slaughtered it - thus his actions indicate that he intended to slaughter a sacred animal13 - [the sacrifice] is still disqualified.

ו

הקטן אינו שוחט קדשים אף על פי שהגדול עומד על גביו שהקדשים צריכין מחשבה וקטן אין לו מחשבה אפילו היתה מחשבתו ניכרת מתוך מעשיו אינה מחשבה להקל אלא להחמיר כיצד היתה עולה עומדת בדרום ומשכה הקטן והביאה לצפון ושחטה שהרי ממעשיו ניכר שמחשבתו לשחיטת קדשים הרי זו פסולה:

7

When sacrifices of the most sacred order were slaughtered in the southern [portion of the Temple Courtyard] or their blood was received there, they are disqualified.

ז

קדשי קדשים שנשחטו בדרום או שנתקבל דמם בדרום פסולין:

8

If one was standing in the southern [portion of the Temple Courtyard], but he extended his hands into the northern portion and slaughtered [a sacrifice of the most sacred order], his slaughter is acceptable.14

ח

היה עומד בדרום והושיט ידו לצפון ושחט שחיטתו כשירה:

9

If, [by contrast, a priest] was standing in the southern [portion of the Temple Courtyard], but he extended his hands into the northern portion and received the blood [of such a sacrificial animal], his receiving of the blood is unacceptable.15

ט

היה עומד בדרום והושיט ידו וקיבל הדם בצפון קבלתו פסולה:

10

If he brings his head and the majority of his body into the northern [portion of the Temple Courtyard], it is considered as if he was standing there.16

י

הכניס ראשו ורובו לצפון הרי הוא כעומד בצפון:

11

If one slaughtered [such an animal] in the northern portion [of the Temple Courtyard] and then in the convulsive movements that accompanied its death, it moved to the southern portion or even if [a priest] took it to the southern portion, it is acceptable.17 If after these convulsive movements took it to the southern portion and then it returned to the northern portion and its blood was received there, it is acceptable.18

Similarly, if [animals to be slaughtered as] sacrifices of a lesser degree of sanctity were inside [the Temple Courtyard]19 and one was standing outside the Temple Courtyard and inserted his hand inside and slaughtered it, his slaughter is acceptable.

יא

שחטה בצפון ופרכסה ויצאת לדרום אפילו הוציאה לדרום כשירה פרכסה ויצאת לדרום וחזרה לצפון ואח"כ קיבל דמה בצפון כשירה וכן קדשים קלים שהיו בפנים ועמד חוץ לעזרה והכניס ידו לפנים ושחט שחיטתו כשירה:

12

If, [while standing outside the Temple Courtyard, a priest] inserted his hand inside and received the blood, the receiving of the blood is unacceptable.20 Even if [the entire body of the priest] performing the service was inside [the Temple Courtyard] and his locks of hair21 were outside, his service is unacceptable, for [when describing the priests' service in the Temple, Leviticus 10:9] states: "When you come to the Tent of Meeting."22 Implied is that one must enter in his entirety.

יב

הכניס ידו וקיבל קבלתו פסולה אפילו הכניס ראשו ורובו אפילו היה העובד כולו בפנים וציצתו בחוץ עבודתו פסולה שנאמר בבואכם אל אהל מועד עד שיבואו כולן:

13

If in the convulsive movements that accompanied its death, [such an] animal moved out of [the Courtyard] after its blood was received,23 it is acceptable. For even if the organs and fats to be offered on the altar and the meat of sacrifices of a lesser degree of sanctity were taken outside [the Courtyard] before [the blood] was presented [on the altar], the sacrifice is acceptable, as will be explained.24

יג

פרכסה הבהמה ויצאת לחוץ אחר קבלת דמה כשירה שאפילו יצאו האימורין והבשר קודם זריקה בקדשים קלים הזבח כשר כמו שיתבאר:

14

If the entire body of [such an] animal was inside the Temple Courtyard and its foot was outside and it was slaughtered, the sacrifice is unacceptable. For [when speaking of bringing the sacrifices, Leviticus 17:5] states: "And they shall be brought to God." Implied is that they should be entirely within [the Courtyard].25

יד

היתה הבהמה כולה בפנים ורגליה בחוץ ושחטה הזבח פסול שנאמר והביאום לה' עד שתהיה כולה בפנים:

15

If one slaughtered [a sacrificial animal]26 while it was located entirely in [the Temple Courtyard] and afterwards, it moved one of its feet outside, he should cut off the meat until he reaches the bone27 and afterwards, the blood should be received. If he received the blood and afterwards, cut off the meat, it is disqualified because of the fat of the meat that is outside [the Temple Courtyard].28

With regard to sacrifices of a lesser degree of sanctity, there is no need to cut off [the meat]. Instead, he should bring its foot back inside [the Temple Courtyard], and receive the blood. For [even] if meat from sacrifices of a lesser degree of sanctity were taken out [of the Temple Courtyard] before their blood was cast [on the altar], [the sacrifice] is acceptable.29

טו

שחטה והיא כולה בפנים ואח"כ הוציאה רגלה לחוץ חותך הבשר עד שהוא מגיע לעצם ואחר כך מקבל הדם ואם קיבל ואחר כך חתך פסול מפני שמנונית הבשר שבחוץ ובקדשים קלים אין צריך לחתוך אלא מחזיר רגלה לפנים ומקבל שבשר קדשים [קלים] שיצא קודם זריקה כשר:

16

If one hung the animal [above the earth] and slaughtered it in the free space of the Temple Courtyard, it is unacceptable, for [Leviticus 1:11] speaks [of slaughtering animals] "on the flank of the altar," implying that one must slaughter on the ground.30

טז

תלה הבהמה ושחטה באויר העזרה פסולה שנאמר על ירך המזבח עד שישחוט בארץ:

17

If the [sacrificial] animal was on the ground, but [the slaughterer] was hanging in the air and he slaughtered the animal while hanging, this disqualifies sacrifices of the most sacred order. Sacrifices of lesser sanctity, by contrast, are acceptable.31

יז

היתה הבהמה בארץ ונתלה ושחט והוא תלוי באויר בקדשי קדשים פסול בקדשים קלים כשר:

18

If one slit the lesser portion of the organs that must be slit for ritual slaughter32 outside [the Temple Courtyard]33 and one completed the slaughter inside or one slit the lesser portion of the organs34 in the southern portion of [the Temple Courtyard] and completed the slaughter in the north, they are unacceptable. For ritual slaughter is considered as one continuous, integral act from the beginning to its completion.35

יח

שחט מיעוט סימנים בחוץ וגמרן בפנים או ששחט מיעוטן בדרום וגמרן בצפון פסולין שישנה לשחיטה מתחילתה ועד סוף:

19

If one was hung and received the blood from the neck of a [sacrificial] animal36 that is located on the ground, [the act] is unacceptable, because this is not the manner of Temple service.

יט

נתלה וקיבל הדם מצואר בהמה המונחת בקרקע פסול שאין דרך שירות בכך:

20

If one was standing in the Temple Courtyard and hung a receptacle over his arm and received the blood in the air or lifted the animal and thus received the blood in the air, [the act] is acceptable, for the open space above the place is considered as the space itself.37

כ

היה עומד בעזרה ותלה המזרק בידו וקיבל הדם באויר או שהגביה הבהמה וקיבל הדם באויר כשר שאויר המקום כמקום:

21

If one placed one receptacle within a second receptacle and received the blood, [the act] is acceptable,38 one substance is not considered as an interposing substance for another substance of the same type.39 If one placed fibers inside the receptacle and received the blood, [the act] is acceptable, because the fibers are porous and thus the blood descends into the receptacle and there is no interference. If, however, one does this while taking a handful of flour from a meal offering and took the handful with the fibers, it is unacceptable.40

כא

נתן מזרק לתוך מזרק וקיבל כשר מין במינו אינו חוצץ הניח סיב בתוך המזרק וקיבל כשר מפני שהסיב חלול והרי הדם יורד לתוך המזרק ואין כאן חציצה אבל אם עשה כן בקמיצת המנחה וקמץ מתוך הסיב פסולה:

22

Receiving the blood [of a sacrificial animal], bringing it to the altar, casting it on the altar and bringing the limbs [of a sacrificial animal] to the ramp are all tasks41 that are only acceptable if performed by a priest who is fit to perform service, as we explained with regard to taking the handful of flour from a meal offering42 or snipping of the head of a fowl.43

כב

קבלת הדם והולכתו למזבח וזריקתו וכן הולכת איברים לכבש כל אחת מאלו אינה כשירה אלא בכהן הכשר לעבודה כמו שביארנו בקמיצת המנחה ובמליקת העוף:

23

Bringing [blood or limbs] to the altar in a way other than walking is not considered as bringing them. Therefore if a priest44 receives the blood [and while] standing in that place, casts it on the altar, the sacrifice is disqualified.45

כג

והולכה שלא ברגל אינה הולכה לפיכך כהן שקיבל את הדם ועמד במקומו וזרקו למזבח נפסל הזבח:

24

If [the priest] received [the blood] with his right hand and then transferred [the receptacle in which he received] it to his left hand, he should return it to his right hand.46 If he received [the blood] with an ordinary utensil, the sacrifice is disqualified. If he received it in a sacred receptacle and transferred it to an ordinary receptacle, he should return it to a sacred receptacle.47

כד

קיבל בימינו ונתן לשמאלו יחזיר לימינו קיבל בכלי חול נפסל הזבח קיבל בכלי קודש ונתן לכלי חול יחזיר לכלי קודש:

25

If [the blood] spilled out of the receptacle on to the floor [of the Temple Courtyard, the sacrifice] is acceptable if one gathers up [the blood].48 If, however, it spilled out from the neck of the [sacrificial] animal to the floor and then was collected and placed in a sacred receptacle, the sacrifice is disqualified.49

כה

נשפך מן הכלי על הרצפה ואספו כשר אבל אם נשפך מצואר הבהמה על הרצפה ואספו ונתנו לכלי השרת נפסל הזבח:

26

If some of the blood from the neck of the [sacrificial] animal was spilled on the ground and not collected, but [a priest] received the remainder from the neck of the animal, [the sacrifice] is acceptable,50 provided the blood that was received is [the animal's] lifeblood51 and not blood concentrated [in the limbs]52 or the blood of the skin.

כו

נשפך מקצת הדם מצואר בהמה על הארץ ולא אספו וקבל מקצתו מצואר בהמה הרי זה כשר ובלבד שיהיה זה הדם שנתקבל דם הנפש לא דם התמצית ולא דם העור:

27

If any of the individuals who are unacceptable to perform Temple service53 receive the blood [of a sacrificial animal], bring the blood to the altar, or cast it on the altar as required by law,54 the sacrifice is disqualified. If [a priest] who is acceptable for such service receives the blood and gives it to one who is unacceptable, but the latter does not walk with it, but instead stands in his place, he should return it to the acceptable [priest].55 If, however, the unacceptable person carried it [toward the altar] and then returned it to the acceptable [priest] who carried it [to the altar] or the acceptable priest carried it [to the altar] and then gave it to the unacceptable one who carried it, since it was carried by the unacceptable person, whether at the beginning or the end, the sacrifice is disqualified, because this matter cannot be corrected.

כז

כל הזבחים שקיבל דמם אחד מן הפסולין לעבודה או שהוליך את הדם למזבח או שזרקו למזבח כהלכתו נפסל הזבח קיבל הכשר ונתן לפסול ולא הלך בו הפסול אלא עמד במקומו יחזיר לכשר אבל דם שהוליכו הפסול לעבודה והחזירו לכשר והוליכו או שהוליכו הכהן תחילה והחזירו ונתנו לפסול והוליכו הואיל והוליכו הפסול בין בתחילה בין בסוף נפסל הזבח שהרי אי אפשר לתקן דבר זה:

28

[The following laws apply if] the blood was received by an unacceptable person. If any of [the animal's] lifeblood remains, an acceptable [priest] should receive the blood, bring it [to the altar], and cast [it upon it]. [The rationale is that] individuals who are unacceptable for Temple service do not cause the remainder of the blood to be considered as remnants.56

An exception is one who is impure. Since he is fit to carry out Temple service when a sacrifice is brought in a state of impurity as explained,57 he causes [the blood to be considered as] remnants. What is implied? If an impure [priest] received58 the blood [of a sacrificial animal] even if an acceptable [priest] received [the animal's] lifeblood afterwards and cast it [upon the altar], the sacrifice is disqualified. For [the blood] received by the acceptable [priest] afterwards is considered as remnants and is of no consequence.

כח

קיבל הפסול אם נשאר דם הנפש חוזר הכשר ומקבל ומוליך וזורק שאין הפסולין לעבודה עושין הדם הנשאר שירים חוץ מן הטמא הואיל והוא ראוי לעבודה בקרבן הבא בטומאה כמו שביארנו עושה שירים כיצד קיבל הטמא אף על פי שקיבל אחריו הכשר דם הנפש וזרקו נפסל הזבח שזה שקיבל הכשר באחרונה שירים הוא ואינו כלום:

29

When even the slightest substance is taken from one of the [sacrificial] animal's limbs59 after it was slaughtered, but before its blood was cast upon the altar, it is disqualified. Even if one [merely] mutilated the ear of an animal before [its blood] was received, it is as if [its blood] was not received. [This is derived from Leviticus 16:14 which] states: "And he shall take from the blood of the bull." [Implied is that] it must be entirely whole at the time [the blood] is received. If one received [the blood] of an imperfect [animal] and cast it upon the altar, [the sacrifice] is unacceptable.

כט

בהמה שחסר מאיבריה כל שהוא אחר שחיטה קודם קבלת הדם נפסלה אפילו צרם באזנה קודם קבלה הרי זה לא יקבל שנאמר ולקח מדם הפר שיהיה שלם כולו בשעת הקבלה ואם קיבל מן החסרה וזרק הרי זה פסול:

30

If, however, its substance was reduced after [its blood] was received,60 before it was cast [on the altar], even if the meat was lost before the blood was cast [on the altar] or it was consumed by fire, he should cast the blood [on the altar] as long as an olive-sized portion of the meat or the organs and fats to be offered on the altar's pyre remain.61 If not even that remains,62 he should not cast the blood. With regard to a burnt-offering, even if half an olive-sized portion from the meat and half an olive-sized portion of the organs and fats [remain, he should cast the blood], because the entire [animal] is [offered on the altar's] pyre.63

ל

אבל אם חסרה אחר קבלה קודם זריקה אפילו אבד הבשר קודם זריקת הדם או נשרף אם נשתייר כזית מן הבשר או כזית מן האימורין זורק את הדם ואם לאו אינו זורק ובעולה אפילו כחצי זית מן הבשר וחצי זית מן האימורין מפני שכולה לאשים:

31

If less than an olive-sized portion [of a burnt-offering remains], [the blood] should not be cast [on the altar]. If it is cast [upon it], the sacrifice is not received with favor [Above].64 If the meat65 is disqualified before [the blood] is cast on the altar or it was taken out of the Temple Courtyard, the blood should not be cast. If, however, it was cast, the sacrifice is received with favor [Above].66

לא

נשאר פחות מכזית לא יזרוק ואם זרק לא הורצה נפסל הבשר קודם זריקה או שיצא חוץ לעזרה לא יזרוק הדם ואם זרק הורצה:

32

When the meat of sacrifices of a lesser degree of sanctity was taken out of the Temple Courtyard before the blood was cast [on the altar], even though the blood was cast [upon the altar] while the meat was outside, the sacrifice is acceptable,67 because ultimately, the meat will be taken outside [the Temple Courtyard].68

Casting [the blood on the altar] is effective with regard to [the obligation to have the sacrificial meat] which was taken out [of the Temple Courtyard] burnt,69 but not to have it permitted to be eaten.70

לב

בשר קדשים קלים שיצא חוץ לעזרה קודם זריקת דמים אע"פ שנזרק הדם והבשר בחוץ הזבח כשר מפני שסוף הבשר לצאת והזריקה מועלת ליוצא לשרפו אבל לא לאכלו:

33

Similarly, when the organs and fats to be offered on the altar from sacrifices of a lesser degree of sanctity were taken out [of the Temple Courtyard] before their blood [was cast on the altar] and the blood was cast [on the altar] when they were outside, the sacrifice was not disqualified. If they were returned [to the Temple Courtyard], they should be offered on the altar's pyre.71 Even if they were not returned [to the Temple Courtyard], one is liable for violating the transgressions72 [against partaking of] piggul,73 notar,74 and impure [sacrificial] meat75 if he partakes of them.76

לג

וכן אימורי קדשים קלים שיצאו לפני זריקת דמים ונזרק הדם והם בחוץ לא נפסל הזבח ואם החזירן מקטירין אותן ואף על פי שלא החזירן חייבין עליהן משום פיגול ונותר וטמא:

34

With regard to any sacrifices [brought by] a private individual, whether the meat became impure, but the fats are intact or the fats became impure, but the meat remains intact, the blood should be cast on the altar.77 If they both became impure, the blood should not be cast. If, however, it was cast on the altar, the sacrifice is received with favor [Above], for the High Priest's forehead plate arouses [God's] favor.78 Similarly, when fats and organs to be offered on the altar's pyre or the limbs of a burnt-offering became impure and they were [nonetheless]79 offered on the altar, the High Priest's forehead plate arouses [God's] favor, as explained.80 With regard to any of the communal sacrifices, [even if] all of the meat and fats became impure, the blood should be cast [upon the altar].81

לד

כל הזבחים של יחיד בין שנטמא בשר והחלב קיים בין שנטמא חלב והבשר קיים זורק את הדם נטמאו שניהן לא יזרוק ואם זרק הורצה שהציץ מרצה על הטומאה וכן אימורין או איברי עולה שנטמאו והקטירן הציץ מרצה כמו שביארנו וכל קרבנות הצבור שנטמא הבשר והחלב כולו הרי זה זורק את הדם:

35

When the blood of sacrificial animals was taken outside the Temple Courtyard, the sacrifice is disqualified. Even though it was brought back inside and cast on the altar, the sacrifice is not received with favor [Above].82

לה

דם קדשים שיצא חוץ לעזרה נפסל הזבח ואע"פ שחזר והכניסו וזרקו על המזבח לא נרצה:

36

No blood from sacrificial animals is susceptible to ritual impurity at all.83 For [Deuteronomy 12:16] states with regard to blood: "You shall pour it on the earth like water." [Implied is that] blood which is poured out like water is considered as water and is susceptible to ritual impurity. The blood of sacrificial animals, by contrast, is not poured out like water84 and hence is not susceptible to ritual impurity.

לו

וכל דם הקדשים אינו מקבל טומאה כלל שנאמר בדם על הארץ תשפכנו כמים דם שנשפך כמים הוא הנחשב כמים ומקבל טומאה אבל דם קדשים שאינו נשפך כמים אינו מקבל טומאה:

37

When the sun sets and the blood from a sacrificial animal [slaughtered that day] has not been cast [on the altar], the sacrifice is disqualified. If [the blood] is cast [on the altar afterwards],85 [the sacrifice] is not received with favor [Above].

לז

ודם ששקעה עליו חמה ולא נזרק נפסל הזבח ואם זרקו לא הורצה:

Footnotes
1.

A non-priest or a priest who was disqualified for various reasons. See Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 9:15 for a detailed list of such individuals.

2.

The wording of Zevachim 3:1 (the source for this ruling) could be interpreted as implying that the slaughter is acceptable only after the fact. In his Commentary to the Mishnah (based on Zevachim 31b), the Rambam explains that this restriction applies only to a person who is ritually impure.

3.

And thus does not violate the prohibition against entering the Temple Courtyard while ritually impure (see Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 3:6).

4.

Where the sacrificial animals must be slaughtered. As stated in ibid. 3:18, it is forbidden for an impure person to insert his hand into the Temple Courtyard according to Rabbinic Law. Nevertheless, this person was willing to transgress. Significantly, in his Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit.) the Rambam offers an interpretation that does not require that the person transgress: he slaughtered with a long knife.

5.

In which instance he would make the sacrifice impure and disqualify it. That is forbidden.

6.

Seemingly, implying that the slaughter must be performed by a High Priest. Nevertheless, Aaron's name is explicitly associated with the verb vihikriv, "and he shall offer." According to the Rambam, the verse should be interpreted as meaning that the offering of the bull must be performed by the High Priest, not necessarily its slaughter.

7.

Nevertheless, as an initial preference, the slaughter should be performed by a priest (Hilchot Parah Adumah 3:2; 4:17).

8.

I.e., using a long knife so that the two are slaughtered with the same movements of the knife.

9.

I.e., after the fact. This applies only with regard to sacrificial animals. Ordinary animals may be sacrificed in this manner as an initial preference. See Chullin 29a.

10.

See Hilchot Shechitah 2:10.

11.

Such slaughter is acceptable for ordinary animals after the fact (Hilchot Shechitah 4:5).

12.

This is a principle applicable in many different contexts of Jewish Law, e.g., Hilchot Tuma'at Ochalin 3:10, 14:2; Hilchot Keilim 2:1.

13.

For burnt-offerings may only be slaughtered in the northern portion of the Temple Courtyard (Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 5:2-3). Thus he obviously had the intent to slaughter the animal as a burnt offering.

14.

Zevachim 48b interprets Leviticus 1:11 as implying is that what is significant is the place where the animal is standing and not where the slaughterer is standing.

15.

Zevachim, op. cit., interprets the above verse as implying that with regard to the receiving of the blood, what is important is where the person performing that act is standing.

16.

This reflects a general principle of Torah Law: the majority of a person's body is considered as his entire body (Rav Yosef Corcus).

17.

For the slaughter was performed in the appropriate place.

18.

The fact that between the slaughter and the receiving of the blood, it entered the southern portion of the courtyard does not disqualify it.

19.

Where it is required that they be slaughtered (Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 5:4).

20.

For the blood must be received in the Temple Courtyard.

21.

This translation is necessary, because we are speaking of a portion of the person's body and not his garments. See Ezekiel 8:3 for a similar usage.

22.

Significantly, Zevachim 26a, the source for this law, uses a different prooftext. Some commentaries have suggested that perhaps a printing error crept into the text of the Mishneh Torah.

23.

Implied is that if an animal moved out of the Temple Courtyard before its blood was received, it is disqualified.

24.

See Halachot 32-33 of this chapter.

25.

See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 18:15.

26.

From the sacrifices of the most sacred order.

27.

He should not, however, cut off the bone, because that would render the animal as blemished before the reception of the blood and thus disqualify it (see Zevachim 26a and commentaries).

28.

As indicated by Zevachim, op. cit., the problem is not because of the blood from the meat that was outside the Temple Courtyard, because our Sages made a distinction between the blood that flows from the animal at the time of ritual slaughter and the blood that remains within its body (see Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 6:4). Nevertheless, the fat from the portion of the animal that is outside the Temple Courtyard becomes mixed with its blood. This blood could also be part of the blood which is received, causing that blood to be disqualified (Kessef Mishneh).

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, maintaining that sacrificial animals of the highest degree of sanctity become disqualified when they are removed from the Temple Courtyard whether before the blood was presented on the altar or afterwards. Moreover, even if the meat is cut off as Rambam suggests, the animal will become ritually impure, because there is an unresolved doubt whether our Sages decreed that any animal that is removed from the Temple Courtyard becomes ritually impure. Hence, because of the doubt, we should rule stringently (see Pesachim 85a). The Kessef Mishneh and Rav Yosef Corcus resolve the Rambam's ruling.

29.

Provided of course that the animal was returned to the Temple Courtyard and the blood received there. Even if a portion of the animal was outside the Courtyard, as long as the blood was received inside the Temple Courtyard, the sacrifice is not disqualified. Nevertheless, the portion that was outside the Temple Courtyard is forbidden to be eaten (see Halachah 32).

The Ra'avad states that after the blood was cast on the altar, the meat may be taken out of the Temple Courtyard. Rav Yosef Corcus states that this is obvious, because the meat of sacrifices of a less degree of sanctity may be eaten throughout the city of Jerusalem (Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 11:5-6).

30.

Based on Zevachim 26a, the Kessef Mishneh interprets this halachah as referring only to sacrifices of the most sacred order. (This is reflected also in the prooftext which refers to such a sacrifice.) Sacrifices of a lesser degree of sanctity, by contrast, may be slaughtered if they are hoisted in the air as long as they are within the space above the Temple Courtyard.

31.

Based on Zevachim, op. cit., the Kessef Mishneh - and his objections are also seconded by Rav Yosef Corcus - suggests emending the text of this halachah. As stated in Halachah 19, there is a difficulty in receiving the blood of a sacrifice while hanging in the air, because this is not befitting to the Temple service. Nevertheless, slaughtering an animal is not a formal part of the Temple service (and hence can be performed by a non-priest). Therefore there is no difficulty in performing it while hoisted in the air. And as stated in Halachah 20, the open space of the Temple Courtyard is considered as the Temple Courtyard, so it is as if the slaughterer is standing in the Temple Courtyard.

32.

The windpipe and the gullet.

33.

For an animal to be sacrificed as a sacrifice of a lesser degree of sanctity.

34.

Of an animal to be slaughtered as a sacrifice of the most sacred order.

35.

See Hilchot Shechitah 4:13 for another application of this principle.

36.

This applies both with regard to sacrifices of the most sacred order and those of a lesser degree of sanctity.

37.

Thus the animal's blood is considered to have been received in the Temple Courtyard.

38.

It is considered as if one was holding the receptacle in which the blood was received in one's hands.

39.

This is a general principle, applying in several areas of Torah Law (e.g., Hilchot Shofar Sukkah ViLulav 1:5; 7:12).

40.

The difference is that the blood will flow through the fibers, but the flour will not.

41.

I.e., they are considered integral parts of the process of offering a sacrifice and therefore require a priest's involvement.

42.

See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 12:23; 13:12.

43.

The Kessef Mishneh states that this refer to ibid., ch. 6. The Lechem Mishneh states that he does not understand where in that chapter there is an allusion to the need for a priest to perform that service.

44.

Our translation is based on authoritative manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah. The standard published text states kohen gadol. Translating that term as "the High Priest" would not be appropriate in the present context. Some have suggested that the intent is a large priest, but most consider it a printing error. However, see Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 7, p. 205, where an explanation is given that justifies the wording kohen gadol.

45.

Even if the blood was cast on the appropriate place.

46.

And continue the service with it. If he received the blood while holding the receptacle with his left hand, the sacrifice is disqualified.

47.

He may then continue the service; the sacrifice is not disqualified.

48.

Since initially it was received in the proper manner, the fact that it spilled is not considered significant.

49.

Since initially, it was not received in the proper manner.

50.

For, after the fact, it is not necessary to receive all of the animal's blood (Kessef Mishneh). This is, however, the initial preference (see Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 4:8).

51.

In Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 6:3, the Rambam defines this term as "blood that flows out [from the animal] when it is slaughtered, killed, or decapitated as long as it is tinted red." See also the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Keritot 5:1).

52.

Blood that flows slowly after the majority of the animal's blood has already been discharged. See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit.).

53.

A non-priest or a priest who was disqualified. See Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 9:15.

54.

Once sacrificial blood has been cast on the altar as required by law, the blood remaining in the receptacle is considered merely as remnants and it is no longer able to be used to fulfill the service associated with this sacrifice.

One might object because, from Halachah 28, it appears that a person who is unfit to carry out Temple service does not cause the remainder of the blood to be considered as remnants. Hence, in the situation at hand, it would appear that if there is sufficient blood left in the receptacle, the sacrifice should not be disqualified. A distinction can however be made between Halachah 28 which speaks about blood that remains in the body of the sacrificial animal and this situation where the blood is remaining in the receptacle from which other blood was taken (Tosafot, Zevachim 92a). If the blood was not cast on the altar as required by law, the sacrifice is not disqualified and it is acceptable if that service is performed properly by an acceptable priest (Kessef Mishneh).

55.

Who should then bring it to the altar. The fact that the person who was unacceptable held it does not disqualify the sacrifice.

56.

With which the service may not be performed.

57.

See Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 4:10.

58.

The Kessef Mishneh maintains that the intent is that the impure priest received the blood and cast it on the altar. Receiving the blood alone does not disqualify the animal. He bases his interpretation on Hilchot Me'ilah3:2-3 where this concept is stated explicitly. In this manner, he resolves the Ra'avad's objections to the Rambam's ruling.

59.

I.e., in a manner which would cause the animal to be disqualified as physically blemished. See Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash, ch. 7, for a list of such blemishes.

60.

Note the gloss of Rabbi Akiva Eiger who maintains that it is possible that it be necessary also to bring the blood to the altar while the animal is whole.

61.

An olive-sized portion is considered significant. If even that small a portion of the meat can be eaten or the organs and fats can be offered on the altar, the purpose of the sacrifice will be consummated. Hence, it is appropriate to cast the blood on the altar.

62.

The remnants are not considered as significant.

63.

Hence the fat and the meat can be combined.

64.

The sacrifice is disqualified and if the person was bringing it to fulfill an obligation, he must bring another one.

65.

And the organs and fat to be offered on the altar.

66.

In this instance, casting the blood on the altar is sufficient to cause the sacrifice to be considered acceptable. See also the following halachah.

67.

I.e., the organs and the fats should be offered on the altar and the person bringing the sacrifice is considered to have fulfilled his obligation.

68.

For sacrifices of a lesser degree of sanctity may be eaten throughout the city of Jerusalem.

69.

Generally, when a sacrifice was disqualified, it would have to be burnt immediately. If, however, it was disqualified because of a difficulty with the casting of the blood or because the owners were disqualified, it should be kept until its form decomposes and then it is burnt (Rashi, Me'ilah 7b-8a).

70.

I.e., casting the blood of sacrifices of a lesser degree enables the meat of the animal to be eaten. This applies, however, only when the animal was in the Temple Courtyard at the time the blood was cast on the altar. If not, the sacrifice is acceptable, but the meat may not be eaten (Rav Yosef Corcus). The Kessef Mishneh (see also Ra'avad) offers a different interpretation, saying the intent could be sacrificial meat taken out of the city of Jerusalem.

71.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, questioning why these organs and fats should be offered on the altar's pyre. The Rambam's maintains that since the prohibition of me'ilah and the prohibitions mentioned in this halachah apply, the sacrifice is not disqualified. Hence, there is no reason why these organs and fats should not be offered (Kessef Mishneh).

Rav Yosef Corcus avoids this difference of opinion by explaining that this is referring to an instance where the organs and the fats were returned to the Temple Courtyard before the blood was cast upon the altar. According to all authorities, the fats and the organs should be offered in this instance.

72.

These transgressions apply when the blood is cast on the altar in the proper manner. The Rambam is emphasizing that even in this instance when the fats and organs are outside the Temple Courtyard at the time the blood is cast on the altar - and therefore disqualified - these prohibitions still apply.

73.

As will be explained in chs. 14-16, when a person slaughters an animal with the intent of partaking of its meat at times other than those which are permitted, the sacrifice is considered as piggul and it is forbidden to partake of its meat.

74.

As explained in Chapter 18, Halachot 9-10, when sacrificial meat is left beyond the time when it should be eaten, it is called notar and it is forbidden to partake of it.

75.

As stated in ibid.:12, when sacrificial meat becomes impure, it is forbidden to partake of it.

76.

Even if these organs and fats were outside the Temple Courtyard at the time the blood was cast upon the altar, the casting of the blood caused them to be considered as sacrificial meat.

77.

I.e., if either the meat could be eaten (or offered on the altar in the instance of a burnt-offering) or the fats could be offered on the altar, there will be some positive value to the sacrifice.

78.

In Hilchot Korban Pesach 4:2, the Rambam writes that if a priest cast the blood on the altar when he knows that the Paschal sacrifice is impure, the forehead plate does not cause it to be considered acceptable, while in this instance, he does not make such a distinction. Nevertheless, the reason for this distinction is evident from the Rambam's statements in Hilchot Korban Pesach: the Paschal sacrifice is offered solely that it be eaten, while with regard to other sacrifices there is a positive dimension to the offering of the fats and organs on the altar even if the sacrifice is not eaten.

79.

The initial preference is that they should not be offered on the altar.

80.

See Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 4:7.

81.

In this instance as well, it is the High Priest's forehead plate that arouses the positive spiritual influences that cause the sacrifice to be accepted. In contrast to individual sacrifices, however, with regard to communal sacrifices, one should cast the blood on the altar as an initial preference even though both the fats and the meat have been disqualified, for the restrictions against ritual impurity are superseded by the obligation to offer communal sacrifices (Kessef Mishneh; Rav Yosef Corcus).

82.

And another sacrifice must be brought in its place. The forehead plate does not cause such sacrifices to be acceptable (Zevachim 8:12).

83.

Even if it comes in direct contact with a source of impurity, it does not become impure. In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Ediot 8:4), the Rambam states that there are some Talmudic references to the blood of sacrificial animals becoming impure, but all of those statements were made before the testimony given by Rabbi Yossi ben Yoezar which stated that they never become impure. Once that statement was made, the principle was accepted without argument.

84.

Instead, it is poured on the altar.

85.

Whether at night or on the next day.

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in the one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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