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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Biat Hamikdash - Chapter 8, Biat Hamikdash - Chapter 9, Issurei Mizbeiach - Chapter 1

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Biat Hamikdash - Chapter 8

1

There are a total of 90 physical blemishes that [disqualify] humans alone. In particular, they are: There are eight involving the head:

a) one who has the center of his forehead depressed below as if it was pushed down with one's hand;

b) one who has the center of his forehead raised up above, like an egg;1

c) one who has the sides of his head emerge toward his face like a hammer;

d) one whose head projects outward abnormally from his neck;

e) one whose head is abnormally large to the extent that it sits on his neck like a turnip on top of its leaves;2

f) one who is bald and has no hair whatsoever on his head. If, however, he has a row of hair extending across the back of his head from ear to ear, it is acceptable.

g) a person's whose hair extends from ear to ear on the front of his head, but he is bald on the remainder of his head, he is unacceptable;

h) a person whose hair extends around his entire head from the front and the back, but he has no hair on the top of his head. He also is deemed bald and is unacceptable.

א

כל המומין המיוחדין באדם תשעים וזהו פרטן:

שמונה בראש ואלו הן: מי שאמצע קדקדו שוקע למטה כמו שדחקו בידו מי שאמצע קדקדו עולה למעלה כמו ביצה מי שפאת ראשו יוצא כנגד פניו כמו מקבת מי שראשו יוצא מאחוריו כנגד ערפו מי שראשו רחב ויוצא מכאן ומכאן עד שתמצא ראשו על צוארו כמו ראש הלפת על העלין שלו הקרח שאין בכל ראשו שער כל עיקר ואם יש בו שיטה של שיער מוקפת מאחוריו מאזן לאזן כשר מי שהיה השער מקיף מאזן לאזן מלפניו בלבד ושאר הראש קרח הוא הרי הוא פסול מי שהיה השער שלו מקיף את כל הראש סביב מלפניו ומאחריו ואין שם שער באמצע גם זה קרח ופסול:

2

There are two involving the neck. They are:

a) one whose neck is sunk [into his trunk] so much that it appears to be placed on his shoulders;

b) one whose neck is so long that it appears unconnected with his shoulders.

ב

שנים בצואר ואלו הם: מי שצוארו שוקע הרבה עד שנמצא ראשו כאילו הוא מונח על כתיפיו מי שצוארו ארוך הרבה עד שנראה כשמוט מבין כתיפיו:

3

There are four involving the ears. They are:

a) one whose two ears are very small;

b) one whose two ears are very swollen like sponges;

c) one whose ears hang down low;

d) one who has one ear differ from another in appearance.3

ג

ארבעה באזן ואלו הן: מי ששתי אזניו קטנות הרבה מי ששתי אזניו נפוחות דומות לספוג מי שאזניו מדולדלות למטה מי שאחת מאזניו משונה מחברתה במראה:

4

There are five involving the eyebrows. They are:

a) one who does not have any hair at all on his eyebrows. This is the meaning of the term gibein mentioned in the Torah; 4

b) one whose eyebrows hang low;5

c) one who has only one eyebrow;6

d) one who has more than two eyebrows;

e) one who has one eyebrow that is different in appearance than the other, whether the hair on one is long and on the other, short, or the hair on one is black and, on the other, white or red, since there is a difference in appearance, he is unacceptable.

ד

חמשה בגבינים ואלו הן: מי שאין לו שיער בגביניו והוא גבן האמור בתורה מי שגביניו שוכבין מי שאין לו אלא גבין אחד מי שיש לו גבינין יתר על שנים מי שאחד מגביניו משונה מחבירו בין ששערו של זה ארוך ושערו של זה קצר בין ששערו של אחד שחור ושערו השני לבן או אדום הואיל ויש ביניהם שינוי זה הרי זה פסול:

5

There are four involving the eyelids. They are:

a) one who does not have any hair at all on his eyelids;

b) one who has very thick hair on his eyelids;

c) one who has an eyelid whose hair is different from that of the other eyelid, e.g., one is black and the other white, one is thin and the other is thick;

d) one whose eyelids are closed slightly and do not open wide like those of other people.

ה

ארבעה בריס העין ואלו הן: מי שאין לו שער כלל בריסי עיניו מי ששער ריסי עיניו מרובה מעובה הרבה מי ששער אחד מריסי עיניו משונה משער ריס אחר כגון שאחד שחור ואחד לבן או שאחד נושר והשני מעובה מי שעפעפיו סגורות מעט ואינן נפתחות הרבה כשאר כל האדם:

6

There are eleven involving the eyes. They are:

a) one whose two eyes are positioned above their appropriate place, close to his forehead;

b) one whose two eyes are positioned below their appropriate place;

c) one whose two eyes are round and are not extended slightly as other eyes are;

d) one whose eyes pop out like the eyes of a tiger and like the eyes of a person who looks at someone when he is very angry;

e) one whose eyes are very large, like those of a calf;

f) one whose eyes are small, like those of a duck;

g) one who is continuously tearing;

h) one who has fluid [continuously]7 dripping from the tip of his eyes near his nose or the ends of his eyes near his temples;

i) one who contracts his eyelids and squints slightly when he sees light or when he wishes to look at something carefully;

j) a person who is cross-eyed to the extent that he sees two storeys of the same building as one.8 This defect can be noticed when such a person is speaking with one person and it appears that he is speaking with another;

k) one who has one eye that is different than the other, whether in place, in appearance, e.g., one is black and the other is of mixed color, or one is small and one is large. Since there is a difference between them, he is unacceptable.

ו

אחד עשר בעינים ואלו הן: מי שהיו שתי עיניו למעלה מן המקום הראוי להם קרובות מפדחתו מי שהיו שתי עיניו למטה ממקום הראוי להם מי שהיו שתי עיניו עגולות ואינם נמשכות באורך מעט משאר העינים מי שעיניו מוזרות והן יוצאות כעיני הנמר וכמי שהוא מסתכל בעת שכועס כעס הרבה מי שעיניו גדולות הרבה כשל עגל מי שעיניו קטנות כשל אווז מי שדמעיו זולפות תמיד מי שלחלוחית נמשכת מראש עינו מכנגד החוטם או מזנב עינו מצד צדעיו מי שמקבץ ריסי עיניו ועוצמן מעט בשעה שרואה אור או בשעה שהוא רוצה לדקדק בראיה מי שראיית עינו מעורבבת עד שרואה את החדר ואת העלייה כאחת ויודע דבר זה בעת שידבר עם חבירו ונראה כאילו הוא מסתכל באיש אחר מי שאחת מעיניו משונה מחברתה בין במקומה בין במראה כגון שהיתה אחת שחורה ואחת פתוכה או אחת קטנה ואחת גדולה הואיל ויש בין שתיהן שינוי מ"מ פסול:

7

There are six involving the nose. They are:

a) one whose bridge of the nose is sunken, even [if it is not sunken] to the extent that he can apply ointment to both of his eyes at once.9 This is the meaning of the term charum mentioned in the Torah;10

b) one whose middle of the nose projects upward;

c) one whose tip of the nose points downward;

d) one whose tip of the nose is crooked;

e) one whose nose is disproportionately large;

f) one whose nose is disproportionately small. How is this measured? With one's pinky. If one's nose is larger or smaller than his pinky, it is considered a blemish.

ז

ששה בחוטם ואלו הן: מי שעיקר חוטמו שוקע אף על פי שאינו כוחל שתי עיניו כאחת וזה חרום האמור בתורה מי שאמצע חוטמו בולט למעלה מי שעוקץ חוטמו נוטף למטה מי שחוטמו עקום לצד אחד מי שחוטמו גדול מאיבריו מי שחוטמו קטן מאיבריו וכיצד משערין אותו באצבע קטנה שעל ידו אם היה חוטמו גדול ממנה או קטן ממנה הרי זה מום:

8

There are three involving the lips. They are:

a) one whose upper lip extends beyond his lower lip;

b) one whose lower lip extends beyond his upper lip;

c) one whose mouth [hangs] loosely and [hence,] spittle is continually descending from his mouth.

ח

שלשה בשפתים ואלו הן: מי ששפתו העליונה עודפת על התחתונה מי ששפתו התחתונה עודפת על העליונה מי שפיו רפוי ורירו יורד מפיו:

9

There are three involving the belly. They are:

a) one whose belly is swollen;

b) one whose navel projects outward, rather that being concave like that of other people;

c) one whose breasts are extended and lie on his stomach like the breasts of a woman.

ט

שלשה בבטן ואלו הן: מי שכריסו צבה מי שטיבורו יוצא ואינו שוקע כשאר בני אדם מי שדדיו שוכבין על בטנו כדדי אשה:

10

There are three involving the back. They are:

a) one whose spine is crooked;

b) one who has a vertebra that slipped out of the spinal column, regardless of whether it projected outward, penetrated inward, or slipped to the side. This is included in the term baal chatoteret11;

c) a person with a hunchback. Even though a vertebra has not slipped from its place, this is still considered a blemish.

י

שלשה בגב ואלו הן: מי ששדרתו עקומה מי שיצאתה חוליא משדרתו בין שבלטה לחוץ או נכנסה לפנים או נטתה לצדדין וזהו בעל חטוטרת מי שתפח בשר בגבו ונעשה כחטוטרת אע"פ שלא זזה חוליא ממקומה הרי זה מום:

11

There are six involving the hands. They are:

a) one who has an extra finger on his hands, even if he has six on each hand.12 If he cuts the extra finger off, he is acceptable. If, however, it had a bone, he is unacceptable, even if he cuts it off;

b) one who is lacking one of the fingers of his hand;

c) one who has two fingers webbed and connected until below the joint.13 If he cut and separated them to the joint, he is acceptable. Which joint is implied? The first joint that is next to the palm of one's hand;

d) one whose fingers are bent over each other;

e) one who has a projection emerging from his thumb;

f) a left-handed person. If he is ambidextrous, he is acceptable.

יא

ששה בידים ואלו הן: מי שיש בידו אצבע יתירה באצבעות ידיו אפילו היו שש ושש ואם חתך את היתירה כשר ואם היה בה עצם אפילו חתכה פסול מי שחסר אצבע מידו מי ששתי אצבעות ידיו קלוטות עד למטה מן הפרק ואם חתכן והפרישן עד הפרק כשר באי זה פרק אמרו בפרק ראשון הסמוך לכף היד מי שאצבעותיו מורכבות זו על גבי זו מי שפיקה יוצאת מגודלו מי שהוא אטר יד ימינו ואם היה שולט בשתי ידיו כשר:

12

There are four involving the reproductive organs. They are:

a) one who has a very large and long scrotum that reaches his knees;

b) one whose organ is so long it reaches his knees;

c) one whose membranes surrounding his testicles were crushed;

d) one whose membranes surrounding his testicles are inflated. This is the meaning of the term miruach ashech mentioned in the Torah;14

יב

ארבעה באיברי הזרע ואלו הן: מי שכיס הביצים גדול וארוך עד שמגיע לארכובותיו מי שהגיד שלו ארוך עד שמגיע לארכובותיו מי שנמרחו אשכיו והם הכיס של ביצים [מי שרוח באשכיו] והוא מרוח אשך האמור בתורה:

13

There are fifteen involving the thighs and the legs. They are:

a) one who is bow-legged to the extent that even when he stands with his feet together, his knees will not touch each other;

b) one whose ankle-bone projects outward. The ankle bone is the round bone that is above the heel, toward the inside of the body. It resembles the weaving needle with which women weave;

c) one whose heel juts outward to the extent that his shin appears to be in the center of his foot;

d) some whose feet are wide like a duck's even though they are not webbed like a duck's;

e) one who has a projection emerging from his large toe;15

f) one who has an extra toe on his feet, even if he has six on each foot. If he cuts the extra toe off, he is acceptable, provided it does not have a bone;

g) one who is lacking one of the toes of his foot;

h) one whose toes are bent over each other;

j) one whose toes are webbed until below the joint. If they were connected and he cut and separated them, he is acceptable;

k) one whose foot is entirely straight; i.e., the width of his forefoot and his toes is the same as the width of his heels, and they appear as one straight unit;

l) one whose foot is curved so that his forefoot and toes and his heel appears as the two ends of a bow;

m) one whose foot is hollow; i.e., his mid-foot is upraised above the earth and it is as if he is standing on his heel and his toes;

n) one whose ankles click with each other when he walks;

o) one whose knees click with each other when he walks;

p) one who is left-footed.

יג

ט"ו בשוקים וברגלים ואלו הן: מי ששוקיו עקומות עד שמחבר רגל לרגל ואין ארכובותיו נוגעות זו בזו מי שפיקתו יוצאת והפיקה היא העצם העגול שלמעלה מן העקב מצד פנים והוא דומה לפיקה שטוות בה הנשים מי שעקבו יוצא לאחוריו עד שנמצא השוק כאילו הוא באמצע רגלו עומד מי שפרסותיו רחבות כשל אווז אף על פי שאינן קלוטות כשל אווז מי שפיקה יוצאה מגודלו מי שיש ברגלו אצבע יתירה אפילו שש ושש ואם חתכה כשר והוא שלא יהיה בה עצם מי שחסר אחת מאצבעות רגליו מי שאצבעותיו מורכבות זו על גבי זו מי שהיו אצבעות רגליו קלוטות עד למטה מן הפרק ואם היו עד הפרק או שחתכן והפרישן כשר מי שרגלו כולה שוה שנמצא רוחב פס אצבעותיו כרוחב עקיבו וכאילו היא חתיכה שוה מי שרגלו עקומה דומה למגל שנמצא פס רגלו שיש בו האצבעות עם עקבו כאילו הם שני ראשי הקשת מי שרגלו חלולה והוא שיהיה אמצעה גבוה מעל הארץ ונמצא כשעומד עומד על עקיבו ועל אצבעות רגליו המקיש בקרסוליו בעת שמהלך מי שמקיש בארכובותיו בעת שמהלך מי שהוא אטר ברגל ימינו:

14

There are four that involve the entire body:

a) one whose trunk is disproportionately larger than his limbs;

b) one whose trunk is disproportionately smaller than his limbs;

c) one who is extremely tall;16

d) a dwarf, i.e., one who is extremely short, so that they are distinguished from people at large.

יד

ארבעה בכל הגוף ואלו הן: מי שגופו גדול מאיבריו מי שגופו קטן מאיבריו הארוך ביותר הננס והוא הקצר ביותר עד שיהיו מופלגין משאר העם:

15

There are eight involving the skin. They are:

a) a Kushite;

b) an albino whose skin is white like cheese;

c) one who is red-skinned like scarlet;

d) one who has pure blotches on his skin,17 i.e., [the appearance of] the skin changed because of an internal factor, like a bohak;18

e) [the appearance of] the skin changed because of an external factor, like the scarring of a burn; this is also one of the distinguishing marks that are pure [with regard to tzara'at];19

f) one who has a facial mole that has hair, even if it is not the size of an isar,20 but rather of the smallest size;21

g) one who has a facial mole the size of an isar or more;22h) one afflicted with warts, [when] a person's flesh or skin should distend or the fluids in the skin should distend to any part throughout the body, this is a blemish.

טו

שמונה בעור הבשר ואלו הן: הכושי הלבן ביותר כמו גבינה האדום כשני בעלי נגעים טהורים שנשתנה העור מחמת עצמו כמו הבוהק שנשתנה העור מחמת דבר אחר כגון צרבת המכוה וזה בכלל נגעים טהורין מי שהיתה בעור פניו שומא שיש בה שיער אע"פ שאינה כאיסר אלא כל שהוא מי שהיתה בעור פניו שומא כאיסר או יותר בעלי הדלדולין והוא שידלדל העור והבשר או הלחלוחית שיש בעור שנדלדל באי זה מקום שיהיה מכל הגוף הרי זה מום:

16

There are four other blemishes possible for a human:

a) one who is deaf;

b) one who is intellectually or emotionally unstable;

c) an epileptic, even if his seizures come at far intervals;

d) one who suffers from severe depression,23 whether on a consistent basis or from time to time.

טז

ועוד יש שם באדם ארבעה מומין אחרים ואלו הן: החרש השוטה והנכפה אפילו לימים רבים מי שרוח רעה מבעתתו תמיד או בעתים ידועים:

17

Thus there are a total of 140 blemishes that may disqualify a priest.24 They are: eight involving the head, two involving the neck, nine involving the ears, five involving the eyebrows, seven involving the eyelids, nineteen involving the eyes, nine involving the nose, nine involving the mouth, three involving the belly, three involving the back, seven involving the hands, sixteen involving the reproductive organs, twenty involving the legs, eight involving the entire body, eight involving the skin, seven involving the body's strength and odor. They have all been outlined one by one.

The following disqualify [a priest] because of the impression they may create:25

a) one who has lost the hair of his eyelids even though the roots remain;

b) one whose teeth have been removed.

יז

נמצאו כל המומין הפוסלין בכהנים מאה וארבעים וזהו כללם: שמונה בראש ושנים בצואר ותשעה באזנים וחמשה בגבינים ושבעה בריס העין ותשעה עשר בעינים ותשעה בחוטם ותשעה בפה ושלשה בבטן ושלשה בגב ושבעה בידים וששה עשר באיברי הזרע ועשרים ברגלים ושמונה בכל הגוף ושמונה בעור הבשר ושבעה בכח הגוף וריחו וכבר נפרטו כולן אחד אחד ואלו פסלו מפני מראית העין מי שנשרו ריסי עיניו אף ע"פ שנשאר השיער בעיקרן ומי שניטלו שיניו:

Footnotes
1.

The Ra'avad (and this is also Rashi's interpretation of Bechorot 43a) differs with the Rambam's interpretation of this disqualifying factor. The Kessef Mishneh maintains that the Rambam had a different version of that Talmudic passage.

2.

The accompanying drawing is taken from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Bechorot 7:1). Similarly, all of the disqualifying factors mentioned here are discussed there and in the following mishnah.

3.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Bechorot 7:3), the Rambam explains that when a person has a pair of organs, it is expected that they be identical and a deviation is considered a blemish.

4.

Leviticus 21:20. The Rambam chooses the first interpretation of this term offered by Bechorot 7:2. Rashi follows the second interpretation, overly long eyebrows. In his Commentary to the Mishnah, the Rambam states that the two opinions both agree that these two conditions are blemishes, the difference of opinion between them concerns only the definition of the term gibein in the Torah.

5.

Reaching his eyelids [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (ibid.)].

6.

Some interpret this simply. Others understand it as meaning that the person's two eyebrows are connected above his nose so that they appear as one long eyebrow.

7.

The bracketed addition is made on the basis of the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Bechorot 7:3).

8.

I.e., while focusing on one storey, he will see the other.

9.

I.e., for most people, the bridge of the nose interposes between one eye and the other and it is impossible to apply ointment to them both in one motion. There are certain individuals whose bridge of the nose is so sunk that they can do so.

Bechorot 7:3 defines charum as having a bridge of the nose sunk to the extent that the above is possible. Nevertheless, in the Talmud, another opinion is cited which states that as long as the bridge is sunken more than what is ordinary, it is considered a blemish even if it does not reach such an extreme state. The Rambam accepts this view, because it appears to be favored by the Talmud (Kessef Mishneh).

11.

This term is used by the Mishnah (Bechorot 7: 1). Although the term is generally interpreted as meaning a hunchback in contemporary Hebrew, the implication above is also included in the Talmudic term.

12.

And thus the two hands appear the same.

13.

I.e., to the end of one's fingers.

15.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam concerning this point. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh justify the Rambam's view.

16.

Bechorot 45b explains that although a tall person is considered attractive, if he is exceptionally tall, people consider it objectionable.

17.

I.e., blotches that are not associated with the impurity resulting from tzara'at.

18.

See Hilchot Tuma'at Tzara'at 1:1 for a definition of this term.

19.

With regard to the impurity of tzara'at. See ibid. 6:4.

20.

An isar is a Roman coin that the Talmud mentions in various halachic contexts (Kiddushin 2a, Bava Metzia 51b, Mikvaot 9:5, et al.). The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 34:2) quotes Rashba as stating that in his (medieval) times the size of an isar was already not known. More recently, Middos VeShiurei Torah, p. 169, gives the diameter of an isar as 23 mm. Thus its area would be slightly more than 3.6 cm.

21.

Since it has hair, it is considered objectionable, regardless of its size.

22.

If it smaller, it is not that noticeable, and hence, it is not considered a blemish.

23.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Bechorot 7:5), the Rambam describes this condition as severe melancholia to the extent that the person's physical functioning is impaired.

24.

I.e., the total of those mentioned in this and the previous chapter.

25.

See Chapter 6, Halachot 5-6.

Biat Hamikdash - Chapter 9

1

When a non-priest serves in the Temple, his service is invalid and he is liable for death at the hand of heaven, as [Numbers 18:7] states: "A non-priest who draws close will die." According to the Oral Tradition, we have learned that one does not become liable unless he draws close to perform service.1 Where is the warning concerning this?2 [Ibid.:4] states: "A non-priest shall not draw close to you."3

What is meant by a non-priest? Anyone who is not a male descendant of Aaron, as [Leviticus 1:8] states: "And the sons of Aaron shall arrange" and [Leviticus 3:8] states: "And the sons of Aaron shall set afire." [These service are performed by] "the sons of Aaron" and not the daughters of Aaron.4

א

זר שעבד במקדש עבודתו פסולה וחייב מיתה בידי שמים שנאמר והזר הקרב יומת מפי השמועה למדו שאין חיוב זה אלא לקרב לעבודה והיכן הזהיר עליו וזר לא יקרב אליכם אי זהו זר כל שאינו מזרע אהרן הזכרים שנאמר וערכו בני אהרן והקטירו בני אהרן בני אהרן ולא בנות אהרן:

2

Although non-priests are warned not to perform any of the services associated with offering sacrifices, they are liable for death [at the hand of Heaven] only for performing "complete service,"5 not on service that is followed by other service.6 [Thus] a non-priest is liable for death only for four services: a) sprinkling;7 b) setting afire [sacrifices on the altar];8 c) pouring water [on the altar] on Sukkot, and d) pouring wine on the altar at all times.

ב

אף על פי שהזרים מוזהרין שלא יתעסקו בעבודה מעבודות הקרבנות אין חייבין מיתה אלא על עבודה תמה לא על עבודה שיש אחריה עבודה ואין הזר חייב מיתה אלא על ארבע עבודות בלבד על הזריקה ועל ההקטרה ועל ניסוך המים בחג ועל ניסוך היין תמיד:

3

How is one liable for sprinkling? Whether he dashed [blood] inside [the Temple building]9 or outside, [in the Temple Courtyard],10 performed sprinkle one of the sprinklings of blood or performed one of the sprinklings of the sacrifices brought by a person afflicted with tzara'at,11 he is liable for death.

ג

כיצד על הזריקה בין שזרק בפנים בין שזרק בחוץ בין שהזה הזאה אחת מכל הזיות הדם בין שהזה הזאה אחת מכל הזיות קרבנות המצורע הרי זה חייב מיתה:

4

How is one liable for setting afire [sacrifices on the altar]? Whether he set afire limbs [of animal sacrifices], a handful of flour, or of frankincense12 on the altar - or even if he turned over limbs that had not been consumed by fire and hastened their being burnt,13 he is liable for death, provided he set afire an olive-sized portion of these entities. Similarly, if one sets afire incense on the golden altar, when he sets afire an olive-sized portion,14 he is liable. In contrast, one who sets fire to incense on Yom Kippur in the Holy of Holies is not liable for death for this until he sets fire to a handful, for that is the measure explicitly [required] by the Torah.15

ד

כיצד על הקטרה הקטיר איברים או קומץ או לבונה על המזבח אפי' הפך באיברים שלא נתעכלו וקרב שריפתן חייב מיתה והוא שהקטיר כזית וכן אם הקטיר קטרת על מזבח הזהב משיקטר כזית חייב אבל המקטיר קטורת ביוה"כ בקדש הקדשים אינו חייב מיתה עליה עד שיקטיר מלא חפניו שיעור המפורש בתורה:

5

[A non-priest] who arranges two logs of wood on the altar's pyre is considered comparable to one who set [sacrificial] limbs afire and he is liable for death [at the hand of heaven for doing so]. For the wood is also considered as a sacrifice.16

In contrast, [a non-priest] who pours [oil onto the flour offerings], one who mixes [the flour offerings with oil],17 one who breaks [the wafers of meal offerings] into pieces, one who salts [the sacrifices], one who waves [the sacrifices], one who brings [a meal offering] close to the altar, one who arranges the showbread or the bowls of incense on the [golden] table, one who prepares the lamps [of the Menorah],18 one who kindles light on the altar, one who takes a fistful [of flour or incense], and one who receives the blood [of a sacrifice], even though he disqualifies his service, he is warned against doing so and is liable for lashes for doing so, he is not liable for death at the hand [of Heaven]. [The rationale is that] all of these services are followed by another service and they do not represent the completion of the offering [of a given sacrifice].

ה

והמסדר שני גזרי עצים על המערכה הרי הוא כמקטיר איברים וחייב מיתה שהעצים קרבן הוא אבל היוצק והבולל והפותת והמולח והמניף והמגיש ומסדר את לחם הפנים או את הבזיכין על השלחן והמטיב את הנרות והמצית אש במזבח והקומץ והמקבל דמים אע"פ שנפסלו והרי הוא מוזהר על כל אלו ולוקה אינו חייב מיתה מפני שכל אחת מהן עבודה שאחריה עבודה ואינה גמר עבודה:

6

The slaughter of sacrificial animals is acceptable if performed by non-priests.19 [This applies even to] sacrifices of the most holy order, both individual sacrifices and communal sacrifices, as [Leviticus 1:5] states: "And he shall slaughter the bull before God and the sons of Aaron shall offer it." Implied is that from receiving [the blood], the mitzvah belongs to the priesthood. Similarly, skinning an animal, cutting it up, and bringing wood to the altar are acceptable when performed by non-priests, for with regard to the limbs, [ibid.:9] states: "And the priest shall set afire everything on the altar," this refers to bringing limbs [from sacrificial animals] to the [altar's] ramp. [We may infer that] bringing such limbs requires a priest, but not bringing wood.

ו

שחיטת הקדשים כשירה בזרים אפילו קדשי קדשים בין קדשי יחיד בין קדשי צבור שנאמר ושחט את בן הבקר לפני י"י והקריבו בני אהרן מקבלה ואילך מצות כהונה וכן ההפשט והניתוח והולכת עצים למזבח כשירה בזרים שנאמר באיברים והקטיר הכהן את הכל המזבחה זו הולכת איברים לכבש הולכת איברים היא שצריכה כהונה ולא הולכת עצים:

7

Similarly, the kindling of the lamps [of the Menorah] is acceptable20 if performed by a non-priest. Therefore, if a priest cleaned the lamps and brought them outside,21 a non-priest is permitted to kindle them.

ז

וכן הדלקת הנרות כשירה בזרים לפיכך אם הטיב הכהן את הנרות והוציאן לחוץ מותר לזר להדליקן:

8

The removal of the ashes [from the altar] must be performed by a priest,22as [Leviticus 6:3] states: "And the priest will put on his linen fit tunic...." If an Israelite removes [the ash], he is liable for lashes.

He is not liable for death [at the hand of Heaven] even though this is a service that is not followed by another service.23 [This is derived as follows. The verse that speaks of the punishment of death at the hand of Heaven, Numbers 18:7,] speaks of "work of giving."24 [Implied is that] the work of giving must be performed by a priest alone. If a non-priest offered [a sacrifice], he is liable for death. The service of removal25 does not make a non-priest liable for death. Similarly, if a non-priest cleaned the inner altar or the Menorah, he is not liable for death.

ח

הרמת הדשן צריכה כהן שנאמר ולבש הכהן מדו בד וגו' ואם הרים ישראל לוקה ואינו חייב מיתה אף על פי שאין אחריה עבודה שנאמר עבודת מתנה עבודת מתנה הוא שתהיה בכהן לבדו ואם קרב לה הזר חייב מיתה אבל עבודת סלוק אין חייבין עליה מיתה [וכן אם דישן מזבח הפנימי והמנורה אינו חייב מיתה]:

9

[If a non-priest] arranged the wood on the altar, the arrangement should be taken apart and rearranged by a priest, because the [initial] arrangement is unacceptable.26

ט

סידר המערכה פורקה וחוזר הכהן וסודרה מפני שסידורה פסול:

10

An impure [priest], one with a disqualifying physical blemish, and one who did not wash his hands or feet27 are not liable28 except for services that a non-priest is liable for death.29 For other services, he [violates merely] a warning.

י

הטמא ובעל מום ושלא רחוץ ידים ורגלים ששימש במקדש אינן חייבין אלא על עבודות שהזר חייב עליהן מיתה ועל שאר העבודות באזהרה:

11

A priest who immersed that day30 who is lacking atonement,31who became impure,32 who did not wash his hands and feet and yet served [in the Temple] is liable for each transgression.33 If he was a non-priest,34he is liable for lashes only for serving as a non-priest.35

יא

כהן טבול יום ומחוסר כפורים שנטמא והרי הוא מחוסר בגדים ושלא רחוץ ידים ורגלים ועבד חייב על כל אחד ואחד ואם היה זר אינו לוקה אלא אחת משום זרות:

12

When a non-priest performs [Temple] service on the Sabbath, he is liable for violating the Sabbath laws36 and for serving as a non-priest.37 Similarly, when a priest with a physical blemish serves while ritually impure, he is liable [both] for [serving] while impure and for serving with a blemish.38

יב

זר ששימש בשבת חייב משום שבת ומשום זרות וכן בעל מום ששימש בטומאה חייב משום טומאה ומשום בעל מום:

13

Any priest who served a false deity, whether willingly or inadvertently - even if he repented completely - may never serve in the Temple,39 as [Ezekiel 44:13] states: "They40 shall not draw near to Me, to serve Me." [This prohibition applies] whether [a priest] serves the false deity in its rites, e.g., he became a priest to the false deity, he bowed down to it, or acknowledged its [divinity] and accepted it as god. [In all these instances,] he is disqualified [to serve in the Temple] forever.

If [such a priest] transgressed and performed service, his sacrifice is not considered as a pleasing fragrance41 even if he acted inadvertently when he served, bowed down to, or acknowledged [the false deity]. If, by contrast, one slaughtered an animal for a false deity inadvertently and then transgressed and offered a sacrifice [in the Temple], the sacrifice is considered a pleasing fragrance and is accepted, for he did not perform service for the false deity or become its priest; all he did was slaughter an animal for it42 and that was performed inadvertently. Nevertheless, as an initial preference, he should not perform service [in the Temple].

יג

כל כהן שעבד ע"ז בין במזיד בין בשוגג אע"פ שחזר בתשובה גמורה ה"ז לא ישמש במקדש לעולם שנאמר ולא יגשו אלי לכהן לי אחד העובד אותה בשירות כגון שנעשה כומר לע"ז או המשתחוה לה או המודה בה וקבלה עליו באלוה הרי זה פסול לעולם עבר והקריב אין קרבנו ריח ניחוח אף על פי שהיה שוגג בעת ששרת או שהשתחוה או שהודה אבל השוחט לע"ז בשוגג אם עבר והקריב קרבנו ריח ניחוח ונתקבל שהרי לא שרת ולא נעשה כומר אלא שחט בלבד והוא שוגג ואע"פ כן לכתחלה לא יעבוד:

14

If one transgressed and built a shrine outside the Temple and offered a sacrifice to God there,43 it is not considered as a Temple to a false deity. Nevertheless, any priest who serves in such a shrine should never serve in the Temple. Similarly, utensils that were used there should never be used in the Temple. Instead, they should be entombed. It appears to me44 that if a priest who served in such [a shrine] performs service in the Temple, it does not invalidate it.45

יד

מי שעבר ועשה בית חוץ למקדש להקריב בו קרבנו לשם אינו כבית ע"ז ואף על פי כן כל כהן ששימש בבית כזה לא ישמש במקדש לעולם וכן כלים שנשתמשו בהן שם לא ישתמשו בהן במקדש לעולם אלא יגנזו ויראה לי שאם עבד כהן ששימש שם במקדש לא פסל:

15

Thus there are eighteen factors that disqualify [a person] from serving [in the Temple]. They are: a) one who served a false deity;46 b) a non-priest;47 c) one with a disqualifying physical blemish;48 d) one who is uncircumcised;49e) one who is impure;50 f) one who immersed that day [and must wait until nightfall to become pure];51 g) one who is lacking atonement;52 h) one who is in a state of acute mourning;53 i) one who is intoxicated;54 j) one who is lacking the priestly garments;55 k) one who is wearing extra garments;56 l) one whose garments were torn;57 m) one whose hair has grown long;58 n) one who did not wash his hands and feet;59 o) one who sits;60 p) one who had an entity intervening between his hand and the sacred utensil [he is using];61 q) one who had an entity intervening between his foot and the earth;62 r) one who served with his left hand.63

All of the above are disqualified from serving and if they serve, they invalidate their service with the exception of those with long hair, those with torn garments, and one who slaughtered for a false deity inadvertently. If these individuals serve, their service is acceptable.

טו

נמצאו כל הפסולין לעבודה שמונה עשר ואלו הן: העובד ע"ז הזר בעל מום הערל הטמא טבול יום מחוסר כפורים האונן השכור מחוסר בגדים יתר בגדים פרום בגדים פרוע ראש שלא רחץ ידים ורגלים היושב מי שיש בין ידו ובין הכלי דבר חוצץ מי שיש בין רגלו ובין הארץ דבר חוצץ מי שעבד בשמאלו כל אלו פסולין לעבודה ואם עבדו חללו חוץ מפרוע ראש וקרוע בגדים והשוחט לע"ז בשוגג שאם עבדו עבודתן כשירה:

Blessed be God who offers assistance.

סליקו להו הלכות ביאת המקדש:

Footnotes
1.

I.e., and it does not forbid merely entering the Temple or ascending the Altar.

2.

I.e., where is stated the prohibition for which this punishment is given? (Sifri)

3.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 74) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 390) include this prohibition among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

4.

Thus restricting the priestly service to males and excluding females. The Radbaz questions why two verses are necessary to exclude the women of the priestly family. He explains that since they are permitted to part of terumah and certain sacrificial foods, they are not entirely similar to Israelites. Hence, a second verse is necessary.

5.

Service which is the final stage in a sacrifice being brought to the altar (Yoma 24a).

6.

E.g., receiving the blood, carrying the blood or the limbs to the altar.

7.

See Halachah 3.

8.

See Halachah 4.

9.

As performed by the High Priest on Yom Kippur and also when offering certain atonement offerings.

10.

The sprinkling or dashing of blood on the external altar.

11.

See Hilchot Mechusrei Kapparah 4:2 where these sprinklings are mentioned. Rav Yosef Corcus questions why the water libations and the wine libations are considered as separate categories and the sprinkling of blood and oil are not. He explains that the two different libations stem from entirely different commandments. The sprinkling of the oil, by contrast, is not a commandment in its own right, but an ancillary element to the offering of a sacrifice and that sacrifice also involves sprinkling blood. Hence, the two are included in the mitzvah.

12.

I.e., entities that are usually set afire on the altar.

13.

As Sh'vuot 17b states, this applies even if the entity would have ultimately been consumed by fire without his activity, but his act hastens its consumption.

14.

For one to be liable, a portion of this minimum size is necessary, for an incense offering may not be smaller, as stated in Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach 5:2. Hence, if he sets afire less, he is not performing service. Even though a larger amount of incense is offered each day, that is a Rabbinic enactment and not a Scriptural requirement (Radbaz).

15.

Leviticus 16:12; Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 5:26. If he sets fire to a lesser amount, he is not performing service. Hence, he is not liable.

16.

See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 14:1. Arranging these two logs is the final stage in the arrangement of wood on the altar. Hence a non-priest is liable (Radbaz).

17.

Rabbi Akiva Eiger cites Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 12:23 which states that the preliminary stages of the offering of a meal offering may be performed by a non-priest.

18.

See Halachah 7.

19.

Se also Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 5:1; Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashim 1:1.

20.

Even as an initial preference (Radbaz). The Ra'avad differs and maintains that, after the fact, if a non-priest kindled the lamps, it is valid, but as an initial preference, he is not allowed to kindle them. The Radbaz brings support for the Rambam's position from Yoma 24b which states that kindling the lamps of the Menorah is not an act of service. Since it is not an act of service, asks the Radbaz, why should a non-priest be restricted from performing it? How is it different from the slaughter of an animal?

The Minchat Chinuch (mitzvah 98) reinforces the Ra'avad's question, asking how is it possible for the Menorah to be lit outside its proper place? The Rambam LeAm explains that the mitzvah is not lighting the lamps, but rather putting the lamps in their place.

21.

I.e., out from the Temple building to a place in the courtyard where a non-priest is allowed to stand. Note the discussion of the meaning of the term hatavah in Hilchot Temidim UMusafim 3:12 and notes.

22.

See ibid. 2:10.

23.

See Halachah 2.

24.

I.e., the verse has two connotations: a) that the priestly service is a gift to the priests, b) (and this is the focus here), that the priestly service involves giving: offering sacrificial substances on the altar.

25.

I.e., the removal of the ashes.

26.

Because arranging the wood is considered sacrificial service (Radbaz). The Kessef Mishneh points out that from Yoma 27-28a, one might conclude that it is permitted for a non-priest to arrange the wood of the altar. Nevertheless, according to the Rambam that passage only absolves a non-priest from the punishment of death. It does not grant him permission to arrange the wood.

27.

The commentaries question why the Rambam omits a priest who does not wear the priestly garments. Rav Yosef Corcus explains that it is not necessary to mention such a person because in Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash 10:4, the Rambam stated that a priest who does not wear the priestly garments is considered as a non-priest.

28.

I.e., each one is liable according to the punishment appropriate for him. An impure priest and one who did not wash his hands and feet are liable for death and one who is physically blemished is liable for lashes (Kessef Mishneh).

29.

I.e., services that are not followed by other services which involve giving.

30.

And must wait until the evening before performing service.

31.

E.g., a person afflicted with tzara'at who must bring an atonement offering before serving.

32.

With another type of impurity.

33.

Since he violated many prohibitions with one act of service, he is liable for a sacrifice for each violation.

The Ra'avad cites a Tosefta that does not accept the Rambam's ruling on this point and instead, maintains that he is liable for only one sacrifice. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh, however, support the Rambam's ruling, explaining that each of the prohibitions expands the scope of the obligation. See Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 7:2 and Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 8:6 which discusses the ground rules for these concepts.

34.

Even if he also possessed all the other disqualifying factors.

35.

For all of the other prohibitions were given only to a priest. They do not apply to a non-priest (Kessef Mishneh).

36.

For the Temple services involve performance of forbidden labors. These prohibitions are superseded by the obligation to offer the sacrifices, but since a non-priest's service is not valid, he is considered as liable for these prohibited acts.

37.

Here also although a single act is performed, since two different prohibitions are involved, he is liable for both of them. We do not follow the principle: One prohibition does not fall on another prohibition, because the prohibition against performing the Sabbath labors is greater in scope, encompassing other acts besides the Temple service.

38.

For the ritual impurity increases the scope of his liability, making him liable also for entering the Temple and partaking of sacrifices. Since it is of a greater scope, we do not follow the principle, one prohibition does not fall on another (Radbaz).

39.

A parallel also exists with regard to the recitation of the priestly blessing. See Hilchot Nesiat Kapayim 15:3. There the Rambam also excludes a priest who was compelled to serve idols and he cites a different prooftext, II Kings 23:9.

40.

The priests who "who distanced themselves from Me during Israel's straying, when they strayed after false deities" (Ezekiel 44:10).

41.

I.e., though it is not disqualified, it is not considered as desirable.

42.

Note a parallel in Hilchot Shechitah 2:15.

43.

The Rambam is not speaking about a mere hypothetical situation. As he relates in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Menachot 13:10), Chonio, the son of Shimon the Just entered into a power struggle with his brother Shimi to inherit his father's position as High Priest. Chonio incurred the people's wrath, because he brought about a very deprecating situation in the Temple. He fled to Alexandria where he established a following, constructed a temple to God resembling the Temple in Jerusalem, and offered sacrifices there just like those offered in Jerusalem. Needless to say, our Sages shunned Chonio's shrine, because its sacrificial worship violated the prohibition against offering sacrifices outside the Temple. Indeed, the majority of those who worshiped there were non-Jewish Egyptians whom Chonio had attracted to God's service.

44.

This represents a conclusion reached by the Rambam on the basis of deduction without a prior Rabbinic source.

45.

Since they were disqualified by Rabbinic decree, after the fact, their service is acceptable (Kessef Mishneh).

46.

Halachah 13.

47.

Halachah 1.

48.

Chapter 6, Halachot 1-2.

49.

Ibid.:8.

50.

Chapter 4, Halachah 1.

51.

Ibid.:4.

52.

Ibid.:5.

53.

Chapter 2, Halachah 7.

54.

Chapter 1, Halachah 1.

55.

Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash 10:4.

56.

Ibid.:5.

57.

Chapter 1, Halachah 14.

58.

Ibid.:8-9.

59.

Chapter 5, Halachah 1.

60.

Ibid.:17.

61.

Ibid.

62.

Ibid.

63.

Ibid.:18.

Issurei Mizbeiach - Chapter 1

Introduction to Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach

They contain fourteen mitzvot: four positive commandments and ten negative commandments. They are:

1) To offer for all sacrifices only unblemished cattle;
2) Not to set apart a blemished beast for the altar;
3) Not to slaughter (such a beast for the altar);
4) Not to sprinkle its blood;
5) Not to burn its fat (on the altar);
6) Not to offer up a beast with a temporary blemish;
7) Not to offer a beast with a blemish, even when presented by gentiles;
8) Not to inflict a blemish in cattle set apart for the altar;
9) To redeem cattle, set apart for the altar, which have become unfit to be offered up;
10) To offer up a beast, only when at least eight days old; before then, it is immature and is not to be offered up;
11) Not to offer up for sacrifice the hire of a harlot or "the price of a dog";
12) Not to burn on the altar leaven or honey;
13) To salt all sacrifices;
14) Not to omit seasoning all sacrifices with salt.

These mitzvot are explained in the ensuing chapters.

הלכות איסורי המזבח - הקדמה

יש בכללן ארבע עשרה מצוות: ארבע מצוות עשה, ועשר מצוות לא תעשה. וזה הוא פרטן:

(א) להקריב כל הקרבנות תמימים.
(ב) שלא להקדיש בעל מום למזבח.
(ג) שלא יִשחט.
(ד) שלא יזרוק דמו.
(ה) שלא יקטיר חלבו.
(ו) שלא יקריב בעל מום עובר.
(ז) שלא יקריב בעל מום אפילו בקרבנות הגוים.
(ח) שלא יטיל מום בקדשים.
(ט) לפדות פסולי המוקדשין.
(י) להקריב מיום השמיני והלאה, וקודם זמן זה הוא נקרא "מחוסר זמן" ואין מקריבין אותו.
(יא) שלא להקריב אתנן ומחיר.
(יב) שלא להקטיר שאור ודבש.
(יג) למלוח כל הקרבנות.
(יד) שלא להשבית מלח מעל הקרבנות.

וביאור מצוות אלו בפרקים אלו:

1

It is a positive commandment for all the sacrifices to be unblemished and of choice quality,1 as [Leviticus 22:21] states: "unblemished to arouse favor."2 This is a positive commandment.3

א

מצות עשה להיות כל הקרבנות תמימין ומובחרין שנאמר תמים יהיה לרצון זו מצות עשה:

2

[Conversely,] anyone who consecrates a blemished animal for the altar violates a negative commandment4 and is liable for lashes5 for consecrating it, as [ibid.:20] states: "Whatever has a blemish should not be sacrificed." According to the Oral Tradition, we learned that this is a warning against consecrating a blemished animal. Even one who consecrates such an animal for the money to pay for libations6 is liable for lashes, for this represents a disgrace to the sacrifices.7

ב

וכל המקדיש בהמה שיש בה מום לגבי המזבח עובר בלא תעשה ולוקה על הקדשו שנאמר כל אשר בו מום לא תקריבו מפי השמועה למדו שזו אזהרה למקדיש בעלי מומין אפילו הקדישו לדמי [נסכים] לוקה שבזיון קדשים הוא:

3

[When a person consecrates an animal and] intends to say [that it is consecrated as] a peace offering, but actually says "as a burnt offering," or [intended to consecrate it] as a burnt offering, but said, "a peace offering," his statements are of no consequence unless his mouth and his heart are identical.8 Therefore if one intended to consecrate a blemished animal as a burnt offering, but consecrated it as peace offering or intended to consecrate it as a peace offering, but consecrated it as burnt offering, he is not liable for lashes even though he intended to perform a transgression.

If someone thought that it was permitted to consecrate a blemished animal for the altar and did so, the consecration is effective and he is not liable for lashes.9

ג

המתכוין לומר שלמים ואמר עולה עולה ואמר שלמים לא אמר כלום עד שיהיו פיו ולבו שוים לפיכך המתכוין לומר על בעל מום עולה והקדישו שלמים או שלמים ואמר עולה אע"פ שנתכוון לאיסור אינו לוקה מי שדימה שמותר להקדיש בעל מום למזבח והקדיש ה"ז קדוש ואינו לוקה:

4

One who slaughters a blemished animal for the sake of a sacrifice10 is liable for lashes,11 for [ibid.:22] states: "Do not offer these12 to God." According to the Oral Tradition, we learned that this is a warning to one who slaughters.

Similarly, one who pours the blood of blemished animals on the altar is liable for lashes,13 for, with regard to them,14 [ibid.:24] states: "Do not offer to God." According to the Oral Tradition, we learned that this is a warning to one who pours the blood of blemished animals on the altar.

And also one who sets afire the selected portions of blemished sacrifices on the altar is liable for lashes,15 for, with regard to them,16 [ibid.:22] states: "Do not place them as a fire offering on the altar." This refers to the fats. Thus we can deduce that one who consecrates a blemished animal, slaughter it, poured its blood [on the altar], and set afire its selected portions is worthy of four sets of lashes.

ד

השוחט בעל מום לשם קרבן לוקה שהרי נאמר בבעלי מומין לא תקריבו אלה לה' ומפי השמועה למדו שזה אזהרה לשוחט וכן הזורק דם בעלי מומין על המזבח לוקה שהרי נאמר בהן לא תקריבו (אלה) ליי' מפי השמועה למדו שזה אזהרה לזורק וכן המקטיר אימורי בעלי מומין על המזבח לוקה שנאמר ואשה לא תתנו מהם על המזבח אלו החלבים נמצאת למד שאם הקדיש בעל מום ושחטו וזרק דמו והקטיר אימוריו לוקה ארבע מלקיות:

5

One transgresses the above commandments whether the animal has a permanent blemish or a temporary blemish, he violates all of these commandments, as [Deuteronomy 17:1] states: "Do not sacrifice to God your Lord an ox or a sheep that has a blemish." According to the Oral Tradition, we learned that this is a warning [against offering] an animal with a temporary blemish,17 for example, an animal had a moist skin eruption or a boil.18 If he sacrificed, it, he is liable for lashes.

ה

אחד בעל מום קבוע או בעל מום עובר אם הקריבו עובר בכל אלו שנאמר לא תזבח לה' אלהיך שור ושה אשר יהיה בו מום מפי השמועה למדו שזה אזהרה לבעל מום עובר כגון שהיה בבהמה גרב לח או חזזית אם הקריבה לוקה:

6

[The above applies], not only to sacrifices of the Jewish people, but also to the sacrifices brought by gentiles.19 If [a priest] offered [such sacrifices] and the animals were blemished, he is liable for lashes,20 as [Leviticus 22:25] states: "From the hands of foreigners, you may not offer the food of your God from all of these."21

ו

ולא קרבנות ישראל בלבד אלא אף קרבנות עכו"ם אם הקריבן והן בעלי מומין לוקה שנאמר ומיד בן נכר לא תקריבו את לחם אלהיכם מכל אלה:

7

One who brings about a blemish in a sacrificial animal, e.g., he blinded its eye or cut off its hand,22 is liable for lashes.23 For with regard to a sacrifice, [Leviticus 22:21] states: "It shall not have any blemish." According to the Oral Tradition, we learned that this is a warning not to cause a blemish."

Lashes are given [for the violation of this prohibition] only when the Temple was standing, for then [the animal] was fit to be offered a sacrifice and [the person] disqualified it. In the present age, by contrast, even though one transgressed a negative commandment, he is not liable for lashes.24

ז

המטיל מום בקדשים כגון שסימא עינו או קטע ידו לוקה שהרי נאמר בקרבן כל מום לא יהיה בו מפי השמועה למדו שזה אזהרה שלא יתן בו מום ואינו לוקה אלא בזמן שבית המקדש קיים שהרי היה ראוי לקרבן ופסלו אבל בזמן הזה אף על פי שעבר בלא תעשה אינו לוקה:

8

If a person brought about a blemish25 in a sacrificial animal and another person came and brought about a second blemish, the second person is not liable for lashes.26

ח

הטיל מום בקדשים ובא אחר והטיל בה מום אחר השני אינו לוקה:

9

[This prohibition applies] both with regard to one who causes a blemish in sacrificial animals themselves or in animals to which their holiness was transferred27with the exception of a firstborn or a tithed animal. In those instances, one who causes a blemish in an animal to which their holiness was transferred is not liable for lashes, for they are not fit to be sacrificed, as will be explained in the appropriate place.28 Similarly, one who causes a blemish in the ninth animal which was mistakenly called the tenth,29 is not liable for lashes.

ט

אחד המטיל מום בקדשים עצמן או בתמורתן חוץ מן הבכור ומן המעשר שהמטיל מום בתמורתן אינו לוקה לפי שאינן ראויין לקרבן כמו שיתבאר במקומו וכן המטיל מום בתשיעי של טעות עשירי אינו לוקה:

10

Although one who consecrates a blemished animal30 [for the sacrifices of] the altar is liable for lashes,31 [the animal] becomes consecrated. It must be redeemed [after] evaluation by a priest.32 It then reverts to the status of an ordinary [animal]33 and its money should be used to purchase [an animal for the same type of] sacrifice. This law also applies when a consecrated animal contracts a disqualifying blemish.34

It is a positive commandment to redeem sacrificial animals that contracted disqualifying blemishes and cause them to revert to the status of an ordinary animals so that one may partake of them,35 as [Deuteronomy 12:15] states: "Nevertheless, whenever your heart desires, you may slaughter and partake of meat." According to the Oral Tradition, we learned that the verse is speaking about consecrated animals that must be redeemed.36We already explained in [Hilchot] Arachin37 that [Leviticus 27:11]: "With regard to any impure animal38 of which a sacrifice should not be brought as an offering to God, [you shall have the animal stand before the priest...]",39 is speaking about blemished animals that have been redeemed.

י

המקדיש בעלת מום למזבח אף ע"פ שלוקה הרי זה נתקדשה ותפדה בערך הכהן ותצא לחולין ויביא בדמיה קרבן וכן הדין בבהמת קדשים שנפל בה מום ומצות עשה הוא לפדות קדשים שנולד בהן מום ויצאו לחולין ויאכלו שנאמר רק בכל אות נפשך תזבח ואכלת בשר מפי השמועה למדו שהכתוב מדבר בפסולי המוקדשין שיפדו וכבר ביארנו בערכין שזה שנאמר ואם כל בהמה טמאה אשר לא יקריבו ממנו קרבן לה' שהוא מדבר בבעלי מומין שנפדו:

11

What are the differences between [the laws pertaining to an animal] with a permanent blemish and one with a temporary blemish? If an animal with a permanent blemish40 gives birth while it is consecrated,41 the offspring must be redeemed; it then receives the status of an ordinary animal even if it is unblemished.42[The rationale is that] a secondary entity should not be treated with greater severity than the primary entity.43 If it became pregnant before it was redeemed and it gave birth after it was redeemed, the offspring has the status of an ordinary animal.44If [the consecrated animal that was blemished] died before it was redeemed, it should be redeemed after it died.45 [The rationale is that] holiness never encompassed its actual body only on its worth, because it had a permanent blemish.46

If, by contrast, one consecrates an animal that possesses a temporary blemish or he consecrates an unblemished animal and after he consecrated it, it contracted a permanent blemish [different laws apply]. If it died before it was redeemed, it should be buried like other unblemished consecrated animals,47 because it must be stood before the court and evaluated,48 as we explained in [Hilchot] Arachin.49 If it was slaughtered before it was redeemed, it may be redeemed as long as it is making convulsive motions.50 Afterwards, one may partake of it. If it gave birth, its offspring may be sacrificed.51 If it became pregnant before it was redeemed52and it gave birth before it was redeemed, the offspring is forbidden.53 It may not be redeemed. What should be done? Before the mother is redeemed, the offspring should be dedicated to the same [type of] sacrifice as its mother,54 because it may not be offered because of [the sanctification of] its mother, because its [holiness] comes from sanctification that was suspended.55

יא

מה בין בעלת מום קבוע לבעלת מום עובר שבעלת מום קבוע אם ילדה והיא קדש יפדה הולד ויצא לחולין אע"פ שהוא תמים כדי שלא יהיה טפל חמור מן העיקר ואם נתעברה קודם שתפדה וילדה אחר פדיון הולד חולין ואם מתה קודם שתפדה נפדית אחר שתמות שהרי לא חלה קדושה גמורה על גופה אלא על דמיה מפני שהיתה בעלת מום קבוע אבל המקדיש בעלת מום עובר או תמימה ואחר שהקדישה נולד לה מום קבוע אם מתה קודם שתפדה תקבר כשאר הקדשים התמימים מפני שהיא צריכה העמדה והערכה כמו שביארנו בערכין ואם נשחטה קודם שתפדה ה"ז נפדית כל זמן שהיא מפרכסת ואח"כ תאכל ואם ילדה יקרב ולדה נתעברה קודם שתפדה וילדה אחר שנפדית הולד אסור ואינו נפדה אלא כיצד יעשה סמוך לפדיון אמו מתפיס זה הולד לשם אותו הזבח לפי שאינו יכול להקריבו [מכח אמו] מפני שבא מכח קדושה דחויה:

12

Whenever a consecrated animal that was disqualified56 is redeemed, it may be slaughtered in a butchers' market and sold there, [after] being weighed with a scale like ordinary meat.57 [The only] exceptions are the firstborn animals and the tithes.58

[The rationale for the distinction is that] selling the animal in the market causes its price to rise. Therefore other sacrifices whose value remains consecrated - for they are sold and the proceeds of the sale are used to bring another animal as a sacrifice - it should be sold in the market like an ordinary animal.59 In contrast, with regard to a first born animal and a tithed animal - since the proceeds of their sale do not remain consecrated, instead, the animals may be eaten [as ordinary meat,] because of the blemish, as will be explained60 - they may not be slaughtered in a butchers' market or sold there.61 Even if [the value of] the firstborn animal was consecrated,62 it should not be weighed in a scale and sold in a market.63 [The rationale is that] one may consecrate only an article that he has acquired in a complete and total manner.64

יב

כל פסולי המוקדשין כשיפדו מותר לשוחטן בשוק של טבחים ולמוכרן שם ולשקול בשרם בליטרא כשאר החולין חוץ מן הבכור ומן המעשר מפני שמכירתם בשוק מוסיף בדמיהן שאר הקדשים שדמיהן חוזרין להקדש שהרי מביא בדמיהם בהמה אחרת מוכרין אותן בשוק כחולין אבל הבכור והמעשר שאין דמיהם להקדש אלא נאכלין במומן כמו שיתבאר אין שוחטין אותם בשוק של טבחים ואין מוכרין אותם שם אפילו התפיס בכור לבדק הבית אינו נשקל בליטרא ולא ימכר בשוק שאינו יכול להתפיס אלא דבר הקנוי לו קנין גמור:

Footnotes
1.

See the conclusion of these halachot (Chapter 7, Halachah 11).

2.

The Sifra explains that the phrase should be understood, not only as a description.

3.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 61) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 286) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

4.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 91) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 285) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. One is liable for merely consecrating such an animal even if it is never actually offered on the altar (Sefer HaChinuch).

5.

The Sefer HaChinuch questions why lashes should be given, because the transgression does not involve a deed, but explains that it can be considered comparable to temurah, exchanging an animal for a sacred animal. There too the exchange/consecration of the animal is considered as significant enough to warrant lashes.

6.

And thus the animal will be sold, rather than offered on the altar itself.

7.

For as above, the sacrifices should be associated only with perfect and unblemished animals. Anything less is an insult to He to Whom they are offered.

8.

See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 14:12; Hilchot Nizirut 9:8. This is a general principle: Whenever a person wants to take a vow, consecrate an article, or set it aside as holy, his statements must reflect the will of his heart.

9.

Since he did not know of the prohibition involved, his act does not minimize the holiness of the sacrifices. Hence the consecration is effective. And since, he did not act intentionally. He is not liable for lashes. The Ra'avad takes issue with the Rambam on this point, based on his understanding of Temurah 17a. The commentaries elaborate on this difference of opinion.

10.

The Kessef Mishnehemphasizes that he must slaughter the animal for the sake of a sacrifice to be liable.

11.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 92) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 288) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

12.

The verse speaks of animals with physical blemishes.

13.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 93) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 289) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

14.

The verse speaks of animals with physical blemishes.

15.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 94) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 290) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

16.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 92) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 288) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

17.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 95) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 494) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. In his hasagot to Sefer HaMitzvot, the Ramban differs and maintains that this should not be considered as a separate commandment, but rather as an element of the above commandments. Even according to the Rambam, this one negative commandment includes all of the three prohibitions mentioned above.

18.

See Chapter 2, Halachah 7, where these blemishes are listed.

19.

See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 3:2-3 for a description of these sacrifices.

20.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 96) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 292) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

21.

The verse speaks of animals with physical blemishes.

22.

The examples the Rambam gives are permanent blemishes. Generally, temporary blemishes cannot be brought about by human acts. Moreover, even if a person does cause a temporary blemish, he does not violate this prohibition. There is a logical basis for this conclusion, because as long as the animal is not permanently blemished, it is not disqualified as an offering (Radbaz; Minchat Chinuch, mitzvah 287).

23.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 97) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 287) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

24.

The Radbaz explains that this concept can be derived from the prooftext cited in Halachah 1: "unblemished to arouse favor." Implied is that when a sacrificial animal can arouse favor, i.e., when there is a Temple where it can be offered, it must be unblemished. If that is not the case, there is no penalty for causing such a blemish.

The Kessef Mishnehand other commentaries have noted that the Rambam's ruling appears to be in contradiction with Avodah Zarah 13b which implies that there is no prohibition at all in causing a blemish in the present era, because there is no Temple where the sacrifices can be offered. The Minchat Chinuch (loc. cit.) and others explain that the difference can be resolved on the basis of the Rambam's ruling (Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 6:15) that if the altar is constructed on the Temple Mount, sacrifices may be brought even if the entire Temple has not been rebuilt.

25.

From Chapter 2, Halachah 15, it would appear that if the first merely brought about a temporary blemish, the second would be liable.

26.

For the animal was already disqualified due to the actions of the first person. Although the second person is not liable for lashes, he is still considered to have violated a Scriptural prohibition.

27.

Although it is forbidden to transfer the holiness of a sacrificial animal to another animal, once that act has been performed, the second animal is consecrated and the prohibitions associated with a sacrifice apply to it.

28.

Hilchot Temurah 3:1.

29.

As explained in Hilchot Bechorot 8:1-2, when a person is tithing his flocks and he mistakenly calls the ninth animal to emerge, the tenth. In such an instance, a certain measure of holiness is conveyed upon that animal and it cannot be eaten until it becomes blemished. It should not, however, be offered on the altar. Since it is not fit to be offered, causing a blemish in it does not make one liable for lashes.

30.

This is speaking about an animal with a permanent blemish. The laws that apply if it has merely a temporary blemish are mentioned in the following halachah.

31.

As stated in Halachah 1.

32.

As indicated by the sources cited by the Rambam at the conclusion of this halachah, the evaluation of the animal's worth must be made by a priest and not by any other person.

33.

Once such an animal has been redeemed, it may be shorn or used for labor (Hilchot Me'ilah 1:9).

34.

I.e., they should be redeemed and a sacrifice brought with the money, as stated in Hilchot Arachin 5:11.

35.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 86) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 441) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

36.

I.e., the new concept taught by the verse is not that one may slaughter ordinary animals and partake of their meat, for there is no need for a verse to teach us that. Instead, the new idea is that consecrated animals can be redeemed and then used as food. It is, however, forbidden to shear them and perform work with them even after they have been redeemed (Hilchot Me'ilah, loc. cit.).

37.

Hilchot Arachin, loc. cit.

38.

Bechorot 37b explains that the intent is not an animal from an impure species, but rather an animal from a kosher species that became disqualified because of a blemish, for there is a second verse (27:27) that speaks about evaluating non-kosher animals.

39.

To be evaluated and then it may be redeemed.

40.

It had a permanent blemish before it was consecrated.

41.

I.e., before it was redeemed.

42.

This represents a departure from the usual practice, because generally, unblemished animals are not redeemed, but are offered as sacrifices; see Teumrah 33b.

43.

I.e., it would not be appropriate for the animal that was consecrated not to be offered as a sacrifice and its offspring, which was never directly consecrated, to be used for that purpose.

44.

For it was redeemed together with its mother.

45.

And then its meat can be used even as food for animals, and certainly for humans. Moreover, a formal process of evaluation by a court is not required before its redemption.

46.

The Rambam is explaining why leniency is granted to redeem it after it died although generally we do not redeem a consecrated animal to feed its meat to the dogs (Chapter 2, Halachah 10; based on Temurah 6:5). In this instance, however, because the animal was blemished permanently, the consecration never affected its actual body, only its worth (i.e., it was not destined to be sacrificed itself, but rather to be sold and the proceeds used to purchase a sacrifice). Hence, after it dies, it can still be sold after it is redeemed.

47.

Rather than redeemed. See Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashim 19:11.

48.

And this process of evaluation must be performed while the animal is alive.

49.

Hilchot Arachin 5:12.

50.

For as long as it is making convulsive motions, it is considered alive and the process of evaluation can take place (ibid.:13).

51.

See Hilchot Temurah 4:9.

52.

But after it contracted a permanent blemish.

53.

To be used for ordinary purposes by Rabbinic decree. Although according to Scriptural Law, its holiness has departed, our Sages forbade its use, lest many such animals be maintained and flocks of them raised (Bechorot 15b).

54.

It then receives holiness on its own accord, independent of its mother.

55.

Since the mother was unfit to be sacrificed because of its blemish, its holiness is considered to be suspended. Because the holiness of the mother was suspended, the offspring is not considered to be consecrated to the complete extent. Hence it must be consecrated again.

(It must be noted that the commentaries have questioned this ruling, because in Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 15:4, the Rambam writes that the holiness of consecrated animals is never suspended. It can, however, be explained that a suspension stemming from a permanent blemish is different, because the animal can never be fit for sacrifice again. See a parallel in Hilchot Temurah 3:4.)

56.

Because of a blemish or similar reason.

57.

I.e., we do not say that since the animal was originally consecrated, it is disrespectful to treat it in this manner after it was redeemed. The Radbaz adds that the purchaser need not be notified that the meat came from a sacrifice that was disqualified.

58.

See Hilchot Bechorot 1:18; 6:5-7 which mentions the restrictions against selling such meat.

59.

So that the best price could be received for it.

60.

Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashim 6:18; Hilchot Bechorot 1:3; 6:4; Hilchot Temurah 3:1-2.

61.

For this represents disdain for consecrated property.

62.

By the priest who received it after it was blemished.

63.

One might think that since its value will be given to the Temple treasury, one would be allowed to sell it like normal meat to increase its price, as explained above.

64.

In this instance, the priest cannot sell this animal in the market as private property. Hence he does not have the right to give this privilege to the Temple treasury (Rashi, Zevachim 75b).

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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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