Get the best of content every week!
Find answers to fascinating Jewish questions, enjoy holiday tips and guides, read real-life stories and more!

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Pesulei Hamukdashim - Chapter 19

Show content in:

Pesulei Hamukdashim - Chapter 19


It is a positive commandment to burn all the sacrifices that have become impure,1 as [Leviticus 7:19] states: "And the meat that will touch anything that [imparts] impurity may not be eaten. It must be burnt with fire."

Similarly, it is a mitzvah to burn notar,2 as [ibid.:17] states: "What remains from the meat of the sacrifice on the third day3 shall be burnt with fire." Included in [the category of] notar is piggul and all other sacrifices that were disqualified. They must all be burnt.


מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לִשְׂרֹף כָּל הקָּדָשִׁים שֶׁנִּטְמְאוּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא ז יט) "וְהַבָּשָׂר אֲשֶׁר יִגַּע בְּכָל טָמֵא לֹא יֵאָכֵל בָּאֵשׁ יִשָּׂרֵף". וְכֵן הַנּוֹתָר מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לְשָׂרְפוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא ז יז) "וְהַנּוֹתָר מִבְּשַׂר הַזָּבַח בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי בָּאֵשׁ יִשָּׂרֵף". וּבִכְלַל הַנּוֹתָר הַפִּגּוּל וְכָל פְּסוּלֵי הַמֻּקְדָּשִׁין הַכּל נִשְׂרָפִין:


When a sacrifice becomes piggul or is [otherwise] disqualified, it should be burnt in the Temple4 immediately. Whenever there is a doubt whether a sacrifice has been disqualified, it should be left until the next day5 and then burnt in the Temple.


קָרְבָּן שֶׁנִּתְפַּגֵּל אוֹ נִפְסַל יִשָּׂרֵף בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ מִיָּד. וְכָל שֶׁפִּסּוּלוֹ מִסָּפֵק תְּעֻבַּר צוּרָתוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִשָּׂרֵף בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ:


There is an unresolved doubt with regard to the bulls and the goats which are to be burnt6 whether leaving them overnight or taking them outside [the Temple Courtyard] before the time to take them out7 disqualifies their meat as it would their fats and organs or not.8 Therefore, as a stringency, it is considered as if they were disqualified and they should be burnt in the Temple Courtyard.9

Similarly, there is an unresolved doubt if half [such] an animal was taken out [including] the majority of one limb.10 Therefore, as a stringency, it is considered as if it was disqualified and it should be burnt in the Temple Courtyard.

Similarly, if five people carried [such] an animal to take it outside the Temple Courtyard and three departed from [the Courtyard] and two remained, but the three removed half of the animal, [such animals] are disqualified because of the doubt and they should be burnt in the Temple Courtyard.11 It appears to me that in such instances,12 it is not necessary to wait until the following day. [The rationale is that] regardless [such animals] will be burnt,13 even if they are not disqualified.


פָּרִים וּשְׂעִירִים הַנִּשְׂרָפִים יֵשׁ בָּהֶם סָפֵק אִם הַלִּינָה וְהַיְצִיאָה קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ זְמַנָּם לָצֵאת פּוֹסֶלֶת בְּשָׂרָם כְּאֵימוּרֵיהֶן אוֹ אֵינָהּ פּוֹסֶלֶת בְּשָׂרָן. לְפִיכָךְ פּוֹסְלִין אוֹתָן לְהַחְמִיר וְיִשָּׂרְפוּ בָּעֲזָרָה. וְכֵן אִם יָצָא חֲצִי הַבְּהֵמָה בְּרֹב הָאֵיבָר אִם מַחֲזִיקִין אוֹתָן כַּיּוֹצֵא הוֹאִיל וְיָצָא רֹב הָאֵיבָר אוֹ עֲדַיִן אֵינָן יוֹצְאִין שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא יָצָא רֹב הַבְּהֵמָה. לְפִיכָךְ נִפְסְלוּ מִסָּפֵק וְיִשָּׂרְפוּ בָּעֲזָרָה. וְכֵן אִם נְשָׂאוּם חֲמִשָּׁה לְהוֹצִיאָן וְיָצְאוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה וְנִשְׁאֲרוּ שְׁנַיִם. וְהוֹצִיאוּ הַשְּׁלֹשָׁה חֲצִי הַבְּהֵמָה הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נִפְסְלוּ מִסָּפֵק וְיִשָּׂרְפוּ בַּעֲזָרָה. וְיֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁאֵין אֵלּוּ צְרִיכִין לְהַמְתִּין עַד שֶׁתְּעֵבַּר צוּרָתָן הוֹאִיל וְהֵן עוֹמְדִין לִשְׂרֵפָה לְעוֹלָם אֲפִלּוּ לֹא נִפְסְלוּ:


[The following laws apply when] meat is found in the Temple Courtyard: [Whole] limbs are [considered as parts of] burnt-offerings. Pieces [of meat] are considered as parts of sin-offerings.14 Pieces which are found in Jerusalem are considered as parts of peace-offerings.15 Everything should be left until the following day and then taken out to the place where sacrifices are burnt lest it be notar.16

[One might ask: If so,] of what benefit will it be that it be considered as [part of] a burnt-offering, a sin-offering, or a peace-offering? [To define the law for one] who transgressed and partook of it.17

Notar is burnt only during the day, as stated: "On the third day,18 [it] shall be burnt with fire."


בָּשָׂר הַנִּמְצָא בָּעֲזָרָה. אֵיבָרִים עוֹלוֹת וַחֲתִיכוֹת חַטָּאוֹת. וְהַנִּמְצָא בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם שְׁלָמִים. הַכּל תְּעֵבַּר צוּרָתָן וְיֵצְאוּ לְבֵית הַשְּׂרֵפָה שֶׁמָּא נוֹתָר הוּא. אִם כֵּן מַה הוֹעִיל שֶׁתִּהְיֶה חֶזְקָתוֹ עוֹלָה אוֹ חַטָּאת אוֹ שְׁלָמִים. לְמִי שֶׁעָבַר וְאָכַל. אֵין שׂוֹרְפִין אֶת הַנּוֹתָר אֶלָּא בַּיּוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא ז יז) "בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי בָּאֵשׁ יִשָּׂרֵף":


Although peace-offerings are forbidden to be eating from the beginning of the night of the third day,19 [the remainder] is only burnt during the day, whether [it is burnt] at the appropriate time or not at the appropriate time.20 Similarly, piggul is burnt only during the day.21

Burning [sacrificial meat] that is impure, notar, or piggul does not supersede [the prohibitions against forbidden labor on] festivals.22 Needless to say, it does not supersede [the prohibition against work on] the Sabbath.

It is permitted to burn [sacrificial meat] that is impure, notar, and piggul together.23


אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַשְּׁלָמִים אֲסוּרִין בַּאֲכִילָה מִתְּחִלַּת לֵיל שְׁלִישִׁי. אֵין שׂוֹרְפִין אוֹתָן אֶלָּא בַּיּוֹם. בֵּין בִּזְמַנּוֹ בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא בִּזְמַנּוֹ. וְכֵן הַפִּגּוּל אֵינוֹ נִשְׂרָף אֶלָּא בַּיּוֹם. וְאֵין שְׂרֵפַת טָמֵא וְנוֹתָר וּפִגּוּל דּוֹחָה אֶת יוֹם טוֹב וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת. וּמֻתָּר לִשְׂרֹף טָמֵא וְנוֹתָר וּפִגּוּל כְּאֶחָד:


When the meat of a sacrifice of the most sacred order became impure in [the Temple Courtyard], it should be burnt in [the Temple Courtyard]. When it became impure outside [the Temple Courtyard], it should be burnt outside [the Temple Courtyard].24 [This applies] whether it became impure because of a primary source of ritual impurity or a derivative of ritual impurity.25

The priests never refrained from burning meat that contracted impurity from a primary source of impurity - and thus it is defined as impure to the first degree - with meat that contracted impurity from a derivative of impurity,26 even though this would increase the level of its impurity.27 For [an entity that is] of third degree impurity that touches an entity of first degree impurity is considered as of secondary impurity, as explained in [the appropriate] place.28 Moreover, even oil that became impure because it touched a person who immersed on that day,29 which is of third degree impurity is permitted to be burnt in a metal lamp30 that was touched by a person who is impure because of contact with a human corpse, in which instance, the lamp is a primary source of impurity.31 Although the oil becomes impure to the first degree when it touches the lamp, since it was already deemed impure, we are not concerned with the increase of the impurity. We are only careful that an entity that is pure will not become disqualified.


בְּשַׂר קָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים שֶׁנִּטְמָא בִּפְנִים. שׂוֹרְפִין אוֹתוֹ בִּפְנִים. וְאִם נִטְמָא בַּחוּץ שׂוֹרְפִין אוֹתוֹ בַּחוּץ. בֵּין שֶׁנִּטְמָא בְּאַב הַטֻּמְאָה בֵּין שֶׁנִּטְמָא בִּוְלַד הַטֻּמְאָה. וּמִימֵיהֶם שֶׁל כֹּהֲנִים לֹא נִמְנְעוּ מִלִּשְׂרֹף אֶת הַבָּשָׂר שֶׁנִּטְמָא בְּאַב הַטֻּמְאָה שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא רִאשׁוֹן לְטֻמְאָה עִם הַבָּשָׂר שֶׁנִּטְמָא בִּוְלַד הַטֻּמְאָה שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא שְׁלִישִׁי אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמּוֹסִיפִין לוֹ טֻמְאָה עַל טֻמְאָתוֹ. שֶׁהַשְּׁלִישִׁי שֶׁנָּגַע בְּרִאשׁוֹן יַחְזֹר שֵׁנִי כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בִּמְקוֹמוֹ. וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא אֲפִלּוּ שֶׁמֶן שֶׁנִּפְסַל בִּטְבוּל יוֹם שֶׁהוּא שְׁלִישִׁי מֻתָּר לְהַדְלִיקוֹ בְּנֵר שֶׁל מַתֶּכֶת שֶׁנָּגַע בָּהּ טְמֵא מֵת שֶׁהַנֵּר אַב הַטֻּמְאָה. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁזֶּה הַשֶּׁמֶן נַעֲשֶׂה רִאשׁוֹן כְּשֶׁיִּגַּע בְּנֵר הוֹאִיל וְיֵשׁ שָׁם שׁוּם טֻמְאָה אֵין מַקְפִּידִין עַל תּוֹסֶפְתָּה וְאֵין נִזְהָרִין אֶלָּא מִן הַטָּהוֹר שֶׁלֹּא יִפָּסֵל:


Notar left over from sacrifices of a lesser degree of holiness32 should be burnt by the persons bringing the sacrifice in their homes.33


נוֹתָר שֶׁל קָדָשִׁים קַלִּים שׂוֹרְפִין אוֹתוֹ בְּעָלָיו בְּבָתֵּיהֶן:


[The following rules apply when a person] left Jerusalem and remembered that he had sacrificial meat34 in his possession. If he already passed Mt. Scopus,35 he should burn it where he is. If not36 and it is the size of an olive-sized portion, he should return and burn it in Jerusalem.37 If he is a guest who does not have a home, he should burn it before the Temple38 with wood designated for the arrangement of wood [of the altar].39


מִי שֶׁיָּצָא מִירוּשָׁלַיִם וְנִזְכַּר שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּיָדוֹ בְּשַׂר קֹדֶשׁ. אִם עָבַר הַצּוֹפִין שׂוֹרְפוֹ בִּמְקוֹמוֹ. וְאִם לָאו אִם יֵשׁ בּוֹ כְּזַיִת אוֹ יֶתֶר חוֹזֵר וְשׂוֹרְפוֹ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם. וְאִם הוּא אוֹרֵחַ שֶׁאֵין לוֹ בַּיִת שׂוֹרְפוֹ לִפְנֵי הַבִּירָה מֵעֲצֵי הַמַּעֲרָכָה:


All of the bones of the sacrifices that do not have marrow need not be burnt40 with the exception of the bones of the Paschal sacrifice.41 We already explained42 that when a sacrifice was disqualified after it was skinned, its hide should be given to the priests43 or to the owners, in the instance of sacrifices of a lesser degree of holiness. If, however, [a sacrifice] was disqualified before it was skinned, the hide is considered as the meat and it should be burnt in its entirety.44

Similarly, if a sacrifice was skinned and then it was discovered to be tereifah or it was disqualified because of an improper thought concerning time or place, since the sacrifice was not accepted, the hide should be burnt. [This applies] both to sacrifices of the highest degree of sanctity and to sacrifices of a lesser degree of sanctity. If, however, a sacrifice was offered for the sake of a different intent, even though the obligation of the owners was not fulfilled, since it is acceptable,45 the hide is given to the priests or the owners, as explained [above]. When a sacrifice was skinned before the blood was cast [on the altar46 and the sacrifice was disqualified afterwards, the hide] is not disqualified.


כָּל עַצְמוֹת הַקָּדָשִׁים שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶן מוֹחַ אֵינָן טְעוּנִין שְׂרֵפָה חוּץ מֵעַצְמוֹת הַפֶּסַח. כְּבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ שֶׁהַקָּרְבָּן שֶׁנִּפְסַל אַחַר שֶׁהֻפְשַׁט הָעוֹר לַכֹּהֲנִים אוֹ לִבְעָלָיו כְּקָדָשִׁים קַלִּים. אֲבָל אִם נִפְסַל קֹדֶם הֶפְשֵׁט. הֲרֵי הָעוֹר כְּבָשָׂר וְיִשָּׂרֵף הַכּל. וְכֵן זֶבַח שֶׁהֻפְשַׁט וְנִמְצָא טְרֵפָה אוֹ שֶׁנִּפְסַל בְּמַחְשֶׁבֶת הַזְּמַן אוֹ בְּמַחְשֶׁבֶת הַמָּקוֹם. הוֹאִיל וְלֹא נִרְצָה הַזֶּבַח יִשָּׂרֵף הָעוֹר בֵּין בְּקָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים בֵּין בְּקָדָשִׁים קַלִּים. אֲבָל אִם נַעֲשָׂה בְּמַחְשֶׁבֶת שִׁנּוּי הַשֵּׁם. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא עָלָה לַבְּעָלִים הוֹאִיל וְנִרְצָה הֲרֵי הָעוֹר לַכֹּהֲנִים אוֹ לִבְעָלָיו כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וְזֶבַח שֶׁהֻפְשַׁט קֹדֶם זְרִיקָה אֵינוֹ פּוֹסֵל:


These are the entities that should be burnt:47 sacrificial meat that became impure, notar, or was disqualified, and also a meal-offering that became impure, notar, or was disqualified, a conditional guilt-offering in an instance when it became known to the transgressor that he definitely did not sin before its blood was cast [on the altar],48 a sin-offering of fowl that is brought because of a doubt,49 the hair of a nazirite who is ritually pure,50 and [produce that is] orlah51 or kilei hakerem.52 Entities that are not fit to be burnt - e.g., liquids that are orlah or kilei hakerem - should be buried.


אֵלּוּ הֵן הַנִּשְׂרָפִים. בְּשַׂר קֹדֶשׁ שֶׁנִּטְמָא אוֹ נוֹתַר אוֹ נִפְסַל. וְכֵן הַמִּנְחָה שֶׁנִּטְמְאָה אוֹ נִפְסְלָה אוֹ נוֹתְרָה. וְאָשָׁם תָּלוּי שֶׁנּוֹדַע לוֹ שֶׁלֹּא חָטָא קֹדֶם שֶׁנִּזְרַק דָּמוֹ וְחַטַּאת הָעוֹף הַבָּאָה עַל הַסָּפֵק. וּשְׂעַר נָזִיר טָהוֹר. וְהָעָרְלָה וְכִלְאֵי הַכֶּרֶם. וְדָבָר שֶׁאֵין דַּרְכּוֹ לְהִשָּׂרֵף כְּגוֹן מַשְׁקִין שֶׁל עָרְלָה וְשֶׁל כִּלְאֵי הַכֶּרֶם הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ יִקָּבֵרוּ:


These are the entities that should be buried: sacred animals that died, whether they were consecrated to [be offered on] the altar or for the sake of the Temple treasury - when sacred animals miscarry and discharge a fetus or a placenta, it should be buried - an ox that is stoned to death,53 a calf whose neck is broken,54 the fowl [used for the purification of] a person afflicted with tzara'at,55 the hair of a nazirite who became impure,56 a firstborn donkey [which was not redeemed],57 a mixture of milk and meat,58 and ordinary animals that were slaughtered in the Temple Courtyard.59


וְאֵלּוּ הֵם הַנִּקְבָּרִים. קָדָשִׁים שֶׁמֵּתוּ בֵּין קָדְשֵׁי מִזְבֵּחַ בֵּין קָדְשֵׁי בֶּדֶק הַבַּיִת. וְקָדָשִׁים שֶׁהִפִּילוּ נֵפֶל. הִפִּילוּ שִׁלְיָא תִּקָּבֵר. וְשׁוֹר הַנִּסְקָל. וְעֶגְלָה עֲרוּפָה. וְצִפֳּרֵי מְצֹרָע. וּשְׂעַר נָזִיר טָמֵא. וּפֶטֶר חֲמוֹר. וּבָשָׂר בְּחָלָב. וְחֻלִּין שֶׁנִּשְׁחֲטוּ בָּעֲזָרָה:


When a person weaves the full length of a sit60 from the hair of a nazirite or a firstborn donkey with a weave of goatshair,61 it should be consigned to flames.62


הָאוֹרֵג מְלֹא הַסִּיט מִשְּׂעַר נָזִיר וּמִפֶּטֶר חֲמוֹר בְּשַׂק יִדָּלֵק:


[If] any of the entities that must be buried [are burnt], it is forbidden to benefit from their ashes. It is permitted to benefit from the ashes of all of the entities that must be burnt, [even if] they are sacred, with the exception of the ashes of the outer and inner altars and the ashes of the Menorah.63


כָּל הַנִּקְבָּרִין אֶפְרָן אָסוּר. וְכָל הַנִּשְׂרָפִין שֶׁל הֶקְדֵּשׁ אֶפְרָם מֻתָּר חוּץ מִדֶּשֶׁן הַמִּזְבֵּחַ הַחִיצוֹן וְהַפְּנִימִי וְדִשׁוּן הַמְּנוֹרָה:


None of the entities to be burnt should be buried64 and none of the entities to be buried should be burnt. [The rationale for the latter point is that] even though he is stringent by burning it, he is being lenient with regard to its ash, for the ashes of the entities that are buried are forbidden.65


כָּל הַנִּשְׂרָפִין לֹא יִקָּבְרוּ. וְכֵן כָּל הַנִּקְבָּרִים לֹא יִשָּׂרְפוּ. שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא מַחְמִיר בִּשְׂרֵפָתוֹ הֲרֵי הֵקֵל בְּאֶפְרָן. שֶׁאֵפֶר הַנִּקְבָּרִים אָסוּר:


If a person was offering sacrifices together with [a priest] and he told him: "[The sacrifices became] piggul," or if he was involved with entities that are ritually pure with a person and he told him, "They became impure," his word is accepted.66 A Jew is not suspected of lying in such an instance.67 If, by contrast, he told him: "The sacrifices which I offered for you on this and this day became piggul" or "those pure objects became impure," [different rules apply]. If [the person is one] whom he trusts, he should rely on his word. If not, according to the letter of the law, his word [need] not be relied upon. One who wishes to be stringent68 is praiseworthy.69


הָיָה מַקְרִיב עִמּוֹ בִּזְבָחִים וְאָמַר לוֹ נִתְפַּגְּלוּ. עוֹשֶׂה עִמּוֹ בְּטָהֳרוֹת וְאָמַר לוֹ נִטְמְאוּ. נֶאֱמָן. לֹא נֶחְשְׁדוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל כָּךְ. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר לוֹ זְבָחִים שֶׁהִקְרַבְתִּי לְךָ בְּאוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם נִתְפַּגְּלוּ. וְאוֹתָן הַטָּהֳרוֹת נִטְמְאוּ. אִם הָיָה נֶאֱמָן לוֹ סוֹמֵךְ עַל דְּבָרָיו. וְאִם לָאו שׁוּרַת הַדִּין שֶׁאֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן. וְהָרוֹצֶה לְהַחְמִיר עַל עַצְמוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח:

Blessed be the Merciful One Who grants assistance.

סליקו להו הלכות פסולי המוקדשין בס"ד:

Test Yourself on This Chapter


Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 90) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 146) include this as one of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.


Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 91) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 143) include this as one of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. There the Rambam states that the commandment was instituted to correct the transgression of leaving the meat past its required time. See Chapter 18, Halachah 9.


This is speaking about a peace-offering which may be eaten on the day it was offered and on the following day. If it was left for a third day, it must be burnt.


In the Temple Courtyard, but not on the altar. See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 7:3-4 which states that there are three places where sacrifices are burnt.


We have translated the term used by the Rambam according to its halachic intent. The literal meaning is that it should be left long enough to decompose until it loses the appearance of meat. Our Sages understood that as being a twenty-four hour period.

Leaving the sacrifice until the next day disqualifies it and requires it to be burnt. Since initially there was a doubt involved, this is the desired course of action.


I.e., they are burnt in the ash heap outside of Jerusalem after their fats and organs were offered on the altar's pyre.


I.e., before their blood is cast upon the altar.


The fats and the organs would definitely be disqualified in such circumstances. Zevachim 104b questions whether this would also apply with regard to the meat of a sacrifice and leaves that question unresolved.


Rav Yosef Corcus and the Kessef Mishneh question the Rambam's decision, because the Talmud's query seems to follow the opinion of Reish Lakish (Zevachim 89b) who maintains that when the meat of sacrifices of a lesser degree of holiness was removed from the Temple Courtyard before their blood was cast on the altar, the sacrifice is disqualified. According to Rabbi Yochanan who maintains that in such an instance, the sacrifice is not disqualified, seemingly, these sacrifices are also not disqualified.

Rav Yosef Corcus resolves the issue, explaining that even Rabbi Yochanan maintains that the meat of those sacrifices is disqualified. Hence, there is reason to question what his opinion would be in this instance.


If the majority of an animal is not taken out of the Temple Courtyard, it is not disqualified. Zevachim 105a speaks about a situation where only half an animal was taken outside the Temple Courtyard, but included that half was the majority of one limb. If the remainder of that limb was considered as outside the Temple Courtyard, the majority of the animal would be considered to be outside.


The Ra'avad takes issue with the Rambam on both of these instances, maintaining that the Talmudic passage which is the Rambam's source (Zevachim 104b-105a) can be interpreted differently. The Kessef Mishneh explains that the Rambam's interpretation can be substantiated.


All three instances mentioned above.


I.e., they will definitely be burnt. The question is only where they will be burnt, whether in the Temple Courtyard, like sacrifices that are disqualified or outside Jerusalem, as is required for these bulls and goats. When, by contrast, a doubt arises with regard to other sacrificial animals, there is no obligation to burn them unless they are disqualified. On the contrary, burning them would be considered as degrading for sacred articles (Rav Yosef Corcus). Hence they are required to be left until the next day, so that they will definitely be disqualified.


Even though it is permitted to cut the meat of burnt-offerings into portions (Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 6:19), the priests were not accustomed to doing so. Rather a burnt-offering was cut up into several large portions and then brought to the altar. Hence if the meat of an animal was cut up into smaller pieces, one could assume that it was a sin-offering (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Shekalim 7:3)]. The meat of such offerings must be eaten in the Temple Courtyard.

It is also possible that the meat was from a guilt-offering, but sin-offerings are more common and hence, they were mentioned. The meat could also have come from a peace-offering - for such offerings are also cut up into smaller pieces - but out of respect to the stringencies associated with sin-offerings, it is considered in that category.


Since peace-offerings may be eaten throughout Jerusalem, we can assume that meat found there was left over from such an offering.


Which is forbidden to be eaten or offered on the altar. Since it is possible that the meat was left beyond its appointed time, it must be burnt as required for such meat. Nevertheless, since it is also possible that it had been sacrificed on this day, it cannot be burnt immediately. Instead, we wait until the following day when it is certainly required to be burnt and burn it at that time. For peace-offerings, it is necessary to wait two days.


I.e., since it is possible that the sacrificial meat had not been left for an extra day, if a person who is permitted to eat such a sacrifice partakes of it, he is not obligated to bring a guilt-offering to atone for misusing sacrificial meat.


Since the verse mentions the day, it must be burnt during those hours.


See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 10:6.


I.e., even if it is discovered at night, several days after the meat should have been consumed, it should be burnt on the following day and not immediately at night.


The verse regarding notar serves as the basis for the ruling regarding all sacrifices that must be burnt.


In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Pesachim 7:10), the Rambam states the rationale: The prohibition of work on festivals is mandated by both a positive and negative commandment, while the charge to burn notar is merely a positive commandment and a positive commandment never overrides the observance of both a positive and negative commandment. See also Hilchot Sh'vitat Yom Tov 3:8.


Although it is forbidden to cause sacrificial meat to contract ritual impurity - and by mixing notar or piggul with impure meat, one would be doing so - since notar or piggul are already considered impure, this provision is granted (Pesachim 15b).


See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 7:3-4.


In the original, an av tumah, literally, "a father of impurity," and a v'lad tumah, literally, "the offspring of impurity." See Chapter 18, Halachah 12, for more details regarding these terms.


The Rambam is borrowing the wording of the Mishnah (Pesachim 1:6), even though - as he states in his Commentary to the Mishnah - the intent is "a derivative of a derivative," i.e., an entity of third degree impurity as mentioned here. Thus we are speaking about meat that touched an entity that had touched an entity that had touched a primary source of impurity. Indeed, the Kessef Mishneh and others suggest that text of the Mishneh Torah should be emended to reflect that understanding.


The meat becomes impure only according to Rabbinical decree. According to Scriptural Law, food does not cause other food to contract ritual impurity [Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTuma'ah 7:1; the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (op. cit.)].


See Hilchot Tuma'at Ochalin 4:15.


To emerge from most types of ritual impurity, a person must immerse in a mikveh and then wait until nightfall. Even if a person has already immersed in a mikveh, he does not regain impurity until night. Until that time, he can impart ritual impurity to certain entities (Tivul Yom 2:1).


But not an earthenware lamp touched by a person who became impure because of contact with a corpse, for an earthenware utensil never becomes a primary source of impurity [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (op. cit.)].


For the impurity resulting from contact with a corpse is so severe that even an entity that touches it becomes a primary source of impurity.


Which may be eaten anywhere in Jerusalem.


There is no necessity to bring it to the Temple and have it burnt there.


Meat from sacrifices of a lesser degree of sanctity must be eaten in Jerusalem.


The last place from the surroundings of Jerusalem from which the Temple can be seen. See Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 7:8.


And thus the difficulty in returning is not so great.


If, however, it is smaller, it is not significant and can be burnt wherever he is.


The Hebrew term birah is used to refer to the entire Temple complex.


This provision was made lest guests refrain from burning the sacrificial meat because of a lack of wood. See also Hilchot Korban Pesach 4:3 which touches on related matters.


It is sufficient to merely discard them.


See Hilchot Pesachim 10:1-2 which explain that the bones of the Paschal sacrifice are burnt together with its meat, because according to the Rambam, the prohibition against breaking a bone from the Paschal sacrifice applies even after the mitzvah to partake of the sacrifice is concluded, it is therefore desirable to burn the bones so that the do not become a cause of transgression. The Ra'avad mentions, based on Pesachim 83a, it can be concluded that only bones that had marrow and which were cracked open and the marrow removed must be burnt. If they have no marrow at all, there is no need to burn even the bones of the Paschal sacrifice.

According to this view, the difference between the law governing the bones of the Paschal sacrifice and those of other sacrifices can be explained as follows. It is forbidden to break open the bones of the Paschal sacrifice. Therefore if the bones of a Paschal sacrifice were broken open, we can assume that this was done after the Paschal sacrifice became notar, for, according to many authorities, there is no prohibition against breaking the bones of a Paschal sacrifice once it has been disqualified. In such a situation, the bones are forbidden, because they served notar (i.e., the marrow). (See the gloss of the Mishneh LiMelech who notes that in Hilchot Korban Pesach 10:6, the Rambam writes that even in such a situation, it is forbidden to break the bones of a Paschal sacrifice, and offers a possible resolution.)

With regard to other sacrifices, by contrast, there is no prohibition against breaking their bones even during the time the sacrifice is acceptable. Hence we can assume that they were broken during that time and the marrow removed. Thus there is little likelihood that they served notar and thus became forbidden. According to this understanding, if a sacrifice was notar, any bone that contains marrow should be burnt. See the gloss of the Meiri to Pesachim, loc. cit., who implies that the Rambam should have been more explicit in his statements.


Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 5:20.


In the instance of sacrifices of the highest degree of sanctity.


As the Mishnah (Zevachim 12:2) states: "Whenever the altar did not acquire the flesh [of a sacrifice], the owners do not acquire the hide."


See Chapter 15, Halachah 1.


This is a violation of the norms of sacrificial practice (see Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 5:18). Nevertheless, it does not disqualify a sacrifice.


It is forbidden to benefit from these entities. They should be burnt so that they are destroyed entirely.


A conditional guilt-offering is brought when a person suspects he has violated a negative commandment, but has no definite knowledge that he did so. If he receives knowledge that he is guiltless after the animal has been slaughtered, but before its blood is cast on the altar, the sacrifice is disqualified. Once its blood has been cast on the altar, the sacrifice is acceptable even if the person receives definite knowledge that he is guiltless. See Chapter 4, Halachah 19.


See Chapter 7, Halachah 10.


A nazirite's hair is considered "holy" and it is forbidden to be benefit from it. Therefore at the conclusion of his nazirite vow, he shaves his head and burns his hair in the Chamber of the Nazirites that was in the southeastern corner of the Women's Courtyard (Hilchot Nizirut 8:1-3).


Produce that grows in the first three years after the planting of a tree. See Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot, ch. 10, and Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni, ch. 10.


Species of grain or vegetables sown in a vineyard. See Hilchot Kilayim, ch. 5.


An ox - or any other animal - that killed a person. The ox is stoned to death and it is forbidden to benefit from its flesh at all (Exodus 21:29-32; Hilchot Nizkei Mammon, ch. 10).


When a wayfarer is found murdered and it is not known who killed him, a calf is brought as atonement. See Deuteronomy, ch. 21; Hilchot Rotzeach, ch. 9.


As stated in Leviticus, ch. 14, Hilchot Tuma'at Tzara'at, ch. 11, when a person's whose body had been afflicted with tzara'at becomes pure, he must bring two birds as part of the purification ritual.


As stated in Hilchot Nizirut 6:11, when a nazirite becomes impure because of contact with a human corpse, he must have [the ashes of the Red Heifer] sprinkled upon him on the third and seventh days. He then has his hair shaved on the seventh day. This shaving need not be performed in the Temple Courtyard.


The firstborn male offspring of a donkey must be redeemed for a sheep. If it is not redeemed, it is executed and it is forbidden to benefit from its flesh (Exodus 13:13, Hilchot Bikkurim, ch. 12).


Which is forbidden not only to be eaten but also to derive benefit from (Exodus 23:19; Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 9:1).


It is forbidden to benefit from the meat of such animals, as stated in Hilchot Shechitah 2:2.


In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Orlah 3:2), the Rambam translates the term sit into Arabic. Most commentaries interpret his statements as meaning "the distance between the top of the thumb and the next finger [when the fingers are spread out]. This is one-sixth of the distance between the thumb and the middle finger." Rav Kappach notes that in fact such a calculation will not be accurate. He interprets the Rambam's words as defining a sit as half the distance between the index finger and the middle finger when spread out. This he maintains is two thumbreadths.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Shabbat 13:4), the Rambam differentiates between "the width of a sit" and "the full length of a sit." As indicated by Hilchot Shabbat 9:20, "the full length of a sit" is two thumbreadths. In contrast, as stated (ibid.:7), "the width of a sit" is two thirds of a zeret, i.e., three thumbbreadths.


Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit.:3).


Generally, the hair of an unredeemed firstborn donkey need only be buried, as stated in the previous halachah. Nevertheless, in this instance, the cloth must be burnt lest the forbidden substance not be recognized and the cloth considered as permitted (Temurah 34a).


Temurah, op. cit., derives this concept from the exegesis of the statements of Leviticus 25:3 with regard to the ash of the inner altar. From those statements, a parallel is established with regard to the other ashes mentioned here.

The Ra'avad takes issue with the Rambam and maintains that it is only forbidden to benefit from the ashes which the priest removes when taking out the ash in the morning. He maintains that the ash on the altar is permitted. The Rambam, by contrast, maintains that all of the ash of the altar is forbidden.


Because in all these instances, the mitzvah is that the article be burnt.


While the ash of entities that are to be burnt is permitted.


The Ra'avad states that, on the basis of Gittin 54b, both of these statements should be understood as applying while the article in question is in that person's hands. The rationale is that since he could now make the article piggul or impure, his word is accepted when he says that it was previously brought to that state.

The Kessef Mishneh states that although that is the opinion of Abbaye in Gittin, loc. cit., Ravva differs, maintaining that the law applies even when the articles in question are not in his hand. Generally, the halachah follows Ravva's opinion, but in this instance, Abbaye's view is favored.


For this would cause acceptable sacrifices to be burnt unnecessary articles and pure entities to be destroyed.


And accept the other person's statements.


The wording of the Talmud that the Rambam quotes, "according to the letter of the law, his word [need] not be relied upon," implies that it is desirable to go beyond the letter of the law. See the parallels in Hilchot Korban Pesach 4:1; Hilchot Mitamei Mishkav UMoshav 13:8.

Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.
To purchase this book or the entire series, please click here.
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.
Vowelized Hebrew text courtesy Torat Emet under CC 2.5 license.
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 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.
Download Rambam Study Schedules: 3 Chapters | 1 Chapter | Daily Mitzvah