SALT - Thursday 10 Nisan 5777 - April 6, 2017

  • Rav David Silverberg

            As we’ve discussed over the last two days, the Torah allocates different time-frames for the consumption of different kinds of sacrifices.  Most sacrifices may be eaten only on the day of the offering and through the next night.  Shelamim sacrifices, by contrast (with the exception of the toda and the korban pesach), may be eaten until the end of the following day.  As we saw yesterday, Tosefot in Masekhet Zevachim (57b) note that Chazal enacted a safeguard with respect to the deadline for the first category of sacrifices, but not with regard to the second.  Meaning, when it comes to sacrifices which the Torah allows eating only through that night, Chazal enacted that the meat must not be eaten past midnight (Mishna, Berakhot 2a).  By contrast, shelamim offerings may be eaten throughout the day after the day the sacrifice was offered, until sundown, and Chazal did not impose an earlier deadline as a safeguard.  As we saw yesterday, Rav Meir Simcha Ha-kohen of Dvinsk suggests an explanation for this distinction in his Or Samei’ach (Hilkhot Ma’aseh Ha-korbanot 10:6) based on the comments of the Ramban in his commentary to Parashat Tzav.

            Interestingly, Rav Meir Simcha gives a different answer to this question in his other famous work – Meshekh Chokhma (Vayikra 7:15).  There Rav Meir Simcha insightfully observes that the Torah never actually issues a prohibition against partaking of a shelamim sacrifice beyond the second day.  Whereas in several contexts the Torah explicitly commands not to eat other sacrifices on the second day, it issues no similar explicit prohibition against eating the meat of a shelamim beyond its deadline – the end of the second day.  The reason, Rav Meir Simcha suggests, is because, quite simply, people are in any event unlikely to eat meat beyond the day after the animal is slaughtered.  Before refrigeration, meat would not remain fresh and tasty for more than two days, and there was thus no reason for the Torah to forbid eating meat of a shelamim sacrifice beyond the second day.  Rav Meir Simcha draws our attention to the Gemara’s discussion in Masekhet Ta’anit (30a) and in Masekhet Sanhedrin (70a) regarding the prohibition against eating meat on Erev Tisha B’Av.  The Gemara states that this prohibition applies only within the period when a shelamim sacrifice may be offered – meaning, through the day after the day of the animal’s slaughtering.  Beyond this period, the meat is not considered tasty, and is thus permissible for consumption on Erev Tisha B’Av.  Therefore, the Torah had no need to forbid eating meat of a shelamim beyond the second day.

            Rav Meir Simcha adds that this easily answers Tosefot’s question.  Since the Torah does not actually forbid eating meat of a shelamim beyond the second day, there was no need for Chazal to enact a provision to safeguard against violations of this deadline.

            In conclusion, it is worth noting that Targum Yonatan Ben Uziel translates the Torah’s command regarding the consumption of the shelamim (Vayikra 7:16) as, “…on the day of the offering of the sacrifice it shall be eaten, and the next day, and that which is left over shall be eaten in the afternoon.”  The question naturally arises as to why Targum Yonatan found it necessary to specify that the shelamim may be eaten even on the afternoon of the second day.  Rav Yitzchak Baruch Yissachar Leventhal, in his Birkat Yitzchak (Parashat Tzav), suggests that Targum Yonatan sought to emphasize the point that Chazal did not act a safeguard with respect to the shelamim, and permitted eating the meat throughout the second day.  The meat may be eaten even in the afternoon, until sundown, as the Sages saw no need to legislate an earlier deadline as a safeguard.