Thursday, 16 August 2018

Menachot 6: Limitations on the Kometz, the Handful of Meal-Offering

The rabbis consider whether an animal that becomes a treifa after being sanctified might be disqualified after the fact.  They wonder about different cases and how those might compare with the case in question:
  • treifa animals in other situations
  • fat and blood improperly prepared
  • pinching done improperly
  • an animal born by cesarian section
  • a blemished animal
A new Mishna teaches us that the meal-offering is unfit if the kometz is taken under the following circumstances:
  • a sinner,
  • a non-priest
  • or a priest who was an acute mourner
  • a priest who was ritually impure and immersed but was waiting for night
  • or a priest without the proper vestments
  • a priest who did not yet atone
  • a priest who did not wash his hands/feet in the basin before leading the Temple service
  • a priest who removed the handful while sitting
  • a priest who removed the handful while standing on anything other than the Temple floor, including vessels, an animal, or another's feet
  • an uncircumcised priest
The rabbis say that the offering is unfit if the priest removed the flour from with his left hand.  Ben Beteira says that the handful is returned to the vessel containing the meal offering and then the kometz is taken again but with his right hand.  

We also learn that if the priest removed the kometz and a stone and a grain of salt or a pinch of frankincense, the offering is unfit.  This is because those items would force the kometz to be the wrong size, which is not permitted.  A handful cannot be overflowing, it must be contained well by the priest's fingers, and it cannot be taken by only the tips of the priest's fingers.

Steinsaltz shares information about the origins of frankincense.  It is the hardened resin that comes from a particular African tree.  We learn about different origins and processing processes.