Monday, 29 June 2015

Nedarim 36: Benefiting as Personal Giving

Even more than past dapim, today's daf focuses on intention.  Does is matter if a priest knew in advance that an offering was piggul, for it would be sacrificed at the wrong time?  Does it count if a person is making a request to inspire motivation rather than personal benefit?  Must a person know that they are doing a mitzvah (tithing for someone else, for example)?  What if the invitation to help with tithing is not specifically made to the person who should not be 'benefitting' another?

One story told is that of a man who encouraged the boys and girls in his group to offer the korban pesach to race to the Temple.  In the end, the girls arrived first.  Because there is no mention of one group being rewarded over the other, the lesson is taken to be motivation.  Even though minor children are not counted in the mitzvah of bringing the korban pesach, they were being taught to be motivated to perform mitzvot.   I wonder about the original context of this story and what it was said to prove.  What is the significance of noting that girls were the winners of this race?

The Gemara comments on priests who are forbidden from benefiting from other priests; about eating the forbidden fat and proceeding to make an offering.  Many examples, each discussed in some detail.

Nedarim is certainly about the intricacies of practical legal interpretation.  Although it is relatively simple (compared with other masechtot), I am finding Nedarim to be extremely tedious.  I just hang on for those brief stories; the transgressions that make everything brighten up as the law steps off of the page.

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