Thursday, 24 May 2018

Zevachim 41: Proof Texts, Leaders and Sprinkling of Blood

Referring to learnings in Masechet Horayot, we deepen our learning about the sin-offerings brought by leaders: the High Priest, the Great Sanhedrin, and the King or Nasi.  Both the offering of the High Priest and the Sanhedrin are brought to the inner altar.

The Torah instructs the High Priest to sacrifice the kidneys and the diaphragm.  This is not detailed in the mitzvah regarding the Sanhedrin offering.    Rabbi Yishmael's students compare this to a king who is angry at a beloved subject.  The king wishes to save the subject from embarrassment and so he does not repeat those details.  According to Rashi, this servant is actually the Jewish people as represented by the Great Sanhedrin.  According to the Maharsha, the subject is the High Priest and the Torah's details are mentioned to demonstrate that the sin is forgiven once the offering has been made.

The Torah's teaching about the High Priest's sin offering includes a description of the blood being sprinkled toward the curtain of the sanctuary.  The Torah does not mention he holiness of the curtain but instructs the Sanhedrin to sprinkle the blood toward the parochet, the curtain covering the Holy Ark.  This time, the rabbis compare this to ta king whose people are revolting against him.  The revolution will succeed if the majority of the people are involved.  When a Sanhedrin brings a sin-offering on behalf of the Jewish people when the majority of the people have sinned, it is as if the holiness of the Temple is gone - this is why the word hakodesh, the holiness, is left out.

No comments:

Post a Comment