Thursday, 31 May 2018

Zevachim 48: Order of Sacrifices; Post-Modern Writing

The rabbis begin our daf with a discussion about why our last Mishna begins with directions about sacrifices done in the northern part of the Temple courtyard.  However, the more interesting component of today's daf, for me, is the focus on the hermeneutic principals. 

Why would the Mishna begin with the Yom Kipur sacrifices and not the olah, burnt offering, which teaches is about the halacha about the placement of that offering (Vayikra 1:11)?  The Gemara teaches that we begin with offerings that came from rabbinic and not Torah taught instruction.  We learn that the Sages are enamoured by halachot that are based on logical inference.  To me, this is an example of the flexibility that the rabbis espouse when it comes to valourizing  their own work.

Sefer Vayikra (4:29) suggests that the offerings should be brought in the same place that the olah was to be brought.  However, the Sages were not satisfied with a simple, biblical direction.  Tosafot say that the olah offering should be the last part of this Mishna.  This is because only the offering brought to the north of the Temple courtyard is states clearly.  When establishing the order of the Mishna, the olah was written after the chatat, the sin-offering, since both have communal sacrifices and personal sacrifices associated with them.  The asham, guilt offering is written later because it is only brought as a personal sacrifice.

When we discuss post-modern thought and self-referential writings, we usually think of the twentieth century and today's creations.  Today's daf offers an example of the rabbis understanding and sometimes referring to their own interpretive and organizational processes when it comes to creating the Talmud text. 

No comments:

Post a Comment