Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Zevachim 60: The Origin and Nature of Holiness

Some brief points from today's daf:

  • we set aside our first fruits, the ma'aser sheni, the second tithe, after first tithes have been held for the priests and the leviim
  • the second tithe is taken to Jerusalem by the owner
  • if there is too much to carry, the fruit can be traded or redeemed for food that will be eaten in Jerusalem
  • Steinsaltz sees the conversation among rabbis as based on a fundamental question: how do we perform these mitzvot when the Temple is no longer standing?
  • The Gemara looks to the laws regarding redemption of a first born animal that is brought to the Temple as an offering, the bechor
  • Can there be holiness if the holiness of the Temple no longer exists?
  • Perhaps the holiness of Eretz Yisrael and the holiness of Jerusalem are the same
  • Tosafot: if the Temple takes the holiness away from HaAretz, then it would take the holiness away from Jerusalem
  • The Rambam: even if the holiness of HaAretz is taken away, the holiness of Jerusalem cannot be removed because it comes from the presence of G-d
  • When the second Temple was rebuilt with the return of the Jews, holiness was centred in that Temple
  • Similarly, HaAretz derives its holiness from Jerusalem
  • Thus the rabbis teach us that holiness can last forever
  • This helps us to understand the rabbis apologetic stance regarding blood being poured in the wrong way; the altar being imperfect, etc.

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