Sunday, 29 July 2018

Zevachim 107: Holiness of the Land and Sanctifying Sacrifices

The basic themes of today's daf continue from yesterday's Mishna.  This represented a shift from Perek VI to Perek VII, now focusing on errors that might happen regarding the sacrifice regarding place. 

Through the rabbis' arguments, after being reminded about the importance of intent, we learn that sacrifices were meant to take place in the Temple.  If they did not happen there, some rabbis believed that the owner should be punishable by karet, either exile from the community and/or early death.  There is a debate as to whether the sacrifice could be valid at all if it was not sacrificed in the Temple.  

Sacrifices were made in 'high places' when the Israelites were wandering in the desert, the rabbis suggest.  Perhaps this was done after the destruction of the first Temple, as well.  Would these be considered valid offerings? 

The rabbis seem to agree that the sanctity of place would be required if a sacrifice were to be valid in the times since the second Temple was destroyed over 2000 years ago.  If Israel is still sanctified, might the offering be acceptable?  What if only Jerusalem is sanctified still?  Wouldn't the Temple Mount be the only place to bring offerings?  If we agree that this sanctity no longer exists, why wouldn't we be permitted to bring sacrifices in any place, as long as it is on 'high ground'?  And must we wait for Moshiach to truly thank G-d through sacrifices?

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