Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Zevachim 117: Different Camps for those who are Ostracized, Different Offerings

We begin today's daf with a conversation about zavim.  These people were categorized as ritually impure and they left the primary community to live in a separate camp.  Different groups of people and their placement in different camps is outlined.  

The rabbis discuss the establishment of the Tabernacle in Shiloh and how that may have changed the community.  Private altars were permitted when the mishkan was in Gilgal.  The sacrifices had to be only certain offerings.  Rabbi Meir asserted that any voluntary sacrifice could be brought on a private altar.  A nazarite could make his/her offering on a private altar, for example.

We are reminded about the korban pesach, that very unique offering that was brought on the altar in Gilgal immediately after the Jewish people crossed over the Jordan River (Yehoshua: 5).  As we have learned, every person is responsible for bringing this particular offering.  It is brought by individuals at the same time, however, and it is consumed in groups.

Understanding the distinctions between different offerings, different altars, different circumstances, and different guidelines is a confusing and challenging matter.  This could be interpreted as akin to our different prayers, our different prayer rituals, our different obligations regarding prayer, and our different need for prayers depending on the circumstances. 

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