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Friday, April 17, 2015

Parashat Sh'mini 5775


Part I - The Sober Priest
In this week’s parasha, God commands the cohanim to not drink before engaging in their priestly service. The Talmud specifies that this would only be during the cohen’s designated time of service, since only twenty-four families served in the Temple (known as a mishmar), each for a week at a time. Six days of the week they acted as backup. One day of the week, each household (beit av or mishmeret beit av) took a turn performing the primary service.

In the present day, when cohanim generally have lost knowledge of their service date, it is suggested they should never drink. While the law does not follow this thinking, as we will see, the result of this thinking might be a way to keep separate and sacred a priestly class that no longer has much in the way of distinguishing itself.

ויקרא פרשת שמיני פרק י
Leviticus Chapter 10
(ח) וַיְדַבֵּר יְקֹוָק אֶל־אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר:
(8) Then Hasem spoke to Aharon, saying:
(ט) יַיִן וְשֵׁכָר אַל־תֵּשְׁתְּ אַתָּה וּבָנֶיךָ אִתָּךְ בְּבֹאֲכֶם אֶל־אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְלֹא תָמֻתוּ חֻקַּת עוֹלָם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם:
(9) “You shall not drink wine or beer; you and your children with you, in your entering the Tent of Meeting, and then you will not die; this is an eternal statute for all of your generations.
(י) וּלֲהַבְדִּיל בֵּין הַקֹּדֶשׁ וּבֵין הַחֹל וּבֵין הַטָּמֵא וּבֵין הַטָּהוֹר:
(10) “And to distinguish between the sacred and the profane, and between the impure and the pure.”

Soon after Aharon’s sons are killed during the service in the Tabernacle, the cohanim are told to ensure the serve soberly. Whether or not these two events are connected is not clear, but something about drinking disqualifies one for the service. This may be because it just feels inappropriate, or because the Temple service is the modern equivalent to operating heavy machinery.

תלמוד בבלי מסכת תענית דף יז עמוד א
Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Ta’anit, 17a
Our Rabbis taught: For what reason did they say that the people of the mishmar are permitted to drink wine in the evenings, but not in the daytime? Lest the [Temple] service become too great on the people of the beit av and [others] come and support them.  
תנו רבנן: מפני מה אמרו אנשי משמר מותרין לשתות יין בלילות אבל לא בימים - שמא תכבד העבודה על אנשי בית אב ויבואו ויסייעו להם.
During a cohen’s mishmar week, during the heavy service in the daytime, a cohen must stay sober, just in case he is called to help with the service.

For what reason did they says that the people of the beit av [may not drink] either day or night? Since they are constantly engaged in the service.
מפני מה אמרו אנשי בית אב לא ביום ולא בלילה - מפני שהן עסוקין תמיד בעבודה.
From here they said, “Any cohen who know his mishmar and the time of his beit av, and knows that his beit av was established there [in the Temple] is forbidden to drink wine all of that day. One who knows his mishmar, does not know his beit av, but knows his beit av was established there, is forbidden to drink wine that entire week. If he knows neither his mishmar or the time of his beit av, but he knows that his beit av was established there, is forbidden to drink wine all year.
מכאן אמרו: כל כהן שמכיר משמרתו ומשמרת בית אב שלו, ויודע שבתי אבותיו קבועין שם - אסור לשתות יין כל אותו היום. במכיר משמרתו ואין מכיר משמרת בית אב שלו ויודע שבתי אבותיו קבועין שם - אסור לשתות יין כל אותה שבת. אינו מכיר משמרתו ומשמרת בית אב שלו, ויודע שבתי אבותיו קבועין שם - אסור לשתות יין כל השנה.
Not all families served regularly in the Temple. However, those that which did might be forbidden to drink ever if they know their family did serve in the Temple, but did not know when.

Rebbi says, “I say, it is forbidden [for the cohen] to drink wine forever. But what can I do, for his fix is his downfall?”
רבי אומר, אומר אני: אסור לשתות יין לעולם, אבל מה אעשה שתקנתו קלקלתו.
Rashi, below, will help explain this.

Said Abaye: According to whom do the cohanim drink wine now-a-days? According to Rebbi.
אמר אביי: כמאן שתו האידנא כהני חמרא - כרבי.

רש"י מסכת תענית דף יז עמוד א
Rashi, Tractate Ta’anit, 17a
Rebbi says, “I say, a priest is forbidden,” etc.  That is to say, if they are concerned with “lest it [the Temple] be built” it would be forbidden forever. Even if one knows his mishmar, and his beit av, we are concerned lest the order of the mishmarot will change, and lest they will all serve at once in the dedication of the Temple. Then this one will need to serve.
רבי אומר אומר אני כהן אסור כו' - כלומר, אי חיישינן לשמא יבנה - יהא אסור לעולם, אפילו המכיר משמרתו ומשמרת בית אבותיו, דחיישינן שמא ישתנה סדר משמרות, ושמא יעבדו כולם לחנוכת הבית בבת אחת, ונמצא זה צריך לעבוד,
But what can I do, for his fix is his downfall. For it has been several years and the capital has not returned. And this downfall is his fix to explicitly drink wine, and we are not concerned with “lest it be built.”
אבל מה אעשה שתקנתו קלקלתו, דהוי כמה שנים שלא חזרה בירה, וקלקלה זו תקנתו לשתות יין בהדיא, ולשמא יבנה לא חיישינן.



תוספות מסכת תענית דף יז עמוד א
Tosafot, Tractate Ta’anit, 17a
ויודע שבתי אבותיו קבועין לשם אסור לשתות יין וכו' - פירוש אסור לשתות יין חוץ לסעודתו אבל בסעודתו מותר דיין שבתוך הסעודה אינו משכר.
But knows his beit av was established there is forbidden to drink, etc. Explanation: it is forbidden to drink wine outside of his set meals; but during his set meals it is permitted, for wine within a set meal does not make one drunk.


תלמוד בבלי מסכת תענית דף יז עמוד א - עמוד ב
Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Ta’anit, 17a-b
ואמר אביי: כמאן שתו האידנא כהני חמרא - כרבי.
Said Abaye: According to whom do the cohanim drink wine now-a-days? According to Rebbi.
מכלל דרבנן אסרי, מאי טעמא? מהרה יבנה בית המקדש, ובעינן כהן הראוי לעבודה וליכא. - הכא, אפשר דמספר ועייל. אי הכי? שתוי יין נמי, אפשר דגני פורתא ועייל, כדרמי בר אבא. דאמר רמי בר אבא: דרך מיל, ושינה כל שהוא מפיגין את היין! -
It logically follows that our Rabbis forbid. What is the reason? Speedily the Temple will be built, and we will need a cohen fit for the service and there will not be one. Here, it is possible that he cuts his hair and arrives. If so, it is also the case with drinking wine, for he may lie down for a bit and arrive. Like Rami bar Abba, for Rami bar Abba said, “A stroll of a Roman mile and any rest removes the [effect] of the wine.”

I skipped the part about a cohen needing a proper haircut before performing the Temple service. The Gemara tells us that if the Temple fell down from the sky tomorrow, rebuilt, we would need a cohen to serve. He could easily stop by his local barber, even without an appointment, and get his hair cut. But if he is drunk, the effects might take longer to wear off.
לאו מי איתמר עלה, אמר רב נחמן אמר רבה בר אבוה: לא שנו - אלא בששתה שיעור רביעית, אבל שתה יותר מרביעית - כל שכן שדרך מטרידתו ושינה משכרתו.
Is it not said about it, Rav Nachman said that Rabbah bar Avuha said, “We only taught this when one drank the measure of a revi’it. But if one drank more than a revi’it, all the more so that a stroll bothers him and sleep makes him more drunk.”
רב אשי אמר: שתויי יין דמחלי עבודה - גזרו בהו רבנן, פרועי ראש דלא מחלי עבודה - לא גזרובהו רבנן.
Rav Ashi said, “Drinking wine which profanes the service, our Rabbis made a decree about. Having unkempt hair, which does not profane the service, our Rabbis did not make a decree about.”

Rav Ashi clarifies that it is not a question of a haircut taking less time than sobriety, but that even if the cohen is immediately needed for the third Temple, without a haircut his service would still be valid [though he would be punished].. However, while drunk his service would be invalid..


תוספות מסכת תענית דף יז עמוד ב
Tosafot, Tractate Ta’anit, 17b
בעינן כהנים הראויים לעבודה וליכא - וא"ת והלא בלא יין נמי אסורין בעבודה דטמאי מתים נינהו וצריכין הזאה ג' [וז'] ואמאי אסרי להו יין
We will need a cohen fit for the service and there won’t be one. And if you were to say, that even without wine they would be forbidden in the service, for they are impure from contact with the dead, and they need sprinkling on the third and seventh [days]. So why did they forbid wine to them?
וי"ל דמ"מ מותרין בעבודת צבור דטומאה הותרה בצבור.
And there is to say, that nonetheless they are permitted for public service, for impurity is released for the public.

The Tosafot bring up an interesting point. Who cares if a cohen is drunk, they are for sure not in a state of purity necessary for the service.

Part II - Cannibalism and Breast Milk Ice Cream
The Torah never explicitly rules about eating human flesh. Here the Arukh HaShulchan weighs in two sides of this debate. The Rambam thinks one cannot eat human flesh, but it does not have the weight of a negative commandment. Instead, it is just a positive commandment to only eat those meats the Torah specifies.

On the other side, other authorities led by the Tosafot think that there is not prohibition, at least from a living person, but it is something from which to refrain.
ערוך השולחן יורה דעה סימן עט
Arukh HaShulchan, Yored De’ah, 79
Article 8:
The Rambam wrote, in the second chapter of Forbidden Foods, law three, “A person, even though it is written about him, ‘Then man will be a living creature,’ (Genesis 2:7), he is not included as part of the requirement of split hooved animals, and therefore [eating humans] is not a negative commandment.
סעיף ח
כתב הרמב"ם בפ"ב ממאכלות אסורות דין ג' האדם אע"פ שנאמר בו [בראשית ב, ז] ויהי האדם לנפש חיה אינו מכלל חיה בעלת פרסה לפיכך אינו בל"ת
‘And one who eats human flesh, or his fat, whether from one living or dead, is not given lashes. But it is forbidden to do, for the Torah listed seven wild animals and said about them, ‘Theses are the wild animals you may eat,’ (Leviticus 11:2). Therefore, any ones besides them you shall not eat, and the negative commandment which derives from a positive commandment is a positive commandment [and therefore does not get lashes].”
והאוכל מבשר אדם או מחלבו בין מן החי בין מן המת אינו לוקה אבל אסור הוא בעשה שהרי מנה הכתוב שבעת מיני חיה ואמר בהן [ויקרא יא, ב] זאת החיה אשר תאכלו הא כל שהוא חוץ מהן לא תאכלו ולאו הבא מכלל עשה עשה עכ"ל
And this exposition is not found in the Talmud. However, it is found in Torat Cohanim [also known as Sifra], “It is possible that the meat of those who walk on two [legs] and the fat of those who walk on two have a negative commandment against eating, the Torah says, ‘This you shall not eat.’ These have a negative commandment against eating. But the meat of those who walk on two and the fat of those who walk on two does not have a negative commandment.”
ובש"ס לא נמצא הדרש הלזה אמנם בתורת כהנים איתא יכול יהא אף בשר מהלכי שתים וחלב מהלכי שתים בלא תעשה על אכילתן ת"ל זה לא תאכלו זה בל"ת על אכילתן ואין בשר מהלכי שתים וחלב מהלכי שתים בל"ת על אכילתן עכ"ל התורת כהנים
And from this the Rambam learned that [eating human flesh] was only limited from being a negative precept, but not from being a positive precept. And the Ra’ah, the Ritvah, and the R’an agreed with him.
ומזה למד הרמב"ם דרק מלא תעשה אימעוט ולא מעשה והסכימו לדעתו הרא"ה והריטב"א והר"ן ז"ל [כתובות ס' א ע"ש]:
Article 9:
But our Rabbis, the writers of the Tosafot and the Ra’avad, the Rosh, the Ramban, and the Rashba dispute this. And they think that there  is not even a positive commandment about human flesh from a living person when it is cut from him.
סעיף ט
אבל רבותינו בעלי התוס' [שם ד"ה יכול] והראב"ד והרא"ש והרמב"ן והרשב"א ז"ל חולקין בזה וס"ל דגם עשה אין בבשר אדם חי כשנחתך ממנו
For sure the meat of a dead person is forbidden for benefit too, and all the more so for eating. But meat from a living one has no prohibition from the Torah like the blood of a person and the milk of a woman which is permissible from the Torah.
דודאי בשר מת אסור בהנאה ג"כ וכ"ש באכילה אבל בשר מהחי אין בזה שום איסור מן התורה כמו דם אדם וחלב אשה שמותר מן התורה [שם]
And the intention of the Torat Cohanim is not only about the [lack] of a negative precept, but on the entire [lack of] prohibition. And the proof is that also for the milk of a woman they expounded as such, and it is completely permissible from the Torah.
וכוונת התורת כהנים לא לבד על איסור לאו אלא על כלל האיסור וראיה שהרי גם על חלב אשה דרשו כן ובשם מותר לגמרי מן התורה כמ"ש בסי' פ"א וה"נ דכוותיה
And just the opposite, that if you think that the meat of a person is forbidden from the Torah, how are the blood and milk permitted? For we hold that everything that comes from an unkosher animal is unkosher.
ואדרבא אי ס"ד דבשר אדם אסור מן התורה איך מותר הדם והחלב והא קיי"ל דכל היוצא מן הטמא טמא
But those who forbid say just the opposite. If you think that the flesh of a person is permitted per the Torah, why do we have a verse stating that the blood and milk of a woman is permitted. For we hold that everything that comes from a kosher animal is kosher, like fish and locusts whose blood is permitted since they do not need proper slaughter. But for sure human meat is forbidden, and therefore a verse was needed to permit the blood and milk of a woman.
והאוסרים אומרים להיפך אי ס"ד דבשר אדם מותר מן התורה א"כ למה לן קרא דדמו וחלב אשה מותר הא קיי"ל כל היוצא מן הטהור טהור כדגים וחגבים שדמן מותר משום דא"צ שחיטה אלא ודאי דבשרו אסור ולכן איצטריך קרא להתיר דמו וחלב אשה
And further, how is it possible to say that the meat is permitted without proper slaughter, for the Torah specified that only fish and locusts are permitted without proper slaughter, but no other type of meat?....
ועוד היאך אפשר לומר שיהא בשר מותר בלא שחיטה והרי התורה פרטה רק דגים וחגבים שמותרים בלא שחיטה אבל לא מין בשר אחר…
And even according to the opinion of those who permit, it is a commandment to separate from it, like the milk of a woman after a child stops breastfeeding, for our Rabbis, of blessed memory, said “That is like a nursing from an abomination.”…
ואפילו לדעת המתירים מ"מ מצות פרישה יש בו כמו חלב אשה לאחר שפסק התינוק לינק שאמרו חז"ל דהוי כיונק שקץ…
And one of the later Rabbis [post Shulchan Arukh] disagrees with this and thinks that there is not even commandment to separate from it, but the main [law] is not according to his words.
ואחד מהאחרונים חולק בזה וס"ל דאפילו מצות פרישה אין בו ואין עיקר לדבריו:

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