Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Zevachim 85a - Rinsing the excrement before burning on mizbeiach

The gemara says that a korban Olah that was being sacrificed on the top of the mizbeiach and a p'sul occured so that if it were to be taken down it couldn't be brought back up, we would still be required to take the eimurin down to be rinsed from the excrement. According to the opinion that the animal can be butchered at the top of the mizbeiach, this din could be by an animal that is fit to be burnt on the mizbeiach. According to this opinion it would make sense why we would take the eimurin down and rinse them, because they would then be brought back up to be burned (as the rambam paskens - pesulei hamukdashin 3,3). But, according to the opinion that the animal can't be butchered on the top of the mizbeiach unless a p'sul occurred so that when it is taken down it can't be brought back up, why would there be any requirement to rinse at all - it isn't going to be brought back up! The gemara explains that just in case a kohein who didn't know better would bring it back up, it could be burned. To this the gemara asks, does it make sense to rinse the insides which can cause misleading a kohein to bring the pasul korban back up on the mizbeiach? The gemara answersthat it is still worthwhile rinsing it and we would disregard the concern of misleading a kohein to bring it back up, so that kodshim isn't lying on the floor disrespectfully like a neveila - שלא יהו קדשי שמים מוטלים כנבילה. The gemara indicates that we rinse the excrement off the passul korban, to preserve the sanctity of the korban, even though by doing so we can mislead a kohein to bring it back up to the mizbeiach. From here we see that the obligation to treat kodshim respectfully is an active mitzvah- meaning, that it is not merely an issur to treat kodshim disrespectfully, but there is an active mitzvah to make sure that it is being treated respectfully.

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