(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld

Ask A Question about the Daf

Previous daf

Menachos, 75


QUESTION: The Mishnah (74b) teaches that when performing Meshichah on Rekikin, one smears the oil on the loaves (after they are baked) in the shape of a "Ki." The Gemara here quotes Rav Kahana who explains that this refers to the Greek letter, "Xi" (see TOSFOS DH k'Min Ki, for various opinions as to the exact shape).

Why is the oil supposed to smeared on the Rekikin specifically in the shape of a Greek letter?

ANSWER: The Mishnah in Shekalim (8a) similarly says that the letters Alef, Beis, and Gimel were written upon the three boxes used for the Terumas ha'Lishkah in order to denote which was separated first. Rebbi Yishmael notes that the letters on the boxes were actually written in Greek -- Alpha, Beta, and Gamma.

The KORBAN HA'EDAH there explains that using Greek letters on the boxes of the Terumas ha'Lishkah is based on the verse, "Yaft Elokim l'Yefes v'Yishkon b'Ohalei Shem" -- "Ascribe beauty to Yefes, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem" (Bereishis 9:27). The beauty of Yefes in this verse refers to the Greek language ("Yevanis" is the language of Yavan, the patriarch of Greece, who was one of the sons of Yefes). The "tents of Shem" refer to the Beis ha'Mikdash (see also Megilah 9b, where the Gemara says that the "tents of Shem" refer to the Beis ha'Midrash and derives from this verse that it is permitted to write a Sefer Torah with Greek script).

This can be understood on a deeper level. Hashem puts objects of beauty into this world. The reason they are here is not to serve our indulgences and gratify our appetite for pleasure. Rather, they are meant to be used in the service of Hashem by inspiring awe for Hashem's majesty, as the verse expresses, "Sheker ha'Chen v'Hevel ha'Yofi, Ishah Yir'as Hashem Hi Tis'halal" -- beauty is false, unless it is used to acquire Yir'as Hashem. That is why the Midrash (Shemos Rabah 35) teaches that the world is not fit to use such beautiful items as gold and the cedars of Levanon; those items were created only to be used for the Beis ha'Mikdash and the Mishkan. Similarly, we find in Kidushin (49b) that when Hashem put beauty into the world, He gave nine portions of beauty to Yerushalayim and one portion to the rest of the world. Yerushalayim is the place where beauty is utilized in the way it was intended to be used -- for the service of Hashem.

The Greeks prided themselves in beautifying their language and all of the objects of their creativity out of indulgence and hedonism. We demonstrate that the proper place for beauty is in the Beis ha'Mikdash, where it induces awe for Hashem's majesty. We use the Greek language in certain parts of the Avodah in the Beis ha'Mikdash to show that the proper way to use beauty is for the service of Hashem. We wrote Greek letters upon the boxes of the Terumas ha'Lishkah, from which the Korbanos are brought. In addition, the Kohen Gadol is anointed by smearing oil on his head "in the shape of the Greek letter, Xi" (Horayos 12a). The Kohen Gadol, wearing his unique and majestic garments of "Kavod and Tiferes" is a living demonstration of how beauty should be channeled towards Yir'as Shamayim. Similarly, oil is smeared on the Rekikin of the Minchah offerings "in the shape of the Greek letter, Xi."

QUESTION: The Mishnah (74b) teaches that when performing Meshichah on Rekikin, one smears the oil on the loaves (after they are baked) in the shape of the Greek letter, "Ki" ("Xi") (see previous Insight). After the Meshichah is finished, the remaining oil is given to the Kohanim for them to eat. The Gemara here quotes two Beraisos. One discusses a Minchah that is half Rekikin, and the other discusses a Minchah that is comprised entirely of Rekikin. The Beraisos, when explaining how to perform the Meshichah, record an argument between the Tana Kama and Rebbi Shimon ben Yehudah in the name of Rebbi Shimon. The Tana Kama says that the oil is smeared on the loaves repeatedly, until it is used up. Rebbi Shimon ben Yehudah in the name of Rebbi Shimon says, like our Mishnah, that after Meshichah is done, the remaining oil is eaten by the Kohanim.

The RAMBAM (Hilchos Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos 13:9) rules like the Tana Kama of the Beraisa, and not like Rebbi Shimon in our Mishnah. The KESEF MISHNEH questions how the Rambam arrives at this conclusion. The Gemara in Yevamos (42b) says that when a Mishnah makes a statement as a matter of fact with no dispute concerning the matter, and a Beraisa records an argument concerning the matter ("Stam b'Mishnah u'Machlokes b'Beraisa"), the Halachah follows the Mishnah. Why, then, does the Rambam ignore this principle and rule like the Beraisa?


(a) The MAHARI KURKAS explains that the Rambam understands from the Beraisos that the opinion expressed in the Mishnah is a minority opinion, that of Rebbi Shimon. In a case of a Machlokes between the Tana Kama and Rebbi Shimon, we would normally rule like the Tana Kama and not Rebbi Shimon. Therefore, the Rambam rules like the Tana Kama. Moreover, the Mahari Kurkas explains that the main reason why the Gemara quotes these Beraisos is to tell us that our Mishnah is a minority opinion. This is why the Rambam does not rule like our Mishnah.

The Mahari Kurkas points out that this does seem to conflict with the aforementioned principle in Yevamos (42b). However, he quotes the HALICHOS OLAM (Sha'ar 5:3) who says that the Gemara, on occasion, will not follow an established principle such as this one when it discovers that the opinion in the Mishnah is a minority opinion (see, for example, Sukah 19b). The Kesef Mishneh apparently does not agree with this, because in his commentary on the Halichos Olam (KELALEI HA'GEMARA) he asks that it is difficult to suggest that there can be exceptions to this principle (see also YAVIN SHEMU'AH). This explains why the Mahari Kurkas was satisfied with his answer, while the Kesef Mishneh remained with his question.

(b) The LECHEM MISHNEH explains that the Sifra (end of ch. 11) quotes Rebbi Elazar ben Yakov as expressing the same opinion as that of our Mishnah. Rebbi Elazar ben Yakov derives his view from the fact that there are two, seemingly extra phrases in the Torah that say, "ba'Shemen." However, we learned earlier (63b) that Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Shimon derive other things from these verses. The Lechem Mishneh quotes the RE'EM who says that Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Shimon do not agree with Rebbi Elazar ben Yakov. Accordingly, we have two more Tana'im who argue with the opinion expressed in our Mishnah, which provides us with another possibility why the Rambam does not rule like our Mishnah. However, after further analysis, the Lechem Mishneh concludes that this answer is not viable. Rebbi Shimon is the Tana quoted by the Beraisos as saying the same Halachah as Rebbi Elazar ben Yakov (and our Mishnah), and thus it cannot be that Rebbi Shimon argues with this Halachah!

(c) The KEREN ORAH gives a different answer. He explains that this opinion is quoted in the Mishnah in Zevachim (91a) in the name of Rebbi Shimon. The Mishnah there quotes Rebbi Shimon, who says that when we see oil being divided up among the Kohanim, there is no need to ask what oil it is. It is the leftover oil from Rekikin brought by a Yisrael, or the Log of oil of a Metzora. RASHI there (DH Mosar Rekikei) explains that Rebbi Shimon there is consistent with his opinion here that the leftover oil is divided among the Kohanim (and is not used up). The fact that this opinion is mentioned in the Mishnah there as a minority opinion (and not as a "Stam Mishnah") shows that it does not have the strength of a normal "Stam Mishnah" even when it appears in the Mishnah here with no name. This is why the Rambam rules like the Tana Kama of the Beraisa. (Y. Montrose)


OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that a Minchah brought by a Yisrael is folded two times, first into two layers, and then into four, and then the layers are separated. The same as done to the Minchah of a Kohen, except that it is not separated. What exactly is involved in the process of folding the Minchah offering?
(a) RASHI and RABEINU GERSHOM (DH Kofel) say that the loaves are folded, or doubled over, into two layers, and then into four little loaves. When the Mishnah says that a Minchas Yisrael is then separated, it means that the Menachos are then crushed into pieces.

(b) The RAMBAM in PERUSH HA'MISHNAYOS explains that the Mishnah is not referring to the original loaves of the Minchah. Rather, it is referring to the loaves after they have been crushed into pieces. Each piece is then folded into two and then into four pieces, and then crushed into smaller pieces. He infers this from the last statement of the Mishnah, "v'Kulan Posesan k'Zeisim" -- "and all of them are crushed as a k'Zayis," which he understands is not a statement by Rebbi Shimon, but a statement with which everyone agrees (see Rashi Kesav Yad, DH v'Kulan, who says that this statement was said only by Rebbi Shimon). The CHOK NASAN and MELECHES SHLOMO have difficulty with the opinion of the Rambam. Rav Yosef proves that a Chavitzah that has pieces the size of a k'Zayis requires the Berachah of "ha'Motzi" from the fact that the pieces of a Minchah require "ha'Motzi" only when they are the size of a k'Zayis, while if it does not have such large pieces it requires the Berachah of "Borei Minei Mezonos." It is obvious that Rav Yosef holds that a Minchah is supposed to be the size of a k'Zayis when eaten. According to Rashi and Rabeinu Gershom, the Mishnah is telling us that the pieces of the Minchah should not be less than a k'Zayis after they are crushed. However, according to the Rambam, the pieces must be much less than a k'Zayis, and, consequently, Rav Yosef has no proof! Indeed, the TOSFOS CHADASHIM (on Mishnayos) says that the Rambam retracted his opinion. We find that the Rambam (Hilchos Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos 13:10) says that one folds the "Chalos," like the explanation of Rashi and Rabeinu Gershom.

The KEREN ORAH says that it is possible that the Rambam there and the Rambam in Perush ha'Mishnayos are not contradictory. The Rambam's statement in Perush ha'Mishnayos is, "And that Pesisah, which is a k'Zayis, is folded with four, and is not separated." The BARTENURA understands the Rambam to be saying that "that Pesisah, which is a k'Zayis, should be folded fourfold and not separated" (in the case of a Minchas Kohen). The Keren Orah, however, insists that the Rambam means, "And the Pesisah which is done to pieces which are a k'Zayis contains four pieces to be folded at one time, and they are not separated." (Y. Montrose)

OPINIONS: The Gemara cites a Beraisa that says that when a person brings a Minchah offering, he should recite the blessing of "Shehecheyanu." Under what circumstances does this apply?
(a) RASHI (DH Hayah Omed u'Makriv Menachos) explains that a *Kohen* who offers a Minchah offering on the Mizbe'ach for the first time in his life recites the blessing of Shehecheyanu. According to TOSFOS' text of Rashi, the words of Rashi read "for the first time *this year*."

(b) RASHI suggests another explanation. When a *Minchah* is brought for the first time (such as the Minchas ha'Omer, which is the first to be brought from the new year's produce), the Kohen recites Shehecheyanu.

(c) The ROSH and RABEINU YEHUDAH HA'CHASID in Berachos (37b) write that any time a Kohen offers a Minchah offering on the Mizbe'ach, he recites Shehecheyanu.

(d) RASHI in Berachos (37b, DH Hayah, and DH Omer Baruch Shehecheyanu) and RABEINU SHEMAYAH (quoted by Rabeinu Yehudah ha'Chasid) say that *any person*, even a Yisrael, who brings a Minchah offering after a long time recites Shehecheyanu. Rabeinu Shemayah adds that it is uncommon to bring a freewill Minchah offering, and therefore one recites Shehecheyanu every time it is brought.

TOSFOS in Berachos (DH Hayah) says that this explanation is problematic, because the Beraisa here clearly says, "Hayah Omed u'Makriv Menachos b'Yerushalayim, *Omer*..." -- "he was standing and offering Menachos in Yerushalayim, *he* says...." This clearly indicates that the one who actually offers the Minchah is the one who says the Berachah. This cannot refer to a Yisrael, who cannot actually offer a Minchah on the Mizbe'ach. Tosfos here (DH Hayah) also asks that this explanation does not fit our Gemara's statement that "he took them to eat them." A Yisrael is not allowed to eat a Minchah. How, then, can the Beraisa be discussing a Yisrael?

The YA'AVETZ in Berachos answers that Rashi was bothered by a different part of the text of the Beraisa. The Beraisa refers to a person who was "standing and offering Menachos *in Yerushalayim*." Why does the Beraisa add that he was in Yerushalayim? It is obvious that he was in Yerushalayim, since all Korbanos are brought only in the Beis ha'Mikdash in Yerushalayim!

Rashi understood from the words "in Yerushalayim" that the Beraisa is referring to *all* of Yerushalayim, and not merely the specific area of the Beis ha'Mikdash. This is why Rashi understood that the Beraisa is referring to a Yisrael who is bringing a Minchah in Yerushalayim. The Yisrael is not actually offering it on the Mizbe'ach. While the Ya'avetz does not address the question of Tosfos here in Menachos, we may suggest that Rashi understood that the text "he took them to eat them" is no longer referring to the Yisrael who brought the Minchah, but is referring now to a Halachah involving the Kohen.

(e) Another version of RASHI in Berachos (according to the reading of the TOSFOS HA'ROSH) explains that a Yisrael who offers a Minchah offering for the first time in his life recites Shehecheyanu.

(f) Tosfos in Berachos and Menachos says that the Kohen who brings the first Minchah of his Mishmar recites Shehecheyanu, because each Mishmar serves only once every half a year.

The Ya'avetz in Berachos comments that Tosfos' statement implies that one can say Shehecheyanu on events that occur biannually. The BEIS YOSEF (OC 225) discusses this point at length and is uncertain whether or not one recites Shehecheyanu on events which occur annually or even on events that occur biannually. He discusses whether or not one should say Shehecheyanu every six months on a new fruit that grows during two seasons a year.

It is possible that Rashi did not give this explanation because he maintained that one cannot say Shehecheyanu on a biannual event.

Next daf


For further information on
subscriptions, archives and sponsorships,
contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf,