Which Services are Included in the Sin of Bringing an Offering Outside of the Beis Hamikdash?

Provided courtesy of Real Clear Daf

The perek we began this week on Shabbos’s daf goes into the details of the prohibition against bringing a sacrifice outside of the Beis Hamikdash. The Torah (Vayikra 17:1-9) explicitly mentions the avodos of slaughtering and burning as acts that make the transgressor liable to kareis if performed outside of the Beis Hamikdash (henceforth we’ll just refer to this sin as bringing the sacrifice “outside”). On 107a the Gemara makes a drasha from the passuk that adds zerika, applying the sacrificial blood, as another possible way of violating the prohibition.

The Mishnah on 112b tells us that the avodos of kemitza (scooping a portion from a flour offering which will be burned) and kabbala (receiving the blood in a vessel) are not subject to the prohibition: doing these things outside will not make a person liable to kareis. At the bottom of 107a the Gemara seeks to know why these are not included in the prohibition. Rather than answering with a Scriptural inference that excludes kemitza and kabbala, the Gemara turns the question around by asking, “on what basis would we think that these should be included? If by way of simple comparison to shechita or zerika, this isn’t valid since those avodos possess stringencies that don’t exist by kemitza/kabbala.”

Okay, so we can’t do a straight comparison to zerika or shechita individually, but why not think of zerika and shechita as a group which allows us to disregard the special stringencies of each individual member and seems to lead us to the conclusion that even other avodos (such as kemitza/kabbala) will be included in the prohibition (this is called a tzad hashava where, by grouping cases together, we come up with a broader rule based on the shared qualities of the group members)? To this the Gemara responds that if we were allowed to use a tzad hashava in this particular context the Torah wouldn’t have had to take pains to include zerika, since we could’ve included zerika ourselves by making a tzad hashava between shechita and ha’ala (burning the sacrifice). By going out of its way to specifically include zerika the Torah is telling us that we cannot use the method of tzad hashava to include other avodos. Thus kemitza and kabbala are not included in the prohibition.

Tosfos asks that our Gemara seems at odds with the Gemara later on 115b which excludes kemitza and kabbala using a completely different drasha: The Gemara there says that since the avoda mentioned in the Torah of burning is a concluding avoda, we exclude any avoda such as kemitza and kabbala that are not concluding avodos. What’s going on here?

Let’s take a crack at this. The Gemara there on 115b seems to be saying that any avoda that isn’t a concluding one is excluded from the prohibition. However there is a glaring question on such a suggestion: Ay! There most certainly is a non-concluding avoda that is part of the prohibition as stated explicitly in the Torah--shechita!  We must therefore say that this Gemara is not having a general discussion of which avodos are in or out of the prohibition, rather, the Gemara deals with a much more specific question: Perhaps the words of the verse (in the second section there in Vayikra, starting with verse 8), “..if one brings up a sacrifice outside..” refer not just to someone who offers up a sacrifice by way of burning it, but even to a different step of the offering procedure such as kemitza or kabbala? To this the Gemara answers that it’s more reasonable to assume that the Torah here specifically refers to the avoda of burning, an avoda that is distinct from these other avodos in that it is a concluding service. Thus the fact that the avoda of shechita (which is mentioned earlier in the passage (1-4)) is not a concluding avoda is not relevant to this discussion.

The Gemara on 107a, on the other hand, is dealing with a completely different question: Granted that the Torah only specifically includes shechita, ha’ala, and zerika in the prohibition, but why not include kemitza and kabbala too by comparison? In answer to this question the Gemara there tells us that the Torah specifically blocked the path of including other avodos via comparison by going out of its way to include zerika. Thus these two Gemaros complement rather than contradict each other. If you found a different solution to this problem or have any thoughts about this, your comments are invited.