Pesahim 78a-b - Fulfilling one's obligation
The Torah (Shmot 12:8-10) seems to be clear that the mitzvah on Pesah is to bring the Passover sacrifice on the 14th of Nisan and to eat it that night - the 15th of Nisan.
...[I]n accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Natan, who said that failure to engage in eating the Paschal lamb does not preclude one from fulfilling one's obligation to bring the offering, as the eating is a separate mitzva.
The Gemara searches for a source for this opinion of Rabbi Natan. One suggestion is the statement of Rabbi Natan that the whole Jewish nation can fulfill their mitzvah with a single korban, something that he derives from the passage (Shmot 12:6) which teaches that "the entire Jewish people should slaughter it in the afternoon." While the Jerusalem Talmud accepts that as the source for Rabbi Natan's opinion, the Babylonian Talmud suggests an alternative source, as well.
The Tosefta teaches that if two groups of people choose the same animal to be their korban, according to the Tanna Kamma (first), the first group eats a ka-zayit - an olive-size piece of the sacrifice - and fulfills their obligation; the second group, who do not have an olive-size piece of the korban, will have to bring another sacrifice on Pesah sheni. Rabbi Natan says that neither group will have to bring a sacrifice on Pesah sheni; once the blood was sprinkled on the altar, all parties to the korban have fulfilled their obligation. According to Rabbi Natan, the passage (Shmot 12:4) obligating the people to take into account the amount that each person will eat when joining a group for the korban Pesah simply means that the person who joins the group must theoretically be able to eat the sacrifice. It does not mean that the Pesah must be eaten.
Without question, even Rabbi Natan agrees that every Jewish person should eat a portion of the korban Pesah, and someone who did not eat from the sacrifice would miss out on the opportunity to fulfill this mitzvah. The point of disagreement is whether bringing the korban is sufficient after the fact, even if it was not eaten, or if someone who does not eat has missed out on the mitzvah entirely and will need to bring a second korban when the opportunity arises on Pesah sheni.
Pesahim 79a-b - Women and the Passover sacrifice
What level of obligation do women have regarding the korban Pesah?
Although the main discussion of this question takes place in the next chapter of Massekhet Pesahim, as we will see, the point is raised here in the context of bringing the Pesah sacrifice when the community is tameh, or ritually defiled.
Generally speaking, the rule is that women are not obligated in positive mitzvot that are time-bound. Therefore such mitzvot as hearing the shofar on Rosh ha-Shanah or sitting in the sukkah on the holiday of Sukkot are not obligatory on women. Nevertheless, with regard to the laws of Pesah it is well known that women are obligated in the positive commandments (like eating matzah), just as they are obligated in the negative ones (like refraining from eating hametz). The question that arises on our daf (page) is whether the obligation is a full requirement to the extent that they would be obligated to bring a sacrifice on Pesah sheni should they miss Pesah rishon (first), or, perhaps, their obligation does not go so far.
Mishna: If the entire community or most of it became ritually impure, or the priests were all impure and the community was pure, they should perform the ritual of the Paschal lamb in ritual impurity. If a minority of the community became impure, even if they are many people, those who are pure perform the ritual of the Paschal lamb on the first Pesah, and those who are impure perform the ritual on the second Pesah.
The Gemara brings a number of baraitot that discuss what to do if there are an equal number of people who are tameh and tahor (ritually pure). The positions taken by the baraitot seem difficult. For example, one baraita teaches that, in such a case, the people who are tahor bring the korban in its proper time, but those who are tameh do not bring the korban at all - neither on Pesah rishon nor on Pesah sheni.
Rav explains the case to be when there are an equal number of tameh and tahor people, but the majority of those who are tahor are women. Rav believes that women are obligated in the korban Pesah on Pesah rishon, but on Pesah sheni they can choose whether or not to participate.
So, on Pesah rishon only the people who are tahor bring the korban because there is not a majority of tameh people. Therefore, we cannot activate the rule of tumah hutrah be-tzibur - that when the majority of the people are ritually defiled we allow the korban to be brought
The people who are tameh cannot bring the korban on Pesah sheni either, since they can only do so if they were a minority on Pesah rishon. If we remove the women from the equation on Pesah sheni - since they are not obligated to participate in it - it turns out that the tameh people were not a minority on Pesah rishon, so the obligation to bring a sacrifice on Pesah sheni never takes effect.
80a-b - The tribe as community
learned in the Mishnah
that when the majority of the Jewish people are tameh (ritually defiled
by contact with a dead body) then the korban
Pesah will be brought and eaten anyway. In such a case there is no need
to bring a Pesah
sheni (see Bamidbar
9:6-14), which is
reserved for an individual who cannot bring the Passover sacrifice in the
We usually think of the Jewish people as a single unit, but according to some we should look at it as divided up into the twelve tribes. Our Gemara quotes a baraita that brings the opinions of Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Yehuda on this matter.
Rabbi Shimon says that if the majority of a single shevet – just one of the tribes – is tameh, they will be able to bring the korban Pesah at its proper time even though they are tameh, while the rest of the shevatim will bring it at the same time, but separately, keeping the normal rules of tumah and taharah (ritual impurity and purity). The Gemara explains that Rabbi Shimon understands that each one of the shevatim is considered a kahal – a community – unto itself.
Rabbi Yehuda says: Even if one tribe is impure and all the rest of the tribes are pure, all the tribes may perform the ritual of the Paschal lamb in a state of ritual impurity, as a communal offering is not divided. The Gemara explains that Rabbi Yehuda holds that one tribe is called a community, and since an entire community is impure, it is considered as though half the Jewish people were pure and half were impure. And a communal offering is not divided. Therefore, all of them may perform the ritual of the Paschal lamb in a state of ritual impurity.
Gemara explains Rabbi Yehuda's position as agreeing with Rabbi Shimon that a
single shevet is considered a kahal. He believes, however, that
such a community is so important that it balances the entire rest of the Jewish
people. Since we perceive the two as being equal in weight we do not split the
communal sacrifice, rather we bring it be-tumah.
The discussion about the status of a single shevet has its basis in Massekhet Horayot and the question of how to deal with a case where "the entire Jewish people" commit a sin (see Vayikra 4:13-21). Should we view a single shevet as a distinct community and that the rules that apply to the community apply to them, or do we perceive the shevet simply as part of the larger community – merely as a large number of individuals, but not a community unto themselves.
Pesahim 81a-b - Halakha le-Moshe mi-Sinai
The Torah teaches (Shmot 28:36-38) that one of the parts of the uniform of the kohen gadol – the high priest – is the tzitz, a golden plate on his forehead. As understood by the Sages this tzitz has the power to remove responsibility from the kohanim in the event that a sacrifice was brought and it turned out, under certain circumstances, to have become tameh (ritually defiled). One of the cases where the tzitz accomplishes this appears in our Mishnah (80b) – if someone who had brought his korban Pesah discovers that he was tameh from tumat ha-tehom, he does not need to bring a korban a second time on Pesah sheni, since the tzitz allowed the original korban Pesah to be acceptable even though its owner was tameh. Tumat ha-tehom is a case where the dead body that is giving off the tumah is hidden in a place where no one knew it was, and it was only discovered after the person who came into contact with it had already brought his korban. Although the Gemara on our daf (page) tries to find a source in the Torah for this halakha, its conclusion is that there is no clear reference in the Torah for it, rather it is a halakha le-Moshe mi-Sinai, a law that was transmitted orally to Moses on Mount Sinai that was not recorded in the Torah.
The Gemara on our daf tries to use this rule as the source for other cases. Would the same rule of tumat ha-tehom apply to a kohen who is bringing a korban Tamid, the daily sacrifice that opens the sacrificial service in the morning and closes it in the afternoon? Although Rabbah tries to apply the rule of kal va-homer (a fortiori) to this case that would allow the case of korban Pesah to be a source for other halakhot, the Gemara rejects this, arguing that we cannot learn a kal va-homer from a halakha le-Moshe mi-Sinai.
Although we usually perceive the rule of kal va-homer as being a straightforward logical one, it cannot be used in the case of halakha le-Moshe mi-Sinai because of the unique quality of such halakhot. In general, a law that appears in the Torah can be used not only for itself, but also as a source for other laws that can be compared to it. A halakhah le-Moshe mi-Sinai, even as its strength and severity are equal to those of a law written in the Torah, is not seen as being grounded in the same set of rules as the written halakhot, so we cannot extrapolate other laws from it.
Pesahim 82a-b - Destroying a sacrifice
The Mishnah on our daf (page) teaches that a korban Pesah that becomes invalid because it was taken out of
In an attempt to find the source for how to deal with kodashim (sanctified items) that have become unusable, the Gemara suggests an obvious story that bears great similarity to our case.
In Sefer Vayikra (chapter 10) we learn about two of Aharon's sons, Nadav and Avihu, who bring an esh zara – a strange fire - in the Mishkan and are killed by a heavenly fire. Aharon and his other children cannot eat the sin-offering and it is burned, a ruling that is questioned by Moshe, but defended by Aharon (see Vayikra 10:16-20).
The Gemara decides that that case cannot be used as a proof-text for two reasons:
1. ma'aseh she-hayah – it is a story that happened that way.
And the sin-offering of Aaron that was burned on the eighth day of inauguration was mentioned only because the incident that took place, took place in this way. It was not mentioned in order to teach the halakhot of offerings.
speaking, a passage from the Torah
that deals with a point of law is carefully examined and analyzed. A story that
appears in the Torah as narrative, however, is treated differently. Sometimes
the Gemara simply concludes that we cannot learn from that story.
2. hora'at sha'ah – it is an emergency measure.
This expression is used to describe several cases in which we find something described in the Torah that clearly deviates from what we know to be the accepted law. In such cases, an instruction may have been given to the Jewish People that directed the behavior at that particular time, but it is one that cannot be understood to impact on the halakha over the long-term. We find that the Sages also invoked this rule when a given situation demanded that a ruling be given that was more stringent – or more lenient – than usual. Under certain, limited, circumstances the Sages will even quote the passage et la'asot la-Shem heferu Toratekha (Tehillim 119:126) – that there are times that doing God's will involves breaking the rules of the Torah.
Pesahim 83a-b - Burning the sciatic nerve
The Torah teaches (Shmot 12:10) that we are commanded to burn the notar, i.e. any meat that is left over from the korban Pesah. The Mishnah on our daf (page) teaches that this notar is not burned on Yom Tov, nor is it burned on Shabbat, so if the first day of Pesah is on a Friday, the notar would not be destroyed until Sunday.
Aside from the edible meat that was left over, the Mishnah teaches about two other parts of the animal that need to be burnt – the bones and the gid ha-nasheh.
The bones of the korban Pesah cannot be broken (see Shmot 12:46) so, by definition, there will be edible marrow left within them that will be considered notar and will have to be destroyed.
The gid ha-nasheh is a sinew in the animal's hind-quarters that is forbidden by the Torah based on Ya'akov's injury after wrestling with the angel (see Bereshit 32:31-32). Since the gid itself is forbidden, the Gemara concludes that the Mishnah is talking about a part of the sinew that is permitted on a Biblical level and is forbidden as a Rabbinic ordinance.
The Sha'agat Aryeh (Rabbi Aryeh Leib Gunzberg) asks why the gid ha-nasheh of the korban Pesah would be forbidden at all. Based on the general principle that aseh doheh lo ta'aseh – that a positive commandment will "push aside" a negative one, shouldn't the mitzvah of eating the korban Pesah override the prohibition of eating the gid ha-nasheh? One suggested answer is that the mitzvah forbidding the gid ha-nasheh was given even before the Torah was presented to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai, and therefore its rules are more stringent. The Sefat Emet suggests that this is an example of a case where the Sages chose to give added strength to one of their decrees, even in the face of a Biblical commandment.
Pesahim 84a-b - Breaking bone
As noted on the last daf (page), the Torah forbids breaking a bone from the korban Pesah (see Shmot 12:46).
Mishna: One who breaks the bone of a Paschal lamb that is ritually pure receives forty lashes for having violated a prohibition stated in the Torah. But one who leaves over part of a ritually pure Paschal lamb and one who breaks the bone of a ritually impure Paschal lamb do not receive forty lashes.
see from here that a person will only be held liable for this transgression if
the korban was kosher.
If the korban became tameh (ritually defiled) and could not be
eaten, then the breaking of a bone would not lead to lashes.
Many suggestions are made as to the reason behind the prohibition against breaking bones in the Passover sacrifice. One approach is that the korban Pesah must be eaten in the manner of the "upper class" – free people who are not ravenous, nor even hungry enough to go to the trouble of sucking marrow from the bones of the meat.
Some commentaries ask how we know that there is a prohibition against breaking bones in the korban Pesah. Perhaps the passage that says "and a bone will not be broken in it" simply means that it is not necessary to break the bones in order to extract the marrow – something that we may have thought essential, given that it is prohibited to leave edible meat from the korban for the next day (Shmot 12:10). One answer is the Torah's emphasis on the word bo – that a bone cannot be broken in it, in the korban Pesah – only makes sense if we are talking about a commandment
The Jerusalem Talmud adds details to the discussion that takes place in our Gemara on the topic of breaking bones. According to the Yerushalmi, for example, there is a separate prohibition on each bone that is broken. There is also a discussion there on how large the break needs to be, a crack large enough to be felt by a fingernail that catches in it, or a larger break that can be distinguished by the touch of a hand.