Tzav – Sheini

Not a “Baker’s Dozen”

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d told Moshe about the sacrifice to be brought upon the occasion of inaugurating a kohein into service. This was to consist of 12 loaves of wheat flour, half offered in the morning and half in the evening. These loaves were boiled (or, possibly, deep fried), baked, then cooked in a pan with oil. These loaves were completely burned. This is true of any flour offering brought by a kohein; none of them were eaten.

Next, G-d gave Moshe instructions regarding sin offerings. These were of a high degree of holiness and could only be eaten by kohanim who were fit to serve. They had to be eaten on Temple (or Tabernacle) grounds and, as with the flour offerings, they would transmit their sanctified status to other foods. If blood from these sacrifices splashed on the kohein’s clothes, they had to be laundered on the Temple (Tabernacle) premises.

If the meat of the sin offering were cooked in a clay pot, the pot had to be broken. Clay vessels can’t be kashered (made kosher) and the pot had absorbed the properties of the sacrifice, which is prohibited after its designated time. A metal pot, however, can be kashered with boiling water.

The sin offering could be eaten by male kohanim. However, sin offerings whose blood was sprinkled toward the partition in the Sanctuary (namely the sin offerings of a High Priest and the community as a whole) were not eaten; those were burned in their entirety.

Guilt offerings had their blood sprinkled on all sides of the altar. Certain fats, the kidneys and, in the case of a sheep, the fat tail, were all burned to G-d. The rest of these sacrifices could be eaten by the kohanim, on holy grounds.

The sin offerings and guilt offerings could only be eaten by kohanim who were fit to serve. Such kohanim could also benefit from the hide of burnt offerings. The various flour offerings also went to the kohanim.

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