Vayikra – Sheini

Two Turtle Doves…

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

One could also bring a korban olah from a bird, specifically a pigeon or a dove. (The name “turtle dove” is actually derived not from turtles, but from the Hebrew word “tor,” as opposed to a regular dove, which is a “yonah.” We’ll just stick with the common, if less ornithologically precise, translation of “pigeons and doves.”)

In a process called melika, the kohein would slit the bird’s throat with an overgrown thumbnail. The blood would be drained, the crop would be discarded into the altar’s ash pile, and the bird would be taken by the wings and partially separated. The kohein would then burn it on the altar.

The korban mincha was made from premium wheat flour with oil and frankincense. In a process called kemitza, the kohein would scoop out three fingers’ full of the flour, which would then be burned. The rest of the flour then belonged to the kohanim and could be eaten. (All the frankincense would be burned.)

A korban mincha could also be brought from already-baked loaves of bread. They could either be loaves of wheat flour and olive oil or matzas rubbed with olive oil. Flour could also be fried in a pan with olive oil. In any of these cases, the mincha would be broken up into small pieces, then oil would be poured on it.

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