Menachos 100 - 106
When One Makes a Big Difference
If someone makes a voluntary meal offering (mincha) he may bring any amount from one issaron of flour - the standard amount of a mincha - to 60 issronim in one vessel.
Why is there a limit of 60? Two explanations are offered:
1) Rabbi Yehuda's reasoning is based on the fact that the most issronim we ever find offered by the community along with its sacrifices is 61. This happens when the first day of Sukkos is on Shabbos and this is the calculation:
| Regular daily lambs - 2;
additional lambs for Shabbos - 2;
additional lambs for Sukkos - 14;
total lambs - 18
|one issaron per lamb||=18|
Additional rams for Sukkos - 2
two issronim per ram
Additional bullocks for Sukkos - 13
three issronim per bullock
Since the most the community can bring is 61 it makes sense that the individual should be one step down and offer only 60.
2) Rabbi Shimon's explanation is that the one lug of oil which must be mixed with the flour to make the dough can only be effectively mixed into 60 issronim, not one more.
This explanation encounters two challenges:
- If 60 issronim can be blended with oil does it make sense that one more cannot?
- The rule is that even if the oil is not actually mixed into the flour the mincha is kosher. Why does it matter then if 61 issronim cannot be mixed with the oil?
In regard to the first challenge, Rabbi Shimon declares that all of the standards and measurements stated by the Sages are precise. If a mikveh has forty se'ah the one who immerses himself in it has become purified. If it lacks a drop from this amount he remains impure.
As far as the second point, the insistence is not on the actual mixing of the oil and flour but rather on the possibility of it taking place. This is the famous rule of: "When anything is capable of being mixed together, the actual mixing is no longer an absolute prerequisite; if it is not capable of being mixed then this is an absolute prerequisite."
- Menachos 103b
The Gift of Poverty
A subtle distinction is made by the Torah in describing one who offers a sacrifice. In introducing the chapter on the voluntary offering of an animal or bird the expression used is: "If any man of you brings an offering" (Vayikra 1:2). The chapter concerning the voluntary meal offering (Vayikra 2:1) begins: "And when a "nefesh" (literally, a life) will offer a meal offering."
What is the reason for the use of the word "nefesh" in regard to a meal offering?
Rabbi Yitzchak explains that it is as if Hashem was saying to us: "Who is accustomed to bringing a meal offering if not the poor man. (In Vayikra 5:11 the rule of the sliding scale for certain sacrifices entitles the poor man who can afford neither animal or bird to achieve his atonement with a meal offering.) I shall consider it as if he had offered his very life to Me."
The commentaries have already pointed out that every sacrifice is a vicarious offering of one's own life, and that the objects designated for sacrifice are either ones which are physiologically similar to man or materials which nourish him. This concept is apparently difficult for the more prosperous individual to truly identify with because he has so much left after making his offering. The poor man, however, is probably sacrificing his last bit of food, and can more readily imagine that he is offering Hashem his very life.
- Menachos 104b