Vol 27.01 - Vayikra 1 Spanish French Audio Video
|Hebrew Text: Rambam-Maaseh Hakorbonos|
1. In Hilchot Maaseh Hakorbonot, Rambam rules:
“If a person vows to bring a large animal, but instead brings a small one, he does not fulfill his obligation. (If he vows to bring) a small one and brings a large one, he fulfills his obligation.
What is implied? If he said: "I promise (to bring)”
he fulfills his obligation”.
The source for Rambam’s words is (as is cited by the Kesef Mishnah) the Mishnah is Menachot (107b) which states:
“(if one vowed to offer) ‘a large one’ and he brought a small one (according to all opinions) he has not fulfilled is obligation. (if he said) ‘a small one’ and he brought a large one (there is a debate. According to the Sages) he has fulfilled his obligation. But Rebbi says, he has not fulfilled his obligation”.
Rambam rules like the Sages.
(and Rambam brings the examples: a lamb (כבש) and he brings a ram (איל); a calf (עגל) and brought an ox (שור); a kid (גדי) and brought a goat (שעיר). For Rambam rules that the reason that,
(If he vows to bring) a small one and brings a large one, he fulfills his obligation”
is just when both of them are of the same species (However, not if they are two different species). As he states further on in the chapter).
One must have a reasoning:
How can one fulfill his obligation with a ram when he says: “I obligate myself to bring, as an burnt-offering or Peace-offering - a lamb” (and so forth)?
There is a command:
“Heed the utterances of your mouth and do as you vowed”.
Therefore, since he said “a small one” (a lamb) he must fulfil his vow (and do as he vowed). Moreover, when he brings a large one (a “ram” instead of a “lamb”) he has not done “as you vowed”.
There are two manners how to learn this:
(similar to the dictum “Two-hundred includes within it one-hundred”)
when he brings a large animal (a ram instead of a lamb, and so forth) a small one is included in this (he just added to his vow) and therefore his vow is fulfilled.
2. However, it is not sufficient:
A semblance of this debate is also in the Mishna regarding Menachot (meal offerings):
“(If one says) I specified a meal-offering of (a certain number of) tenths (עשרונים) but I do not know what number I specified, he must bring sixty tenths. but Rebbi says, he must bring meal-offerings (of every number) of tenths from one to sixty”. The Talmud brings many views for their debate, and at the end brings the view of R’ Ashi:
R’ Ashi said, They differ in the case of (one who vowed to bring) a small animal and brought a large one. The Sages hold that (one who vowed to bring) a small animal and brought a large one has fulfilled his obligation.
(This is so, even if he did not vow except “three tenths”, and he brought “five tenths” to fulfil his vow, nevertheless, he has fulfilled his obligation).
While Rabbi holds that he has not fulfilled his obligation”.
The Talmud continues:
“But they have already differed in this matter once, for we have learnt: (If he said) ‘a small animal’ and he brought a large one, he has fulfilled his obligation; but Rabbi says, He has not fulfilled his obligation!”
And the Talmud answers:
“Both disputes were necessary
(Whether it is a Large Meal-offering (Mincha Gedola -sixty-tenths of flour) or a Small Meal-offering (Mincha Ketana - less than sixty-tenths of flour), only one handful is offered),
But in the other case, since there are more sacrificial parts (in a larger animal). I might say that they agree with Rebbi (that he has not thereby fulfilled his obligation).
(The sacrificial parts of a large animal is greater than that of a small one (אימורין דגדול נפישי מדקטן). Therefore, one could say that he did not vow this. Therefore, regarding this (the Sages say) that he has not fulfilled his obligation, for its portions are greater).
Since there is a supposition that since,
“the sacrificial parts of a large one is greater than that of a small one”
and one could say that he did not vow regarding this.
Moreover, (in such a case), we do not say
“A large amount includes within it a small amount” –
it is not logical to say that according to the Talmud’s conclusion (מסקנא), the innovation in the reason of the law regarding why, “If one vows to bring a small one and brings a large one” fulfills his obligation – for “A large amount includes within it a small amount”.
Similarly, it is not straightforward to say that the difference and innovation (in the necessity (for both cases) is – that the person “vowed this”, when the words of his mouth – are not so.
3. It also requires explanation:
According to both aforementioned manners,
It is logical to say that when one “vows to bring a small one”, he may, from the very onset (l’chatchila) bring a “large one”.
“One who desires to gain merit for himself, subjugate his evil inclination, and amplify his generosity should bring his sacrifice from the most desirable and superior type of the item he is bringing. For it is written in the Torah (Gen. 4:4): "And Evel brought from his chosen flocks and from the superior ones and G-d turned to Evel and his offering’. . And so (Lev. 3:16) states: "All of the superior quality should be given to G-d."
Regarding a Korban it states that one should bring, “from the choicest of your vows”,
If one accepts the aforementioned reasonings, one must seemingly conclude that when vows to bring a small one, that from the very onset he must bring (at least – it is proper that he should) bring a “large one” (due to “All of the superior quality should be given to G-d”).
However, from the plain wording of Rambam,
“If a person vows to bring a small one and brings a large one, he fulfills his obligation”.
(and even not how he states further on regarding a voluntary offering (נדבה) (like the wording of the Mishnah) “if he vows a lamb and it becomes disqualified, he may bring a ram with the money he receives for its sale”)
it appears that this is not a law that is from the very onset (l’chatchila). Rather just if he did so after the fact – bedieved - he has fulfilled his obligation.
(Regarding a Korban that varies up and down (קרבן עולה ויורד) which comes for four sins
(Note: the four sins are
(For these sins, a person is obligated to bring a sacrifice that varies up and down - meaning to say, according to the wealth or poverty of a person)
it states in the Chinuch that:
“But if he is poor and he brings a ewe or a female goat, he has not fulfilled his obligation. And the reason is that since G-d, blessed be He, had mercy upon him and exempted him with (something less expensive) it is not appropriate that he push himself to bring more than what his hand can reach”
However, this has no relation to our case. For there it is speaking with regarding to the Korbanot, which:
Whereas, in our case it is speaking regarding a Korban which comes:
From this it is understood that when one vows to bring a small animal he does not also mean a large one.
Similarly, in the “object” of the Korban - a large Korban does not include a small Korban. The difference between this, and that which we say, “A large amount includes within it a small amount”, is understood:
There, it is an aspect of what exists (ענין שבמציאות).
According to this the question returns to its place: What is the reason for the law of, “If a person vows to bring a small one and brings a large one, he fulfills his obligation”?
4. One can understand this by prefacing an explanation of Rambam‘s wording in the heading (כותרת) of Hilchot Nedarim - that the Mitzvah is:
“That one should “Heed the utterances of your lips and do as you vowed”.
For seemingly this is superfluous elaboration (and a repetition of words).
(To note: in the count of the Mitzvot in the beginning of Sefer HaYad, Rambam states just one aspect:
“That a person fulfil all that one utters with his lips etc.”
For there, his aspect and style is to be extremely concise.)
Although this is in accordance with the wording of the verse:
“Heed the utterances of your mouth and do as you vowed”,
and Rambam’s style in Sefer HaYad is to cite the words of Scripture. Nevertheless, it is (somewhat) problematic to quote this, if there is entirely no ramification in Halacha.
Therefore, it is logical to say that this is not just a repetition of words, but rather that there are two laws (obligations):
The explanation of this is:
Within every vow there are two aspects:
These are the two aspects in the verse:
5. According to this, one can explain the debate between Rebbi with the Sages,
(Regarding the vow: “If a person vows to bring a small one and brings a large one”; whether he has fulfilled his obligation, or not fulfilled his obligation).
that this is connected with how one learns the scope of the obligation of “do as you vowed”:
(They follow their individual opinions, as we find in many places in the Talmud, regarding the debate between Rebbi and the Sages regarding a wording that is stated in the Torah or in the words of the Sages, or similarly in common language (לשון בני אדם):
6. The same is in our case, “If a person vows to bring a small one and brings a large one . . It is incumbent upon me (to bring) . . a lamb (כבש) and he brings a ram (איל):
Due to “the utterances of your lips” – he said,
”It is incumbent upon me to bring . . a lamb“ (which does not include a ram, as aforementioned)
However, due to the theme of the vow – which is a vow to G-d,
(in which there is the command, “All of the superior quality should be given to G-d” and “the choice of your vows”)
one accepts that, the theme of his vow is to bring a Korban to G-d from a species of sheep (מין הצאן). Although he, actually said with his mouth, “lamb”, this is just due to an incidental impediment (מניעה צדדית) – for (at the time) he could not afford it (השיגה ידו), and so forth. However, the intent of “lamb” is “a species of sheep”.
Therefore, according to Rebbi’s view, who only considers the “utterances of your lips”, if he brings a large one instead of a small one – he has not fulfilled his obligation. His vow was “a small one”. Therefore, he cannot fulfil his vow by bringing a Korban which is a different Korban (a large one) which is not like “utterances of your lips”.
However, according to the Sages, who primarily consider the theme of his vow, “do as you vowed”. Therefore, although at the onset (l’chatchila), we do not say that he should bring a large one (a ram instead of a lamb). Nevertheless, since Scripture states “Heed the utterances of your lips”, he must from the very onset (l’chatchila) bring what he said - the “utterances of your lips”.
However, when he brings a large one (he brings a ram) he fulfills, “do as you vowed”, and thereby fulfills the Mitzvah of the Torah.
(For the detail of, “Heed the utterances of your lips” is not a an impediment to fulfilling his vow).
7. One can “sweeten” Rambam’s ruling (that is like the reason of the Sages) by prefacing:
Regarding the “Positive command of the Torah“ of which Rambam states:
“It is a positive commandment of Scriptural origin for a person to carry out his oath or vow, whether it be a vow involving prohibitions or a vow of sanctification”
Rambam then cites two verses:
“as (Deut. 12:23) states: "Heed the utterances of your lips and do as you vowed." And (Num. 30:3) states: "He shall act in accordance with all that he uttered with his mouth."
The difference between the two verses is:
(As we see in Rambam itself, that in the count of the six-hundred and thirteen Mitzvot, in the beginning of Sefer HaYad, where he just brings the verse, “Heed the utterances of your lips and do”, he states that the Mitzvah is, “For a person to fulfill all which he utters with his lips regarding a sacrifice, or Tzedakah, or the like” (and he does not mention, “
According to the aforementioned (Par.6), the difference in the wording of the verses, is understood:
The difference between “vows involving prohibitions” and “vows of consecrated items” is:
Regarding “vows involving prohibitions” the (essence of) the prohibition is created completely through the person’s words (for without his words, there is no prohibition). Therefore, regarding “vows involving prohibitions”, there is just one law (obligation) – “He shall act in accordance with all that he uttered with his mouth” (since his words create the prohibition).
This is not so regarding “vows of consecrated items”. The act of the vow is just the application (חלות) – an obligation in Torah (on the object that exists (שבמציאות)) is applied on him – an obligation of a Korban to G-d (or of Tzedakah, and so forth).
(As has been mentioned once, at length, in the explanation of Rambam’s words at the conclusion of the Hilchot Nedarim:
“Our Sages stated: Anyone who takes a vow is considered as having built a private altar. If he transgressed and took a vow, it is a Mitzvah to ask (a Sage) to absolve it, so that he will not have an obstacle before him.
When does the above apply? With regard to vows involving prohibitions. With regard to vows involving the consecration of articles, it is a Mitzvah to uphold them and not to ask for their absolution unless one is (financially) pressed, as it states: "I will fulfill my vows to G-d."
Namely, that regarding “vows of consecrated items”, his vow creates (not just the application of an obligation of the vow, but rather) the application of an obligation of Torah - of a Korban (or Tzedakah and so forth). It becomes an article of a Mitzvah, and therefore “one should not ask for their absolution etc.“)
Therefore, regarding “vows of consecrated items” there is (according to Rambam’s ruling – which is in accordance with the Sages) also a law of “do as you vowed” - that one fulfills the vow even if he just carries out the theme and intent of the vow (as a Korban to G-d, or Tzedakah etc.), even if this is not precisely (גענוי) like the “utterances of your lips”.
8. The explanation of this in Pnimiyut is:
It is known that a Korban/ קרבן is etymologically related to the word “to come close“ (קירוב). The essence of the aspect of Korbanot is like: “if a man will bring an offering to G-d (it must be) from you”. In other words, the Yid draws near (and offers) his powers and talents to G-d.
This is the difference between Korbanot and other Mitzvot:
(This is also emphasized through the explanation of the Ramban regarding the reason why the Korbanot atone,
“A person should contemplate, when doing all this (offering the Korban) that he has sinned against his G-d, with his body and soul, and that ‘his’ blood should really be spilled and ‘his’ body burned, were it not for the loving-kindness of the Creator. Who took from him a substitute and ransom, namely this offering, so that its blood (of the korban) should be in place of his blood, its life in place of his life etc.”
Thus, the Korban is instead of his body and soul, for in this, he gives over his whole (body and) soul to G-d.
The aspect of the Korbanot is, in essence, the aspect of Teshuvah (as is also understood from Ramban’s aforementioned words). For Teshuvah is higher than all the Mitzvot. Therefore, all the blemishes that were created through the sins and the absence of fulfillment of the Positive Mitzvot, are rectified through Teshuvah).
One could say that this is also one of the reasons why the section of the Korbanot, begins with the Korbanot that come through a vows and voluntary donations. As Rashi states immediately in the beginning of the Parsha, “the section speaks of voluntary sacrifices”.
And only afterward does the Torah continue with sin-offering and guilt-offering Korbanot– the Obligatory Korbanot (קרבנות חובה).
For this aspect of the Korbanot is that which, through them, a Yid comes completely close to G-d, and this manifests itself not so much in the Obligatory Korbanot,
(For since it is an obligation, one discerns in it, mainly, the fulfilling of G-d’s command, in bringing a sin-offering or a guilt-offering, for a sin and so forth)
but rather in the Voluntary Korbanot, that a Yid offers to G-d through the giving of his heart (בנדיבות לבו).
9. According to this, one can explain in our case, “If a person vows to bring a small one and brings a large one, he fulfills his obligation”:
When a Yid vows to bring a Korban, its theme and aspect, is not that which he comes to fulfil a particular Mitzvah (“Heed the utterances of your lips”, and so forth). Rather, as aforementioned, its intent is the general aspect of offering himself, completely giving himself to G-d.
(In the wording of the Sages, regarding the word “Nefesh/soul” that is stated regarding a voluntary meal-offering:
“Said G-d, ‘Who is accustomed to bring a meal-offering? A poor person. I consider him (מעלה אני עליו) as though he had offered his soul before Me”.
One could say that this addition:
“I consider him” is in the positive sense. Namely, that he also has in this, an empowering from Above. His “offering his soul” is even more so, than could be accomplished due to his own power and Avodah – it comes because “I consider (lift/ מעלה) him”).
Therefore, the fulfillment of the specific Mitzvah here - includes him in the general Mitzvah (מצוה כללית) – the general attachment and connection of the Yid - through the donation and offering of Korbanot - with G-d.
Therefore, the general theme and aspect, is mainly relevant here. Namely, that which a Yid gives himself completely over and thereby comes completely close to G-d.
10. According to this one can explain the wording, “a small one” and “a large one”, spiritually (ברוחניות הענינים):
In the beginning of Avodah, a Yid is in a condition of smallness. However, since this is connected with the aspect of the Korbanot, with bringing his soul (completely) close to G-dliness, and offering his “self”. This is connected with coming close and a Korban (which is completely) “large”.
(Similar to what is explained in the relation between Lower Fear (יראה תתאה) - Kaballat Ol – with that of Higher Fear (יראה עילאה)).
Therefore, “he brings a large one” – this brings one to the offering and closeness in a manner of “largeness”. That even visibly, and with all the powers of his soul, he becomes completely close to G-d.
Through the occupation of studying the Torah-teachings of the Korbanot, it is as if he offers a Korban.
“Torah scholars who are occupied with the laws of Temple service: are considered by Holy Writ (מעלה עליהם הכתוב) as if the Temple is built in their days”.
From the “as if” will come the “Temple is built”, in actuality, with the coming of our righteous Moshiach. And there (he will actually “offer a Korban” and more than this -) we will offer before You like the command of Your Will, in the Third Beit HaMikdash which will be built, speedily and in our days-mamosh.
M’Sichas Yud-Gimmel Tishrei 5745
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