Daf Yomi

For the week ending 4 October 2003 / 8 Tishri 5764

Zevachim 118 Menachot 5

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

House and Tent

The longest period of the Sanctuary location before the construction of the Beit Hamikdash in Yerushalayim was the 369-year era of the Mishkan in Shiloh.

Rabbi Yochanan called attention to the apparent conflict in the descriptions found in our sacred sources regarding this Sanctuary. When Chana brought her son Shmuel to Shiloh in fulfillment of her vow to dedicate her long-awaited child to the service of G-d in His Sanctuary we are told "she brought him to the house of G-d (Shmuel I 1:24). But when King David speaks of the destruction of the Mishkan in Shiloh he describes it in two passages as a tent (Tehillim 78:60, 67).

The resolution provided by this Sage is that the Shiloh sanctuary had both the feature of a house and that of a tent. In contrast to the gold-covered boards that formed the walls of the Mishkan in the wilderness and the first fourteen years in Eretz Yisrael, the walls in Shiloh were made of stone. Its ceiling, however, remained the same as its predecessor with its tapestries and skins. The stone walls thus gave it the nature of a house, while its covering still endowed with a resemblance to a tent.

Maharsha points out that the first passage, which deals with Shiloh in its glory, describes it as a house, which symbolizes stability. The passages that describe its destruction, on the other hand, describe it as a tent, which symbolizes a temporary dwelling.

This blend of permanence and transience may also explain why the Torah describes Shiloh as "the resting place" and the Beit Hamikdash in Yerushalayim as "the inheritance" (Devarim 12:9). Shiloh was constructed when Jews finally rested from their conquest of the land and its division. This sanctuary enjoyed a degree of "house" permanence 369 years but was only a "tent" in preparation for the permanence of the Beit Hamikdash.

Zevachim 118a

Night and Day of the Private Altar

Following their military victory over the Philistines the Israelites under the command of King Shaul seized the animals of their vanquished enemies, consecrated them as shelamim sacrifices and slaughtered them. When the king was informed that the people, in their haste, were eating the flesh of these sacrifices before their blood was applied to an altar he reprimanded them:

"And he said you have been unfaithful. Roll over to me this very day a large rock" (Shmuel I 14:33).

The purpose of the rock was to serve as an altar upon which the sacrificial blood could be applied and render the flesh permissible for consumption. This took place after the destruction of the Mishkan in Shiloh, when it was permissible to offer sacrifices on private altars anywhere, even though the large communal altar was in Nov.

Shauls insistence that his people prepare an altar for sacrificial service to take place while it was still day seems to contradict what is reported in the very next passage that "all the people brought forward their oxen at night and slaughtered them there" (ibid. 14:34). This apparent contradiction posed by Rabbi Elazar is resolved in two different ways, leading to conflicting halachic conclusions.

The approach of the Sage Shmuel is that the passage reporting the slaughtering of the animals at night refers to those animals which were not consecrated as sacrifices and therefore there was no restriction when to slaughter them. Those animals that were consecrated as sacrifices, however, had to be slaughtered during the day like all sacrifices even though this service was being performed on a private altar.

The Sage Rav, however, explains that all the animals mentioned in these passages were consecrated as sacrifices. Those that had been consecrated to be offered on the large communal altar had to be slaughtered only during the day even if offered on a private altar. But those that were originally intended for offering on a private altar had no such restriction and could be slaughtered even at night.

In summation, states the gemara, Rav permits the slaughtering of a sacrifice at night on a private altar and Shmuel forbids it.

Zevachim 120a


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