Pisqa’ 126

Pisqa’ 1261


“Now, when he suffers a blemish” (Dt.15:21).

I might infer only that

[a Firstling is disqualified as an offering]

if he was born unblemished

and later suffered a blemish.

How do I know [to disqualify]

one born blemished from his mother’s womb?2

The Teaching states:

Any serious blemish” (Dt.15:21)—

[any includes birth defects].

How do we know to include an animal

suffering from [acquired blemishes, such as]

scabs, warts, tumors,

old age, sickness, or a foul smell?3

The Teaching states:

Serious blemish” (Dt.15:21)—

[whether congenital or acquired]. 


“Any serious blemish, do not slaughter it for HASHEM your God” (Dt.15:21).

Is it possible to say that

one may not slaughter [an animal] bearing

these [blemishes] in the Holy Shrine,

but one may slaughter [such an animal]

in the outskirts4 of Jerusalem?5  

The Teaching states:

Lameness or blindness” (Dt.15:21)—

a lame or a blind animal should be

included [under the rule] of [other disqualifying blemishes].

So why are they singled out [for special mention]?

To use them for comparison:

just as lameness and blindness are distinctive,

in being visible and permanent,

I may infer only that

[any disqualifying] blemish

should be visible and permanent.6


“But do not eat the blood” (Dt.15:23)—

drinking it is like eating it.

But” (Dt.15:23)—

this [limiting term] requires that

[punishment for intentional violation be preceded by]

a warning from by-standers

[not to violate this proscription].

But” (Dt.15:23)—

[this limiting term] establishes the volume of an olive

[as the minimum quantity of blood]

proscribed by the Torah.

“Pour it out upon the ground like water” (Dt.15:23)—

but not over a pit or a ditch,

and not over running water or streams.

However, he may enter his home

and slaughter it outside a ditch,

while the blood flows into the ditch,

so as not to make the house filthy.

But in the street he may not do so,

lest he imitate [the custom of] the dissenters.7

Pour it out” (Dt.15:23)—

pouring refers specifically to

blood flowing from the arteries of the neck.

R. Eliezer says:

“Pour it out upon the ground like water” (Dt.15:23)—

just as water prepares seeds to receive uncleanness,

so, too, the blood of slaughter prepares seeds to receive uncleanness.8

Or [perhaps other types of blood are meant for inclusion]?

Blood from a stab-wound, blood from a gouge-wound,

spurting blood, blood drawn [for healing],

blood from the spleen or the placenta, coagulating blood,

liver-blood, heart-blood, and post-mortem bleeding.9

The Teaching states:

Pour it out . . . like water” (Dt.15:23).

What can be poured out like water—

that is what prepares [seeds to receive uncleanness].

These other sources [of blood] are excluded [from the rule],

for they do not prepare [seeds to receive uncleanness].10

  1. H:171-172; JN1:311.
  2. A list of congenital defects that disqualify Firstlings is available at M. Bech.6:1-7.
  3. //M. Bech. 6:12.
  4. Heb.: bagevulim; the term is often conflated with bamedinah (“in the province”). Most commentators see a distinction between the Jerusalem proper (where only Most-holy offerings may be slaughtered and eaten ) and its environs beyond its wall (where only common food or Lesser-Holy offerings may be consumed. See also Pisqa’ 124.5. For a fuller mapping of spatial holiness, cf. M. Kel. 1:8-9.
  5. //M. Bech. 6:12.
  6. The passage is virtually identical to Pisqa’ 147.3.
  7. // M. Hul. 2:9; cf, T. Hul. 2:19.   The Hebrew term for “dissenters” is minim. The term is usually taken to refer to Jewish followers of Jesus of Nazareth, but often denotes Jews who reject rabbinic authority and beliefs, such as the reality of the “coming eon,” etc. Cf. M. San.10:1, T. Ber.3:25, and M. Meg. 4:8-9. See also Pisqa’ 48.6
  8. Cf. T. Mach. 3:14.
  9. Cf. M. Mach. 6:8.
  10. F:184. l.17-185. ls. 1-7—anticipated by Ish-Shalom (Pisqa’ 126, p. 100b, n.4)—regards the entire block of text at 126.3 as foreign material supplied by a medieval copyist.