|Posted by Sir Knight Nash on August 30, 2013 at 2:40 AM|
Chagigah - Perek 1
The Jewish people have been commanded to observe three positive commandments on each of the three pilgrimage festivals. They are:
a) to appear before the Divine presence, as Exodus 23:17 states: "All of your males shall appear";
b) bringing a festive offering, as Deuteronomy 16:15 states: "You shall bring a festive offering to God your Lord"; and
c) celebration, as ibid.:14 states: "And you shall rejoice in festivals."
The Torah's charge to appear before God mandates that one should appear in the Temple Courtyard on the first day of a festival and bring with him a burnt- offering, whether from fowl or from domesticated animals. One who comes to the Temple Courtyard on the first day of a festival without bringing a burnt-offering has not only failed to perform a positive commandment, but has violated a negative commandment, as Exodus 23:15 states: "You shall not appear in My presence empty-handed." One is not liable for lashes for the violation of this prohibition, because he did not perform a deed.
The Torah's charge to bring a festive offering mandates that one offer a peace-offering on the first day of the festival when one comes to appear before the Divine presence. It is a known matter that peace-offerings are brought only from domesticated animals. Women are not obligated in these two mitzvot of appearing before the Divine presence and bringing a festive sacrifice.
The Torah's charge to celebrate on festivals mandates that one offer peace-offerings in addition to the festive peace offerings. These are called the festive celebratory peace-offerings, as Deuteronomy 27:7 states: "You shall rejoice before God, your Lord." Women are obligated in this mitzvah.
According to Scriptural Law, there are no fixed measures with regard to the sacrifices broughtwhen appearing before God or the festive offerings, as Deuteronomy 16:17 states: "Each person according to what he gives." According to Rabbinic Law, however, limits were established. One should not bring a burnt-offering to mark one's appearance worth less that a silver me'ah, nor should one bring a festive peace-offering worth less than two silver me'ah. It is a mitzvah to bring these sacrifices proportionate to one's wealth, as implied by the phrase: "according to what one gives...."
Our Sages did not establish a minimum measure for the celebratory peace-offerings. When a person will ascend to Jerusalem for the festival, if he is in possession of the sacrifices required when presenting oneself, he should bring them or he should bring sufficient silver to purchase a sacrificial animal. If he does not possess silver, he should not bring articles of value equivalent to silver. Even if he is in possession of articles worth several gold pieces, it is forbidden for him to ascend to Jerusalem empty-handed without silver or a sacrificial animal.
Why was one forbidden to ascend while bringing articles worth money? Perhaps he will not be able to sell them or perhaps he will find impurities in the money he receives.
One who did not offer the burnt offering marking his appearance and his festive peace-offering on the first day of the festival should offer them on the remaining days of the festival, as implied by Deuteronomy 16:15: "For seven days you shall celebrate unto God your Lord." This teaches that all of these days are fit for offering festive sacrifices. They are all compensation for the first day.
It is a mitzvah to be early and to offer these sacrifices on the first day. If, either inadvertently or intentionally, one did not offer them on the first day, they should be offered on the second day. Whoever delays is deserving of reproach. Concerning such a person is applied the words of censure, Tzephania 3:18: "I will gather in and break those who delay the festive prayers and offerings."
If the festival passed without one bringing these festive offerings, he is not obligated to bring them afterwards. Concerning such a situation and the like is applied the verse Ecclesiastes 1:15: "A wrong that cannot be righted."
When one did not bring the festive sacrifices on the first day of the Sukkos holiday, he may bring them throughout the entire festival and on the final holiday, which is the eighth day. For even the eighth day can serve as compensation for the first.
Similarly, one who did not bring the festive offerings on the holiday of Shavuot may bring them for seven days, i.e., he may compensate during the six days that following the festival of Shavuot. This concept - that the festival of Shavuot is similar to the festival of Pesach with regard to compensation - was communicated through the Oral Tradition.
The burnt-offerings brought when appearing before God and the festive peace-offerings do not supersede either the Sabbath prohibitions or the restrictions against ritual impurity, because there is no fixed time when they are required to be brought like the communal offerings. For if one does not bring his festive offerings on one day, he may bring them on the next, as we explained.
They do, however, supersede the prohibitions of the holidays. Although sacrifices which one has vowed or pledged to bring are not offered on holidays, the burnt-offerings brought when appearing before God, the festive peace-offerings, and the celebratory peace-offerings are offered. The rationale is that these are not vows or pledges, but rather obligations.
When one brings the burnt-offerings brought when appearing before God, the festive peace-offerings, and the celebratory peace-offerings on a festival, he should lean on them with all his power as he does when bringing offerings on other days. Even though leaning on the animals is not an indispensable element of their sacrifice, as we explained in Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot, the Sages did not institute a decree forbidding this as a shvut.
When a person sets aside a burnt-offering brought when appearing before God and dies, his heirs are obligated to offer it.
It is permitted to offer sacrifices which one has vowed or pledged during the intermediate days of a holiday, as Numbers 29:39 states: "You will offer these to God on your festivals aside from your vowed and pledged offerings." It can be understood from this that those offerings are brought during the festivals.
That verse continues "for your burnt-offerings, your meal-offerings, and your peace-offerings." "For your burnt-offerings" includes a burnt-offering brought by a person afflicted by tzara'at and a woman after childbirth." "Your meal-offerings" include the meal offering brought by a sinner and the meal-offering brought by a woman whose husband accused her of adultery. "Your peace-offerings" includes the peace-offering brought by a nazirite. All of these are offered on the intermediate days of a festival, but are not offered on the sacred days.
When a person who ascended to Jerusalem for a pilgrimage festival had many members of his household to partake of the offerings, but limited means, he should bring many festive peace-offerings, and few burnt-offerings brought when appearing before God. If he has few members of his household to partake of the offerings, but ample means, he should bring many burnt-offerings brought when appearing before God, and few festive peace-offerings. If he has few of both, concerning that our Sages said: "One should not bring less than a meah for a burnt-offering and two silver meah for a peace-offering." If he was blessed amply with both, concerning this, our Sages applied the verse Deuteronomy 16:17: "According to the blessing of God your Lord which He granted you."
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