Treatise in the Mishnah, in the Tosefta, and in the Babylonian Talmud. It discusses chiefly the more precise details of the regulations governing the different kinds of meat-offering mentioned in Lev. ii. 5, 11-13; vi. 7-11; vii. 9, 10; xxiii. 13, 16; Num. v. 11 et seq., vi. 13-20, xxviii., and xxix. In the Mishnaic order Ḳodashim this treatise is second. It is divided into thirteen chapters, containing ninety-three paragraphs in all."Pasul" and "Piggul."
- Ch. i.: The intention requisite to make an offering valid; the omissions through which a meat-offering becomes "pasul" (unfit) or "piggul" (an abomination: if the person sacrificing intends to eat it after the allotted time, it becomes piggul; if he intends to eat it outside the place appointed for it, it becomes pasul); how the handful ("ḳomeẓ") is to be taken; the oil necessary for the ḳomeẓ, and the incense.
- Ch. ii.: Further details concerning pasul and piggul, according to the different kinds of offerings; how the various parts of an offering affect one another in regard to piggul.
- Ch. iii.: The circumstances under which a meat-offering remains kasher; how the parts of an offering, or how different offerings presented together, affect one another in regard to pasul. In this connection many other things are enumerated which render one another invalid, e.g., the two sections of the law ("parashiyyot") in the mezuzah, or the four in the tefillin.
- Ch. iv.: Continued enumeration of those things which do or do not render one another pasul (this affords an occasion to explain how the Israelites in the wilderness sacrificed and how the altar, the table, and the candlesticks were consecrated); the meat-offering of the high priest.
- Ch. v.: Preparation of the meat-offerings; the offerings which need additional ingredients, and what these must be; what offerings must be brought near the altar ("haggashah") and what offerings must be waved ("tenufah"); what offerings must be both brought near the altar and waved; what offerings may be neither waved nor brought near.
- Ch. vi.: Offerings from which only a handful is taken and offerings which are placed entire upon the altar; further details concerning the preparation of the meat-offering.
- Ch. vii.: Regulations concerning the sacrifice of thanksgiving ("todah") and concerning the offering of the Nazarites. Here it is stated that the measures were changed, and that the new so-called "Jerusalem" measure was one-sixth larger than the old one, termed "midbari" (from the desert).
- Ch. viii.: Whence the materials were taken for the different meat-offerings (here are mentioned the places which produced the best flour and the best oil); how the best oil and flour was obtained; where the best wine was found and how it was tested.
- Ch. ix.: The different measures used in the Temple to measure the flour, the oil, and the wine for the various offerings; drink-offerings; the sacrifices for which drink-offerings were requisite; the laying of hands upon the sacrificial animal ("semikah"); the sacrifices in which this takes place, and who may perform the semikah.
- Ch. x.: The wave-offering ("omer"); when and whence it was brought; the ceremonial observed in the cutting of it and how it was offered; the regulation introduced by R. Johanan b. Zakkai after the destruction of the Temple.
- Ch. xi.: The preparation of the pentecostal bread and of the showbread; the size of the loaves and when they may be eaten; the placing of the showbreadon the table and the distribution of it among the priests.
- Ch. xii.: Exemption from meat- and drink-offerings; the time after which exemption is no longer possible; offerings from which no one may be exempted; vows of meat- and drink-offerings; how the vow may be fulfilled.
- Ch. xiii.: Regulations concerning vows of offerings which are not strictly defined; sacrifices vowed for the temple at Jerusalem may not be offered in the temple of Onias, or vice versa; the priests of the temple of Onias are not permitted to serve in the temple at Jerusalem. The conclusion of the chapter and of the treatise runs: "It is immaterial whether one sacrifices much or little so long as his mind is intent on God."
The order given above is that of the editions of the Mishnah and of many manuscripts of the Talmud (comp. the observation of R. Bezaleel Ashkenazi at the end of the "Shiṭṭah Meḳubbeẓet" on Menaḥot, in the Wilna edition of the Talmud, p. 109b). On the other hand, all the printed editions of the Talmud have the chapter beginning "R. Ishmael," given above as the tenth, in the sixth place, the remaining chapters occurring in the order given above. Special attention should be given to the account in the Tosefta to this treatise of the acts of greed and violence committed by the priests during the time of the Second Temple, which was destroyed because of their rapacity and mutual hatred (xiii. 18-22). The Gemara contains, in the third chapter, interesting observations on the forms of Hebrew letters and on the regulations for the writing of the Torah, of tefillin, and of the mezuzah, while in the fourth chapter are regulations concerning the ẓiẓit.Special Passages.
The following passages also are specially noteworthy: p. 53a, b—an instance of the peculiar style of R. Ezra's haggadic exegesis; the tradition as to how God justified Himself to Abraham for the destruction of the Temple and the exile of the people; the comparing of Israel to an olive-tree; p. 99b—the attitude of R. Ishmael toward Greek culture; p. 109b—the account of the origin of the temple of Onias. The last passage is important enough to be repeated here: "At the hour of his death the high priest Simon the Just appointed his younger but learned son Onias to be his successor. Onias renounced his claim in favor of his elder brother Shimei. Onias, however, secretly grudged him his position and endeavored to supplant him. Consequently when Shimei, who was inexperienced in the priestly service, asked Onias to instruct him in its duties, the latter misled him into putting on a woman's cap and girdle to officiate in, and then told the priests that Shimei had promised his beloved to officiate in her cap and girdle on the day of his installation in office. When the priests threatened to kill Shimei for thus trifling with the service, he told them how the matter really stood. Thereupon the priests sought the death of Onias, but he fled to Egypt and there built his temple." There is no Jerusalem Gemara to Menaḥot. The Tosafot to Menaḥot (109b, reference word, "nizdamen") refers to Yerushalmi Yoma (v. 2), where the passage cited is found.
- Isaiah di Trani, Tosafot (in the Warsaw edition of the Talmud, 1861, wrongly designated as "Ḥiddushim" of Solomon ben Adret).