Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The mitzva of making שמן המשחה

The Mishan at the beginning of the third perek of מכות mentions the issur of making the שמן המשחה for your own purposes. I saw a fascinating machlokes relating to the the שמן המשחה.

Th gemara in :כריתות ה states that one of the many ניסים of the שמן המשחה was that even though Moshe only made a small amount it lasted until it was hidden by Yoshiyahu (towards the end of the first Beis Hamikdash) and will be used to anoint the מלך המשיח. The gemara bases this on a pasuk לי לדורותיכם. Based on this Tosafos in Nazir (47a) seem to say that there is no mitzva to make שמן המשחה, as it was a mitzvah only for Moshe Rabbenu. The Minchas Chinuch says this as well, that there is no mitzva to make שמן המשחה because it is not נוהג לדורות.

However, the Rambam counts it as a mitzva and the Rambam (כלי המקדש א:א) writes
מצות עשה לעשות שמן המשחה, שיהיה מוכן לדברים שצריכין משיחה בו

The Rambam clearly states that there is a mitzva to make שמן המשחה. What does the Rambam do with the Gemara in כריתות ה that only Moshe made שמן המשחה (which is learned out from a pasuk)? The Rambam understands that there is a mitzva to makeשמן המשחה that is נוהג לדורות. The pasuk is just telling us a historical fact, that the only person to ever be מקיים this mitzva was Moshe Rabbenu, however, in theory if there was a need there would be a mitzva on us to make שמן המשחה.


David Guttmann said...

I wonder if there was the technology in those days to maintain the moisture in the oil was an extended period without it drying oout? I would suggest that Rambam saw that gemara as allegorical or da'at yachid.

David Guttmann said...

Another interesting point is that in Sefer Hamitzvot he learns from li ledorotechem that the kelim did not require another anointing forever. Clearly he ignores the drash of the gemara lehalacha.

Re counting the mitzvot, he does not count the making just the having. In Shoresh 10 he sees the making as preparation and therefore not countable. Even though it is not counted it is still a mitzvat asseh. It would therefore seem that preparation is part of the mitzvah of having oil not one on its own.

bluke said...

The Rambam quotes the gemara in the כריתות in halacha 5 that Moshe was the only one to ever make שמן המשחה

ואין חייבין אלא על סיכת שמן המשחה שעשה משה--שנאמר "ממנו", מזה שנאמר בו "שמן משחת קודש יהיה זה, לי" (שמות ל,לא); ומעולם לא נעשה שמן אחר, חוץ ממה שעשה משה.

David Guttmann said...

Sorry I missed that. There go all my pshetlach!