Mishnat Hashavua: Hagigah 1:5

On the three pilgrimage festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot, Jews were required to make pilgrimage to Jerusalem and bring two sacrifices. The re’iyah (appearance offering) was an olah (burned sacrifice). The hagigah (festive offering) was a sh’lamim (edible sacrifice). The latter was shared by the family as a simhah, or “happy meal.” The Torah does not specify the size of these sacrifices.

One who has many [relatives] to feed but little property should bring copious sh’lamim (edible sacrifices), but few olot [burned sacrifices]. [If he has] much property but few to feed, he should bring copious olot but few sh’lamim. If he has little of both [family and possessions], of him does it say [in the mishnah] to bring at least a silver coin for one and two coins for the other. If he has much of both [family and possessions], of him does the Torah speak: “according to a man’s gifts, that the Lord your God has blessed him with.” (Deut. 15:17)

Comments

The burned offering, fully consumed on the altar, was seen as a gift to God. The whole offering, from which only the forbidden fats were burned on the altar, was a treat for the priest and for the family. The three festivals required both types of ritual: devotional and celebratory.

Questions

  1. Can you name devotional and celebratory aspects of each festival in contemporary Jewish practice?
  2. The mishnah is sensitive to differential financial demands and abilities of Israelite families. Is our community equally sensitive?