"Lo Tishchat al Chametz Dam Zivchi:" Possessing Chametz during the Pesach Sacrifice

  • Rav Moshe Taragin

The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash

Special Holiday Shiur

"Lo Tishchat al Chametz Dam Zivchi:"

Possessing Chametz During the Pesach Sacrifice


By Rav Moshe Taragin


The holiday of Pesach is characterized by the a wide variety of mitzvot. Most of the prohibitions surround chametz. The Torah restates the prohibition several times: one may not eat, derive pleasure from, or even maintain chametz in his possession. In terms of positive mitzvot, ideally, the central mitzva is the korban Pesach. It is one of only two positive mitzvot which entail a punishment of "karet" (excision) if not performed. In the days of the Beit Ha-mikdash, the matza and maror were eaten along with the pesach as "satellites" of the korban. This article will examine the point of intersection between these two mitzvot - the prohibition of "Lo tishchat al chametz dam zivchi," which prohibits the possession of chametz during the time of slaughtering the Pesach sacrifice.

In Parashat Mishpatim, the Torah writes, "Lo tizbach al chametz dam zivchi," and this prohibition is repeated (albeit in slightly different words) in Parashat Ki Tisa. How are we to perceive this prohibition? How does it relate to the conventional prohibitions regarding maintaining chametz in one's possession? Alternatively, how does it relate to various other laws which govern the korban Pesach?

Intuitively, we might view the prohibition as an additional law governing the korban Pesach. Just as various unique halakhot regulate the style and method of eating the Pesach, this one governs the actual shechita (slaugtering). Not only must the shechita be performed according to regular sacrificial standards, it also cannot be associated with chametz. This prohibition, then, has little to do with "chametz-based" prohibitions such as eating and maintaining possession. It is a requirement internal to the dynamic of korban Pesach. Indeed, the mishna and ensuing gemara which discuss this prohibition are located in the fifth perek of Pesachim, which discusses the halakhot of korban Pesach, and not within the first three perakim, which discuss hilkhot chametz.

The gemara in Pesachim (5a), however, associates this prohibition with the standard chametz prohibitions in a manner which leads us to suspect that the two are in fact integrally related. The gemara debates the source for the prohibition of chametz on Erev Pesach after midday. Sensing that such a prohibition exists, the gemara searches for its source. Ultimately, the gemara offers the following possibility: the Torah writes "Akh ba-yom ha-rishon tashbitu se'or mi-bateichem" - On the first day you should rid your house of chametz. The gemara perceives that this word "rishon" (on the first day) actually refers to the day BEFORE the onset of Pesach - Erev Pesach. What the gemara is unsure of, though, is how this assertion can be verified. The gemara suggests that by establishing the "related" prohibition of "lo tishchat al chametz," the Torah, in effect, reveals that the "first day" refers to the day before Pesach, during which the korban Pesach was sacrificed.

In this instance the gemara utilizes the prohibition of "lo tishchat" to illustrate the timing of a standard prohibition of chametz. Does this, then, imply that the two prohibitions are related? One prohibition refers to possession of chametz which starts on Erev Pesach and continues throughout Pesach, and our prohibition of "lo tishchat" is likewise a prohibition of POSSESSING chametz. However, it isn't defined by a TIME PERIOD but rather by a SIMULTANEOUS EVENT - the sacrifice of korban Pesach: one may not possess chametz during the process of korban Pesach. The parameters of the prohibition are different - one is time-based while the others revolves around an event. Their essence and gist, however, are equivalent. The prohibition of "lo tishchat" is not a "korban-based" prohibition but rather a "chametz-based" prohibition.

Tosafot (63a s.v. Hashochet) inform us that one who sacrifices a Pesach while maintaining chametz does not invalidate the korban. In the world of kodashim, an improper act can invalidate a korban only if the Torah repeats the prohibition twice. Since the Torah does not repeat this prohibition, we can assume that, although a prohibition was violated, the korban remains kasher. (Of course, the glaring problem in Tosafot is that the Torah does repeat this prohibition - once in Mishpatim and once in Ki Tisa! See the commentators who address this issue.)

We might draw one of two conclusions from this Tosafot. The fact that the korban remains kasher might suggest that the prohibition is not "korban-based" but merely an added prohibition of possessing chametz. As such, it is reasonable that the korban should not become invalid. The sacrifice of the korban is merely the EVENT or TIME PERIOD during which possession is prohibited. Alternatively, the RATIONALE Tosafot provides for the lack of invalidation implies that the prohibition at its root is "korban-based." Tosafot claim that, based upon the standard rules of kodashim and korbanot, the lack of repetition categorizes this prohibition as one which does not invalidate. Does this not suggest that our prohibition is an integrated part of the world of korbanot and subject to its rules and criteria?

INTERIM SUMMARY: We have questioned the nature of the prohibition to possess chametz during the sacrifice of the korban Pesach. Is this prohibition a way of defining the proper method for the korban's sacrifice (korban-based), or is it an additional prohibition of possessing chametz (only not during a period of time, but during an event)?

Greater resolution might be provided through one defining question: Who receives malkot (lashes) if chametz is not cleared away during the sacrifice - the one performing the shechita or the person possessing the chametz? One of the halakhot of korban Pesach is that each "party" or "group" of people who are sharing their Pesach (termed a chabura) designates one person to perform shechita on their behalf. What occurs if a member of the party possesses chametz while his appointed shaliach (emissary) executes the shechita?

Tosafot (63b) claim that the shaliach receives malkot, since this is the connotation of the verse - "Do not SACRIFICE Pesach in the presence of chametz." The Rambam (Sefer Ha-mitzvot Lo Ta'aseh 115) and the Chinukh (89) contest this argument, claiming that even the possessor violates the prohibition if his Pesach was sacrificed while his chametz was preserved.

Possibly, the Rishonim are debating this very point. Were we to view the prohibition as "korban-based," the one involved in attending the korban would most likely be in violation and we would affirm Tosafot's view. Alternatively, if this prohibition is defined as possessing chametz during the sacrifice of the korban, we would also place the prohibition upon the one who possesses the chametz.

What type of chametz is included within this prohibition? If the prohibition is related to conventional chametz prohibitions, we can define this prohibition in "conventional terms:" whichever chametz one is normally forbidden to retain all seven days, is prohibited during the sacrifice as well. If, however, the prohibition reflects a deficiency in the korban - maintaining chametz subverts the korban - we have no precedent on which to base our decision. Ostensibly, any and every form of chametz would be prohibited.

The Minchat Chinukh questions ta'arovet chametz (mixtures of chametz), as well as chametz noksha (bitter chametz). According to many positions, these types of chametz can be maintained during Pesach - they are just forbidden to eat or to derive pleasure from. What about the prohibition of lo tishchat? Can we devise a similar exclusion, based upon our recognizing this prohibition as part of general chametz prohibitions, sharing the same parameters? Or by defining the prohibition as independent, and a problem in the korban, are we not allowed to drawsuch a comparison?

This comparison was drawn by tSha'agat Aryeh (chapter 77). He asserted that a Jew may not maintain chametz belonging to a Gentile, which he insured. He ruled that this chametz is prohibited with regard to the standard "bal yeira'eh" as well as the prohibition of "lo tishchat." This implies, as well, that the two prohibitions are related.

R. Akiva Eiger (Responsa, 176) also compares the two prohibitions with regard to chametz in a distant location. According to several positions, one who departs from his city thirty days prior to Pesach, without intention of returning during Pesach, has no obligation to destroy the chametz (merely disowning it through bittul would suffice). Similarly, claims R. Akiva Eiger, one does not violate the prohibition of lo tishchat on this form of chametz. The positions of both the Sha'agat Aryeh and R. Akiva Eiger seem to verify the relationship between these two prohibitions. We can establish categories of prohibited chametz for the prohibition of lo tishchat based upon the model of standard chametz prohibitions.

Could the prohibition of lo tishchat extend to other korbanot aside from korban Pesach? Indeed, if it is a korban-Pesach-based prohibition, it might only apply to Pesach. If it is a "chametz-based" prohibition, it might apply to other korbanot offered during this time period. This issue is debated in the mishna (63a). Though the Tana Kama limits the prohibition to korban Pesach, R. Yehuda extends it to the korban tamid (bein ha-arbayim) as well. One who possesses chametz during the sacrifice of the tamid on Erev Pesach violates this prohibition as well. Evidently, he viewed the prohibition as "chametz-based" - this prohibition applies to possessing chametz during the period of sacrificing korbanot. Being that Pesach and the tamid share roughly the same period (from midday till sunset), the prohibition applies equally to each. Had he viewed the prohibition as a special halakha governing korban Pesach, it is very unlikely that he would have extended the prohibition to other korbanot.

R. Shimon extends the prohibition even further. Any korbanot offered during the entire yom tov of Pesach, while chametz is still retained, are a violation of this prohibition. Evidently, he also viewed the prohibition as stemming from maintenance of chametz, not in terms of the yom tov proper, but in terms of korbanot. If so, it could apply to all korbanot of this period. Possibly, the Tana Kama, by denying these positions and rejecting the extension of this prohibition to any korban aside from Pesach, might be underscoring the nature of this prohibition as based specifically on the korban-Pesach.

What about the reverse case? Would the prohibition apply to korban Pesach which is not offered on Pesach? The obvious allusion is to Pesach Sheni. The gemara (95b) comes to the conclusion that the prohibition doesn't apply, suggesting that it is not a "korban-based" prohibition but a chametz one; since no general prohibition of maintaining chametz applies during Pesach Sheni, lo tishchat doesn't either. What is interesting about the gemara, though, is that two separate pesukim were required - one to exclude the general chametz prohibition on Pesach Sheni, and a DIFFERENT one to exclude the prohibition of lo tishchat. This might suggest that indeed they are disparate in nature, but even though the prohibition of lo tishchat is "korban-based" it doesn't apply on Pesach Sheni (see Rashi in his commentary to the gemara 95b).



1. Any prohibition which entails a cross-section of two factors can be attributed to either of those two factors. Possessing chametz during the korban Pesach might be a chametz prohibition or a korban Pesach prohibition.

2. Question whether a halakha is based upon conventional models (possessing chametz) or whether it reflects a new or novel prohibition - sacrificing the korban while retaining chametz.

3. Along with the actual details of the halakha, sometimes the source is revealing. Many times it suggests something which logically is contrary to the halakha itself. Tosafot inform us that the korban is kasher - precisely because it doesn't meet the normal kodashim standards for invalidation. Though they validated the korban, Tosafot imply that the prohibition should be treated and analyzed as a "korban" prohibition. Likewise, the gemara (95b) which excluded Pesach Sheni from the prohibition of lo tishchat, by requiring an additional pasuk for this halakha and not coupling it with the standard chametz prohibition, hinted that lo tishchat is a korban-based prohibition EVEN THOUGH it doesn't apply on Pesach Sheni.



1. In terms of the gemara (5a): See Tosafot and Rabbenu David as to whether the association between the prohibitions reflects an internal similarity. Indeed, earlier on, the gemara cited the prohibition of lo tishchat as independently determining the prohibition on Erev Pesach, rather than merely revealing the intention of the pasuk "akh ba-yom ha-rishon."

2. For the prohibition to be violated, must there be any physical proximity between the chametz and the korban? See the dispute between Reish Lakish and R. Yochanan (63b), and Tosafot s.v. Lo.

3. What korban actions, beyond shechita, if performed while chametz exists, entail a prohibition? See gemara (63b) and Yerushalmi. How does the theoretical question influence this "practical" one?

4. What about an invalid korban Pesach which is nonetheless sacrificed while chametz is maintained? See Mishneh le-Melekh (Hilkhot Korban Pesach 1:5).

5. Tosafot (29b) maintain that on Pesach one would be allowed to keep chametz which is intended for burning. What about the prohibition of lo tishchat while chametz he intends to burn is maintained? Some assert that in such a case a person DOES violate the prohibition of lo tishchat. This position drives a wedge between the two prohibitions, establishing a form of chametz which is permitted to possess on Pesach proper, but prohibited during the time of the actual korban. See the Sefer Ha-mitzvot le-Rabenu Sa'adia Gaon (#173) and the comments of R. Yerucham Fischel Perlow.


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