The Shikerdovid was born the day the world learned Menachos 16 nearly 52 years ago in the daf yomi cycle of 1966. It was also learned last Sunday in the current daf yomi cycle. The SD is a cohen and this “date of birth daf” is appropriately and ironically all about the mistake riddled cohen.
A brief overview of the daf is necessary: The Mishna talks about a cohen who performs the mincha (flour offering) improperly, by doing it half correct (Chatzi Matir). The Mishna has various scenarios of mess ups. The bottom line is some mistake create Pigul (abominations) and some just invalidate the sacrifice. There is a big difference between creating this abomination and invalidation: Kares- excision.
The Talmud continues with mess ups. The most egregious is when the Cohen Gadol on Yom Kippur become “posul ” (ineligible to do work) smack in the middle of the avodah and another Kohen must take over. This daf 16 is a crazy mix of mistakes made the by the, Priest from wrong intentions,no intention (shtika) to as stated before, invalid in the middle of the holiest day of the year.
As the holy magid Shiur R. Shloime Gottesman as points out, this tractate is probably 3/4 about mistakes. Why is so much of the tractate dealing with mistakes. Can’t we assume that people will be careful and do things properly? Can’t we assume that in the House of Gd the Cohen will not be addled or distracted?
The SD would like to weigh in. We are human. The cliche goes-To be human is to make mistakes. Ironically, the more you do something, the more chance you will eventually screw it up. For every million procedures performed by a surgeon, there will be one screw up. It is statistically inevitable. It is life. Life is comprised of mistakes, miscalculations, thoughtlessness, distraction. The key is accept your mistakes, not beat yourself up and move on. Mistakes are the human experience. During elul we can try to rectify our mistakes, but we all know what happens later.
The SD has more to say on mistakes, but will leave the rest for the next time this daf is learned… in 7 and 1/2 years from now.