Bechoros 39: Unseen Blemishes

The daf yomi is learning about Bechoros or the law of the first born animal which you give to a kohan.  The exception is when an animal has a blemish, imperfection or abnormality. You an keep it rather than give it to a khan. Page 39 deals with the specifics of imperfections.  The question arises if the gums are not straight or the teeth are not correct.   The discussion centers around whether an imperfection which is not visible will disqualify the animal as a bechor or appropriate for the altar. The Talmud raises an argument: are blemishes which are not visible disqualifying.

Rabbi Schwartz (OZ beloved Rabbi) explained that RAMBAM holds that unseen blemishes do not invalidate.   The joke is that “looks matter” even in the Temple.  This raises a fundamental questions: How is it ok  to offer an imperfect animal? Just because you can’t easily see the imperfection, nevertheless, you know it is not perfect.  Despite its imperfection, it is accepable for the altar.

While the SD was running this morning he thought about this.  Here is what came out of the mental meandering.   Maybe this is far fetched or a long shot but this is how the SD sees the issue. Gd really does not care about sacrifices. He does not care whether the gums or teeth or ok.  The sacrifices are for us. The sacrifices somehow help us. If there is a hidden blemish, it really doesn’t matter to Gd. It is really the intent or heart.  If there is something visible for us to see or others to see, that invalidates because it goes to our perceptions and  view of the mitzvah and sacrifice.

To extend this idea…. all of ritual is for us. Prayer, kiddush, tfillin, is for us. Hashem does not need our prayers, our kiddush. We need these events or activities to elevate us. Hashem needs us to be kind, generous, merciful. Somehow the rituals help us reach the level to do what Hashem really wants.   The SD would hope that our small inner blemishes are ok to Hashem as long as we demonstrate visible signs of goodness to others.  Maybe.. this is how we understand the unseen acceptable blemishes.

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