1) PERFORMING "HAZA'AH" ON SHABBOS IN ORDER TO EAT THE KORBAN PESACH
QUESTION: In the Mishnah (65b), Rebbi Eliezer and Rebbi Akiva argue whether one may carry the Korban Pesach through Reshus ha'Rabim on Shabbos in order to bring it to the Azarah. They also argue whether one may cut off a wart from the Korban Pesach in order to make it valid. Rebbi Akiva prohibits these actions, based on the principle that any action that could have been done for the Korban Pesach prior to Shabbos may not be done on Shabbos. These two acts could have been done prior to Shabbos.
Rebbi Akiva also prohibits performing Haza'ah on Shabbos for a person who is Tamei with Tum'as Mes, when the seventh day of his purification process coincides with Shabbos Erev Pesach, and he needs Haza'ah in order to eat the Korban Pesach that night. Why is Haza'ah prohibited in this case? The Haza'ah could not have been done prior to Shabbos, because Haza'ah may not be done before the seventh day of the purification process. Why does Rebbi Akiva prohibit Haza'ah on Shabbos Erev Pesach?
(a) RASHI (DH Havah Li) says (as the MAHARSHA understands his words) that only an action which is an essential part of the Korban Pesach overrides Shabbos in the same way that the offering of the Korban Pesach itself overrides Shabbos. The fact that an act could have been done before Shabbos shows that it is not an essential part of the Korban Pesach, and therefore it does not override Shabbos. Haza'ah, even though it cannot be done before the seventh day of the purification process, is not a part of the Korban Pesach itself. It is a stage in the purification process of the person who is Tamei, and it just happens to make him fit to eat the Korban Pesach. Therefore, Rebbi Akiva prohibits Haza'ah on Shabbos.
(b) The RASHASH cites the Yerushalmi (Pesachim 6:4) that proposes a similar reasoning. What is the Halachah in a case in which the Korban Pesach develops a removable blemish on Erev Pesach that falls on Shabbos? Obviously, the blemish could not have been removed before Erev Pesach, because it did not yet exist. Is one permitted to remove the blemish on Shabbos Erev Pesach? The Yerushalmi states that one is not permitted to remove the blemish. Just as a blemish that appears before Erev Pesach may not be cut off on Shabbos Erev Pesach, so, too, a blemish that appears on Shabbos Erev Pesach may not be cut off. The removal of the blemish is not an intrinsic part of the Avodah of the Korban Pesach, since the blemish could have appeared, and been removed, before Erev Pesach.
Similarly, the Yerushalmi concludes with regard to Haza'ah that even if it happens that the seventh day of a person's purification process falls on Erev Pesach which is also Shabbos, the Haza'ah may not be done, because it could have just as well occurred on the day before Erev Pesach (in which case it certainly would have been prohibited on Shabbos, since it could have been done the day before). The Haza'ah may not be done on Shabbos Erev Pesach because it is not part of the Avodah of the Korban Pesach, since, under other circumstances, it could be done before Erev Pesach.
(c) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Korban Pesach 6:6) has an entirely different approach to the Mishnah. The Rambam writes that if the seventh day of a person's purification process coincides with Erev Pesach, he may not undergo Haza'ah in order to permit him to eat the Korban even if it is not Shabbos. Since he is Tamei during the day on which the Korban is offered, he is disqualified from eating the meat of the Korban at night, whether or not he underwent Haza'ah.
According to the Rambam, what does the Mishnah mean when it says that if Erev Pesach occurs on Shabbos, Haza'ah may not be done? The Rambam explains that the Mishnah refers to a case in which the thirteenth of Nisan occurs on Shabbos, and the following day is Erev Pesach. The Mishnah teaches that even though he will not be able to eat the Korban the following night if he does not undergo Haza'ah on the thirteenth (since Haza'ah cannot be done on Erev Pesach, as the Rambam maintains), he still is prohibited from doing Haza'ah on the thirteenth, since Haza'ah does not override Shabbos.
Even though the lack of Haza'ah prevents him from offering the Korban, the Rambam explains that the Chachamim did not permit Haza'ah on Shabbos (the thirteenth of Nisan), because it is not the day on which the Korban is actually offered. Accordingly, Haza'ah is exactly like the case of cutting off the removable blemish. In that case, the removal of the blemish is prohibited on Shabbos, since it could have been done before Shabbos. In the case of Haza'ah, Haza'ah is prohibited on Shabbos because it could be done after Shabbos, on Erev Pesach. (Even though, in practice, Haza'ah on Erev Pesach will not enable him to eat the Korban Pesach, when we determine what one may do today (on Shabbos), we do not take into account what will happen tomorrow. One may desecrate Shabbos for the sake of Haza'ah only if the Haza'ah on Shabbos actually benefits him.)
2) CONSECRATING A KORBAN ON SHABBOS
QUESTION: The Gemara explains how the people were able to bring their knives to the Beis ha'Mikdash on Shabbos Erev Pesach in order to slaughter their Korban Pesach. They would place it in the animal's fur or between the animal's horns, and let the animal carry it to the Beis ha'Mikdash. The Gemara asks that this should be forbidden because it involves using a sanctified animal for a non-sanctified purpose. The Gemara answers that the people did not sanctify their animals as Korbanos until after they arrived at the Azarah, immediately before the Shechitah, similar to the practice of Hillel on Shabbos and on weekdays.
The Gemara asks how they could sanctify their Korbanos on Shabbos when sanctifying an item on Shabbos is prohibited. It answers that the prohibition applies only to Korbanos that will not be sacrificed on Shabbos itself.
There seems to be a very simple reason for why the people were permitted to sanctify their animals on Shabbos. The Gemara in Nedarim (29b) teaches that a person may sanctify an item in such a way that it will become Kadosh at a later time, and not now. Accordingly, the people were able to declare before Shabbos, on Erev Shabbos, that their animals should become Kadosh on Shabbos at the moment that they enter the Azarah. Why does the Gemara not give this answer? (SEFAS EMES)
(a) REBBI AKIVA EIGER (Teshuvos #159) discusses whether or not one is permitted to sanctify an object on Shabbos in such a manner. Perhaps the prohibition against sanctifying an object on Shabbos includes causing it to become Kadosh on Shabbos, even though the act of sanctifying is done before Shabbos.
(b) The SEFAS EMES answers that perhaps the very fact that the animal will become Kadosh on Shabbos makes it already forbidden to be used for personal benefit. Since it will soon become Kadosh, it is considered to be Kadosh already with regard to the prohibition against using it for one's personal benefit.
(c) Perhaps the Gemara here follows the opinion that "Ein Bereirah." "Ein Bereirah" means that a future event cannot effect a change of status retroactively. A person cannot make an object become Hekdesh when the status of Hekdesh depends on an undetermined future event. When one says, "This animal will become Kadosh when I enter the Azarah," he attempts to sanctify the animal at an undetermined time, which will become known only at the moment that he actual enters the Azarah. (See the RAN in Nedarim (45b), who maintains that making a change of status dependant on an event that will happen at an indefinite time involves Bereirah.) Therefore, the people were not able to sanctify their animals immediately before the Shechitah unless they did so on Shabbos itself. (M. KORNFELD)