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Against The Tide?
‘How Do We Roast the Paschal Sacrifice?’
(Pesachim 74a)

 

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The Torah (Shemos 12:9) says: “Al tochlu mimmenu na u’vashel mevushal bamayim, ki im tzeli esh rosho al kera’av ve’al kirbo – You shall not eat it partially roasted or cooked in water; only roasted over fire – its head, its legs, with its innards.”

The korban Pesach may not be boiled or cooked. The entire animal must be roasted over fire. R. Yosi HaGalili maintains that a spit is inserted through the animal, and its legs and innards (which are removed after the shechita) are placed inside the animal so that the entire korban is roasted together.

Rabbi Akiva disagrees, arguing that placing the legs and innards inside the animal is akin to cooking them since they aren’t roasted directly by the fire. Therefore, he maintains that these parts should be hung on the spit separately from the body of the animal.

 

Rambam Follows the Rule

In keeping with the rule that the halacha generally follows Rabbi Akiva when he disagrees with one of his contemporaries, the Rambam (Hilchos Korban Pesach 8:10) rules that the legs and innards of the korban Pesach must be roasted on the spit outside the main body of the korban.

 

Rashi Differs

Rashi interprets Shemos 12:9 in accordance with R. Yosi HaGalili, explaining that the legs and innards are placed inside the korban Pesach during the roasting. R. Eliyahu Mizrachi asks why Rashi doesn’t explain the pasuk in accordance with Rabbi Akiva.

 

Explaining Rashi

In answer, the Baruch Ta’am (to the Tzelach, Pesachim, Machon Jerusalem Print 5755) cites a disagreement between Rebbi and the Sages (in Pesachim 41a). Rebbi derives from the above-mentioned pasuk that not only is it forbidden to boil the meat of the korban Pesach in liquid; it’s also forbidden to roast it in a pot without any liquid (since it cooks in its own juices). This kind of cooking is called tzeli kadera. The Sages disagree and permit tzeli kadera (see Rashi, ibid. s.v. “Tzeli kedar”).

The Baruch Ta’am explains that placing the legs and innards inside the korban Pesach is akin to tzeli kadera since the body of the animal serves as a pot for the legs and innards. Rabbi Akiva forbids this kind of roasting because he agrees with Rebbi that roasting in a pot is considered cooking in liquid and forbidden whereas R. Yosi HaGalili agrees with the Sages who permit tzeli kadera.

Since the halacha follows the majority view of the Sages (that tzeli kadera is permitted), Rashi explains Shemos 12:9 in accordance with the opinion of R. Yosi HaGalili, who agrees with the Sages.

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Rabbi Yaakov Klass is chairman of the Presidium of the Rabbinical Alliance of America; rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn; and Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com and Rabbi@igud.us.