Torah Methodology #11 - Yatzah lidon badavar hechadash…

“Kol davar shehayah b’klal v’yatzah lidon badavar hechadash, iy atah yachol l’hachaziro l’klalo ad sheyachazirenu hakasuv l’klalo b’feirush” - Anything included in a general category that is singled out to treat as a new case may not be returned to the general category unless the Torah specifically says so. In other words, once the Torah tells us that something is different, we don’t assume that “standard operating procedure” necessarily applies. Some examples:

The guilt offering brought by a metzora is different from other such sacrifices in that the blood is placed on the thumb and toe of the one who brought it. (This is not normally the case with a guilt offering.) Therefore, we need to be told to slaughter the sacrifice in the normal place of guilt offerings and to sprinkle its blood on the altar, since we can’t make any assumptions. (See Leviticus 14:13-14.)

Another example involves the daughter of a kohein who marries a non-kohein. When she does, she loses the ability to eat terumah. This is unlike other members of a kohein’s family, so we could not simply assume that she regains the ability to eat terumah upon the dissolution of her marriage by death or divorce. We only know that she returns to the general group because the Torah tells us so. (See Leviticus 22:11-13.)