290. Wrapping It All Up: The prohibition against burning a blemished animal’s parts

…nor make an offering by fire of them… (Leviticus 22:22)

The last of the three mitzvos derived from this verse is not to burn the fats or parts of a blemished animal on the altar. The Talmud asks (Temurah 6b again) how we know that the Torah doesn’t prohibit only burning an animal in its entirety. It responds that the word “meihem” (“of them” or “from them”) indicates that not only may we not burn “them,” we may not burn pieces “of them.” The Talmud there concludes that offering a blemished animal violates five prohibitions: (1) consecrating the animal; (2) slaughtering it; (3) sprinkling its blood; (4) burning its parts; and (5) burning it in its entirety.

The reason for all these mitzvos is what we have said: the sacrifices are meant to strengthen our relationship with God. If we offer inferior animals, we are conditioning ourselves to treat this relationship lightly, when it should be the most significant thing in a person’s life.

As with the other mitzvos in this verse, this prohibition only applies when the Temple service is in effect. It is discussed in the Talmud in tractate Temurah on pages 6b-7a and is codified in the Mishneh Torah in the first chapter of Hilchos Issurei Mizbe’ach. This mitzvah is #94 of the 365 negative mitzvos in the Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvos.