ושחט והקריבו הכהנים מקבלה ואילך מצות כהונה לימד על השחיטה שכשרה בזר והקריבו זו קבלה ומשמעה לשון הולכה למדנו ששתיהן בבני אהרן לשון רש"י (רש"י על ויקרא א׳:ה׳) ואיננו נכון אלא מדרש רבותינו (תורת כהנים פרשה ד ד) והקריבו זו קבלת הדם שאין לשון והקריבו קריבת הדם למזבח שהיא ההולכה אבל הוא לשון קרבן שיעשו מן הדם קרבן והוא לקבלו ולזרקו על המזבח כי הזכיר בבעל הקרבן הבאה וסמיכה ושחיטה ואחרי השחיטה הזכיר בני אהרן מיד אם כן אף הקבלה עצמה מצות כהונה ואינה אלא בכהן כשר ובכלי שרת וכל שכן הולכה וזריקה ועוד שהולכת האברים לכבש פסולה בזר שכך דרשו (זבחים ד) והקריב הכהן את הכל והקטיר המזבחה (ויקרא א׳:י״ג) זו הולכת אברים לכבש אם כן אף הולכת הדם צריכה כהן בכיהונו: AND HE SHALL SLAUGHTER THE BULL BEFORE THE ETERNAL. AND THE PRIESTS, AARON’S SONS, SHALL OFFER THE BLOOD. “All acts from receiving [the blood in a vessel] onwards are the duty of the priests. This teaches that the slaughtering [of the offering] is valid if performed by a zar (non-priest). ‘V’hikrivu’ (and they shall offer …) — this refers to ‘receiving’ [the blood], and the sense thereof is the bringing [of the blood to the altar]. Thus we learn that both of them [receiving the blood and bringing it to the altar], are to be done by Aaron’s sons.” This is Rashi’s language.
But it is not correct.84Ramban understood Rashi as saying that the word v’hikrivu has a primary meaning of “receiving” the blood in a vessel, which is the first process after the “slaughtering” mentioned immediately before in the verse, and a subsidiary meaning [from the root ‘karav’, to bring near] of “bringing” it to the altar. To this Ramban objects that ‘v’hikrivu’ is not derived from the root ‘karav’, implying bringing near, and hence cannot sustain the interpretation of “bringing it near” the altar even as a subsidiary meaning. Rather, it is associated with the word ‘korban’ (offering), and has only one meaning, that of “receiving” the blood, which is the first stage in offering. If so, whence do we know that bringing it near the altar may also be done only by priests [and is invalid if done by a non-priest]? To this Ramban replies that it is a logical deduction [“if receiving the blood may only be done by priests, it follows ‘all the more’ that bringing it to the altar, which is a later stage in its offering, has this requirement”]. A careful reading of Rashi and Ramban clearly indicates this interpretation. Instead, the Midrash of our Rabbis states:85Torath Kohanim, Vayikra 4:4. “V’hikrivu — this is the receiving of the blood.” For the term v’hikrivu does not mean the bringing of the blood near to the altar, namely the holachah (carrying of it). Instead, v’hikrivu is an expression similar to the word korban (offering) and it signifies receiving [of the blood in a vessel] and sprinkling it upon the altar. Thus He mentioned bringing it [to the door of the Tent of Meeting], laying hands on it, and slaughtering it with reference to the owner of the offering, and after the slaughtering He immediately mentioned the sons of Aaron. It accordingly follows that receiving the blood is in itself a duty to be performed by the priests, and may only be done by a qualified priest and with vessels dedicated to the Temple Service; and [it follows] all the more that bringing it to the altar and sprinkling it [can be done only by a qualified priest]. Moreover, even carrying of the limbs to the ramp [leading to the altar] is invalid if done by a non-priest, for so the Rabbis interpreted:86Zebachim 4a. “And the priest shall offer it all, and cause it to ascend in fumes upon the altar87Further, Verse 13. — this refers to carrying of the limbs to the ramp.” If so, carrying the blood to the altar also may be done only by a priest with all the conditions of priesthood.