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MENACHOS 11 (21 Tishrei, Hoshana Raba) - dedicated by Gedalyah Jawitz of
honoring the Yahrtzeit of his father, Yehuda ben Simcha Volf Jawitz.
1) THE DIFFICULT "AVODAH" OF "KEMITZAH"
QUESTION: Abaye asked Rava how the Kemitzah is performed. Rava answered that
it is performed in the same way that ordinary people take handfuls in their
hands. Abaye challenged this from a Beraisa that calls the second finger
(next to the Zeres, the smallest finger) the "Kemitzah." The second finger
is called the "Kemitzah" because, as RASHI explains, the Kemitzah is done
starting with that finger. We see from this Beraisa that the Kemitzah is not
performed with all of the fingers. The Gemara answers that when Rava said
that all of the fingers are used for taking the Kemitzah, he meant that they
are all used at some point in the process. While it is true that only the
three middle fingers are used to gather up the flour, the two outer fingers
(the Zeres and the thumb) are used to level off the Kemitzah by wiping away
any excess flour protruding out of sides of the three fingers.
The Gemara goes on to describe exactly how the Kemitzah is performed and how
the excess flour is wiped away, and it concludes that this was the most
difficult Avodah to perform in the Beis ha'Mikdash (see Insights to Zevachim
64:2). Rashi says that the difficulty involved with performing the Kemitzah
is the process of leveling off the sides, because it must be done in such a
way that leaves no flour missing nor any excess flour. The difficulty
involved in this act seems to be that the leveling off must be done with the
fingers of the same hand with which the Kometz is taken. Why, though, can it
not be done by the fingers of the other hand, or by another Kohen? After
all, the leveling procedure seems to be no more than a technical procedure
done to ensure that the Kometz contains exactly the right amount. Why, then,
can it not be done with the fingers of another hand?
ANSWER: The BRISKER RAV cites TOSFOS in Kesuvos (5b, DH Zeh) who states that
the leveling procedure may not be done with the fingers of the left hand,
because every Avodah in the Beis ha'Mikdash must be done with the right
hand. Tosfos implies that the leveling procedure is not merely a technical
act to ensure that the Kometz is the right size, but it is actually part of
the Avodah of Kemitzah itself.
This is also implicit in the Gemara here. Rava is discussing how the
*Avodah* of Kemitzah is done when he says that all of the fingers are used,
and the Gemara concludes that Rava is referring to the process of leveling
off the Kometz. Rava seems to be saying that all of the fingers take part in
this part of the *Avodah* (see Rashi, DH u'Meshani).
This explains why the Kohen cannot use his left hand to level off the
Kometz. Why, though, must he do it himself with the other fingers of his
right hand? Why can it not be done by the right hand of another Kohen?
The CHAZON ISH answers that since the leveling of the Kometz is part of the
Kemitzah, it must be done by the same Kohen who took the Kometz in the first
place. This is because a single Avodah cannot be divided among two Kohanim.
(b) The RAMBAM has an entirely different understanding of the Gemara. The
Rambam (Hilchos Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos 13:3) rules that Kemitzah is performed
with *all* of the fingers, and he makes no mention of wiping off any excess
flour. Moreover, the Rambam does not write that Kemitzah is one of the most
difficult Avodos in the Beis ha'Mikdash.
In PERUSH HA'MISHNAYOS, the Rambam explains his ruling. He writes, "The
proper way to perform the Kemitzah is that which we have learned in the
Gemara, 'A complete handful, in the manner that people take handfuls in
their hands,' and the words of the one who says that it is one of the most
difficult Avodos are refuted."
The Rambam learns that Rava's statement, "in the manner that people take
handfuls in their hands," is to be understood in the straightforward
sense -- the Kemitzah is performed with all of the fingers. Consequently, it
is not a difficult Avodah. Although the Gemara explains that Rava's
statement refers to using all of the fingers only for the leveling off
procedure, the Rambam learns that this is not the final Halachic conclusion.
The Gemara, after describing the Kemitzah process and saying that it is one
of the most difficult Avodos, cites Rav Papa who says that the Kometz is
taken in the manner that people normally take handfuls in their hands.
Unlike Rashi's explanation (DH Heichi Avid), the Rambam interprets this
statement as a ruling of a later authority who disputes the Beraisa cited
earlier, and thus the Halachic conclusion follows Rav Papa's view that
Kemitzah is performed with all of the fingers (see also KESEF MISHNEH).
The KEREN ORAH has difficulty with the Rambam's position. Even if Kemitzah
is performed with all of the fingers, it should still be considered a
difficult Avodah, because the excess flour still needs to be wiped away. It
should be even more difficult when Kemitzah is done with all of the fingers,
because now the two end fingers are not free for this purpose!
However, according to the way we explained the Gemara's answer, this does
not present a difficulty with the Rambam's explanation. The reason why the
Beraisa maintains that the leveling procedure must be done by the Kohen's
own right hand is because all of the fingers must take part in the Kemitzah
process. Since the leveling procedure is considered by the Beraisa to be
part of the Avodah of the Kemitzah, this means that the middle fingers to do
the actual Kemitzah itself, and the end fingers are used to wipe away the
excess flour. This is the Gemara's intention in its answer, "l'Hashvos."
The Rambam maintains that this is not the Gemara's final conclusion. The
Halachah follows Rav Papa who says that the Kemitzah is performed the way
people normally take handfuls in their hands, using all of the fingers to do
the Kemitzah itself. According to Rav Papa, the leveling procedure is not
part of the Kemitzah process at all, and therefore it may indeed be done
with the Kohen's left hand, or by another Kohen. It is merely a practical
requirement to wipe away the excess flour, and it is not part of the Avodah.
Since it does not need to be done by the Kohen himself, it is not one of the
difficult Avodos in the Beis ha'Mikdash. (MINCHAS AVRAHAM) (Mordechai Zvi
2) OFFERING EXCESS "LEVONAH" OR "SHEMEN" WITH A KORBAN MINCHAH
QUESTION: The Mishnah (11a) states that if the amount of Levonah
(frankincense or oliban) that is supposed to accompany the Minchah offering
is lacking, then the Minchah is Pasul. The Gemara infers from the fact that
the Mishnah only says that it is Pasul when the Levonah is "lacking" that
when there is *excess* Levonah, the Minchah is valid. The Beraisa, however,
clearly states that too much Levonah *does* disqualify the Minchah. Rami bar
Chama answers that the Beraisa is discussing a case in which an entire
additional Kometz of Levonah was added. Only when two Komtzin of Levonah are
brought does the Minchah become Pasul. When, however, there is less than a
full Kometz of extra Levonah, the excess Levonah does not disqualify the
The Gemara gives the same qualification for the Pesul of having too much
oil. Excess oil disqualifies the Minchah only when there are two Lugin of
oil brought with the Minchah. The additional of less than a Lug does not
disqualify the Minchah.
The CHAFETZ CHAYIM in ZEVACH TODAH explains the reasoning behind this
Halachah. As long as a second complete Shi'ur of Levonah or oil is not
added, the extra Levonah or oil is considered to be part of the Shi'ur of
Levonah or oil that is necessary. One and a half still conforms with the
required Shi'ur of one Kometz (or one Lug). Only when another entire Kometz
(or Lug) is added is it considered to be Pasul because of the excess Levonah
If the Halachos regarding excess Levonah and excess oil are identical, then
why does the Mishnah (11a) express the two Halachos differently? With regard
to oil, the Mishnah says, "Ribah Shamnah," to teach that excess oil
disqualifies the Minchah. The Mishnah, however, makes no mention that adding
excess Levonah disqualifies the Minchah! (KEREN ORAH)
ANSWER: The KEREN ORAH answers that there is a difference between offering a
Minchah with excess oil and offering a Minchah with excess Levonah. This
difference is in a case in which a drop of Chulin (non-sanctified) oil or
Levonah is added. Oil of Chulin cannot be considered part of the Lug of
sanctified oil, and therefore it will invalidate the entire Shi'ur of oil
with even a minute amount (see Rashi, DH v'Lukmah). However, a drop of
Levonah of Chulin will *not* invalidate the Kometz of sanctified Levonah
unless there is a complete extra Kometz of Levonah added.
What is the logic behind this difference? The answer depends on the
difference between the relationship of the oil to the Minchah offering and
the relationship of the Levonah to the Minchah offering.
The oil is part and parcel of the Minchah offering. The Levonah, however, is
a separate offering that is merely brought together with the Minchah because
the Torah teaches that a Minchah offering is not valid unless a Levonah
offering is brought together with it. Oil, in contrast, is one of the
ingredients of the Minchah offering itself.
This difference is expressed by the RASH in his commentary to Toras Kohanim
(9:3). The Toras Kohanim states there that with regard to oil, the Halachah
is that the larger the Minchah offering is, the more oil must be brought. In
contrast, with regard to the Levonah, the Halachah is that one Kometz of
Levonah is always brought, regardless of the size of the Minchah. The
Rashash explains that the reason for this difference is that oil is an
intrinsic part of the Minchah ("mi'Gufa d'Minchah"), and, therefore, the
amount of oil depends on the amount of flour. Levonah is not an intrinsic
part of the Minchah; the Minchah requires the same Levonah offering (of one
Kometz) regardless of the size of the Minchah.
Understanding the relationship of the oil to the Minchah, and of the Levonah
to the Minchah, in this way explains why adding one drop of oil of Chulin to
the Lug that is brought with the Minchah disqualifies the Minchah, while
adding one drop of Levonah of Chulin does not disqualify the Minchah. Excess
oil which is not Kadosh cannot be considered a spare part of the original
Lug. Therefore, it disqualifies the Minchah because the proportion of its
ingredients is imprecise. Excess Levonah, even of Chulin, does not alter the
ingredients of the Minchah, because the original Kometz of Levonah is not
part of the ingredients of the Minchah. Excess Levonah will only disqualify
the Minchah when, instead of bringing *one* Levonah offering (i.e. a Kometz
of Levonah), one brings *two* Levonah offerings. Less than that amount will
not disqualify the Minchah, because we view it as if *one* Levonah offering
was brought together with some spare Levonah mixed with it. This does not
disqualify the Minchah, since there is still only one Levonah offering being
brought with the Minchah.
This answers the question of the Keren Orah. With regard to oil, the Mishnah
mentions both the Pesul of excess oil and the Pesul of insufficient oil.
This is because an incorrect amount of oil can disqualify the Minchah even
when the amount missing, or extra, is one drop (if the oil is Chulin), since
the oil is part of the ingredients of the Minchah. In contrast, with regard
to Levonah, the Mishnah mentions only the Pesul of insufficient Levonah.
Only when the Levonah is lacking will it disqualify the Minchah, since only
then is the Minchah lacking a valid Levonah offering. When extra Levonah is
brought -- even Levonah of Chulin -- it will not disqualify the Minchah as
long as it still constitutes a single Levonah offering (that is, any amount
under two full Komtzim). Since not every case of excess Levonah invalidates
the Minchah, the Mishnah does not say that adding extra Levonah is a Pesul,
as it says with regard to oil. (MINCHAS AVRAHAM) (Mordechai Zvi Dicker)