THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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MENACHOS 109-110 - Two weeks of study material have been dedicated by Mrs.
Estanne Abraham Fawer to honor the fourth Yahrzeit of her father, Reb
Mordechai ben Eliezer Zvi (Weiner), who passed away 18 Teves 5760. May the
merit of supporting and advancing Talmud study during the week of his
Yahrzeit serve as an Iluy for his Neshamah.
1) LEARNING TORAH IN PLACE OF OFFERING KORBANOS
OPINIONS: Reish Lakish discusses the meaning of the verse, "Zos ha'Torah
la'Olah la'Minchah..." -- "This is the Law regarding the Olah, the Minchah,
the Chatas, and the Asham" (Vayikra 7:37). RASHI (DH Mai Dichsiv) explains
that Reish Lakish is bothered with why the verse uses the word "ha'Torah" to
refer to the laws of the Korbanos. The word "Chukah" ("law") would have been
more appropriate. Reish Lakish understands, therefore, that the verse uses
the word "ha'Torah" in order to teach us that when one learns the laws of a
Korban, it is considered as though he actually offered that Korban.
2) THE KORBAN OF THE "MAL'ACH" MICHA'EL
Rava asks that if this is the intent of the verse, then it should say, "Zos
ha'Torah Olah u'Minchah," which, aside from its straightforward meaning,
would also mean, "This is the Law [that is equivalent to bringing] an Olah,
a Minchah, etc." However, the verse inserts the letter "Lamed" at the
beginning of each word, which, Rava explains, means that one who learns
Torah does not *need* an Olah, Minchah, Chatas, or Asham in order to gain
What exactly is the difference between the way Reish Lakish understands the
verse and the way Rava understands it?
(a) RASHI (DH Ein Tzarich) explains Rava's opinion. He says that Rava learns
that the letter "Lamed" at the beginning of each word teaches that learning
Torah is done *instead* of bringing a Korban, and not that it is considered
as though one brought the Korban. The Torah has the ability to atone for
one's sins without being a type of Korban.
It seems that Rashi understands that Reish Lakish is saying that learning
Torah atones for one's sins by being considered as though he brought a
(b) The MAHARSHA explains that Rava is saying that Torah has a stronger
effect than Korbanos. Not only does learning Torah act like a Korban and
attain atonement for those who have sinned, it also helps protect the person
learning Torah from sinning the future, as the Gemara in Sotah (21a) states.
According to the Maharsha, it is unlikely that Reish Lakish would disagree
with Rava's statement. However, it is possible that Reish Lakish holds that
this element of learning Torah cannot be inferred from the verse.
(c) The YAD DAVID explains that Reish Lakish and Rava argue about whether or
not a person who learns Torah when the Beis ha'Mikdash is standing is
considered to have brought a Korban. According to Reish Lakish, learning
Torah accomplishes a similar atonement to that of bringing a Korban only
during a time when there is no Beis ha'Mikdash and one cannot bring a real
Korban. According to Rava, even when the Beis ha'Mikdash is standing,
learning Torah atones exactly as if one had brought a Korban.
A similar approach is given to explain the comments of RASHI on the Chumash.
In the beginning of Parshas Tzav (Vayikra 6:2), Rashi asks why Hashem told
Moshe to "command" ("Tzav") Aharon and his sons about the Korban Olah. Rashi
quotes Rebbi Shimon who says that Hashem told Moshe to "command" Aharon
because of the need to encourage the Kohanim about something which entails a
monetary loss. However, it is not clear exactly what monetary loss to the
Kohanim is involved with bringing a Korban Olah. Although the Kohanim do not
receive any meat from a Korban Olah, the Kohanim still receive the hide of
The GAN RAVEH (Parshas Tzav) quotes the BINYAN ARIEL who says that Hashem
was telling Moshe, "Tzav Es Aharon v'Es Banav *Leimor Zos Toras* ha'Olah" --
"Command Aharon and his sons *to say that this is the Law of the Olah."
These words, "to say that this is the Law of the Olah," mean that the
Kohanim should make sure that they teach the people that whenever they learn
the laws of the Korban, it is as if they have offered an Olah, even though
telling this to the people will surely decrease the number of Korbanos
brought to the Beis ha'Mikdash! This is the monetary loss that the Kohanim
will suffer as a result of "Zos Toras ha'Olah."
The Binyan Ariel, like the Yad David, clearly holds that this merit of
learning Torah applies even in the times of the Beis ha'Mikdash. (See
another explanation in the Yad David in the name of the MAHARIT.)
(d) The ZEVACH TODAH understands Rava in the opposite manner. He explains
that Rava agrees that when the Beis ha'Mikdash is standing, one must bring
the Korbanos in the manner described by the Torah, and one cannot gain the
same atonement through learning Torah. However, this is not because learning
Torah is on a lower level. On the contrary, learning Torah corrects the
imperfections in one's soul more than the bringing of a Korban, and this is
why one who learns Torah does not need to bring Korbanos when there is no
Beis ha'Mikdash. (Y. Montrose)
OPINIONS: The Gemara quotes the verse, "l'Olam Zos Al Yisrael" -- "Forever
this will be upon Yisrael" (Divrei ha'Yamim II 2:3). Rav Gidal says in the
name of Rav that "this" refers to "the Mizbe'ach that is built [in Shamayim]
on which Micha'el, the Sar ha'Gadol offers a Korban." RASHI (DH l'Olam)
explains that the verse is discussing the offering of Korbanos in the Beis
ha'Mikdash, and says that it will be "forever," implying that the Korbanos
will be offered even when there is no Beis ha'Mikdash. From this Rav Gidal
in the name of Rav learns that Korbanos are offered in Shamayim.
What exactly is this Korban that Micha'el offers in Shamayim?
(a) TOSFOS (DH u'Micha'el) mentions that there are different opinions in the
Midrash regarding exactly what Korban is brought. One opinion says that this
Korban refers to the souls of Tzadikim.
When he records this explanation, the ARUCH HA'SHULCHAN (OC 120:1) explains
the significance for the Jewish people of the Korban offered by Micha'el. He
explains that Micha'el was appointed to be the "Kohen Gadol l'Ma'alah" when
Aharon was appointed to be the "Kohen Gadol l'Matah." He says that the verse
regarding the inaugural Korbanos of the Mishkan hints to this when it says,
"Ki ha'Yom Hashem Nir'ah Aleichem" -- "for today Hashem will be seen upon
you" (Vayikra 9:4). Just as the letters of the word "Nir'ah" may be
rearranged to form the name "Aharon," the word "Aleichem" may be rearranged
to form the name "Micha'el." He continues and says that according to this
explanation, when the Neshamos of Tzadikim are offered before Hashem, it
does not mean that they are sacrificed in the same way that we would
sacrifice a Korban. Rather, it means that they are brought *close* to Hashem
(the word "Korban" comes from the root "Karov," which means "close" or
"near"). The souls of the Tzadikim are brought close to Hashem in order to
enjoy the infinite pleasure of basking in the light of Hashem (see Berachos
17a; see also SHULCHAN ARUCH HA'RAV OC 120:1).
(b) Tosfos quotes a second opinion in the Midrash which says that Michael
offers "sheep of fire" on the Mizbe'ach.
The TUR (OC 120) quotes this Midrash further as saying that because of these
Korbanos offered in Shamayim, the Anshei Keneses ha'Gedolah instituted in
the Berachah of "Retzei" the phrase, "v'Ishei Yisrael." There are different
interpretations for these words in the Shemoneh Esreh:
1. The BEIS YOSEF explains that when saying these words, one should have in
mind that "v'Ishei Yisrael" means the "great people (Tzadikim) of Yisrael,"
whose souls are offered as Korbanos in Shamayim (as the first opinion in the
The Tur records all of these explanations except for the second one. The
Taz, due to his difficulties with the last two explanations, says that the
explanation which the Tur quotes that "Ishei Yisrael" means the souls of
Tzadikim is the proper intention that one should have while praying.
However, the BI'UR HA'GRA writes that the proper intention is that "Ishei
Yisrael" is part of the previous statement in which we express our entreaty
to Hashem that the service of the Beis ha'Mikdash be restored speedily in
our days. (Y. Montrose)
2. Alternatively, the Beis Yosef says that one should have in mind that the
words "Ishei" means "offerings," and is similar to the word "Ishei Re'ach
Nicho'ach" -- "a fire-offering of a satisfying aroma" (Vayikra 1:9).
3. According to the second opinion in the Midrash, when one recites the
words "v'Ishei Yisrael" in Shemoneh Esreh, one should have in mind that
Hashem should accept the sheep of fire brought by Micha'el on behalf of the
4. Tosfos quotes another opinion regarding the meaning of "v'Ishei Yisrael"
which says that "v'Ishei Yisrael" refers to the Korbanos which we no longer
bring, and which we yearn to bring again when the Beis ha'Mikdash is
rebuilt. According to this opinion, "v'Ishei Yisrael" is connected to the
previous statement, "And may you return the Avodah to the Beis ha'Mikdash
*and the Korbanos of Yisrael*."
The TAZ (OC 120:1) questions this explanation. If the phrase "v'Ishei
Yisrael" refers to the Korbanos, then the blessing should read, "And may you
return the Avodah and the Korbanos of Yisrael *to the Beis ha'Mikdash*," and
not, "And may you return the Avodah *to the Beis ha'Mikdash* and the
Korbanos of Yisrael."
5. The Tur (OC 120) records another explanation regarding the meaning of
"v'Ishei Yisrael." When there is no Beis ha'Mikdash, our Tefilos take the
place of Korbanos. We therefore pray that our Tefilos, which are now the
"Ishei Yisrael," the fire-offerings of Yisrael, should be accepted.
The Taz (OC 120:1) asks that this seems redundant. If "Ishei Yisrael" refers
to our Tefilos, then why do we ask that the "Tefilos of Yisrael (Ishei
Yisrael) and their Tefilos" be accepted? The Taz suggests that one might
answer that in this blessing, we are *defining* "Ishei Yisrael" as
"Tefilasam." That is, we are saying, "And may you accept Ishei Yisrael,
*which are* their Tefilos." However, the Taz rejects this answer, because
the wording of the blessing should then be, "v'Ishei Yisrael Tefilasam,"
without the word "and" ("u'Sefilasam") between "Ishei Yisrael" and
"Tefilasam." The Taz concludes that according to this explanation, the words
"Ishei Yisrael" refer to Tefilos that are said as the prayers instituted to
correspond to the Korbanos (as described in Berachos 26b), while "Tefilasam"
includes all other Tefilos, even personal prayers or those that are not said
as part of the instituted prayers in the proper time of Tefilah.
On to Chulin