THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) "PEYASOS" ON YOM KIPUR
QUESTION: The Mishnah discusses the Payis that was done each day for
selecting the Kohen who would perform the Terumas ha'Deshen. The Mishnah
concludes that this was the first of four Peyasos that were done during the
day to select Kohanim for each part of the Avodah. The next few Mishnayos
proceed to explain in brief the other Peyasos. A similar description of the
Peyasos is found in the Piyut which is recited in the Musaf Tefilah of Yom
From this it would appear as though these Peyasos were performed on Yom
Kipur just as they were performed on any other day. But how can that be? We
know that on Yom Kipur, the only one who was authorized to perform the
Avodah was the Kohen Gadol (Yoma 32b)! What, then, was the point of doing
Peyasos on Yom Kipur?
(a) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR says that none of the Peyasos were done on Yom Kipur,
and the authors of the Piyutim erred in including them in the Yom Kipur
Tefilos. The Mishnah mentions these Peyasos only because the Mishnah began
discussing the Terumas ha'Deshen (20a), which was the first Avodah which the
Kohen Gadol did on the morning of Yom Kipur.
What about the Gemara on Daf 12b which made a reference to "the belt that
the Kohen Hedyot wears on Yom Kipur?" How can a Hedyot to any Avodah with
Bigdei Kehunah on Yom Kipur? Apparently, that Sugya was discussing a Kohen
Hedyot that decides to turn over an ember on the Mizbe'ach with a fork
(Mehapech b'Tzinora), an act which any Kohen may do even on Yom Kipur, since
it is not an obligatory part of the Avodah of the day. (TOSFOS YESHANIM 12b)
(b) TOSFOS (Yoma 20b DH Mishum) and the RAMBAM (Avodas Yom ha'Kipurim 4:1)
and others explain that although all the *day's* Avodos may only be done by
the Kohen Gadol, Avodos of the *night* may be done by any Kohen. Therefore,
there was indeed a Payis to choose who will perform the Terumas ha'Deshen,
an Avodah which is performed before daybreak.
The Rishonim (TOSFOS RID 29a and others) prove this from a Gemara later on
(29b) which states that "when the watchman announced the break of dawn, the
Kohen Gadol would be taken to perform his Tevilah." That is, before dawn the
Kohen Gadol was not required to serve in the Mikdash, even on Yom Kipur.
(c) The RITVA (12b) says in the name of the Ramban ("Rabeinu ha'Gadol") that
mid'Oraisa, only the Avodos which are unique to Yom Kipur have to be
performed by the Kohen Gadol. All of the regular Avodos that were done on
all other days of the year, such as the Avodos of the Korban Tamid, could be
done on Yom Kipur by a Kohen Hedyot, but it is a greater Mitzvah for the
Kohen Gadol to perform them. The Rabanan enacted that the Kohen Gadol *must*
perform all of the Avodos on Yom Kipur, but they permitted a Kohen Hedyot to
perform these tasks in a situation where the Kohen Gadol was weak. In such a
situation, Peyasos would indeed be made on Yom Kipur to select the Kohanim
to do those Avodos, and that is what our Mishnayos are referring to.
(d) The RAMBAN (Milchamos) argues and says that certain Avodos on Yom Kipur
were able to be performed by a Kohen Hedyot l'Chatchilah, and the entire
four Peyasos had to be performed on Yom Kipur to select Kohanim for these
Avodos. He explains this as follows.
The Avodah of Terumas ha'Deshen (which was part of the *first* Payas) could
be performed by a Kohen Hedyot, since it is not an Avodah which must be done
during the daytime of Yom Kipur. Similarly, the Dishun of the inner
Mizbe'ach (which was part of the *second* Payas) could be done by a Kohen
Hedyot because that Avodah could be done during the night. The Dishun of the
Menorah (which was also part of the second Payas) could be done by a Kohen
Hedyot, because it was only a preparatory Avodah (for the kindling of the
Menorah), and it, too, could be performed by night. The Avodah of the
Machtah (with which coals were brought from the outer Mizbe'ach to the inner
Mizbe'ach), which was included in the *third* Payas, could be done by a
Kohen Hedyot, because it was only a secondary part of the burning of the
Ketores. Finally, the *fourth* Payis on Yom Kipur was done to select the
Kohen who would bring the limbs of the previous day's Korban which had been
placed upon the ramp but not yet brought upon the Mizbe'ach to be burned.
Since this Avodah was one which could be done at night, it may be performed
on Yom Kipur by a Kohen Hedyot. This is why the Mishnah in Yoma discusses
all four Payesos, and why the Piyutim mentioned them.
The Ramban adds that a close look at the Piyutim reveals that in its
discussion of the Payesos, it only mentions that the Kohanim chosen for the
*specific Avodos* which the Ramban enumerated above were chosen through
2) AGADAH: SHA'UL'S MISGIVINGS
QUESTION: Rav Mani expounds the verse, "And he fought in the brook" (Shmuel
I 15:5) to mean that Sha'ul fought with himself about the brook. When Hashem
told Sha'ul ha'Melech to go and destroy Amalek, Sha'ul said to himself, "If
for one dead soul (a person found killed on the roadside) the Torah tells us
to bring an Eglah Arufah, then all the more so for all of these souls! And
if the men sinned, did the animals sin? And even if the adults sinned, did
the children sin?"
3) KING DAVID'S "GOOD FORTUNE"
What did Sha'ul mean? What was his logic in contesting the command of
Hashem? Is it possible that Sha'ul, who is called the "chosen one of
Hashem," doubted the justice of Hashem's command?
(a) To better understand Sha'ul's intentions, we must ask another question.
Why was Eglah Arufah the only source that Sha'ul found with which to stress
the value of human life? Why did he not simply quote the verse, "One who
kills another man should be put to death" (Shemos 21:12)?
The answer to this may be based on an analysis of Sha'ul's eventual sin. We
are told that in the end, Sha'ul did not kill the animals of Amalek,
preferring to use them as sacrifices to Hashem. It may be that he felt some
specific *need* to offer sacrifices now, perhaps as an atonement for the
eradication of an entire nation. Although Sha'ul was prepared to keep the
word of Hashem and entertained no rebellious thoughts, his calculation was
intended to show simply that killing Amalek's sheep and children was
something essentially "wrong" and demanding atonement.
(That is, perhaps, in Sha'ul's view, it was only necessary to kill the
livestock and babes in order to insure that the Jews would actually destroy
every living adult in Amalek, for had they not concentrated on a complete
abolition, they would not have kept even this crucial part of the command
properly. Therefore, Sha'ul saw the deaths of the cattle and children as a
symptom of his people's lack of eagerness in the execution of the Divine
will. This view, however, may have been based on a misinterpretation of the
verse in the Torah describing the necessity of destroying Amalek. Sha'ul may
have read the verse as, "Eradicate every male (Zecher) of Amalek,"
mispronouncing the vowels of "Zecher." The verse actually says, "Eradicate
every 'trace' (Zeicher) of Amalek." It was this very mistake that is
attributed to Yoav, the commander-in-chief of the Jewish forces a short
while after Sha'ul's reign (see Bava Basra 21a). According to the
traditional reading, it would be clear that the destruction of the livestock
was just as important as the killing of Amalek's men (see Rashi, Devarim
25:19). Support for this hypothesis can be found in Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer
(ch. 44), which relates the episode mentioned in our Gemara and adds another
detail to Sha'ul's argument: "Even if the men sinned, the *women* did not
sin." This clearly indicates that in Sha'ul's mind, only the *males* of
Amalek ought to have been killed).
If so, it is clear why Sha'ul quoted only the verse about Eglah Arufah,
where a "sacrificial" atonement for killing is involved, and not the verse
which prescribes the death sentence for a killer. He wanted to justify
saving Amalek's livestock by using them for sacrificial offerings of
atonement for the destruction of Amalek! (IYUN YAKOV and RABEINU CHANANEL)
(b) The KEHILOS YITZCHAK (Parshas Shoftim), in the name of Rav Yakov, the
"Magid" of Vilna at the time, offers another approach to this Midrash. In
the end of Parshas Shoftim and beginning of Ki Setze, the Torah discusses
various details involving the Halachos of waging of war. In the middle of
these laws, we find the Parshah of Eglah Arufah! The appearance of Eglah
Arufah here seems totally out of place. (In fact, it seems that an Eglah
Arufah is not even brought during times of war, see Sotah 45b.)
Rav Yakov of Vilna explains that specifically in times of war it is
necessary to remember the laws of Eglah Arufah. After participating in the
waging of a war, even if the war is necessary for the survival and
protection of the Jewish nation, the warriors undoubtedly become somewhat
desensitized and "accustomed" to seeing death and killing. It is therefore
necessary to remind them of the importance of a human life. Otherwise, they
might take the lessons of war into their peacetime lives, which would
certainly be tragic. This is why the Parshah of Eglah Arufah appears here --
to remind the soldiers that even one killing demands the attention of all
the elders of Israel.
This, too, was Sha'ul's intention. Sha'ul was keenly aware of the section of
the Torah that deals with the laws of war (see Shmuel I 8:20). If so, Sha'ul
undoubtedly studied this particular Parshah very well. Sha'ul was not
intending to belittle the command instructing him to eradicate all traces of
Amalek. Rather, he found it necessary to teach his troops, while on the way
to war, the immortal lesson of the importance of a human life, just as the
Torah teaches this lesson in the section dealing with war.
What, then, was Sha'ul's sin?
The Torah only reminds us of Eglah Arufah in the section *following* the one
dealing with the actual waging of the war. Only after the will Hashem has
been fulfilled and the war is over does the time come to remind us to be
aghast of a killing. Sha'ul's mistake was teaching his soldiers (and
himself) this lesson *before* the actual war! There is a time for
everything. If one gives a talk on the value of human life on the way to a
war, it is destined to affect the success of the battle. As we see, Sha'ul
and the nation were so affected that they "had mercy on Agag and on the
finest of the sheep" and did not carry out the full word of Hashem!
(c) RAV SHALOM SHVADRON, zt'l, the famed "Magid" of Yerushalayim, gave an
original approach to this issue (which the present writer heard from him
personally). Rav Shalom quoted the RAMBAM in his preface to Avos (ch. 6 of
the Shemonah Perakim) who points out an apparent disparity between the view
of the philosophers and the view of our Sages, regarding the service of
Hashem. The philosophers believe that one who innately desires to do good is
on a higher spiritual level than one who desires to do bad but constantly
subdues his innate urge. Verses in Mishlei seem to support this view. Why
then, asks the Rambam, do we find that "one should not say I do not desire
to eat milk and meat, or wear Sha'atnez, but rather I desire them, yet I
shall refrain from them against my desires, because my Father in heaven has
decreed upon me such" (Toras Kohanim, cited by Rashi Vayikra 20:26)?
The Rambam answers that both views are correct and they supplement each
other. An act that logically ought to have been outlawed even had the Torah
not been given -- such as murder, theft, property damage or disgracing
others, or any of the acts which cause damage to society at large --
certainly must be considered obnoxious and unsavory even to a person on a
low spiritual level. It is to these acts which the philosophers referred.
However, an act that does not seem to carry any evil ramifications but was
outlawed by the Torah for reasons beyond our grasp, should be avoided only
"because my Father in heaven has decreed upon me such."
Sha'ul could not understand the necessity of killing out the entire nation
of Amalek. Nevertheless, he undoubtedly accepted the word of Hashem, just as
he accepted the other decrees of the Torah that do not seem to have a
backing in our logic, such as not wearing Sha'atnez. As such, he felt that
the best way to perform this Mitzvah would be with the attitude that "I
shall perform this act against my desires, because my Father in heaven has
decreed upon me such." To this end, he brought home clearly to himself the
importance of a human life -- not to doubt the integrity of the word of the
Almighty, but rather to the contrary, in order to fulfill his Mitzvah in the
best possible manner, as the Rambam described.
His mistake was thinking that killing is always, and absolutely, cruel.
Putting to death a confirmed murderer, though, is not a cruel act at all. It
is, if anything, a logical act and even one of mercy (see Targum Yonasan and
Koheles Rabah [7:17] on, "Al Tehi Tzadik Harbeh"), since "One who shows
mercy towards the cruel will eventually show cruelty towards the merciful"
(Koheles Rabah 7:17). Sha'ul should have convinced himself of the necessity
and justness involved in the destruction of Amalek. Then he undoubtedly
would not have "had mercy on Agag and the finest of the sheep" and would not
have strayed from the letter of the law as presented to him by Shmuel the
The Gemara quotes Rav Huna who exclaimed that how fortunate is the person
whom Hashem assists, for we find that Sha'ul sinned once and lost his
kingdom because of it, while David sinned twice but did not lose his kingdom
as a result. Hashem helped David but not Sha'ul.
Why did Hashem help David more? If it was because David was a greater Tzadik
than Sha'ul, then the Gemara should say so, instead of implying that they
were equal in terms of Ma'asim Tovim and David's good fortune was just a
matter of his "good fortune!"
(a) The GEVURAS ARI explains that the assistance granted by Hashem is
certainly not dependent on Mazal. Rather, David ha'Melech was Zocheh to
Hashem's help for a different reason. David ha'Melech was Mekabel Yisurim
b'Ahavah -- he accepted with love all of the afflictions that occurred to
him, and he sang to Hashem to thank Him for all of his experiences. Sha'ul,
on the other hand, did not express gratitude to Hashem when he suffered
afflictions. In the merit of accepting everything b'Ahavah, David became the
recipient of Hashem's expressions of love for him and He pardoned him for
(b) The VILNA GA'ON (Kol Eliyahu #203) writes that the difference between
David and Sha'ul did, in some way, depend on their Mazal. The two kings were
equal in their Ma'asim Tovim. However, Sha'ul was born with a natural
tendency to be humble and with an inborn propensity for doing Ma'asim Tovim.
David, on the other hand, was born with a tendency to be prideful and with
an attraction towards warfare, and he did not have the same inclination to
do Ma'asim Tovim as Sha'ul had. (He was an "Admoni.") Therefore, even though
they were equal in the amount of Ma'asim Tovim which they did, David had to
struggle much harder to reach that level.
Since David overcame his natural tendencies, Hashem rewarded him measure for
measure and Hashem's mercy overcame His will to deal justice to David
ha'Melech for his sins. He dealt with David with "Erech Apayim," and
accepted David's Teshuvah.