In what way do they Bigdei Kehunah serve to save the Jewish people?
Furthermore, if it is true that the Bigdei Kehunah save the Jewish people,
after the Churban of the Beis ha'Mikdash, why is it that the Jewish people
are still around?
(a) RABEINU CHANANEL refers to the Gemara in Zevachim (88b) which he quotes
earlier in the Maseches (Yoma 44a), which says that Bigdei Kehunah atone
for various Aveiros.
(b) RASHI explains that the Bigdei Kehunah enable the Kohen to bring
Korbanos, which attain Kaparah for the sins of the Jewish people.
Rashi's explanation is difficult to understand. Why does Rashi say that the
Bigdei Kehunah save the Jewish people because they enable the Korbanos --
which attain Kaparah -- to be brought? Why does he not simply say that the
Bigdei Kehunah themselves attain Kaparah for the Jewish people (as Rabeinu
Chananel says)? (RASHASH)
Rashi is apparently bothered by the expression of the Gemara, "If not for
the Bigdei Kehunah, there would be no remnant left...." Even if there were
no Bigdei Kehunah, the Korbanos would still atone for the Jewish people!
Therefore Rashi explains that the Gemara must mean that without the Bigdei
Kehunah, there would be no atonement from the Korbanos either, because the
Korbanos could not be brought without the Bigdei Kehunah. (According to
Rabeinu Chananel, perhaps since the Bigdei Kehunah could be worn all day
long the verse singles them out as the element which provides for the
continued existence of the Jewish people. Even at a time when no Korbanos
are being brought (such as at night), the Bigdei Kehunah still provide
Kaparah, for even at night the Bigdei Kehunah are worn.)
However, we have still not answered how the Jewish people remain today when
there is no Bigdei Kehunah (according to Rabeinu Chananel, above (a)) nor
Korbanos (according to Rashi).
The answer to this question may be found in a Gemara in Ta'anis (27b),
which says that nowadays, in lieu of the Beis ha'Mikdash, when a person
reads the section of the Torah dealing with the Korbanos, it is considered
as though he has offered the Korbanos themselves, thus attaining Kaparah.
(According to Rabeinu Chananel it must be added that when one learns about
the Bigdei Kehunah, it is considered as though they were worn.)
(c) RABEINU ELYAKIM suggests another explanation for the words of the
Gemara. He explains that the Torah calls the Bigdei Kehunah, "Bigdei
ha'Serad," because *they remained* even after the Beis ha'Mikdash was
destroyed. Just like the Tzitz, one of the Begadim of the Kohen Gadol, was
taken to Rome at the time of the Churban (see Shabbos 63b), so, too, were
the rest of the Bigdei Kehunah taken to Rome, and they are still there
today, providing Kaparah for the Jewish people (even though they are not
This explains why the Bigdei Kehunah are mentioned and not the Korbanos,
and it also explains what Kaparah the Jewish people have today from the