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Zevachim, 61

ZEVACHIM 61 - This Daf has been dedicated by Rabbi Dr. Eli Turkel of Ra'anana, Israel, to the memory of his father, Reb Yisrael Shimon ben Shlomo ha'Levi Turkel (Yarhzeit: 10 Av).


OPINIONS: TOSFOS (DH Mai) deals at length with the argument among the Tana'im and Amora'im regarding whether the first Kedushah of Yerushalayim remains or whether it was removed at the time of the destruction of the Beis ha'Mikdash. This argument is the basis for the discussion later in the Gemara (62a) concerning whether or not we are permitted to bring Korbanos today.
(a) The DERISHAS TZIYON (Ha'Gaon Rav Tzvi Hirsh Kalisher, as cited by TZITZ ELI'EZER, 10:5:1) writes that the RAMBAM (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 6:16) rules that Kedushah Rishonah, the original Kedushah of Eretz Yisrael, remains with regard to all Halachos that are associated with Yerushalayim and the Beis ha'Mikdash. The RA'AVAD (ibid.) argues that even according to the opinion that the Kedushah is still extant, it is extant only with regard to the Kedushah of the rest of Eretz Yisrael, but everyone agrees that the Kedushah of Yerushalayim and the Beis ha'Mikdash is no longer present (it will return only at the time of the building of the third Beis ha'Mikdash). The Derishas Tziyon asserts that it should be permitted -- according to both sides of this argument -- to bring the Korban Pesach today at the location of the Mizbe'ach. According to the Rambam, the Kedushah is still present. According to the Ra'avad, it should not be different than bringing the Korban on a Bamah, and the Gemara in Megilah (10a) implies that the opinion that holds that the Kedushah is no longer present permits bringing Korbanos on a Bamah. Why, then, do we not bring the Korban Pesach today?

(b) TOSFOS (Megilah 10a) and others assert that both opinions agree that a Bamah remains prohibited even after Yerushalayim is taken from us and loses its Kedushah. This is because the Torah's allowance for offering Korbanos on Bamos applied only until the Mizbe'ach in Yerushalayim was built. After Korbanos were brought in the Beis ha'Mikdash upon the Mizbe'ach, building Bamos is forever prohibited, even when the Beis ha'Mikdash is no longer standing, and regardless of whether the city still has Kedushah or not. The argument between these opinions is whether or not one may still bring a Korban at the location of the Mizbe'ach in the Beis ha'Mikdash. The opinion that says there is no longer any Kedushah maintains that all Korbanos are forbidden today, even if they are brought in the place of the Mizbe'ach. This contradicts the Derishas Tziyon's argument that the Ra'avad would permit such a Korban. (For a comprehensive discussion of the opinion of the Rishonim regarding this argument, see Insights to Megilah 10a.)

(c) Nevertheless, it would seem that at least according to the Rambam, it should be permitted to bring Korbanos today at the location of the Mizbe'ach. However, there are many reasons why this would still be Halachically unacceptable. One reason is that from the times of the Rishonim, there is a doubt regarding the lineage of every Kohen. (It is said that the Vilna Ga'on, who was a firstborn son, would perform Pidyon ha'Ben and redeem himself, out of doubt, from every Kohen he would meet, to ensure that he was redeemed from a genuine Kohen.) We may not offer a Korban without a genuine Kohen to perform the Avodah. Second, there is an argument in the Gemara regarding offering the Korban Pesach when everyone is Tamei. The Halachah is that the Korban may still be brought. The Gemara asks, though, that there is still an Isur of entering the Beis ha'Mikdash while Tamei. One opinion in the Gemara says that the bringing of the Korban overrides the Isur of Tum'as Mikdash and permits transgressing the Isur, while another opinion says that the issue of Tum'ah is not relevant at all; the Isur does not apply when the entire nation is Tamei. The difference between these two opinions is whether or not there is a need for atonement after the Korban is brought, due to the presence of a person who was Tamei in the Mikdash. If the Isur of Tum'as Mikdash applies, but is permitted to be transgressed for the sake of bringing the Korban, then the Kohen Gadol's wearing of the Tzitz atones for the Tum'as Mikdash. Nowadays, though, we no longer have a Tzitz to wear, and thus it should not be possible to bring a Korban while everyone is Tamei, since it will not be possible to atone for the Tum'as Mikdash afterwards.

(d) The CHASAM SOFER proposes an argument in favor of bringing Korbanos today. He maintains that the correct opinion in the argument regarding the suspension of the Isur of Tum'as Mikdash when everyone is Tamei is that the Tum'ah is not an issue at all; the Isur does not apply at all (and not that it applies, but it is permitted to transgress it for the sake of bringing a Korban), and thus atonement for the Tum'as Mikdash is not necessary. However, the Chasam Sofer admits that there is another serious problem with offering Korbanos today. REBBI AKIVA EIGER wrote to the Chasam Sofer that we have lost the exact identity of the Techeles and Argaman (regarding Techeles, see Insights to Shabbos 75:1). There is an argument between RASHI and the RAMBAM concerning the identity of Argaman, and there are other opinions among the Rishonim. Consequently, we cannot make the Avnet, the belt of the Bigdei Kehunah, and without all of the Bigdei Kehunah the Kohen may not perform the Avodah.

(e) There have been at least two famous Halachic authorities who strongly differed with the above arguments. As noted above, the Chasam Sofer writes that the problem of Tum'ah is not an issue. In addition, in a famous letter to the BINYAN TZIYON (the author of ARUCH LA'NER), RAV TZVI HIRSCH KALISHER addresses the problem of Kohanim lacking indubitable lineage. The Mishnah in Eduyos (8:7) quotes Rebbi Yehoshua who says, "I have a tradition from Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai who heard from his teacher, who heard from his teacher, that there is a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai that Eliyahu ha'Navi is not coming to make Tamei and Tahor, to distance and to make close. Rather, he will distance those who forced themselves close, and make close those who were forcibly distanced." This means that Eliyahu is not going to reveal anything new with regard to lineage. He will only push away people who forced themselves to be accepted as having proper lineage, and he will gather in people who were knowingly and wrongfully distanced. Rav Tzvi Hirsh Kalisher questions the wording of this Mishnah: Why does Rebbi Yehoshua open his Agadic comment with such forceful language to insure that we accept his statement? The Gemara often does not even deal with topics that are relevant only in the time of Mashi'ach. What, then, is so important about Rebbi Yehoshua's statement?

Rav Tzvi Hirsch Kalisher explains that Rebbi Yehoshua's statement has a very practical ramification. Rebbi Yehoshua is telling us that there is a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai that Eliyahu will make no new revelations concerning any Kohen, whom we believe now is a Kohen, as being anything but a Kohen! This shows that the lineage of a Kohen is not suspect.

The Binyan Tziyon (#1) rejects this argument, because it contradicts the words of TOSFOS in Sanhedrin (51b). Tosfos there asks a similar question: Why does the Gemara in Kidushin (72b) state that the Halachah follows the opinion of Rebbi Yosi, who says that in the future (in the times of Mashi'ach) people who have questionable lineage will be "purified?" What difference does it make to us now that we should rule that this is the Halachah? Tosfos answers that there is a practical ramification even nowadays. This Halachah teaches that one does not have to be careful to refrain from marrying people of uncertain lineage. Rebbi Yosi is reassuring us that those people will be found to have good lineage. The Binyan Tziyon states that Tosfos would similarly give this reason as the reason for the strong language of the Mishnah in Eduyos. Thus, the practical ramification of these statements of the Tana'im is *not* that a Kohen's lineage today is undoubted, but that *an ordinary person's* lineage (with regard to Mamzerus) is not doubted (and thus one may marry a person of uncertain lineage). The Binyan Tziyon cites additional sources in the Gemara which apparently disprove the rest of Rav Tzvi Hirsch Kalisher's arguments.

HALACHAH: Although the KAFTOR VA'FERACH was in favor of bringing Korbanos nowadays, almost all Halachic authorities were vehemently against bringing Korbanos nowadays. May the Beis ha'Mikdash be rebuilt speedily in our days. (Y. Montrose)


QUESTION: The Gemara says that the fire that descended from Shamayim during the time of Moshe Rabeinu remained on the Mizbe'ach ha'Chitzon (the Mizbe'ach ha'Nechoshes) until the time of Shlomo ha'Melech. The fire that descended from Shamayim during the time of Shlomo ha'Melech remained on the Mizbe'ach until Menasheh removed it.

This statement is puzzling. RASHI in his commentary on Chumash (Shemos 30:3) cites the Mechilta which contrasts the Mizbe'ach ha'Ketores to the Mizbe'ach ha'Nechoshes. The verse says that the Mizbe'ach ha'Ketores had a solid top, while, says the Mechilta, the Mizbe'ach ha'Nechoshes did not have such a top. The Mizbe'ach ha'Nechoshes was transported merely as a frame, and at each stop in the desert its hollow interior was filled with dirt. The NETZIV in HA'EMEK DAVAR (Shemos 27:2) questions Rashi's words from our Gemara, which states that the fire descended and stayed on the Mizbe'ach. If the dirt inside of the hollow of the Mizbe'ach was removed and the Mizbe'ach dismantled each time the Jewish people embarked on a new journey, then where was the fire?


(a) The b(ibid.) says that our Gemara argues with the Mechilta and maintains that the Mizbe'ach ha'Nechoshes *did* have a top on which the fire rested even during the journeys. He finds support for this assertion in the Midrash Tanchuma. He explains that the way the Mizbe'ach was filled with dirt was through the *bottom* of the Mizbe'ach, which had no floor. Upon their arrival at a new location, the Jewish people would make a mound of dirt and place the Mizbe'ach over it, effectively filling the Mizbe'ach with dirt. When they would leave, they would lift the Mizbe'ach, leaving the dirt in its place.

This also seems to be the opinion of the KERESI U'PELESI (43:5). The Gemara in Chagigah (27a) teaches a Kal v'Chomer through which we learn from the Mizbe'ach ha'Zahav that the fire of Gehinom does not affect the transgressors among the Jewish people. Even though the gold covering the top of the Mizbe'ach ha'Zahav was only the thickness of a Dinar coin, it was not diminished at all throughout the years that it had a fire burning on it. Certainly, then, the transgressors among the Jewish people -- who are full of Mitzvos like a pomegranate -- will not be affected by the fire of Gehinom (see Insights to Chagigah 27a).

TOSFOS in Chagigah there (DH she'Ein) is bothered by a question, as the Keresi u'Pelesi explains his words. Why does the Gemara learn this Kal v'Chomer from the Mizbe'ach ha'Zahav, and not from the Mizbe'ach ha'Nechoshes? The only thing offered on the Mizbe'ach ha'Zahav was the Ketores offering, which was burned there once at the beginning of the day and once at the end of the day. There was much more activity on the Mizbe'ach ha'Nechoshes, which had a fire on it at all times, and it similarly had a coating of gold that did not diminish!

Since the Keresi u'Pelesi says that the Mizbe'ach ha'Nechoshes had a coating of gold on its top, it is clear that he maintains that the Mizbe'ach had a top, like its counterpart, the Mizbe'ach ha'Zahav.

(b) We can understand our Gemara even according to Rashi's assertion that the Mizbe'ach ha'Nechoshes had no top, based on the words of the SHITAH MEKUBETZES (#6). Rashi here (DH Lo Nistalkah) comments that while the Jewish people traveled in the desert, they used to turn a certain type of vessel over the fire on the Mizbe'ach to preserve the fire. This is the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah in Toras Kohanim (Tzav 2:10; see RASH MI'SHANTZ), and not the opinion of Rebbi Shimon who says that the fire was removed from the Mizbe'ach. This is also the way Rashi explains in Bamidbar (4:13), where he says that the cover of the Mizbe'ach was not burned by the fire underneath it while traveling, due to the vessel which was placed over the fire. If there was no actual top to the Mizbe'ach, though (but rather its frame was filled to the top with earth), and the earth inside of it was removed when the people traveled, where could they place the vessel to contain the fire? The Shitah Mekubetzes explains that they placed the vessel "over the edge" of the Mizbe'ach. This means that the fire on the Mizbe'ach remained on top of the frame of the Mizbe'ach, covered by this vessel. (Y. Montrose)

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