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Zevachim, 62

ZEVACHIM 62-63 - Sponsored by a generous grant from an anonymous donor. Kollel Iyun Hadaf is indebted to him for his encouragement and support and prays that Hashem will repay him in kind.


QUESTION: The Beraisa states that if any of the measurements of the Mizbe'ach (length, width, or height) is not exactly as described in the verse, the Mizbe'ach may still be used and the Korbanos brought upon it are not considered Pasul. However, this seems to contradict the Gemara in Sanhedrin (16b). The Gemara there teaches that the words "like all that I show you... and so shall you do" in the verse that describes the building of the Mishkan (Shemos 25:9) teaches that the instructions described by the Torah for the construction of all of the vessels in the Beis ha'Mikdash should be followed for all generations. Rashi (to Shemos 25:9) elaborates on this and explains that if a vessel becomes lost, or a new vessel is made for the Beis ha'Mikdash (such as the Shulchan, Menorah, Mizbe'ach, etc.), then the new vessel should be made in the form described by the Torah. This implies that there is an obligation to make the vessels of the Beis ha'Mikdash in the same form as those in the Mishkan. How do we reconcile this with the Beraisa here which says that the wrong measurements do not disqualify the Mizbe'ach?


(a) The RE'EM (ibid.) answers that Rashi does not mean that the vessels of both the Mishkan and the Beis ha'Mikdash must be *exactly* the same size. Rather, he explain that Rashi means that the length and width must be of a similar *ratio*. Just as the Mizbe'ach of Moshe was a square of five by five Amos, so, too, the Mizbe'ach of Shlomo was a square, of twenty by twenty Amos.

Even though the ratio of the height of Shlomo's Mizbe'ach did not match the ratio of the height of Moshe's Mizbe'ach, the Re'em asserts that there must have been an oral tradition passed down from Moshe Rabeinu teaching that the verse meant that only the length and width should be of an equal ratio, and not the height.

The Re'em supports his explanation with the words of TOSFOS in Shabbos (98b, DH Dal). The Gemara there states that the width of the Mishkan was ten Amos. Tosfos asks how the Gemara knows this, and he quotes the RI who answers that we can derive the width of the Mishkan from the measurements of the Beis ha'Mikdash. We know that the measurements of the Beis ha'Mikdash were sixty Amos long and twenty Amos wide; its width was one third of its length. We know that the length of the Mishkan was thirty Amos. It follows, proportionately, that the width of the Mishkan was ten Amos, or a third of its length. According to the Re'em, this is in fulfillment of the verse that required the Beis ha'Mikdash to be similar in measurement to the Mishkan.

(b) The GUR ARYEH and the OR HA'CHAYIM answer that the verse (Shemos 25:9) refers only to the form of the vessels and not to the structure of the Beis ha'Mikdash itself. This is apparent from the much larger Beis ha'Mikdash built by Shlomo. The Mizbe'ach built by Shlomo was connected to the ground, thereby making it a structural item -- part of the Beis ha'Mikdash itself -- which did not need to adhere to the measurements of the movable Mizbe'ach of the Mishkan.

(c) Alternatively, the Or ha'Chayim answers that our Gemara teaches that the Torah says that certain things are necessary components of the Mizbe'ach, such as the corners, the ramp, the Yesod, and the fact that it must be square. The Gemara derives this from the fact that the Torah says "ha'Mizbe'ach" with regard to all of these components, indicating that they are essential components of the Mizbe'ach. The fact that the Torah does not say "ha'Mizbe'ach" with regard to the measurements of the Mizbe'ach teaches us that the Torah specifically does *not* make the exact measurements an essential requirement. This is how we know that the Mizbe'ach in the Beis ha'Mikdash does not have to be the same size as its counterpart in the Mishkan, unlike the other vessels which do have to be like their counterparts in the Mishkan. (Y. Montrose)


QUESTION: We find that the title "Benei Keturah" is used in reference to two groups of people. Earlier (62a), Rav Yosef used this title to refer to the people who erroneously dismissed his statement. Our Gemara (62b) relates an additional incident regarding the nephews of Rebbi Tarfon. The nephews were sitting with Rebbi Tarfon in silence (see SHITAH MEKUBETZES #1), and Rebbi Tarfon quoted the verse, "va'Yosef Avraham va'Yikach Ishah u'Shemah Keturah" -- "and Avraham took an additional wife, and her name was Keturah" (Bereishis 25:1). However, instead of quoting the verse as it is written and saying "Keturah," he said, "and her name was Yochani." His nephews corrected him and said, "It says 'Keturah'!" He replied that they themselves are "Benei Keturah." What is the significance of this remark?


(a) RASHI (DH Benei Keturah) explains that Rebbi Tarfon was telling his nephews that they are like sons of Avraham, but not like the offspring of Yitzchak and Yakov.

What, though, does Rashi mean? What exactly did they that made them only like the other descendants of Avraham, and not like the descendants of Yitzchak and Yakov? Furthermore, the MAHARSHA asks, according to Rashi, why did Rebbi Tarfon not call them "Benei Esav?"

(b) The MAHARSHA writes that this Gemara can be understood according to the opinion of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Melachim 10:8). The Rambam states that Benei Keturah are still commanded to have a Bris Milah (unlike the opinion of Rashi, who holds that they are not commanded to have a Bris Milah). According to the Rambam, we can suggest that the reason why Rebbi Tarfon referred to his nephews as "Benei Keturah" was in order to tell them that merely having a Bris Milah does not make them unique, since Benei Keturah, who are not Jewish, also must have a Bris Milah.

(c) Alternatively, the Maharsha explains that this could have been merely a way of rebuking them as is found in other places in the Gemara (see Insights to Bava Kama 65:2, and Zevachim 25:2). Why, though, did he choose to rebuke them with the term "Benei Keturah" and not "Benei Esav?" Since Esav was a Rasha, Rebbi Tarfon did not want to slight his brother by calling his nephews the sons of Esav. On the other hand, we know that Keturah was actually Hagar, who was not a Rasha. This is apparent from the Midrash Tanchuma (ch. 8). The Midrash asks that if her real name was Hagar, then why does the Torah not simply call her Hagar? The Midrash answers that we learn from here that her actions were pleasing like Ketores. Rebbi Tarfon wanted to rebuke them in an honorable way, and, therefore, he used the term "Benei Keturah."

It is interesting to note that the Maharsha does not explain why Rav Yosef -- who was not referring to his own nephews when he used the term "Benei Keturah" -- did not use any other term, such as "Benei Esav." Although we may suggest that such a term would not be appropriate for others either, this does not seem to be the intention of the Maharsha.

The TZON KODASHIM explains that Rav Yosef wanted to convey a specific message by calling them Benei Keturah. Rav Yosef was saying (as Abaye interpreted his view) that the Ma'arachah (where the fire was located) of the Mizbe'ach of Moshe Rabeinu, was one Amah. The students misunderstood him to be referring to the entire Mizbe'ach, which the Torah says was much larger than one Amah. Rav Yosef was alluding to them the lesson taught by Bar Kapara in the Midrash (Bereishis Rabah 61:4). **Bar Kapara taught that whenever Hashem gives a main thing and a side thing, the side thing is greater than the main. One of his examples is that of Yishmael and the Benei Keturah. We know that Yishmael was the main son of Avraham from Hagar. The Benei Keturah were much more numerous than Yishmael. Rav Yosef was alluding to these students their error. When he said his Halachah, he was referring to the main part of the Mizbe'ach, not the other parts. In choosing to only think of the other parts of the Mizbe'ach, they were choosing to look at the addition which is the same role as Benei Keturah played opposite Yishmael.

(d) The PANIM ME'IROS explains that Rav Yosef's comment was directly related to the subject matter under discussion. The Gemara earlier (59b) records a dispute between Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Yosi bar'Rebbi Yehudah with regard to the size of the Ma'arachah (see Rashi there, DH Elef and DH Af). Rav Yosef ruled like Rebbi Yosi who said that the Ma'arachah was one Amah. The students who argued with Rav Yosef held like Rebbi Yehudah who said that the Ma'arachah itself was six square Amos, which is why they could not understand how Rav Yosef could say that it was only one Amah. The Gemara (60a) then explains that, according to Rebbi Yehudah, the entire floor of the Azarah must have the same degree of Kedushah as the Mizbe'ach. Rav Yosef responded to these students that they are "Benei Keturah," using the word "Keturah" in the sense of "burning." He was declaring that if the students cannot understand his statement, then it is because they hold like Rebbi Yehudah who says that Korbanos may be burned in a large area, even on the floor of the Azarah.

The Panim Me'iros explains that when Rebbi Tarfon called his nephews "Benei Keturah," he used the word "Keturah" in the sense of being "tied" ("Kashur"). He wanted to rebuke them for not speaking about Torah matters. To rebuke them, he called them people whose mouths are "tied up" (see Bereishis Rabah 61:4, where the Midrash also translates "Keturah" in such a manner).

(e) The KEREN ORAH bases his explanation on the Midrash ha'Ne'elam. The Midrash states that possessing a logical cognitive process -- which is used to think about and analyze Torah issues -- is a trait which Avraham bequeathed only to Yitzchak. When the students misunderstood Rav Yosef, he criticized them as being "Benei Keturah," meaning that they do not have correct thoughts in learning and are like Benei Keturah who did not receive this trait from Avraham. Similarly, when Rebbi Tarfon saw that his nephews were sitting in silence, not talking about Torah matters nor listening to someone talk about Torah matters, he was concerned that they were not using the ability of logical thought and analysis that was passed down to them as descendants of Yitzchak. Rebbi Tarfon alerted them to this by calling them "Benei Keturah." (Y. Montrose)

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