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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.



(a) To explain how the Anshei K'neses ha'Gedolah were able to extend the Mizbe'ach, Rav Yosef finally Darshens the Pasuk in Divrei Hayamim, which compares the Mizbe'ach to the Bayis - as a concession to extend the Mizbe'ach up to sixty Amos (which was the length of the Bayis of the second Beis-Hamikdash).

(b) Shlomoh did not extend the Mizbe'ach, to allow the wine to drain through the Mizbe'ach to the pit, as we explained - because he was not aware of this D'rashah. Note, that seeing as we hold the D'rashah 'Shesiyah ka'Achilah', why did David give the Shi'ur of the Mizbe'ach as twenty-eight by twenty eight Amos, and not thirty-two by thirty-two?

(c) They only added four Amos, and not thirty-two (to make up the sixty Amos) - because it was not necessary.

(a) We ask how the Anshei K'neses ha'Gedolah knew the exact location of the Mizbe'ach. We take for granted that they knew the exact location of the Bayis - because they could work it out from the remains of the foundations of the walls, which were still visible.

(b) According to Rebbi Elazar, they solved this dilemma by means of a vision where they were shown Micha'el the Great Angel, sacrificing on the corresponding Mizbe'ach in Heaven.

(c) In the opinion of Rebbi Yitzchak Nafcha, they saw in the location of the Mizbe'ach (the Makom ha'Ma'arachah presumably) - the ashes of Yitzchak Avinu.

(d) Their sense of smell helped them to solve the problem, according to Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni - because all other sections of the Beis-Hamikdash smelled of the fragrance of the Ketores, except for the Makom ha'Mizbe'ach, where smelt like burning limbs.

(a) Rabah bar bar Chanah explains that three Nevi'im came back with them from Bavel - Chagai, Zecharyah and Mal'achi.

(b) One of them described the measurements of the Mizbe'ach, the second one pin-pointed its location, whereas the third one taught - that one may bring Korbanos nowadays (due to the principle 'Kedushah Rishonah Kidshah le'Sha'atah, ve'Kidshah le'Asid La'vo').

(c) According to Rebbi Eliezer ben Ya'akov in a Beraisa, the second Navi taught them the two latter facts - whereas the third one instructed them to write the Seifer-Torah from then on in Ashuris (the script that we use today).

(d) Originally, the Torah was given to us in the Ivri script, which is known as 'K'sav Libuna'ah').

(a) The Beraisa rules that ...
1. ... the Keranos, the Kevesh (the ramp), the Yesod (the base) and the squareness of the Mizbe'ach ha'Olah - are all crucial to the Avodah, whereas ...
2. ... the length, the breadth and the height - are not.
(b) What determines the stringent ruling that pertains to each item in the first list, Rav Huna explains, is - the fact that the word "ha'Mizbe'ach" is written by it.

(c) Rebbi interprets the Pasuk "Tachas Karkov ha'Mizbe'ach" as 'Kiyur' - meaning pictures that were engraved in the top half of the Mizbe'ach?

(d) Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Yehudah interprets "Karkov" as - the Sovev, that encircled the Mizbe'ach.

(a) In that case, we ask, why is 'Kiyur' not crucial according to Rebbi, and the Sovev, according to Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Yehudah? And we answer - that indeed it is (as we shall now see).

(b) The Beraisa describes what they did when, one day, one of the Keranos become chipped - when, following an incident where a Tzedoki spilt the water for Nisuch ha'Mayim at his feet (instead of pouring it on the Mizbe'ach), the people pelted him with their Esrogim.

(c) To repair it - they filled in the gap with a chunk of salt.

(d) The repair was effective only - as far as giving the impression that the Mizbe'ach was whole, but not to render the Avodah Kasher.

(a) After the Tana Kama lists the four items that are crucial to the Kashrus of the Mizbe'ach (as we learned above), Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Yehudah adds - 'Af ha'Sovev' ...

(b) ... and we assume that Rebbi would say - 'af ha'Kiyur'.

(c) The problem with the Beraisa 'Eizehu Karkov, bein Keren le'Keren, Makom Hiluch Raglei ha'Kohanim' is - that, for obvious reasons, the Kohanim did not walk in the space between the Keranos.

(d) So we amend the Beraisa - by adding a 'Vav', 'Eizehu Karkov, bein Keren le'Keren u'Makom Hiluch Raglei ha'Kohanim'.

(a) The "Michbar Ma'aseh Reshes Nechoshes" (a copper girdle resembling a fishing-net, that encircled the Mizbe'ach) - which they placed between the Karkov and the half-way mark of the Mizbe'ach), was - one Amah wide (deep). Its function was to distinguish between the Damim ha'Elyonim and the Damim ha'Tachtonim.

(b) This poses a Kashya on the current Beraisa - in that the Pasuk indicates that the Karkov was placed on the wall of the Mizbe'ach, and not on its roof, as the Beraisa assumes.

(c) Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak reconciles the Beraisa with the Pasuk - by relating to two Karkovim, one on the wall of the Mizbe'ach, and one on the roof (in other words, the Tana is not referring to the same Karkov as the Pasuk).

(d) The Karkov on top of the Mizbe'ach, which was cut out in the form of a ditch two Amos wide, served - to prevent the Kohanim from slipping and falling into the Makom ha'Ma'arachah.

(a) We learned in the Beraisa that the length, the width and the height of the Mizbe'ach are not crucial. Rebbi Mani qualified this statement, by adding - that in any case, no measurement was permitted to be less than that of Moshe's Mizbe'ach.

(b) When Rav Yosef gave the Shi'ur of Moshe's Mizbe'ach as one Amah, the Chachamim reacted by laughing (since the Torah specifically gives the measurements as five by five by ten).

(c) When Abaye explained that what he was really referring to was - the Makom ha'Ma'arachah, which was one square Amah, Rav Yosef commented that Abaye, who was a great man, understood what he meant.

(d) And when Rav Yosef referred to those who laughed as 'B'nei Keturah' - he meant that compared to Abaye, they were like B'nei Keturah, who were, children of Avraham Avinu, but not sons of Yitzchak and Ya'akov.




(a) When Rebbi Tarfon misquoted the Pasuk in Chayei Sarah "Va'yosef Avraham Va'yikach Ishah u'Shemah Yuchni'', his nephews (sons of his sister) commented - that the last word in the Pasuk ought to have been "Keturah".

(b) He did that - because they were sitting idle without saying anything, and he wanted them to say some Divrei Torah.

(a) The 'G'zirin' (otherwise known as the 'Sh'nei Gizrei Eitzim') were - two blocks of wood, that the Kohanim would place on the Mizbe'ach each morning before the Tamid shel Shachar and each evening before the Tamid shel bein ha'Arbayim.

(b) In the time of Moshe, according to Rav Avin bar Huna Amar Rav Chama bar Guri'ah - their measurements were one Amah by one Amah (see Shitah Mekubetzes) and the thickness of a Match (a flat wooden implement used to flatten a heaped Sa'ah of grain).

(c) Rebbi Yirmiyah claims that they were small-size Amos. But Rav Yosef cites the Pasuk "al ha'Eitzim Asher al ha'Eish Asher al ha'Mizbe'ach" - from which we learn that the wood must not stick out from the Mizbe'ach (i.e. the Makom ha'Ma'arachah) at all.

(d) And he queries Rebbi Yirmiyah's statement from there - because it would be sufficient for the blocks to be precisely one ordinary-size Amah in fulfillment of this Pasuk.

(a) The Mishnah describes the ramp that led up to the south side of the Mizbe'ach. It was - thirty-two Amos long and sixteen Amos wide.

(b) Rav Huna derives its location from the Pasuk "al Yerech ha'Mishkan Tzafonah". He learns from ...

1. ... there - that its thighs (legs) were in the north and its face (point of access) in the south.
2. ... the Pasuk "Ravu'a" - like a person who is lying down (since "Ravu'a" is the Arama'ic for crouching or lying), to preclude a person who is sitting, where both the head and the legs would be in the north.
(c) The Torah wrote "Ravu'a (rather than 'Ravutz') - because it also means square (precluding a round Mizbe'ach).
(a) Rebbi Yehudah in a Beraisa learns it from the Pasuk "u'Ma'aloseihu P'nos Kadim", meaning - that the ramp was placed against the Mizbe'ach in such a way, that whenever the Kohanim would ascend the ramp, they would turn right towards the eastern corner.

(b) Based on the principle 'Kol Pinos she'Atah Poneh, Le'olam Lo Tifneh Ela li'Yemin' (One always turns towards the right), Rebbi Yehudah tried to prove from there that the ramp must have been on the south side of the Mizbe'ach - because, had it been on the north, the moment the Kohen arrived at the top of the ramp (i.e. on the Sovev), he would find the north-eastern corner on his left.

(c) We refute Rebbi Yehudah's proof on the grounds - that - as far as the Pasuk is concerned, the ramp could just as well be have been on the north, and the Kohen would turn left, since there is no proof from there for the principle 'Kol Pinos ... '.

(a) We ultimately learn the location of the ramp from the 'Yam shel Shlomoh' (the gigantic Mikveh that Shlomoh made in the Azarah). We prove from the Beraisa quoted by Rami bar Yechezkel "Omed al Sh'neim-Asar Bakar, Sheloshah Ponim Tzafonah, u'Sheloshah Ponim Yamah ... " - that 'Kol Pinos she'Atah Poneh ... ', since the order of the directions entails turning right as one moves from one to the other.

(b) We cannot refute this proof too, by pointing out that the Pasuk is needed for its inherent Chidush (like we refuted Rebbi Yehudah's proof) - because then why did the Navi add 'Ponim' by each direction (if not to teach us the principle 'Kol Pinos ... ').

(a) Rebbi Shimon ben Yossi ben Lekunyah asked Rebbi Yossi whether Rebbi Shimon really spoke of a slight gap between the ramp and the Mizbe'ach. Rebbi Yossi was surprised at the question - because it was obvious to him, due to a Pasuk a Re'ei, as we shall now see.

(b) He extrapolated it from the Pasuk "Ve'asisa Olosechas ha'Basar ve'ha'Dam" - which compares the Basar to the Dam, which needs to be thrown (i.e. sprinkled).

(c) He rejected the suggestion that the Kohen could fulfill the terms of the 'Hekesh' by standing next to the Ma'arachah and tossing the Eivarim on to the Ma'arachah on the grounds - that the Kohen would have to do that anyway, seeing he had to place the limbs on the fire, in which case the Hekesh would not be teaching us anything.

(d) Rav Papa precludes the previous suggestion from the Hekesh (that serves as the source for this Halachah) of Basar to Dam - because he learns that just like the Dam was thrown across an expanse of earth, so too must the Basar (hence the gap).

(a) Rav Yehudah refers to two small ramps that led off the main ramp - one all the way up to the Sovev on the right, the other, down to the Yesod on the left.

(b) They led virtually all the way to the Sovev and the Yesod (respectively) - but not quite, because there had to be a minute gap between them and the Mizbe'ach.

(c) Rav Yehudah learns the gap from the word "Saviv" - implying that the Mizbe'ach could be encircled at least by a thread (with nothing breaking its encirclement).

(d) Rebbi Avahu learns it from - "Ravu'a", implying that it must be completely square. (e) In fact, both words are needed. Had the Torah only written ...

1. ... "Saviv", we would have thought - that the Mizbe'ach may even be round-shaped.
2. ... "Ravu'a" - that it may be oblong (whereas "Saviv" implies that all its sides must be equal.
(a) We have already discussed the Mishnah in Midos, which gives the combined lengths of the ramp and the Mizbe'ach as sixty-two Amos, instead of sixty-four, as one would have expected. Rami bar Chama gives the regular gradient of man-made ramps as - one in three (one Amah in height, for every three in length).

(b) The reason that the ramp of the Mizbe'ach was a little less than that (one Amah per three and a half Amos plus one a third Etzba'os) was - in order to facilitate carrying the heavy limbs of the Korbanos up the smooth, slippery slope of the ramp.

(c) The gradient of the two minor ramps that ran off the main ramp was - one in three, just like any other ramp.

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