Yoma 26-32 יומא כ“ו—ל“א

Friday, May 14, 2021
ג‘ סיון תשפ“א
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From the Desk of Rabbi Yaakov Fisch

The focus of our study in the Daf Yomi these days has been the Avoda in the Beis Hamikdash/Temple by the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur. There was great planning and detail that went into planning the most auspicious and holy day on the holiest site in Judaism. It makes it more painful to hear about how members of another faith have become the occupants of the most sacred site in Judaism. It’s remarkable to see the devotion of the people of that faith to the Har Habayis and how they are willing to wage war over their attachment to the Temple Mount. Sometimes I wonder if our devotion and longing to the holy mountain are what it should be. Let us strengthen our Torah study in this particular area and pray that this study goes from the abstract to the reality.


Have a Peaceful Shabbos,


Rabbi Yaakov Fisch 


Yoma 26

הפייס השלישי חדשים לקטרת באו והפיסו והרביעי חדשים עם ישנים מי מעלה אברים מן הכבש למזבח: תנא מעולם לא שנה אדם בה מ"ט א"ר חנינא מפני שמעשרת א"ל רב פפא לאביי מ"ט אילימא משום דכתיב (דברים לג) ישימו קטורה באפך וכתיב בתריה (דברים לג) ברך ה' חילו אי הכי עולה נמי הכתיב (דברים לג) וכליל על מזבחך א"ל הא שכיחא

The Gemara states that the Kohen that would perform the Ketores/incense offering would merit the blessing of wealth. The Gemara challenges this by asking that there is a reference to the sacrifice of Olah! Why then does the blessing of wealth only pertain to the Kohen that performs the Ketores and not the Kohen that performs the Olah!! The verse that indicates that the performance of the Ketoret/incense will merit that Kohen the blessing of wealth is because there is a verse in the Torah that connects the Ketoret/incense with wealth. There is also a verse that connects the Olah with the merit of wealth! So why then does the performance of the Olah not merit this blessing of wealth? The Gemara responds that overall the Olah was brought much more frequently than the Ketores. According to Rashi, if every Kohen that performed the Olah would become wealthy, all the Kohanim would be wealthy. One can ask, why is that a bad thing if all the Kohanim become wealthy? It must be said that the role of the Kohanim and Levites

were to be the spiritual guardians of the Jewish People. This role of being the role models and spiritual guardians goes well beyond serving as stewards in the Beis Hamikdash/Temple. Their role was to be the appropriate role models for the Jewish people in matters of Torah and spirituality. For example, when someone has to go to a City of Refuge/Ir Miklat after he kills someone else unintentionally, he goes to that city called that housed the Leveim. It is not a coincidence that the City of Refuge where this person is forced to spend time is the city where the Leveim live. This is a person that needs to take time out and refocus his priorities. There is no better place for him to spend that time other than the City of Refuge, a city where the Leveiim live. They can be the best role models for him as he seeks to refocus his priorities. It is for that reason I believe that Rashi explains that it would be inconceivable for all the Kohanim to become wealthy as their role is to be the spiritual guardians. 


Yoma 27

האי מיבעי ליה לגופיה אמר רב שימי בר אשי אשכחתיה לאביי דהוה מסבר ליה לבריה (ויקרא א) ושחט שחיטה בזר כשירה וכי מאין באת מכלל שנאמר (במדבר יח) ואתה ובניך אתך תשמרו את כהונתכם שומע אני אפילו שחיטה ת"ל (ויקרא א) ושחט את בן הבקר לפני ה' והקריבו בני אהרן הכהנים את הדם מקבלה ואילך מצות כהונה (ויקרא א) וסמך ידו ושחט לימד על השחיטה שכשירה בזר מכדי מקבלה ואילך מצות כהונה

There are certain components of the Avoda that a Kohen must perform and are prohibited for an Israelite to perform. There are also some components of the Avoda that an Israelite may perform. The Gemara states that Shechita is something that an Israelite may perform. From the Kabbalah (that is the point that the blood from the slaughtered animal goes into a vessel and is being prepared to be brought in the altar) onward, the Avoda must be performed exclusively by a Kohen. What about Birkas Kohanim? Is that something that an Israelite is forbidden to perform? The Gemara in Kesubos states that a Israelite who performs the Birkas Kohanim violates a positive Commandment. There is also a surprising passage that is found in the Tractate of Shabbos 118b. A Rabbi said he never objected to going and delivering a blessing for Birkas Kohanim even though it appeared that he was not a Kohen. וא”ר יוסי מימי לא עברתי על דברי חברי יודע אני בעצמי שאיני כהן אם אומרים לי חבירי עלה לדוכן אני עולה. Some commentators suggest that Rabbi Yosi was simply

referring to the verses even without actually reciting the blessing. The Noda B’Yehuda has a defense for this strange practice of Rabbi Yossi and says that it is apparent from our Gemara that it is necessary to have an explicit source to say that an Israelite is banned from the particular part of the Avoda and we don’t find that explicit source in reference to Birkas Kohanim. In terms of practical halacha, the Rema in Ch. 128:1 appears to be inconclusive if it’s forbidden for an Israelite to be part of a group of Kohanim that are delivering the blessing. These are the words of the Rema: {וְאֵין לְזָר לִשָּׂא כַּפָּיו, אֲפִלּוּ עִם כֹּהֲנִים אֲחֵרִים (בְּפ’ ב’ דִּכְתֻבּוֹת דכ”ד דְּזָר עוֹבֵר בַּעֲשֵׂה, וְתוספ’ פ’ כָּל כִּתְבֵי לֹא יָדַע ר”י מָה אִסוּר יֵשׁ בְּזָר הָעוֹלֶה, וְאֶפְשָׁר דְּעִם כֹּהֲנִים אֲחֵרִים שָׁרֵי וְצָרִיךְ עִיּוּן) The Mishna Berura in 128:6 quotes the Acharonim that an Israelite should not be delivering the Birkas Kohanim even in the presence of other kohanim. These are the words of the Mishna Berura:  ר”ל בזה קאמר הר”י דאינו עובר בעשה רק משום איסור ברכה לבטלה ולדינא הסכימו האחרונים דאין לחלק בזה ובכל גווני עובר בעשה

Yoma 28

אמר רב קיים אברהם אבינו כל התורה כולה שנאמר (בראשית כו) עקב אשר שמע אברהם בקולי וגו‘

Rav states a rather well known statement, and that is that Avraham fulfilled the entire Torah. This is quite astounding as Avraham lived well before the Torah was given. The basic understanding of this Gemara is that since Avraham was on such a higher plane and connected to God through his prophecy, he was intuitive about all the mitzvos that Jewish People would eventually receive at Mt. Sinai. There is some difficulty with this approach as some Mitzvos simply are not relevant in Avraham’s period. For example, the mitzvah of Pesach and Sukkos were implemented to commemorate the Exodus of Egypt. In the time period of Avraham, that had not yet occurred! So how could Avraham have fulfilled Pesach or Sukkos if the children of Yaakov had not yet traveled to Egypt! The Berditichever Rav in the Kedushas Levi writes a profound thought on this issue. He says that every Yom Tov or chag, there is a spiritual manifestation of G-d’s presence in the world in a more compelling way than the rest of the year. That is what the Torah refers to as מוֹעֲדֵי ה’ אֲשֶׁר־תִּקְרְאוּ אֹתָם מִקְרָאֵי

קֹדֶש. This manifestation of His presence is a gift that we can connect to Him more quickly than the rest of the year. It is also a time that is meritorious and that is why great miracles occurred in those days. However, even without any miraculous events, those days are so full of intrinsic holiness that one can easily connect to G-d during that time. Avraham was on such an elevated spiritual level that he was intuitive to be sensitive to those days and able to connect to Hashem on the fifteenth of Tishrei and the fifteenth of Nissan despite the fact that Exodus had not yet occurred. That is how Avraham was able to fulfill Pesach and Sukkos. 


Yoma 29

 הרהורי עבירה קשו מעבירה וסימניך ריחא דבישרא שילהי דקייטא קשיא מקייטא וסימניך תנורא שגירא אישתא דסיתוא קשיא מדקייטא וסימניך תנורא קרירא מיגמר בעתיקתא קשיא מחדתא וסימניך טינא בר טינא

The Gemara states that the fantasies that one may have for forbidden sexual relationships are worse than the actual relationship itself.  According to Rashi, this means that the physical toll the sexual fantasy takes on the body is more taxing than the relationship itself. A person can get so lovesick with a fantasy that it can actually be detrimental to the person. However, the Rambam has a different interpretation. He interprets the Gemara that it is referring to the spiritual effect that it has on a person. According to this approach, having a fantasy is considered more severe since it is stored in a person’s thoughts and is considered more spiritually elevated than man’s lower parts. A question that is asked on this Gemara is how can the sin of thought or fantasy be considered more detrimental than sin? There is a well-known Gemara in Kiddushin that states that if

someone intends to sin, then G-d does not consider that as an action. So why would the intent of the sin or fantasy  be considered worse than the sin itself? The Maharal responds, the  Gemara in Kiddushin refers to the intent to prepare for the sin but not considered a sin in itself. For example, if someone intends to eat non kosher food and doesn’t end up eating the food, there was no prohibition with the intent and that is why G-d does not count that against the individual. However, in the case of having an intent or fantasy in the realm of a forbidden sexual relationship, there is a prohibition with the intent itself. As the Torah says, וְלֹא תָתוּרוּ אַחֲרֵי לְבַבְכֶם וְאַחֲרֵי עֵינֵיכֶם. The Torah teaches us there is a prohibition with the intent itself, which is why the Gemara says it is worse than the sin itself.


Yoma 30

 אמר רב פפא צואה במקומה אסור לקרות ק"ש היכי דמי אי דנראית פשיטא אי דלא נראית לא ניתנה תורה למלאכי השרת לא צריכא דיושב ונראית עומד ואינה נראית ומאי שנא מצואה על בשרו דאיתמר צואה על בשרו או שהיו ידיו בבית הכסא רב הונא אמר מותר לקרות ק"ש ורב חסדא אמר אסור לקרות ק"ש במקומה נפיש זוהמא שלא במקומה לא נפיש זוהמא

Rav Pappa teaches about the importance of reciting the Shema in an area with no foul smell from feces. This is more relevant than one might think, as it happens quite often in the presence of babies and toddlers with dirty diapers that have not been changed yet. It would not be permitted to recite the Shema or daven any other part of davening in such a situation. If someone davened in a place where there was a baby around, it would be advisable to check if the diaper is clean before starting to daven. If one began to daven and did not check the baby before and it turned out that the baby had a dirty diaper, the individual would have to repeat the davening. However, in an area that one didn’t have a strong likelihood to believe that there was a dirty diaper in the area and that was discovered later, it would not be required to repeat the davening. If the soiled diaper was filled

with urine, the individual would not have to repeat the davening in any case. That is the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch in Ch. 76:8. These are the words of the Shulchan Aruch. קָרָא בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁרָאוּי לְהִסְתַּפֵּק בְּצוֹאָה, וּמְצָאָהּ אַחַר כָּךְ, צָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר וְלִקְרוֹת. אֲבָל אִם אֵין הַמָּקוֹם רָאוּי לְהִסְתַּפֵּק בּוֹ, אֵין צָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר וְלִקְרוֹת. וּמֵי רַגְלַיִם, אֲפִלּוּ מְצָאָן בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁרָאוּי לְהִסְתַּפֵּק, אֵין צָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר וְלִקְרוֹת. The Mishna Berura explains that it is incumbent upon a person to check beforehand and if he does not, he bears the responsibility. 


Yoma 31

מאי שנא של בוץ כדאמר רב כהנא כדי שיכיר שעבודת היום בבגדי בוץ הכא נמי שיכיר שעבודת היום בבגדי בוץ

The Mishna states that as the Kohen Gadol was changing clothes from going to the Mikva, a linen sheet separated him from the people. Specifically, a linen sheet was chosen to remind people that the Kohen Gadol used his linen garments on Yom Kippur and not his golden clothes. A practical application learned from this is the universal custom that Ashkenazic males have to wear a white Kittel on Yom Kippur. According to the Darkei Moshe the Kittel should be made out of linen. This is because the Avoda on Yom Kippur was done in linen garments and this is a way to remember that. The reason why the color white was chosen is to remind us that we are similar to angels. This is the words of the Rema in the  Laws of Yom Kippur in Ch. 610 of Orach Chaim.  יֵשׁ שֶׁכָּתְבוּ שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ לִלְבֹּשׁ בְּגָדִים לְבָנִים נְקִיִּים בְּיוֹם כִּפּוּר, דֻּגְמַת מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת; וְכֵן נוֹהֲגִין לִלְבֹּש הַקִּיטְל שֶׁהוּא לָבָן וְנָקִי, גַּם הוּא בֶּגֶד מֵתִים וְעַל יְדֵי זֶה לֵב הָאָדָם נִכְנָע וְנִשְׁבָּר. The Mishna Berura quotes the Darkei

Moshe that the kittel is supposed to be made of linen. These are his words:  – ומטעם זה נהגו ללבוש בגדי פשתן לבן נקיים כמ”ש איש אחד לבוש בדים. A potential problem can be if a person is wearing a Kittel made of linen and a jacket or pants made of wool- would that be a problem of shatnez? The issue of shatnez is when the individual is wearing the wool and linen together. Is the Kittel and suit considered being worn together or separate? The Rema says that if you can remove one garment with the other garment remaining, it is considered two separate articles of clothing and not shatnez. In this case, if the pants or jacket can be removed without affecting the Kittel, it would not be problematic despite the Kittel being linen and the suit being made from wool. Most kittels are made from cotton and not from linen, so this discussion would be an academic one. 


Yoma 32

תניא אמר ר' יהודה מנין לחמש טבילות ועשרה קידושין שטובל כהן גדול ומקדש בו ביום ת"ל ובא אהרן אל אהל מועד ופשט את בגדי הבד ורחץ בשרו במים במקום קדוש ולבש את בגדיו ויצא ועשה הא למדת שכל המשנה מעבודה לעבודה טעון טבילה אמר רבי מנין לחמש טבילות ועשרה קידושין שטובל כהן גדול ומקדש בו ביום שנאמר (ויקרא טז) כתונת בד קודש ילבש ומכנסי בד יהיו על בשרו ובאבנט בד יחגור ובמצנפת בד יצנוף בגדי קדש הם ורחץ במים את בשרו ולבשם הא למדת שכל המשנה מעבודה לעבודה טעון טבילה

The Gemara brings a source that the Kohen Gadol must go immerse himself  5 times in a mikva and wash his hands and feet 10 times on Yom Kippur. The requirement of  immersion is learned out of the word  ורחץ. That being said that is an issue that parenthetically comes up on Pesach that does not seem to be consistent with our understanding of the word  ורחץ. The second step of the Seder is to wash one’s hands with water prior to dipping the vegetable in the saltwater. Unlike the washing of hands before eating bread, one does not make the blessing of על נטילת ידים. One can wonder that if the normal expression in Hebrew for washing one’s hands are נטילה, why is the expression of ורחץ or רחצה  used? Unlike other languages, in Hebrew, two words cannot mean the same thing and be synonyms. The expression of רחצה reflects the idea of immersion. The Torah states numerous times in the context of immersion the words of ורחץ במים. On the other hand, the word נטילה is associated with a more superficial immersion as the washing of the hands. In the case of the Pesach seder, we are washing our hands, wouldn’t the expression of נטילה be a more appropriate description than ורחץ or רחצה? I believe this touches on a core idea of what the Seder is supposed to mean and what we are supposed to get out of the Seder. It is not just supposed to have a superficially impact us but rather be an immersive experience. For example, some children do not only learn a foreign language in school but rather enter an immersion program. Immersion is a method of foreign language instruction in which the regular curriculum is taught in another language. The new language is the vehicle for content instruction rather than the focus of instruction. If a child went to a French immersion program, the child would have a much better opportunity to learn French since that is the classroom’s spoken language. Our practices in Judaism in general and our Pesach seder, in particular, are supposed to be immersive experiences in which our very essence is impacted. It would be a missed opportunity for it to be a cursory experience. I believe this more profound message is reflected in the choice of the title ורחץ and רחצה.


Weekly Quiz

  • 1.Which part of the Avodah had to be performed by  a Kohen? Which was ok to be performed by an Israelite?
  • 2. The Gemara states that a non Kohen that sets up the two main logs on the altar merits the death penalty (from Heaven). Please provide two reasons cited why this component of the Avoda is so important.
  • 3. What is the source to perform a Bris early in the morning?
  • 4. How do we know that Avraham fulfilled the entire Torah?
  • 5. Regarding what example does it say that Torah was not given to angels?
  • 6. What is the dispute between Ben Zoma and Rabbi Yehuda regarding the requirement of using the Mikva before entering the Beis Hamikdash?
  • 7. How many times did the Kohen Gadol immerse himself in a mikva on Yom Kippur?
  • 8. How many times did the Kohen Gadol wash his hands and feet on Yom Kippur?
  • 9. If the Metzora went to the mikva on the seventh day of his purification process, under what circumstances would it be neces sary to go on the eighth day as well?
  • 10. What is the size of a kosher mikva?