THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
CHULIN 23-24 - have been sponsored through the generous contribution of
Reb Uri Wolfson and family. May he continue to watch his children grow in
Torah and Yir'as Shamayim, following in the footsteps of their illustrious
parents and grandparents, shlit'a.
1) THE VERBAL DESIGNATION OF A KORBAN
OPINIONS: The Gemara proves from a Beraisa that discusses the Yom Kipur
service that the word "Chukah" in a verse does not necessarily preclude
making a Kal v'Chomer to teach that the law of that verse applies to other
things. The Beraisa says that the verse, "Aharon shall offer the goat which
the lot (Goral) designated for Hashem, and he shall make it a Chatas
(v'Asahu Chatas)" (Vayikra 16:9), teaches that only the Goral, and not a
verbal declaration, can determine which goat is to be used as the Chatas for
Hashem and which goat is to be used as the goat for Azazel. Even though the
verse uses the word "Chukah" (16:29) with regard to the Yom Kipur service,
the Beraisa says that we would have made a Kal v'Chomer to teach that a
verbal declaration is able to designate the goats for their respective
roles, if not for the verse of "va'Asahu Chatas." We would have said that
since, with regard to other types of Korbanos, a Goral is ineffective in
establishing the designation of a Korban while a verbal declaration is
effective, then certainly with regard to the goats of Yom Kipur (for which a
Goral is effective) a verbal declaration should be effective. The verse of
"v'Asahu Chatas" teaches us not to make such a Kal v'Chomer, and that only
the Goral can determine which goat is to be used as a Chatas for Hashem and
which is for Azazel.
2) THE AGE AT WHICH A LEVI MAY SERVE
How do we know that for other types of Korbanos a verbal declaration
determines the status of the Korban?
(a) RASHI (DH Kidesh ha'Shem) explains that we find that with regard to the
two bird offerings brought by a Zav or by a Yoledes, verbally declaring one
to be an Olah and one to be a Chatas is effective in establishing their
status. Consequently, if one went ahead and offered the Olah-bird as a
Chatas, and the Chatas-bird as an Olah, the Korban is Pasul and he must
bring new birds as Korbanos. This is because the verse says, "Motza
Sefasecha Tishmor..." -- "That which emerges from your lips you shall
observe and perform, according to what you have vowed to Hashem, your G-d,
an offering, anything that you have promised with your mouth" (Devarim
23:24). This verse teaches that one's statement is binding. Since the Avodah
of an Olas ha'Of differs from the Avodah of a Chatas ha'Of, if one brings
the bird designated for one type of Korban as the other type of Korban, the
Korban is Pasul.
The RASHBA has difficulty with Rashi's explanation. The Gemara in Yoma (41a)
quotes Rav Chisda who says that the status of bird Korbanos is determined at
either one of two moments -- either at the moment that they are purchased,
or at the moment that the Kohen performs their Avodah. The Gemara explains
that Rav Chisda learns this from the verse that says, "v'Lakchah Shtei
Torim" -- "and she shall take two turtledoves" (Vayikra 12:8). The word
"v'Lakchah" teaches that she may declare the status of each bird at the
moment that she "takes" them (that is, when she buys them). Rav Chisda
learns from another verse, "v'Asah ha'Kohen... Es ha'Echad Chatas v'Es
ha'Echad Olah" -- "and the Kohen shall make... one a Chatas and one an Olah"
(Vayikra 14:30-31), that the status of the birds can be determined when they
are offered by the Kohen. The Rashba asks that since the Gemara in Yoma
there mentions only these two moments at which the bird may be designated as
a specific Korban, how can Rashi suggest that a person's verbal declaration
is *always* effective in designating a Korban? The Gemara in Yoma does not
mention that a person can designate the status of the Korban at any time,
nor does it derive anything with regard to the verbal declaration of a
Korban from the verse, "Motza Sefasecha Tishmor"!
(b) The Rashba therefore argues with Rashi and explains that when the Gemara
here discusses verbally designated the status of Korbanos, it refers to
designating the status of the Korban at these two times (either when the
owner buys it, or when the Kohen offers it), as opposed to designating the
status of the Korban through a lottery. The Gemara here is complementing the
Gemara in Yoma and is teaching that a Korban can be designated only at these
two moments, and only through a verbal declaration (and not through a
RAV YOSEF SHALOM ELYASHIV shlit'a (quoted in HE'AROS B'MASECHES CHULIN)
suggests that it is possible that Rashi is not arguing with the Rashba.
Rashi says only that one cannot *change* the status of a Korban because of
the verse of "Motza Sefasecha Tishmor," as the Gemara at the beginning of
Zevachim (2a) teaches when it derives from the verse of "Motza Sefasecha
Tishmor" that one cannot change the Kedushah of a Korban. Rashi agrees that
the Gemara in Yoma is the source for the rule that a verbal declaration is
effective in designating the status of a Korban. (See also ROSH YOSEF.) (Y.
QUESTION: The Gemara teaches that a Levi is qualified to serve in the
Mishkan from the age of thirty (after studying for five years, from the age
of twenty-five) until fifty, as is derived from the verses in the Torah.
3) THE BEARERS OF THE "ARON" IN THE THIRD BEIS HA'MIKDASH
The RAMBAM (Hilchos Klei ha'Mikdash 3:7) writes, "A Levi does not enter the
Azarah to perform Avodah until he has studied for five years... nor does he
begin to perform Avodah until he has reached the age of Bar Mitzvah, for the
Torah stipulates that he must be an 'Ish,' a man."
The Rambam's words are unclear. The Rambam first writes that the Levi must
be thirty years old in order to serve in the Beis ha'Mikdash, but then he
writes that a Levi may serve once he reaches the age of Bar Mitzvah! How are
we to understand the words of the Rambam?
(a) The KESEF MISHNEH suggests that for a regular form of Avodah, it
suffices for the Levi to have reached the age of Bar Mitzvah. However, with
regard to the Avodah of Shirah (music and song) which is a complex area of
Chochmah, the Levi must be thirty years old.
(b) The Kesef Mishneh answers further than in order for the Levi to perform
the Avodah on a regular basis, he must be thirty years old. He may perform
the Avodah occasionally even if he is only thirteen.
(c) The Kesef Mishneh suggests further that the requirement that a Levi be
thirty years old in order to perform the Avodah applied only in the times of
the Mishkan. In the times of the Beis ha'Mikdash, a Levi may begin
performing the Avodah when he reaches the age of thirteen. The reason why
the Rambam quotes the verses regarding the age at which a Levi may perform
the Avodah in the Mishkan is merely to prove that a Levi must study the
Avodah for five years before he begins serving. (Z. Wainstein)
OPINIONS: The Gemara teaches that a Levi becomes disqualified from
performing Avodah when he reaches the age of fifty. The BEHAG includes this
prohibition in his list of Mitzvos, writing that it is an Isur d'Oraisa for
a Levi to perform Avodah after the age of fifty. Is this Mitzvah relevant
4) AN AGE LIMIT FOR KOHANIM
(a) The RAMBAM maintains that this Mitzvah is not relevant nowadays, and he
questions why the Behag includes a Mitzvah that does not apply today.
(b) The RAMBAN, however, defends the Behag and asserts that this Mitzvah
applies to the Leviyim whenever the Aron needs to be moved. Although we find
a number of places in which only the Kohanim were told to carry the Aron
(such as when the Jews crossed the Jordan to come into Eretz Yisrael, when
they encircled Yericho, and when they brought the Aron into the Beis
ha'Mikdash in the times of Shlomo ha'Melech), in all other places the Aron
may be carried by any descendant of Kehas (but not by Gershom or Merari; see
Bamidbar 10:21), the son of Levi from whom Kohanim descend, and from whom
some Leviyim descend, as long as he has not yet reached the age of fifty.
The Rambam argues and maintains that the only reason the Leviyim carried the
Aron in the Midbar was because of the shortage of Kohanim. After that
period, though, only the Kohanim were authorized to carry it, without
limitations of age. (It seems clear from the words of the Rambam that there
are no age limitations on the Leviyim in the Beis ha'Mikdash, as the KESEF
MISHNEH suggests, as mentioned in the previous Insight (2:c).)
QUESTION: The Gemara suggests that perhaps we should derive from a Kal
v'Chomer that there should be an age limit for Kohanim as well.
The PORAS YOSEF asks how the Gemara can entertain such a suggestion. Aharon
was 85 years old when he served in the Mishkan (he died at the age of 123,
after serving for nearly 40 years)! We see from Aharon that there is no age
limit for a Kohen. Similarly, Elazar, Aharon's son who replaced Aharon as
the Kohen Gadol and who served as the Kohen Gadol when the Jews entered
Eretz Yisrael, was at least 60 years old when he began to serve, and thus he
was older than the age limit of 50!
ANSWER: Perhaps the Gemara is suggesting that only regular Kohanim should
have an age limit, but a Kohen Gadol is exempt from the age limit. Elazar
may have stopped serving as a regular Kohen when he reached the age of 50,
until he was appointed to replace his father as Kohen Gadol. (M. Kornfeld)
5) HALACHAH: A MINOR PERFORMING "NESI'AS KAPAYIM"
OPINIONS: The Gemara quotes the Tosefta that states, "When a man's beard
becomes full, he is fit to be appointed as a Shali'ach Tzibur, to conduct
the prayers, and to be perform Nesi'as Kapayim." TOSFOS (DH Nismalei) asks
that the Mishnah in Megilah (24a) states that only a *minor* may not be
appointed as a Shali'ach Tzibur nor perform Nesi'as Kapayim, which implies
that as long as he has reached the age of Halachic adulthood, he may serve
in these capacities, even though he does not yet have a full beard. This is
also the implication of the Gemara in Sukah (42a). How, then, are we to
understand the words of the Gemara here?
6) THE 24 PLACES IN THE TORAH IN WHICH KOHANIM ARE CALLED "LEVI'IM"
(a) TOSFOS (here and in Megilah 24a) explains that the Gemara here and in
Megilah are referring to different age groups, and his words are recorded as
the Halachah (SHULCHAN ARUCH OC 128:34).
1. A minor who has not reached the age of Halachic adulthood may perform
Nesi'as Kapayim only together with adult Kohanim, but never by himself. The
Shulchan Aruch explains that the reason he is permitted to do so at all is
in order for him to learn how to perform Birkas Kohanim and to become
accustomed to the procedure. The BI'UR HALACHAH (DH Aval Im) quotes the OLAS
TAMID who says that the intention of the Shulchan Aruch is that a minor may
perform Nesi'as Kapayim together with adults even on a regular basis.
2. A person who is no longer a minor but who does not yet have a full beard
may perform Nesi'as Kapayim by himself, but not on a regular basis. (The
Halachic requirement of having a full beard applies only to a man who is
under the age of eighteen, or one who is over the age of eighteen and has no
facial hair growth at all. One who is over the age of eighteen and has a
small beard is classified as a person whose beard has filled out; see
Shulchan Aruch ibid., and MISHNAH BERURAH OC 128:126.) The reason why he may
perform Nesi'as Kapayim occasionally is in order for others to know that he
is a Kohen (Tosfos, Megilah 24a).
However, the Bi'ur Halachah (ibid.) quotes the Olas Tamid who clarifies that
the Shulchan Aruch's statement applies only to a place where there are other
Kohanim. In a place where there are other Kohanim, a young, adult Kohen
whose beard has not filled out may occasionally, but nor regularly, perform
Nesi'as Kapayim. In a place where there are no other Kohanim available to
perform Nesi'as Kapayim, the young Kohen may do so even on a regular basis
(see Bi'ur Halachah, DH u'Mihu).
3. Once the Kohen's beard is full, he may perform Nesi'as Kapayim on a
regular basis even by himself. Tosfos in Sukah (42a, DH ha'Yode'a Lifros)
adds that on days of communal prayer, such as Yom Kipur, a Kohen who does
not have a full beard should not perform Nesi'as Kapayim. This also seems to
be the intention of Tosfos in our Sugya. However, the Shulchan Aruch does
not record this Halachah. The Bi'ur Halachah (DH v'Lo) wonders why the
Poskim do not record this Halachah.
RAV YOSEF SHALOM ELYASHIV shlit'a (quoted in HE'AROS B'MASECHES CHULIN) asks
that the statements of the Olas Tamid (quoted by the Bi'ur Halachah) seem to
contradict each other. In his first statement, he says that a minor may
*always* perform Nesi'as Kapayim when accompanied by an adult Kohen. In his
second statement, he says that an adult Kohen whose beard is not full may
perform Nesi'as Kapayim only *occasionally* when accompanied by other
Kohanim. This implies that a minor is better than a young adult whose beard
is not full, which obviously is not logical! Moreover, the Olas Tamid says
that when the young adult whose beard is not full is the only Kohen present,
he may perform Nesi'as Kapayim by himself even on a regular basis. This
implies that the young adult indeed is better than a minor, since a minor
may never perform Nesi'as Kapayim by himself! How are we to understand these
statements of the Olas Tamid?
Rav Elyashiv suggests that the Olas Tamid's statement regarding a person
whose beard is not full is a statement addressing the congregation's
obligation, and not the Kohen's obligation. The congregation that has only a
Kohen whose beard is not full should try to persuade a fully mature Kohen to
pray with their Minyan. This is because there is a lack of Kavod Tzibur when
the congregation has only a young Kohen, whose beard is not full, to perform
Nesi'as Kapayim. However, the young Kohen whose beard is not full is
*always* supposed to perform Nesi'as Kapayim, as the Torah commands every
adult Kohen to perform Nesi'as Kapayim regardless of whether his beard is
full or not. (This logical distinction between the congregation's obligation
and the Kohen's obligation can also be found in the TIFERES YAKOV to Tosfos
According to this explanation, it seems that when Tosfos in Sukah says that
on days of communal prayer a Kohen whose beard is not full should not
perform Nesi'as Kapayim, he does not mean that *in practice* he should not
recite Birkas Kohanim. Rather, it means that the congregation should try to
find a Kohen whose beard is full to recite Birkas Kohanim, especially on
important days of Tefilah.
The YESHU'OS YAKOV maintains that the custom of Ashkenazim is that a minor
does not perform Nesi'as Kapayim at all. This is based on the opinion of
Rashi in Sukah (42a) who seems to disagree with Tosfos' ruling that permits
a minor to recite Birkas Kohanim together with adult Kohanim. Nevertheless,
in many places of worship in Eretz Yisrael (such as in the Beis Midrash of
HAGA'ON RAV YISRAEL ZEV GUSTMAN zt'l), it is the custom for minors to recite
Birkas Kohanim together with adult Kohanim. (Y. Montrose, Z. Wainstein)
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi who says that in 24
places the Torah refers to Kohanim as "Leviyim." (RASHI here suggests that
they were called "Leviyim" because they perform the service in the Beis
ha'Mikdash, and the word "Levi" also means "those who help serve"
("Shamashim"), as in Bamidbar 18:2.) The Gemara cites one example of such a
verse (Yechezkel 44:15).
Where are the other 23 places in which the Torah refers to Kohanim as
"Leviyim?" The Acharonim who discuss this question have great difficulty
locating all 24 places.
The BEN YEHOYADA (Bechoros 4b) says that he searched and found only *eleven*
places where the word "Leviyim" refers to Kohanim and not to Leviyim. RAV
DAVID COHEN shlit'a (in OHEL DAVID, end of volume 1), on the other hand,
counted the places where the word "Leviyim" refers either to Kohanim by
themselves or to Kohanim and Leviyim, and he found *76* places where the
Torah refers to Kohanim as "Leviyim"!
Moreover, Rav David Cohen asks, how can there be a set number of places (if
we count the places where the word "Leviyim" means both Kohanim and
Leviyim)? The Gemara in Yevamos (86b) cites a Machlokes regarding whether
the verses in the Torah that discuss giving Ma'aser to a Levi include
Kohanim as well. Accordingly, the number of verses in which "Leviyim" refers
to Kohanim is subject to this Machlokes and cannot be the same according to
all Tana'im! Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi, though, seems to assume that everyone
agrees that there are 24 places!
Rav David Cohen also points out that Rashi in Yehoshua (3:3) presents a
different count in the name of the Midrash (Bereishis Rabah). According to
the Midrash there are 48 places (in the Midrash, however, it is not quoted
in the name of Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi)!
How are we to reconcile the count?
(a) The MEGADIM CHADASHIM (Berachos 51) says that the Gemara is not giving
an exact number, but rather it is expressing that there are *many* places in
which the Torah refers to Kohanim as "Leviyim." The number 24 is an
According to this approach, the Midrash in Bereishis Rabah, which asserts
that there are 48 places, is simply choosing a different number for the
(b) RAV DAVID COHEN suggests that the Gemara is indeed counting the places
where "Leviyim" refers either to Kohanim or to both. The reason it counts
only 24 instead of many more is because it is not counting "Pesukim"
(verses), but "*Mekomos*" -- *places*, meaning *topics*. There are 24 basic
sections in the Torah which refer to Kohanim as "Leviyim," while in each
section there might be many instances of the word "Leviyim" referring to
Kohanim. Rav Cohen attempts to define what is considered a "place" or topic
section, but does not reach a definitive conclusion.
(c) The Ben Yehoyada reached the number eleven by counting only the places
where the words "ha'Kohanim ha'Leviyim" are used to refer to the Kohanim.
Actually, he missed three instances where that phrase refers only to Kohanim
(besides the places that he intentionally omitted, where the verse means
Kohanim *and* Leviyim). Moreover, he added one place that should not have
been in the count, because it actually means Kohanim *and* Leviyim (as the
RADAK explains there in Divrei ha'Yamim I 9:2). This brings the total count
Rashi in Devarim (18:6) explains, in the name of the Sifri, that in two
verses there the word "Levi" refers to Kohanim and not to Leviyim. Also, in
Yechezkel (48:11) and in Divrei ha'Yamim II (5:4), the RADAK in
the end of Ohel David, volume 1. See more in Insights to Yevamos 86:2.) proves that the
word "Leviyim" refers only to the Kohanim. The METZUDAS TZIYON explains that
the word "ha'Leviyim" in Yechezkel (44:10) is referring to Kohanim -- as is
clear from the context -- and the same is true about the verse in Yirmeyahu
(33:22; as is evident from verses 18 and 21 there). This brings us to
The RAMBAM (Mitzvos Aseh #34; see RAMBAN in Shoresh #3) writes that it is a
Mitzvas Aseh for Kohanim to carry the Aron, even though the verse
specifically says that the Leviyim (Benei Kehas) shall carry it. The Rambam
says that the command to the Leviyim to carry it applies only in the Midbar
when there were only three Kohanim (who could not carry the Aron by
themselves). For all ensuing generations, though, the Kohanim are enjoined
to carry the Aron.
However, in five places in Nevi'im and Kesuvim the verse tells us that
Leviyim carried the Aron, as the RAMBAN asks (Shoresh #3). The Acharonim
answer that according to the Rambam, the word "Leviyim" in those five places
refers to Kohanim and not to Leviyim! Accordingly, there are exactly 24
places in Tanach in which the word "Leviyim" actually means Kohanim!
(According to the Ramban, we will have to accept the first answer, above,
that the number is an exaggeration.)
Regarding the Midrash in Bereishis Rabah that mentions 48 places, it might
be including the places where the word "Levi" refers to both Kohanim and
Leviyim (and it is following the opinion of Rebbi Akiva in Yevamos 86b, who
says that Kohanim are not entitled to eat Ma'aser Rishon along with
Leviyim). There remain approximately 24 places where the word "Levi" refers
to both Kohanim and to Leviyim.
In sum, according to this approach, the 24 verses mentioned by the Gemara in
which Kohanim are referred to as "Leviyim" are as follows:
(1) Devarim 17:9 (2) 17:18 (3) 18:1 (4) 18:6 (5) 18:7 (6) 24:8
(7) 27:9 (8) Yehoshua 3:3 (9) 8:33 (10) Shmuel I 6:15 (11) Yirmeyahu
33:18 (12) 33:21 (13) 33:22 (14) Yechezkel 43:19 (15) 44:10 (16)
44:15 (17) 48:11 (18) Divrei ha'Yamim I 15:12 (19) 15:15 (20) 15:26
(21) 15:27 (22) Divrei ha'Yamim II 5:4 (23) 23:18 (24) 30:27
- The eleven places which the Ben Yehoyada counts are numbers 1, 2, 3, 6, 8,
9, 11, 16, 23, 24. He also includes Divrei ha'Yamim I 9:2.
- The five places which discuss Leviyim carrying the Aron are numbers 10,
18, 19, 20, 21.
- Regarding number 9, it is the Yerushalmi (cited by Tosfos in Sotah 37a, DH
Iy) who asserts that the words "ha'Kohanim ha'Leviyim Nos'ei Aron Bris
Hashem" in that verse refer to the Kohanim only, and not to the Leviyim.
This is consistent with the opinion of the Rambam, who says that only
Kohanim were allowed to carry the Aron. The Bavli (ibid.), however, might be
in disagreement regarding this point. In any case, the Rishonim point out
that the Bavli (Sotah 33b) presents a strong challenge to the opinion of the
Rambam that only Kohanim are permitted to carry the Aron. (M. Kornfeld.)
(The preparation of this Insight was made possible primarily due to Rav
David Cohen's exhaustive lists of the appearances of the word "Levi" which
might be referring to Kohanim, and his insightful suggestions recorded the end of Ohel David, volume 1. See more in Insights to Yevamos 86:2.)