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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 8, v. 2" "B'haalos'cho" - Rashi says that there were steps, "maalos," in front of the menorah. In mishnayos Tomid 3:9 it says that there was a STONE in front of the menorah upon which the Kohein stood when he would cleanse the lamps in preparation for the next kindling. Although the actual lighting of the menorah is permitted to be done by a non-Kohein, the cleaning of the lamps in preparation for the next lighting must be done by a Kohein. This gives the cleaning, "hatovas ha'neiros," the status of an "avodoh," an assignment that must be done specifically by a Kohein. If that is so, how may he do it while standing on an elevation? Torah law requires a Kohein to have his feet firmly planted on the floor of the Mikdosh during any "avodoh." Perhaps this is why the Maseches Tomid points out that the steps were a stone block. Possibly this stone was permanently in place in front of the menorah, and as such, has the status of the floor of the Mikdosh, as did all the tiled stones that created the surface of the Mikdosh floor. We find that certain stones were purposely elevated above the surface and still had the status of "karka haMikdosh." They were called "itz'tabo'os" and served the purpose of elevating the Kohein above the regular surface. On erev Pesach so many sacrifices were slaughtered that the floor was flooded with the sacrificial blood. This rising blood could easily soil the bottom of a Kohein's garments, rendering him unfit to perform the service. Therefore "itz'tabo'os" - stone tiles that were higher than the surrounding tiles, were built into the floor of the Mikdosh. They were also halachically considered the Mikdosh floor surface.

Another possibility is that the lighting did not have the status of "avodoh," a priestly service, and could be done by a non-Kohein or a Kohein whose feet aren't directly on the floor. However, the elevation was also used for cleaning the lamps, which surely could only be done by a Kohein. As well, some say that the elevation was needed so that if the Kohein Godol would do the service, he would be elevated above the lamps and thus would not have to lift his hands above the Tzitz, which contained Hashem's Holy Name. This indicates that he was required to wear his priestly garments while lighting.

This revolves around a disagreement between the Raava"d and the Shaagas Aryeh about the Kohein Godol wearing his priestly garments while not actively performing an "avodoh."

Ch. 9, v. 5: "Va'yaasu es haPesach borishone b'arba ossor yom lachodesh" - The Paa'nei'ach Rozo asks on the gemara P'sochim 66a that relates that one year the eve of Pesach came out on a Shabbos. The Kohanim of the family of Bnei B'seiro were not sure if the slaughtering of the Pesach lamb was permitted, since slaughtering is generally prohibited on Shabbos. The gemara says that Hillel, who had recently immigrated from Bovel said that it was permitted as this is derived from "B'mo'ado," - in its set time (Bmidbar 9:3). Asks the Paa'nei'ach Rozo, "Why were they in doubt? We see in our verse that the bnei Yisroel sacrificed the Korban Pesach in their second year in the desert. The M.R. Breishis 3:9 relates that on the first of Nison of that year the inauguration of the Mishkon began. The M.R. goes on to say that the first day of the Mishkon dedication was a first regarding ten matters. Three of them were that it took place on the first day of the first month and was also on the first day of the week, Sunday. Since the first of Nison was a Sunday, it follows that the fourteenth was a Shabbos. Our verse clearly states that the Korban Pesach was sacrificed on that day. The way I understand his answer is that this proof is far from conclusive, since there are other opinions that the first day of the inauguration took place on a different day of the week. The Bnei B'seiro were not sure on which day it factually took place. Only after Hillel's proof from a verse that it is permitted, did they accept the opinion that it began on a Sunday.

In Shmos 12:25 the Torah prefaces the mitzvoh of sacrificing the Korban Pesach for future generations with the words "V'hoyoh ki sovo'u el ho'oretz."

Rashi there comments that the mitzvoh of sacrificing the Korban Pesach only begins once the bnei Yisroel enter Eretz Yisroel. He adds that the Korban Pesach that was sacrificed during the second year of the bnei Yisroel's wandering in the desert was only brought because of a specific command by Hashem (Bmidbar 9:2). This gives us a very clear answer to the question posed by the Paa'nei'ach Rozo. Although it was clear to the people mentioned in the gemara P'sochim that in the second year in the desert the Korban Pesach was slaughtered on a Shabbos, this does not prove that it is permitted in all generations, since the bringing of that Korban Pesach was unique (as was Pesach Mitzrayim) in that it was before the bnei Yisroel entered Eretz Yisroel. Included in this unique command might have also been that the slaughtering of the sacrifice pushes aside the Shabbos. This is clearly not a precedent for future times, thus necessitating a proof from a verse. Tosfos on Kidushin 37b d.h. "Ho'il" also says that Pesach Midbor was an exception, brought in response to a specific command from heaven.

Ch. 9, v. 20: "Al pi Hashem yachanu v'al pi Hashem yiso'u" - The gemara Shabbos 31b says that to transgress the prohibition against "work" on Shabbos one must do an act that is not destructive. However, some acts of destruction are considered as constructive because they are a step in the process of improvement. One such act is disassembling a house with the intention to rebuild it. The gemara stipulates that this is only considered constructive when the reconstruction is done at the same site. The gemara asks from the disassembly of the Mishkon, which is considered "work" on Shabbos, even though the reconstruction would be done at the new place of encampment. The gemara says that since "al pi Hashem yachanu," - there was Divine guidance as to where the new encampment site was, the new place is considered the same place as the previous location.

The Ari z"l writes that there really is no place for a public Mikdosh outside of Eretz Yisroel as "chutz lo'oretz" does not have sufficient sanctity. The only way it was possible to have the Mikdosh in the desert was by virtue of Hashem's "exporting" the sanctity of the location of the future Beis Hamikdosh to the desert. This spot is called "PI HASHEM." Whenever the bnei Yisroel traveled to a new location the terra sancta "PI HASHEM" would travel with them and would be the exact spot where they would relocate the Mishkon.

Thus our verse is interpreted as "al PI HASHEM yachanu v'al PI HASHEM yiso'u," - the bnei Yisroel came to rest with the location called PI HASHEM and traveled with the same location, PI HASHEM. This sheds new light on the above-mentioned gemara, bringing a new understanding into the words "it is considered the same place."

With the words of the Ari z"l we might have a new answer for a question that was raised in parshas Ki Sovo (Dvorim 26:9). The verse says, "Va'y'vi'einu el hamokom ha'zeh va'yi'ten lonu es ho'oretz hazose" - and He has brought us to this place and he has given us this land. Rashi explains "this place" to mean the location of the Beis Hamikdosh. It would then seem that the two occurrences are out of order, as the bnei Yisroel were first given Eretz Yisroel, and only afterwards were at the location of the Beis Hamikdosh.

Horav Chaim Abollefia answers this with the words of the Targum Yonoson ben Uziel in Shmos 19:4, on the words "Vo'esso es'chem al kanfei n'shorim," which some commentators translate as I WILL carry you on eagles' wings. The Targum Yonoson ben Uziel translates it as "I HAVE carried you on eagles' wings." He relates that on the night of the exodus from Egypt the bnei Yisroel were miraculously transported to the site of the future Beis Hamikdosh and ate their Pesach sacrifices there. Afterwards they were transported back to Egypt and left the next morning. According to this, the bnei Yisroel were at the location of the Beis Hamikdosh first, and later were given the land.

There is a bit of difficulty with this interpretation, as the verse says "And He has brought US." Since this verse is referring to the new generation that is about to enter the land, the word US is problematic. It was the previous generation that had died that was brought to the Mikdosh site to eat the Pesach sacrifice.

Rabbi Shmuel Wolkin raises this question and therefore answers instead, with a Medrash Shochar Tov on T'hilim 68, s. 9, that says that at the time of the giving of the Torah on Har Sinai, Har Hamorioh (the site of the future Beis Hamikdosh) was uprooted and brought next to Har Sinai. At the time of the giving of the Torah the souls of all the bnei Yisroel, including future generations were present, as it says in Dvorim 29:14. Therefore it can be said that Hashem brought US to this place.

According to the above-mentioned words of the Ari z"l the location of the future Beis Hamikdosh "came" to the desert, thus the bnei Yisroel, even those who were born in the desert and eventually entered Eretz Yisroel, were at the location of the Beis Hamikdosh before entry into Eretz Yisroel, thus answering the original question and avoiding the problem raised by Rabbi Wolkin.

A most interesting numeric allusion to the words of the Ari z"l is that "al pi Hashem yachanu v'al pi Hashem yiso'u" (i"h) equals "Zeh hu m'kome haMikdosh."

Ch. 9, v. 21: "V'naaloh he'onon v'noso'u" - In 10:5 the verse says "U's'ka'tem tru'oh v'nosu." The sounding of a "tru'oh" with the trumpet advises the bnei Yisroel that they will be travelling. They took apart their tents and bundled their possessions in preparation. Upon seeing the "cloud of glory" move, they began travelling. The trumpets were Moshe's and the "cloud of glory" was in the merit of Aharon. The Masas Ha'melech says that this is alluded to in T'hilim 77:21. The verse reads, "Nochiso katzone a'mecho b'yad Moshe v'Aharon," - You have guided as sheep Your nation (in the desert), through the hand of Moshe and Aharon.

Ch. 11, v. 16: "Shivim ish" - Moshe first assembled seventy-two candidates for the prophecy, six from each of the twelve tribes. Two were eliminated through a lottery. Why indeed did Hashem not allow for seventy-two prophets, thus simplifying the procedure and having six prophets from each tribe? The Moshav Z'keinim answers that we find that Moshe placed the prophets around the "Ohel Mo'eid," (11:24) "Va'yaa'meid osom svivos ho'ohel." They were specifically placed there so that they would receive the overflow of the prophecy given to Moshe at the "O'hel Mo'eid." The "Ohel Mo'eid" was a building that was 30 amos long and 10 amos wide. This gives a total outer length of eighty amos. A person takes up an amoh by an amoh floor space (gemara Sukoh 7b). The front of the "Ohel Mo'eid," which was open, was designated only for Moshe. This leaves us with only seventy amos of wall space left, thus necessitating the limitation of having only seventy prophets. This calculation is most difficult to comprehend. The dimensions given by the Moshav Z'keinim are those of the open area within the Mishkon. However, the wall beams were 1 amoh thick. This creates outer dimensions of 31 by 12 amos. Twice 31 plus 12 equals 74 amos, not 70. This difficulty is further aggravated by the fact that there was an even greater perimeter around the Mishkon by virtue of the thickness of the roof coverings which hung down the outer sides of the walls, adding more length, although perhaps not sufficient space to add a full amoh. Perhaps the "heavenly downpour" of prophecy only came via the conduit of airspace inside the Mishkon, which was only 70 amos of wall distance. Anyone standing where two walls meet at a corner and not being across from airspace would not receive prophecy. A better answer would be greatly appreciated.

Ch. 12, v. 1: "Va't'da'beir Miriam v'Aharon b'Moshe" - We find that people often have a burning desire to relate a piece of juicy gossip, entailing the prohibition of "loshon hora." The gemara Taanis 8a and Arochin 15b raises the point of "Ma hano'oh l'baal loshon," - what enjoyment does one who speaks "loshon hora" derive. The gemara does not actually answer this question but just raises it as a criticism of one who speaks "loshon hora." What indeed impels people to transgress this severe sin? The GR"A on Mishlei 1:23 on the words "Hi'nei abioh lochem ruchi" explains that whenever a person mocks with his words, "leitzonus," or just speaks about worthless matters, "dvorim b'teilim," the talk creates a spirit that goes up to heaven and this creates an urge in the soul of the person to again do the same. This is a most powerful urge that does not readily wane. The same is true on the positive side. The GR"A says that this explains why "a Mitzvoh brings another mitzvoh in its wake, while an a'veiroh brings another a'veiroh in its wake (Ben Azai in Pirkei Ovos 4:2). It certainly stands to reason that what the GR"A says can apply to "loshon hora" as well.

Answer to last week's question:

Ch. 5, v. 15: "V'heivi es korbonoh ...... kemach s'orim" - The flour offering of the Sotoh is unique in that it is the only flour offering brought by a private person that is of the "s'orim" grain. All others are wheat. There is another "s'orim" offering, "minchas ho'omer." However that is paid for by public funding and as well is a public offering, "korban tzibur." ("S'orim" is commonly translated as barley. However Rabbi Dovid Luria, the Bichover Rov, has a compelling proof that "s'orim" is oats, not barley.) The restriction against eating grain of the new crop, "chodosh," is lifted when the Omer offering is brought on the second day of Pesach and the restriction on bringing grain of the new crop as a flour offering to the Beis Hamikdosh is lifted when the two breads, "shtei ha'lechem," are offered on Shovuos (Mishnoh M'nochos 10:6). If one were to bring his wife to the Beis Hamikdosh for the "sotoh" ritual between Pesach and Shovuos would the "sotoh" flour offering of "s'orim" allowed to be "chodosh" since "s'orim" of "chodosh" was already brought in the form of "minchas ho'omer," or does even this "minchoh" fall under the purview of the restriction of "chodosh" until after "shtei ha'lechem" are brought?

The gemara M'nochos 86b says that even this type of flour offering may not be brought from "chodosh." Although you may feel that you are not held responsible to know this gemara, however, it is also an open Rashi in parshas Emor. On the seemingly superfluous word "bikurim" in 23:17 Rashi says that the above gemara derives that even a "minchas Sotoh" must be "yoshon."



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