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Megilah, 10

MEGILAH 6-10 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.


OPINIONS: Rebbi Yitzchak originally stated that it is permitted to offer a Korban on a Bamah today. The Gemara asserts that he holds that Kedushah Rishonah (the original Kedushah with which Yehoshua sanctified the land) was *not* permanent ("Lo Kidshah l'Asid La'vo"). However, Rebbi Yitzchak rescinded his opinion when challenged by our Mishnah, which says that Bamos are prohibited after the fall of Yerushalayim, and by a Mishnah in Zevachim also which says that from the time that the Jews sanctified Yerushalayim, Bamos are prohibited.

According to some Rishonim (see Ritva), the Gemara is saying that the prohibition of Bamos depends on whether Kedushah Rishonah was temporary or permanent. Rebbi Yitzchak originally held that the Kedushah Rishonah was temporary (and thus Bamos are permitted), and then he changed his mind and held that Kedushah Rishonah was permanent (and thus Bamos are prohibited). According to others (see Tosfos), Rebbi Yitzchak never rescinded his opinion that Kedushah Rishonah was temporary. Rather, originally he held that the prohibition of Bamos is dependent upon Kedushah Rishonah, and then he changed his mind and held that the prohibition of Bamos is independent of Kedushah Rishonah.

The Rishonim discuss the parameters and ramifications of whether Kedushah Rishonah was temporary or permanent, and distinguish between the various types of Kedushos:

(a) TOSFOS (DH Mai Ta'ama) asks why did Rebbi Yitzchak change his mind after being quoted the Mishnayos that contradict his opinion? He obviously knew the Mishnayos, and he also must have known that the question whether Kedushah Rishonah was temporary or permanent is a Machlokes Tana'im, as the Gemara proceeds to discuss. Why, then, did he rescind his original opinion after being challenged from the Mishnayos? He should have answered simply that he rules like those Tana'im who say that Kedushah Rishonah was temporary!

Tosfos and others answer that there is a difference between the Kedushah of Yerushalayim regarding offering a Korban on a *Bamah* outside of the Mikdash, and regarding the other Halachos which depend upon the Kedushah of Yerushalayim, such as offering a Korban in Yerushalayim upon the place of the Mizbe'ach, eating Kodshim Kalim and Ma'aser Sheni in Yerushalayim, and whether homes that are purchased are subject to the Halachos of Batei Arei Chomah.

Tosfos asserts that the argument whether Kedushah Rishonah was permanent or not applies only to the latter Halachos. As far as the prohibition of Bamah is concerned, though, all agree that a Bamah remains prohibited even after Yerushalayim is taken from us and loses its Kedushah. This is because the Torah gave no more allowance for Bamos after bringing Korbanos upon the Mizbe'ach in Yerushalayim, regardless of whether the city still has Kedushah or not.

(b) The Rishonim further distinguish between all of the abovementioned Halachos which depend on the Kedushah of the *Mikdash* and of the *walls* of the city, and the other Halachos that depend upon the Kedushah of Eretz Yisrael, such as the Halachos of all the Mitzvos ha'Teluyos *ba'Aretz* -- such as Terumah, Ma'aser, Chalah, Orlah, Leket etc., Shemitah and Yovel, and Bikurim.

The RAMBAM (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 6:16) rules that Kedushah Rishonah remains with regard to all Halachos that are associated with Yerushalayim and the Beis ha'Mikdash. But concerning all matters that are not associated with Kedushas Yerushalayim and Kedushas ha'Bayis, but with Kedushas ha'Aretz, the Kedushah no longer remains. This is also the ruling of TOSFOS in Yevamos (82b). The Rambam explains that the reason for this difference is that the Kedushah of Yerushalayim depends on the Shechinah dwelling there; the Shechinah does not disappear when Yerushalayim is in ruins. The Kedushah of the land, on the other hand, depends on the land being under the jurisdiction of the Jews, and once it has been taken away from us, it loses its Kedushah. Tosfos brings verses to support this distinction and to prove that Kedushas Yerushalayim is permanent.

Some Rishonim, though, give the opposite distinction. TOSFOS in Makos (19a) writes that Kedushas ha'Aretz, upon which the laws of Terumos and Ma'aseros depend, might remain even after the land was lost at the time of Galus Bavel, while the Kedushah of the Beis ha'Mikdash was temporary and is no longer in force. Apparently, this view maintains that the Kedushah of the Beis ha'Mikdash is not dependent upon the presence of the Shechinah, but rather it depends upon the worthiness of the Jewish people. When the Jewish people sin, then the place of the Shechinah loses its Kedushah.

(c) All of this involves Kedushah Rishonah, the sanctification of the land that was done when Yehoshua conquered and entered Eretz Yisrael. However, there was another Kedushah done at a different time -- that of Ezra, upon the return from the Galus in Bavel. Even if the Halachah follows the opinion that Kedushah Rishonah was temporary, the Gemara in Yevamos (82b) raises the possibility that the second Kedushah (Kedushah Sheniyah), with which Ezra sanctified the land when it was resettled after returning from Bavel, is permanent and remains until today.

The RAMBAM (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 6:16 and Hilchos Terumos 1:5) explains the logic behind saying that Kedushah Sheniyah is permanent while Kedushah Rishonah was temporary. The Kedushah of Yehoshua came from conquering the land. Therefore, when the land was reconquered and taken away from the Jewish people, the Kedushah was lost. The Kedushah of Ezra, though, came about because the land was given to us by the nations (and we made an acquisition on it through "Chazakah," says the Rambam). Therefore, even if someone forcefully takes it away from us, it retains its Kedushah, for it still belongs to us as long as we have not willfully given it away.

Our Gemara, discussing the prohibition of offering a Korban on a Bamah, assumes that if Kedushah Rishonah was not permanent then it is obvious that Kedushas ha'Bayis was also annulled. Why does it not take into account the possibility that Ezra's Kedushah was permanent? TOSFOS (DH Lamah) and others explain that even if it is true that Kedushah Sheniyah is more lasting, it is only more lasting insofar as Kedushas ha'Aretz is considered, but it is not more lasting when it comes to Kedushas ha'Bayis. (This may be understood along thw Rambam's line of reasoning; since it was given to them willingly, it retains Kedushas ha'Aretz even after being taken away forcefully, but the Kedushah of the walled city of Yerushalayim is not any stronger just because the land was given willingly.)

The RA'AVAD (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah, ibid.) adds that the reason the Kedushas ha'Bayis of Ezra is not permanent (even though the Kedushas ha'Aretz is) is because Ezra never gave it a permanent Kedushah to begin with when he returned from Bavel. Ezra was only Mekadesh *the land* permanently, with regard to Terumos and Ma'aseros, but he did not give the city a permanent Kedushah, for Ezra knew that Yerushalayim and the Mikdash would be destroyed again and that there would be a much greater -- and permanent -- Kedushah when the third Beis ha'Mikdash would be built. Therefore, he did not give the second Beis ha'Mikdash any permanent Kedushah. (The Ra'avad writes that this explanation was "revealed to me through the secrets revealed to those who fear Hashem.")

(d) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Terumos 1:26) makes a further distinction between the Kedushah of the land with regard to most Mitzvos ha'Teluyos ba'Aretz, and the Kedushah with regard to Terumah. The Rambam writes that regarding Terumah, the verse says, "When you come into the land..." (the Acharonim write that the Rambam seems to be referring to the verse, "Upon your entry (*b'Vo'achem*) to the land" --Bamidbar 15:18, written with regard to Chalah), implying that *all* of the Jewish people must be living in the land in order for there to be an obligation of Terumah, in contrast to the times of Ezra, when only part of the Jewish people were living in Eretz Yisrael. According to this, today the obligation of separating Terumah is only mid'Rabanan, even according to the opinion that Kedushah Sheniyah was permanent regarding other Mitzvos ha'Teluyos ba'Aretz. The Rambam adds that "it appears to me that the same ruling should apply to Ma'aseros" in addition to Terumah. (However, elsewhere (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 6:16) he seems to say that the obligation of Ma'aseros is mid'Oraisa, see RADVAZ Terumos 1:5 and Acharonim.)

HALACHAH: The ruling of the Rambam is cited as the Halachah in both regards - - the difference between Kedushah Rishonah with regard to matters dependent upon the city of Yerushalayim and matters dependent upon the land, and the difference between Terumah and all other Mitzvos ha'Teluyos ba'Aretz.

Therefore, Kedushah Rishonah is permanent for matters of the Mikdash and Yerushalayim (SHULCHAN ARUCH YD 331:135, MAGEN AVRAHAM and MISHNAH BERURAH OC 561:1). Consequently, it is forbidden today (by a Chiyuv Kares) to enter into the place of the area of the Mikdash while one is Tamei. Also, as far as Terumah is concerned, the SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 331:2) rules that the Kedushah of the land for Terumah and Ma'aser is only d'Rabanan, as the Rambam says. The REMA writes that this is the practice today.


AGADAH: The Gemara relates that Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi opened his discourse on the Megilah by discussing the verse, "And it will be that just as Hashem rejoiced over you when he bestowed you with goodness... so Hashem will rejoice over you to harm you" (Devarim 28:63). Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi teaches that Hashem Himself does not rejoice when the wicked are destroyed. However, He causes others to rejoice at the downfall of the wicked.

Why is that? If Hashem does not rejoice when His works are destroyed, why should he want others to be happy about it? The words of the Gemara may be explained as follows.

The prophet says, "'Do I desire the death of the wicked man?' asks Hashem. 'It is the return of the wicked man from his evil ways that I desire, so that he might live!'" (Yechezkel 18:23). Hashem prefers that a person repent and realize his full potential, rather than be destroyed due to his sins. Thus, when the time comes to punish the evildoers, Hashem does not rejoice. However, it is appropriate for those who were threatened by the evildoer, and now find themselves delivered from harm, to rejoice. One is certainly expected to express his thanks to Hashem for saving him.

This is evident in the first two cases which our Gemara cites to prove that Hashem does not rejoice at the downfall of the wicked. Although Yehoshaphat's singers omitted a few words of praise, they nevertheless *did* sing other praises to Hashem for their victory. Only the phrase "for it is good [in His eyes]," which implies that what has happened is good *in the eyes of Hashem*, was omitted. Similarly, at the splitting of the Sea, the Jewish people --who had just been miraculously saved from certain death at the hands of the Egyptians -- *did* break out into song (Shemos 15). Only the angels were reprimanded when they attempted to sing Hashem's praises, for there was no joy *before Hashem* at that time.

Thus, we see that Hashem does not rejoice when the wicked are punished, but He does expect the beneficiaries of the wicked person's destruction to rejoice. However, this assertion of our Gemara is contradicted by a Midrash, which says that we do not recite Hallel on the last six days of Pesach, because the Egyptians were drowned in the Sea on the seventh day of Pesach, and Hashem said, "Although they were My enemies, I wrote in My writings (Mishlei 24:17), 'Do not rejoice at the downfall of your enemy'" (Yalkut Shimoni, Mishlei, 2:960). According to the Midrash, even those who were saved from the hands of the Egyptians should refrain from showing joy (by reciting Hallel) at their downfall! How can this be reconciled with the assertion of our Gemara that Hashem *does* expect others to rejoice when the wicked are destroyed? (MAHARSHA, Berachos 9b and Sanhedrin 39b, and TZELACH, Berachos 10a and 51b)

We may add that there is an even more obvious problem with this Midrash. If it is considered inappropriate for the Jews to praise Hashem for killing the Egyptians, then why did they sing praises to Hashem at the Sea (Shemos 15)? Furthermore, how is it that we recite this same song of praise in our prayers every day?

ANSWER: There is a basic difference between the song of "Az Yashir" and the praise of Hallel. In Hallel, we recite the verse, "Praise Hashem, for it is good [in His eyes], for His mercy is forever" several times. The phrase "for it is good" is precisely the expression that the singers of Yehoshaphat found it necessary to omit, as our Gemara says. It is these words which imply that Hashem is pleased with what has occurred (Rashi, DH Hodu). If so, perhaps the Midrash means that specifically the praise of *Hallel*, with its implication of Divine pleasure, is an inappropriate form of thanksgiving on this occasion. "Az Yashir," though, which contains no such implication, is an entirely appropriate expression of praise on this occasion!

(This approach is apparent in the words of the Midrash. The Midrash says, "... though they were *My* enemies I wrote... 'Do not rejoice at the downfall of your enemy.'" The Midrash stresses that the Egyptians were the enemies of *Hashem*, and that *Hashem* wanted to refrain from joy because of the cited verse in Mishlei.)

QUESTION: However, we find other Midrashim which seem to say that there is joy *even before Hashem Himself* upon the destruction of sinners.

The Midrash says, "There is joy before Hashem when the wicked perish, as it says. 'When the wicked perish there are shouts of joy' (Mishlei 11:10). And it says further, 'May sinners be terminated from the world and wicked people cease to exist; praise Hashem, O my soul!' (Psalms 104:35)" (Bamidbar Rabah 3:4). In addition, in Megilas Ta'anis (ch. 3, 9), it says, "There is joy before Hashem when the kingdom of the evildoers is uprooted from the world.... There is joy before Hashem when the wicked are removed from the world."

How are these Midrashim to be reconciled with our Gemara? (TOSFOS CHADASHIM on Megilas Ta'anis; AGRA L'YESHARIM, by ha'Gaon Rav Chaim Zimmerman, ch. 20)

ANSWER: The Zohar (Noach, 61b) asks a similar question and answers that either joy or sadness may be appropriate, depending on the circumstances. When Hashem punishes the wicked after their "measure is full" (i.e. when they have been given every last opportunity to repent, and rejected them all), He rejoices in their demise. But when He punishes them before their "limit" has been reached, instead of rejoicing, there is sorrow before Him. The Zohar explains that sometimes the wicked bring upon themselves a premature end; when the evildoers pose an immediate threat to the Jewish nation, Hashem finds it necessary to destroy them without delay. When this happens, Hashem is not pleased with the premature destruction of the wicked. Such was indeed the case when the Egyptians were drowned in the Sea, and when Yehoshaphat's armies conquered the forces of Moab. (See also Shelah ha'Kodesh, Parshas Beshalach.)

The general rule is that Hashem *is* happy to eliminate the evildoers. It is only when circumstances dictate that the wicked be removed from the world "ahead of schedule" that there is sorrow, rather than joy, before Him. This only occurs when the Jewish people are faced with immediate danger, and Hashem saves them from imminent death at the expense of the enemy.

Combining the Zohar and our Gemara, we may now summarize as follows: The beneficiary of Hashem's kindness should always rejoice when the forces of evil that had threatened him are destroyed. Hashem Himself also rejoices when the wicked are eliminated. However, when they are eliminated before their due time, He does not rejoice. (See more on this topic in Parasha-Page for the Seventh Day of Pesach, 5756.")

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