THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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MENACHOS 96-99 - Two weeks of study material have been dedicated by Mrs.
Estanne Abraham Fawer to honor the fourth Yahrzeit of her father, Reb
Mordechai ben Eliezer Zvi (Weiner), who passed away 18 Teves 5760. May the
merit of supporting and advancing Talmud study during the week of his
Yahrzeit serve as an Iluy for his Neshamah.
1) MEASURING THE "KERANOS" OF THE MIZBE'ACH
OPINIONS: The Gemara (97b) says that the Amah measurement used in the
Mishkan was comprised of 6 Tefachim, except for certain measurements of the
Mizbe'ach, for which an Amah of 5 Tefachim was used, as described in the
verse in Yechezkel (43:13), "And these are the measurements of the altar by
Amos: the Amah is an Amah and a Tefach; the foundation ('Cheik,' or the
Yesod) shall be an Amah, and the
breadth ('Rochav,' or the Sovev) an Amah, and its border by its edge all
around (the Keranos) shall be a Zeres (the span of a hand)."
2) THE EXACTNESS OF THE VERSE
The Gemara says that the "Cheik ha'Amah," the first measurement of the
Mizbe'ach for which an Amah of 5 Tefachim was used, refers to the Yesod. The
Gemara first assumes that this refers to the width of the part of the Yesod
that protrudes beyond the wall of the middle section of the Mizbe'ach.
According to the Gemara's conclusion, this refers to the height of the
The "Amah Rochav," the second measurement of the Mizbe'ach for which an Amah
of 5 Tefachim was used, refers to the Sovev, the middle section of the
Mizbe'ach. The Gemara first assumes that this refers to the height of the
Mizbe'ach from the Yesod until the Sovev, but it concludes that this refers
to the width of the Sovev that protrudes past the upper platform.
The "Gevulah Al Sefasah Saviv" ("its border by its edge all around") refers
to the Keranos that were also measured with an Amah of 5 Tefachim. What part
of the Keranos was measured with an Amah of 5 Tefachim? The Gemara says "it
does not matter this way, and it does not matter that way" ("Lo Shena Hachi
v'Lo Shena Hachi"). What does the Gemara mean?
(a) RASHI (DH Lo Shena) explains that the length of the side ("Kenisah") of
the Keranos could be either 5 Tefachim or 6 Tefachim. If the length of the
side of the Keranos was 6 Tefachim, then that leaves 150 Tefachim (24 Amos
and 4 Tefachim) for the length of the side of the area at the top of the
Mizbe'ach. The height, though, of the Keranos was 5 Tefachim.
(b) RABEINU GERSHOM explains that the Gemara means that the Keranos were 5
Tefachim in each dimension, both in height and in width (and length, as they
(c) The RAMBAM seems to have a different understanding of the Gemara. We
showed earlier (see previous Insight) that the Rambam maintains that the
length of the side of the Keranos was 6 Tefachim, since he holds that the
width of the extension of the Yesod was 5 Tefachim, and thus he must
compensate for the extra Tefach by adding a Tefach to the length of each
Keren. What does the Gemara mean when it says with regard to measuring the
Keranos with an Amah of 5 Tefachim, "it does not matter this way, and it
does not matter that way"? Some Acharonim suggest that the Rambam had a
different Girsa in the Gemara (KEREN ORAH, MISHNEH L'MELECH).
The CHAFETZ CHAYIM in LIKUTEI HALACHOS (Zevachim 54a) suggests that the
Rambam's Girsa was, "Lo Shena *Hacha*, v'Lo Shena *Hacha*" -- "it does not
matter *here*, and it does not matter *here*." The Gemara is saying that the
*height* of the Keranos is uniform; it is the same regardless of the place
at the base of the Keranos from which one measures it. The "Kenisah," or
width of the Keranos, however, was a regular Amah of 6 Tefachim.
According to the Rambam, the verse is not left ambiguous (as Rashi
understands it), nor is the verse teaching *both* dimensions (height and
width) of the Keranos. The verse is clearly saying that from the edge of the
Mizbe'ach until the tip of the Keranos was 5 Tefachim "all around." This
description fits only the height of the Keranos, and not the width.
(Mordechai Zvi Dicker)
QUESTION: The Gemara (97b) explains that the words, "Gevulah Al Sefasah
Saviv" -- "Its border by its edge all around" (Yechezkel 43:13) -- refers to
the Keranos that were also measured with an Amah of 5 Tefachim, and not with
the regular Amah of 6 Tefachim. What part of the Keranos was measured with
an Amah of 5 Tefachim? The Gemara says "it does not matter this way, and it
does not matter that way" ("Lo Shena Hachi v'Lo Shena Hachi"; see previous
Insight). RASHI DH Lo Shena) explains that the length of the side
("Kenisah") of the Keranos could be either 5 Tefachim or 6 Tefachim. If the
length of the side of the Keranos was 6 Tefachim, then that leaves 150
Tefachim (24 Amos and 4 Tefachim) for the length of the side of the area at
the top of the Mizbe'ach. Accordingly, when the verse in Yechezkel (43:16)
describes the length of each side at the top of the Mizbe'ach as being 12
Amos from the center toward each direction, making each side 24 Amos long,
it is not being exact. The Navi does not mention the remaining 4 Tefachim,
since they do not amount to a full Amah. (See Insights to Menachos 97:2 for
a detailed description of the dimensions of the Mizbe'ach according to
The RASHASH questions this from the Gemara earlier (97b) that proves from
this verse (43:16) that the Navi gives exact measurements. Rashi there (DH
veha'Ari'el) explains that the measurement in the verse must be exact,
"because the verse would not give an inexact measurement." How, then, can
Rashi here (98a) say that the verse *is* giving an inexact measurement?
ANSWER: The answer is that the Gemara earlier is proving from the verse that
the measurements in *Amos* are always exact. The Gemara is saying that if
the side of the top of the Mizbe'ach was 25 Amos long, then the verse would
not say that it was 24 Amos! The verse is inexact, though, with regard to
units that it is not enumerating. If the exact measurement is 24 Amos and 4
Tefachim, then the verse will say that it was 24 Amos, and that is not
considered being inexact, since the verse is discussing only Amos and not
However, there is still a problem, as the Rashash points out. If the verse
would have said that the length of the side of the top of the Mizbe'ach is
24 Amos, then we would understand that the Navi is being exact only with
regard to the number of Amos. However, the verse does not say that the
measurement is 24 Amos. Rather, it says that the measurement from the center
to the edge is 12 Amos, and we know that the total length is 24 Amos. The
Gemara earlier is asking that if one says that the total length is 25 Amos,
then the verse is not exact. However, the verse *is* exact with regard to
the number of Amos! The verse says that *half* of the length was 12 Amos.
Perhaps the total length *is* 25, and the verse *is* being exact -- with
regard to the measure of *Amos*! The verse does not say 12 Amos and 3
Tefachim (half an Amah), because it is discussing only the number of Amos!
There are a number of answers to this question.
1. The Rashash suggests two answers to this question. First, he answers that
since the measure of 12 Amos is given with the obvious intent that it be
doubled in order to arrive at the full length, the Navi would not be inexact
with regard to the Tefachim, since the Tefachim add up to a full Amah.
2. Second, the Rashash says that although the Navi is not being inexact when
he does not mention units of Tefachim, he is being inexact when he does not
mention *halves* of Amos. We find in a number of places that the Torah
itself gives measurements in terms of halves of Amos (such as in Shemos
3. The RA'AVAD answers this question based on his approach to where the
Keranos were situated (see Insights to Menachos 97:2). The RA'AVAD (Hasagos,
Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 2:8) suggests that the Keranos were each recessed 2
Tefachim from the actual corners at the top of the Mizbe'ach (for a total of
4 Tefachim), thus making the distance from one Keren to the other exactly 24
However, according to Ra'avad, if there was space between the edge of the
Mizbe'ach and the beginning of the Keren, then what is the Gemara's question
earlier (97b)? The Gemara there asks that if the 5-Tefach Amos were used
only for the "Kenisos," then there would be an extra Amah on top of the
Mizbe'ach, totaling 25 Amos instead of 24. According to Ra'avad, why does
the Gemara not answer simply that the extra Amah was accounted for by the
space between the edge of the Mizbe'ach and the beginning of the Keranos?
It must be that it is not possible that the Keranos would be so far from the
edge of the Mizbe'ach, such that the total distance (from the space on two
opposite sides) would equal an entire Amah. If there was so much space
between the edge of the Mizbe'ach and the Keranos, then there would be no
need to have a full Amah for the path for the Kohanim. (Mordechai Zvi
3) THE SPACE BETWEEN THE "BADIM"
QUESTION: The Gemara proves that the Badim of the Aron were on the width of
the Aron, and not on the length of the Aron, from the fact that the Aron was
carried by four people. Two people stood on each side of the Aron between
the Badim. If the Badim were on the width of the Aron, then that would leave
only one and a half Amos of space for them to stand, and two people cannot
fit in one and a half Amos of space.
Why, though, does the Gemara assume that the Kohanim who carried the Aron
stood on the inside of the poles? Perhaps they stood on the outside of the
poles, leaving the space between the poles empty! (SEFAS EMES)
ANSWER: The MALBIM (Shemos 30:4) answers this question by asking several
other questions on the words of the Gemara.
First, the Gemara proves that four Kohanim carried the Aron from the verse,
"v'Nas'u ha'Kehasim Nos'ei ha'Mikdash" -- "and the Kehasim shall travel,
those who carry the holy [Aron]" (Bamidbar 10:21). "Kehasim" refers to two
Kohanim, and "Nos'ei ha'Mikdash" refers to another two. Why, though, does
the Gemara need a verse to prove that four Kohanim were needed to carry the
Aron? Since the width between the two poles was more than the shoulder width
of even a large person, it was not possible for one person to carry the Aron
on each side. It could be carried only by two people on each side, and thus
it is obvious that four Kohanim were necessary!
Second, how does the Gemara infer from the verse, "v'Nas'u ha'Kehasim Nos'ei
ha'Mikdash," that four Kohanim were necessary? The words "Nos'ei ha'Mikdash"
are not adding to the number of people who must carry the Aron. They are
merely describing what the "Kehasim" are supposed to do!
The Malbim explains that the when the Gemara asks how we know that four
Kohanim carried the Aron, it is not asking for the source for the number of
Kohanim who carry it. Rather, it is asking for the source for *how* the four
Kohanim carried the Aron. The Gemara is asking how we know that the four
Kohanim who carried the Aron all stood between the Badim when they carried
it. Perhaps they carried the Aron with the Badim across the width of the
path (that is, with the Badim facing in the direction perpendicular to the
path). If they carried it in this manner, then the Kohanim in the front
placed the front Bad across their upper back, while they stood in front of
the Bad (and not between the Badim). The Kohanim in the back carried the
second Bad across their upper back as well, and, they, too, thus stood in
front of that Bad (between the front and back Badim).
The Gemara answers that the verse says that those who carried the Aron were
"Nos'ei ha'Mikdash." This means that they had to carry the Aron in a way fit
for carrying an item of Kedushah. How is an item of Kedushah supposed to be
carried? The proper way to carry an item of Kedushah is by facing the item
at all times. The RAMBAM (Hilchos Kli ha'Mikdash 2:13) writes, "When they
carry it upon their shoulders, they carry it facing each other (Panim
k'Neged Panim), with their backs facing the outside (v'Achoreihem la'Chutz)
and their faces towards the inside (u'Feneihem Lifnim)."
The Malbim writes that the source for the Rambam's ruling is this Gemara.
The Gemara derives from the words, "Nos'ei ha'Mikdash," that the Aron must
be carried by four Kohanim in such a way that all four are in the same
area -- between the Badim, facing the Aron. This is the Gemara's proof that
they carried the Aron while standing between the Badim, and thus the Badim
must have been on the Aron with the width of the Aron between them.
(It seems from the Malbim that the Kohanim face the Aron directly only when
they stand between the Badim, but when they stand outside of the Badim, they
are not facing the Aron directly when they walk. The YAD BINYAMIN quotes the
KIRYAS SEFER who says that the source for the Rambam's words is the verse,
"Ki Avodas ha'Kodesh Aleihem" -- "for the holy service is upon them"
(Bamidbar 7:9). This verse implies that they must have in mind at all times
that they are performing the Avodas ha'Kodesh. This requirement is fulfilled
by having them carry the Aron in such a way that it is situated directly in
front of their eyes. The only way to accomplish this is by having them stand
between the Badim. This is how the Gemara here knows that there must have
been enough room between the Badim for two Kohanim to stand.)
Based on this approach, the Malbim answers the question of the SEFER MA'ASEH
CHOSHEV, who asks that the Mizbe'ach ha'Zahav also had Badim with which the
Mizbe'ach was carried. RASHI (in Shemos 30:4) maintains that the Mizbe'ach
had two Badim that were held to the Mizbe'ach by four rings, just as the
Aron had. However, if the Mizbe'ach (which was one Amah long and one Amah
wide) had two Badim, then that leaves a width of only one Amah between the
Badim. How could two Kohanim fit between the Badim to carry the Mizbe'ach?
(Some learn that there were only two rings for the Badim on the Mizbe'ach
ha'Zahav, and they were placed on the corners so that the Mizbe'ach was
carried diagonally. This, however, does not sufficiently resolve the
problem, because the diagonal would still not provide a space larger than
one and a half Amos.)
The Malbim answers that the requirement of "Nos'ei ha'Mikdash" -- to carry
the Aron in the manner in which an object of Kedushah should be carried --
is written only with regard to the Aron. It does not say that those who
carry the Mizbe'ach are "Nos'ei ha'Mikdash," and therefore there was no
requirement to stand in the space between the Badim and face the Mizbe'ach
when carrying it. (Mordechai Zvi Dicker)