ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Sanhedrin 18
***** Perek Kohen Gadol *****
(a) A Kohen Gadol, says our Mishnah, can both judge and be judged. He can
perform Chalitzah and his wife is subject to Chalitzah. Although his
brother may perform Yibum with his wife, he cannot perform Yibum with his
brother's wife - because he is forbidden (through an Asei and a Lo Sa'aseh)
to marry an Almanah.
(b) According to Rebbi Meir, he is permitted to attend the Lavayah of his
wife. To avoid rendering himself Tamei however, he must remain out of sight
of the coffin. He only enters a street after the pall-bearers have left it,
and the moment they enter a street where he is, he must leave it. Once the
coffin reaches the city gates, he is obligated to turn back.
(c) Rebbi Yehudah interprets the Pasuk "u'Min ha'Mikdash Lo Yeitzei"
literally to mean - that the Kohen Gadol does not even leave the
Beis-Hamikdash, but continues with the Avodah as if nothing would have
(d) Rebbi Meir interprets the Pasuk - to mean that he is not permitted to
'forsake his Kedushas Kehunah, by becoming Tamei Meis.
(a) The Shurah (the row, following the burial) differed in the days of the
Mishnah from today - inasmuch as the people would file past the Aveilim, and
(b) And a Kohen Gadol comforting mourners differed from other comforters -
inasmuch as the Memuneh (the deputy Kohen-Gadol) would walk on his right as
he walked past the Aveil, who was standing on his left.
(c) If he was the Aveil ...
1. ... the people would say to him - 'We are your atonement' (meaning that
they were willing to accept all misfortune that were due to come upon you'.
(d) The Se'udas Havra'ah (the first meal after the burial) of the Kohen
Gadol differed from a regular one - inasmuch as the people sat on the floor,
whilst the Kohen Gadol himself sat on a bench (or a chair).
2. ... he would respond - 'May you be blessed'.
(a) The Din of king differs from that of a Kohen Gadol with regard to
judging, Chalitzah and Yibum - inasmuch as the former can neither judge nor
be judged, perform neither Chalitzah nor Yibum, nor is Chalitzah or Yibum
performed with his wife.
Rebbi Yehudah also disagrees with the Tana Kama, who forbids anyone to marry
the widow of a king. He proves otherwise from the Pasuk, where the Navi said
to David - "And I shall give you your master (Shaul)'s house, and your
master's wives in your bosom".
(b) The king is not permitted to perform ...
1. ... Yibum - because it is undignified for him to stand in for brother.
(c) This is the opinion of the Tana Kama. Rebbi Yehudah disagrees with him
however. According to him - a king who permits Chalitzah or Yibum is
2. ... Chalitzah - because it is undignified for a king to be spat at.
(d) The king's brother may not perform Yibum with the king's Almanah -
because she is not permitted to remarry (and a woman who cannot marry is not
subject to Chalitzah either).
(a) We refute the initial suggestion that the Tana writes 'Kohen Gadol Dan'
(which is not a Chidush), because of 'Danin Oso' (which is) - on the basis
of the Pasuk "Hiskosheshu ve'Koshu", from which Resh Lakish learns that a
person must rectify himself before he can rectify others ('Practice what you
(b) This applies to our case - inasmuch as, by the same principle, a person
can only judge others if he is himself able to be judged.
(c) And the reason that the Tana inserts the Din of a Kohen Gadol is - to
stress the difference between him and a king.
(a) Alternatively, the Chidush lies in a Beraisa. The Tana rules there that
a Kohen Gadol who kills ...
1. ... on purpose - is sentenced to death.
(b) The Chidush in this Beraisa is - that we might have otherwise thought
that a Kohen Gadol does not need to go into exile - since he can never go
2. ... inadvertently - has to run to a city of refuge.
(c) Besides a Kohen Gadol who killed someone inadvertently, the Mishnah in
Makos denies - someone who killed the Kohen Gadol the right ever to go free?
(d) We learn that a Kohen Gadol goes into Galus from the Pasuk - "la'Nus
Shamah *Kol* Rotze'ach".
(a) When the Tana writes 'Over al Asei ve'al Lo Sa'aseh' - he means that if
he did transgress an Asei (see Aruch la'Ner) or a Lo Sa'aseh, he is judged
for Malkos by a Beis-Din of three (and not of seventy-one).
(b) The Chidush is - that we do not Darshen 'Kol Devarav shel Gadol', to
require a Beis-Din of seventy-one for all rulings that concern him.
(c) Based on Rav Ada bar Ahavah, who Darshens "Kol ha'Davar ha'Gadol Yavi'u
Eilecha", 'Kol Devarav shel Gadol' (as we learned earlier), we do not
Darshen that, too - because the Torah writes "Davar ha'Gadol" and not
"Divrei ha'Gadol", insinuating that it is only major rulings that require
the Beis-Din ha'Gadol (i.e. capital punishment), but not minor ones
(a) The Beraisa learns from the Pasuk "ve'His'alamta Meihem" - that
sometimes a person is exempt from the Mitzvah of 'Hashavas Aveidah'. Among
other cases, this pertains to a 'Zakein ve'Eino Le'fi Kevodo' (an elder for
whom returning it is undignified), into which category a Kohen Gadol falls.
(b) The problem this creates with our Mishnah, which obligates a Kohen Gadol
to testify, is - why he should not be exempt from appearing in court (seeing
as both the litigants and the judges are of a lower status than he is).
(c) We cannot establish the case with regard to testifying for ...
1. ... a king - because we learned in our Mishnah that 'Melech Lo Dan ve'Lo
(d) We conclude that the Tana is referring to testifying in front of a king.
In spite of our Mishnah, which forbids a king to judge - , the king would be
asked to attend the court-hearing, to obligate the Kohen Gadol to testify,
following which, he would go home and Beis-Din would proceed to discuss the
2. ... the son of a king - because the son of a king is no different than
(a) A king cannot sit on the Sanhedrin - because since he is greater than
all the other members of the Sanhedrin, they would not be able to contradict
his opinion, seeing as the Torah writes "ve'Lo Sa'aneh al Riv" (which we
explain to mean 've'Lo Sa'aneh al Rav' [meaning that a member of Beis-Din is
not permitted to argue with his superior]). Consequently, once the king
declared someone guilty, no-one would be able to proclaim him innocent.
(b) The Beraisa also forbids the seven judges who decide Ibur Shanah to
1. ... a king - because a king tends pay his soldiers on an annual basis, in
which case he has a vested interest in declaring every year a leap-year (so
that he gains a month [and a person who is prejudiced cannot be a judge]).
(c) Rav Papa extrapolates from here that 'Shata Basar Yarcha Azil', by which
he means - that the seasons follow the original months, and therefore change
with the leap-year (so that, following a leap-year, the cold of Mar-Cheshvan
will occur in Tishri).
2. ... a Kohen Gadol - because he is prejudiced the other way, due to the
fact that he Tovels in a cold Mikveh on Yom-Kipur, and would therefore
prefer it to fall earlier in the year, when the weather is warmer.
(a) We query Rav Papa's statement however, from 'those three cowhands', who
overheard the Chachamim say that if the ground is sufficiently warm ...
1. ... to cause both the early seed (the wheat that was planted at the
beginning of Adar) and the late seed (the barley that is only planted at the
end of the month) to grow together, then it is really Adar; if not, it
should have been Sh'vat (and it will be necessary to declare Adar Sheini).
(b) We learn from from there that - the seasons follow the leap-year (and
not the original months, as Rav Papa explained).
2. ... for the ox to die of cold in the morning due to the snow, and yet it
needs to seek shade from the heat of the midday sun - then it is really Adar
3. ... for a person's breath to dispel the cold of the east wind, then it is
indeed Adar ... .
(c) We cannot however, take the cowhands testimony too seriously anyway -
since they are not the most reliable of people.
(d) The Chachamim declared a leap-year following their testimony - because
according to their reckoning, it was due to be a leap-year anyway, and the
leap-year just happened to coincide with the seasons too (though this was
not usually the case).
(a) We establish the ruling of our Mishnah prohibiting the Kohen Gadol to
perform Yibum, irrespective of whether the Yevamah fell to him from his
brother's marriage to her or from the betrothal. This prohibition is easily
understood in respect of the former, which constitutes an Asei ("ki-Im
Besulah me'Amav Yikach Ishah") and a Lo Sa'aseh ("Almanah Lo Yikach" [which
cannot override the Asei of "Yevamah Yavo Alehah"), but not of the latter -
which is only a Lo Sa'aseh, and which the Asei of Yibum ought therefore to
(b) We resolve this She'eilah - by establishing the La'av as a Rabbinical
prohibition, who forbade the first Bi'ah (which acquires the Yevamah) on
account of the second Bi'ah, which is forbidden min ha'Torah.
(c) The Beraisa rules - that if the Kohen Gadol performed Yibum (Bi'ah
Rishonah) with an Almanah from betrothal, he will have acquired her, but he
is not permitted to perform Bi'ah Sheniyah with her, bearing out Rav Papa's