THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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SOTAH 41 (7 Shevat) - This day's Daf has been dedicated by Danny Schwartz,
l'Iluy Nishmas Yochanan Shabsai ben Yair, Z"L, whose Yahrzeit is today.
1) THE KOHEN GADOL'S TORAH READING ON YOM KIPUR
QUESTION: The Gemara asks how the Kohen Gadol is permitted to skip from
Parshas Acharei Mos (Vayikra 16-18) to the verses from Parshas Emor that
discuss Yom Kipur (Vayikra 23:26-32). There is a rule that one who is
reading the Torah in public is not permitted to skip from one section to
another! The Gemara answers that as long as the reader does not pause long
enough for the Turgeman to finish reading the verses, *and* he skips only to
a section which discusses the same subject matter as the first section, he
is permitted to skip.
2) THE MANNER OF THE KING'S TORAH READING
The Gemara then asks why the Kohen Gadol, after reading from Parshas Emor,
closes the Sefer Torah and reads the verses in Parshas Pinchas (Bamidbar
29:7-11) that deal with Yom Kipur *by heart*. He should just roll the Sefer
Torah to Parshas Pinchas in Sefer Bamidbar and read from there! The Gemara
answers that the Kohen Gadol may not roll the Sefer Torah to Parshas Pinchas
because we do not roll the Sefer Torah in public.
What is the Gemara's question? Earlier, the Gemara assumes that it is
obvious that we may not roll the Sefer Torah in public. Why, then, does the
Gemara ask here that the Kohen Gadol should roll the Sefer Torah, even if
the time it takes to roll to the proper section is longer than the time it
takes the Turgeman to read the verses?
(a) The TOSFOS YESHANIM in Yoma (70a) in the name of RABEINU YOSEF answers
that the Gemara is simply explaining the statement that was made earlier.
The Gemara is asking why do we not allow the reader to skip when it takes
him longer than it takes the Turgeman to read the verses? The Gemara answers
that we do not roll the Sefer Torah publicly because of the honor of the
Tzibur, for it is disrespectful to the congregation to make them wait until
the reading begins again. (Although our Gemara does not write explicitly
this reason of "Kavod Tzibur," the same Gemara in Yoma adds "because of
Kavod Tzibur." Apparently, that was the Girsa of many Rishonim here as
This also appears to be the way the ME'IRI explains the Gemara.
(b) The TOSFOS HA'ROSH here rejects this explanation, because according to
Rabeinu Yosef the Gemara should have asked not why the Kohen Gadol does not
roll the Sefer Torah, but why it is not *permitted* to roll it.
Therefore, the Tosfos ha'Rosh explains that there are two different reasons
for not skipping from one place to another while reading from the Torah. The
first reason is because it is important for the people to hear and to
concentrate on every word of the Torah while it is being read. If the reader
does not continue reading immediately at the conclusion of the Turgeman's
reading, then those who are listening will think that he is not going to be
reading anymore and they will not concentrate on the rest of the reading.
(This is similar to the reason Rashi gives for why the reader may not skip
from one subject to another.) This reason only applies when the two
Parshiyos are near enough to each other so that the reader does not need to
roll the Sefer Torah in order to get from one section to the other; since
the people listening do not see him rolling the Sefer Torah, they assume
that the reason he paused is because he is finished reading. (Similarly,
this reason should apply when the sections are close enough that when the
reader rolls from one place to another it is not noticeable.)
The second reason, says the Rosh, is because of "Torach Tzibur," the
inconvenience caused to the Tzibur by delaying them. This applies even if
the reader is rolling the Sefer Torah from one section to another. Earlier,
the Gemara asks that it should not be permitted to skip while reading the
Torah because it disrupts the concentration of the listeners. That reason
does not apply, though, when the section to which the reader skips is far
from the first section, because everyone will see that he is rolling the
Sefer Torah and they will not think that he is finished reading. That is why
the Gemara asks that it should be permitted for the Kohen Gadol to roll the
Sefer Torah to Parshas Pinchas. The Gemara answers that there is another
reason not to roll the Sefer Torah -- the inconvenience to the Tzibur.
(The reason of "Torach Tzibur," however, applies only when the two sections
are very distant from each other and it will be necessary to roll the Sefer
Torah for several minutes, keeping the Tzibur waiting. If the sections are
right next to each other and the reader just needs to find his place in the
new section (which will only take him a few seconds), the reason of "Torach
Tzibur" does not apply. Rather, in such a case it is prohibited because of
the first reason -- it disrupts the concentration of the Tzibur.)
QUESTION: The Mishnah explains that during the ceremony of "Hakhel," the
king reads selected sections from Sefer Devarim. In order to go from one
section to the other, the king rolls the Sefer Torah. RASHI points out that
some of these skips are long skips and go backwards, from the end of Devarim
towards the beginning (such as when he reads the Parshah of Berachos
u'Kelalos (Devarim 27) and then skips back to Parshas ha'Melech (Devarim
17); Rashi's Girsa was that he reads the Parshah of Berachos u'Kelalos
*before* Parshas ha'Melech; see RASHASH).
3) THE SOURCE FOR RECITING "BIRCHOS KOHEN GADOL" AND "PARSHAS HA'MELECH" IN
Rashi asks why do we let the king skip from section to section? The Gemara
earlier says that we do not let the reader skip from section to section if
it takes longer than it takes for the Turgeman to finish reading. Rashi
answers that the king reads the Torah without a Turgeman.
What does Rashi mean? How does this answer the question? The reason the
reader cannot skip from section to section if it takes longer than it takes
the Turgeman to finish is because of "Torach Tzibur," or because the Tzibur
will think that he is finished and their concentration will be distracted
(see previous Insight). When there is no Turgeman, then all the more so
these reasons should prohibit skipping from section to section, even a short
distance! (TOSFOS YOM TOV)
(a) The MAHARSHA explains Rashi in the simplest sense. He says that Rashi
holds that the Chachamim instituted the laws of when to skip and when not to
skip only when there is a Turgeman.
What, though, is the logic behind this difference? Why, according to the
Maharsha's explanation of Rashi, would the Chachamim differentiate between
when there is a Turgeman and when there is no Turgeman?
Perhaps Rashi holds that the reason for the prohibition against skipping
is -- like the Rosh says -- because the Tzibur will think that the reader is
finished and will not concentrate on the rest of the reading. Rashi holds,
though, that when there is no Turgeman, the people will know that the reader
has not finished by the tone of his voice at the end of the verse. If it
would be the end of the reading, it could be heard by the inflection of his
voice. However, when there is a Turgeman, the Turgeman will think that the
reader is finished since he sees that the reader is no longer looking in the
same section. The Turgeman will change his tone in order to denote the end
of the section. The rest of the people will think that the reader is
finished and they will not concentrate on the rest of the reading.
Therefore, when the king reads, he may skip from section to section because
there is no Turgeman, and no one will think that the king has finished
reading since he made no change in his tone of voice.
(Rashi probably would permit skipping only for the type of person who
*never* has a Turgeman, such as a king. When a normal person reads without a
Turgeman, then the rules of skipping will still apply (because of "Lo
Plug"). See RASHASH.)
(b) RAV ELAZAR MOSHE HA'LEVI HOROWITZ suggests that Rashi is saying
something entirely different. The skip from "Shema" (Devarim 6) to "v'Hayah
Im Shamo'a" (Devarim 11) and the skip from "v'Hayah Im Shamo'a" (Devarim 11)
to "Aser Te'aser" (Devarim 14) are relatively short skips. The king can
certainly turn to the next section before the time that it takes the
Turgeman to finish. Similarly, the skip from "Ki Sechaleh" (Devarim 26) to
the Berachos u'Kelalos (Devarim 27) is a short skip. The only long skips are
from "Aser Te'aser" to "Ki Sechaleh" (Devarim 14 to Devarim 26), and from
the Berachos u'Kelalos back to Parshas ha'Melech (Devarim 27 to Devarim 17).
Rashi is asking why we do not solve the problem of skipping long distances
by simply having the king read Parshas ha'Melech between "Aser Te'aser" and
"Ki Sechaleh" (thus making the skips from 14 to 17, and from 17 to 26). In
this manner, there will be no skips that take longer than it takes the
Turgeman to finish reading!
Rashi answers that it will not help to read Parshas
ha'Melech after "Aser Te'aser" to minimize the skip distance, because the
king does not have a Turgeman in any case. Hence, even a small skip would be
a distraction, just like a large skip. Since it does not make a difference,
the king reads Parshas ha'Melech at the end in order not to interrupt
between the sections that discuss Ma'aser ("Aser Te'aser" and "Ki
Sechaleh"). As to why we permit the king skip from section to section, see
the following answer (c).
The RAMBAM does not have the words "Parshas ha'Melech" in the Mishnah (see
Perush ha'Mishnayos of Kapach). His Girsa is that the king reads "until he
finishes all of them," and not "until he finishes the Parshah." The Rambam
explains that the Mishnah is saying that the king reads until "Shema," skips
to "v'Hayah Im Shamo'a," and then skips to "Aser Te'aser," and from there he
reads continuously until the end of the Berachos u'Kelalos (Devarim 11 to
According to the Rambam, the king indeed skips only two short skips which
are certainly less than the time it would take a Turgeman to finish (similar
to the way the Torah should have been read according to Rashi's question, as
Rav Elazar Moshe ha'Levi Horowitz explained). (See HE'OROS B'MASECHES SOTAH
for another approach to understanding Rashi.)
(c) The ME'IRI disagrees with Rashi and suggests that since the only reason
to prohibit skipping from one section to another is because it is
disrespectful to the Tzibur (see previous Insight, answer (a)), it does not
apply when the king is reading. The honor of the king is more important.
(The TOSFOS YOM TOV suggests the same reason to permit skipping in this
OPINIONS: The Mishnah teaches that Birchos Kohen Gadol and Parshas ha'Melech
must be recited in Lashon ha'Kodesh. (Although the Mishnah mentions only the
*Berachah* of the Kohen Gadol and the *Parshah* of the king, we find that
both the king and the Kohen Gadol read Parshiyos and then recite Berachos.
Presumably, both the Parshah and the Berachos that each one says must be
recited in Lashon ha'Kodesh; see TOSFOS YOM TOV. The reason why the Mishnah
mentions only the Kohen Gadol's *Berachah* and the king's *Parshah* is
because the main part of the ceremony of the Kohen Gadol is the Berachos,
while the reading of the Parshiyos simply relates the Avodah of the day. In
contrast, the main part of the king's ceremony is the reading of the
Parshah, which the Torah requires him to teach the people, and the Berachah
that he recites is only secondary.)
The Mishnah does not give a source for the requirement that these readings
must be in Lashon ha'Kodesh. What is the Mishnah's source?
(a) The TOSFOS YOM TOV suggests that the Berachos may be recited in any
language. It is only the reading of the Parshah, of both the Kohen Gadol and
of the king, that must be done in Lashon ha'Kodesh. The reason is obvious,
he asserts: since the Kohen Gadol and king must read from the Sefer Torah,
they obviously must read it in its original language. Otherwise, it would be
considered reading it by heart, and verses in the Torah cannot be read by
This reason is difficult to understand, though, because the Kohen Gadol
*does* read part of his reading by heart! Why, then, can he not read those
Parshiyos in any language? (TOSFOS CHADASHIM on the Mishnayos)
(b) The TOSFOS HA'ROSH and the RAMBAM write that the Parshas ha'Melech must
be in Lashon ha'Kodesh because the Torah states that he must read "Es
ha'Torah ha'Zos" (Devarim 31:11). The Tosfos ha'Rosh adds that the
requirement that the Kohen Gadol must read in Lashon ha'Kodesh is only a
Takanah d'Rabanan, which the Rabanan instituted because of the unique
sanctity of the day and place (see also TIFERES YISRAEL).
(c) The ME'IRI writes the opposite. He writes that the requirement for the
Kohen Gadol to read in Lashon ha'Kodesh is learned from the requirement to
recite Birkas Kohanim in Lashon ha'Kodesh (which itself is learned from a
verse earlier on 38a), since it is something incumbent upon the Kohen Gadol
to read just like Birkas Kohanim.
The reason the king recites the Parshah and the Berachos in Lashon ha'Kodesh
is because it is similar to the Parshah and the Berachah of the Kohen Gadol.
It seems that the Me'iri means that it is only a Takanah d'Rabanan that
requires that the Parshas ha'Melech be said in Lashon ha'Kodesh.