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Introduction to Yoma

Yoma 2

YOMA 2 - has been sponsored by Yeshayahu (Jason) ęSchmidtę of West Hempstead, N.Y., a talmid of Rabbi Kornfeld


AGADAH: Maseches Yoma begins with the words, "[For] seven days...." The MAHARSHA suggests that when Rebbi compiled the Mishnah, he chose these words as the opening phrase for Yoma in order to allude to Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is a singularly unique day out of all of the days of the year, for it is the holiest. That is why the Maseches is called "Yoma" -- "[the] Day." The number seven always alludes to holiness, such as the seventh day of the week, which is Shabbos. (In fact, the Pesikta explains that it is for this reason that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipur are in the *seventh* month. See also the Vilna Ga'on in Kol Eliyahu, Parshas Emor.)

In addition, says the Maharsha, there are a total of seven Mo'adim mid'Oraisa, corresponding to the seven days of the week. The first six Mo'adim (first and last days of Pesach, one day of Shavuos, one day of Rosh ha'Shanah, first and last days of Sukkos) correspond to the first six days of the week, and the seventh Yom Tov -- Yom Kippur -- corresponds to Shabbos. The holiness of Yom Kippur is comparable to the holiness of Shabbos, which is why the day is called "Shabbos Shabason." Indeed, all of the other Mo'adim are lenient in some respect (for example, Melachah for the sake of Ochel Nefesh, food preparation, is permitted on those Mo'adim), while Yom Kippur is the holiest and most stringent, just like Shabbos in relation to the six days of the week.

Following the Maharsha's lead, we may add that the relationship between the six holidays and the six days of the week is even more profound. Each one of the consecutive holidays, beginning from the first -- Pesach -- can be shown to parallel its corresponding weekday.

(1) The first day of Pesach parallels the first day of creation, the day that is called by the Torah "Yom Echad" ("the Day of the One"). It is so called, explains Rashi (based on the Midrash), because this was the only day that Hashem was truly the only Being in the world. Even the angels were not created until the second day. On Pesach, too, we find that Hashem Himself, without the medium of any Heavenly Agent, went forth to strike at the Egyptians and free His people from their bondage, as it says, "'Thus says Hashem: At midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die...' (Shemos 11:4). 'I' and not an angel; 'I' and not a seraph..." (Hagadah).

Furthermore, on the first day light was created. A certain element of this primordial light was deemed to be too divine for this material world. It was "hidden away," reserved for a time when Hashem would reveal Himself to the righteous (Rashi, Bereishis 1:4). On the night of the Exodus, however, the divine light of the first day of creation shined brightly (Zohar 2:38a, see also Parasha-Page, Pesach 5756).

(2) On the *second* day of creation the "firmament" (Rakia) was created in order to "divide between the one water and the other water." This parallels the second of the Mo'adim, the seventh day of Pesach, which commemorates the splitting of the Reed Sea! (See Rashi, Megilah 31a, DH Vayehi. It was pointed out to me that Rambam draws this parallel in his commentary to Pirkei Avos, 5:6.)

(3) The *third* day of creation saw the origin of fruit-bearing trees (Bereishis 1:11). According to the Gemara (Rosh ha'Shanah 16a), Shavuos, the third of the Mo'adim, is the day on which Hashem judges and determines the quality of the fruit harvest of the coming year. It is for this reason that Shavuos was the first day on which the Bikurim, or first-fruit offerings, were brought to the Beis ha'Mikdash.

In addition, the Torah, which was given on Shavuos, is called the "tree of life" (Mishlei 3:18). Moreover, the third day of creation is distinguished by being the only one of the days of creation on which the phrase "Ki Tov" ("it was good") was declared twice. The Gemara (Berachos 5a) says that "Tov" ("the good") refers to the Torah, as in Mishlei 4:2.

(4) On the *fourth* day of creation the heavenly bodies were created -- the sun, the moon, the stars, etc. It marked the beginning of the lunar and solar cycles. Rosh ha'Shanah, the fourth Yom Tov, marks the beginning of our yearly cycle (Rosh ha'Shanah 2a, see also Parasha-Page, Rosh ha'Shanah 5756).

(5) The *fifth* day of creation has a thematic connection with Sukos, the fifth Yom Tov. It was on the fifth day that the water "issued forth crawling living things and birds to fly in the heavens" (Bereishis 1:20). All of that day's creations issued from the waters (ibid.). The major theme of Sukos is the supplication for rain at the beginning of the rainy season. It is at this time that Hashem passes judgment regarding the amount of rain which will fall during the coming year (Rosh Hashanah 16a). Sukos is the holiday during which special libations are performed and prayers recited (and branches waved) to beseech Hashem for an adequate supply of water, the life- giving elixir that will preserve all of the creatures of the world during the coming year.

Furthermore, the Torah gives special mention to one creature of the sea that was created on the fifth day - the Leviathan (Bereishis 1:21 and Rashi). Our Sages teach that at the time of Mashiach, Hashem will "make a *Sukkah* out of the hide of the Leviathan for the righteous" (Bava Basra 75a).

(6) The *sixth* day of creation is the day on which man was created. Rashi (Bamidbar 29:35) tells us that the entire theme of Shemini Atzeres (which is also Simchas Torah) is the uniqueness of the Jewish people. On Simchas Torah we celebrate receiving the Torah and the observance of its Mitzvos, because it is the Torah that sets the Jews apart from all the other nations and makes us special. On this Yom Tov we celebrate the creation of the "spiritual man."

Furthermore, all the other days of creation are called "*a* second day," "*a* third day," and so on. Only the sixth day is called "*the* sixth day." This, comments Rashi, alludes to the fact that the Torah would be given on the *sixth day* of a month (Sivan) many centuries later. It was as if Hashem stipulated with all of creation that its existence was conditional upon the acceptance of the Torah by the Jewish people at Sinai, Rashi explains. If so, it is fitting for the sixth holiday of the year to be dedicated to celebrating our possession of the Torah.

(7) There are several parallels between Shabbos, the *seventh* day, and Yom Kippur. As the Maharsha writes, Yom Kippur is the only one of the holidays on which *all* manner of Melachah is forbidden (even work relating to the preparation of food). This cessation of creative activity mirrors the laws of the Shabbos, the day on which Hashem "rested" from creating the world.

Furthermore, it was on the seventh day that Hashem forgave Adam for eating the forbidden fruit and allowed him to live. This was the first, and hence the archetypal, case of atonement for sin. The Midrash tells us that it was Adam who composed the "Psalm for the Shabbos Day" (Psalm 92), translating the opening verse as, "It is good to *confess one's sins* before Hashem" (Midrash Shocher Tov). Similarly, Yom Kippur was the first time that Hashem granted forgiveness to Israel as a nation. As Rashi tells us (Devarim 9:18), this was the day Hashem forgave the Jewish people for the sin of the golden calf, which is why Yom Kippur was singled out as a day of atonement for all times.

The idea underlying the parallelism between the festivals and the days of the week seems to be that the seven festivals represent seven aspects of the formation of the spiritual world, just as the seven days of the week represent seven stages in the creation of the physical world. Through the observance of these seven holidays, we can elevate the mundane, material world of the seven days of creation to a higher, more spiritual plateau. By observing the Torah's festivals properly, we are able to create a unique, spiritual dimension in our lives.


QUESTION: The Gemara (2a) states that we learn that the Kohen who performs the Parah Adumah process requires Perishah from the word "La'asos" in the verse, "Tzivah Hashem La'asos" (Vayikra 8:34) in the Parshah of Milu'im. The Gemara asks that perhaps the verse is not referring to Parah Adumah at all, but rather the entire verse is teaching that the Kohen Gadol who performs the Yom Kipur Avodah requires Perishah, since it says "Tzivah" in both this verse and in the Parshah of the Yom Kipur Avodah. How, then, do we know that Parah Adumah requires Perishah, asks the Gemara.

What is the Gemara's question? If "Tzivah" is teaching the law of Perishah for Yom Kipur, there is still an extra word to teach Perishah for Parah Adumah -- "Lechaper," which no longer is necessary to teach us Yom Kipur!


(a) TOSFOS HA'ROSH suggests that since "Tzivah" teaches that the verse is talking about Yom Kipur, it is simply the manner of the verse to say the word "Lechaper" when dealing with Yom Kipur, and it is not written to teach anything else.

(b) The RI HA'LAVAN explains that if "Tzivah" is referring to Yom Kipur, then "Lechaper" is referring to Korbanos, as the Gemara later asks. (See also TOSFOS, DH v'Eima Tzivah.)

(c) The RITVA suggests that if the verse would have said only "Lechaper," we would have thought that only the *first* Yom Kipur requires Perishah. Therefore, another extra phrase is required to teach that every Kohen Gadol, on all subsequent days of Yom Kippur, needs Perishah. (The Gemara makes a similar suggestion later, on 4a.)

(d) The RITVA says in the name of TOSFOS that if the verse would have said only "Tzivah," we would have assumed that it refers to both Yom Kipur and Parah Adumah; since we have no way of knowing which one is more likely to be implied by the verse, we would therefore have derived both of them. "Lechaper," then, is explaining what "Tzivah" is referring *exclusively* to Yom Kipur.

QUESTIONS: The Gemara (2a) asserts that we learn a Gezeirah Shavah from the verse, "Tzivah Hashem La'asos..." (Vayikra 8:34), that just like Perishah was required for the Milu'im (the inauguration of the Kohanim), so, too, Perishah is required for the Kohen who prepares the Parah Adumah, for it says "Tzivah" in the Parshah of Parah Adumah (Bamidbar 19:2).

The Gemara asks that perhaps the verse in the Parshah of Milu'im, "Tzivah Hashem La'asos," is not referring to Parah Adumah, but refers to all Korbanos through a similar Gezeirah Shavah, for it says a form of the word "Tzivah" with regard to all Korbanos (Vayikra 7:38). Rashi explains that the Gemara is asking that every Kohen who offers a Korban Tzibur should need Perishah seven days prior to offering the Korban.

(a) Why does Rashi explain that the Gemara is asking that Perishah should be required for bringing a Korban *Tzibur*? The verse which says "Tzivah" in the Parshah of Korbanos (Vayikra 7:38) is referring to normal Korbanos *Yachid*! Why does Rashi explain that the Gemara is asking that Korbanos Tzibur should require Perishah, and not Korbanos Yachid?

(b) A few lines later, the Gemara discusses its earlier Limud (2a) which taught that the Kohen Gadol needs Perishah prior to Yom Kipur from the word "Lechaper" in the verse, "Tzivah Hashem La'asos Lechaper Aleichem" (Vayikra 8:34). The Gemara again asks that perhaps it is not referring to Yom Kipur, but rather it is teaching that all Korbanos require Perishah, for it says "Lechaper" in the Parshah of Korbanos. Rashi explains that the Gemara is asking about Korbanos *Yachid* and is saying that Korbanos Yachid should require Perishah. Why does Rashi change from his explanation of just a few lines earlier, where he said that the Gemara was asking about Korbanos Tzibur, and now he explains that it is asking about Korbanos Yachid?

(c) When the Gemara asks the second question -- that "Lechaper" should teach that Korbanos require Perishah, the Gemara immediately rejects that suggestion and says that Korbanos cannot require Perishah because we do not know which Kohen will perform the Avodah. Why did the Gemara not reject its earlier question in the same manner?
(All three questions are asked by the GEVUROS ARI and other Achronim)

ANSWER: When the Gemara asks that "Lechaper" should teach that Korbanos need Perishah, a number of questions bothered Rashi.
1. First, the Gemara asks that "Lechaper" should teach that the Kohen requires Perishah before offering the Korbanos, and not that the Kohen Gadol needs Perishah before Yom Kipur. But the Kohen Gadol will require Perishah anyway for Yom Kipur, because of the Korbanos of Yom Kipur! (TOSFOS asks this question.)

2. Second, the Gemara says that we do not know which Kohen will perform the Avodah of each Korban, and therefore Korbanos cannot require Perishah. What is the Gemara saying? We know that a Korban Tzibur is brought at a specific time; as such, seven days before that time we should separate a Kohen who will perform the Avodah! Why is the Gemara saying that we do not know which Kohen will offer the Korban? We should simply choose the Kohen seven days earlier and require Perishah!

Even if the Gemara is discussing the rare case of a Korban Tzibur that does not have a set time (such as the Se'irei Avodah Zarah or the Par He'elem Davar), it is still possible to simply choose a Kohen on the day that we find out that such a Korban must be brought, have him do Perishah, and then bring the Korban seven days later.

3. The third question that bothered Rashi is that the Gemara answers that Perishah cannot be necessary for Korbanos, because Korbanos are not similar to the Milu'im; the Milu'im was something which had a set time (Kavu'a Lo Z'man), while the Korbanos have no set time but are instead brought every day. Rashi explains that the question is only from Korbanos about which the verse uses the word "Lechaper" (or a form thereof). The problem is that there is no Korban Tzibur which is brought every day which is described by the word "Lechaper!" (It does not say "Lechaper" with regard to the Korban Tamid. It only says "Lechaper" with regard to the Chata'os of Rosh Chodesh and of the Mo'adim, but those Korbanos indeed have a set time, and thus the Gemara's answer does not make sense!)

(There is another Girsa in the Gemara's answer which says "it is not brought on a set basis -- sometimes it is brought and sometimes it is not brought." According to this Girsa it is even more clear that the Gemara is not referring to the Korban Tamid or the Korbanos of the Mo'adim. What, then, is it referring to?)

In light of these questions, Rashi was forced to say that when the Gemara asks that "Lechaper" should teach that Korbanos require Perishah, it is referring to Korbanos *Yachid*. That is why the Korban of Yom Kipur will not need Perishah -- it is a Korban Tzibur (see Rashi 6b, DH Hutrah, and Insights). This answers the first question that bothered Rashi.

This also answers Rashi's second question, why the Gemara says that we do not know which Kohen will bring it. The Gemara is referring to a Korban Yachid. We never know in advance whether a Korban Yachid will be brought (for it is up to the individual who brings the Korban), and thus it is not possible to choose a Kohen seven days in advance!

It also answers Rashi's third question. When the Gemara says that the Korbanos are brought every day and thus they have no set time, it is referring to Korbanos Yachid and means that they *could* be brought every day. (According to the other Girsa, the Gemara says this explicitly, "sometimes it is brought and sometimes it is not brought.")

This is how Rashi answered the three questions that bothered him, and it also explains the three questions that we asked on Rashi and the Gemara, in our Question:

(a) Rashi explained that the Gemara's question from the word "Tzivah" referred to Korbanos Tzibur, because the Gemara does not answer -- as it does later in response to another question -- that we do not know which Kohen will perform the Avodah so that we could require him to do Perishah. Since we know when a Korban Tzibur will be brought, it would be possible to select the Kohen earlier and require Perishah. The Gemara only asked from Korban Tzibur at this point because it assumed that there was no question from Korban Yachid, because no one knows when a Korban Yachid will be brought and thus it is not possible to require Perishah for a Korban Yachid.

(b) However, when the Gemara asks later from "Lechaper" and says that "Lechaper" should teach that Korbanos need Perishah, it is referring to Korbanos Yachid, because it does not say "Lechaper" with regard to the basic Korban Tzibur (the Tamid). It is also evident from the Gemara's answer, which says that we do not know which Kohen will bring the Korban. If it is referring to a Korban Tzibur, then we can select the Kohen seven days before the Korban is to be brought. If it is referring to a Korban Yachid, we indeed do not know when it will need to be brought.

(c) The third question is clearly answered. The Gemara did not answer, when it first asked that "Tzivah" should teach that Korbanos require Perishah, that we do not know which Kohen will bring the Korban, because the question would still remain from Korbenos Tzibur. Since we know when Korbanos Tzibur will be brought, we *would* be able to select Kohanim and separate them seven days prior to the offering of the Korbanos Tzibur. The question from Lechaper was not asked on Korban Tzibur, because the word "Lechaper" was not used with reference to the Tamid. As for the other Korbenos Tzibur about which the word Lechaper is used (those of the Moadim), the Gemara indeed asks immediately afterwards that the verse may be referring to the Regalim (because of the Korbanos that are brought on the Regalim).

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