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Yoma 19


QUESTION: The Gemara says that there were two Lishkos which were used by the Kohen Gadol during the seven days of his isolation and on Erev Yom Kipur -- the Lishkas Beis Avtinus, where he was instructed how to perform the Chafinah with the Ketores on Erev Yom Kipur, and the Lishkas Parhedrin, where he slept at night during the seven days of isolation.

The Gemara asks whether the Lishkas Parhedrin, where the Kohen Gadol slept, was on the northern side of the Azarah or on the southern side. The Gemara first suggests that he slept on the southern side, because the Mikva'os were in the south. After arising early in the morning, the Kohen Gadol would go to the bathroom and then need to immerse in the Mikvah, and in the evening, the Haza'ah would be done to him (according to one opinion in the Gemara earlier (14b)), and thus he would do Tevilah afterwards, before going to sleep. Since he had to immerse in the Mikvah in the morning upon arising and in the evening upon retiring, it must be that his place of residence was near the Mikvah so that he not be troubled to walk from one side of the Azarah to the other.

Why does the Gemara mention that when the Kohen Gadol arises in the morning, he goes to the bathroom and then goes to the Mikvah? It is true that every time a Kohen goes to defecate he is required to be Tovel before performing Avodah (as Rashi tells us, based on Yoma 28a). However, even if he does not go to the bathroom, he is required to go to the Mikvah when he arises! Whenever a Kohen goes into the Azarah to perform the Avodah, he has to immerse in the Mikvah before entering the Azarah (Rashi DH Chutz mi'Zu, from the Gemara on 30b)! Why, then, does the Gemara mention that he goes to the bathroom?


(a) The RASHASH and the SI'ACH YITZCHAK answer that it is true that the Kohen Gadol would have needed a Tevilah even without going to the bathroom. The Gemara mentioned it only to give advice; the Kohen Gadol should go to the bathroom before going to the Mikvah so that his Tevilah will cover both beginning the Avodah and going to the bathroom, so that he does not have to make a second trip to the Mikvah.

(b) Perhaps it is a Mitzvah for the Kohen, before doing the Avodah, to go to the bathroom before he enters the Azarah. This is similar to the Gemara's statement in Berachos (15a) that one who goes to the bathroom, washes his hands, dons Tefilin, says Keri'as Shema and then Davens the Shemoneh Esreh is considered to have accepted upon himself "Kabalas Ol Malchus Shamayim Sheleimah," and it is considered as if he immersed in a Mikvah and as if he offered a Korban upon the Mizbe'ach. (Y. Shaw)


AGADAH: A Tzeduki Kohen Gadol once managed to perform the Avodah of burning the Ketores on Yom Kipur, in the manner that the Tzedukim maintained that it must be done. As he exited the Kodesh Ha'Kodashim, he was very proud of himself and his "accomplishment." The Gemara relates two versions of what happened to him. The first version says that he boasted as he exited the Kodesh Ha'Kodashim and a few days later he was found dead in a garbage dump with worms coming out of his nose. The second version says that on his way out of the Kodesh Ha'Kodashim, a loud noise was heard in the Azarah. The Tzeduki suddenly lurched forward and fell on his face, and a large hoof- print was found between his shoulders. (The hoof-print was attributed to an angel, who "have feet like those of calves.")

Is there any significant difference between these two opinions?

The MESHECH CHACHMAH (Parshas Acharei Mos) cites the Gemara in Gitin (54b) that records two opinions of the Amora'im regarding a Kohen who claims to have invalidated the Avodah with a Machshavah of Pigul. One opinion says that when a Kohen claims that while doing the Avodah he had an invalidating thought, he is believed and the Avodah is Pasul, while a second opinion holds that he is not believed. The one who says that it is Pasul proves his opinion from the case of a Kohen Gadol on Yom Kipur, who is believed to say that he invalidated the Avodah even though no one could see what he was doing or saying while he was standing in the Kodesh Ha'Kodashim. The Gemara refutes that proof and says that perhaps the sole testimony of the Kohen Gadol is not believed. The Avodah is only invalidated when someone else testifies that he saw (through a peephole) the Kohen Gadol state his invalidating thought at the time he was performing the Avodah in the Kodesh Ha'Kodashim.

The first version of what happened to the Tzeduki (he was found dead later) holds like one opinion in Gitin that a Kohen *is* believed to say that he invalidated the Avodah. Since he is believed, the Avodah was obviously done over in a kosher manner, since the Kohen Gadol admitted that he invalidated it. Therefore there was no pressing reason for the Tzeduki to die on the spot.

The second version of what happened to the Tzeduki (he was struck down dead immediately upon exiting the Kodesh Ha'Kodashim) holds that the Kohen is *not* believed to say that he invalidated the Avodah. Consequently, the invalid Avodah of the Tzeduki would not have been performed again properly, had Hashem not sent a divine sign to show that the Avodah was indeed invalid. The divine sign was that sudden death of the Tzeduki at the hands of an angel.

How did the death of the Tzeduki prove beyond doubt that his Avodah was invalid? The verse states, "v'Chol Adam Lo Yiheyeh b'Ohel Mo'ed" (Vayikra 16:17), which the Midrash interprets to mean that even *angels* are not allowed to enter while the Avodah is being done on Yom Kipur. How, then did the angel that killed the Tzeduki get in? The Yerushalmi asks this question, and answers that the ban on the entrance of angels to the Kodesh ha'Kodashim only applies while a valid Ketores is being offered there. Since the Ketores that the Tzeduki offered was invalid, the angel was allowed to enter. The second version, then, holds that the presence of an angel, who killed the Tzeduki as he exited the Kodshei Kodshim, provided proof that the Tzeduki's Avodah was indeed invalid (even though the Tzeduki himself would not have been believed to say that it was invalid), so that another Kohen Gadol could be appointed in time to redo that Avodah in the proper manner!

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