QUESTION: The Gemara attempts to find a source that a Zar (non-Kohen) may do
the Hefshet v'Nitu'ach (skinning and cutting) of the Korban. The Gemara
cites that the verse, "v'Archu B'nei Aharon ha'Kohanim Es ha'Nesachim" --
"the sons of Aharon, the Kohanim, shall arrange the bodily parts... upon the
Mizbe'ach" (Vayikra 1:8). This teaches that the Kohanim have to arrange the
parts of the animal on the Mizbe'ach, implying that whatever is done before
that does not need to be done by a Kohen, but may be done by a Zar.
The Gemara asks that perhaps the verse intends only to permit a Zar to do
the Sidur Shnei Gizrei Etzim (placing the two strips of firewood upon the
Mizbe'ach), but only a Kohen may do the Hefshet v'Nitu'ach. The Gemara
responds that it is more logical that the verse -- which is discussing the
arrangement of the Korban on the Mizbe'ach, which involves the body of the
Korban itself -- is permitting Hefshet v'Nitu'ach, which also involves the
body of the Korban itself (in contrast to the Sidur Shnei Gezirei Etzim).
The Gemara then rejects this argument, suggesting instead that the verse
*should* be discussing the Sidur Shnei Gezirei Etzim, since it is logical
that the verse, which is discussing the *arrangement* of the Korban on the
Mizbe'ach, is permitting Sidur Shnei Gezirei Etzim, which also *arrangement*
on the Mizbe'ach.
The Gemara concludes that the verse *cannot* be permitting Sidur Shnei
Gezirei Etzim through a non-Kohen, since another verse (Vayikra 1:13)
clearly teaches that the Sidur Shnei Gezirei Etzim *does* require a Kohen.
(The verse teaches that the act of bringing the Evarim to the Kevesh must be
done by a Kohen, implying that bringing the *wood* does not need to be done
by a Kohen, which in turn implies that the *Sidur*, or arrangement, of the
wood upon the Mizbe'ach *does* need to be done by a Kohen -- that is, it is
a "double Diyuk.")
The Gemara then returns to questioning whether v'Archu teaches that a Zar
may do the Hefshet v'Nitu'ach , asking "Perhaps the verse of "v'Archu"
(Vayikra 1:8) is needed 'for itself' -- i.e. to teach that the act of
placing the body parts on the Mizbe'ach must be done by a Kohen, and not to
teach through implication that the Hefshet v'Nitu'ach may be done by a Zar.
The Gemara therefore concludes that another verse, "v'Hiktir ha'Kohen Es
ha'Kol" (Vayikra 1:9), is the one that teaches that a Zar may do Hefshet
The final twist of the Sugya is puzzling. Why does the Gemara reject the
source from the verse "v'Archu" (Vayikra 1:8) on the basis that it is needed
to teach that placing the body parts on the Mizbe'ach must be done by
Kohanim? That was already taught by an earlier verse, "v'Hikrivu B'nei
Aharon ha'Kohanim..." (Vayikra 1:5), which the Gemara said teaches that
everything after the Kabalas ha'Dam must be done by Kohanim!
ANSWERS: The Rishonim seem to omit the words "v'Eima... l'Gufei" from the
text of the Gemara, just as the VILNA GA'ON deletes these words, and thus
the Gemara never asked the question that the verse "v'Archu" (Vayikra 1:8)
is needed "for itself." However, it is unclear what the actual Girsa of the
Gemara should be. There are different opinions among the Rishonim:
(a) The TOSFOS YESHANIM omits all the words from "v'Eima Hachi Nami" until
"v'Archu Shnayim." He explains that the Gemara asked no question at all on
the source of "v'Archu," and it indeed concluded that the verse "v'Archu"
(Vayikra 1:8) teaches that a Zar may do the Hefshet v'Nitua'ach. Rather, the
Gemara goes on to teach another Derashah (that the sheep which is brought as
the Korban Tamid, is brought with six Kohanim). The Tosfos Yeshanim says
that this was also the Girsa of Rashi.
(In summary, there are three approaches to answer the question, why did the
Gemara reject the Derashah of "v'Archu:" (a) According to Rashi, the Gemara
does not reject it; we just learn two things from "v'Archu." (b) According
to Rabeinu Chananel, the Gemara did reject it, based on the argument that it
is coming instead to teach that the Sidur Shnei Gezirei Etzim may be done by
a Zar, but not Hefshet. (c) The Vilna Ga'on says that the Gemara rejects the
Derashah of "v'Archu" only because there is an extra verse of "v'Hiktir."
However, he asks, the Gemara seems to be using the word "v'Archu" to teach
two things! First, it teaches that a Zar may do the Hefshet v'Nitu'ach.
Second, when the Gemara counts the number of Kohanim alluded to in the verse
who are needed to perform the Avodah of the Tamid, it uses the word
"v'Archu" to refer to two Kohanim (coming to a total of six). How can the
same word be used to teach two different things?
The RITVA answers this question and says that since we see that the rest of
the verse is giving the number of Kohanim needed (for it says "B'nei Aharon
ha'Kohanim," using the plural form of ha'Kohanim to teach the *number* of
Kohanim involved), we can then include all words which have numerical
implications (such as "v'Archu" in the plural form), even though they are
used already to teach something else as well. (The sum total number of
Kohanim is derived from the simple implication of the words in the verse and
does not interfere with the exegetical expounding of the verse.)
(b) In the Girsa of RABEINU CHANANEL, the Gemara does not make the "double
Diyuk" from "v'Hikriv" (Vayikra 1:13) that the arrangement of the Etzim
cannot be done by a Zar. Rather, the only way we know that the Etzim cannot
be arranged by a Zar is because there is no verse that permits it! If so,
the Gemara never had answered its question on the Derasha of v'Archu (that
perhaps the Hefshet v'Nitua'ch must be done by a Kohen, and it is the Sidur
Shnei Gezirei Etzim which may be done by a Zar). The Gemara therefore
answers that the source that Hefshet may be done by a Zar is "v'Hiktir"
(Vayikra 1:9), which is not referring at all to the Gizrei Etzim. The Sidur
Shnei Gezirei Etzim must be done by a Kohen by default, since no verse is
left to permit a Zar to do it. (That is, v'Archu is used for the number of
Kohanim offering the Tamid, v'Hikriv permits only the *bringing* of the wood
to the Mizbe'ach, and v'Hiktir is used to allow a Zar to do Hefshet
(c) According to the Girsa of the VILNA GA'ON, the Gemara rejects deriving
that a Zar may do the Hefshet from "v'Archu" (Vayikra 1:8), because if that
is the source then we are still left with an extra verse, "v'Hiktir"
(Vayikra 1:9). It must be that "v'Hiktir" teaches that a Zar may do Hefshet,
and not "v'Archu." "V'Archu," then, teaches only the number of Kohanim
needed in the Avodah of the Tamid.