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Yoma 44

YOMA 44 (1 Adar 5759) - dedicated by my mother on the Yahrzeit of my father's father, Mordecai [ben Elimelech Shmuel] Kornfeld, who perished in the Holocaust along with most of his family. May the deaths of the Kedoshim of the Holocaust atone for Klal Yisrael like Korbanos.


QUESTION: RASHI (DH Ma'alos d'Oraisa) explains that according to all opinions, the only Perishah (requirement to stay away from a certain part of the Beis ha'Mikdash while the Kohen is performing a certain Avodah) that is required mid'Oraisa on days other than Yom Kipur is to stay out of the Heichal while the Ketores is being offered inside the Heichal on the Mizbe'ach ha'Penimi. The requirement to stay away from any place outside of the Heichal, such as between the Ulam and Mizbe'ach, is only a Gezeirah mid'Rabanan. Why did the Rabanan make a Gezeirah that one may not be between the Ulam and Mizbe'ach during the burning of the Ketores in the Heichal? Rashi says that the Rabanan feared that if one is permitted to be between the Ulam and Mizbe'ach, perhaps he will accidentally walk into the Heichal (an Isur d'Oraisa) while the Ketores is being offered. Therefore, they decreed that one must stay far away from the Heichal.

If the Rabanan enacted a Gezeirah so that a person should not accidentally come into the Heichal, why did they not make such a Gezeirah on Yom Kipur as well? On Yom Kipur, it is forbidden mid'Oraisa to go into the Heichal while the Ketores is being offered in the Kodesh ha'Kodashim (44a). Nevertheless, there is no Isur, not even mid'Rabanan, to be between the Ulam and Mizbe'ach! Why did the Rabanan not make the same Gezeirah that they made for the rest of the year, while the Ketores is being offered in the Heichal, to forbid entry into the area between the Ulam and Mizbe'ach?


(a) The RITVA (44a) points out that Rashi (DH Aval b'Sha'as Haktarah) addresses this question by saying that since the outer Mizbe'ach is "far from where the Ketores is burned on Yom Kipur" (i.e. the Kodesh haKodashim), there is no need to prohibit being in the area between the Ulam and the Mizbe'ach.

Why not? Even though that area is far from the Kodesh ha'Kodashim where the Kohen Gadol burns the Ketores, it is *not* far from the Heichal, which is still forbidden to enter mid'Oraisa!

The Ritva explains that the only fear is that someone will try to peer into the Heichal in order to see the Avodah of the Ketores, and while doing so he will inadvertently go into the Heichal. On Yom Kipur, though, when the Ketores is burned in the Kodesh ha'Kodashim, a person will not try to peer into the Heichal because he knows that there is nothing there to see. Since he will not try to peer inside, there is no fear that he will walk in to the Heichal.

(b) The TOSFOS HA'ROSH understands Rashi to mean that nobody will enter the Heichal when the Kohen Gadol is offering the Ketores of Yom Kipur, because everyone stands with much greater of the offering of the Ketores in the Kodesh ha'Kodashim, and there is no concern that someone will walk into the Heichal on Yom Kipur. When Rashi writes that it is far away from the place of the Haktarah, he is explaining why the Rabanan did not prohibit going between the Ulam and Mizbe'ach on Yom Kipur as a preventative measure for the *rest* of the year (for if it is permitted to go there on Yom Kipur, perhaps someone will also think it is permitted to go there on other days). Rashi is saying that people will not confuse Yom Kipur with any other day because on Yom Kipur, the Ketores is offered far away from the Ulam, and thus there is no reason for people to confuse it with the offering of the Ketores in the Heichal during the rest of the year.

(c) The RITVA and TOSFOS YESHANIM suggest another answer. On Yom Kipur, the Rabanan preferred not to prohibit standing between the Ulam and Mizbe'ach, because they wanted other Kohanim to stand there as sentinels to watch the Kohen Gadol in the Heichal. This was done so that the Kohen Gadol would know that his actions were being observed and, if he was a Tzeduki, he would be afraid to place the Ketores on the coals before entering the Kodesh ha'Kodashim.

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