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Yoma 45

YOMA 45 has been anonymously sponsored towards a REFU'AH SHELEMAH to Shmuel Yakov ben Ayala Hinda, Ilana Golda bas Chana and Klarees Marcia bas Mammie.


QUESTION: The Gemara discusses the verses from which we learn the various Ma'arachos that were on the Mizbe'ach, according to the different opinions (Rebbi Yehudah, Rebbi Yosi, and Rebbi Meir). Rebbi Yosi maintains that in addition to the Ma'arachah Gedolah and the Ma'arachah for the Ketores, there was a third Ma'arachah of Kiyum ha'Esh, which he learns from the verse, "v'ha'Esh Al ha'Mizbe'ach Tukad Bo" (Vayikra 6:5). Rebbi Yehudah, who holds that there was not a third Ma'arachah of Kiyum ha'Esh, says that the verse instead teaches Hatzasas Alyasa -- when kindling the fire of the Mizbe'ach, the splinters must be ignited on the top of the Mizbe'ach (and not brought from below). The verse, according to Rebbi Yehudah, is not discussing a new Ma'arachah, but how to light the fire on the Mizbe'ach on the main Ma'arachah. Rebbi Yosi, on the other hand, derives the law of Hatzasas Alyasa from a different source, the verse expounded by Rebbi Shimon, "v'Nasnu B'nei Aharon ha'Kohen Esh Al ha'Mizbe'ach" (Vayikra 1:7), which teaches that the fire must be ignited on the top of the Mizbe'ach.

RASHI asks that if this verse is teaching Hatzasas Alyasa, why does it mention that the Kohanim ("B'nei Aharon ha'Kohen") must do it? It is obvious that the fire must be kindled by Kohanim, because it must be done on top of the Mizbe'ach and, as Rebbi Shimon argued in the Gemara, a non-Kohen is not allowed on the Mizbe'ach! Why, according to Rebbi Shimon, does the verse have to say that a Kohen is necessary if it already specified that it must be done atop the Mizbe'ach?

Rashi answers that if the verse had not mentioned the Kohanim, we might have understood it to mean that a non-Kohen may light the fire down below and throw it up onto the Mizbe'ach. The verse therefore teaches that a Kohen must light it.

Rashi's answer is problematic, though. In the Gemara, Rebbi Shimon rejected the interpretation of Rebbi Yehudah, who said that the verse teaches that a Kohen is needed to light the fire on top of the Mizbe'ach, since "a non- Kohen is not allowed near on the Mizbe'ach in either case." Although Rebbi Yehudah responded that the verse teaches a non-Kohen may not kindle with a bellows, from below, Rebbi Shimon did not accept this argument. But now Rebbi Shimon himself is saying the same thing! That is, although we already know that Hatzasas Alyasa must be done on top of the Mizbe'ach, Rebbi Shimon finds it necessary to bring a source showing that a *Kohen* must perform Hatzasas Alyasa, and that a non-Kohen may not throw it on top of the Mizbe'ach. Why was Rebbi Shimon bothered with Rebbi Yehudah's interpretation of the verse, if Rebbi Shimon is, in the end, saying the same thing?


(a) TOSFOS (DH v'Chi) answers that when Rebbi Shimon says that the fire must be lit by a Kohen (and not by a Zar below and thrown up to the Mizbe'ach), he is not referring to the act of Hatzasas Alyasa, the *kindling* of the burning splinters to make the fire strong. It is not possible to perform Hatzasas Alyasa anywhere but on top of the Mizbe'ach, unless one stands below the Mizbe'ach and uses a bellows to strengthen the flame above. Rebbi Shimon maintains that using a bellows from below is not an option and thus no verse is needed to exclude that option.

However, we might have thought that the initial act of *bringing* the flame (there is a Mitzvah to bring a flame to the Mizbe'ach despite the fact that a heavenly flame was always burning there) could be done by a non-Kohen below and *thrown* onto the Mizbe'ach. That is why this verse, which is discussing *bringing* the fire, as opposed to *kindling* the fire, must specify that it must be done by Kohanim. That is, throwing a fire to the top of the Mizbe'ach is a practical option, but *kindling* a fire from below with a bellows is not a practical option, according to Rebbi Shimon. (The RITVA gives a similar explanation.)


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