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Yoma 71

YOMA 59-88 have been dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. Simcha Bekelnitzky (Simcha Gedalya ben Shraga Feibush) of Queens N.Y. by his wife and daughters. Well known in the community for his Chesed and Tzedakah, he will long be remembered.


OPINIONS: The Gemara relates that one Motza'ei Yom Kipur, the people were escorting the Kohen Gadol home as he left the Beis ha'Mikdash. When the people saw the two great sages, Shemayah and Avtalyon, they left the Kohen Gadol and went to accompany Shemayah and Avtalyon, to give Kavod to the Torah.

When Shemayah and Avtalyon later came to the Kohen to take leave of him, upon seeing them the Kohen Gadol said, "Let the descendants of the [gentile] nations go to peace," insulting them as being converts. They responded to him, "Let the descendants of the [gentile] nations go to peace, who do the acts of Aharon, and let not the descendant of Aharon go to peace, who does not do the act of Aharon!"

In what way did Shemayah and Avtalyon feel that they "did the act of Aharon" more than the Kohen Gadol did?

(a) RASHI explains that when they said that "the descendants of the nations" do the "acts of Aharon," they meant that they themselves acted in accordance with the attribute of Aharon, who always pursued peace and brotherhood (Avos 1:12). They told the Kohen Gadol that by insulting them, he was not acting in accordance with the attribute of Aharon who pursued peace.

(b) The KOZHNITZER MAGID (the "Avodas Yisrael," cited by REBBI TZADOK in Pri Tzadik, Erev Yom Kipur, #3) suggests an original interpretation. The Kohen Gadol had become arrogant after performing the Avodah of Yom Kipur, viewing himself as all-important for having achieved atonement for the Jewish people by entering the Kodesh Kadoshim, the holiest place, on Yom Kipur. It was because of this arrogance that he insulted Shemayah and Avtalyon, pointing out their status as converts, as if to say that it was because of his lofty familial descent that he was privileged to enter the Kodesh Kadoshim and perform the Avodah, which they, with no Yichus to speak of, could never do.

They responded to him that his pride was completely out of place. It was not a result of *his* Avodah in the Beis ha'Mikdash that the Jewish people were granted atonement, for certainly the Avodah of an insolent Kohen is not effective (indeed, it was unlikely that he lived for the rest of the year, as the Gemara says earlier on 9a). Rather, they pointed out that it was a result of *their* Avodah that atonement was granted to the Jewish people. Through their prayers on Yom Kipur and their recitation of the order of the Avodah of Yom Kipur with all of the proper Kavanos, they caused the Avodah of the Kohen Gadol to attain atonement for the Jewish people. The Kohen Gadol's Avodah alone was not effective because it was done without the proper Kavanos, sanctity, and purity. It was the Tzadikim who were doing the real Avodah of Yom Kipur.

This is what they meant when they said that "the descendants of the nations... do the acts ("Avodah") of Aharon" -- that is, they perform the Avodah that attains atonement for the Jewish people, and not the descendant of Aharon "who does not do the act of Aharon" -- who does not properly perform the Avodah.

We might add that they also meant to reply to his remark about the difference between his Yichus and their Yichus. The Gemara in Horiyos (13a) says that the Yichus of Talmidei Chachamim who learn Torah is greater than the Yichus even "of a Kohen Gadol who goes into the Kodesh Kadoshim." Learning Torah confers the greatest Yichus to a person.

AGADAH: The Mishnah lists the four garments of the Bigdei Kehunah worn by a regular Kohen during the Avodah, and the additional four garments worn only by the Kohen Gadol. There are many allusions that reveal the deeper significance of these garments. Rav Mordechai Aran, Shlit'a, the author of NIFLA'OS MI'TORASECHA, has found a number of beautiful allusions of the Begadim in verses in which the names of the Begadim appear as Roshei Teivos or Sofei Teivos.
(a) THE CHOSHEN - The Gemara (Zevachim 88b) tells us that the Choshen, which is called the Choshen Mishpat, atones for "Ivus ha'Din" -- the corruption of justice, when judges judge someone wrongfully. One of the rare times that the word "Choshen" appears as a Roshei Teivos in Tanach is in the verse, "Hashem scrutinizes the righteous one, and He despises the wicked and the lover of theft" (Tehilim 11:5). The last three words in that verse are, "Chamas San'ah Nafsho," the Roshei Teivos of which spell "Choshen." This is most appropriate, since that verse discusses how Hashem hates wickedness, specifically the wickedness of theft, which is what the Choshen atones for.

(The only other two occurrences of the word "Choshen" as Roshei Teivos are in Yirmeyah 23:32 and Nachum 2:1.)

(b) THE ME'IL - The Me'il atones for Lashon ha'Ra, because the Pa'amonim and Rimonim (the bells and pomegranate-shaped forms) on the bottom of the Me'il's hem make a noise as the Kohen walks. The sound that they make atones for the human misuse of sound, of speaking Lashon ha'Ra (Zevachim 88b).

Chazal teach that the sin of the Nachash who convinced Adam and Chavah to eat from the Etz ha'Da'as originated with Lashon ha'Ra, for the Nachash spoke Lashon ha'Ra about Hashem (Tanchuma Bereishis 8:8, and Rashi Shemos 4:3; see Insights to Shabbos 56a). That Lashon ha'Ra was the first Lashon ha'Ra that was ever spoken, and all subsequent Lashon ha'Ra comes from there. Chazal (Erchin 15b) add that the snake symbolizes the person who speaks Lashon ha'Ra, because just like the snake bites without getting any benefit from the bite, the person who speaks Lashon ha'Ra causes damage with his mouth without getting any personal benefit from it.

In the verse which commands that Rimonim be placed on the bottom of the Me'il (Shemos 28:33), the Sofei Teivos of the words, "Al Shulav Rimonei Techeles v'Argaman," spell out the word, "Livyasan" (this is the only occurrence of that word in all of Tanach as a Roshei Teivos or Sofei Teivos). The Mekubalim teach that when the verse in Yeshayah (27:1) states that in the future, Hashem will kill the "Livyasan Nachash Akalason," it is referring to the original Nachash, who is also the Yetzer ha'Ra, and is also known as "Lilis." This force of evil is aroused whenever a person speaks Lashon ha'Ra (Zohar, Pekudei 265a; Rav Moshe Cordavero, in Sefer ha'Pardes, Sha'ar ha'Temuros 25:5). Thus it is appropriate that we find the word "Livyasan" in the verse discussing the Pa'amonim and Rimonim on the bottom of the Me'il which atone for Lashon ha'Ra. They cause the repeal of the power of the Livyasan which is aroused when someone speaks Lashon ha'Ra (when a word appears as the Sofei Teivos, it represents the end of, or repeal, of something).

Rav Aran adds that It is interesting to note that in Parshas Pekudei, in the parallel verse that discusses the fulfillment of the command to place the Rimonim on the Me'il, the verse reads, "Al Shulei ha'Me'il Rimonei Techeles" (Shemos 39:24), the Sofei Teivos of which spells out "Lilis," which again demonstrates that the Pa'amonim and Rimonim are able to repeat the power of Lilis which is aroused by Lashon ha'Ra. (There is only one other occurrence of the word "Lilis" as Sofei Teivos, and that is in Divrei ha'Yamim II 17:10.)

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