THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) USING GREEK LETTERS IN THE BEIS HA'MIKDASH
QUESTION: The Mishnah (74b) teaches that when performing Meshichah on
Rekikin, one smears the oil on the loaves (after they are baked) in the
shape of a "Ki." The Gemara here quotes Rav Kahana who explains that this
refers to the Greek letter, "Xi" (see TOSFOS DH k'Min Ki, for various
opinions as to the exact shape).
2) HOW TO DO "MESHICHAH" ON "REKIKIN"
Why is the oil supposed to smeared on the Rekikin specifically in the shape
of a Greek letter?
ANSWER: The Mishnah in Shekalim (8a) similarly says that the letters Alef,
Beis, and Gimel were written upon the three boxes used for the Terumas
ha'Lishkah in order to denote which was separated first. Rebbi Yishmael
notes that the letters on the boxes were actually written in Greek -- Alpha,
Beta, and Gamma.
The KORBAN HA'EDAH there explains that using Greek letters on the boxes of
the Terumas ha'Lishkah is based on the verse, "Yaft Elokim l'Yefes v'Yishkon
b'Ohalei Shem" -- "Ascribe beauty to Yefes, and he shall dwell in the tents
of Shem" (Bereishis 9:27). The beauty of Yefes in this verse refers to the
Greek language ("Yevanis" is the language of Yavan, the patriarch of Greece,
who was one of the sons of Yefes). The "tents of Shem" refer to the Beis
ha'Mikdash (see also Megilah 9b, where the Gemara says that the "tents of
Shem" refer to the Beis ha'Midrash and derives from this verse that it is
permitted to write a Sefer Torah with Greek script).
This can be understood on a deeper level. Hashem puts objects of beauty into
this world. The reason they are here is not to serve our indulgences and
gratify our appetite for pleasure. Rather, they are meant to be used in the
service of Hashem by inspiring awe for Hashem's majesty, as the verse
expresses, "Sheker ha'Chen v'Hevel ha'Yofi, Ishah Yir'as Hashem Hi
Tis'halal" -- beauty is false, unless it is used to acquire Yir'as Hashem.
That is why the Midrash (Shemos Rabah 35) teaches that the world is not fit
to use such beautiful items as gold and the cedars of Levanon; those items
were created only to be used for the Beis ha'Mikdash and the Mishkan.
Similarly, we find in Kidushin (49b) that when Hashem put beauty into the
world, He gave nine portions of beauty to Yerushalayim and one portion to
the rest of the world. Yerushalayim is the place where beauty is utilized in
the way it was intended to be used -- for the service of Hashem.
The Greeks prided themselves in beautifying their language and all of the
objects of their creativity out of indulgence and hedonism. We demonstrate
that the proper place for beauty is in the Beis ha'Mikdash, where it induces
awe for Hashem's majesty. We use the Greek language in certain parts of the
Avodah in the Beis ha'Mikdash to show that the proper way to use beauty is
for the service of Hashem. We wrote Greek letters upon the boxes of the
Terumas ha'Lishkah, from which the Korbanos are brought. In addition, the
Kohen Gadol is anointed by smearing oil on his head "in the shape of the
Greek letter, Xi" (Horayos 12a). The Kohen Gadol, wearing his unique and
majestic garments of "Kavod and Tiferes" is a living demonstration of how
beauty should be channeled towards Yir'as Shamayim. Similarly, oil is
smeared on the Rekikin of the Minchah offerings "in the shape of the Greek
QUESTION: The Mishnah (74b) teaches that when performing Meshichah on
Rekikin, one smears the oil on the loaves (after they are baked) in the
shape of the Greek letter, "Ki" ("Xi") (see previous Insight). After the
Meshichah is finished, the remaining oil is given to the Kohanim for them to
eat. The Gemara here quotes two Beraisos. One discusses a Minchah that is
half Rekikin, and the other discusses a Minchah that is comprised entirely
of Rekikin. The Beraisos, when explaining how to perform the Meshichah,
record an argument between the Tana Kama and Rebbi Shimon ben Yehudah in the
name of Rebbi Shimon. The Tana Kama says that the oil is smeared on the
loaves repeatedly, until it is used up. Rebbi Shimon ben Yehudah in the name
of Rebbi Shimon says, like our Mishnah, that after Meshichah is done, the
remaining oil is eaten by the Kohanim.
The RAMBAM (Hilchos Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos 13:9) rules like the Tana Kama of
the Beraisa, and not like Rebbi Shimon in our Mishnah. The KESEF MISHNEH
questions how the Rambam arrives at this conclusion. The Gemara in Yevamos
(42b) says that when a Mishnah makes a statement as a matter of fact with no
dispute concerning the matter, and a Beraisa records an argument concerning
the matter ("Stam b'Mishnah u'Machlokes b'Beraisa"), the Halachah follows
the Mishnah. Why, then, does the Rambam ignore this principle and rule like
(a) The MAHARI KURKAS explains that the Rambam understands from the Beraisos
that the opinion expressed in the Mishnah is a minority opinion, that of
Rebbi Shimon. In a case of a Machlokes between the Tana Kama and Rebbi
Shimon, we would normally rule like the Tana Kama and not Rebbi Shimon.
Therefore, the Rambam rules like the Tana Kama. Moreover, the Mahari Kurkas
explains that the main reason why the Gemara quotes these Beraisos is to
tell us that our Mishnah is a minority opinion. This is why the Rambam does
not rule like our Mishnah.
The Mahari Kurkas points out that this does seem to conflict with the
aforementioned principle in Yevamos (42b). However, he quotes the HALICHOS
OLAM (Sha'ar 5:3) who says that the Gemara, on occasion, will not follow an
established principle such as this one when it discovers that the opinion in
the Mishnah is a minority opinion (see, for example, Sukah 19b). The Kesef
Mishneh apparently does not agree with this, because in his commentary on
the Halichos Olam (KELALEI HA'GEMARA) he asks that it is difficult to
suggest that there can be exceptions to this principle (see also YAVIN
SHEMU'AH). This explains why the Mahari Kurkas was satisfied with his
answer, while the Kesef Mishneh remained with his question.
(b) The LECHEM MISHNEH explains that the Sifra (end of ch. 11) quotes Rebbi
Elazar ben Yakov as expressing the same opinion as that of our Mishnah.
Rebbi Elazar ben Yakov derives his view from the fact that there are two,
seemingly extra phrases in the Torah that say, "ba'Shemen." However, we
learned earlier (63b) that Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Shimon derive other
things from these verses. The Lechem Mishneh quotes the RE'EM who says that
Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Shimon do not agree with Rebbi Elazar ben Yakov.
Accordingly, we have two more Tana'im who argue with the opinion expressed
in our Mishnah, which provides us with another possibility why the Rambam
does not rule like our Mishnah. However, after further analysis, the Lechem
Mishneh concludes that this answer is not viable. Rebbi Shimon is the Tana
quoted by the Beraisos as saying the same Halachah as Rebbi Elazar ben Yakov
(and our Mishnah), and thus it cannot be that Rebbi Shimon argues with this
(c) The KEREN ORAH gives a different answer. He explains that this opinion
is quoted in the Mishnah in Zevachim (91a) in the name of Rebbi Shimon. The
Mishnah there quotes Rebbi Shimon, who says that when we see oil being
divided up among the Kohanim, there is no need to ask what oil it is. It is
the leftover oil from Rekikin brought by a Yisrael, or the Log of oil of a
Metzora. RASHI there (DH Mosar Rekikei) explains that Rebbi Shimon there is
consistent with his opinion here that the leftover oil is divided among the
Kohanim (and is not used up). The fact that this opinion is mentioned in the
Mishnah there as a minority opinion (and not as a "Stam Mishnah") shows that
it does not have the strength of a normal "Stam Mishnah" even when it
appears in the Mishnah here with no name. This is why the Rambam rules like
the Tana Kama of the Beraisa. (Y. Montrose)
3) FOLDING THE LOAVES OF MENACHOS
OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that a Minchah brought by a Yisrael is folded
two times, first into two layers, and then into four, and then the layers
are separated. The same as done to the Minchah of a Kohen, except that it is
What exactly is involved in the process of folding the Minchah offering?
4) WHEN DOES ONE RECITE "SHEHECHEYANU" WHEN OFFERING A "MINCHAH"?
(a) RASHI and RABEINU GERSHOM (DH Kofel) say that the loaves are folded, or
doubled over, into two layers, and then into four little loaves. When the
Mishnah says that a Minchas Yisrael is then separated, it means that the
Menachos are then crushed into pieces.
(b) The RAMBAM in PERUSH HA'MISHNAYOS explains that the Mishnah is not
referring to the original loaves of the Minchah. Rather, it is referring to
the loaves after they have been crushed into pieces. Each piece is then
folded into two and then into four pieces, and then crushed into smaller
pieces. He infers this from the last statement of the Mishnah, "v'Kulan
Posesan k'Zeisim" -- "and all of them are crushed as a k'Zayis," which he
understands is not a statement by Rebbi Shimon, but a statement with which
everyone agrees (see Rashi Kesav Yad, DH v'Kulan, who says that this
statement was said only by Rebbi Shimon).
The CHOK NASAN and MELECHES SHLOMO have difficulty with the opinion of the
Rambam. Rav Yosef proves that a Chavitzah that has pieces the size of a
k'Zayis requires the Berachah of "ha'Motzi" from the fact that the pieces of
a Minchah require "ha'Motzi" only when they are the size of a k'Zayis, while
if it does not have such large pieces it requires the Berachah of "Borei
Minei Mezonos." It is obvious that Rav Yosef holds that a Minchah is
supposed to be the size of a k'Zayis when eaten. According to Rashi and
Rabeinu Gershom, the Mishnah is telling us that the pieces of the Minchah
should not be less than a k'Zayis after they are crushed. However, according
to the Rambam, the pieces must be much less than a k'Zayis, and,
consequently, Rav Yosef has no proof! Indeed, the TOSFOS CHADASHIM (on
Mishnayos) says that the Rambam retracted his opinion. We find that the
Rambam (Hilchos Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos 13:10) says that one folds the "Chalos,"
like the explanation of Rashi and Rabeinu Gershom.
The KEREN ORAH says that it is possible that the Rambam there and the Rambam
in Perush ha'Mishnayos are not contradictory. The Rambam's statement in
Perush ha'Mishnayos is, "And that Pesisah, which is a k'Zayis, is folded
with four, and is not separated." The BARTENURA understands the Rambam to be
saying that "that Pesisah, which is a k'Zayis, should be folded fourfold and
not separated" (in the case of a Minchas Kohen). The Keren Orah, however,
insists that the Rambam means, "And the Pesisah which is done to pieces
which are a k'Zayis contains four pieces to be folded at one time, and they
are not separated." (Y. Montrose)
OPINIONS: The Gemara cites a Beraisa that says that when a person brings a
Minchah offering, he should recite the blessing of "Shehecheyanu." Under
what circumstances does this apply?
(a) RASHI (DH Hayah Omed u'Makriv Menachos) explains that a *Kohen* who
offers a Minchah offering on the Mizbe'ach for the first time in his life
recites the blessing of Shehecheyanu. According to TOSFOS' text of Rashi,
the words of Rashi read "for the first time *this year*."
(b) RASHI suggests another explanation. When a *Minchah* is brought for the
first time (such as the Minchas ha'Omer, which is the first to be brought
from the new year's produce), the Kohen recites Shehecheyanu.
(c) The ROSH and RABEINU YEHUDAH HA'CHASID in Berachos (37b) write that any
time a Kohen offers a Minchah offering on the Mizbe'ach, he recites
(d) RASHI in Berachos (37b, DH Hayah, and DH Omer Baruch Shehecheyanu) and
RABEINU SHEMAYAH (quoted by Rabeinu Yehudah ha'Chasid) say that *any
person*, even a Yisrael, who brings a Minchah offering after a long time
recites Shehecheyanu. Rabeinu Shemayah adds that it is uncommon to bring a
freewill Minchah offering, and therefore one recites Shehecheyanu every time
it is brought.
TOSFOS in Berachos (DH Hayah) says that this explanation is problematic,
because the Beraisa here clearly says, "Hayah Omed u'Makriv Menachos
b'Yerushalayim, *Omer*..." -- "he was standing and offering Menachos in
Yerushalayim, *he* says...." This clearly indicates that the one who
actually offers the Minchah is the one who says the Berachah. This cannot
refer to a Yisrael, who cannot actually offer a Minchah on the Mizbe'ach.
Tosfos here (DH Hayah) also asks that this explanation does not fit our
Gemara's statement that "he took them to eat them." A Yisrael is not allowed
to eat a Minchah. How, then, can the Beraisa be discussing a Yisrael?
The YA'AVETZ in Berachos answers that Rashi was bothered by a different part
of the text of the Beraisa. The Beraisa refers to a person who was "standing
and offering Menachos *in Yerushalayim*." Why does the Beraisa add that he
was in Yerushalayim? It is obvious that he was in Yerushalayim, since all
Korbanos are brought only in the Beis ha'Mikdash in Yerushalayim!
Rashi understood from the words "in Yerushalayim" that the Beraisa is
referring to *all* of Yerushalayim, and not merely the specific area of the
Beis ha'Mikdash. This is why Rashi understood that the Beraisa is referring
to a Yisrael who is bringing a Minchah in Yerushalayim. The Yisrael is not
actually offering it on the Mizbe'ach. While the Ya'avetz does not address
the question of Tosfos here in Menachos, we may suggest that Rashi
understood that the text "he took them to eat them" is no longer referring
to the Yisrael who brought the Minchah, but is referring now to a Halachah
involving the Kohen.
(e) Another version of RASHI in Berachos (according to the reading of the
TOSFOS HA'ROSH) explains that a Yisrael who offers a Minchah offering for
the first time in his life recites Shehecheyanu.
(f) Tosfos in Berachos and Menachos says that the Kohen who brings the first
Minchah of his Mishmar recites Shehecheyanu, because each Mishmar serves
only once every half a year.
The Ya'avetz in Berachos comments that Tosfos' statement implies that one
can say Shehecheyanu on events that occur biannually. The BEIS YOSEF (OC
225) discusses this point at length and is uncertain whether or not one
recites Shehecheyanu on events which occur annually or even on events that
occur biannually. He discusses whether or not one should say Shehecheyanu
every six months on a new fruit that grows during two seasons a year.
It is possible that Rashi did not give this explanation because he
maintained that one cannot say Shehecheyanu on a biannual event.