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Menachos, 93


OPINIONS: The Mishnah lists the types of people who may not perform Semichah on Korbanos. One of these people is a woman. Although the Gemara here does not mention any other opinion, we find in Chagigah (16b) that there is an argument whether or not a woman may do Semichah on her Korban if she wants. The Gemara in Chagigah records a Beraisa in which the Tana Kama states that women may not do Semichah. Rebbi Yosi argues and says that women may do Semichah if they wish. Rebbi Yosi relates in the name of Aba Elazar that once they let women do Semichah on Shelamim. Aba Elazar explained that this was not because they maintained that Semichah is supposed to be done with women, but rather because they wanted to make a "Nachas Ru'ach" for the women.

According to this opinion, how did the women do this Semichah? We know that Semichah must be done with both hands, so that one puts his entire weight on the animal. If women are not supposed to do Semichah, then how can they lean on the animal? Leaning on the animal when there is no obligation to do Semichah would constitute performing unnecessary labor with Kodshim and is prohibited!

(a) TOSFOS in Chulin (85a, DH Nashim Somchos) points out that the Gemara in Chagigah itself asks this question. The Gemara there answers that the women did not actually lean on the Korban, but rather they were instructed to lightly place their hands over the Korban.

(b) However, the SHA'AR HA'MELECH (Hilchos Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos 3:13) quotes the KORBAN AHARON who asserts that many Rishonim differ with this opinion. RASHI in Chulin (DH Somchos Reshus) explains Rebbi Yosi's position by saying that "even though they are not obligated [to do Semichah], we do not say that they are doing [prohibited] Avodah with Kodshim." If Rashi maintains that the Semichah performed by women is done as the Gemara in Chagigah describes (that is, by lightly placing their hands over the Korban), then why does Rashi need to tell us that they are not doing a prohibited Avodah with Kodshim? It must be that Rashi holds that they put all of their weight onto the animal when they do Semichah. The Korban Aharon mentions many others who also hold that this is the way women do Semichah (such as TOSFOS in Rosh Hashanah 33a, DH Ha, and in Eruvin 96a, DH Dilma, and the RAN in Sukah 9b (of the pages of the Rif)).

However, this opinion is difficult to understand, since the Gemara in Chagigah explicitly states that, according to Rebbi Yosi, the women did not put all of their weight on the animal when doing Semichah. How do these Rishonim explain the Gemara there?

The Korban Aharon answers that there are two different situations regarding women doing Semichah. The Gemara in Chagigah is discussing a case in which the Korban did not belong to the woman in question. The Gemara there is saying that it is impossible to let other women do a real Semichah just because they are the ones transporting this Korban to the Beis ha'Mikdash. In contrast, the argument between Rebbi Yosi and the Tana Kama involves whether or not women can do real Semichah on their own Korbanos. According to this explanation, Tosfos in Chagigah (16b, DH la'Asos) agrees with Tosfos in Chulin (85a), as Tosfos explicitly says that the Gemara is talking about women doing Semichah on Korbanos that they own themselves. (See Sha'ar ha'Melech at length.)

Although there is a difference between the cases of these Gemaros, there still seems to be a logical problem with the opinion of Rashi and the Rishonim who hold that women may do regular Semichah. Why does Rebbi Yosi permit women to do Avodah with Kodshim, when there is no obligation for them to do Semichah?

The RA'AVAD in Toras Kohanim (Vayikra 2:2) holds like Rashi and explains the position of Rebbi Yosi accordingly. He explains that Rebbi Yosi understands that when the Torah says that women are exempt from certain Mitzvos, it does not mean that they cannot do those Mitzvos, but rather it means that they do not *have* to do those Mitzvos. Inherent in this understanding is that the Torah gives permission to women to do the Mitzvos from which they are exempt if they so desire. Rebbi Yosi is not saying that women can do Semichah despite the prohibition; rather, he is saying that the Torah never prohibited women from doing Semichah, and, on the contrary, it left them the option to do so. (Y. Montrose)


2) "YADAV"
QUESTION: The Mishnah (93a) says that when one performs Semichah on a Korban, he must do it with two hands. Reish Lakish here says that the source for this requirement is a Binyan Av that teaches that whenever the Torah uses the word "Yadav" (spelled Yud, Dalet, Vav), it refers to two hands. This is learned from the verse, "v'Samach Aharon Es Shtei Yadav" -- "and Aharon leaned his two hands" (Vayikra 16:21). In this verse, the word "Yadav" is spelled without a second Yud. Reish Lakish learns that whenever the word "Yadav" appears without a second Yud (even when it is read "Yado"), it refers to two hands, as it does in this verse, unless the verse specifies otherwise.

The YAD BINYAMIN explains the reasoning behind Reish Lakish's teaching. Why does the Torah write "Shtei Yadav" without a second Yud? Why does it not simply omit the word "Shtei" (two) and simply write "Yadav" with a second Yud, which also means "two hands"? It must be that the Torah wants to teach us that whenever it says "Yadav" without a second Yud, it refers to two hands.

The Gemara later says that when Reish Lakish heard his own Derashah being taught by Rebbi Elazar without attributing it to him, he challenged Rebbi Elazar and asked why the Torah itself writes the word "Yadav" with a second Yud twenty-four times. The Gemara gives three examples of "Yadav" written with a second Yud. The Gemara concludes that this Derashah applies only to occasions of the word "Yadav" (without a second Yud) that are written with regard to Semichah of Korbanos. With regard to Semichah, it always refers to two hands. However, in other areas of the Torah, the word "Yadav" without a second Yud does not necessarily refer to two hands.

The SEFAS EMES and other Acharonim ask an obvious question on the Gemara. If we count the number of times that the word "Yadav" appears in the Torah with a second Yud, we will find that it does not appear twenty-four times, but only thirteen! We cannot say that he means that in all of Tanach the word "Yadav" appears twenty-four times, because it appears many more times (forty-six). What, then, does Reish Lakish mean when he asks that the word "Yadav" is written with a second Yud twenty-four times?


(a) The NIMUKEI HA'GRIV answers that Reish Lakish is not asking that the word "Yadav" appears in the Torah twenty-four times. Rather, he is referring to a verse in Shmuel (II 21:20). The verse there describes a great warrior of the Philistines and says, "v'Etzba'os Yadav v'Etzba'os Raglav Shesh v'Shesh, Esrim v'Arba Mispar" -- "And the digits of his hands and the digits of his feet were six each, twenty-four in number." When the Gemara quotes Reish Lakish as asking, "Esrim v'Arba Yadav," it is actually abbreviating this verse. Reish Lakish is asking that we find in that verse that the word "Yadav" is spelled with a second Yud when referring to two hands.

This explanation seems very forced. Besides for the strange method of abbreviating the verse, why does Reish Lakish ask his question from this verse in Shmuel before listing any of the other verses in Chumash (as the Gemara proceeds to list)?

(b) The MALBIM (Vayikra 16:21) answers that Reish Lakish indeed means that the word appears twenty-four times in the Chumash. He is referring, though, to different conjugations of the word in which a second Yud is written, such as "Yedei," "Yadai," "Yadeha," and "Yadecha." There indeed are twenty-four such words in the Chumash. (Y. Montrose)

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