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Menachos 64



(a) Rabah then tries to equate Rebbi Yishmael in our Mishnah with Rebbi Chanina S'gan ha'Kohanim there - on the grounds that the latter, like the former, forbids more Tircha that necessary.

(b) And again, we reject his suggestion on two scores, inasmuch as ...

1. ... Rebbi Yishmael might well agree with the Rabbanan of Rebbi Chanina S'gan ha'Kohanim (who prescribe three men, three scythes, three boxes, even on Shabbos) - because of the importance of publicising the Mitzvah (to negate the opinion of the Tzedokim, who would always cut the Omer (and count it too) on a Sunday.
2. ... Rebbi Chanina S'gan ha'Kohanim might well agree with the Rabbanan of Rebbi Yishmael (who require three Sa'ah to be cut, even on Shabbos) - because, as we have already explained, this results in the best quality flour.
(c) Rav Ashi then tries to equate Rebbi Yishmael with Rebbi Yossi in the Mishnah in Rosh Hashanah. The Tana Kama there permits the witnesses of the new moon to travel to Yerushalayim even on Shabbos, in order to testify, even if the moon was seen in the middle of the sky ('ba'Alil'). Rebbi Yossi says - 'Im Nir'eh ba'Alil, Ein Mechalelin Alav es ha'Shabbos' since we can assume that people in Yerushalayim saw the new moon, too (so what is the point of allowing Chilul Shabbos for no reason?).

(d) Rav Ashi now equates the two opinions in that - Rebbi Yossi, like Rebbi Yishmael, permits only as much Chilul Shabbos as necessary, but no more.

2) Once again however, we reject this suggestion on two scores. Rebbi ...
1. ... Yishmael may well agree with the Rabbanan of Rebbi Yossi (who permit the witnesses to break Shabbos, even if the moon was seen in the middle of the sky) - in order to discourage apathy on the part of the witnesses, who will continue to assume that they are not needed, and not bother to go to Yerushalayim in the future.
2. ... Yossi may well agree with the Rabbanan of Rebbi Yishmael - because, whereas in the case of the witnesses, it is not necessary to break Shabbos at all, in our case, cutting the barley to begin with, which the Torah permits, constitutes breaking Shabbos, and once that is permitted, he will concede that one may finish the job in the best possible way.
(a) Rabah (or Rebbi Ami) rules that if the Kohen Shechted two Chata'os Tzibur on Shabbos ...
1. ... where only one was needed - he is Chayav a Chatas ...
2. ... even if, in addition, the blood of the first one spilled, and it was the second one that ultimately attained the Kaparah ...
3. ... or where the first one turned out to be weak - before he went ahead and Shechted the second one.
(b) We query this however, from another statement of Rabah, where he rules that if the Kohen had two Chata'os Tzibur before him on Shabbos, a strong one and a weak one, and he Shechted them in that order. he is Chayav. In a case where he Shechted ...
1. ... them in the reverse order - not only is he Patur Bedieved, but even if he has Shechted ...
2. ... the weak one only - we instruct him to go ahead and Shecht the stronger one, because of the principle ("Hakriveihu Na le'Pechasecha" ['Would you offer such a sacrifice to a himan king'?]).
(c) Rabah now appears to contradict himself - in that his latter statement even permits him Lechatchilah to bring the second strong animal rather than the first weak first one, whilst his former statment rendered the Kohen Chayav for doing so even Bedi'eved?

(d) One answer to this Kashya is that the author of this second statement is not Rabah, but Rebbi Ami. The other answer is - that we need to erase the case of the weak and the strong Chatas from Rabah's first ruling.

(a) Ravina asked Rav Ashi about a case where the someone Shechted the second Chatas, when the first one which initially appeared to be strong, was later discovered to have had weak intestines. The She'eilah was - whether, according to Rabah, we go after the Shochet's intentions when he Shechted the second Chatas (to Shecht an animal that was forbidden), or after the facts (that the second animal was in fact, the better of the two).

(b) Rav Ashi replied by citing a Machlokes between Rabah and Rava, who discuss a case where a child fell into the sea, and someone cast a net to catch fish, and he caught fish plus the child. In a case where he caught only fish, both rule - that he is Chayav.

(c) If he caught the child as well, Rabah holds that he is Patur, whereas Rava holds - Chayav (though some reverse the opinions).

(a) In the second Lashon, Rav Ashi connects the two sides of Ravina's She'eilah to the Machlokes (Rabah holds Patur, Rava, Chayav). But in the first Lashon - he maintains that even Rabah exempts the fisherman only because he knew about the child having fallen into the sea (which is why Rabah exempts him); whereas in our case, where the Kohen was unaware of the first animals weak intestines, he will be Chayav, even according to Rabah.

(b) In the first Lashon, they needed to mention that the fisherman knew that a child had fallen into the sea (despite the fact that that is not the reason that Rabah rules Patur) - to teach us that if he caught only fish, he is Chayav in spite of that kowledge.

(a) If ten men ran and fetched ten figs on Shabbos, for a dangerously ill man for whom the doctor has prescribed one fig, Rava absolves them all from a Chatas. And this ruling even extends to where ...
1. ... they all left at different times - because when it comes to life-threatening situations, the more Zariz (agile, quick) a person is, the better.
2. ... the first fig had already cured him by the time the others arrived.
(b) Rava asked another She'eilah regarding a sick person who needs two figs, and one is faced with cutting either two figs on one stalk, or three figs on one stalk - which would be forbidden (because of Marbeh be'Shi'urin) if one had the alternative of cutting two figs on one stalk.

(c) We conclude - that it is obviously better to minimise the actual cutting (and to therefore cut the one stalk containing three figs) ...

(d) ... in spite of Rebbi Yishmael, who limits the cutting of the Omer to three Sa'ah, forbidding five - because there by cutting three Sa'ah instead of five, one also decreases the acts of cutting, whereas here, cutting the two figs would actually increase the cutting (as it would entail cutting two twigs instead of one).




(a) Our Mishnah cites the vicinity of Yerushalayim as the location from which the barley for the Omer has to be cut.

(b) One may nevertheless bring it from produce that grew further afield - if the barley crops in the vicinity of Yerushalayim are late that year.

(c) They once had to bring ...

1. ... the Omer (the first of the barley harvest) from Gagos Tzerifin.
2. ... the Sh'tei ha'Lechem (the first of the wheat harvest) from Ein Socher.
(d) During the civil war between the two ChaShimona'i brothers, Hurkanus and Aristobulus, when the former besieged Yerushalayim, those inside the city managed to bring Korbanos - by letting down a large basket full of gold coins, which those outside would replace with the necessary animals for the Korban Tamid.
(a) A certain traitor inside Yerushalayim - who had studied Greek philosophy (Chochmas Yevanis) conveyed to the besieging army the message - that as long as the men of Aristobulus continued to bring Korbanos, they would remain invincible.

(b) The besieging army reacted upon this advice - by taking the money from the basket, but instead of replacing it with the lambs for the Korban Tamid, they replaced it with a Chazir ...

(c) ... which, as it was being hauled up in the basket, dug its cloven hoofs into the wall, upon which the whole of Eretz Yisrael to shudder.

(d) The Chachamim subsequently issued a curse on - whoever would teach his children Chochmas Yevanis (besides the curse on whoever reared Chazerim).

(a) The connection between this episode and the Seifa of our Mishnah (see also Tosfos DH 've'al Osah Sha'ah') is - that it was during the time of the siege currently under discussion that the Omer and the Sh'tei ha'Lechem came from a different area (as described there).

(b) The problem that arose the following Pesach and Shavu'os, as a result of the siege (even assuming that it had already been lifted) was - the fact that, due to the devastation wrought by the besieging army, there was no wheat and barley to be had in the vicinity that year.

(c) In reply to an announcement - it was a Cheresh (who was dumb but able to hear) who advised the men of Yerushalayim to fetch barley from Gagos Tzerifin, and wheat from Ein Socher, when Pesach and Shavu'os respectively, arrived.

(d) Since he was unable to speak (or, it appears write), he informed them about ...

1. ... Gagos Tzerifin (when Pesach came round) - by placing one hand on a roof, and the other, on a wigwam (which is the literal meaning of 'Gagos Tzerifin').
2. ... Ein Socher, when Shavu'os arrived - by placing one hand on his eye, and the other, on the hole in the doorpost, into which one slips the bolt that locks the door (since that is the literal meaning of 'Ein Socher').
(a) The one to decipher the Cheresh's hints was none other than Mordechai (of Shushan fame, though, bearing in mind that he was already a member of Sanhedrin in the time of the first Beis-Hamikdash, this would make his age something in the region of four hundred years (see Tosfos D.H. 'Amar ... ').

(b) He did it, following the hint of that Cheresh, by asking the people whether there were such places as 'Gagos Tzerifin' or 'Tzerifei Gagos' and 'Ein Socher' or 'Socher Ayin', upon which they discovered that there were indeed two such places.

(a) Three women brought their Kinin (following Zivus). A 'Kein' is - a pair of birds.

(b) The Kohanim initially explained the 'le'Zivasi' said by the one, the 'le'Yamasi', by the second, and the 'le'Onasi' said by the third all as - to mean a fulfillment of the obligation of each one's Zivus ('le'Yamasi' refers to the woman having shed blood like the sea, and 'le'Onasi', to the woman having brought her Korban Zivus in its right time (on the eighth day).

(c) Mordechai however, interpreted these expressions to mean - that they came as a thanksgiving for having saved them from a. a Zivus that was life-threatening, b. from the sea and c. from a dangerous eye-illness.

(d) The difference whether they were actually Kinei Zavos, or whether the women had designated them as thanks for being saved would have been - whether one bird was an Olah and one, a Chatas, or whether they were both Olos.

(a) The Mishnah in Shekalim states that Pesachyah (alias Mordechai) was in charge of the Kinin. He was called by that name - because he was able to open the proceedings with regard to word-riddles (such as the above) and Darshen them.

(b) The objection to the statement that he also knew all seventy languages is - that so did all the other members of the Sanhedrin (so why was only Mordechai called Pesachyah).

(c) The members of Sanhedrin had to be wise, good-looking and tall. In addition to knowing all seventy languages, they also needed to be elderly and to know the rudiments of witchcraft.

(d) They needed to know ...

1. ... the rudiments of witchcraft - in case the defendant bewitched the fire or the sword that were meant to kill him.
2. ... know all the languages - so that they would hear from foreign witnesses directly, and not through a translator.
13) So we conclude that Mordechai was an expert in deciphering double names such as Gagos Tzerifin and Ein Socher - which earned him the additional nickname 'Mordechai Balshan' (meaning 'one who mixes expressions').

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