TalmuDigest

For the week ending 9 November 2013 / 6 Kislev 5774

Yoma 2 - 8

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • Separating the kohen gadol from home before Yom Kippur and the kohen who will be in charge of burning the Red Heifer
  • Learning the Yom Kippur separation from Sinai or from Sanctuary initiation
  • When was the Torah given and when did Moshe ascend to Heaven
  • Caution in communicating to another and in repeating what one has heard
  • Which functions in the initiation of the Sanctuary were indispensable
  • How the kohanim put on their holy garments in the initiation
  • The belt of the kohen gadol and that of the regular kohen
  • Why the kohen gadol’s wife did not accompany him to his Beit Hamikdash quarters
  • The ritual impurity status of one who had relations with a nidah
  • To what degree ritual impurity resulting from contact with the dead is waived in regard to a communal sacrifice
  • The function of the headband of the kohen gadol in counteracting ritual impurity
  • The application of the purifying ashes and water to the kohen gadol preparing for Yom Kippur and the kohen preparing for Red Heifer burning
  • The man with the Holy Name written on his body
  • The name of the quarters in the Beit Hamikdash where the kohen gadol lived before Yom Kippur and why it was so called

Belting the Kohen

  • Yoma 5a

One of the sacred priestly garments common to both the kohen gadol and a regular kohen was the avneit (belt). But was the avneit of both made from the same material?

In regard to the avneit of the kohen gadol the Torah spells out (Shmot 39:29) that it contained both wool and linen, a kilayim (shatnez) mixture. No mention is made in regard to the material used for the avneit of the regular kohen and there are two opinions as to what it contained. One opinion is that his aveneit was made of the same materials as that of the kohen gadol, while another opinion is that it was made only of linen.

The source of this divergence of opinion is the manner in which two different chapters in the Torah dealing with the priestly garments are reconciled. When Moshe was commanded regarding dressing the kohanim during the initiation (Shmot 29:9), he was told to “belt Aharon and his sons with an avneit” which indicates that Aharon, the kohen gadol, and his sons, the regular kohanim, had their avneit belts put on one after the other. But when the Torah reports how the dressing was actually carried out it first mentions the complete outfitting of Aharon including the avneit (Vayikra 8:7) and then the subsequent complete outfitting of his sons including the avneit (ibid. 8:13), which indicates that the donning of their avneit did not immediately follow that of their father.

These conflicting signals are reconciled in two different ways. One approach is to go with what we find in Shmot, that the donning of the avneit of Aharon was immediately followed by that of his sons. But what about the passages in Vayikra that separate the donning of the father’s aveneit and that of his sons? The answer is that the separation was to communicate that the avneit of the kohen gadol was not made of the same material as that of the regular kohen.

The other approach is to go with the passages in Vayikra that indicate that the avneit of the regular kohanim did not follow that of the kohen gadol. The passage in Shmot which speaks of them being together is intended to communicate that they were made of the same kilayim materials.

What the Sages Say

“It is proper conduct that one should not communicate something to another before first addressing him by his name.”

  • Rabbi Chanina (Yoma 4b)

“If one relates something to another, the receiver of this information is prohibited from repeating it to others without permission to do so.”

  • Rabbi Mossia Rabbah (Yoma 4b)

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