For the week ending 7 December 2013 / 4 Tevet 5774

Yoma 30 - 36

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Bodily cleanliness for reputation and for prayer
  • The tevilah (immersion) in mikveh before entering Sanctuary
  • The long knife as an alternative to tevilah
  • The five tevilah immersions and ten washings of the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur
  • Location of the mikveh
  • Different views on the order of immersion and washing when garments were changed
  • Slaughtering of the morning daily sacrifice on Yom Kippur – start and finish
  • Order of the service in the Beit Hamikdash every day
  • Not skipping a mitzvah at hand and relevance to tefilin
  • Ordering of the menorah lamps in the morning
  • When the incense was offered in the morning and afternoon
  • Warming up the mikveh for an old or sensitive Kohen Gadol
  • The Pareveh chamber, its purpose and background
  • The public and private sacred garments of the Kohen Gadol
  • Judgment Day for the poor man, rich man and handsome man who failed to study Torah
  • First viduy confession of the Kohen Gadol – where and what
  • Where the altar stood
  • What the individual’s olah burnt-offering atoned for
  • The text of the viduy confession

In the Name of the Gemara

In the earliest part of our morning shacharit service we recite a statement of the Sage Abaye about the order of the daily service in the Beit Hamikdash, which is introduced in a most unusual way:

“Abaye presented the order of the service in the name of the Gemara and according to Abba Shaul.”

The background for this introduction is a dispute between the Sage Abba Shaul and the other Sages regarding one stage of the daily service. There is a consensus that between the morning arrangement of five of the lamps of the menorah and the other two, there must come another service. While Abba Shaul contends that it is the slaughtering of the daily sacrifice and applying its blood to the altar, the other Sages are of the opinion that it is the offering of the incense on the golden altar, which is performed at this interval.

Rambam (Laws of Regular and Additional Sacrifices 6:4) rules like the majority opinion, while the Tur (Orech Chaim 48) rules like Abba Shaul. The commentaries explain this difference of opinion as being based on what is meant by the Sage Abaye’s statement “in the name of the Gemara”. Rashi explains it as meaning that there was a consensus of the Sages of his time in favor of Abba Shaul’s position based on what they had received from their teachers. This certainly explains the position of the Tur in ruling like Abba Shaul and why it is this text that appears in our siddurim prayer books. Rambam, however, understood Abaye’s statement “in the name of the Gemara” as quoting an anonymous source rather than a consensus and therefore followed the general principle of ruling like the majority position.

There is a glaring omission in Abaye’s list of services that is pointed out by Tosefot. The first service of the day, the ceremonial tithing of the ashes of the sacrificial altar, is not mentioned!

The answer given by Tosefot is that since we learned back in Yoma 20 that there were occasions when this tithing was done as early as the first third of the night, or midnight, it could not be considered an integral part of the daily service which could only be performed after daybreak.

  • Yoma 33a

What the Sages Say

“Here is someone who it was certainly worth violating the Shabbat in order to save his life!”

  • The Sages Shemaya and Avtalyon after reviving the frozen Sage Hillel, who listened to their Torah lecture from a skylight on a snowy Shabbat – Yoma 35b

“When Moshe, in the thirteen attributes of Divine mercy (Shmot 34:6), referred to G-d as forgiving intentional sins and rebellious ones along with those committed involuntarily, he was appealing to G-d that when Jews repent their sins He should treat their serious intentional and rebellious sins as merely being unintentional lapses.”

  • The Sages, in explanation of the order of the confession made by the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur

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