For the week ending 5 May 2012 / 12 Iyyar 5772

Me'ilah 16 - 22

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Combinations of parts of animal carcasses to form the amount for which the punishment of lashes is due
  • The laws concerning the blood of teeming creatures (sheratzim)
  • Other combinations of ritual contaminators
  • The miraculous rescue and the blood on the curtain
  • How much of sacred property illegally used constitutes me'ilah
  • When an agent performs me'ilah on behalf of another
  • Variations of me'ilah where a sender and an agent are involved
  • Using money given to a guardian for safekeeping

Hidden in Rome

"I saw the parochet of the Beit Hamikdash in Rome and there were some drops of blood on it."

This statement of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Yossi, refers to the opportunity he was given to enter the treasury of the Romans where articles stolen from the Beit Hamikdash were stored.

The background for this rare opportunity was the mission of this Sage and Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai to Rometo seek annulment of an anti-religious decree. When these Sages saved the emperor's daughter from the attack of a demon, they were rewarded with an offer to enter the royal treasury and take whatever they wished. The only thing they took was the document of the dangerous decree — which they then destroyed. It was during this incident that Rabbi Elazar took note of the spots on the parochet which had served as the partition between the Holy and the Holy of Holies. He identified them as the blood of the bullock and goal sacrifices which had been sprayed in the direction of the parochet in the Yom Kippur service.

But the parochet was not the only sacred item which the Romans kept in their vaults. In Avot of Rabbi Natan (Chapter 41, it is reported that along with the parochet the menorah, the table, the kohen gadol's headband and the vessel used for preparing the incense are all still to be found in Rome.

  • Me'ilah 17b

What the Sages Say

"Let the miracle (to save Jewry from a Roman decree) come from wherever it may (even through the help of a demon)."

  • Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai - Me'ilah 17b

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