Friday, July 21, 2006

Daf Yomi - Yoma 44 - No Man or Malach should be in the Ohel Moed during the Ketores

From the Gemora it is evident that there is a prohibition from the torah not to be in the Heichal (Ohel Moed) at the time when the kohen gadol is performing the avodas haketores. This is learned from the passuk וכל אדם לא יהי באהל מועד וגו. It is asked by the Acharonim as to why the Rishonim who list all the mitzvos in the Torah omit this particular one? Why is it not counted as its own commandment?

Rav Yeruchem Fishel Perlow in his explanation to the Resag (183) answers with an innovative approach to the issur. He explains that the issur is not on the individual (gavra) to make sure that he is not in that particular area of the Beis Hamikdosh during the avodas haketores. The mitzva is that the ketores should be done in the correct method. One of the dinim of the ketores is that there should not be anybody there throughout the avodas haketores. If someone was there, that renders the ketores invalid. Accordingly, this is why it is not regarded as its own mitzva. It is not an independent mitzva, rather it is a component in the mitzva of ketores.

One of the proofs that he brings is from our Gemora which states the reason for this prohibition. The ketores which is brought in a secret place, atones for the sin which one tends to perform in private, namely loshon hora. Analyzing the comparison, the sinner in private is compared to the kohen doing the ketores secretly and that is where the issur is - the performing of the ketores incorrectly, not in the person who entered during the avodah.

Another proof is from a Yerushalmi that relates the story with Shimon Hatzadik on Yom Kippur. The Yerushalmi asks (quoted by the Rishonim on daf 39), how could someone be in the Ohel Moed at that time and even the heavenly angels whose faces are like a person are included in the passuk of v'chol adam? The Yerushalmi answers that it was the shechina and not a malach or a person. The question on this is obvious. The Torah is not given to malachim, why is it necessary to expound from the passuk that malachim cannot be in the heichal during this time? Once again, it is evident that the issur is not on the person or malach entering, rather on the kohen, there is an onligation to perform the ketores correctly and that is only if there is nobody else around, including malachim.

4 comments:

ben said...

Very nice, but one question. What is the point of prohibiting a malach from being inside? If there is no isur on the malach, can we suggest that the Kohen performing the ketores can prevent the malach from entering?

Avromi said...

We are not prohibiting the malach - that is exactly Reb Yeruchem fishel's question. We are telling the kohen not to do the ketores when a malach is there.

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