Sunday, October 22, 2006

Daf Yomi - Sukkah 49 - Highlights

1. The Sadducees did not agree with the mitzvah of nissuch hamayim, the water libations, because it is not stated explicitly in the Torah. The Mishna relates that a Sadducee once poured the libation water on his feet instead of pouring the water into the designated bowl and the people stoned him with their esrogim. Rashi learns that they also pelted him with stones and as a result the mizbeiach became chipped. They patched the mizbeiach with a fistful of salt and although the mizbeiach was still unfit for the avodah, they did this to conceal the damage that had been wrought. (48b4)
2. The mizbeiach is required to have the ramp, the four horns on top of the mizbeiach, a base and it must be shaped in a square in order to be valid. Rabbi Yose maintains that in order to be valid, it must also have the sovev, which was a ledge on top of the second section of the mizbeiach which was thirty by thirty amos with a height of five amos. The ledge was extended one amah from each side and the kohanim would walk on the ledge to perform specific avodos. (49a1)
3. Beneath the mizbeiach was a deep opening corresponding to the location where the libations were poured. The Kohen would pour the libation into the bowl, and the libation would then flow from the spout of the bowl onto the mizbeiach and then the libation would flow into a hole in the mizbeiach that led to the deep opening known as the shisin. The shisin existed since the six days of creation. (49a1)
4. Rabbi Eliezer maintains that there was a small gap between the ramp and the mizbeiach near the western side of the ramp and once in seventy years the Kohanim youth would go down there and gather up the congealed wine from the libations, and the congealed wine was akin to pressed figs. They would then burn the wine in a holy location in the Courtyard of the Bais HaMikdash. (49a2-49a3)
5. When they poured the wine on the mizbeiach, they would plug up the hole on top of the mizbeiach which led to the shisin. They did this so the wine would gather on top and it would appear like a throat that is full with wine. This practice is derived from the verse that states and its libation is…. to be poured on the holy [mizbeiach] an intoxicating (sheichar) libation for HaShem. The word sheichar denotes intoxication, and the plugged up hole gave the appearance of a throat full with wine. (49b1-49b2)
6. The Gemara cites a verse in Shir HaShirim that states mah yafu peomayich baneolim bas nadiv, how lovely are your steps in sandals, O daughter of the noble? The Gemara explains that this verse refers to the lovely steps of the Jewish People when they ascended to Jerusalem for the festival. The words bas nadiv refer to Avrohom Avinu who is referred to as the nadiv, the noble one. (49b2)
7. Scripture likens the words of the Torah to the thigh, as just as the thigh is a private area, so too one should study Torah discreetly. Thus, one should not study at the high point of the city and one should not teach his students in the marketplace. (49b2)
8. The Gemara learns a kal vachomer. Funerals and weddings are normally public affairs, yet the Torah exhorts us to perform them discretely, then certainly regarding private matters, such as giving charity to the poor, one should act discreetly. (49b3)
9. The Gemara expounds on the merits of giving charity, as one who gives charity is greater that one who offers sacrifices. Yet, one who performs kindness is greater than one who gives charity. Charity is only regarded according to the kindness that one exhibits when giving the charity. (49b3)
10. One who performs kindness is greater than one who gives charity because charity is done with money whereas kindness can be performed with ones person and with ones money. Furthermore, charity is only received by the poor whereas one can exhibit kindness to both the poor and the rich. Lastly, only the living can be recipients of charity, whereas both the living and the dead can be recipients of kindness. (49b3-49b4)
11. One who performs charity properly is deemed to have filled the entire world with kindness. However, one must exert himself to attain this level of giving charity. Yet, those who fear HaShem can reach this level easier than others. One who finds favor in the eyes of man is known to be a G-d-fearing person. (49b4)
12. Torah that is studied lishmah, for its own sake, is referred to as Torah of kindness, whereas Torah that is not studied for its own sake is not referred to as Torah of kindness. Alternatively, Torah that one studies with the intent of teaching others is deemed to be Torah of kindness, whereas Torah that one studies without the intention of teaching others is not deemed to be Torah of kindness. (49b4)