Friday, February 16, 2007

Daf Yomi - Megillah 10 - Highlights

The Mishna states: There is no difference between a major Altar (Moshe’s mizbeach when the Mishkan was in Nov and Givon) and a small altar (private altar that one erects in his backyard, during the time that these were permitted), except Pesach sacrifices. This is the general rule: What one vowed and donated freely may be offered on a private altar, but what is neither vowed nor donated freely, but rather compulsory, may not be offered on the altar.

The Gemora explains that the Mishna follows the viewpoint of Rabbi Shimon who maintains that the community may not bring obligatory korbanos on the major altar except for the korban Pesach and any communal korban that has a set time. Korbanos that did not have a set time were not brought at all. (9b)

The Mishna states: There is no difference between Shiloh and Yerushalayim except that in Shiloh (when the Tabernacle was there), one may eat kodshim kalim (sacrifices with a lesser degree of sanctity) and ma'aser sheni in any location that Shiloh can be seen, however, in Yerushalayim, one could eat only inside the wall. And in both locations, kodshei kodashim (sacrifices with a higher degree of sanctity) must be eaten inside the enclosures. The sanctity of Shiloh is followed by permission (private bamos may be used after the destruction of the Shiloh Tabernacle), and the sanctity of Jerusalem is not followed by permission (once the Temple was constructed, bamos are always prohibited).

Rabbi Yitzchak said: I have heard from my teachers that one may sacrifice in the Temple of Chonyo, even at this time. (The Gemora (Menachos 109b) records the story of Shimon Hatzaddik, the great Kohen Gadol, who, nearing death, instructed his younger son, Chonyo, to take over as Kohen Gadol. Soon thereafter, an incident occurred, which forced him to flee to Alexandria, Egypt. Once there, Chonyo built a temple, an altar and offered sacrifices there.)

The Gemora explains: Rabbi Yitzchak maintains that Chonyo’s Temple was not regarded as a house of idol worship and the sanctification of Yerushalayim and the Beis Hamikdosh were only for the period that the Beis Hamikdosh was in existence and that explains why it would be permitted to offer sacrifices in Chonyo’s Temple.

Rabbi Yitzchak retracted from his statement because of our Mishna which explicitly rules that bamos are prohibited after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh. (9b – 10a)

The Gemora attempts to prove from a Mishna in Eduyos (8:6) that there is a Taanaic dispute whether the sanctity of Yerushalayim and the Beis Hamikdosh ceased upon its destruction. The Mishna states: Rabbi Eliezer said: I heard that when they were building the Beis Hamikdosh, they made curtains for the Sanctuary and hangings for the courtyards (temporary partitions until the walls were constructed), except that for the Sanctuary they built the wall outside those curtains, and in the courtyard they built the walls from within. Rabbi Yehoshua said: I heard that one may offer sacrifices on the site of the Beis Hamikdosh even after its destruction, and that the kohanim may eat the kodshei kodashim even though there are no curtains, and we may eat kodshim kalim and ma'aser sheni in Yerushalayim even though there is no wall surrounding the city, because the first sanctification of Yerushalayim and the Beis Hamikdosh was sanctified for that time and for the future.

The Gemora assumes that Rabbi Eliezer, the first Tanna of the Mishna, disagrees with Rabbi Yehoshua and maintains that after the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdosh, there was no sanctity there and that is why it was necessary to hang the curtains there; the hanging of the curtains resanctified the Beis Hamikdosh, thus permitting the offering of sacrifices.

The Gemora rejects this explanation and states that Rabbi Eliezer agrees to Rabbi Yehoshua that the initial sanctification remained even after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh; the curtains were needed only for privacy (to prevent people from peering inside while the kohanim were performing the service). (10a)

The Gemora proves from two other braisos that the issue is indeed a dispute amongst the Tannaim. The braisos cited teach us a novelty that if Yerushalayim loses its sanctity after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh, a walled city in Eretz Yisroel loses its sanctity as well. This is significant because of the following halacha: One who sells a house inside a walled city has one year to redeem the house. If he chooses not to redeem the house, it becomes the property of the buyer permanently. If their sanctity ceased at the time of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh, they would be required to resanctify them upon returning from exile. (10a – 10b)