Monday, June 18, 2018

Performing מליקה in the Beis Hamikdash

When bringing a bird as a Korban, the bird is not schechted, rather מליקה is performed. The Gemara in Zevachim (64b) describes how מליקה was done.
In Melikah of Chatas ha'Of, the Kohen holds the wings in two fingers, and the legs in two fingers, and stretches the neck over the width of his thumb, and cuts it with his thumbnail.
(Beraisa): The bird faces outside. He holds the wings in two fingers, and the legs in two fingers, and stretches the neck over the width of two fingers, and cuts it with his thumbnail;
This is the difficult Avodah in the Mikdash.
Can you imagine a Kohen nowadays doing this? Killing a bird with your bare hands, actually with the fingernail of your thumb. As opposed to shechita I don't think this is a painless  or quick death. I wonder how the apologists will explain מליקה?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Was all the עבודת הקרבנות done in the first Beis Hamikdash invalid?

Yesterdays daf (זבחים ס"א) seems to imply that was the case. The Gemara says that the mizbeach in the first beis hamikdash was 28x28 amos and in the second bees hamikdash was 32x32 amos. Rabin explains the difference as follows:
In the first Mikdash, Nesachim would flow into Shisim (a pit south-west of the Mizbe'ach) down the wall of the mizbeach. They enlarged the Mizbe'ach in order that the Shisim would be within (under) the Mizbe'ach and they made the corners of the mizbeach hollow so that they could pour nesachim in them. At first (during the first Beis Hmikdash), they learned from the words "Mizbe'ach Adamah" that the mizbeach has to be completely solid. In the second beis Hamikdash they thought that drinking ('consumption' of libations) should be like eating (Korbanos that are burned, i.e. within the boundaries of the Mizbe'ach) and therefore made the holes to pour the Nesachim as part of the mizbeach. Therefore, they understood that Mizbe'ach Adamah" teaches that the Mizbe'ach cannot be built over domes or tunnels (that are not needed for the Mizbe'ach).
What comes out is that according to the way they understood pesukim and halacha, the way they did Nesachim in the first beis hamikdash was pasul.

 This ties in to the general dispute about what was received at Sinai and if there is one halachic truth. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Disputes about the Beis Hamikdash

Daf Yomi is now learning Zevachim and the Gemara there is starting to get into disputes about the Beis Hamikdash. So far we have a few (Zevachim 53-59):

  1. Was there a base around the whole Mizbeach or only on 2 sides? 
  2. Was the whole Mizbeach fully in the north or half in the North or fully in the South?
  3. Where was the כיור?
  4. What was the size of the מזבח הנחשת?
Here are some diagrams with the various opinions about the location of the mizbeach and kiyor.

Here is a diagram showing the dispute about the size of the מזבח הנחשת.

We see clearly that the Tannaim who lived not long after the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed were missing important information about the Beis Hamikdash and simply did not the details of how the Beis Hamikdash was laid out. If they didn't know this basic information what else didn't they know? 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The 13 Middos used to expound the Torah Part 2

The Gemara in Zevachim (50-51) has a long discussion about whether something learned out with one of the 13 middos can be used again with the 13 middos to learn something else out. For example can a halacha learned out from a gezera shava be used to learn a gezera shava to another halacha to learn a second halacha. For some middos the Gemara has a dispute for others the Gemara leaves it as a תיקו. Here is a nice chart from the Artscroll Gemara summarizing things:

The obvious question is how can this be? The 13 Middos were given to Moshe to use to expound the written torah. How can there be a fundamental dispute about how they are used? You can't answer אלו ואלו דברי אלוקים חיים because they are mutually exclusive. What happened to the mesora? How can there be a dispute about such a fundamental issue?

Here is a link to Part 1