Friday, February 18, 2011

Ki Sisa - The kiyor and the muchni

The passuk says in this week’s sedrah:
וַיְדַבֵּר ה׳ אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר. וְעָשִׂיתָ כִּיּוֹר נְחֹשֶׁת וְכַנּוֹ נְחֹשֶׁת לְרָחְצָה וְנָתַתָּ אֹתוֹ בֵּין אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וּבֵין הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְנָתַתָּ שָׁמָּה מָיִם
“Hashem spoke to Moshe saying: ‘You should make a copper laver with a copper base for washing and you should place it between the ohel moed and the mizbeach and you should place water in it.’”

 
The gemara in Zevachim (22b) discusses what type of water can be used for the kiyor:
דאמר ר' יוחנן מי כיור ר' ישמעאל אומר מי מעין הן וחכמים אומרים שאר מימות הן
“Rebbi Yochanan said: Rebbi Yishmoel said that the water used for the kiyor has to be flowing spring water, the chachamim say it can be any water (as long as the water is kosher for a mikveh).”

The Rambam in Hilchos Bias Mikdash (5:12) paskens like the chachamim:
כל המימות כשרים לקידוש בין מים חיים בין מי מקוה ובלבד שלא ישתנה מראיהן אלא יהיו כמים הכשרים לטבילה ...זה הכלל כל המשלים למי מקוה משלים למי כיור
“All water is kosher for the cohanim to be mekadesh their hands and feet whether it is flowing spring water or it is water that is kosher for a mikveh as long as it looks like water so that it is kosher for a mikvah. This is the general rule – anything which can complete a mikveh to the kosher shiur can be used to add water to the kiyor.”

Nisuch hamayim
The mishna says in Succah 48a:
ניסוך המים כיצד צלוחית של זהב מחזקת שלשה לוגים היה ממלא מן השילוח
“How would they do the nisuch hamayim? He would fill a pitcher of gold that held 3 log from the Shiloach.”

 
The gemara says:
מנא הנ"מ אמר רב עינא דאמר קרא (ישעיהו יב, ג) ושאבתם מים בששון וגו'
“How do we know this? Rav Eina said because the passuk says ‘u’sheavtem mayim be’sason’ – ‘you should draw water with rejoicing’.”

The Ritva explains that the gemara’s question of ‘mino hani mili’ – ‘how do we know this’ – addresses three points in the mishna:
  • How do we know we do nisuch hamayim?
  • How do we know this is on Succos?
  • How do we know if has to be from a spring?

The possuk addresses all three questions:
  • Ushe’avtem mayim – so you see you need to do nisuch hamayim
  • Be’sason – at the time of simchah – on Succos
  • Mimayne ha’yeshuah – from a spring

 According to the Ritva – the water for nisuch hamayim can only be from a spring and can not be from still water that is kosher for a mikveh. Rabbeinu Chananel and Tosafos agree with the Ritva, Rashi however argues and says that mey mikveh are kosher for the nishuch hamayim.

The mishna continues:
כמעשהו בחול כך מעשהו בשבת אלא שהיה ממלא מערב שבת חבית של זהב שאינה מקודשת מן השילוח ומניחה בלשכה נשפכה נתגלתה היה ממלא מן הכיור שהיין והמים מגולין פסולין לגבי מזבח
“Just as they would do the nisuch hamayim on a weekday they would do it on Shabbos except that he would fill a golden pitcher which is not a kli shores from the Shiloach and would place it in a room in the Beis Hamikdash. [It was not placed in a kli shores because had the water been niskadesh by being placed in a kli shores it would have become passul through linah – being left overnight.]

 
If the water was spilt or left uncovered overnight he would fill the water from the kiyor because wine and water which have been left uncovered overnight are passul for the mizbeach. [It is forbidden for a person to drink the water in case a snake has drunk from it and left poison in the water and you cannot use inedible food as korbanos.]”

 
The Minchas Chinuch (mitzvah 320) asks, according to the Ritva, how can you take water from the kiyor for nisuch hamayim if the water spilt or was left uncovered, the water in the kiyor is not spring water and therefore cannot be used for nisuch hamayim?

The muchni
The gemara says in זבחים (20a):
בן קטין עשה שנים עשר דד לכיור אף הוא עשה מוכני לכיור שלא יהיו מימיו נפסלין בלינה
“Ben Katin made 12 spouts for the kiyor [so that all the cohanim needed to bring the korban tamid could wash their hands and feet at the same time]. He also made a muchni for the kiyor so that it’s water should not become passul by being left overnight. [Once water has been niskadesh in a kli shores it becomes passul if it is left overnight.]”

What was the muchni?

Rashi explains:
מוכני - מפרש התם גלגלים שמעלין אותו בגלגלין מן הבור שחרית שלא יהא מימיו נפסלים בלינה לפיכך משקעין אותו ערבית בבור שיהו מימיו מחוברים למי המעין ובטלה להן
“The muchni is a pulley system. They would lift the kiyor up with pulleys from a pit [which had a mikveh in it] in the morning so that its water should not become passul through linah. [The water of the kiyor was joined to the water of the pit so therefore it had the din of a mikveh and did not become passul by being left overnight.] They used to lower it into the bor in the evening so that its water should be joined to the well and batel to them.”

According to Rashi, the muchni was a pulley system that was used to lower the kiyor into a mikveh in a bor overnight. The Rambam however, argues on Rashi and says (end of perek 3, Hilchos Beis HaBechirah):
הכיור היו לו שנים עשר דד כדי שיהיו כל הכהנים העוסקים בתמיד מקדשים ממנו כאחד ומוכני עשו לו שיהיו בה המים תמיד והיא חול כדי שלא יהיו המים שבה נפסלין בלינה שהכיור מכלי הקדש ומקדש וכל דבר שיתקדש בכלי קדש אם לן נפסל
“The kiyor had 12 spouts so that all the cohanim who did the avodah of the tamid could be mekadesh their hands and feet together. They made a muchni for the kiyor so that there would always be water in it and it is chol (not a kli shores) so that the water in it should not become passul through linah because the kiyor is a kli shores and sanctifies anything that comes into it and anything that has been niskadesh in a kli shores becomes passul through linah.”

According to the Rambam, the muchni was not a pulley system. It was used to supply water to the kiyor but was itself not a kli shores, therefore the water in the muchni was not niphsal belinah.  

 
The Rambam in Hilchos Bias Mikdash (5:15) explains further:
הים שעשה שלמה כמקוה היה מפני שאמה של מים היתה עוברת בתוכו מעין עיטם לפיכך לא היו מימיו נפסלין בלינה כמי הכיור וממנו היו ממלאין הכיור
“The pool that Shlomo made in the beis hamikdash had the din of a mikveh because a stream of water passed thorugh it from Eyn Itom (the spring of Itom). Therefore its water did not become passul through linah like the kiyor and they used to fill the kiyor from it.”

According to the Rambam, the water that was used for the kiyor came from the yam shel shlomo and this is the water that was transferred to the kiyor by using the muchni.

The Ritva (Succah 50) explains slightly differently and says that the muchni was used to submerge the kiyor in the yam shel shlomo. He also says that the water for the nisuch hamayim was taken from the kiyor while it was suspended in the yam shel shlomo.

The Oruch La’ner (Succoh 50a d”h shom bepiskah) explains that the reason that the Ritva explains that the water was taken from the kiyor while it was submerged while in the yam shel shlomo is to answer the question of the Minchas Chinuch. The yam shel shlomo was fed from the ein itom so had the halacha of a spring, so while the kiyor was suspended in it its water also had the din of a spring and therefore could be used for the nisuch hamayim.

The Oruch la’Ner further explains that the kiyor had to be suspended in the yam shel shlomo while the water was being taken because even although the water in the kiyor would keep the halacha of mey mikveh once it was removed from the yam shel shlomo, it would not keep the halacha of live spring water.

 
The Oruch la’Ner bases this on a mishnah in Parah (6:5) which says:
המפנה את המעין לתוך הגת או לתוך הגבים, פסולים לזבים ולמצורעים ולקדש בהן מי חטאת...
“If somebody makes a channel which enables a spring to flow into a wine pit or into a pool [and then removed the channel after the water had flowed into the pool], the water cannot be used for tevilah for a zav or a for a metzorah or for the ashes of the parah adumah [because since they are not connected to the spring they no longer have the halacha of spring water.]”

Therefore it comes out that:
  • According to Rashi, the water for nisuch hamayim was lechatchilah taken from a live spring but bedieved could be mey mikveh. The water in the kiyor was mey mikveh and therefore was kosher bedieved for the nisuch hamayim on Shabbos. The muchni was used to lower and raise the kiyor into a bor which contained a mikveh.
  • According to the Ritvah, the water for nisuch hamayim had to be live spring water. If water had to be taken from the kiyor for nisuch hamayim, it was taken while the kiyor was suspended in the yam shel shlomo by means of the muchni.
  • According to the Rambam, the muchni was used to take water from the yam shel shlomo for the kiyor, but it did not actually move the kiyor.

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