Friday, March 18, 2011

Parshat Tzav - Carrying the ketores

Ketores was burnt twice a day in the beis hamikdash, once in the morning and once in the evening. The mishna in Tamid (5:4) explains that the cohen would take a bowl full of ketores which he would place into a large ladle, and then he would carry the ladle to the heichal where the ketores was burnt on the mizbeach hazahav;
מי שזכה בקטרת, היה נוטל את הכף… והבזך היה בתוכו, מלא וגדוש קטרת…
“The cohen who won the lottery to do the ketores would take the ladle …and the bowl was in it, heaped full of ketores.”

The Bar Tenura explains;
מלא וגדוש קטורת - והיתה בתוך הכף הגדול. שאם לא היה הגדול, כיון שהקטן גדוש היה מתפזר הקטורת לארץ בהולכתו. ובכף הגדול לבד לא סגי, דכבוד הוא כלפי מעלה לערות מכף גדוש על הגחלים בשעת ההקטרה
“The reason that the bowl was placed into a ladle is because the bowl was overflowing so some of the ketores would fall out onto the ground while the cohen was walking. [The ladle was used to catch the ketores that fell out.]

 
You can’t place the ketores directly into the ladle because it is kovod klapi maaloh that he should pour out the ketores from an overflowing bowl at the time of haktarah. [The ketores that fell into the ladle was placed back into the cohen’s hands by a friend or relative who would go into the heichal with the cohen doing the avodah.]”

Chatzizah
There is a general halacha for all avodos that the cohen has to do the avodah without any chatzizah between him and the avodah:
ולקח הכהן שיקח בעצמו
“And the cohen should take” – “That he should take with himself. [That means that he should take the avodah with his hands and not through gloves etc.]”

The gemara says in Yuma (58a) that it is possible that stacking klei shores is also considered to be a chatzizah:
בעא מיניה רמי בר חמא מרב חסדא הניח מזרק בתוך מזרק וקבל בו את הדם מהו
“Romi bar Chama asked Rav Chisda; ‘If a cohen placed a mizrak (the kli shores which is used to accept the blood from the korban) into another mizrak and accepted the blood with it, what is the halacha?’ [Is this considered a chatzizah or not.]”

If so, asks the Rosh (in Tamid), how can the mishna say that the cohen who takes the ketores into the heichal carries the bowl of ketores in a ladle? This is the same case as the gemara in Yuma which says that a mizrak in a mizrak may be considered a chatzizah;
וא"ת והרי כף חוצץ בין ידו לבזך והוה חציצה דאמרינן בזבחים מזרק במזרק חוצץ
“How can the cohen place the bowl in the ladle, this is a chatzizah between his hand and the bowl as we say in Zevachim mizrak bemizrak chotzez?”

The Rosh answers with a gemara in Succah that says “lekichoh al yedei davar acher shemoh lekichoh”. If you take something through something else you are considered to have taken the original item;
ואמר רבה לא לינקיט איניש הושענא בסודרא דבעינא לקיחה תמה וליכא ורבא אמר לקיחה על ידי דבר אחר שמה לקיחה
“Rabbah said; ‘A person should not hold a lulav with his clothes because this is not considered ‘taking’. Rava says, ‘Taking through something else is called taking.’”

The Rosh says that not only does this apply to lulav and the other cases mentioned in Succah, it also applies to kodshim. Therefore, it is considered as if the cohen who carries the bowl of ketores in the ladle has carried the bowl with his hand.

Reb Chaim asks that there are other rishonim who are of the opinion that this principle does not apply to kodshim. For example, when the Rambam brings the halachah of chatzizah in Hilchos Bias Mikdash (5:17), he does not differentiate between different types of chatzizah and he simply says;
וכן אם היה דבר חוצץ בין ידו ובין הכלי שעובד בו פסל
“…if there was anything that interrupted between his hand and the kli shores that he did the avodah with this makes the avodah passul.”

 
It seems that according to the Rambam a chatzizah always makes the avodah passul even if it is being used to carry the kli shores. If so, we remain with the question of the Rosh. How can the cohen place the bowl in the ladle? The ladle is a chatzizah between his hand and the bowl?

Carrying with the left hand
Reb Chaim answers as follows;
There are two separate requirements for avodah in the beis hamikdash;
  1. The avodah has to be done by a cohen
  2. The avodah has to be done with the cohen’s body. Therefore there must be no chatzizah between the cohen’s hand and the avodah
If a cohen wears gloves or uses another utensil to hold the first utensil, he has still performed the act of the avodah. The reason that there can be no chatzizah between the cohen and the avodah is because of the second halacha, that the avodah has to be done with the body of the cohen. As the gemara says:
ולקח הכהן שיקח בעצמו
“And the cohen should take” – “That he should take with himself.” Reb Chaim proves from the gemara in Menachos (26a) that this second halacha only relates to avodah that has to be done with the right hand;

Rebbi Yanai is of the opinion that lifting the kemitzah (handful) from the mincha onto the mizbeach and burning may be done with the cohen’s left hand. Therefore he says that these avodos can also be done by the cohen through a secondary kli and this does not cause a pessul of chatzizah;
ורבי ינאי אמר כיון שקמצו מכלי שרת מעלהו ומקטירו אפילו בהמיינו ואפילו במקידה של חרש
“Rebbi Yanai says, ‘Once the kemitzah was taken from the kli shares, ha'alah (bringing it up on to the mizbeach) and haktarah may be from the cohen's belt or even from an earthenware bowl.’”

For avodos which the cohen can do with his left hand, only the first halachah applies, that the cohen has to do the act of avodah, but it does not need to be done with his body. Therefore he can also do the avodah through a kli, because the second condition that the avodah has to be done with the body of the cohen does not apply.

Ketores
The first mishna in the fifth perek of Yuma says that for the ketores that was brought by the cohen gadol into the kodesh ha’kedashim, the cohen gadol would take the fire-pan in his right hand and the ladle with the ketores in it in his left hand. You see from this that carrying the ketores on Yom Kippur can be done with the cohen’s left hand. Reb Chaim proves that not only does this halacha apply to the ketores on Yom Kippur, but it also applies to the ketores that was brought every day;

The mishna says in the next perek in Tamid (6:3)
מי שזכה בקטרת, היה נוטל את הבזך מתוך הכף ונותנו לאוהבו או לקרובו. נתפזר ממנו לתוכו, נותנו לו בחפניו .
ומלמדים אותו, הוי זהיר שמא תתחיל לפניך שלא תכוה. התחיל מרדד ויוצא…
“The cohen who won the ketores would take the bowl from within the ladle and would give it to his friend or relative. If some of the ketores had fallen into the ladle, he would place it into the hands of the cohen doing the avodah.

 
You would teach him, ‘Be careful not to start spreading the ketores on to the coals in front of you in case the ketores catches fire and burns you!’ [Instead, the cohen would take the ketores in his two cupped hands and reach over to the other side of the mizbeach hazahav. Then he would bring his hands towards him as he released the ketores on the mizbeach.]”

Holachah shelo beregel
There is an opinion in Zevachim (13) that if a cohen carries blood without moving his legs this is also called holachah – carrying. If so, when the cohen who is burning the ketores moves his cupped hands to the opposite side of the mizbeach he has done an avodah of holachah, he has carried the ketores to the opposite side of the mizbeach.

If so we can prove from this mishna that the holachah of the daily ketores does not require specifically the right hand of the cohen. If so, the holachah of the ketores can be done with a secondary kli because the requirement of the avodah is only that the cohen should do the act of the avodah, which is carrying. There is no requirement that the cohen should do the avodah with his body. Therefore the mishna says in Tamid that he can carry the bowl in the ladle because this is considered his action, although the bowl is not in direct contact with his body.

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