INSIGHTS INTO THE DAILY DAF
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
QUESTION: Rav Chisda states that when one buys a pair of birds in order to bring one as a Chatas and one as an Olah (such as for a Korban Yoledes), one's verbal designation ("Keri'as Shem") of one as a "Chatas" and one as an "Olah" is effective only at the moment that the birds are purchased for the sake of bringing them as Korbanos. If one does not designate them at that time, then any subsequent designation is not binding, and only the Kohen may decide which one will be a Chatas and which one will be an Olah at the time that he offers them upon the Mizbe'ach. Rav Chisda derives this from the verse, "... she shall take two turtledoves or two young doves, one for an Olah and one for a Chatas" (Vayikra 12:8), which implies that at the time that she takes (i.e. buys) the birds, she is able to designate one as an Olah and one as a Chatas.
The Gemara questions Rav Chisda's statement from a Beraisa that says that, with regard to the two Se'irim of Yom Kippur, only the Goral establishes which goat will be used for the Chatas on Yom Kippur, and a mere verbal declaration does not suffice. We know that the Goral is not performed when the goats are purchased, nor when they are offered, and thus we can infer that just as the Goral establishes which animal is the Chatas at a time other than the time of purchase, a verbal designation in the case of other Korbanos establishes which animal is a Chatas at a time other than the time of purchase.
What is the Gemara's question? Perhaps it is true that the verbal designation of other Korbanos does not need to be done at the moment that they are purchased. Rav Chisda, however, refers only to Kinim (birds), which is the subject of the verse from which he derives his Halachah!
(a) RASHI (DH Af ha'Shem, DH Iy b'Lekichah) answers that the text of the Beraisa implies that a verbal designation made not at the moment of purchase works for all Korbanos without exception, even for Kinim.
(b) The SHITAH MEKUBETZES (#8, #12) answers that Rav Chisda maintains that the law regarding the verbal designation of all Korbanos is learned from Kinim; all Korbanos must be designated only at their time of purchase or when they are offered upon the Mizbe'ach. Therefore, the Gemara questions Rav Chisda's statement from the Beraisa that implies that Korbanos may be designated at a time other than when they are purchased or offered.
QUESTION: The Beraisa relates that the Azarah cried out, "Open your heads, o' gates, and allow to enter Yishmael ben Fiabi, the student of Pinchas, and let him serve as the Kohen Gadol!" (See Girsa section in Background to the Daf.)
Who was Yishmael ben Fiabi and what was unique about him? Why was he called the "student of Pinchas"?
(a) Josephus records that Yishmael ben Fiabi was appointed Kohen Gadol by the Roman ruler of Israel, Agrippa. Some time after appointing Yishmael ben Fiabi as Kohen Gadol, Agrippa built a balcony on the roof of his palace in order to view the Avodah being performed in the Beis ha'Mikdash. Yishmael ben Fiabi fiercely opposed this and built a high wall to block the Roman ruler's view of the Avodah. He then traveled to Rome in order to lodge a complaint against Agrippa and justify his raising the wall of the Beis ha'Mikdash. This episode demonstrated the zeal with which Yishmael ben Fiabi safeguarded the sanctity of the Mikdash.
Perhaps when the Gemara says that he was a student of Pinchas, it refers to Pinchas the son of Aharon, who was known for his zealousness (see end of Parshas Balak).
The strength of character of the family of Yishmael ben Fiabi is also demonstrated by a statement in the Gemara in Pesachim (57a). The Gemara there quotes Aba Shaul ben Botnis in the name of Aba Yosef ben Chanin, who bemoaned and prayed not to come into contact with certain people who had certain characteristics. He said, "Woe unto me from the family of Yishmael ben Fiabi, woe unto me from their strong fists, for they are Kohanim Gedolim, their sons are the treasurers [of the Mikdash], their sons-in-law are the ones who give all the orders, and their servants smite the people with their clubs!" This description demonstrates the strength of character of the family of Yishmael ben Fiabi. Unfortunately, his descendants did not channel their strength towards the honor of heaven, but misused those traits.
(b) The family name may shed new light on an incident recorded by the Gemara elsewhere. The Yerushalmi (Yoma 6:3) relates, "All the days of Shimon ha'Tzadik, the Lechem ha'Panim and Shtei ha'Lechem were blessed and each Kohen received a k'Zayis. Some ate and were satisfied, others even left some over. When Shimon ha'Tzadik passed away this blessing stopped and each Kohen managed to get only the size of a bean. The modest Kohanim refrained from taking at all, while the gluttons would grab. It happened once that a Kohen grabbed his portion and his friend's portion. From then on he was called 'Ben ha'Afun' ('son of the bean')." The Gemara in Yoma (39b) relates a similar story, concluding that the Kohen was called thereafter "Ben Chamtzan." Chimtza can also mean "bean" (Yevamos 63a, but see Gemara in Yoma, ibid.), so it is probable that the two stories are referring to the same incident and to the same nickname.
The Latin term for bean is "faba." It could be that the Kohen who grabbed was a descendant of Yishmael ben Fiabi. As we have seen, Yishmael's descendants ruled with arrogance and took what was not theirs. In a play on words, instead of calling this person Ben Fiabi, he was renamed "Ben Faba" or "Ben ha'Afun."
The Tosefta (Kelim, Bava Kama 1:6) relates that "the Ba'al ha'Pul would club to death any Kohen who went between the Mizbe'ach and the Beis ha'Mikdash without performing Kidush Yadayim v'Raglayim (washing of the hands and feet)." No mention is made about the identity of this "Ba'al ha'Pul." Who was this mysterious "Ba'al ha'Pul?" Perhaps it was the descendant of Yishmael ben Fiabi who was known as the "Ben ha'Afun," since "Ba'al ha'Pul" literally means "master of the bean." Despite the fact that he sometimes expressed his zealousness in terms of greed, he nevertheless zealously guarded the sanctity of the Beis ha'Mikdash, like his grandfather. (RAV RE'UVEN MARGOLIYOS, Cheker l'Shemos v'Kinuyim b'Talmud) (See also Insights to Pesachim 57:2 and Yoma 39:3.)