BACKGROUND TO THE DAILY DAF
prepared by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
[97a - 45 lines; 97b - 42 lines]
1) [line 4] וכי תימא עצי שיטים חשיבי ולא בטלי V'CHI TEIMA ATZEI SHITIM CHASHIVEI V'LO VATLEI - and if you shall say that the Shitim wood, of which the Shulchan was constructed, is very significant such that the gold leaf that covers it does not take priority over it, and it would not be Mekabel Tum'ah were it not for the fact that it is sometimes transported
2) [line 6] כלי אכסלגוס הבאים ממדינת הים KLEI ACHSALGUS HA'BA'IM MI'MEDINAS HA'YAM - common wooden utensils that come from overseas (possibly from a place called Achsalgus - TOSFOS)
3) [line 7] כלי מסמס KLEI MISMEIS - polished wood; possibly Almog, which is coral-wood
4) [line 10] "הַמִּזְבֵּחַ עֵץ שָׁלוֹשׁ אַמּוֹת גָּבֹהַּ וְאָרְכּוֹ שְׁתַּיִם אַמּוֹת, וּמִקְצֹעוֹתָיו לוֹ, וְאָרְכּוֹ וְקִירֹתָיו עֵץ; וַיְדַבֵּר אֵלַי, 'זֶה הַשֻּׁלְחָן אֲשֶׁר לִפְנֵי ה'.'" "HA'MIZBE'ACH ETZ SHALOSH AMOS GAVO'AH V'ORKO SHETAYIM AMOS, U'MIKTZO'OSAV LO, V'ORKO V'KIROSAV ETZ; VA'YEDABER ELAI, 'ZEH HA'SHULCHAN ASHER LIFNEI HASH-M.'" - "The altar of wood was three Amos high and its length two Amos, it was square (lit. it had corners), and its length and its walls were of wood; and he said to me, 'This is the table that is before HaSh-m.'" (Yechezkel 41:22)
5) [line 19] "וְעָשִׂיתָ קְּעָרֹתָיו, וְכַפֹּתָיו, וּקְשׂוֹתָיו, וּמְנַקִּיֹּתָיו ..." "V'ASISA KE'AROSAV, V'KAPOSAV, U'KESOSAV, U'MENAKIYOSAV ..." - "And you shall make its baking pans, its bowls, its supports, and its rods (alt. and its rod and its supports) ..." (Shemos 25:29).
6) [line 39] על טהרו של שולחן AL TAHARO SHEL SHULCHAN - on the true surface of the Table (such that the Senifin do not elevate the bottommost loaves off of the tabletop)
7) [line 41] בינוניות BEINONIYOS - medium-sized, i.e. of exactly six Tefachim
8) [line 41] מזבח הזהב MIZBACH HA'ZAHAV
The Golden Altar was made of Shitim wood, one Amah square and two Amos high. The Kohanim offered the Ketores (incense) upon it twice daily (Shemos 30:1). The blood of certain Korbanos was sprinkled on the top of this Mizbe'ach (Shemos 30:10, Vayikra 4:7, 18, 16:18).
9) [line 41] קרן / סובב / יסוד KEREN / SOVEV / YESOD (MIZBACH HA'OLAH / HA'CHITZON)
(a) The Mizbach ha'Olah of the Beis ha'Mikdash consisted of three concrete and stone platforms poured one on top of the other. The Yesod (bottom platform) was thirty-two Amos long, thirty-two Amos wide and one Amah high. The second platform was thirty Amos long, thirty Amos wide and five Amos high. The third platform (which the Rambam calls "Mekom ha'Ma'arachah"), upon which the sacrifices were offered, was twenty-eight Amos long, twenty-eight Amos wide, and three Amos high. A Keren (horn), which was a one-Amah cube, was poured on each corner of the upper platform. (RAMBAM Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 2:5-8)
(b) The Yesod protruded outward one Amah further than the middle section on two complete sides, the northern and the western. It protruded on the eastern and southern sides only for the length of one Amah from the northern and western corners. As such, there was no Yesod on the southeastern corner. The blood of many of the Korbanos was cast on the sides of the Mizbe'ach above the Yesod, and it ran down to the Yesod (Zevachim 37a, based upon Vayikra 5:9). The remainder of the blood of animal Korbanos was poured directly onto the Yesod, as it states in the Torah (Shemos 29:12; Vayikra 4:7; etc.). Omitting this last procedure does not prevent atonement since it is not a requirement for atonement.
(c) The Kohanim walked upon the part of the middle platform that jutted out one Amah on each side past the upper platform. This was called the "Sovev", because it encircled the Mizbe'ach.
(d) The Keranos were hollow. (RAMBAM ibid. 2:8)
(e) The ramp was thirty-two Amos long and sixteen Amos wide, and was separated from the south side of the Mizbe'ach by a hair's breadth (Pesachim 77a, Zevachim 62b). It was indented on the bottom, at the face of the Mizbe'ach, such that it covered the Sovev.
10a) [line 42] אמת בנין AMAS BINYAN - the Amah used for the construction of the structural part [of the Mishkan or the Beis ha'Mikdash]
b) [line 43] של כלים SHEL KELIM - [the Amah used for the construction] of the utensils [of the Mishkan or the Beis ha'Mikdash]
11) [line 44] "וְאֵלֶּה מִדּוֹת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ בָּאַמּוֹת: אַמָּה אַמָּה וָטֹפַח, וְחֵיק הָאַמָּה, וְאַמָּה רֹחַב, וּגְבוּלָהּ אֶל שְׂפָתָהּ סָבִיב זֶרֶת הָאֶחָד; וְזֶה גַּב הַמִּזְבֵּחַ." "V'ELEH MIDOS HA'MIZBE'ACH BA'AMOS: AMAH AMAH VA'TOFACH, V'CHEIK HA'AMAH, V'AMAH ROCHAV, U'GEVULAH EL SEFASAH SAVIV ZERES HA'ECHAD; V'ZEH GAV HA'MIZBE'ACH." - "And these are the measurements of the altar by Amos: the Amah is a Amah and a Tefach, the foundation (the Yesod) shall be a Amah, and the breadth (the Sovev) a Amah, and its border by its edge all around (the Keranos) shall be a Zeres (the span of a hand); and this shall be the higher part of the altar (this refers to the Golden Altar of Incense)." (Yechezkel 43:13) - Our Gemara examines at length each phrase in this verse.
12a) [line 17] חוט של סקרא חוגרו באמצע CHUT SHEL SIKRA CHOGRO VA'EMTZA - a red line surrounds it at its middle
b) [line 17] כדי להבדיל בין דמים העליונים לדמים התחתונים KEDEI L'HAVDIL BEIN DAMIM HA'ELYONIM L'DAMIM HA'TACHTONIM - in order to provide a demarcation between the blood that must be placed on the upper part of the Mizbe'ach and the blood that must be placed on the lower part of the Mizbe'ach
13) [line 19] עולת העוף OLAS HA'OF
The offering of the Olas ha'Of (e.g. in Vayikra 1:14-17) consists of four procedures:
1. MELIKAH - On the Sovev (see above, entry #9) of the Mizbe'ach, on the southeastern corner, the Kohen cuts the back of the neck of the bird with his right thumbnail, making sure to cut both Simanim (the trachea and the esophagus). (If the southeastern corner of the Sovev is crowded with Kohanim offering the Olas ha'Of, then the additional Olas ha'Of Korbanos are offered on the southwestern corner of the Mizbe'ach.)
2. MITZUY - The Kohen presses the cut part of the head and body of the bird onto the wall of the Mizbe'ach, above the Chut ha'Sikra (red line) that is located halfway up the Mizbe'ach.
3. HAKTARAS HA'ROSH - The Kohen salts the head and throws it into the fire on the Mizbe'ach.
4. HAKTARAS HA'GUF - The Kohen cuts out the crop and surrounding feathers of the bird (or, according to some Tana'im, the crop and the intestines - Zevachim 65a) and throws them to the ash-pile at the side of the ramp of the Mizbe'ach. He then tears the bird apart (Shesiyah), salts it, and throws it into the fire.
14) [line 20] כבש KEVESH - the ramp of the Mizbe'ach ha'Olah (see above, entry #9)
15) [line 20] מולק את ראשה ממול ערפה ומבדיל MOLEK ES ROSHO MI'MUL ORPAH U'MAVDIL - and he performs Melikah, cutting the back of the neck of the bird with his right thumbnail, making sure to cut both Simanim (the trachea and the esophagus), and he separates the head from the rest of the body
16) [line 21] מוצה את דמה על קיר המזבח MOTZEH ES DAMAH AL KIR HA'MIZBE'ACH - he squeezes out the blood by pressing the cut part of the head and body of the bird onto the wall of the Mizbe'ach
17) [line 27] מזבח היה שלשים ושתים MIZBE'ACH HAYAH SHELOSHIM U'SHTAYIM... - see above, entry #9
18) [line 32] מקום הילוך רגלי הכהנים אמה מזה ואמה מזה MEKOM HILUCH RAGLEI HA'KOHANIM AMAH MI'ZEH V'AMAH MI'ZEH - the place where the Kohanim walk (the Sovev) measures one Amah on one side of the Mizbe'ach and one Amah on the opposite side
19) [line 33] מקום המערכה MEKOM HA'MA'ARACHAH - the place upon which the sacrifices were offered
20) [line 34] "(והאראיל) וְהָאֲרִיאֵל שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה אֹרֶךְ בִּשְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה רֹחַב, רָבוּעַ אֶל אַרְבַּעַת רְבָעָיו." "VEHA'ARIEL SHTEIM ESREH ORECH BI'SHTEIM ESREH ROCHAV, RAVU'A EL ARBA'AS REVA'AV." (Yechezkel 43:16) - The Mizbe'ach was called "Ari'el," "the lion of HaSh-m," because a fire came down from HaSh-m ("Kel") and rested upon the Mizbe'ach in the shape of a lion.
21) [line 37] רווחא לה עזרה RAVCHA LAH AZARAH- the dimensions of the Azarah will expand [at the expense of the dimensions of the Mizbe'ach] (AZARAH: DIMENSIONS)
The Azarah of the Beis ha'Mikdash measured 187 Amos in the east-west direction and 135 Amos in the north-south direction. Our Gemara counts out the measurements from east to west, as shown in the next five entries:
22a) [line 39] מקום דריסת רגלי ישראל MEKOM DERISAS RAGLEI YISRAEL - Ezras Yisrael, the area of eleven Amos by 135 Amos between the eastern wall of the Azarah and the Ezras Kohanim. Non-Kohanim did not enter the Ezras Kohanim unless necessary (see Kelim 1:8)
b) [line 39] מקום דריסת רגלי הכהנים MEKOM DERISAS RAGLEI HA'KOHANIM - Ezras Kohanim, the area of eleven Amos by 135 Amos between the Ezras Yisrael and the Mizbe'ach
c) [line 40] בין אולם ולמזבח BEIN HA'ULAM LA'MIZBE'ACH - the space of twenty-two Amos between the Mizbe'ach and the Ulam
d) [line 41] ההיכל HA'HEICHAL - The Sanctuary consisted of the Ulam, the Heichal and the Kodesh ha'Kodashim, and its total length was one hundred Amos. On the outside it reached a height of one hundred Amos. (King Herod raised its height to one hundred twenty Amos - Josephus 55).
e) [line 41] אחורי בית הכפורת ACHOREI BEIS HA'KAPORES - (lit. behind the compartment that held the Kapores, i.e. the Kodesh ha'Kodashim) the eleven Amos in between the back wall of the Beis ha'Mikdash and the western end of the Azarah