INSIGHTS INTO THE DAILY DAF
prepared by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
1) THE GEMATRIYA OF "HA'SATAN" IS 364
QUESTION: The Gemara says that the Satan has power to accuse on 364 out of 365 days of the year. He has no power to accuse on Yom Kippur. An allusion to this is the Gematriya of the word, "ha'Satan," which equals 364.
The Jewish calendar, however, follows the lunar year, which is 354 days long. Of what significance, then, is the allusion from the Gematriya of "ha'Satan," which refers to the solar year (of 365 days)?
(a) The NETZIV (in MEROMEI SADEH) answers that the allusion is merely a "Remez b'Alma"; it is not intended to have any significant implication. The fact that the Gematriya of "ha'Satan" is one less than the number of days in the solar year is significant enough to allude to the fact that the Satan has no reign on one day out of the year.
(b) Perhaps there is additional significance to the Gematriya of "ha'Satan." The solar calendar and lunar calendar are synchronized by the 19-year cycle which Rav Ada organized in the third century (see ). The 19-year cycle causes the lunar year to average out to the length of the solar year due to the addition of an extra month in 7 out of 19 lunar years. Accordingly, the Satan's average number of days of power (in every year of the 19-year cycle) is 364! In fact, ascribing the allusion of 364 days to the average number of days per year in the 19-year cycle has a clear advantage over ascribing it to a single lunar year: the lunar years vary in length (depending on whether they are Malei, Chaser, or k'Sidran, and whether they are leap years), and therefore it is preferable to mention the number of days during which the Satan has power in the unchanging solar year.
(c) Moreover, there is a link between the reign of the Satan and the solar year. The Midrash (Bereishis Rabah 6:3) says that Esav follows the solar year, while Yakov follows the lunar year.
Every nation has a spiritual counterpart, a Mal'ach that represents that nation in Shamayim. This Mal'ach signifies the essential character of the nation. The Mal'ach of Esav is "Sama'el" (Rashi, Sukah 29a and Sotah 10b, based on Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Vayishlach 8). The Midrash (end of Devarim Rabah) describes "Sama'el" as the Satan. Esav, like "ha'Satan," represents the forces that pull a person away from spirituality.
Accordingly, it is especially appropriate that the year of the Satan is comprised of 365 days like the solar year, the year of Esav.
2) WHO PERFORMS THE "TERUMAS HA'DESHEN" ON YOM KIPPUR
OPINIONS: The Mishnah lists three different times at which the Terumas ha'Deshen is performed. The first is the time at which the Terumas ha'Deshen is performed on an ordinary day. It is performed either right before or right after the "Keri'as ha'Gever" (approximately the time of dawn, Amud ha'Shachar; see Yoma 20b, and RAMBAM, Hilchos Temidin u'Musafin 2:11). The second is the time at which the Terumas ha'Deshen is performed on Yom Kippur night, when it is performed as early as Chatzos (midnight). The third is the time at which the Terumas ha'Deshen is performed during the festivals, when it is performed from the time that one quarter of the night has passed.
The Gemara later (20b) explains the two changes from the regular schedule. The Terumas ha'Deshen is performed from Chatzos on Yom Kippur night "because of the weakness of the Kohen Gadol" who performs all of the Avodos on Yom Kippur. The Terumas ha'Deshen is performed after the first quarter of the night has passed during the festival "because of the large number of Jews and large number of Korbanos" offered during the festival, which increase the amount of work necessary to clear the top of the Mizbe'ach from all of the ashes. The Terumas ha'Deshen must begin much earlier in order to clear off the Mizbe'ach in time for the next day's Korbanos.
The Gemara says that the reason the Terumas ha'Deshen is performed earlier on Yom Kippur is to help the Kohen Gadol preserve his strength for the Avodos of the day. The Gemara clearly implies that it is the Kohen Gadol who performs the Terumas ha'Deshen, just as he performs all of the other Avodos of Yom Kippur. However, the Mishnah later (22a) discusses the Payis (drawing of lots) performed to choose a Kohen to perform the Terumas ha'Deshen. The Mishnah implies that the Terumas ha'Deshen may be performed by any Kohen and not only by the Kohen Gadol.
Who performs the Terumas ha'Deshen on Yom Kippur?
(a) TOSFOS in Zevachim (86b, DH Mishum) explains that the Kohen Gadol must perform the Terumas ha'Deshen on Yom Kippur, as the Gemara here implies. Since the Kohen Gadol must perform all of the Avodos of Yom Kippur, he may perform the Terumas ha'Deshen earlier than usual so that he may rest after the Terumas ha'Deshen before he begins the Avodos of the day. (With regard to why the Mishnah discusses the Payis done for the Terumas ha'Deshen, see .)
This is also the understanding of the BA'AL HA'ME'OR.
(b) TOSFOS (20b, DH Mishum, in the name of the RIVA) and the RAMBAM (Hilchos Avodas Yom ha'Kipurim 4:1) understand that although all of the Avodos of the day must be performed only by the Kohen Gadol, Avodos of the night may be performed by any Kohen. Therefore, a Payis was necessary to choose a Kohen for the Terumas ha'Deshen, an Avodah performed before daybreak.
Why, then, does the Gemara explain that the Terumas ha'Deshen of Yom Kippur is performed early because of the weakness of the "Kohen Gadol"? The Riva asserts that the text of the Gemara is in error and should read, "because of the weakness of the Kohen," instead of, "because of the weakness of the Kohen Gadol." The Kohen should perform the Terumas ha'Deshen as early as possible because of the difficulty of the fast.
The Rishonim (TOSFOS RID to 29a and others) cite proof for this explanation from the Gemara later (29a) which states that "when the watchman announced the break of dawn, the Kohen Gadol would be taken to perform his Tevilah." This implies that before dawn of Yom Kippur the Kohen Gadol was not required to serve in the Beis ha'Mikdash.
The TOSFOS YESHANIM, who maintains that the Kohen Gadol must perform the Terumas ha'Deshen, refutes this proof. When the Mishnah (28a) and Gemara (29a) discuss the acts of Tevilah of the Kohen Gadol, they refer only to those which are done during the day, and not to those which are done at night. (See the RAMBAN (in Milchamos) who rejects this argument and upholds the proof from the Gemara later.)
(c) TOSFOS (beginning of 21a) says in the name of the RI that an ordinary Kohen may perform the Terumas ha'Deshen. When the Gemara here says that the Terumas ha'Deshen of Yom Kippur is performed earlier because of the weakness of the Kohen Gadol, it means that the ordinary Kohanim perform the work of the Terumas ha'Deshen earlier in order to ensure that the Kohen Gadol will be able to start his Avodah early in the morning, before he becomes weak.
This is also the opinion of the RAMBAN (in Milchamos), who also quotes this opinion in the name of the RAMBAM. (See also Insights to Zevachim 86:2.) (Y. MONTROSE, Y. SHAW)
3) AGADAH: SOLAR SAWDUST
QUESTION: Rebbi Levi asked why a person's voice is not heard during the day as well as it is heard during the night. He answered that it is "because of the sound produced by the sun's disc as it saws through the firmament as a sawyer cuts through cedars."
The Gemara continues and says that "the dust which can be discerned hanging in the air where the sun shines is the sawdust produced by the sun's progress. It is referred to in Hebrew as 'Lo' -- 'nothingness.' This is what Nevuchadnetzar referred to when he said, 'All of the inhabitants of the earth are as Lo [to Hash-m]'" (Daniel 4:32).
What is this "sun dust," and what is the meaning of the Gemara's statement that the sun "saws through the firmament"?
ANSWER: The Gemara in Sotah (10a) teaches that the Hebrew word for "sun," "Shemesh," is used as an appellation for Hash-m, as it says, "Hash-m is a Shemesh and a shield" (Tehilim 84:12). Why is the word for "sun" also used to denote its Creator?
David ha'Melech writes, "The heavens proclaim the glory of Hash-m.... The sun appears like a groom as he exits his bridal canopy; it rejoices like an athlete as he runs his course. It emerges from one edge of the sky and it goes around to the other; no one can escape its heat" (Tehilim 19:2-7).
In what way do "the heavens proclaim the glory of Hash-m"? Hash-m's power is demonstrated through the sun's great might. The sun's colossal nuclear furnace is the source of all life on earth. The sun, man's only directly observable star, is the greatest public demonstration of the awesome might and glory of Hash-m.
This may explain why the word "Shemesh," which is used to describe Hash-m, is used to refer to the sun, His great emissary in this world. An emissary is entitled to use the name of his dispatcher. The sun is the great witness to Hash-m's power in this world.
RABEINU BACHYE (introduction to Parshas Yisro; see also Kli Yakar to Bereishis 32:27) uses this idea to explain the Gemara in Bava Basra (16b). The Gemara there relates in the name of Rebbi Shimon ben Yochai that a precious stone hung from the neck of Avraham Avinu. Any sick person who came and gazed at the stone would be healed. When Avraham Avinu died, Hash-m hung the stone on the sphere of the sun.
Rabeinu Bachye notes that the Gemara compares Avraham's ability to "enlighten people's eyes" in a spiritual sense to a resplendent gemstone. The Gemara says that the gem hung from his neck, because speech emanates from one's throat which is in the neck, and it was through his words that Avraham enlightened the spiritually ill. When Avraham Avinu died, no one was left in the world who had the ability to demonstrate Hash-m's unity and greatness to others to the same degree that he was able to do. This ability now rested only with the sun, as the verse says, "The heavens proclaim the glory of Hash-m."
This is the deeper meaning of the Gemara here as well. The nighttime, when the sun's light is absent, represents the period during which Hash-m's hand cannot be clearly seen in the world. It is under the cover of night that a person is particularly susceptible to the persuasions of the forces of evil. The darkness of night allows a person to forget his Creator.
When Rebbi Levi asked why a person's voice is not heard during the day as well as it is heard during the night, he meant, "Why is a person dominated by his physical, worldly impulses at night more than by day?" He answered that by day, the sun is heard cutting through the heavens as a man saws through cedars. The daytime is dominated by the "voice" of the sun, the great harbinger of Hash-m's mighty presence. This "voice" bolsters a person's faith and makes him less susceptible to the persuasions of the Yetzer ha'Ra.
The manner in which the sun cuts through the firmament is compared to "a sawyer who cuts through cedars." The tall, erect cedar tree is used by the Torah as a symbol of haughtiness (Rashi, Vayikra 14:4). As the sun cuts its way through the heavens, Hash-m cuts down the haughty. The sun's message of the omnipotence of its Creator humbles the arrogant when it openly demonstrates Hash-m's power.
"The dust which can be discerned hanging in the air where the sun shines is the sawdust that is produced by the sun's progress." The dust that reflects the light of the sun's rays reminds man of the sun's lesson in humility. Wherever the sun shines, man is reminded that "you are dust, and to dust you will return" (Bereishis 3:19). The sun makes man aware of the overwhelming power of Hash-m compared to his own feebleness. This is precisely the context in which "Lo" is quoted in Daniel: "All of the inhabitants of the world are like nothingness [to Hash-m]."
This is the lesson of the sun's "sawing," of which man is reminded every time he sees a speck of dust suspended in a beam of sunlight. The Gemara's message here is far more than an adage in ancient astronomy. It is a profound philosophical lesson of faith in Hash-m. (M. KORNFELD. See BE'ER HA'GOLAH, ch. 6, for the Maharal's approach to this Agadah.)