1) WHEN THE STONE BECOMES DISLODGED
QUESTION: Rebbi Ami asks what happens when one of the stones lining the floor of the Beis ha'Mikdash becomes dislodged. The Gemara earlier teaches that when the Kohen performs the Avodah, he Kohen must stand on the floor of the Beis ha'Mikdash with nothing between his feet and the floor. When a stone becomes dislodged, is it considered a separation (Chatzitzah) between the Kohen who stands on top of it and the Beis ha'Mikdash, or is the stone still considered part of the floor itself?
The Gemara says that when the Kohanim do not intend to re-attach the stone to the floor, it definitely is considered a Chatzitzah between the Kohen and the floor of the Beis ha'Mikdash. Rebbi Ami's question applies when the Kohanim do plan to re-attach the stone but have not yet re-attached it. Is it considered as though it has been re-attached, or since it still is physically dislodged, is it considered a Chatzitzah? The Gemara does not answer this question.
The Gemara quotes Rabah Zuti who asks a related question. If a stone is dislodged completely, may the Kohen stand in the hole in the floor where the stone used to be and perform the Avodah? Is this called "Derech Sherus," "a [normal] way of service"? The Gemara also does not answer this question.
The RAMBAM (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 1:10) rules that a Kohen may not stand on a stone which has become dislodged from the floor, even if it is still in its place. The Rambam repeats this Halachah elsewhere (Hilchos Bi'as ha'Mikdash 5:19), and concludes that even though the Kohen is forbidden from performing the Avodah while he stands on such a stone, if a Kohen did perform the Avodah while standing on top of a dislodged stone, the Avodah is valid. The KESEF MISHNEH notes that it is odd that the Rambam makes no mention of the difference between a stone which is not going to be re-attached to the floor, which the Gemara says definitely is not considered part of the floor, and a stone which is going to be re-attached to the floor, which is the unresolved question of the Gemara. Why does the Rambam not explain this difference? Also, why does the Rambam not mention the case of the question of Rabah Zuti?
(a) The KESEF MISHNEH answers that the Rambam understands the flow of the Gemara differently. When the Gemara says that when the Kohanim do not intend to re-attach the stone, the stone may be considered a Chatzitzah between the Kohen and the floor of the Beis ha'Mikdash, the Gemara means that it certainly would be forbidden l'Chatchilah for a Kohen to stand on the stone and perform the Avodah. The Gemara never entertains the possibility that the Avodah would be Pasul in such a case. The Gemara then asks whether there is a problem to perform the Avodah l'Chatchilah while one stands on a dislodged stone of the Beis ha'Mikdash which is going to be re-attached. Since the Gemara does not answer its question, the Rambam rules stringently that l'Chatchilah one should not stand on the stone while he performs the Avodah. The Kesef Mishneh explains further that the Rambam understands that the doubt of Rabah Zuti was only a question to him, not to the Gemara in general. The Gemara itself maintains that a Kohen certainly may stand in this hole in the floor and perform the Avodah, even l'Chatchilah.
The MISHNEH L'MELECH is perplexed by the Kesef Mishneh's explanation of the Rambam. When the Gemara says that the stone is considered a Chatzitzah when the Kohanim do not intend to re-attach it, it clearly implies that in such a case the Avodah is Pasul. How can the Kesef Mishneh suggest otherwise? Moreover, the unsubstantiated assertion that the Gemara was never in doubt about the question of Rabah Zuti "is words that we have never heard anything like it before." That is, there is no plausible reason for why the Gemara would quote the question of an Amora and not give an answer to it, when the Gemara clearly knows the answer. The Mishneh l'Melech concludes that this matter needs further elucidation, and he does not give an answer.
(b) The CHAZON ISH in Zevachim (5:2) answers the Rambam's omission of Rabah Zuti's case in the following manner. Rebbi Ami maintains that the Kohen certainly must stand on the floor of the Beis ha'Mikdash when he performs the Avodah, because he understands that there is a requirement that there must be a floor in the Azarah. Rebbi Ami's question is merely whether or not this dislodged stone is considered the floor of the Beis ha'Mikdash when it is going to be re-attached. When the Gemara says that the stone is a Chatzitzah when it is not going to be re-attached, the Gemara does not mean that the stone is considered a Chatzitzah between the Kohen and the floor, but rather that the stone itself cannot be considered the floor. Since Rebbi Ami requires one to stand on the floor of the Beis ha'Mikdash while he performs the Avodah and the Kohen is not doing so, his Avodah obviously is Pasul.
Rabah Zuti's question, however, was based on the assumption that one does not need a floor in the Azarah of the Beis ha'Mikdash. As long as the Kohen is on the ground of the Beis ha'Mikdash, as opposed to standing on a stone which is merely resting on top of the ground (and which the Kohen does not plan on making part of the floor of the Beis ha'Mikdash), the Avodah is valid. Rabah Zuti's only question is whether it is Derech Sherus for a Kohen to perform the Avodah while standing in a hole in the floor of the Beis ha'Mikdash.
The Rambam rules like Rebbi Ami, that there must be a Halachic floor in the Beis ha'Mikdash. It therefore is obvious that according to Rebbi Ami, Rabah Zuti's case is Pasul, as the Kohen is standing only on the ground of the Beis ha'Mikdash but not on the floor of the Beis ha'Mikdash. (The Chazon Ish calls this a "Pesul Binyan" -- a disqualifying factor due to a lack in the actual construction of the Beis ha'Mikdash.) Once the Rambam already records the requirement that there be a floor in the Azarah, he does not need to mention that the Avodah in Rabah Zuti's case is Pasul. (The Chazon Ish does not seem to explain the reason for why the Rambam does not differentiate between a stone that will be re-attached and a stone that will not be re-attached.) (Y. MONTROSE)
2) WHAT IS A "DAVAR HA'ME'AKEV KAPARAH"?
OPINIONS: Rava puts forth a rule that whenever the verse mentions either the word "Etzba" or "Kohen" when discussing an Avodah done in the Beis ha'Mikdash, the verse is teaching that the Avodah must be done with the Kohen's right hand.
Abaye asks that this seems problematic from the verse which discusses the Avodah of the bringing of the limbs to the Mizbe'ach after the Korban is slaughtered. The verse states, "And the Kohen will bring all of it close, and he will burn it on the Mizbe'ach" (Vayikra 1:13). According to Rava's rule, the bringing of the limbs to the Mizbe'ach should have to be done with the right hand of the Kohen. However, the Gemara in Tamid (31b) teaches that the Kohen brings the right foot of the animal to the Mizbe'ach in his left hand. Rava answers that the "Etzba-Kohen" rule applies only to something which is "Me'akev Kaparah," as mentioned earlier in the Gemara with regard to the Kohen's act of sprinkling the blood on the Metzora. What exactly is a Davar ha'Me'akev Kaparah?
(a) RASHI (DH ha'Me'akev) explains that bringing the limbs of the Korban to be burned on the Mizbe'ach is not something in which the validity of Korban depends. It therefore is not included in the requirement that it must be done with the right hand.
(b) Rashi in Menachos (10a, DH v'Ha; see also Rashi to 14b, DH Holeches) implies that a "Davar ha'Me'akev Kaparah" is something that is indispensable to the process of bringing the Korban. Since one technically can slaughter the Korban next to the Mizbe'ach and therefore not have to walk to the Mizbe'ach in order to bring the limbs to the Mizbe'ach, bringing the limbs is not a "Davar ha'Me'akev Kaparah."
Why does Rashi give different explanations for "Davar ha'Me'akev Kaparah" in these two different places?
The TZON KODASHIM explains that there is a dispute between Rebbi Shimon and the Rabanan in Menachos (10a) about whether or not it is possible to invalidate a Korban through Pigul when one brings its limbs to the Mizbe'ach. Rebbi Shimon says that it is not possible to invalidate the Korban, since the Avodah is not indispensable. The Rabanan say that a thought of Pigul can invalidate the Korban Pasul even during the act of bringing the limbs to the Mizbe'ach. Rashi here wants to show that the Gemara may even follow the strict opinion of the Rabanan. Although one can invalidate the Korban by having a thought of Pigul when he brings the limbs to the Mizbe'ach, bringing the limbs is still not included in the rule of "Etzba-Kohen," since it is not an indispensable Avodah. Rashi understands that the discussion in Menachos follows the view of Rebbi Shimon, and therefore Rashi mentions Rebbi Shimon's definition of "Davar ha'Me'akev Kaparah" there. (Y. MONTROSE)