1) PERFORMING SHECHITAH ATOP THE MIZBE'ACH
OPINIONS: The Mishnah discusses a Machlokes between Rebbi Yosi and Rebbi Yosi b'Rebbi Yehudah with regard to one who performs Shechitah at the top of the Mizbe'ach. They argue about which area on the Mizbe'ach is considered an appropriate place for Shechitah. The Mishnah does not mention that performing Shechitah atop the Mizbe'ach is an incorrect practice. Does this imply that one is permitted, l'Chatchilah, to perform Shechitah at the top of the Mizbe'ach?
(a) TOSFOS (DH Kodshei) writes that the Torah permits such Shechitah even l'Chatchilah, as is apparent from the Gemara's source for this Halachah from the verse, "v'Zavachta Alav Es Olosecha v'Es Shelamecha" -- "and you shall slaughter on it your Olos and your Shelamim" (Shemos 20:21). The Gemara explains that both opinions in the Mishnah learn from here that the Mizbe'ach is a suitable place to slaughter Korbanos. The difference of opinion revolves around only which Korbanos may be slaughtered in which area of the Mizbe'ach.
Tosfos, however, asks that the Mishnah uses the wording, "she'Shachtu," which implies that the Shechitah already took place and that the Mishnah is addressing a b'Di'eved situation. Tosfos concludes that perhaps the Rabanan maintain that one should not slaughter a Korban on the Mizbe'ach, l'Chatchilah, in order that the animal not defecate on the Mizbe'ach (which would be disrespectful).
The RASHASH and DIVREI NECHEMYAH have difficulty with the words of Tosfos. Why does Tosfos need to speculate that there is a Gezeirah d'Rabanan that the animal not be slaughtered on the Mizbe'ach lest it defecate there? The Mishnah later (84a) states that an Olah offering that went up to the Mizbe'ach while alive should be brought back down (and not be slaughtered there). The RAMBAM (Hilchos Pesulei ha'Mukdashin 3:4) explains that this is because the live animal, in its present state, is not yet considered fit to be brought on the Mizbe'ach. Why does Tosfos not give this as the reason for why the Mishnah says that a live animal should not be slaughtered on the Mizbe'ach l'Chatchilah?
The Divrei Nechemyah suggests that Tosfos perhaps maintains that the Mishnah later (84a) means that one is permitted to bring the Korban down from the Mizbe'ach, in contrast to the things listed there in the Mishnah which are not permitted to be brought down once they have been placed on the Mizbe'ach.
(b) RASHI on the verse (Shemos 20:21) seems to argue that the Torah does not condone Shechitah on the Mizbe'ach. Rashi states that the word "Alav" in the verse means "next to" the Mizbe'ach and not "on top of" it. This is similar to the meaning of "Alav" in the verse, "v'Alav Mateh Menasheh" -- "and next to him was the tribe of Menasheh" (Bamidbar 2:20). Rashi adds that in order that one not mistakenly think that the Torah condones performing Shechitah on top of the Mizbe'ach, the verse states, "You shall offer your Olos -- the flesh and the blood upon the Mizbe'ach" (Devarim 12:27), which teaches that only the flesh and blood are offered on the Mizbe'ach, but the Shechitah is not performed on the Mizbe'ach.
The CHOK NASAN comments that Rashi does not necessarily disagree with Tosfos. The wording of the verse, "v'Zavachta Alav" -- "and you shall slaughter on it," implies that it is regarded as a Mitzvah for one to slaughter the Korban on top of the Mizbe'ach (see Tosfos to 59a, DH v'Chi, who also makes this inference). Rashi is saying that the correct interpretation of the verse, as based on the verse in Devarim (12:27), is that the Mitzvah is only to put the flesh and blood of the Korban on the Mizbe'ach, and not to slaughter it there. This does not mean that the Torah is saying that one should not slaughter his Korbanos on the Mizbe'ach. Rather, the Torah is saying merely that there is no special Mitzvah to do so. It is permitted, though, to slaughter the Korban on the Mizbe'ach, even l'Chatchilah.
(However, the Chok Nasan quotes the RE'EM who points out that Rashi's words are actually a quote from the Mechilta, which records a Machlokes Tana'im with regard to whether one may slaughter a Korban l'Chatchilah on the Mizbe'ach. See also MITZPEH EISAN here, and TZON KODASHIM to 59a, DH she'Shachtu.) (Y. MONTROSE)
2) THE LOCATION OF THE "KIYOR"
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes three opinions with regard to where exactly in the Azarah the Mizbe'ach ha'Chitzon was located. (See Insights to Yoma 16:1 for an in-depth analysis of this issue.) According to one opinion, the entire area of the top of the Mizbe'ach was located in the northern part of the Azarah, and the ramp -- from the point it began to descend from the Mizbe'ach -- was located in the southern part of the Azarah. A second opinion maintains that the Mizbe'ach was situated exactly in the middle of the Azarah, half in the northern part and half in the southern part. A third opinion says that the Mizbe'ach was located entirely in the southern part of the Azarah.
The Gemara deduces from a statement of Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili, made with regard to the placement of the Kiyor, that he maintains that the Mizbe'ach was in the north of the Azarah. One verse states, "You shall place the Kiyor between the Ohel Mo'ed and the Mizbe'ach" (Shemos 40:7). Another verse, however, states that the Mizbe'ach was opposite the opening of the Ohel Mo'ed (of the Mishkan, or the opening of the Ulam in the Beis ha'Mikdash), with nothing allowed to be placed between the Mizbe'ach and the opening of the Ohel Mo'ed (Shemos 40:29). Where, then, was the Kiyor placed? Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili explains that it was placed between the wall of the Ulam and the Mizbe'ach, towards the southern part of the Azarah (in front of the southern half of the wall of the Ulam). This fulfilled both requirements of the verses; nothing was between the opening of the Ulam and the Mizbe'ach, while the Kiyor was between the southern half of the wall of the Ulam and the Mizbe'ach. This shows that Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili maintains that the Mizbe'ach was entirely in the northern part of the Azarah, because if he maintains that any part of it was located in the southern part, then the Kiyor could be placed directly between the Ulam and that part of the Mizbe'ach (to the south of the opening of the Ulam). The Kiyor could not be placed between the Mizbe'ach and the northern part of the wall of the Ulam because the Torah requires that the area there be entirely vacant of any vessels.
TOSFOS (58b, DH Ha Mani) points out that this Gemara implies that according to the other opinions (which say that the Mizbe'ach was at least partially in the south), the Kiyor indeed was placed directly between the Mizbe'ach and the southern part of the wall of the Ulam. However, the Tosefta in Kelim (1:6) records a dispute between Rebbi Meir and the Chachamim with regard to whether or not one may walk into the area between the Mizbe'ach and the Ulam without having washed his hands and feet with the water of the Kiyor. Rebbi Meir says that it is permitted. The Chachamim say that it is not permitted. According to the opinions which maintain that the Mizbe'ach was in the southern part of the Azarah, how is it possible that the Kiyor was between the Mizbe'ach and the Ulam, if the Chachamim prohibit the Kohanim from entering that area without having already washed with the water of the Kiyor?
(a) TOSFOS answers that perhaps those opinions follow the view of Rebbi Meir, who says that the Kohanim are permitted to enter that area before washing.
REBBI AKIVA EIGER in GILYON HA'SHAS questions Tosfos' suggestion. In the Mishnah in Kelim (1:9), Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili follows the view of the Chachamim who rule that one is not permitted to enter the area between the Ulam and the Mizbe'ach before washing. How, then, can he maintain that the Kiyor was placed between the Mizbe'ach and the Ulam?
The RASHASH is perplexed by the question of the Gilyon ha'Shas. According to Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili, even if the Kohanim are prohibited to enter the area between the Mizbe'ach and the Ulam, the Kiyor was placed to the south of the Mizbe'ach and was not directly between the Mizbe'ach and Ulam! Although the Kohanim are not permitted to go into the northern half of the Azarah between the Mizbe'ach and the Ulam, they simply may go around the Mizbe'ach to the southern part and wash with the Kiyor there!
It seems that the intention of the Gilyon ha'Shas is the same as that of the TIFERES YISRAEL in Kelim there (#70). The Tiferes Yisrael explains that one cannot differentiate between what is called an area "between the Mizbe'ach and the Ulam" with regard to the prohibition of a Kohen entering with unwashed hands and feet, and what is called an area "between the Mizbe'ach and the Ulam" with regard to where the Kiyor must be situated. The verse (Shemos 40:7) requires that the Kiyor be situated between the Mizbe'ach and the Ulam. The Gemara says that, according to Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili, this is accomplished by placing the Kiyor on the southern side of the Azarah, between the southern part of the wall of the Ulam and the ramp of the Mizbe'ach. The area between the ramp and the Ulam qualifies as "between the Mizbe'ach and the Ulam." Accordingly, this area must also be considered the area "between the Mizbe'ach and the Ulam" with regard to the prohibition against Kohanim walking there with unwashed hands and feet! Thus, the question of the Gilyon ha'Shas is upheld.
The Tiferes Yisrael answers that the prohibition against walking between the Mizbe'ach and the Ulam with unwashed hands and feet is only mid'Rabanan, and the Rabanan only prohibited walking in the area between the actual Mizbe'ach and the Ulam, and not in the area between the ramp and the Ulam. Although the Torah refers to both areas as being between the Mizbe'ach and the Ulam, the Rabanan applied their prohibition only to the area between the actual Mizbe'ach and Ulam, in order to ensure that the Kohanim first wash their hands and feet from the Kiyor before they enter that area.
(b) The KEREN ORAH asks a different question on Tosfos' answer. If the opinions that maintain that the Mizbe'ach was in the southern half of the Azarah cannot follow the view of the Chachamim in Kelim, but only the opinion that maintains that the Mizbe'ach was in the northern half can follow the view of the Chachamim, then it is obvious that Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili maintains that the Mizbe'ach was in the north! When the Gemara here (58a) attempts to find proof that Rebbi Yosi ha'Glili maintains that the Mizbe'ach was in the northern part of the Azarah, it should quote the Mishnah in Kelim which says that he follows the view of the Chachamim!
The Keren Orah explains that even the opinions that maintain that the Mizbe'ach was at least partially in the south can agree with the Chachamim. Even the Chachamim agree that if a Kohen needs to enter the area between the Mizbe'ach and the Ulam before he washes his hands (for example, he needs to get to the Kiyor in order to wash), he may enter this area. (See also the second answer of the Tiferes Yisrael.) (Y. MONTROSE)