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OPINIONS: The Gemara earlier (63b) quotes a Beraisa which discusses the exact locations where various Avodos for the Chatas ha'Of must be performed. With regard to the Haza'as ha'Dam, the Beraisa first states that it may be performed anywhere on the Mizbe'ach, and then it states that it must be performed below the Chut ha'Sikra. The Gemara reconciles these two conflicting statements by explaining that the first statement of the Beraisa refers to the act of Mitzuy (pressing the blood from the body of the bird onto the Mizbe'ach after the Haza'ah), which may be performed anywhere on the Mizbe'ach. The second statement refers to the Haza'ah. The Beraisa is teaching that even if the Mitzuy is not done, the Chatas ha'Of remains valid as long as the Haza'ah is done below the Chut ha'Sikra.

Does the Gemara mean that all of the Dam must be sprinkled below the Chut ha'Sikra in order for the Korban to be valid, or does it mean that even if some of the Dam was sprinkled above the Chut ha'Sikra, the Korban is valid as long as some of the Dam was sprinkled below the Chut ha'Sikra?

(a) According to RASHI (DH Mai Ka'amar), the Gemara is not saying that the Beraisa means that the Korban remains valid as long as some of the Dam is sprinkled below the Chut ha'Sikra. If the Korban would be valid in such a case, then the Gemara should answer the contradiction in the Beraisa by saying simply that the Beraisa means that when some of the Dam is sprinkled above the Chut ha'Sikra (the Beraisa's first statement), the Korban remains valid as long as some of the Dam is sprinkled below the Chut ha'Sikra (the Beraisa's second statement). Rather, the Gemara infers from the wording of the Beraisa that this is not the Beraisa's intention. The Beraisa states, "Hizah Damah" -- "he sprinkled its blood," which implies all of its blood. If the Beraisa's intent is only some of the blood, it would say, "Hizah mi'Damah" -- "he sprinkled from its blood." The Beraisa must refer to Haza'ah of all of the blood above the Chut ha'Sikra, and not just some of the blood, and thus the first statement contradicts the second statement. It must be, as the Gemara explains, that the first statement refers to Mitzuy, while the second statement refers to Haza'ah, and the Beraisa is saying that the Haza'ah must be done entirely below the Chut ha'Sikra. (This is how the LECHEM MISHNEH, Hilchos Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos 7:9, understands Rashi, as well as the YAD BINYAMIN to Rashi DH u'Vilvad, in contrast to the understanding of the KEREN ORAH.)

(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos 7:9) maintains that if the sprinkling is done anywhere on the Mizbe'ach, the Korban is valid as long as some of the blood is sprinkled below the Chut ha'Sikra. The LECHEM MISHNEH, who accepts Rashi's explanation above, finds the Rambam's conclusion difficult, because the Gemara excludes the possibility that the Haza'as ha'Dam of a Chatas ha'Of may be done even partially above the Chut ha'Sikra. The Lechem Mishneh suggests that the Rambam must have had a different Girsa in the Gemara.

The MAHARI KURKUS suggests that the Rambam disagrees with Rashi's interpretation of the Gemara. Rashi says that if the Beraisa maintains that the Korban is valid when some of the blood is sprinkled above the Chut ha'Sikra, the Beraisa would say, "Hizah mi'Damah," and not "Hizah Damah," as mentioned above. However, this is not necessarily true. Since the Beraisa immediately qualifies its first statement and says that some blood must be sprinkled below the Chut ha'Sikra, this implies that the first statement refers to only some of the blood. What, then, does the Gemara find problematic with the two statements of the Beraisa? The Beraisa is saying simply that if some of the blood was sprinkled above the Chut ha'Sikra, the Korban remains valid as long as some blood is sprinkled below the Chut ha'Sikra!

The Mahari Kurkus suggests that the Gemara's difficulty with the Beraisa is that the qualifying statement -- that some blood must be sprinkled below the Chut ha'Sikra -- is said only after the Beraisa says that the lack of Mitzuy does not disqualify the Korban. If the Beraisa is giving a qualifying statement about Haza'ah, then it should make this statement immediately, before it discusses the new subject of Mitzuy! What, then, is the Beraisa teaching? The Gemara answers that the Beraisa is teaching a different Halachah, but it still is true that performing part of the Haza'as ha'Dam on the upper part of the Mizbe'ach will not disqualify the Korban. (See Mahari Kurkus for other possible explanations).

The CHOK NASAN says that the question on the Rambam is not really a question at all. The Rambam might agree with Rashi's reason for not interpreting the Beraisa to be teaching that one is permitted to sprinkle the blood above and then below the Chut ha'Sikra (i.e., that it does not say "Hizah mi'Damah"). However, this does not mean that one is prohibited from sprinkling the blood above the Chut ha'Sikra. Rather, the Gemara's inference from the wording of the Beraisa teaches merely that the Beraisa is not discussing the subject of Haza'ah above the Chut ha'Sikra at all. The Rambam understands (unlike Rashi) that the Beraisa does not actually maintain that if one sprinkles some of the blood above the Chut ha'Sikra, the Korban becomes Pasul. Accordingly, he understands that the intent of the Gemara, after explaining the meaning of the Beraisa, does not contradict the Halachah that one who sprinkles some blood above the Chut ha'Sikra may sprinkle blood below the Chut ha'Sikra, making the Korban valid. (See MIRKEVES HA'MISHNEH and EVEN HA'AZEL for additional answers). (Y. Montrose)


OPINIONS: The Gemara describes the process of Melikah, the slaughtering of the bird-offering by hand. The Beraisa concludes that this is the most difficult Avodah to perform in the Beis ha'Mikdash. The Gemara asks that there are other Avodos which are more difficult, such as the Avodos of Kemitzah and Chafinah (see Yoma 47b and 49b). The Gemara answers that the Beraisa does not mean that Melikah is the most difficult Avodah, but rather that it is among the most difficult Avodos in the Beis ha'Mikdash (see RASHI, DH Avodah Kashah).

The Gemara does not explain exactly what is so difficult about Melikah that makes it deserving of the title of the most difficult Avodah, or one of the most difficult Avodos, in the Beis ha'Mikdash. Why is it so difficult?

(a) The SHITAH MEKUBETZES (#14) explains why Melikah is so difficult to perform. The Gemara says that the neck of the bird must be stretched out, with the other fingers, on the back of the thumb, and then the Kohen must perform the actual Melikah with the same thumb on which the neck is stretched out. This is because Melikah is an Avodah and, like all other Avodos, it must be done with the right hand. Even holding the bird steady must be done solely with the right hand, as well as the act of Melikah itself. This indeed is extremely difficult. The MIKDASH DAVID (2:28) also follows this approach.

(b) However, not all Rishonim agree with the Shitah Mekubetzes. The RAMBAM (in Perush ha'Mishnayos), the BARTENURA, and others maintain that the Kohen is permitted to hold the bird in his left hand while he does the act of Melikah with the thumb of his right hand. According to these Rishonim, what makes the Melikah so difficult?

TOSFOS in Yoma (49b, DH v'Ha Ika) explains that the words, "Avodah Kasheh sheb'Mikdash," do not mean that the act is so difficult that it requires a great degree of skill. Rather, these words mean that it is painful for the Kohen to perform these Avodos. Explaining how this applies to Melikah, Tosfos says that the Kohen experiences considerable pain when his thumbnail cuts through the Mafrekes of the bird. (See SHALOM RAV, quoting the SHE'EILOS U'TESHUVOS MEIR NESIVIM (ch. 12), who adds that according to this explanation, Melikah indeed is the most "difficult" (i.e. painful) of the Avodos to perform.) (Y. Montrose)

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