1) WHEN MAY AN "ONEN" NOT TOUCH "KODSHIM"?
OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that an Onen may touch Kodshim but he may not offer them. The Gemara asks that this contradicts a Beraisa which states that an Onen may not touch Kodshim until he immerses in a Mikvah. Rebbi Ami in the name of Rebbi Yochanan answers that the Mishnah refers to an Onen after Tevilah (in which case he may touch Kodshim), and the Beraisa refers to an Onen before Tevilah (in which case he may not touch Kodshim).
The Gemara challenges this answer. If he is still an Onen, his Tevilah is ineffective. Rabah bar Rav Huna teaches that an Onen who is Tovel does not remove his status of an Onen as long as he still has not buried his relative.
The Gemara answers "this (the Beraisa) refers to when he removed his attention, and this (the Mishnah) refers to when he did not remove his attention."
The Rishonim disagree about the intent of the Gemara's answer. Their disagreement depends on whether the Girsa of the Gemara includes the word "Ela" ("rather") or not.
(a) RASHI (DH Ela Lo Kashya) says that the proper Girsa of the Gemara's answer is "Ela Lo Kashya" -- "Rather, this is not a difficulty." The word "Ela" usually denotes a retraction of the Gemara's original answer. Accordingly, the Gemara here discards the answer of Rebbi Ami in the name of Rebbi Yochanan (who said that the difference between the Mishnah and Beraisa is whether the Onen immersed in a Mikvah). Rather, the Mishnah refers to an Onen who says that he was careful not to become Tamei the entire time he was an Onen, even though he was not permitted to eat Kodshim. The Beraisa, which states that an Onen needs Tevilah before he may touch Kodshim, refers to an Onen who was not careful to avoid Tum'ah when he was an Onen, and thus he may not touch Kodshim until he immerses in a Mikvah.
(b) TOSFOS (DH Ha d'Asach) does not have the word "Ela" in his text of the Gemara. Accordingly, the Gemara is not retracting the answer of Rebbi Ami in the name of Rebbi Yochanan, and it still maintains that there is a difference between an Onen who immersed and an Onen who did not immerse. The Gemara answers its question from the teaching of Rabah bar Rav Huna (that Tevilah does not remove the Onen's status as long as he has not buried his relative) by saying that as long as he immersed and he was careful to avoid Tum'ah throughout the entire time that he was an Onen, he may touch Kodshim.
(c) There are two different texts of the RAMBAM in Perush ha'Mishnayos. In the common text, the Rambam apparently learns like Tosfos, because he states that an Onen may not touch Kodesh after Tevilah unless he immerses with intent to guard himself from any Tum'ah. However, the text of the Rambam in a manuscript of Perush ha'Mishnayos from Eretz Yisrael quoted by the TOSFOS YOM TOV is entirely different, and implies that the Rambam learns like Rashi. (Y. MONTROSE)
2) AN ONEN'S EXCLUSION FROM BRINGING A DONATION OF WOOD TO THE BEIS HA'MIKDASH
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes a Beraisa which teaches that a Kohen who is an Onen may offer no type of Korban. The Beraisa says that an Onen may not donate even wood to the Beis ha'Mikdash. RASHI (DH veha'Etzim) explains that anyone who donates wood to the Beis ha'Mikdash also brings a Korban. Rashi apparently understands that this is the intent of the Beraisa from the fact that it calls Etzim a "Korban" and excludes Etzim from being brought by an Onen based on the verse, "Shelamim Korbano" -- "a Shelamim is his Korban" (Vayikra 3:1). This verse implies that one must be "Shalem," "whole," when he brings a Korban, and an Onen is not "Shalem." If the Beraisa refers merely to bringing wood, why is Onen excluded from the verse which mentions "Korban"? It must be that one who donates wood to the Beis ha'Mikdash also must bring a Korban, and thus an Onen may not donate wood.
Many Acharonim have difficulty with Rashi's explanation. The RASHASH asks that the Gemara in Menachos (20b) explicitly states that a donation of wood is called a Korban. Why does Rashi not explain the Beraisa here in accordance with the Gemara there?
The SEFAS EMES asks more questions. If a donation of Etzim is not a Korban, then why does the Beraisa even mention Etzim? Since one must bring an actual Korban when he donates wood, and the Beraisa already teaches that Onen does not bring a Korban, there is no need to mention Etzim at all. If an Onen may not bring a Korban, what obligates the Korban to be brought should make no difference. Moreover, what is the source for Rashi's assertion that one who donates wood must offer a Korban as well?
ANSWER: The OLAS SHLOMO answers that Rashi understands that the Beraisa does not follow the opinion of Rebbi in Menachos, who says that a donation of Etzim is called a Korban. Rebbi maintains that a Korban Etzim even needs Kemitzah, like a Minchah offering. If the Beraisa would follow the opinion of Rebbi, it would not need to mention Etzim, since Etzim is included already in the category of Minchah which the Beraisa mentions. Rashi therefore understands that the Beraisa follows the opinion of the Rabanan in Menachos, who maintain that if one offers a Korban of Etzim outside the Beis ha'Mikdash, he is not liable for offering a Korban ba'Chutz. The Rabanan evidently maintain that a donation of Etzim is not called a Korban.
The Olas Shlomo addresses another question of the Sefas Emes. Why would one think that a Korban brought with a donation of Etzim does not have the same law as an ordinary Korban brought alone, which the Beraisa already states may not be brought by an Onen? The Olas Shlomo gives a simple explanation. Since the Etzim themselves may be brought by an Onen, one might think that if a Korban is brought as an accompaniment to the Etzim, it should not be more important than the Etzim themselves, and an Onen should be permitted to offer such a Korban. The Beraisa therefore teaches that even such a Korban may not be offered by an Onen.
However, the Olas Shlomo gives no other source for Rashi's assertion that one who donates wood must also bring a Korban. Perhaps the Gemara here is the source for this requirement. (Y. MONTROSE)