1) THE LIMITS OF THE OBLIGATION OF RE'IYAH
QUESTION: The Gemara records a dispute between Rebbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish with regard to the number of Korbenos Re'iyah a person must bring during the festival. According to the Gemara's initial understanding of the dispute, Reish Lakish says that one must bring a Korban Re'iyah every time he enters the Azarah during the festival, even after the first day. According to Rebbi Yochanan, one needs to bring a Korban only the first time he enters the Azarah; he may enter the Azarah during the rest of the days of the festival without a Korban.
The Gemara attempts to prove the opinion of Reish Lakish who says that one must bring a Korban on every day he enters the Azarah. The Gemara cites the verse, "Do not appear before Me empty-handed" (Shemos 23:15), as proof for Reish Lakish's opinion. Rebbi Yochanan refutes the proof and says that the verse refers only to the first day of the festival; on the rest of the days one may come to the Azarah without a Korban.
The Gemara later attempts to prove the opinion of Reish Lakish from a Beraisa. The Beraisa quotes Rebbi Yosi b'Rebbi Yehudah who states that one must go up to the Beis ha'Mikdash (Aliyah l'Regel) three times a year, and, when he goes, he may not appear empty-handed because the verse says, "Do not appear before Me empty-handed." The Gemara assumes that the Beraisa refers to every day of the festival and not just the first day. Rebbi Yochanan refutes the proof and says that the Beraisa refers only to the first day: on the first day one must bring a Korban, but on the rest of the days of the festival one may appear without a Korban.
The Gemara's question from the Beraisa is difficult to understand. The Gemara a few lines earlier questions Rebbi Yochanan's opinion from the verse which states that one may not appear empty-handed in the Azarah. Rebbi Yochanan answers that question by saying that the verse refers only to the first day of the festival. The Beraisa adds no additional information which would pose a difficulty to the view of Rebbi Yochanan. The Beraisa merely quotes the verse with more elaboration (it puts the verse in the context of the Mitzvas Aseh to appear in the Azarah: "one must be Oleh l'Regel three times a year..."). Why does the Gemara assume that the Beraisa refers to the other days of the festival when the verse itself refers only to the first day, as Rebbi Yochanan already explained earlier? Once Rebbi Yochanan answered that the verse refers only to the first day, it is obvious that the same verse, when quoted by the Beraisa, refers only to the first day! (REBBI AKIVA EIGER)
ANSWER: The TUREI EVEN asks another question on the Beraisa. When Rebbi Yosi b'Rebbi Yehudah cites the verse, why does he add, "From here we learn that one may not appear empty-handed"? The verse itself states that one may not appear empty-handed. What does Rebbi Yosi intend to add by paraphrasing the verse?
The Turei Even answers that Rebbi Yosi cites the verse as a continuation of the beginning of the Beraisa, which says that there is a Mitzvas Aseh to be Oleh l'Regel. After the Beraisa states that there is a Mitzvas Aseh to appear in the Azarah, it continues and says that this Mitzvas Aseh is fulfilled only when one brings a Korban with him when he comes to the Azarah. Without the Beraisa, one might have thought that the Mitzvah to appear in the Azarah and the prohibition against coming empty-handed are two independent Mitzvos. Accordingly, when one comes to the Azarah without a Korban, although he transgresses the Lo Ta'aseh of appearing in the Azarah without a Korban, he still fulfills the Mitzvas Aseh of appearing in the Azarah. The Beraisa therefore teaches that the Lo Ta'aseh is not an independent prohibition, but it is a condition in the fulfillment of the Mitzvas Aseh of Re'iyah. One who comes without a Korban does not fulfill even the Mitzvas Aseh of appearing in the Azarah. (This is the ruling of the RAMBAM in Hilchos Chagigah 1:1.)
The Turei Even points out a practical consequence of the fact that the Lo Ta'aseh is a condition in the Mitzvas Aseh. When a person has no Korban to bring with him (such as a poor person), should he go to the Azarah during the festival? If the Mitzvas Aseh of appearing in the Azarah is independent of the Lo Ta'aseh against appearing without a Korban, such a person should go to the Azarah to fulfill the Mitzvas Aseh of Re'iyah. Even though he will transgress the Lo Ta'aseh of appearing without a Korban, the Mitzvas Aseh overrides the Lo Ta'aseh. However, if bringing a Korban is a requisite in the fulfillment of the Mitzvas Aseh, a poor person should not go to the Azarah without a Korban, because he will not fulfill the Mitzvas Aseh without a Korban. (The Turei Even discusses this practical consequence at length.)
The explanation of the Turei Even answers the question of Rebbi Akiva Eiger as well. Rebbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish agree that one fulfills the Mitzvah of Re'iyah every day of the festival when he appears in the Azarah. They argue whether one must also come with a Korban every day of the festival. The Beraisa teaches that the Mitzvah of Re'iyah and the Lo Ta'aseh of appearing without a Korban are inherently linked; the prohibition against appearing without a Korban is a requisite in the fulfillment of the Mitzvah of Re'iyah. Therefore, the Gemara attempts to prove from the Beraisa that when one wants to fulfill the Mitzvah to appear in the Azarah every day of the festival, he must bring a Korban every day. If he does not bring a Korban, he does not fulfill the Mitzvah of Re'iyah. Rebbi Yochanan responds that the Lo Ta'aseh is a condition in the fulfillment of the Mitzvas Aseh only on the first day of the festival. On the rest of the days of the festival, bringing a Korban is not a condition in the Mitzvas Aseh of appearing in the Azarah, and thus one fulfills the Mitzvah without a Korban. (M. KORNFELD)
2) PERFORMING "SEMICHAH" ON YOM TOV
QUESTION: The Gemara cites the dispute between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel with regard to performing Semichah on a Korban on Yom Tov. Beis Shamai says that when one brings the Shalmei Chagigah on Yom Tov, he does not perform Semichah on the animal. Beis Hillel disagrees and says that one does perform Semichah on Yom Tov.
RASHI (v'Ein Somchin) explains that Beis Shamai prohibits Semichah because it is an act of Shevus (the Rabanan prohibited one from leaning and riding on an animal on Shabbos and Yom Tov). Beis Hillel permits Semichah on Yom Tov because he maintains that the Torah obligation of Semichah overrides the rabbinical prohibition of Shevus.
Rashi implies that the dispute between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel is based on whether or not the Rabanan upheld their enactment of Shevus (not to lean on an animal on Yom Tov) even in the face of a Mitzvah d'Oraisa (Semichah).
However, this explanation of the dispute contradicts the Gemara in Beitzah (20a). The Gemara there cites a Beraisa which records two different ways to understand the dispute between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel. The first Tana maintains that Beis Shamai never requires Semichah at all for Korbanos of Shalmei Chovah, regardless of when they are brought, while Beis Hillel requires Semichah for Shalmei Chovah and permits Semichah on Yom Tov. The second Tana maintains that although Beis Shamai does require Semichah for Shalmei Chovah, he requires that the Semichah be done before Yom Tov and he does not permit it on Yom Tov (because of Shevus), while Beis Hillel requires that Semichah be done at the time the Korban is slaughtered (and thus it may be done on Yom Tov).
It is clear from the Gemara in Beitzah that according to all of the opinions, the Rabanan did not annul the Mitzvah of Semichah with their enactment of Shevus. (According to Beis Shamai, Semichah either is not needed at all (first Tana there), or it is needed but is done before Yom Tov (second Tana there), while according to Beis Hillel, Semichah is done on Yom Tov according to both explanations.) (TUREI EVEN)
ANSWER: Further analysis shows that Rashi here is consistent with his explanation in Beitzah.
Rashi in Beitzah (20a, DH Beis Shamai) writes, as he does here in Chagigah, that the reason why one may not perform Semichah on Yom Tov according to Beis Shamai is the Isur d'Rabanan against using a live animal on Yom Tov. REBBI AKIVA EIGER (in GILYON HA'SHAS) there asks that Rashi's words clearly contradict the explanations given in the Gemara there in Beitzah (as mentioned above).
The SHA'AR HA'MELECH proposes a brilliant answer to resolve the words of Rashi.
Rashi understands that even if there is no obligation to perform Semichah for Shalmei Chovah, nevertheless a person who does perform Semichah on a Korban of Shalmei Chovah fulfills a Mitzvah. (A similar concept is expressed in Eruvin 96b, where Rebbi Yosi and Rebbi Shimon rule that although women are exempt from the obligation of Semichah, they nevertheless are permitted to perform Semichah and the act is not considered Avodah b'Kodshim.)
The owner of any Korban (and only the owner) is permitted to perform Semichah even though Semichah for that particular Korban is not obligatory, and his act is not considered Avodah b'Kodshim. Therefore, on an ordinary weekday one is permitted to perform Semichah on Shalmei Chovah and it is not considered Avodah b'Kodshim, because one fulfills a Mitzvah when he does it. On Yom Tov, however, there is a prohibition of "Mishtamesh b'Ba'alei Chayim," using a live animal. One who performs Semichah on Yom Tov (even for a Korban for which Semichah is obligatory) transgresses that Isur d'Rabanan. Since there is no obligation to perform Semichah on Shalmei Chovah, the Rabanan did not permit one to perform an optional Semichah on Yom Tov (even though by doing so he would be credited with a Mitzvah of Semichah). (See also Insights to Beitzah 20:1.)