THE ENACTMENTS OF YOCHANAN KOHEN GADOL
(Mishnah): Yochanan Kohen Gadol abolished Viduy Ma'asros...
(R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina): He did this because Ma'asros were not given properly;
The Torah says that Ma'aser Rishon should be given to a Levi, and we give it to Kohanim. (Ezra fined the Leviyim because they did not return with him from Bavel.)
Question: We should recite the rest of the Viduy!
Answer (Reish Lakish): If one cannot recite the Viduy regarding Ma'aser Rishon, he does not recite any of it.
Question: What is the reason?
Answer (Abaye): It is the first thing mentioned in the Parshah.
Inference: (We said that he abolished the recital because people gave Ma'aser Rishon to Kohanim, not to Leviyim.) This implies that people were separating Ma'aser!
Question (Beraisa): He (Yochanan Kohen Gadol) abolished the recital and decreed about Demai (doubtfully tithed produce). He had sent to check in all of Yisrael, and found that everyone separated Terumah, but not everyone separated Ma'asros.
He told them that just like there is Misah (b'Yedei Shamayim) for (a Zar who eats) Terumah Gedolah, there is Misah for Terumas Ma'aser and Tevel (untithed produce).
He made an enactment for one who buys produce from an Am ha'Aretz (someone not known to be trustworthy about Ma'asros);
The buyer separates Ma'aser Rishon and Ma'aser Sheni. He separates Terumah Ma'aser (from the Ma'aser Rishon), and gives it to a Kohen. He takes the Ma'aser Sheni to Yerushalayim, and eats it there.
Regarding (the rest of the) Ma'aser Rishon, and Ma'aser Oni (in years when it applies), unless it is established that the seller did not separate them (and they belong to the Leviyim or poor), the buyer keeps them.
Answer: These were two separate enactments. He abolished the recital (since even trustworthy people did not give Ma'aser to Leviyim), and decreed partial separation of Ma'asros on produce bought from Amei ha'Aretz.
(Mishnah): He also abolished the arousers.
Question: What were these?
Answer (Rachbah): They were Leviyim, who sang each day in the Mikdash "wake up, Hash-m, why do You sleep?"
Yochanan Kohen Gadol: How can you say so? "The Guardian of Yisrael does not sleep"!
The first verse refers to when Yisrael is in distress and the Nochrim are serene, for then it appears as if Hash-m sleeps.
(Mishnah): He abolished the bangers.
Question: What were these?
Answer #1 (Rav Yehudah): They were Kohanim who used to scratch a Korban between its horns, so that blood would fall in its eyes, to facilitate the slaughter.
Yochanan Kohen Gadol abolished this, for it resembles a Mum.
Answer #2 (Beraisa): They used to hit a Korban with sticks (to facilitate the slaughter), like was done in front of idolatry.
Yochanan Kohen Gadol: You offer Neveilos (animals that died without Shechitah) on the Mizbe'ach!
Objection: This is not true. They slaughter them!
Correction: Rather, they are (Safek) Tereifos (mortally injured) animals. Perhaps the skull was pierced!
Yochanan fixed rings in the ground. (They insert the animal's neck in the holes to facilitate Shechitah.)
(Mishnah): Until his days, hammers used to bang in Yerushalayim.
This was during Chol ha'Mo'ed.
(Mishnah): In his lifetime, one did not need to ask a seller if he tithed his produce.
This is like we said (he enacted to partially separate Ma'asros on produce bought from an Am ha'Aretz. The buyer does not mind, for he keeps almost all the tithes.)
THE ISUR OF SONG
(Mishnah): After the Sanhedrin was abolished, song was abolished from drinking houses - "they will not drink wine with song";
After the early Nevi'im died, the Urim v'Tumim ceased. After the Mikdash was destroyed, the Shamir (a special worm) and Nofes Tzufim were lost;
Also, men of faith ceased - "Hash-m, save, for there are no more pious people."
R. Yehoshua testified that after the Mikdash was destroyed, every day has a curse, dew does not descend for a Berachah, and fruits lost their taste;
R. Yosi says, even the fat of fruits was lost.
R. Shimon ben Elazar says, when Taharah ceased, fruits lost their taste and smell. When Ma'asros ceased, the fat of grain was lost.
Chachamim say, witchcraft and sexual immorality caused all these to perish.
(Gemara) Question: What is the source that the verse forbidding song refers to after the Sanhedrin was abolished?
Answer (Rav Huna brei d'Rav Yehoshua): "Elders ceased from the gate, youths from their singing."
(Rav): An ear that hears song deserves to be cut off.
(Rava): If there is song in a house, its end is to be destroyed - "a voice singing in the window, destruction is in the Saf (doorway), the cedar planks will be Eirah."
Question: What does it mean "will be Eirah"?
Answer (R. Yitzchak): It cannot mean that a house covered with planks will be like an Ir (city)! Rather, even a house that is covered with planks Misro'a (falters).
(Rav Ashi): "It will be destroyed at the Saf" teaches that the destruction of a house begins at the doorway.
We may learn this also from "in desolation, the gate is cut off."
(Rav Ashi): I saw (a demon that cuts the gate.) It gored like an ox.
(Rav Huna): The songs (sung while working) of those who pull ships by ropes, and of plowers, are permitted (they are merely to help the work). Songs of weavers are forbidden.
Rav Huna abolished song. Prices dropped. One could buy 100 geese or 100 Sa'im of wheat (a reasonable amount to eat in six years - Kesuvos 64b) for one Zuz (a standard year's income is 200 Zuz), and no one was buying!
Rav Chisda came and did not protest against song. A goose could not be found for one Zuz.
(Rav Yosef): If men sing and women answer, this is lewd. If women lead and men answer, lust flares like burning chips of flax.
Question: What difference does it make? (Both are forbidden!)
Answer: If one cannot stop both, he should prevent the latter.
(R. Yochanan): Anyone who drinks amidst music of four types of instruments brings five punishments to the world - exile, famine, that Torah will be forgotten, weakening of the enemies of (a euphemism) Hash-m, lowliness of Yisrael.
We learn from "... lyre and harp, tambourine and flute, their drinking sessions of wine... Therefore, My nation will be exiled without knowledge, its honored ones will die of hunger, they are thirsty (for Torah)... a man will be weakened, a man will be lowered; the eyes of the high will be lowered."
It also says "the pit (Gehinom) widened its mouth and swallowed endlessly..."
THE LOSS OF RU'ACH HA'KODESH
(Mishnah): After the early Nevi'im died (the Urim v'Tumim ceased).
Question: Who are considered the early Nevi'im?
Answer #1 (Rav Huna): They are Shmuel, David and Shlomo.
Rav Nachman: In David's time, sometimes it worked, sometimes not;
When David asked through Tzadok, he was answered. When he asked through Evyasar, he was not answered.
Objection #1 (Rabah bar Shmuel): "He (Uziyahu) sought Hash-m all the days of Zecharyahu, who understands Divine visions." (This was towards the end of Bayis Rishon!)
Suggestion: This refers to asking through the Urim v'Tumim!
Answer: No, it means that that Zecharyahu had prophecy.
Objection #2 (Beraisa): After the first Mikdash was destroyed, the following ceased: the cities of the Leviyim; the Urim v'Tumim; and kings from the Davidic line.
Question: "(Nechemyah) said to them, the Kohanim (who cannot prove that their lineage is untainted) will not eat from the most Kodesh Kodshim until the Kohen will ask the Urim v'Tumim." This implies that it was used during the second Mikdash!
Answer: No. He dispelled them, like one who says 'until the revival of the dead and the coming of Mashi'ach.'
(The Beraisa says that the Urim v'Tumim ceased after the first Churban, long after Shlomo!)
Answer #2 (to question (b) - Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): All the prophets are considered early, except for Chagai, Zecharyah and Malachi.
(Beraisa): After Chagai, Zecharyah and Malachi died, Ru'ach ha'Kodesh (Divine inspiration) ceased from Yisrael. They still heard voices from Heaven.
Once, Chachamim were in an attic in Yericho, and a Heavenly voice informed them that one of them was worthy that the Divine Presence should rest on him. It does not, because the generation is not worthy.
Everyone looked at Hillel.
When Hillel died, he was eulogized 'This was a saintly one! This was a humble one, a Talmid of Ezra!
Another such case happened in Yavneh. Chachamim understood that the reference was to Shmuel ha'Katan.
When he died, he was eulogized 'this was a saintly one! This was a humble one, a Talmid of Hillel!
At the time of his death, he prophesized about the 10 Chachamim that would be executed - R. Shimon (ben Gamliel ha'Zaken) and R. Yishmael (Kohen Gadol) will die by the sword. The others will have torturous deaths. The rest of the nation will be despoiled, and suffer greatly.
Chachamim wanted to similarly eulogize R. Yehudah ben Bava, but they were unable. We do not eulogize those killed by the king.
THINGS MISSING AFTER THE CHURBAN
(Mishnah): After the Mikdash was destroyed, the Shamir ceased.
(Beraisa - R. Yehudah): Shlomo used the Shamir to build the Mikdash. We understand "(the Mikdash) was built with whole rocks, like they were quarried" simply;
R. Nechemyah: You cannot say so! "These rocks... cut by a saw"!
Question: It says "a saw was not heard in the Mikdash during the building"!
Answer: They cut the rocks outside, and brought them in.
Rebbi says, I hold like R. Yehudah regarding the rocks of the Mikdash, and like R. Nechemyah regarding the rocks used to build Shlomo's house.
Question: According to R. Nechemyah, what was the Shamir used for?
Answer (Beraisa): It was for the stones (of the Efod). The writing on them cannot be in ink, for it says "engraved"! One cannot cut them with a chisel, for it says "in their fullness"!
Rather, one writes on them in ink, and puts the Shamir on them. The Shamir makes the stone cave in under the writing, like a fig tree cleaves in summer, and the ground cracks in winter, even though nothing is missing.
(Beraisa): The Shamir is a creature the size of a barley seed. It was created from the six days of creation, and it can pierce any hard substance.
To keep it, one wraps it in tufts of wool, and puts it in a small lead box full of barley bran.
(R. Ami): After the first Mikdash was destroyed, Paranda (a fine) silk and white crystal ceased.
Support (Beraisa): After the first Mikdash was destroyed, Paranda silk, white crystal and iron chariots ceased. Some add congealed wine that comes from Shenir, which resembles rings of pressed figs.
(Mishnah): And Nofes Tzufim (ceased).
Question: What is this?
Answer #1 (Rav): It is quality flour that is Tzafah (floats on top of, i.e. does not pass through) the Nafah (sifter).
It makes a dough like one kneaded with honey and oil.
Answer #2 (Levi): This is two loaves that are stuck to opposite sides of the oven, and in baking, they inflate and reach each other.
Answer #3 (R. Yehoshua ben Levi): This is honey from Tzipis (mountains).
Question: What is the source to say that good honey comes from mountains?
Answer: Rav Sheshes translated "like the bees do" to say that they eat honey that they bring from vegetation on the mountains.
(Mishnah): Any Tahor liquid poured into a Tamei liquid, what remains in the top Kli is Tahor, except for honey of Zifim and honeycomb.
Question: What is Zifim?
Answer #1 (R. Yochanan): It is honey that people are Mezayef (forge. The buyer cannot tell that it was diluted.)
Answer #2 (Reish Lakish): Zif is the name of a place - "Zif and Telem and Ba'alos."
Amora'im argue similarly about "when the Zifim came and told Sha'ul."
Question: What are Zifim?
Answer #1 (R. Yochanan): They are people who are Mezayef (falsify) their words.
Answer #2 (R. Elazar): They are people from Zif - "Zif and Telem and Ba'alos."
(Mishnah): People of faith ceased...
(R. Yitzchak): These are people that trust in Hash-m.
(Beraisa - R. Eliezer ha'Gadol): Anyone who has bread in his basket, and asks, 'what will I eat tomorrow?' is of small faith.
(R. Elazar): "Who scorns the day of Katnus lowliness?" The table (reward) of Tzadikim is disgraced in the world to come due to their smallness, that they did not trust in Hash-m.
(Rava): This verse refers to the children (who died in the life of their) wicked parents. They negate the decree against their parents in the world to come.
The children claim - if you will punish our parents in the future, why did you punish them (through our death) in their lifetimes?!