QUESTION: The Mishnah (15a) teaches that as part of the Seder Ta'aniyos, ashes are placed upon the heads of the Nasi and Av Beis Din. TOSFOS (here and on 15b) writes that these ashes should come from a human bone that was burned.
How can Tosfos suggest that ashes of a human bone be used? The Torah forbids the mutilation and desecration of dead bodies; human remains must be buried. How can the Mishnah permit the defilement of human remains by burning them so that the ashes can be placed on the heads of the congregants? (See following Insight.)
(a) RASHI in Berachos (5b) writes that a bone less than the size of a barley seed does not need to be buried. Perhaps it may also be burned and its ashes used, and doing so is not considered a disgrace to the dead.
(b) RAV S. Z. BRAUN in SHE'ARIM HA'METZUYANIM B'HALACHAH cites the MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 311:3) who implies (perhaps based on Tosfos here) that the prohibition against disgracing a Mes does not apply when the body has been burned to ashes (see also TOSFOS to Chulin 125b, DH Yachol). Presumably, after it has become ashes it is considered a new entity and burial is not required.
Rav Braun points out that many Acharonim do not accept the ruling of the Magen Avraham.
(c) The Acharonim ask another basic question. Tosfos says that the ashes of human bone should be used in order to commemorate Akeidas Yitzchak. However, no human was actually burned at the Akeidah. It would be more appropriate to use ashes from wood or from a ram, since that is what was burned at the Akeidah. (KEREN ORAH, YA'AVETZ)
The SHE'ARIM HA'METZUYANIM B'HALACHAH suggests that there is a printer's error in the words of Tosfos. In place of "Etzem Adam," the words should be "Etzem Ayil" -- "the bone of a ram." (He proposes that in an earlier manuscript the words in Tosfos read "Etzem A'" (Alef), an abbreviation for the word "Ayil," and the printer erred and wrote "Adam" instead of "Ayil." Alternatively, perhaps the words of Tosfos originally read "me'Etzem O Dam" -- "from bone or blood" of an animal (but not from the meat of an animal, since one may not waste something edible by burning it for this purpose). Since a ram was burned at Akeidas Yitzchak, a bone from a ram should be burned to arouse Hash-m's mercy for the Jewish people. (See Rosh Hashanah 16a: "Blow before me the Shofar of a ram, so that I may remember Akeidas Yitzchak.") The words "me'Etzem O Dam" may have been mistakenly copied as "me'Etzem Adam."
QUESTION: The Mishnah (15a) teaches that as part of the Seder Ta'aniyos ashes are placed upon the heads of the Nasi and Av Beis Din. TOSFOS (here and on 15b) writes that these ashes should come from a human bone that was burned.
Several explanations are given for why the ashes of a human bone may be used for this purpose even though the Torah forbids the desecration of human remains. (See previous Insight.) All of those explanations agree that Tosfos maintains that a specific type of ash should be used.
What is Tosfos' source for this? The Gemara itself implies that any ashes may be used. The Gemara records a dispute between Rebbi Levi bar Chama and Rebbi Chanina with regard to the reason for the ashes: do they remind us of our worthlessness (we are no better than ashes) or do they remind us of Akeidas Yitzchak? The Gemara says that the practical difference between these two opinions is "Afar Stam" -- ordinary dirt. According to the opinion that the reason for using ashes is to remind us of our worthlessness, we may also use dirt. According to the opinion that the reason for using ashes is to remind us of Akeidas Yitzchak, we may not use dirt because dirt does not remind us of Akeidas Yitzchak.
If, as Tosfos says, the opinion which associates the ashes with Akeidas Yitzchak maintains that ashes of bone must be used, the Gemara should have offered that as the practical difference between the two opinions: according to the opinion that the ashes are reminiscent of the Akeidah, ashes from bone must be used, while according to the other opinion any ashes may be used. The fact that the Gemara does not offer this as a difference between the two opinions implies that ashes of bone are not required. (BIRKEI YOSEF OC 579 and Acharonim)
ANSWER: The reason why Tosfos says that the ashes must come from human bone is because he is bothered by another question. The Mishnah explicitly states that "Efer Makleh" (ashes) must be used. It adds the word "Makleh" to exclude dirt (as Rashi explains in the Mishnah). Why, then, does one opinion insist that since ashes are placed on the heads of the people to show that "we are worthless like ash," dirt may also be used? The Mishnah clearly contradicts this opinion. (KEREN ORAH, RASHASH)
Moreover, the Amora'im who discuss the source for the requirement to place ashes on the head seem to argue about a subject that is already debated by the Tana'im. The Gemara earlier (15b) cites a Beraisa in which the Tana Kama states that plain "ashes" may be used (he omits the word "Makleh" and thereby includes dirt). Rebbi Nasan argues and says "they would bring Efer Makleh," referring specifically to ashes and not dirt. Why does the Gemara not mention that the dispute of the Amora'im here is the subject of a Machlokes Tana'im?
These questions led Tosfos to understand that when the Gemara says that the difference between the two opinions is "Afar Stam," it does not refer to dirt. The word "Afar" here means ashes (as in the verse, "Afar Serefas ha'Chatas" (Bamidbar 19:17); see Rashi in the Mishnah). Both opinions among the Amora'im permit only ashes to be used. They argue whether a specific type of ash must be used or any type of ash may be used. The opinion that the purpose for using ashes is to remind us of Akeidas Yitzchak maintains that only the ashes of bone may be used, while the other opinion allows any ashes. Accordingly, both opinions concur with the ruling of the Mishnah, and with Rebbi Nasan of the Beraisa, that ashes must be used and not dirt.
This understanding is implied by the wording of the Gemara (according to our text). The Gemara says that they argue whether "Afar Stam" may be used. Rashi (DH Afar) says that the word "Stam" is extra and should be omitted from the text because it makes no sense for the Gemara to refer to "plain dirt" as opposed to some other type of dirt. Dirt is dirt. Tosfos, on the other hand, emphasizes that the Girsa is correct and should not be changed. He explains that the word "Afar" means ashes and not dirt. When the Gemara says that the Amora'im argue whether "plain ashes" may be used, it means plain ashes as opposed to a specific type of ashes: ashes from bones. (M. Kornfeld)
One question remains to be answered. According to the other Rishonim who explain that dirt may be used according to the Amora who says that ashes are placed on the head to give the people a feeling of lowliness, how can this opinion be reconciled with the Mishnah which says specifically that "Efer Makleh" is used?
1. Those Rishonim may understand that the reason why the Mishnah says "Makleh" (ashes that come from a furnace or from an ordinary fire) is to exclude the ashes of a Parah Adumah, as one opinion cited by the ME'IRI indeed writes. (This is apparently the opinion of the RASHBAM in Bava Basra 60b, DH Efer Makleh.) One might have thought that the ashes of a Parah Adumah must be applied so that everyone will view himself as Tahor, and thus the Mishnah emphasizes that any type of ashes may be used. The Mishnah does not intend to exclude dirt by writing "Makleh," and dirt may be used. The Tana Kama of the Beraisa argues and insists that ashes of a Parah Adumah are applied, for the above-mentioned reason.
2. Rashi, who does not learn like the Rashbam, offers a different solution (15a, DH Efer), as the LECHEM MISHNEH (Hilchos Ta'aniyos 3:1), KEREN ORAH, and RASHASH explain. Rashi implies that even though dirt may be used since it also denotes worthlessness, it is better to use ashes which display even more worthlessness (since ashes are not fertile soil).
QUESTION: The Gemara explains that the name "Har ha'Moriyah" means either the mountain from which Torah was taught or the mountain from which fear [to the nations] emanated.
RASHI and TOSFOS write that Har ha'Moriyah refers either to Yerushalayim and the site of the Beis ha'Mikdash, or to Har Sinai.
The verse which discusses "Eretz ha'Moriyah" (Bereishis 22:2, see Rashi) and "Har ha'Moriyah" (Divrei ha'Yamim II 3:1) clearly refer to the site of the Beis ha'Mikdash and not to Har Sinai (which is not in Eretz Yisrael at all). Why do Rashi and Tosfos suggest that it refers to Har Sinai? (MAHARSHA)
(a) The KEREN ORAH and others point out that the Yalkut Shimoni (to Shir ha'Shirim 4:6: "I will go to Har ha'Mor") records the same dispute with regard to the meaning of the words "Har ha'Mor." The Yalkut Shimoni, however, is not discussing "ha'Moriyah" but "ha'Mor," which indeed may refer to Har Sinai. Perhaps the Gemara here should be emended to read "Har ha'Mor" as well. (According to this Girsa, the reason why the Gemara mentions this dispute here is because the same Amora'im who disagreed in an earlier argument disagree about this as well, as Rashi himself writes (beginning of DH Mai Har, although it is clear from the rest of his words that his Girsa is "ha'Moriyah"). The Gemara's citation of this dispute here is unrelated to the Mishnah's mention of "Avraham on Har ha'Moriyah.")
(b) The Gemara in Megilah (29a) says that Har Tabor and Har Carmel came to the desert, to the area of Sinai, at the time the Torah was given. The Yalkut Reuveni (Parshas Yisro, DH bi'She'as) suggests that in the same way Har ha'Bayis, the place of the Beis ha'Mikdash, "jumped" to the Sinai desert in order for the Torah to be given upon it.


OPINIONS: The Mishnah relates that once, on a public fast day in the times of Rebbi Chalafta and Rebbi Chananya ben Teradyon, the Tefilos for the Ta'anis were conducted in an unusual way. When the Chachamim heard about it they objected and said that we do not pray in such a way outside of the Mikdash.
What exactly did the people do which caused the Chachamim to object? Why was their mistaken practice supposed to be done only in the Mikdash?
(a) RASHI (15b, DH v'Lo Anu) explains that instead of answering "Amen" after each blessing, they answered "Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso l'Olam va'Ed." Rashi's version of the incident (third line on 15b) reads, "... and they did not answer 'Amen' after him" (which is the Girsa in our text as well).
The Chachamim objected because the only place where "Amen" is not said after a blessing is in the Mikdash, where "Baruch Shem Kevod..." is said instead. The reason for the difference is that in the Mikdash, the four-letter Name of Hash-m is pronounced "k'Kesivaso," as it is written (see RITVA). Since the holier Name of Hash-m is pronounced, a special ending for the blessings was instituted to reflect the sanctity of the holy Name. In the Mikdash, instead of saying, "Baruch Atah Hash-m...," one says, "Baruch Hash-m... Min ha'Olam v'Ad ha'Olam," as the Gemara here mentions. Since the blessing itself is different, the response after the blessing is also different and reflects the change in the blessing itself ("Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso l'Olam va'Ed"). (See Insights to Yoma 37:1.)
The Rishonim disagree with Rashi's explanation. Rebbi Chalafta certainly would not have made such a mistake and let the people say "Baruch Shem Kevod" and not "Amen" after the blessings. Everyone knows that only in the Mikdash is "Baruch Shem Kevod" recited after a blessing. The Rishonim therefore assert that this was not the mistake they made. (Their Girsa of the incident as recorded in the Mishnah reads, "... and they answered 'Amen' after him." This is also the Girsa in the Yerushalmi and in the Dikdukei Sofrim.)
(It could be that this disagreement is based on another difference in the Girsa of the Mishnah. The text of the Mishnah as recorded by the RITVA reads, "An incident occurred involving Rebbi Chalafta." The Girsa in our texts, which is also Rashi's Girsa, reads, "An incident occurred in the days of Rebbi Chalafta." According to Rashi's Girsa, it is possible that Rebbi Chalafta was not involved in the incident and it was the laymen who erred. -Y. Shaw)
(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Ta'aniyos 4:17, according to the MAGID MISHNEH ibid. 4:3 and the RITVA here) explains that they blew the Shofar during the recitation of the blessings of Shemoneh Esreh on the Ta'anis. The Chachamim objected because the Shofar is blown only during the blessings on a Ta'anis in the Mikdash, and not outside of the Mikdash. (The source for this ruling may be the verse in Bamidbar (10:9) which relates that when the Shofar is blown in a time of trouble, "You will be remembered before Hash-m and you will be saved from your enemies." "Before Hash-m" implies in the Beis ha'Mikdash. -M. Kornfeld)
RASHI (15b) questions this explanation and says that it cannot be that the Chachamim objected on those grounds, because the Gemara mentions in numerous places that the Shofar is blown during times of trouble even outside of the Mikdash. The Rishonim answer Rashi's question on the Rambam's explanation by saying that the Rambam agrees that the Shofar is blown outside of the Mikdash, but outside of the Mikdash it is supposed to be blown only after the blessings. Only in the Mikdash is the Shofar blown during the blessings. The Chachamim objected when the people outside of the Mikdash blew the Shofar during the blessings.
(c) The RE'AH, quoted by the RITVA and RAN, explains that the people altered the order of the blessings. Instead of reciting the supplication of "Mi she'Anah..." and then the Chasimah (the closing words of "Baruch Atah Hash-m...") of the blessing, they recited the Chasimah first and then recited (or repeated) "Mi she'Anah." The Chachamim objected to this practice for the following reason. The blowing of the Shofar must be done with the blessing. Outside of the Mikdash, the people who hear the blessing answer only "Amen." When the Shofar is blown afterwards, it is considered as though it is blown immediately after the blessing that was just recited; "Amen" is not an interruption between the blessing and the Shofar-blowing because it is part of the blessing that was just recited. In contrast, the people in the Mikdash answer "Baruch Shem Kevod..." to each blessing that they hear. "Baruch Shem" itself is a new, independent blessing. Consequently, the Shofar cannot be blown after "Baruch Shem" because it will not be part of the blessing of Shemoneh Esreh that was recited; "Baruch Shem" interrupts between the blessing and the blowing of the Shofar. Therefore, in the Mikdash the Chazan repeats "Mi she'Anah" while the Kohanim prepare to blow the Shofar so that the blowing of the Shofar will be connected to the blessing.
This apparently is the VILNA GA'ON's (Hagahos ha'Gra #1) understanding of the Gemara as well. He removes the words "v'Chozer v'Omer" from the Gemara's description of how the blessings are recited outside of the Mikdash, but he does not remove them from the Gemara's description of how the blessings are recited in the Mikdash. According to his Girsa, the Gemara is saying that in the Mikdash the Chazan repeats the passage of "Mi she'Anah" which he already said ("v'Chozer v'Omer"), while outside of the Mikdash the Chazan does not repeat anything but proceeds to the next blessing. (The Rambam also seems to learn like the Re'ah.)
(d) The RITVA quotes others who explain that the mistake the people made was identical to the mistake made "in the times of Rebbi Chalafta" as recorded in Rosh Hashanah (27a). The Gemara there relates that in the times of Rebbi Chalafta and Rebbi Chanina ben Teradyon the congregation blew both the Shofaros and Chatzotzeros (as opposed to Shofaros alone) outside of the Mikdash. The Chachamim told Rebbi Chalafta that only in the Mikdash are both types of instruments used, while everywhere else only the Shofaros are used. This difference is based on the verse, "With Chatzotzeros and the sound of the Shofar you shall blow a Teru'ah before the King, Hash-m" (Tehilim 98:6), which implies that the only place where both are used is "before the King, Hash-m" -- in the Beis ha'Mikdash. They explain that the Mishnah here refers to the same incident. (According to this suggestion, however, the Mishnah omits the main part of the incident.)
OPINIONS: The Gemara records a Beraisa which describes at length the procedure of the Tefilos and Teki'os of a Ta'anis, both inside and outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash. The Gemara adds, "And some say (v'Is d'Amri)...," and proceeds to cite another version of the Beraisa which describes how the Tefilos and Teki'os are done in the Beis ha'Mikdash.
The Gemara's introduction of the second version with the words "and some say" implies that there is some point of difference between the two versions of the Beraisa. The two versions, however, seem to say the same thing. What is the difference between them?
(a) RASHI (DH v'Is d'Amri) explains that the two Beraisos do not argue at all. When the Gemara says "and some say" it means only that some taught the Beraisa with a slightly different wording, but they both mean the same thing. The words "v'Is d'Amri" are not the same as the words "Ika d'Amri" ("there are those who say") which always imply a second opinion which argues with the first.
(b) The RITVA (15a) explains that instead of the words "v'Is d'Amri" ("and some say"), the text of the Gemara should read "Rebbi Yehudah Omer." (See also DIKDUKEI SOFRIM.) The Ritva says that the difference between Rebbi Yehudah and the Tana Kama is whether only a single Teki'ah is blown for each blessing, or a full set of Teki'ah-Teru'ah-Teki'ah is blown for each blessing.
Rebbi Yehudah is consistent with his opinion elsewhere. He says in Sukah (53a) that the three sounds of Teki'ah-Teru'ah-Teki'ah may not be interrupted by any other sound; they must be blown together in one breath. Rebbi Yehudah maintains that the three sounds of the set have the status of one long sound, and thus they may not be divided. For this reason, he says here that after each blessing a complete set of Teki'ah-Teru'ah-Teki'ah is blown.
According to the Tana Kama, however, each sound is independent from the others. Therefore, the Tana Kama maintains that a Teki'ah is blown with the first blessing, a Teru'ah with the second, and a Teki'ah with the third, and so on. Those sounds comprise a proper set of Teki'ah-Teru'ah-Teki'ah, and the intervening blessings do not constitute an interruption. (According to the Girsa of the RITVA on 12a, there were a total of seven (and not eighteen) Teki'os in each Shemoneh Esreh. This is also the Girsa of RABEINU CHANANEL.)
The Ritva here does not have the words "Tanu Rabanan" in his text of the Gemara. (These words appear in our text five lines after "v'Is d'Amri.") According to the Ritva, the entire discussion is all part of one long Beraisa, and there are not two separate Beraisos (as the KEREN ORAH points out).
However, if the Beraisa follows the view of Rebbi Yehudah as the Ritva asserts, why does the Beraisa say that the second blessing is Zichronos? Rebbi Yehudah maintains (Mishnah, 15a) that the blessing of Zichronos is not recited. Apparently, the Ritva's text of the Beraisa does not mention that the second blessing is Zichronos. Alternatively, Rebbi Yehudah does not argue about the Chasimah (end) of the blessing, as the Dikdukei Sofrim (in Hagahos) suggests; he agrees that the Chasimah is "Zocher ha'Nishkachos." This is why the Mishnah makes no mention of how Rebbi Yehudah ends his blessings, a point about which the RAN wonders. Rebbi Yehudah argues only that all of the verses of Zichronos are not recited. He agrees that the blessing of Zichronos is recited.
Why does the Beraisa say that in some blessings, the Kohanim are told to blow the Shofar with the command "Tik'u" ("blow a Teki'ah"), while in other blessings they are commanded, "Heri'u" ("blow a Teru'ah")? In both cases, both a Teki'ah and a Teru'ah are blown! RASHI and the RAMBAM explain that the command "Heri'u" means that they should blow a set of Teru'ah-Teki'ah-Teru'ah (as the text of our Gemara reads, four lines from the bottom), while "Tik'u" means that they should blow a set of Teki'ah-Teru'ah-Teki'ah. The RITVA, however, explains that Rebbi Yehudah maintains that Teki'ah-Teru'ah-Teki'ah is one long sound, and that the proper Girsa in the second blessing is also "Teki'ah-Teru'ah-Teki'ah" (with Teki'ah first, followed by Teru'ah). This is also the Girsa of the Dikdukei Sofrim.
According to the Ritva, however, why are the Kohanim told to blow with the word "Heri'u"? The answer is that the Kohanim need to be told to blow the Teru'ah slightly longer than the Teki'ah. When they are commanded with the word "Tik'u," they blow the Teki'ah slightly longer than the Teru'ah, and when they are commanded with the word "Heri'u," they blow the Teru'ah slightly longer than the Teki'ah. (The Ritva points out that on a Ta'anis it is acceptable for the Teru'ah to be longer than the Teki'ah.)
(c) The RAMBAM writes that outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash, the Shofaros are not blown during the blessings (as mentioned in the previous Insight). The KEREN ORAH comments that according to the Rambam, this might be the intention of the "v'Is d'Amri." The two Beraisos argue whether the Shofar is blown outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash. When the second Beraisa ("v'Is d'Amri") describes what is done outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash, it omits the Teki'os, but when it describes what is done in the Beis ha'Mikdash, it includes the Teki'os. That Beraisa must maintain that no Teki'os are blown outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash (in Gevulin), and thus there is nothing to describe. The earlier Beraisa, however, maintains that Teki'os are blown outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash just as they are blown inside the Beis ha'Mikdash.