1) AGADAH: "SEVEN DAYS BEFORE YOM KIPPUR..."
AGADAH: Maseches Yoma begins with the words, "Seven days before Yom Kippur we separate the Kohen Gadol from his family...."
The MAHARSHA suggests that when Rebbi compiled the Mishnah, he opened Maseches Yoma with these words as an allusion to Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, is unique among all of the days of the year. The name of the Maseches, "Yoma" -- "[the] Day," alludes to the uniqueness of the day.
The number seven alludes to holiness, as the seventh day of the week is Shabbos. Similarly, the Pesikta explains that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur occur in the seventh month because of the holiness of these days. (See also the VILNA GA'ON in Kol Eliyahu, Parshas Emor.)
There are a total of seven festivals mid'Oraisa. The seven festivals correspond to the seven days of the week. The first six festivals (the first and last days of Pesach, one day of Shavuos, one day of Rosh Hashanah, the first and last days of Sukos) correspond to the first six days of the week. The seventh festival, Yom Kippur, corresponds to the seventh day of the week, Shabbos. The Torah compares the holiness of Yom Kippur to the holiness of Shabbos when it refers to Yom Kippur as, "Shabbos Shabbason" (Vayikra 16:31). The holiness of Yom Kippur is expressed in its unique prohibition of Melachah. While the prohibition of Melachah on all other festivals is lenient in some respect (for example, Melachah for the sake of food preparation is permitted), on Yom Kippur there is no allowance to perform any Melachah. Just as Shabbos is the holiest of the days of the week, Yom Kippur is the holiest of the festivals.
Based on the Maharsha's words, an even more profound relationship between the seven festivals and the seven days of the week is evident. Each of the successive festivals parallels its corresponding weekday in remarkable ways.
1. The first day of Pesach parallels the first day of Creation, the day that is called by the Torah "Yom Echad" -- "day one." Rashi explains (based on the Midrash) that the first day of Creation is called "Yom Echad" because it was the singular day in history on which Hash-m was truly the only Being in this world ("Yom Echad" is thus interpreted as "the day of the One"). Even the angels were not created until the second day.
On Pesach, too, it was Hash-m Himself, without the medium of any divine or worldly agent, Who went forth to strike the Egyptians and free His people from bondage, as it says, "'Thus says Hash-m: At midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die...' (Shemos 11:4). 'I' and not an angel; 'I' and not a seraph..." (Hagadah Shel Pesach).
Moreover, on the first day of Creation, Hash-m created light. The Midrash (as cited by Rashi to Bereishis 1:4) teaches that the primordial light was deemed too holy for this material world, and thus it was "hidden away" and reserved for the time when Hash-m would reveal Himself to the righteous. On the night of the Exodus, the divine light of the first day of Creation shined brightly (Zohar 2:38a; see also Parasha Page, Pesach 5756).
2. On the second day of Creation, Hash-m made the "firmament" ("Raki'a") to "divide between water [on earth] and water [in the heavens]." This parallels the second festival, the seventh day of Pesach, which commemorates the splitting of the Sea. (The RAMBAM draws this parallel in his commentary to Avos 5:6. See also Rashi to Megilah 31a, DH Vayehi.)
3. On the third day of Creation, Hash-m created the fruit-bearing trees (Bereishis 1:11). The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (16a) teaches that on Shavuos, the third festival, Hash-m judges and determines the quality of the fruit harvest of the coming year. For this reason, Shavuos is the first day of the year on which the Bikurim, the first-fruit offerings, are brought to the Beis ha'Mikdash.
In addition, the Torah, which was given at Har Sinai on Shavuos, is called the "tree of life" (Mishlei 3:18). Moreover, the third day of Creation is the only day described twice with the phrase "Ki Tov" ("it was good"). The Gemara in Berachos (5a) teaches that "Tov" refers to the Torah (as derived from Mishlei 4:2).
4. On the fourth day of Creation, Hash-m created the celestial bodies -- the sun, moon, stars, etc. That day marked the beginning of the lunar and solar cycles. Rosh Hashanah, the fourth festival, marks the beginning of the annual lunar cycle (Rosh Hashanah 2a; see also Parasha Page, Rosh Hashanah 5756).
5. The fifth day of Creation is thematically related to Sukos, the fifth Yom Tov. It was on the fifth day that Hash-m commanded the waters to "swarm with crawling living things and birds to fly in the heavens" (Bereishis 1:20). All of that day's creations issued forth from the waters. The festival of Sukos comes at the beginning of the rain season, and a central theme of the festival is the supplication for rain. It is on Sukos that Hash-m judges the world with regard to the amount of rain which will fall during the coming year (Rosh Hashanah 16a). Special water-libations are performed, special prayers are recited, and branches are waved exclusively on Sukos to beseech Hash-m to provide an adequate supply of water, the life-giving elixir that will preserve all of the creatures of the world during the coming year.
Moreover, the Torah gives special mention to one creature of the sea that was created on the fifth day: the Leviathan (Bereishis 1:21, and Rashi there). The Gemara in Bava Basra (75a) relates that at the time of Mashi'ach, Hash-m will "make a Sukah out of the hide of the Leviathan for the righteous" (Bava Basra 75a).
6. The sixth day of Creation is the day on which man was created. Rashi (Bamidbar 29:35) writes that the central theme of Shemini Atzeres (which is also Simchas Torah) is the uniqueness of the Jewish people. On Simchas Torah we celebrate with the Torah and express our joy that Hash-m gave us the Torah and the Mitzvos. On this day we celebrate the creation of the "spiritual man," for it is the Torah that sets the Jew apart from all the other peoples and gives him his unique role in the world.
In addition, all of the other days of Creation are referred to as "Yom Sheni" -- "a second day," "Yom Shelishi" -- "a third day," and so on. The sixth day, however, is called "Yom ha'Shishi" -- "the sixth day." Rashi comments that this alludes to the fact that the Torah would be given on the sixth day (of the month of Sivan) many centuries later. Hash-m stipulated with all of creation that its existence was conditional upon the acceptance of the Torah by the Jewish people at Sinai. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the sixth festival of the year is dedicated to the celebration of the Jewish people's possession of the Torah.
7. The seventh day of the week parallels Yom Kippur in several ways. As the Maharsha writes, Yom Kippur is the only one of the festivals on which all manner of Melachah is forbidden (even work necessary for food preparation). This cessation of creative activity mirrors the laws of the Shabbos, the day on which Hash-m "rested" from creating the world.
In addition, it was on the seventh day that Hash-m forgave Adam for his sin of eating the forbidden fruit. When Adam repented, Hash-m pardoned him and allowed him to live. This was the first -- and hence archetypal -- case of atonement for sin. The Midrash teaches that it was Adam who composed the "Psalm for the Shabbos Day" (Psalm 92). The Midrash interprets the opening verse as saying, "It is good to confess one's sins before Hash-m" (Midrash Shocher Tov). Similarly, Yom Kippur was the first time that Hash-m granted forgiveness to the Jewish people as a nation. Rashi (Devarim 9:18) teaches that Yom Kippur was the day on which Hash-m forgave the Jewish people for the sin of the Golden Calf, and this is why Yom Kippur was singled out as the Day of Atonement for all times.
The underlying idea represented by the parallelism between the festivals and the days of the week seems to be that the seven festivals represent seven aspects of the formation of the spiritual world, just as the seven days of the week represent seven stages in the creation of the physical world. When the Jewish people observe the seven festivals, they elevate the mundane and material world of the seven days of creation to a higher spiritual plane. Accordingly, when a Jew observes the Torah's festivals properly, he creates a unique, spiritual dimension in his life.
2) THE SOURCE FOR "PERISHAH" ON YOM KIPPUR
QUESTION: The Gemara (2a) derives the law of Perishah ("separation") for the Kohen who performs the procedure of the Parah Adumah from the word "La'asos" in the verse, "Tzivah Hash-m La'asos" (Vayikra 8:34), in the Parshah of the Milu'im. The Gemara asks that perhaps the verse does not refer to Parah Adumah at all. Rather, it teaches only that the Kohen Gadol who performs the Yom Kippur Avodah requires Perishah, because the word "Tzivah" appears in this verse and in the verse that discusses the Avodah of Yom Kippur (Vayikra 16:34). What, then, is the source that the Kohen who handles the Parah Adumah requires Perishah?
What is the Gemara's question? If the law of Perishah for the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur is derived from the word "Tzivah," then the word "l'Chaper" is no longer necessary to teach Perishah for the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur, and it may be used as the source for Perishah for the Kohen who handles the Parah Adumah!
(a) The TOSFOS HA'ROSH suggests that once "Tzivah" teaches that the verse refers to Yom Kippur, it is simply the style of the verse to say the word "l'Chaper" with regard to Yom Kippur. It is not intended to teach anything else.
(b) The RI HA'LAVAN explains that if "Tzivah" refers to Yom Kippur, then "l'Chaper" refers to Korbanos (and not to Parah Adumah), as the Gemara later asks. (See also TOSFOS DH v'Eima Tzivah.)
(c) The RITVA suggests that if the verse would have said only "l'Chaper," one might have thought that only on the very first Yom Kippur in history did the Kohen Gadol need to do Perishah. Therefore, another phrase is required to teach that every Kohen Gadol, on all subsequent years, also needs Perishah. (The Gemara makes a similar suggestion later on 4a.)
(d) The RITVA says in the name of TOSFOS that if the verse would have said only "Tzivah," we would have assumed that it refers to both Yom Kippur and Parah Adumah; since one is not more implicit in the verse than the other, we would have derived both of them. The word "l'Chaper" teaches that "Tzivah" refers exclusively to Yom Kippur.
3) WHY "PERISHAH" IS NOT REQUIRED FOR ALL KORBANOS
QUESTIONS: The Gemara (2a) says that a Gezeirah Shavah teaches that just as Perishah is required for the Milu'im (the inauguration of the Kohanim), so, too, Perishah is required for the Kohen who prepares the Parah Adumah. The word "Tzivah" is written in the Parshah of the Milu'im in the verse, "Tzivah Hash-m La'asos..." (Vayikra 8:34), and the word "Tzivah" is also written in the Parshah of Parah Adumah (Bamidbar 19:2).
The Gemara asks that perhaps the Gezeirah Shavah from the verse in the Parshah of Milu'im, "Tzivah Hash-m La'asos," does not refer to Parah Adumah, but rather to all Korbanos, since a form of the word "Tzivah" is written with regard to all Korbanos (Vayikra 7:38). RASHI explains that the Gemara's question is that every Kohen who offers a Korban Tzibur should need to perform Perishah for seven days before he offers the Korban.
(a) Why does Rashi explain that the Gemara's question is that Perishah should be required whenever a Kohen offers a Korban Tzibur? The verse which mentions "Tzivah" in the Parshah of Korbanos (Vayikra 7:38) refers to Korbenos Yachid.
(b) The Gemara discusses its earlier teaching (2a) that the requirement of Perishah for the Kohen Gadol prior to Yom Kippur is derived from the word "l'Chaper" in the verse, "Tzivah Hash-m La'asos l'Chaper Aleichem" (Vayikra 8:34). The Gemara again asks that perhaps that verse does not refer to Yom Kippur, but rather to all Korbanos, because the verse says the word "l'Chaper" in the Parshah of Korbanos. Rashi there explains that the Gemara's question is that a Kohen who offers a Korban Yachid should need Perishah. Why does Rashi now explain that the Gemara's question refers to Korbenos Yachid, while earlier he explains that the Gemara's question refers to Korbenos Tzibur?
(c) After the Gemara asks its second question, that "l'Chaper" should teach that Korbanos (and not Yom Kippur) require Perishah, the Gemara rejects that suggestion and says that Korbanos cannot require Perishah because we do not know which Kohen will perform the Avodah with each Korban. Why does the Gemara not reject its earlier question with the same logic? (GEVURAS ARI and others)
ANSWER: The Gemara's suggestion that "l'Chaper" should teach that a Kohen needs Perishah whenever he offers Korbanos bothered Rashi for a number of reasons.
1. The Gemara asks that "l'Chaper" should teach that the Kohen requires Perishah before he offers the Korbanos, and not that the Kohen Gadol needs Perishah before Yom Kippur. This teaching, however, will include the Kohen Gadol in the requirement of Perishah anyway, because of the Korbanos of Yom Kippur that he offers! (TOSFOS asks this question.)
2. Second, the Gemara answers that we do not know which Kohen will perform the Avodah of each Korban, and therefore Perishah cannot be a requirement for offering Korbanos. The Gemara's answer is not clear. A Korban Tzibur is offered at a specific time, and thus seven days before that time we should separate a Kohen who will perform the Avodah!
Even if the Gemara refers to a rare case of a Korban Tzibur that does not have a set time (such as the Se'irei Avodah Zarah or the Par He'elem Davar), it is still possible to choose a Kohen on the day that it becomes known that such a Korban must be offered and have him do Perishah for seven days before he offers the Korban.
3. The third question that bothered Rashi is that the Gemara answers that Perishah cannot be necessary for Korbanos, because Korbanos are not similar to the Milu'im. The Milu'im had a set time ("Kavu'a Lo Zeman"), while the Korbanos have no set time but are brought every day. Rashi explains that the Gemara's question refers only to Korbanos which are described by the word "l'Chaper" (or a form thereof). However, there is no Korban Tzibur which is offered every day which is described by the word "l'Chaper"! (It does not say "l'Chaper" with regard to the Korban Tamid. It says "l'Chaper" only with regard to the Chata'os of Rosh Chodesh and of the Mo'adim, but those Korbanos indeed have a set time, and thus the Gemara's answer does not apply to them.)
(According to an alternate Girsa in the Gemara's answer, the Gemara says, "It is not brought on a set basis; sometimes it is brought and sometimes it is not brought." According to this Girsa, too, the Gemara cannot be referring to the Korban Tamid or the Korbanos of the Mo'adim, because they are always brought at their given times. To what Korban Tzibur, then, does the Gemara refer?)
Because of these questions, Rashi has no choice but to explain that when the Gemara asks that "l'Chaper" should teach that Korbanos require Perishah, it refers to Korbenos Yachid. This explains why the Kohen Gadol will not need Perishah before Yom Kippur; the Korbanos of Yom Kippur are Korbenos Tzibur (see Rashi to 6b, DH Hutrah, and Insights there). This answers the first question that bothered Rashi.
This explanation also answers the second question. The Gemara says that we do not know which Kohen will bring the Korban, because the Gemara is referring to a Korban Yachid. It is never known in advance whether a Korban Yachid will be brought (for it is up to the individual who brings the Korban), and thus it is not possible to choose a Kohen seven days in advance.
With regard to the third question, when the Gemara says that the Korbanos are brought every day and thus they have no set time, it is referring to Korbenos Yachid and it means that they could be brought every day. (According to the other Girsa, the Gemara says this explicitly, "sometimes it is brought and sometimes it is not brought.")
This approach explains how Rashi answered the three questions that bothered him, and it also resolves the three questions that the Acharonim ask on the Gemara and on Rashi:
(a) Rashi explains that the Gemara's question from the word "Tzivah" refers to Korbenos Tzibur, because the Gemara does not answer, as it does later in response to another question, that we do not know which Kohen will perform the Avodah such that he could do Perishah. Since we know when a Korban Tzibur will be brought, it is possible to select the Kohen early and have him do Perishah. The Gemara asks only from Korbenos Tzibur at this point because it assumes that there is no question from Korbenos Yachid, as no one knows when a Korban Yachid will be brought and thus Perishah cannot be done for it.
(b) However, when the Gemara later asks that "l'Chaper" should teach that Korbanos need Perishah, it refers to Korbenos Yachid because the Torah does not say "l'Chaper" with regard to the basic Korban Tzibur, the Tamid. This is also evident from the Gemara's answer which says that we do not know which Kohen will offer the Korban; in the case of a Korban Tzibur, it is known which Kohen will offer the Korban because we can select the Kohen seven days before the Korban is to be offered. In the case of a Korban Yachid, though, we indeed do not know when a Yachid will need his Korban to be offered.
(c) When the Gemara first asks that "Tzivah" should teach that Korbanos require Perishah, it does not answer that we do not know which Kohen will bring the Korban, because the question still would remain in the case of Korbenos Tzibur. Since we know when Korbenos Tzibur will be brought, we would be able to select a Kohen and separate him for seven days prior to the offering of the Korban Tzibur. The Gemara does not ask the question from "l'Chaper" on the case of a Korban Tzibur, because the word "l'Chaper" is not used with reference to the Tamid. As for the other Korbenos Tzibur which are described by the word "l'Chaper" (those of the Mo'adim), the Gemara indeed asks immediately afterwards that the verse may be referring to the Mo'adim (because of the Korbanos that are brought on those days).