QUESTION: The Gemara quotes Rava who asks various practical questions regarding the verse of "Al Besaro" -- "on his flesh" (Vayikra 6:3). Does this verse teach that the Bigdei Kehunah must touch the skin of the Kohen? If a wind blows and causes the garments not to touch the skin while the Kohen is performing the Avodah, is the Kohen considered "Mechusar Begadim" such that the Avodah is invalid? Are lice considered a Chatzitzah between the Bigdei Kehunah and the skin of a Kohen?

The Gemara does not answer these questions. The RAMBAM (Hilchos Klei ha'Mikdash 10:7) rules that a Kohen should be careful to prevent his Begadim to be lifted from his skin by the wind, and he should not have lice between his skin and the Begadim. If, however, he performed the Avodah with such Chatzitzos between his skin and the Begadim, the Avodah is valid.

Why does the Rambam rule that the Avodah is valid? Since the Gemara does not conclude whether or not these situations constitute Chatzitzos, the rule of "Safek d'Oraisa l'Chumra" should apply, and the Avodah should be considered invalid.


(a) The KESEF MISHNEH answers that invalidating the Avodah in such cases would not be a stringency. If the Avodah would be rendered invalid, the owner of the Korban would have to bring another Korban. However, since the Avodah was rendered invalid only out of doubt, perhaps his original Korban indeed was valid. If he brings another animal because of the possibility that his original Korban was not valid, he may be bringing Chulin into the Azarah (a severe transgression). Even though the owner could stipulate that if his original Korban was not valid, then this animal should serve to fulfill his original obligation, and if his original Korban was valid, then this animal should be a Korban Nedavah, there are some Korbanos (such as a Chatas) which cannot be brought as Nedavos. The Rambam therefore rules that the Avodah is valid and one should not bring another Korban. This is also the answer given by the MAHARI KURKUS.

The MIKDASH DAVID (36:1) has difficulty with the answer of the Kesef Mishneh. The Gemara in Horayos (4a) teaches that if one brought a Chatas during Bein ha'Shemashos (a period of uncertainty whether it is night or day), he should bring an Asham Taluy, since he is unsure whether he has achieved atonement for his sin. Accordingly, when there is a doubt about whether a Korban Chatas is valid because of a Safek Chatzitzah, the owner should be required to bring an Asham Taluy.

(b) The Mikdash David explains instead that the Rambam rules like the Yerushalmi in Pesachim (8:2) which argues with the Gemara in Horayos and says that one who brought a Korban during Bein ha'Shemashos is considered to have achieved atonement and he does not need to bring another Korban. This is because a Safek which can be resolved only by making the person spend money on bringing another animal is called a Safek Mamon (a doubt in a monetary issue), and there is no obligation to pay money in such a case. The Mikdash David proves that this is the opinion of the Rambam from the law of a Safek Metzora. The Rambam (Hilchos Nezirus 10:8) states that a Safek Metzora brings a Chatas ha'Of, the only Korban which may be brought for a Safek, but he does not bring the usual Korban Olah of a Metzora (despite the fact that an Olah may be brought with the condition mentioned above).

The KEHILOS YAKOV (45:4) and MINCHAS MORDECHAI (on the Mikdash David) note that there is an apparent mistake in the text of the Mikdash David. The Gemara in Horayos (4a) actually states that if one brought a Chatas during Bein ha'Shemashos, he does not bring an Asham Taluy. In any event, the Gemara in Horayos rules that an Asham Taluy is not brought for reasons other than the principle set forth by the Mikdash David of "Safek Kaparah Kiper" -- "a doubt regarding atonement (of Korbanos) is ruled to have atoned." The Kehilos Yakov agrees with the Mikdash David that the Rambam therefore may be ruling like the Yerushalmi. (Y. MONTROSE)



QUESTION: The Gemara teaches that a Kohen performs Kidush Yadayim v'Raglayim by putting his right hand on his right foot and putting his left hand on his left foot, and washing the hands and feet together. RASHI (DH Meni'ach) explains that this is derived from the verse "Yirchatzu" -- "they will wash" (Shemos 40:32; see HAGAHOS HA'BACH), which implies that the hands and feet should be washed together.

However, the SHALOM RAV has difficulty understanding the Gemara literally. If one touches his bare foot, he must wash his hands, just as he must do if he touches any part of his body that is normally covered. Indeed, the SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 4:18) mentions touching one's feet as something which requires one to wash Netilas Yadayim. Kidush Yadayim v'Raglayim has even more stringent laws than Netilas Yadayim. Certainly, then, if a Kohen touches his foot he should have to perform Kidush Yadayim v'Raglayim again. How can it be that the Kohanim touch their feet when washing their hands?


(a) The SHALOM RAV suggests, with hesitation, that it seems that the Gemara does not mean literally that the Kohen should touch his feet, but rather it means that he should put his hands near his feet.

However, the YAD BINYAMIN points out that the Shalom Rav apparently did not see the Rambam's comments in Perush ha'Mishnayos. The Rambam there comments that when the Kohen performs Kidush Yadayim v'Raglayim, "he should rub his foot with his hand when he is washing." If the Kohen touches his foot during the actual Kidush Yadayim v'Raglayim, what is the answer to the question of the Shalom Rav?

(b) The Yad Binyamin suggests in the name of the SEFAS EMES that because it is normal for Kohanim to walk barefoot in the Beis ha'Mikdash, their feet do not have the status of a part of the body that is normally covered.

(c) Alternatively, the Yad Binyamin suggests that the reason why touching one's feet necessitates washing the hands is that the feet are a covered part of the body which is usually sweaty. Accordingly, if one has just washed his feet and then he touches them, he does not need to wash his hands. (Y. MONTROSE)