Aggados from the Yerushalmi Volume Two


Just released Aggados from the Yerushalmi Powerseferpress Rav Yehuda Cahn

Tractate Rosh Hashanah


Rosh Hashanah 1:1 (דף ב’, ב’)

It is written, “And the days which David ruled over Israel [came to] forty years — in Hebron he ruled seven years, and in Jerusalem he ruled thirty-three years.”[1] Yet it is written elsewhere, “In Hebron he ruled over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he ruled thirty-three years over all of Israel and Judah,”[2] [so David’s reign totaled forty and a half years].

[When speaking] in general terms, [Scripture ignores the] incomplete years. [When speaking] in specific terms, [Scripture includes] the extra months. [The first verse starts with the combined number of years King David ruled in Hebron and Jerusalem, so it rounds the numbers down to forty. The second verse does not list a total figure, so it gives more specific numbers.]

Rabbi Yitzchak bar Ketzatztha said in the name of Rabbi Yonah: [The first verse is correct. King David ruled exactly forty years altogether, not forty and a half.] They were thirty-two and a half [years in Jerusalem, not a full thirty-three,] but in order to bestow honor upon Jerusalem, [Scripture] counts them [as if they were] complete [years, so the second verse says “thirty-three” instead of “thirty-two and a half”].

Yehudah the Distinguished states: A large figure includes a small figure. [Rounding up for the honor of Jerusalem is not a deviation from the truth because thirty-three includes thirty-two and a half.]

Rabbi Chuna said: During those six months when David fled from his son, Absalom, he would atone for himself with a female goat like a commoner. [A king gains atonement for certain unwitting transgressions by sacrificing a male goat, whereas a commoner sacrifices a female goat. For a six-month period, King David fled Jerusalem, so his status changed to that of a commoner with respect to this Halachah. Although the length of his rule in Jerusalem was thirty-three years, the length of time during which all of the laws of a king applied to him was only thirty-two and a half,[3] and the verses do not contradict one another.]

Rabbi Yudan, son of Rabbi Shalom, said: It is written, “For six months Joab and all Israel remained there until every male of Edom was destroyed.”[4] The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to [King David], “I told you, ‘Do not incite them,’[5] yet you sought to incite them. By your life, [these months] shall not be counted for you!” [God admonished the nation not to wage war against Edom because its territory is not part of the Land of Israel. Since King David improperly waged war against Edom through his general, Joab, for six months, they were not counted as part of his reign.]


Rosh Hashanah 1:2 (דף ו’, ב’)

Rabbi Chanina said: The names of the months came up with [the Jews] from Babylonia.

Originally, [the Tanach referred to Tishrei as] “the month of the strong ones”[6] (יֶרַח הָאֵתָנִים) because during it the Patriarchs were born, the Patriarchs died, and the Matriarchs were remembered.[7]

Originally, [the Tanach referred to Cheshvan as], “the month of withering,”[8] (יֶרַח בּוּל) because during it leaves wither, the land becomes clumpy, and they prepare food for the livestock inside the house. [The rainy season starts in the Land of Israel during Cheshvan, causing clumpy mud to form. Since this is the beginning of winter, the herds can no longer find sufficient pasture, and farmers must provide food for them.]

Originally, [the Tanach referred to Iyar as], “the month of splendor”[9] (יֶרַח זִו) because during it the splendor of the world [shines forth] — the plants become recognizable, and the trees become recognizable. [Springtime has progressed, and there is sufficient growth so that one can tell which type of produce plants and trees will yield.[10]]

Since [the return from Babylonia] onward, [the Tanach refers to the Hebrew months by Babylonian names, as it states,] “It was in the month of Nissan of the twentieth year,”[11] “It was in the month of Kislev of the twentieth year,”[12] “In the tenth month, which is the month of Teveth.”[13]

Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said: Also, the names of the angels came up with them from Babylonia.

Originally, [Scripture does not name any angels, instead stating,] “One of the fiery angels flew to me,”[14] [and,] “Fiery angels stand above Him.”[15]

Since [the return from Babylonia and] onward, [Scripture states], “And the man Gabriel,”[16] [and,] “rather Michael, your master.”[17]


Rosh Hashanah 1:3 (דף ז’, א’ – ח’, ב’) (Compare B.T. Rosh Hashanah 16A-B, 17B, 18A and 27A; Vayikra Rabbah 29:1; Midrash Tehillim 9:9; Pesikta Rabbethai 15 and 40)

            Mishnah: On four occasions the world is judged: on Passover for grain; on Shavuoth for fruits; on Rosh Hashanah, all who come into the world pass before Him like sheep [being counted by a shepherd], as it is stated, “The One Who forms together their hearts; the One Who understands all their doings;”[18] and on the holiday [of Sukkoth] they are judged for water.[19]

Gemara: [Not every Tanna agrees with the view expressed in this Mishnah that there are four times of judgment. Rather,] there are Tannaim who learn: All of them are decided on Rosh Hashanah, and the final decree of each one is sealed on Rosh Hashanah.

There are [other] Tannaim who learn: All of them are decided on Rosh Hashanah, and the final decree of each one is sealed on Yom Kippur.

There are [yet other] Tannaim who learn: All of them are decided on Rosh Hashanah, and the final decree of each one is sealed at its time.

There are [also] Tannaim who learn: Each of them is decided at its time, and the final decree of each one is sealed at its time.

Our Mishnah concurs with the one who says: All of them are decided on Rosh Hashanah, and the final decree of each one is sealed at its time, for it is learned [in the Mishnah after the judgment on Rosh Hashanah], “and on Sukkoth they are judged for water.

A statement of Rav indicates that all of them are decided on Rosh Hashanah, and the final decree of each one is sealed on Rosh Hashanah. For it is learned concerning the Shofar blasts [which are blown on Rosh Hashanah during Mussaf] that Rav [would recite the following formula]: “Today marks the beginning of Your works [of creation], a memorial to the [very] first day. ‘For it is a statute for Israel, a law unto the God of Jacob.’[20] Upon the nations it is decreed which are [to be given] to the sword and which to peace, which to hunger and which to abundance. And [all] creatures are recalled upon it to remember them for life or for death.” [In contrast to the Mishnah, which states that grain is judged on Passover, fruits on Shavuoth, and rainfall on Sukkoth, Rav states that hunger and abundance are decided on Rosh Hashanah.]

None [of these views] is like that of Rabbi Yossa, for Rabbi Yossa said: An individual is judged every hour. What is the Scriptural source for this? “You recall him each morning; every moment You examine him.”[21] “You recall him each morning” — this refers to his livelihood. “Every moment You examine him” — this refers to his eating.

[The verse appears self-contradictory, at first stating that judgment occurs each morning, but then stating that it occurs every moment. Rabbi Yossa understands the morning judgment as referring to how well one will earn his living that day. The judgment every moment refers to how well a person will be able to make use of his livelihood to eat in a healthy way.[22]]

Rabbi Yitzchak the Great said in the name of Rebbi: A king and a community are judged every day. What is the Scriptural source for this? “May these matters which I have requested before Hashem be close to Hashem, our God, day and night to provide the needs of His servant and the needs of His people, Israel, each day’s matter in its day.”[23] [The term for “needs” (מִשְׁפָּט) also means judgment. Since King Solomon is the speaker in this verse, the implication is that he and Israel were judged daily.[24]]

Rabbi Levi said: “He judges the world with fairness; He adjudicates nations honestly.”[25] The Holy One, Blessed be He, judges Israel during the day, a time when they are occupied with Mitzvoth, and the [other] nations at night, a time when they are idle from Mitzvoth.

Sh’muel said: Just as He judges Israel, so He judges the [other] nations. How does Sh’muel apply [the words], “He adjudicates nations honestly?”[26] He judges them according to the upright ones among them. He recalls for them the act of Jethro, [a Gentile who advised Pharaoh not to oppress the Jews]. He recalls for them the act of Rahab, the innkeeper, [a Gentile who assisted the Jews in capturing Jericho].

Rabbi Chiya bar ’Ba asked: Grain which is damaged on Passover eve, from which judgment is it damaged? If you say from the year which is beginning, as of now it has not yet begun. If you say from the year which passed, then why was [the judgment] delayed an entire year [and the grain only] damaged now? [Likewise,] those who die between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, from which judgment do they die? If you say from the year which is beginning, as of now it has not yet begun [since the judgment is not finalized until Yom Kippur]. If you say from the year which passed, then why was [the judgment] delayed an entire year [and the person only] died now?

Did [Rabbi Chiya bar ’Ba] not hear what Rabbi Kruspa said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan? There are three ledgers: one for the completely righteous, one for the completely wicked, and one for intermediates. The completely righteous already acquired a verdict of life on Rosh Hashanah. The completely wicked already acquired their verdict on Rosh Hashanah. The intermediates have been given the ten days of repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. If they repent, they are inscribed with the righteous, and if not, they are inscribed with the wicked. What is the Scriptural source for this? “They are erased from [the] book” — these are the wicked, “of life” — these are the righteous, “and with the righteous they are not inscribed” — these are the intermediates [whose judgment is suspended pending their behavior between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur].[27]

Rabbi Chananyah, colleague of the sages, asked: And does the Holy One, Blessed be He, not foresee the outcome? [Since God knows whether or not a person will repent, why must He suspend the judgment of intermediates? Why not complete the judgment on Rosh Hashanah?]

Did [Rabbi Chananyah] not hear what Rabbi Simon said in the name of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi: The Holy One, Blessed be He, does not judge a person except according to the time in which he stands. [God knows the future, but He ignores it and judges people based on their current status. He does not judge an intermediate until events actually unfold.] What is the Scriptural source for this? [When Abraham banished Ishmael and Hagar, they ran out of water in the desert, and Ishmael was going to die. After Hagar began to weep,] “An angel of God called Hagar from the heavens and said to her, ‘What is it Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the youth as he is there.’”[28] [The expression “as he is there” implies that although Ishmael’s descendants would harm Jews in the future, at that moment he did not deserve to die.[29]]

Rabbi Levi said: It is written, “Fools shall not stand before Your eyes.” Why? Because “You despise all who work iniquity.”[30] [God does not punish the wicked until they actually work iniquity.]

Rabbi Yissachar of the village of Mindi quoted the verse, “For He recognizes men of falsehood and observes iniquity but does not [appear to] comprehend.”[31] [God does not react immediately to wrongdoers.]

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: It is not written here, “If you were pure and upright,” but “If you are pure and upright, [you will be rewarded].”[32] [The use of the present tense suggests that Hashem patiently waits for wrongdoers to repent rather than judging them immediately for their past deeds.]

Rabbi Chiya bar ’Ba said: “[As for] a hunting dog or a billy goat, a king shall not stand with them.”[33] The custom of the world is that this one wishes the victory of his hunting dog, and this one wishes the victory of his hunting dog. [People used to race hunting dogs and billy goats and bet on the winner. Naturally, each one wanted his goat or dog to win.[34]] But with the Holy One, Blessed be He, it is not so. Rather, “a king shall not stand with them.” He does not wish to stand on His rights, [so He allows ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for people to repent].[35] For “He does not quarrel forever.”[36] Not [in order] to win does He quarrel. [Hashem does not judge or punish merely to assert His authority but so that people will mend their ways.]

Rabbi ’Lazar said: [This may be compared to] an emperor, chief of protocol, or scribe who sends forth edicts. The custom of the world is that [when] a king of flesh and blood issues a decree, if he wishes, he fulfills it, [but] if he wishes, [then] others fulfill it. But with the Holy One, Blessed be He, it is not so.  Rather, He issues a decree and fulfills it first [before anyone else]. What is the Scriptural source for this? “They shall keep My watch…I am Hashem.”[37] I am He Who kept the commandments of the Torah first [before anyone else].

[A human king often issues laws for others while he himself ignores them. Although Hashem is omnipotent and can do as He pleases, He keeps the commandments. Since the Torah allows a ten-day grace period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur during which people may repent and alter an evil decree, Hashem follows the law of the Torah and withholds executing judgment during that time.]

Rabbi Simon said: It is written, “From before the learned you shall rise, and you shall respect the presence of the elder, and you shall fear your God; I am Hashem.”[38] [The end of the verse implies that] I am the One Who fulfilled [the commandment of] standing before an elder first.

[God came to Abraham to tell him about His plans for destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. The Torah then states that “Abraham remained standing before Hashem.”[39] This cannot be taken literally because “remained” implies that Abraham had sought out Hashem instead of vice versa. Rabbi Simon therefore explains the verse to mean that Hashem stood before Abraham to fulfill the Mitzvah of honoring an elder. Since it would be disrespectful to state this outright, the Torah euphemistically speaks of Abraham standing before Hashem.[40]]

Rabbi Simon [further] said: It is written, “And who is the great nation which has righteous laws and statutes like all of this law which I place before you today?”[41] [God is called “the Righteous One of the universe” (צַדִּיקוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם).[42] His commitment to obey the laws of the Torah proves that they are perfectly righteous.]

Rabbi Chama, son of Rabbi Chanina, and Rabbi Hoshaya [each offered an additional interpretation of the verse just cited by Rabbi Simon].

One said: Which nation is like this nation? The custom of the world is [that when] a person knows he has a trial [in which he could receive the death penalty], he dresses in black, wraps himself in black, and lets his beard grow [as a mourner would], for he does not know how the case will turn out. Israel, however, is not so. Rather, they dress in white, wrap themselves in white, trim their beards,[43] eat, drink, and rejoice, knowing that the Holy One, Blessed be He, does miracles for them.

The other said: Which nation is like this nation? The custom of the world is [that if] the ruler says the judgment should be today and the bandit says the judgment should be tomorrow, to whom do they listen? Is it not to the ruler? But with the Holy One, Blessed be He, it is not thus. [If] the Sanhedrin declares that today is Rosh Hashanah, the Holy One, Blessed be He, tells the ministering angels, “Set up a stage [for holding the trial]. Let the defenders take up position, [and] let the prosecutors take position, for my children have declared that today is Rosh Hashanah.” If the Sanhedrin reconsidered [and decided] to lengthen [the month of Elul so that Rosh Hashanah falls on] the next day, the Holy One, Blessed be He, tells the ministering angels, “Move the stage. Move the defenders [and] move the accusers, for my children have reconsidered [and decided] to lengthen [the month of Elul so that Rosh Hashanah falls out] tomorrow.”

What is the Scriptural source for this? “For it is a law for Israel, a statute for the God of Jacob.”[44] If it is not a law for Israel, then, so to speak, it is not a statute for the God of Jacob. [Once Hashem gave the human court the authority to set the calendar, He bound Himself to its decision.]

Rabbi Krispa said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: “These are the holidays of Hashem” [refers to] prior [to the Giving of the Torah. Since God Himself observes the Torah, and the Sanhedrin did not yet exist, He set the dates of the calendar Himself.] From then on, [after the Giving of the Torah, this authority was conferred upon the Sanhedrin, so the end of the verse states], “which you establish them in their season.”[45]

Rabbi Illa said: If you establish them, they are My holidays, but if not, they are not my holidays. [Hashem accepts the determination of the Sanhedrin and considers only the dates it establishes for the holidays as the correct ones.]

Rabbi Simon said: It is written, “You Hashem, my God, did many [great deeds]; Your wonders and thoughts are for us.”[46] [All of Hashem’s great deeds, including the creation of the universe and the liberation of Israel from Egyptian slavery, were performed for the benefit of humanity, not because God had any need for them.[47]] Prior [to the Giving of the Torah], “You Hashem, my God, did many [great deeds],” [including the fixing of the calendar]. From then on, “Your wonders and thoughts are for us” — [You gave us the right to fix the dates of the calendar].

Rabbi Levi said: [This may be compared] to a king who possessed a timepiece. Once his son came of age, he turned it over to him.

Rabbi Yossa bar Chanina said: [This may be compared to] a king who possessed an observation post. Once his son came of age, he turned it over to him.[48]

Rabbi Acha said: [This may be compared to] a king who possessed a signet ring [with which he sealed his decrees]. Once his son came of age, he turned it over to him.[49]

Rabbi Chiya bar ’Ba said: [This may be compared to] a carpenter who possessed a carpenter’s tool. Once his son came of age, he turned it over to him. [The Torah is the tool with which Hashem created the world.][50]

Rabbi Yitzchak said: [This may be compared to] a king who possessed treasure houses. Once his son came of age, he turned them over to him.

And the rabbis say: [This may be compared to] a physician who possessed a bag of remedies. Once his son came of age, he turned it over to him.[51]

[The Mishnah stated:] On Rosh Hashanah all who come into the world pass before Him like sheep [being counted by a shepherd], as it says, “The One Who forms together their hearts; the One Who understands all their doings?”[52]

             [Gemara:] Rabbi Acha said: Like sheep pens [into which the sheep enter in single file]. And the rabbis say: [God examines people’s deeds] as with an astrologer’s tool.[53]

How is [this individual scrutiny] implied by the verse, “The One Who forms together their hearts; the One Who understands all their doings?”[54] [To the contrary, the phrase “forms together their hearts” implies that Hashem judges groups.]

Rabbi Levi said: [The sense of the verse is that] “the One Who forms together their hearts” already understood all their doings. [God judges both groups and individuals. The end of the verse implies that whenever God judges a nation or community, He has already evaluated the deeds of each of its individual members.][55]

Rabbi ’Lazar said: According to the custom of the world, which one is easier for a potter [to do] — to fashion a hundred urns or to look them over? Is it not to look them over? [If Hashem “forms together their hearts,” meaning that he created human beings as a group, then surely He has no trouble scrutinizing them as a group. It would be superfluous for the end of the verse to refer to understanding the doings of a group, so it must refer to examining the deeds of each individual.]

Rabbi Berachya said: The One Who forms them wants their hearts to be devoted to Him. [Just as God wants each individual to worship Him, He examines the deeds of each individual.]

Rabbi Abun said: He who is unique in His universe already understood all their doings. [The word יַחַד, meaning “together,” should be read as יַחִיד, “unique,” and refers not to a group of people, but to Hashem. The verse thus reads, “The unique One, Who forms their hearts, understands all their doings.”]

[Mishnah:] And on the holiday [of Sukkoth] they are judged for water.

[Gemara:] Our Mishnah accords with the view of Rabbi Akiva, for Rabbi Akiva said: The water libation is a Torah commandment…

            The Torah said: Bring the first of the barley [as an offering] on Passover so that the grain should be blessed. Bring the first of the wheat [as an offering] on Shavuoth so that the fruits of the trees should be blessed. You may infer from this that the water libation on the holiday [of Sukkoth is performed] so that the water will be blessed.

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai learned: Suppose Israel was fit [to be blessed] on Rosh Hashanah, and abundant rain was decreed for them, but in the end they sinned. To reduce [the rain] is impossible because a decree was already issued. What does the Holy One, Blessed be He, do? He scatters [the rain] to the seas, the deserts, and the rivers so that the land will not benefit from them. What is the Scriptural source for this? “To rain upon an unpopulated land, a desert in which there is no human [inhabitant].”[56]

Suppose Israel was not fit [to be blessed] on Rosh Hashanah, and little rain was decreed for them, but in the end they repented. To add to [the rain] is impossible because a decree was already issued. What does the Holy One, blessed be He, do for them? He makes [the rains] fall according to the needs of the land and brings with them dew and wind so that the land benefits from them. What is the Scriptural source for this? “Quench its furrows [for] the benefit of its legions [of inhabitants]; soften [the Earth] with drizzling rain; bless its vegetation.”[57]

“[As] dryness and heat rob the [melted] waters of the snow, the grave [robs those who have] sinned.”[58] The sins which Israel committed in the summer robbed them of the waters of the snow [in the winter].

[By failing to observe the Mitzvoth associated with the summer harvest, such as removing T’rumah and Ma’aser from their crops, the Jews brought upon themselves the punishment of drought in the winter which can lead to starvation and death.[59]]

It is written, “The eyes of Hashem, your God, are constantly upon [the Land of Israel] from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.”[60] [Rabbi] H

Kahana said: It is written, “from poverty” [and then] “until the end of the year.” [The usual spelling of “from the beginning” has an Alef (א) — מֵרֵאשִׁית, but the Torah spells it here without an Alef (א) — מֵרֵשִׁית, so it may be read to mean “from poverty.”] He afflicts it at its beginning and gives it a good end at its conclusion.

[When Israel sins, God causes the year to start off poorly. The Jews then repent, and Hashem causes the end of the year to prosper by having the rain fall in the most beneficial way, as stated above.[61]]


Rosh Hashanah 2:4 (דף י”ב, ב’) (Compare Bamidbar Rabbah 12:8; Shemoth Rabbah 15:22)

Rabbi Yochanan said: It is written, “Rulership and awe are with Him; He makes peace in His heights.”[62] The sun has never seen the defect of the moon.

[The moon does not give off light and is only visible because it reflects sunlight. For this reason, the convex side of a crescent moon always faces the sun while the concave side faces away from it. The sun never sees the defect (the dark side) of the moon because it always faces its illuminated side.]

[This is a metaphor for cosmic peace — the sun never sees that the moon does not give off light, so there is no jealousy or rivalry between them.]

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said: Since the sky is of water and the stars are of fire, yet they dwell together and do not harm one another, therefore [it is written], “He makes peace in His heights.”[63]

[The guardian angels of the sky and the stars have contrary traits, but they do not quarrel because they stand in awe of Hashem.]

Rabbi Abun said: The angel itself is half water and half fire, and it has five descriptions — “Its body is as [big as the Sea of] Tarshish, its face has an appearance like lightning, its eyes are like flames of fire, its arms and legs are like flashing copper, and the sound of its words is like the sound of a crowd [of people].”[64]

Rabbi Levi said: A heavenly body never sees what is ahead of it. Instead, all of them ascend like those who ascend up a ladder backwards. [To an observer on Earth the heavenly bodies appear to rise from the east. According to this personification, they resemble people backing up a ladder such that they do not see those above them. In this way, each one assumes that it is first, and they are never jealous of one another.]


Rosh Hashanah 2:5 (דף י”ג, א’ – ב’)

Rabbi Chiya bar ’Ba was standing in prayer. Rabbi Kahana entered and stood behind him to pray. After Rabbi Chiya bar ’Ba finished his prayers, he remained where he was so as not to pass before [and disturb] Rabbi Kahana, [who had] lengthened his prayers.[65]

After Rabbi Kahana finished, [Rabbi Chiya bar ’Ba] said to him, “Is this how you behave among yourselves [in Babylonia]? You trouble your superiors?” [You should not have taken such a long time praying, knowing that I was waiting for you to finish.]

“Master,” he responded, “I am from the House of Eli, and it is written about the House of Eli, ‘Therefore I swore concerning the House of Eli that the sin of the House of Eli shall never be atoned with a sacrifice or meal-offering.’[66] With a sacrifice or meal-offering it is not atoned, but it is atoned with prayer, [and that is why I took so long].

[Rabbi Chiya bar ’Ba] prayed for him, and he merited to grow so old that his fingernails reddened like those of a baby.


Rosh Hashanah 2:7-8 (דף י”ד, א’) (B.T. Rosh Hashanah 25A-B)

Mishnah: [Rabban Gamliel, the head of the Sanhedrin, disagreed with Rabbi Yehoshua about how to set the calendar.] Rabban Gamliel sent [a message to Rabbi Yehoshua in which he declared], “I decree that you should come to me with your staff and your money on the day upon which Yom Kippur falls according to your calculation.”

            Rabbi Akiva went and found [Rabbi Yehoshua] grieving [over this]. He told him, “I have [a source from which] to learn that that which Rabban Gamliel has done was done [correctly], for it says, ‘These are the holidays of Hashem, holy gatherings, which you shall declare… .’[67] Whether in their [correct] time or not in their [correct] time, I have no holidays other than those [which you declare].”

            …[Rabbi Yehoshua] came to Rabbi Dosa ben Hyrcanus. [Rabbi Dosa] said to him, “If were to investigate [the calculations of] the court of Rabban Gamliel, we would have to investigate [the calculations of] every single court which stood from the days of Moshe Rabbeinu until now, for it says, ‘Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel ascended.’[68] Why did [the verse] not specify the names of the elders? It was to teach that every threesome which arose as a court over Israel is like the court of Moshe Rabbeinu [in authority].”

            [Rabbi Yehoshua] took up his staff and his money and went to Yavneh to Rabban Gamliel on the day Yom Kippur fell out according to [Rabbi Yehoshua’s] calculations. Rabban Gamliel arose, kissed him on his head, and said, “Come in peace my master and my disciple. My master in wisdom and my disciple, for you have accepted my words.”

Gemara: “Samuel said to the people, ‘[It was] Hashem who made Moses and Aaron [as your leaders], and who brought up your ancestors from the Land of Egypt… Hashem sent Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel and saved you from your enemies roundabout, and you dwelled in safety.”[69] Jerubbaal is [identical to] Gideon, Bedan is [identical to] Samson, and Jephthah is Jephthah the Gileadite.[70] [Scripture] compares three less illustrious people [Gideon, Samson, and Jephthah] with three highly illustrious ones [Moshe Rabbeinu, Aaron, and Samuel] to teach you that the [decisions of the] courts of Gideon, Samson, and Jephthah carry as much weight as [those of] Moshe Rabbeinu, Aaron, and Samuel. Not only that, but [Scripture] placed the great ones on each side and the lesser ones in the middle. [Samuel is considered to be as great as Moshe Rabbeinu and Aaron.[71] He mentions them at the beginning and himself at the end, with Gideon, Samson, and Jephthah in between, to emphasize how the decisions of all have equal validity.]

[The Talmud proceeds to cite a different version of Rabban Gamliel’s response to Rabbi Yehoshua:] Rabban Gamliel arose and kissed him on his head, saying, “Come in peace my master and my disciple. My master in wisdom and my disciple in fear of sin. My master in wisdom and my disciple because all that I decree, he fulfills.”

It is written, “Our oxen are forbearing, [and do not harm anyone]. There is no attack, nor evil report, nor outcry in our streets [due to an ox goring a passerby].”[72]

Rabbi Yochanan and Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish [each had a different interpretation of this verse].

Rabbi Yochanan said: “Oxen are forbearing” is not written here, but “Our oxen are forbearing.” At a time when the great leaders are forbearing toward the common people, [then], “There is no attack, nor evil report, nor outcry in our streets.” [Although אַלּוּפֵינוּ means “our oxen,” this statement seems odd because a person’s own oxen — which he has raised, fed, and trained — would seldom harm him. Rabbi Yochanan therefore interprets אַלּוּפֵינוּ מְסֻבָּלִים to mean “our leaders are forbearing.”[73]]

Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish switches around [Rabbi Yochanan’s interpretation of] this verse: “Oxen are forbearing” is not written here, but “Our oxen are forbearing.” At a time when the common people tolerate [the decisions of] the great leaders, [then], “There is no attack, nor evil report, nor outcry in our streets.”


Rosh Hashanah 3:5 (דף י”ז, א’)

Rabbi Sh’muel, son of Rav Yitzchak, said: “Hashem spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and He commanded them concerning the Children of Israel.”[74] Concerning what did He command them? Concerning the section of [the Torah which requires] release of [Jewish] slaves [at the end of their six-year term or during the Jubilee year, whichever comes first].

This accords with that which Rabbi Hilla said: Israel was not punished except because of the section of [the Torah dealing with] release of [Jewish] slaves. So it is written, “Thus says Hashem, God of Israel: ‘I formed a covenant with your ancestors on the day I took them out from the Land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, saying: At the beginning of seven years, each man shall send forth his Jewish brother who was sold to you and served you for six years, and you shall send him away from you unencumbered; but your ancestors did not listen to Me and did not incline their ears.’”[75]

[Although the Torah does not state what God told Moses and Aaron to command Israel just prior to liberating them from Egypt, the verses in Jeremiah clarify that it was the Mitzvah of freeing slaves. The Jews were freed from Egypt on condition that they would observe this commandment. When they failed to do so, Hashem sent them back into exile.]

It is learned [in a Braitha] in the name of Rabbi Nechemyah: “[The Torah] is akin to merchant vessels — from afar it brings its cargo.”[76] The words of the Torah are poor in their place, but rich elsewhere. [The Tanach sometimes omits the information necessary for a verse to be understood in its own context but provides information elsewhere from which it can be understood, as in the case just mentioned.]


Rosh Hashanah 3:8 (דף י”ז, ב’ – י”ח, א’)

Mishnah: [The Torah states that during the battle between the Jews and Amalek,] “It came about that when Moses raised his hand that Israel prevailed, and when he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.”[77] Did the hands of Moses make war or break war? [Certainly not!] Rather, [this verse] tells you [that] as long as Israel gazed towards Heaven and yielded their hearts to their Father in Heaven they would prevail. But if not, they would fall.

Gemara: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: [The nation of] Amalek were sorcerers. What would they do? They arranged for men [to fight] on their birthdays, as if to say, “Not quickly does a man fall on his birthday.”[78]

[A person’s personality and the circumstances into which he is born — e.g., whether he is patient or short-tempered, whether he is rich or poor, etc. — are determined by the spiritual influences which prevailed on the day he was born.]

[The Torah states that Hashem created the heavenly bodies as “signs.”[79] The positions of the stars and planets in the sky at the time a person is born indicate which spiritual influences affect that person.]

[Thus, when the sages state that one born under the influence of Mars is predisposed to bloodshed,[80] they do not mean that the planet Mars affects that person. Rather, the person was born at a time when certain spiritual forces predisposed him to bloodshed, and this was reflected by the position of Mars in the sky at that time.]

[The same spiritual influences prevail on each anniversary of a person’s birth, and they help him to enjoy especially good luck on that day.]

What did Moshe Rabbeinu do? He mixed up the heavenly bodies. Thus it is written, “The sun and moon stood in the sky.”[81] And it is written, “The depths [of the ocean] gave forth their voice [in praise]; his hands lifted to the heights.”[82] Because [Moshe Rabbeinu] lifted his hands to the heights, the depths [of the ocean] gave forth their voice [in praise of Hashem, Who granted victory to Israel].

[By directing Israel’s attention to Heaven, Moshe Rabbeinu caused the sun and the moon “to stand in the sky.” Whereas the positions of the heavenly bodies would ordinarily indicate that spiritual influences which favored the Amalekite warriors prevailed, Moshe Rabbeinu switched around those spiritual forces.]

Sh’muel said: “An army shall be sent because of neglect of the constant”[83] [Mitzvah to learn Torah]. [God will send a heathen army against the Jewish nation] because of the offence of [abandoning] the Torah. “And it casts truth to the ground.”[84] Whenever Israel casts words of Torah to the ground, this idolatrous nation decrees and succeeds. What is the Scriptural source for this? “And it casts truth to the ground, and [the enemy] does [evil] and succeeds.”[85] There is no truth but Torah, as you would infer, [when interpreting the verse], “Acquire truth and do not sell it; wisdom, and ethics, and understanding.”[86]

Rabbi Yudah bar Pazi said: “Israel neglected good; [therefore] an enemy pursued him.”[87] There is no good except Torah, as you would infer [based on the verse], “For a good lesson I have given you; do not abandon My Torah.”[88]

[The author of Ein Yaakov adds the following material:][89] “an enemy pursued him” refers to Esau, [as the Prophet Ezekiel states], “For the enemy says concerning you, ‘Hurrah!’”[90] [According to the context, the enemy to which the Prophet Ezekiel refers is Esau. One may therefore assume that any references elsewhere to an enemy also denote Esau.]

And so said Isaac, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.”[91] As long as the voice of Jacob [in prayer and Torah study] is low, the hands of Esau control him, but as long as Jacob crows with his voice, the hands of Esau do not control him.


Rosh Hashanah 3:9 (דף י”ח, א’) (Compare B.T. Yoma 83B)

[The Jews displayed a lack of faith when they questioned whether Hashem was among them. This brought on an attack by the Amalekites which was quelled when the Jews resolved to place their complete trust in God.]

[The Jews exhibited a similar lack of faith when they complained about the Manna which God provided for them in the desert, calling it “insubstantial food.” God punished them by sending a swarm of poisonous snakes to attack them.[92]]

Mishnah: Similarly, you would say [with respect to the verse], “Make for yourself a [likeness of] a serpent and place it upon a pole; and it shall be [that] all who are bitten will look at it and live.”[93] Did the [image of the] serpent kill or bestow life? [Certainly not!] Rather, as long as Israel gazed toward Heaven and bound their hearts to their Father in Heaven, they were healed. But if not, they wasted away.

Gemara: Rabbi Yassa said: In four places it is stated [in Scripture], “Make for yourself.” In three of them it explains [which material should be used], but in one it does not explain [which material should be used].

[The three instances where the Tanach uses this expression and specifies which material must be used are as follows: Hashem told Noah,] “Make for yourself an ark of cedar wood.”[94] [Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu,] “Make for yourself two silver trumpets,”[95] [and Hashem told Joshua,] “Make for yourself stone knives”[96] [with which to circumcise the nation].

[When it comes to,] “Make for yourself a serpent,”[97] [the Torah] does not specify [which material should be used]. Moshe Rabbeinu reasoned, “Is its root not a serpent?” Therefore, [the Torah states,] “Moses made a copper serpent.” [The Hebrew for “serpent” (נָחָשׁ) has the same linguistic root as “copper” (נְחשֶׁת). Although God never instructed Moshe Rabbeinu to fashion the serpent from copper, Moshe Rabbeinu understood the similarity between these words as a hint to do so.]

Based on this [logic], Rabbi Meir used to expound names, [reasoning that a person’s name implies something about his or her character]. A certain man had the name Keedor (כִּידוֹר). Rabbi Meir cautioned others, “Distance yourselves from him! He is an evil person [because his name resembles the first words in the phrase], “For they are a rebellious generation [כִּי דוֹר תַּהְפֻּכֹת הֵמָּה].”[98]

Rabbi Levi said in the name of Rabbi Chama bar Chanina: “It shall be [that] one who is bitten shall gaze at it and live” is not written here, but “all who are bitten shall gaze at it and live.”[99] [The word “all” implies that] even dog bite [was cured by looking at the copper serpent and] even snakebite [which was unrelated to this plague was cured].[100]

[Nevertheless, the cure for dog bite and the cure for snakebite] were not identical. With dog bite, [the verse states], “shall gaze,” [whereas] with snakebite, [the verse states], “shall glance.” [The statement, “all who are bitten shall gaze at it and live” uses the verb וְרָאָה, implying that one had to gaze at the copper serpent for a long time from close up to cure dog bite. The next verse states, “It shall be if a snake bites a person that he shall glance at the copper serpent and live.”[101] This verse uses the verb וְהִבִּיט, suggesting that a brief glance from a distance was enough.]

Rabbi Yudah Gozraya,[102] in the name of Rabbi Acha, explained: Dog bite, which is not from the same species [as the copper snake, required] gazing. Snakebite, which is from the same species [even though it came from snakes which were not part of the plague, merely required] glancing.

The rabbis, [however, interpreted the words וְרָאָה and וְהִבִּיט oppositely from the above, so that dog bite only required a glance whereas snakebite required gazing. They] explained: Dog bite does not penetrate [the body with venom, so] glancing [was enough]. Snakebite, which penetrates [the body with venom, required] gazing.


Rosh Hashanah 4:7 (דף כ’, א’ – ב’) (Compare B.T. Rosh Hashanah 32A-B)

They may not have less than ten verses [in the Mussaf prayer on Rosh Hashanah which pertain to God’s] kingship, corresponding to the ten [times] David uttered “praise” [in Psalm 150]: “Praise God! Praise God in His holy [place]; praise Him in the heavenly [realm of] His strength. Praise Him [by telling of] His mighty deeds; praise Him according to the abundance of His greatness. Praise Him with a Shofar blast; praise Him with a harp and a lyre.[103] Praise Him with a drum and a dance; praise Him with flutes and a pipe. Praise Him with resounding cymbals; praise Him with rumbling cymbals. Every soul shall praise God! Praise God!”

]There may not be less] than ten remembrance verses [recited during the Mussaf prayer on Rosh Hashanah], corresponding to the ten terms of confession which Isaiah uttered: “Wash, purify, and remove the evil of your deeds from before My eyes; cease wrongdoing! Learn to do good, seek justice, set right oppression, grant justice to the orphan, take up the battle of the widow!”[104] What is written following this? “Come, please, and let us clarify [matters], says Hashem. If your sins will be like scarlet, they will become white as snow. If they are red as a worm, they will become [as white as] wool.”[105] [The first quotation contains nine verbs urging Israel to repent. The next verse adds “let us clarify” for a total of ten expressions.]

]There may not be less] than ten verses [which mention the] Shofar [during the Mussaf prayer on Rosh Hashanah], corresponding to seven lambs, a bull, a ram, and a goat [which are sacrificed on this day in addition to the daily sacrificial service.]

[The Halachah requires the Kohanim to blow on silver trumpets when these additional sacrifices are performed.[106] Since the Mussaf prayer commemorates these ten additional sacrifices, it includes ten verses which mention Shofar-blowing.[107]]

They do not mention remembrance, kingship, or Shofar verses of retribution. Remembrance verses, [which should be omitted, include] that which is written, “For He seeks [the] blood [of those who have been murdered]; He does not forget the cry of the afflicted.”[108] Kingship verses, [which should be omitted, include] that which is written, “As I live, declares Hashem, God, if I shall not rule over you with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, and with anger poured forth.”[109] Shofar verses, [which should be omitted, include] that which is written, “For the sound of a Shofar my soul heard, a blast of war.”[110]



Rosh Hashanah 4:8 (דף כ’, ב’ – כ”א, א’) (Compare Vayikra Rabbah 29:12)

            Mishnah: [Concerning] whoever passes before the ark on the holiday of Rosh Hashanah [to lead the service], it is the second one, [the leader of the Mussaf prayer], who conducts the blowing [of the Shofar], and during times when Hallel is recited [on other holidays], the first [prayer leader, who leads Shacharith], conducts the reading of the Hallel.

Gemara: Rabbi Yaakov bar Acha said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: [The reason for waiting until right before Mussaf to blow the Shofar is] because of an incident which happened. One time, they blew [the Shofar] at the beginning of [the prayer service]. Enemies thought that perhaps [the Jews] were marching against them, so they rose against them and slaughtered them. [When the Shofar blowing is delayed, however, and] they see [the Jews] reciting Shema, praying, and reading the Torah, they will say, “They are occupied with their traditions.”

[If this is the concern, then] I will say that Hallel should also be the same. [When Hallel is recited, an unusually large number of people congregate in the synagogue. Just as the large gathering and the sounding of the Shofar was misinterpreted as a call to war, the large gathering and loud responsive reading of Hallel could be misunderstood. Jews should therefore recite Hallel after the Torah reading immediately before Mussaf, rather than before the Torah reading as is the current practice.]

[The Talmud responds that Hallel is not a problem because] not all the people are there. [Not everyone is in attendance on holidays when Hallel is recited.]

[If lack of attendance abates the problem, then] I will say the same for the blowing [of the Shofar] — not all the people are there.

Rabbi Yonah said: It is written, “They seek Me day by day”[111] — this refers to Shofar-blowing and willows. [Rabbi Yonah understands the phrase “day by day” (יוֹם יוֹם) as suggesting that there are two days when Jews are especially careful to attend synagogue — Rosh Hashanah, when the Shofar is blown, and Hoshanah Rabbah, when willow branches are beaten on the ground. Since almost everyone is present on Rosh Hashanah, the rabbis were concerned that an enemy might misinterpret the Shofar-blowing, but they were not concerned on other holidays.[112]]

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi in the name of Rabbi Alexandri derives [the rule set forth in the Mishnah] from here: “Listen, Hashem, to righteousness” — this is the recitation of Shema; “Take note of my song” — this is the chanting of the Torah; “Give ear to my prayer” — this is the [Shacharith] prayer; “without lips of deception”[113] — this is Mussaf. What is written afterwards? “My [favorable] judgment emerges from before you.”[114]

[The purpose of the Shofar-blowing on Rosh Hashanah is to ensure a favorable judgment. The fact that the verse mentions this last implies that the Shofar-blowing should occur near the end of the service.]

Rabbi Acha bar Papa said in front of Rabbi Ze’ira: [The Shofar] is different [from Hallel] because the Mitzvah of the day is during Mussaf. [As mentioned above, the Mussaf prayer includes verses about kingship, remembrance, and Shofar, so that is the proper time for blowing the Shofar and not earlier.]

Rabbi Tachlifah of Caesarea added: The verse says so. “A day of blowing it shall be for you. And you shall make a fire-offering.”[115] [The Torah speaks about blowing the Shofar immediately before the sacrificial service of Rosh Hashanah, so the correct time for the Shofar-blowing is right before Mussaf, which describes the sacrificial service.]

[Since Rabbi Tachlifah cited these verses, the Talmud proceeds to expound them.] Rabbi ’Lazar, son of Rabbi Yossa, said in the name of Rabbi Yossi, son of the laundress:[116] With all other sacrifices it is written, “you shall offer [a sacrifice — וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם],” but here [on Rosh Hashanah] it is written, “you shall make [a fire-offering — וַעֲשִׂיתֶם].” The Holy One, Blessed be He, said [to the Jews], “Since you brought yourselves in for judgment before Me on Rosh Hashanah and departed in peace, I consider it as if you yourselves were made into new creatures.”

Rabbi Mesharshia said in the name of Rabbi Iddi: With all other sacrifices, it is written, “sin-offering,” but on Shavuoth it is not written “sin-offering.” The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to them, “Since you accepted upon yourselves the yoke of Torah [which was given on Shavuoth], I consider it as if you never sinned in your lives.”

[On other holidays, the Torah instructs the Jewish nation to offer “a single goat for a sin-offering to atone for you.”[117] On Shavuoth, however, the Torah calls for, “a single goat to atone for you,”[118] omitting the sin-offering designation.[119]]

[1] I Kings 2:11.

[2] II Samuel 5:5.

[3] Korban Ha’eidah.

[4] I Kings 11:16.

[5] Deuteronomy 2:5.

[6] I Kings 8:2.

[7] Sarah and Rachel, who had been childless, became pregnant on Rosh Hashanah. Abraham and Jacob were born during Tishrei (B.T. Rosh Hashanah 10B-11A). The completely righteous die on the same date as they were born (B.T. Sotah 13B), so Abraham and Jacob also died during Tishrei (Etz Yosef).

[8] I Kings 6:38.

[9] I Kings 6:37.

[10] Korban Ha’eidah.

[11] Nehemiah 2:1.

[12] Nehemiah 1:1.

[13] Esther 2:16.

[14] Isaiah 6:6.

[15] Isaiah 6:2.

[16] Daniel 9:21.

[17] Daniel 10:21.

[18] Psalms 33:15 הַיֹּצֵר יַחַד לִבָּם הַמֵּבִין אֶל כָּל מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם

[19] Grain is judged on Passover corresponding to the barley offering the Jews presented in the Temple on the second day of Passover. Water is judged on Sukkoth because water libations were performed then. Fruits are judged on Shavuoth corresponding to the presentation of the two bread loaves in the Temple on that holiday, wheat also sometimes being considered a type of fruit (Rabbi Ovadiah of Bartenura on Rosh Hashanah 1:2). Alternatively, the timing of the presentation of the two loaves corresponds with the season when fruits ripen (Rabbeinu Chananel on B.T. Rosh Hashanah 16A).

[20] Psalms 81:5 כִּי חֹק לְיִשְׂרָאֵל הוּא מִשְׁפָּט לֵא-לֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב

[21] Job 7:18.

[22] See P’nei Moshe. Babylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 16A, has a different version of this section which states that Rabbi Yossi holds that people are judged daily, not every moment.

[23] I Kings 8:59.

[24] A community and its leader are judged daily because their status constantly changes, with old members departing and new members joining. Moreover, new developments constantly take place in a community whereas the lives of individuals are relatively static (Hakothev).

[25] Psalms 9:9.

[26] Psalms 9:9.

[27] Psalms 69:29 יִמָּחוּ מִסֵּפֶר חַיִּים וְעִם צַדִּיקִים אַל יִכָּתֵבוּ

[28] Genesis 21:17.

[29] Rashi on Genesis 21:17, citing Breishith Rabbah 53:14.

[30] Psalms 5:6 לֹא יִתְיַצְּבוּ הוֹלְלִים לְנֶגֶד עֵינֶיךָ שָׂנֵאתָ כָּל פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן

[31] Job 11:11 כִּי הוּא יָדַע מְתֵי שָׁוְא וַיַּרְא אָוֶן וְלֹא יִתְבּוֹנָן

[32] Job 8:6 אִם זַךְ וְיָשָׁר אָתָּה כִּי עַתָּה יָעִיר עָלֶיךָ וְשִׁלַּם נְוַת צִדְקֶךָ

[33] Proverbs 30:31 זַרְזִיר מָתְנַיִם אוֹ תָיִשׁ וּמֶלֶךְ אַלְקוּם עִמּוֹ

[34] Korban Ha’eidah.

[35] Korban Ha’eidah.

[36] Psalms 103:9.

[37] Leviticus 22:9.

[38] Leviticus 19:32, according to Onkelos and Targum Yonathan.

[39] Genesis 18:22 וַיִּפְנוּ מִשָּׁם הָאֲנָשִׁים וַיֵּלְכוּ סְדֹמָה וְאַבְרָהָם עוֹדֶנּוּ עֹמֵד לִפְנֵי ה’

[40] Korban Ha’eidah, based on Breishith Rabbah 49:7. Rashi on Genesis 18:22 also cites this Midrash.

[41] Deuteronomy 4:8 וּמִי גּוֹי גָּדוֹל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ חֻקִּים וּמִשְׁפָּטִים צַדִּיקִם כְּכֹל הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי נֹתֵן לִפְנֵיכֶם הַיּוֹם

[42] Breishith Rabbah 49:9.

[43] The phrase ומגלחין זקנם literally means “shave their beards,” but the Torah forbids shaving one’s beard with a straight-edge razor.  This phrase should therefore be translated as “trim their beards.” (Mareh Hapanim understands the phrase this way.) The editors of the Romm Vilna edition of the Jerusalem Talmud note that versions of this passage found elsewhere have “shave their hair” instead of “shave their beards.” See, for example, Yalkut Shimoni, section 825, on Deuteronomy 4:7.

[44] Psalms 81:5 כִּי חֹק לְיִשְׂרָאֵל הוּא מִשְׁפָּט לֵא-לֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב

[45] Leviticus 23:4 אֵלֶּה מוֹעֲדֵי ה’ מִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר תִּקְרְאוּ אֹתָם בְּמוֹעֲדָם

[46] Psalms 40:6 רַבּוֹת עָשִׂיתָ אַתָּה ה’ אֱ-לֹהַי נִפְלְאֹתֶיךָ וּמַחְשְׁבֹתֶיךָ אֵלֵינוּ אֵין עֲרֹךְ אֵלֶיךָ אַגִּידָה וַאֲדַבֵּרָה עָצְמוּ מִסַּפֵּר

[47] Rashi on Psalms 40:6.

[48] The connection to our passage seems to be that the king used the observation post to determine the date by observing the position of the sun, moon, and stars.

[49] See Korban Ha’eidah. Hashem turned over the authority to decree the dates of the calendar to the leaders of the Jewish nation.

[50] Korban Ha’eidah.

[51] The ability to repent and erase the effects of a sin is analogous to healing a sickness. Permitting the Sanhedrin to determine when Rosh Hashanah falls and allowing a ten-day repentance period before the decree is sealed on Yom Kippur therefore resembles a physician giving his son a bag of remedies.

[52] Psalms 33:15 הַיֹּצֵר יַחַד לִבָּם הַמֵּבִין אֶל כָּל מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם

[53] P’nei Moshe understands מגנימין in the text to mean a device used by astrologers to track the movements of the heavenly bodies. They could thereby tell a person’s past and future. Similarly, God knows all about every human being.

[54] Psalms 33:15 הַיֹּצֵר יַחַד לִבָּם הַמֵּבִין אֶל כָּל מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם

[55] Korban Ha’eidah.

[56] Job 38:26.

[57] Psalms 65:11.

[58] Job 24:19.

[59] P’nei Moshe and Korban Ha’eidah.

[60] Deuteronomy 11:12 תָּמִיד עֵינֵי ה’ אֱ-לֹהֶיךָ בָּהּ מֵרֵשִׁית הַשָּׁנָה וְעַד אַחֲרִית שָׁנָה

[61] Etz Yosef.

[62] Job 25:2 הַמְשֵׁל וָפַחַד עִמּוֹ עֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו

[63] Ibid.

[64] Daniel 10:6 (וּגְוִיָּתוֹ כְתַרְשִׁישׁ וּפָנָיו כְּמַרְאֵה בָרָק וְעֵינָיו כְּלַפִּידֵי אֵשׁ וּזְרֹעֹתָיו וּמַרְגְּלֹתָיו כְּעֵין נְחֹשֶׁת קָלָל וְקוֹל דְּבָרָיו כְּקוֹל הָמוֹן  ) according to Rashi. Tarshish (תַּרְשִׁישׁ) was also the name of a gemstone the identity of which is no longer known, so the verse may mean that the angel gleamed like a gemstone.

[65] One should not step backward after completing the silent prayer if someone else is still praying behind him (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 102:5).

[66] Samuel I 3:14.

[67] Leviticus 23:4 אֵלֶּה מוֹעֲדֵי ה’ מִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר תִּקְרְאוּ אֹתָם בְּמוֹעֲדָם

[68] Exodus 24:9.

[69] I Samuel 12:6 and 12:11.

[70] Scripture refers to Gideon as Jerubbaal because he fought against the cult of Baal (יָרֶב בּוֹ הַבַּעַל) (Judges 6:32). Samson is called Bedan because he hailed from the Tribe of Dan (B.T. Rosh Hashanah 25A).

[71] Midrash Tanchuma, Parashath Korach 5.

[72] Psalms 144:14 אַלּוּפֵינוּ מְסֻבָּלִים אֵין פֶּרֶץ וְאֵין יוֹצֵאת וְאֵין צְוָחָה בִּרְחֹבֹתֵינוּ

[73] Korban Ha’eidah.

[74] Exodus 6:13.

[75] Jeremiah 34:13-14, according to Metzudoth David.

[76] Proverbs 31:14.

[77] Exodus 17:11.

[78] The word Genosia (גִּינוּסְיָא), used in this text for “birthday,” is related to the English “genesis,” meaning “creation.”

[79] Genesis 1:14.

[80] B.T. Shabbath 156A.

[81] Habakkuk 3:11.

[82] Habakkuk 3:10.

[83] Daniel 8:12.

[84] Ibid.

[85] Ibid. Malbim states that this refers to the Roman Empire.

[86] Proverbs 23:23.

[87] Hosea 8:3.

[88] Proverbs 4:2.

[89] Similar material is also found in Breishith Rabbah 65:20.

[90] Ezekiel 36:2.

[91] Genesis 27:22.

[92] Numbers 21:5-6.

[93] Numbers 21:8 וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ אֶל מֹשֶׁה עֲשֵׂה לְךָ שָׂרָף וְשִׂים אֹתוֹ עַל נֵס וְהָיָה כָּל הַנָּשׁוּךְ וְרָאָה אֹתוֹ וָחָי

[94] Genesis 6:14.

[95] Numbers 10:2.

[96] Joshua 5:2, according to Malbim, citing Breishith Rabbah 31:8.

[97] Numbers 21:8 וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ אֶל מֹשֶׁה עֲשֵׂה לְךָ שָׂרָף וְשִׂים אֹתוֹ עַל נֵס וְהָיָה כָּל הַנָּשׁוּךְ וְרָאָה אֹתוֹ וָחָי

[98] Deuteronomy 32:20.

[99] Numbers 21:8 וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ אֶל מֹשֶׁה עֲשֵׂה לְךָ שָׂרָף וְשִׂים אֹתוֹ עַל נֵס וְהָיָה כָּל הַנָּשׁוּךְ וְרָאָה אֹתוֹ וָחָי

[100] See Korban Ha’eidah.

[101] Numbers 21:9 וַיַּעַשׂ מֹשֶׁה נְחַשׁ נְחֹשֶׁת וַיְשִׂמֵהוּ עַל הַנֵּס וְהָיָה אִם נָשַׁךְ הַנָּחָשׁ אֶת אִישׁ וְהִבִּיט אֶל נְחַשׁ הַנְּחֹשֶׁת וָחָי

[102] This may be the same scholar as Rabbi Yehudah Hagozer mentioned in B.T. Shabbath 130B. Rashi explains there that he was a Mohel because “Gozer” ( גוזר) means to cut.

[103] The נֵבֶל and כִנּוֹר were stringed instruments. For convenience, the translation reads “a harp and a lyre,” but their precise identity is uncertain. Rabbi Chiya bar Abba held that these words were merely two different names for the same instrument. Rabbi Shimon, however, held that one had more strings and pegs than the other (Midrash Tehillim 81:3).

[104] Isaiah 1:16-17.

[105] Isaiah 1:18.

[106] Yad Hachazakah, Hilchoth Klay Hamikdash 3:5.

[107] The two blowings are related because in the Temple two silver trumpets were blown on Rosh Hashanah to accompany the Shofar (B.T. Rosh Hashanah 27A; Yad Hachazakah, Hilchoth Shofar 1:2).

[108] Psalms 9:13.

[109] Ezekiel 20:33.

[110] Jeremiah 4:19.

[111] Isaiah 58:2.

[112] Rabbi Yonah does not explain why, according to this, Hallel is not delayed until after the Torah reading on Hoshanah Rabbah.

[113] Psalms 17:1 תְּפִלָּה לְדָוִד שִׁמְעָה ה’ צֶדֶק הַקְשִׁיבָה רִנָּתִי הַאֲזִינָה תְפִלָּתִי בְּלֹא שִׂפְתֵי מִרְמָה

[114] Psalms 17:2 מִלְּפָנֶיךָ מִשְׁפָּטִי יֵצֵא עֵינֶיךָ תֶּחֱזֶינָה מֵישָׁרִים

[115] Numbers 29:1-2 וּבַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם כָּל מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ יוֹם תְּרוּעָה יִהְיֶה לָכֶם. וַעֲשִׂיתֶם עֹלָה לְרֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ לַה’ פַּר בֶּן בָּקָר אֶחָד אַיִל אֶחָד כְּבָשִׂים בְּנֵי שָׁנָה שִׁבְעָה תְּמִימִם.

[116] The rabbis did not consider it shameful to mention a person’s humble origins. To the contrary, this emphasizes that no Jew should consider his origins too lowly to strive to become a Torah scholar.

[117] This phrase (וּשְׂעִיר עִזִּים אֶחָד חַטָּאת לְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיכֶם) appears in one form or another in Numbers 28:22 and in ten instances in chapter 29 of Numbers.

[118] Numbers 28:30.

[119] Korban Ha’eidah; P’nei Moshe.

Tractate Yoma


Yoma 1:1 (דף ב’, א’ – ב’, ב’) (Compare B.T. Rosh Hashanah 3A; J.T. Sotah 1:10; Bamidbar Rabbah 19:20)

[The Torah mentions the death of Aaron’s sons just before describing the sacrificial service for Yom Kippur.[1] This seems out of place because Aaron’s sons died on the first of Nissan during the dedication of the Tabernacle, not in Tishrei when Yom Kippur falls.]

Rabbi Chiya bar ’Ba[2] explains: Aaron’s sons died on the first of Nissan. And why does [the Torah] mention their death [before] Yom Kippur? To teach you that just as Yom Kippur atones for Israel, so the death of the righteous atones for Israel.

Rabbi ’Ba bar Bina said: Why does Scripture place the death of Miriam next to the [Torah] portion of the [red] heifer? To teach you that just as the ashes of the red heifer atone for Israel, so the death of the righteous atones for Israel.

Rabbi Yudan, son of Rabbi Shalom, said: Why does Scripture place the death of Aaron next to the breaking of the Tablets [of the Ten Commandments]? To teach you that the death of the righteous is as severe to the Holy One, Blessed be He, as the breaking of the Tablets.

It is written, “The Children of Israel traveled from B’nei Yaakan Springs to Moserah; there Aaron died.”[3] Did Aaron die in Moserah? Did he not die at the two-tiered mountain?[4] [Indeed,] thus it is written: “Aaron ascended the two-tiered mountain as instructed by Hashem, and he died there.”[5] Rather, once Aaron died, the clouds of glory departed, and the Canaanites sought to provoke [a war], as it is written: “The Canaanite heard — the king of Arad who dwelled in the south — that Israel came by the route of the vanguards, and he attacked Israel.”[6]

What is [the significance of mentioning] “the route of the vanguards (דֶּרֶךְ הָאֲתָרִים)”? Because the great vanguard [Aaron], who had shown them the way, died, and [the Canaanites] came and provoked [a war].

Israel sought to return to Egypt and retreated eight stages. [The Torah identifies eight locations through which the Jews traveled from Moserah to the two-tiered mountain where Aaron died. Prior to his death, the other nations did not know Israel’s whereabouts because the nation was hidden by the clouds of glory. After he died and the clouds departed, the Canaanites located the Jews and attacked them. Fearful of this enemy, most of the nation retraced the journey back to Moserah.]

The Tribe of Levi chased after [the rest of the nation] and killed out [most of] eight families. [The who fled] in turn killed from [the Tribe of Levi] four [families]: “The Amramite, Izharite, Hebronite, [and] Uzzielite.”[7] When did [these families] return [to their former prominence]? In the days of David, as it is written, “The days of the righteous shall flourish, and [he shall enjoy] great peace until the moon is no more,” [an expression connoting “forever”].[8]

[The Jews] pondered, “What caused us this bloodshed?” They answered, “We did not perform kindness with that righteous man.” [They had failed to properly eulogize Aaron.] They sat, composed his eulogy, and bestowed kindness to that righteous one. The Omnipresent [therefore] considered it as though [Aaron] died there, was buried there, and they performed kindness for that righteous one [in the place where he died].


Yoma 1:1 (דף ב’, ב’ – ג’, א’) (Compare Vayikra Rabbah 11:6)

[During the eight-day dedication of the Tabernacle, Moshe Rabbeinu served as Kohen Gadol.] Rabbi ’Lazar, son of Rabbi Yossi, said: It is straightforward to us that Moshe Rabbeinu served as Kohen Gadol in a white robe [rather than in the eight-piece uniform of the Kohen Gadol].

Rabbi Tanchum bar Yudan said, and it is also learned in a Braitha: All [of the initial] seven days of the dedication, Moshe Rabbeinu served as Kohen Gadol, but the Divine Presence did not dwell [there] through him. Once Aaron donned the garments of the Kohen Gadol and [began] serving, the Divine Presence dwelled [there] through him. What is the Scriptural basis for this? “For today Hashem will appear to you.”[9] [On the eighth and final day of the dedication of the Tabernacle, Moshe Rabbeinu instructed Aaron to perform certain services and then stated that “today Hashem will appear to you,” implying that Hashem did not appear on prior days. Furthermore, the Braitha does not simply state that once Aaron began to function as Kohen Gadol, the Divine Presence manifested itself. Rather, it emphasizes that he donned the garments of the Kohen Gadol, implying that Moshe Rabbeinu had not done so and that it was the garments which caused the revelation of the Divine Presence.[10]]


Yoma 1:1 (דף ד’, ב’ – ה’, א’) (Vayikra Rabbah 21:9; B.T. Yoma 8B-9B; J.T. Megillah 1:10; J.T. Horayoth 3:2; compare B.T. Yoma 47A)

Mishnah: [Seven days prior to Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol used to prepare for its service by leaving his home and living] in the Palhedrin chamber [which the Gemara will discuss].

Gemara: Abba Shaul used to call it the “chamber of councilors.”

In the First [Temple], they called it the “chamber of councilors,” but now they call it the “chamber of rotating courtiers,” [a term borrowed from Greek, meaning] officials who are subject to frequent replacement. [The members of a Palhedrin were courtiers who served entirely at the discretion of the king and were routinely replaced.[11] The Talmud will go on to explain why this term was used to describe the Kohanim Gedolim.]

In the First [Temple era], when [a Kohen Gadol], his son, and his grandson served [one after another, only] eighteen Kohanim served. [The position of Kohen Gadol was hereditary provided that one of the Kohen Gadol’s sons was fit to serve.[12] As a result, only eighteen Kohanim Gedolim served throughout the entire four hundred ten years of the First Temple.] In the Second [Temple], however, since they acquired [the position] with money [by paying the king to appoint them], or, according to some, they were killing one another with witchcraft [to obtain it], eighty Kohanim served [as Kohen Gadol]. And some say eighty-one, some eighty-two, some eighty-three, some eighty-four, and some eighty-five. Among these, Shimon Hatzaddik served for forty years. [This emphasizes how short the terms of the others were. The Second Temple era lasted four hundred twenty years. If one deducts the forty years of Shimon Hatzaddik, only three hundred eighty years remain during which eighty to eighty-five Kohanim Gedolim served — an average of four years or less per person.[13]]

Rabbi Acha said: It is written, “Fear of Hashem adds days” — these are the Kohanim Gedolim who served in the First Temple. “And the years of the wicked are cut short”[14] — these are those who served in the Second Temple.

There was an incident with someone who sent two silver containers full of silver [coins] plus their overflow of silver by way of his son [to purchase the position of Kohen Gadol. The person who sent the bribe wanted to pile up the coins above the rims of the containers. However, since those extra coins might spill, he sent the overflow by itself.[15]] Another came and sent two gold containers full of gold [coins] plus their overflow of gold through his son.[16] [Onlookers] said, “The young donkey has overturned the candelabrum.” [This was an expression people used when someone’s plans were suddenly frustrated. Just when the first person was set to receive the appointment, the second person upset matters by presenting a better bribe.[17]]

We find that the First Temple was not destroyed except because they were idolaters, degenerates, and shedders of blood; and so it was in the Second.

Rabbi Yochanan ben Toratha[18] said: We find that Shiloh was not destroyed except because they used to scorn the holidays and defile the sacred sacrifices. [Fourteen years after entering the Land of Israel, the Jews built a roofless stone structure in Shiloh to serve as the Tabernacle.[19] This lasted for three hundred sixty-nine years until the Philistines captured the Ark in the days of Eli and Samuel.[20] The Philistines decided to return the Ark after Hashem visited illness upon them.[21] The Ark never returned to Shiloh,[22] however, which had been destroyed during the fighting.[23] Instead, the Tabernacle was relocated to Nob. After Nob, too, was destroyed, it was moved to Gibeon.[24]]

[The Torah requires adult Jewish males to make a pilgrimage to the Tabernacle or Temple each year on Pesach, Shavuoth, and Sukkoth. The Jews scorned the holidays, however, by neglecting this Mitzvah when the Tabernacle stood in Shiloh.[25]]

[The Torah awards certain parts of the peace offerings (שלמים) to the Kohanim. The Kohanim, however, used to steal additional meat.[26] Furthermore, the Torah requires that certain parts of the peace offerings be burned on the altar before Kohanim may take possession of their share.[27] The Kohanim, however, seized their share before this was done.[28] These actions were deemed a defilement of the sacrifices.[29]]

We find that the First Temple was not destroyed except because they were idolaters, degenerates, and shedders of blood. In the Second Temple, however, we know that they toiled in Torah, were meticulous with Mitzvoth and tithes, and possessed of every good habit. Instead, [the reason for the destruction was] that they loved money and hated one another with disproportionate hatred. [The sin of] disproportionate hatred is [extremely] severe because [the comparison between destruction of the First and Second Temples shows that] it is as serious as idolatry, degeneracy, and bloodshed.[30]

It happened that Rabbi Ze’ira, Rabbi Yaakov bar Acha, and Rabbi Abuna were sitting together. They said: [Disproportionate hatred] is worse [than the three cardinal sins listed above], for the First [Temple] was rebuilt, but the Second [Temple] has not [yet] been rebuilt.

Rabbi Ze’ira said: The earlier ones repented, whereas the later ones did not repent.

Rabbi Elazar said: The sin of the first ones was openly revealed, so their final redemption was openly revealed. The sin of the second ones was not openly revealed, so their final redemption was not openly revealed.[31]

They asked Rabbi Eliezer: Were the later generations more fit than the earlier ones? [Those asking the question assumed that the cardinal sins of idolatry, degeneracy, and bloodshed which Jews may not violate even on pain of death were more severe than greed for money and disproportionate hatred. If so, then those who lived in the Second Temple era were more righteous than those who lived in the time of the First Temple.]

He responded: Your witness is the Chosen Place [i.e., the Temple][32] which will prove [that the earlier generations were better because it has not been rebuilt since its second destruction]. Our ancestors removed the roof, [as Scripture states], “The roof of Judah was uncovered.”[33] [The Temple was located in the territory of Judah.  Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the roof, but left the foundations intact.[34]] We, however, have spread destruction to the walls, [as Scripture states], “Remember, Hashem, the people of Edom; on the day of [the destruction of] Jerusalem, they said, ‘Demolish it! Demolish it until its foundations!’”[35] [When the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem, the Romans — also called Edomites — urged them to utterly destroy it,[36] but they did not listen and left the foundation intact. When the Romans later attacked the Second Temple, they fulfilled their dream of complete destruction.]

[The sages] said: Each generation during which [the Temple] is not rebuilt is counted as if it destroyed it.

[The Mishnah continues:] They arranged another Kohen in his stead lest a disqualification occur to him. [Only a Kohen Gadol could perform the Yom Kippur service, so a substitute was prepared in case he became ritually impure.[37]]

Gemara: Did they seclude him with [his substitute]? [The Kohen Gadol had to be isolated seven days in advance of Yom Kippur. Was the substitute isolated with him?[38]] Rabbi Chaggai from [Babylonia] said that they do not seclude them together because he would kill him. [There was such great rivalry to gain the position of Kohen Gadol during the Second Temple era that the substitute might kill him. Moreover, the Torah commands that,] “The Kohen who is anointed, he shall atone.”[39] They anoint one [at a time], but they do not anoint two [at a time.] [The word “he” in the verse is superfluous and therefore indicates that only one Kohen Gadol may be anointed at a time.[40] The substitute was trained for the position of Kohen Gadol, but not anointed, and he did not assume any of the Kohen Gadol’s functions unless the original one became disqualified.]

Rabbi Yochanan explained: Because of resentment [they do not have two people invested as Kohen Gadol at the same time.]

If the [first] one passed [from the position due to a temporary disqualification] and the [second] one served [as Kohen Gadol], the first one [retains] unto himself all the holiness of the Kehunah Gedolah. The second is not fit either as a Kohen Gadol or as an ordinary Kohen. [After the first Kohen Gadol returns to his position, his substitute cannot also serve because of the enmity that would result from having two men entitled to fill the position at the same time. On the other hand, the substitute cannot return to being an ordinary Kohen because once a person rises in holiness, he never returns to his former status.]

…There was an incident with Ben Ilem of Sepphoris where a temporary disqualification befell the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur, and Ben Ilem entered [the Temple] and functioned in his stead as Kohen Gadol. When he emerged, he said to the king, “My lord king, are the bull and ram of Yom Kippur brought from my [livestock] or from the Kohen Gadol’s [livestock]? [The Kohen Gadol used to provide these offerings from his personal herds. The implication of this question was whether the king, who at this stage in history appointed the Kohanim Gedolim, would permit Ben Ilem to assume the position permanently. If Ben Ilem offered these animals from livestock belonging to the man whom he had replaced, it would mean that he was only temporarily filling in for him.]

The king understood what he was asking and told him, “Ben Ilem, is it not enough for you that you served one hour before He who spoke and the world came into existence?”

Ben Ilem understood [from this] that he was [to be] removed from the Kehunah Gedolah.

An incident happened with Shimon ben Kimchith, who went out to speak with the king on Yom Kippur eve, and a fleck of spittle flew from [the king’s] mouth onto his clothing, rendering him ritually impure. His brother, Yehudah, entered and served as Kohen Gadol in his place. [Thus,] their mother saw two of her sons serve as Kohanim Gedolim on the same day.

Kimchith had seven sons, and all of them served in the Kehunah Gedolah. The sages sent [a message] and inquired of her, “What good deeds do you possess [that you merited this]?”

“May [a curse] come upon me,” she replied, “if the beams of my house ever saw the hairs of my head or the hem of my gown!” [She was especially modest, taking care not to expose herself even in the privacy of her home. Hashem rewarded Kimchith measure for measure. Since she took care to maintain a high level of modesty even inside her home, she merited to have sons who served in the Holy of Holies — the innermost part of the Temple.]

They exclaimed, “All flour is flour, but the flour of Kimchith is fine flour!” [This is a play on Kimchith’s name because Kemach (קֶמַח) means “flour.”] They applied to her the verse, “All glory of the king’s daughter is inside; her garment is of gold settings [for gems to be inserted].”[41] [This alludes to the Kohen Gadol whose vestments had gold settings inlaid with gems.[42]]


Yoma 1:3 (דף ו’, ב’) (B.T. Yoma 18A)

            Mishnah: They provide him with elders from the elders of the Court, who read before him the order of the day. [During his seven days of seclusion, the elders of the Sanhedrin reviewed the details of the Yom Kippur service with the Kohen Gadol.] They would say to him, “My lord Kohen Gadol, you read [the verses which describe the service] with your own mouth. Perhaps you forgot or perhaps you never learned.” 

            Gemara:  Is it not learned [in a Tosefta]: “and the Kohen who is greater than his brothers”[43] [means] that his greatness should be more than his brothers? [The ways in which the Kohen Gadol must be greater than the other Kohanim are hinted at in the verse:] “that the anointing oil was poured upon his head”[44] — Rebbi states: [greater] in beauty, strength, wealth, wisdom, and appearance. [The letters of “the anointing” (הַמִּשְׁחָה) may be rearranged to mean “the five” (הַחֲמִשָּׁה), hinting that the Kohen Gadol must be superior to his fellows in five ways.[45]]

[The Mishnah suggests that the Kohen Gadol may have been unlearned, but that would contradict the teaching that he must possess more wisdom than his brother Kohanim.]

Rabbi Yossi, son of Rabbi ’Bon, explains: This was in the First [Temple], whereas this was in the Second [Temple]. [During the era of the First Temple, only qualified individuals served as Kohanim Gedolim. During the time of the Second Temple, people who lacked proper qualifications bought the position and therefore might be unlearned.[46]]


Yoma 1:5 (דף ז’, א’ – ב’) (Compare B.T. Yoma 19B)

            Mishnah: The elders of the Court handed over [the Kohen Gadol] to the elders of the Kehunah, who brought him up to the top floor of the Chamber of Avtinas, had him swear [that he would perform the Yom Kippur service faithfully], and then departed and went their way.

            [As stated above, the elders of the Sanhedrin reviewed the Yom Kippur routine with the Kohen Gadol. Afterwards, the elders of the Kehunah taught him how to scoop the incense with three fingers, a tricky part of the service.[47] This training was done in the Chamber of Avtinas, the family of Kohanim who compounded the incense.]

[The Sadducees were a deviant sect which rejected the interpretation of Scripture passed down from generation to generation from Moshe Rabbeinu.]

[The Torah requires the Kohen Gadol to present a special incense offering inside the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur. The Torah states, “in a cloud shall I appear upon the lid of the Ark.”[48] According to the Halachah, the Kohen Gadol must enter the Holy of Holies with the incense and a pan of hot coals. Once inside, he places the incense on the coals to produce a cloud of smoke. The Sadducees, however, decided that the verse required the Kohen Gadol to ignite the coals outside the Holy of Holies and then bring them in.]

[The members of the Sanhedrin made him to swear that he would follow the correct procedure and not do as the Sadducees taught.]

            They would say to him, “My lord Kohen Gadol, we are agents of the Court, and you are our agent as well as an agent of the Court. We impose an oath upon you by the One Who caused His Name to dwell in this House that you shall not alter anything from all that we have told you.”

            He would turn aside and weep [at the thought that he was suspected of doing otherwise], and they would turn aside and weep [at the need to impose this oath].

Gemara: “He would turn aside and weep” because he was suspected, “and they would turn aside and weep” because they were forced to do so.

Why did they force him to swear? Because of the Boethusians [a sect related to the Sadducees] who used to say that [the Kohen Gadol] should ignite [the incense] outside [the Holy of Holies] and bring it inside.[49]

There was an incident with someone who ignited the incense outside and brought it inside. When he emerged, he told his father, “Although you [Sadducees] explained [that it should be done this way] all your days, you did not [actually] do so until I arose and did it.”

Answered his father, “Although we [Sadducees] have interpreted [the Torah according to this view], all our days we followed the will of the sages [who made us swear to perform the incense service according to the Halachah]. I would be surprised if you last long in the world.”[50]

They say that not many days passed before he died. Some say that a torrent of worms emerged from his nose and that a sort of calf’s hoofprint formed on his forehead.[51]

There are those who wish to say that the same Kohen was involved with the red heifer, Sukkoth, and Yom Kippur.

[The Sadducees held that a Kohen who is ritually impure must immerse himself in a Mikveh and wait until evening to be qualified to handle the red heifer offering. This is contrary to the Halachah, which requires immersion but no waiting period. To make certain that this Halachah would be known by the public, the sages instituted a practice of deliberately contaminating the Kohen who was to handle the red heifer. He would then perform the ceremony after undergoing immersion only.[52]]

[One time, a Sadducee slaughtered the red heifer late in the day, knowing that there was not enough time left to finish the service before dark. This way, night would intervene before he completed the ceremony. Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai realized what this person was up to, so he touched him the following day, thereby rendering him ritually impure.]

[The Sadducee injured Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai’s ear and swore revenge. Three days later, that Sadducee died.[53]]

[There is a Halachah that water libations must be poured on the altar during Sukkoth. This is not mentioned in the Torah but is known by way of oral tradition. The Sadducees, however, rejected this tradition. One time, a Sadducee took the water and, instead of pouring it on the altar, poured it on his feet. Those who witnessed this were so outraged that they pelted him with their Ethrogim, and he died.[54]]

[Here, the Talmud teaches that, according to some, all three of these incidents involved the same Kohen.]

Rabbi Simon did not say so. Rather, either [the Kohen] of the red heifer and of Sukkoth was one [person], and [the Kohen] of Yom Kippur was another, or [the Kohen] of the red heifer and of Yom Kippur was [one person], and [the Kohen] of Sukkoth was another.

The one who says that not many days passed until he died [must hold that the same person] did all three. [The Kohen Gadol who performed the incense offering incorrectly on Yom Kippur also poured the water libation on his feet during Sukkoth a few days later. In between, he attempted to the follow the Sadducean practice with respect to the red heifer.[55]]

The one who says that a torrent of worms emerged from his nose and that a sort of calf’s hoofprint formed on his forehead [must hold] like [Rabbi Simon] who says that either [the Kohen] of the red heifer and of Sukkoth were the same [person], and [the Kohen Gadol] of Yom Kippur was another, or [the Kohen] of the red heifer and of Yom Kippur were [one person], and [the Kohen] of Sukkoth was another. [The Mishnah records that the Kohen who poured the libation water on his feet was pelted to death by angry onlookers.[56] The description of the Kohen Gadol’s death here, however, implies that he died immediately after emerging from the Holy of Holies[57] in which case two different people must have been involved.]

The Temple courtyard cried out [so to speak] concerning them, “Go out from here sons of Eli! You have defiled the House of our God!”

[Eli was the Kohen Gadol during the time of the Prophet Samuel. The Tanach tells how his sons wrongly seized meat from private sacrifices other Jews brought to the Tabernacle. This caused the people to despise the sacrificial service.[58]]

[In addition, the Torah requires women to bring certain sacrifices after giving birth.[59] Eli’s sons did not present these sacrifices promptly, causing many women to delay returning home while waiting for their sacrifices to be offered.[60]]

[Just as, metaphorically, the Tabernacle cried out over these outrages, it cried out over the desecrations committed by the Sadducees.[61]]

…They placed a question before Rabbi Abahu: Is it not written, “No person shall be [present] in the Tent of Meeting when he comes to atone in the holy [place] until he leaves”?[62] [No one else was permitted to be present when the Kohen Gadol performed the incense ceremony in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur.] Even those [creatures] about whom it is written, “The image of their faces [resembles the] face of a person.”[63] [Even angels were not allowed to be present, so how could an angel have known what the Kohen Gadol did and then punish him?]

He answered: [This only applies] at a time when he enters properly. [Since the service was not performed correctly, the angel had permission to enter.]


Yoma 2:1 (דף י’, ב’) (B.T. Yoma 23A-B; Tosefta Yoma 1:10; Tosefta Shavuoth 1:3)

[There was competition among the Kohanim about who would have the privilege of cleaning off the altar and performing other parts of the Temple service. To resolve this conflict, the Kohanim would race up the ramp to the altar. Whoever reached within four cubits of the top first won the right to clean off the altar.[64]]

There was an incident with someone who got ahead of his comrade to within four cubits of the altar, so his comrade took a knife and stabbed him in the heart.

Rabbi Tzaddok stood on the steps of the chamber [leading to the inner sanctuary]. He told [those assembled], “Listen to me, my brothers, the House of Israel! It is written, ‘If a corpse will found in the land which Hashem, your God, gives you to inherit, fallen in the field [and apparently murdered, but] it is not known who struck him down, your elders and your judges shall go forth and measure to the towns which surround the corpse.’[65] [The elders of the nearest town then performed the ceremony of the calf whose neck is broken (עֶגְלָה עֲרוּפָה) to absolve their community from culpability for the crime.] As for us, from where should we measure? From the Inner Sanctuary? From the courtyards?” [The law of the calf whose neck is broken did not apply both because the murderer was known and because this law does not apply to Jerusalem. Rabbi Tzaddok merely wished to impress those present with the severity of what had happened.[66] If a community could perform the ceremony, it atoned for the bloodshed. In this case, where the ceremony could not be performed, how would the nation achieve atonement?[67]]

All the people [present] started to weep. While they were occupied with weeping, the father of the youngster [who had been stabbed] entered [the Temple].[68] He said to them, “I am your atonement, [meaning, not to worry.] The child is still fluttering [between life and death], and the knife has not become ritually impure.” [Since the young Kohen did not immediately expire, the knife used to kill him did not come into contact with a corpse and therefore did not require purification.]

This shows that they considered [the laws of] ritual impurity more serious than bloodshed — what a disgrace!


Yoma 3:6 (דף י”ז, ב’) (B.T. Yoma 35B)

[A Kohen who performs the public sacrificial service must wear special vestments paid for by the public. Those in charge of the Temple service provided a certain amount of public funds for that purpose, but a Kohen Gadol who wished to do so could add to that amount and use even finer garments.[69]]

There was an incident with Rabbi Yishmael ben Piavi where he donned garments worth ten thousand denarii,[70] ascended, and offered sacrifices on the altar.

There was an incident with Rabbi Elazar ben Charsom where he donned garments worth twenty thousand [denarii], ascended, and offered sacrifices on the altar. His brother Kohanim brought him down because he appeared unclothed within them. [The material was so fine that the outline of his body showed through it.] What did he do? He filled [his garment] with water and circled the altar seven times. [The fire on the altar would have quickly dried out light clothing. Since this garment remained wet, Rabbi Elazar ben Charsom thereby demonstrated that it was very thick. Only because the material was so fine did the outline of his body show through it.[71]]


Yoma 3:7 (דף י”ח, ב’) (Koheleth Rabbah on Ecclesiastes 3:11; compare B.T. Kiddushin 71A)

The Kohen Gadol pronounced the Name [of Hashem as it is written] ten times on Yom Kippur. Six [during the confessions associated] with the bull [sacrifice], three [during the confession associated with] the goat [which was sent to the desert], and once during the lottery [when he selected the goat to be sacrificed in the Temple].[72]

Those near [the Kohen Gadol] prostrated themselves, [while] those further away would say, “Blessed is the Name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever.” Both of these [groups] would not move from there until [this Name] was hidden from them. [As the Talmud will explain, Hashem’s Name, when pronounced correctly, is extremely powerful, and very few people are worthy of knowing it. Accordingly, those who heard it tarried until they felt unsure of the proper pronunciation.[73] This is consistent with the verse,] “This is My Name forever (לְעֹלָם),”[74] [which may be interpreted as], “This is My Name which must be concealed (לְעָלֵם).”

At first, [the Kohen Gadol] would say it in a loud voice. After impious people [who might misuse it] increased, he would say it in a low voice.

Rabbi Tarfon said: I was standing in a row among my brother Kohanim. I inclined my ear toward the Kohen Gadol, and I heard him blend in [the Name] with the melodious response of the [other] Kohanim, [who were reciting, “Blessed is the Name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever.” In other words, the Kohen Gadol drew out uttering the Name so that it overlapped with this response.[75]]

At first, [the Name] was handed over to every person. After the impious increased, it was only given to those who were [known to be] fit.

As Sh’muel was passing, he heard a Persian cursing his son with [Hashem’s Name], and [the son] died. Sh’muel remarked, “[This person suffered two losses.] A man went [to his death], and whoever overheard [the Name] overheard it.”

Rabbi Inyoni bar Susai went up to [visit] Rabbi Chanina in Sepphoris.

[Rabbi Inyoni] said, “Come, and I will hand over [the correct pronunciation of Hashem’s Name] to you.”

[Rabbi Chanina’s] son hid under the bed [to hear it also]. [The son] sneezed and [Rabbi Inyoni] heard the sound. [Rabbi Inyoni] said, “Do you conduct yourselves with deceit? [The opportunity to hear the Name] has passed both for you and for him!”

A certain physician in Sepphoris told Rabbi Pinchas bar Chama, “Come, and I will hand over [the Name] to you.”

“I cannot,” [responded Rabbi Pinchas bar Chama].


“Because I consume tithes, and one who is accustomed to [using Hashem’s Name] cannot consume anything from another person.”

[One who collected tithes of grain might quarrel with the donors, and Rabbi Pinchas bar Chama feared that if he grew angry, he might forget himself and curse someone with Hashem’s Name.]

[Alternatively, one who knows the Name must maintain a high level of spiritual purity which he or she can only attain by refusing to benefit from others.][76]


Yoma 3:8 (דף י”ט, א’ – י”ט, ב’) (B.T. Yoma 38A; Tosefta Yoma 2:4)

[Nikanor imported copper doors from Egypt for the eastern gate of the Temple courtyard.]

Mishnah: [With respect to] Nikanor, miracles were done for his doors, and they mention him with admiration.

Gemara: It is learned [in a Braitha]: There was an incident when they were coming in a ship [with the doors], and a huge storm rose against them at sea. [The crewmen were afraid the ship might sink, so] they took one [of the doors] and dropped it into the sea [to lighten the ship]. They wanted to cast off the other also, but [Nikanor] stood and embraced it.

“If you cast it into the sea,” he said, “cast me with it.” [The sailors relented, and he thus saved one of the doors.] He was weeping and grieving [because of the other door] until he reached the port of Joppa.

Once they reached the port of Joppa, [the door which had been cast off] started to bob up from beneath the ship, consistent with that which we learn [in a Mishnah in Tractate Midoth]:

             All the gates that were [in the Temple] were changed to gold [after the Jews acquired sufficient wealth to renovate the Temple], except for the Gates of Nikanor because a miracle was done with them. And there are those who say [that they retained these doors] because their copper gleamed [like gold].[77]

It is learned in the name of Rabbi ’Liezer: Their copper used to gleam and was more beautiful than gold.


Yoma 4:1 (דף כ’, א’) (Compare B.T. Baba Bathra 122A and B.T. Sotah 47A)

With two lottery boxes the Land of Israel was divided [among the Tribes by Joshua] — one had the lots placed inside it [upon which boundaries were written] and one had the names of the Tribes inside it. Two young Kohanim stood [there]. Whatever this one raised [from the box with the boundaries] and this one raised [from the box with the Tribes] determined [who got which share of land].

By three methods was the Land of Israel distributed: By lottery, by the Urim Vetumim, and by money. Thus, it is written, “Joshua cast the lot in Shiloh before Hashem, and there Joshua divided the Land for the Children of Israel according to their divisions.”[78] “the lot” — this is the lottery; “before Hashem” — these are the Urim Vetumim; “between many and few”[79] — this is the money.

[The Urim Vetumim was a parchment kept inside the Kohen Gadol’s breastplate by means of which he could obtain prophetic answers to questions.[80] Elazar, the Kohen Gadol at the time, used the Urim Vetumim to determine which land belonged to which Tribe.[81] No one could accuse Elazar of misinterpreting or altering the message of the Urim Vetumim because the lottery confirmed whatever he said.[82]]

[The division also involved money because Tribes which received land closer to Jerusalem paid compensation to those which received land further away.[83]]

Rabbi Avin said: Had the Holy One, Blessed be He, not given fondness for each place in the eyes of its inhabitants, the Land of Israel would never have been divided. [The Tribes would not have accepted the lands allotted them by the lottery and the Urim Vetumim had Hashem not caused those lands to find favor in the eyes of those to whom they were assigned.]

Similarly, it is learned [in a Braitha]: There are three favors: the favor of a wife in the eyes of her husband; the favor of a place in the eyes of its inhabitants; and the favor of a purchase in the eyes of its purchaser. [Every human being has some flaws, but since husbands and wives find favor in each other’s eyes, they tend to overlook them. Otherwise, no marriage could ever succeed. Likewise, if purchases did not find favor in the eyes of their buyers, every sale would be cancelled, and trade would come to a standstill.[84]]

Rabbi Abba, son of Rabbi Poppi, and Rabbi Yehoshua of Sichnin said in the name of Levi: Also in the future, the Holy One, Blessed be He, shall do so [i.e., cause people to favor their own belongings]. Thus it is written, “I shall give you a new heart, and a new spirit I shall place in your innards; I shall remove the heart of stone from your flesh, and give you a heart of flesh.”[85] [The Hebrew for “flesh” (בָּשָׂר) resembles the word for “sour” (בושׂר).[86]] [Each person] shall find the portion of his neighbor sour, [and favor only his own possessions. No one will desire what belongs to another.]


Yoma 4:4 (דף כ”ב, ב’ – כ”ג, א’) (Compare B.T. Yoma 44B-45A; Shemoth Rabbah 35:1; Bamidbar Rabbah 12:4; B.T. Yoma 21B and 39B)

There are seven types of gold: good gold, pure gold, closed gold, sparkling gold, refined gold, malleable gold, and Parva’im gold.

“Good gold” [means] as it sounds [in the verse], “And the gold of that land is good.”[87] Rabbi Yitzchak says: It is good when it is in his home and good when it accompanies him [on a journey]. [This type of gold is light in weight, so it is easy to take along when one travels. Furthermore, its value is universally accepted, so one may trade with it anywhere.[88]]

“Pure gold” [means] that they can put it into fire and it loses nothing. [It is so highly refined that no further impurities can be burned away from it.]

This accords with that which is learned [in a Braitha]: An incident occurred with the golden Menorah that Moshe Rabbeinu made in the desert where it had an extra dinar[’s weight] of gold. They placed it in a furnace eighty times [to try to smelt away the excess], but it did not lose anything.

Does this make sense? [How can this be true, when it is known that whenever gold is placed in a smelter, a small amount is always lost?] Until it is fully purified, it loses a great deal. Once it is fully purified, it loses nothing.

“Closed gold” [means] that it used to shame all the other types of gold. [It is called “closed gold” because those merchants who had it would shut away their other gold, which no one wanted when this type was available.[89] Alternatively, other gold merchants could not compete and had to close shop when one of them offered this type of gold for sale.[90]]

Rabbi Sh’muel bar Yitzchak states: It is written, “seven thousand talents of pure silver to coat the walls of the buildings [of the Temple compound],”[91] yet [it is also written], “[King Solomon] coated the entire House with gold.”[92] And you say thus? [The verses contradict one another, with one saying that at least part of the Temple was coated with silver, and the other saying that it was entirely coated with gold.] Rather, it shamed all of the gold that was there. [The Hebrew for “silver” (כסף) can also mean “shame.” Both verses mean that gold was used to coat the Temple walls, but the expression “pure silver” in the first should be read “pure shame” because this gold put all others to shame.][93]

“Sparkling gold” (מוּפָז) — Rabbi Patroki, brother of Rabbi Drosa, said in the name of Rabbi ’Ba bar Binah: It resembles [in color] the fire which ignites from sulphur.

Rabbi Avin said: It is called by the name of its place — “gold from Upazz.”[94] [The Hebrew מוּפָז may be read as “from Upazz” (מֵאוּפָז).]

“Refined gold” [means] that they would cut it up like [the size of] olives and press it into dough which they fed to ostriches, who would filter it. Others say that they would store it in manure for seven years [to refine it].

“Malleable gold” is drawn [as finely] as wax.[95] [The Roman emperor] Hadrian owned an egg’s weight [of this gold]. Diocletian owned a Gordian dinar’s weight [of this gold].[96]

Parva’im gold” — Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said: It was red, resembling the blood of an ox. [This gold came from a place called Parva’im (פַּרְוָיִם), a word which resembles “ox” (פַּר).[97]]

Others say it was gold that yields fruits. [Parva’im (פַּרְוָיִם) also resembles the Hebrew for “fruits” (פֵּירוֹת).] This is like that which we learn [in a Mishnah]: A golden vine used to stand at the entrance to the Sanctuary.[98] [People who wished to contribute to the beautification of the Temple would donate gold shaped like grape leaves, grapes, or grape clusters to this decorative vine. It was a symbol of blessing because the Jewish people are compared to a grapevine.[99]]

Rabbi Acha bar Yitzchak said: When King Solomon built the Temple, he engraved all types of trees inside it [in gold]. When the [ordinary trees] which were outside produced fruits, those [golden ones] which were inside [miraculously] produced fruit. Thus, it is written, “[The Land of Israel] shall surely blossom and shall surely rejoice and sing; the glory of the Lebanon shall be given [her], the majesty of the Carmel and the Sharon; [the Children of Israel] shall see the glory of Hashem, the majesty of our God.”[100] [The Lebanon refers to the Temple,[101] so this verse alludes to this miracle.]

When did they wither? Rabbi Yitzchak said in the name of Rabbi Chinana bar Yitzchak: When Manasseh erected an idol in the Sanctuary, they withered, as it is written, “And the blossom of Lebanon is cut down.”[102] [The Talmud seems to imply that the golden grapevine mentioned in the Mishnah to which the people contributed was a memorial for these supernatural golden trees of King Solomon.[103]]


Yoma 5:2 (דף כ”ז, א’) (Compare B.T. Yoma 53B; B.T. Ta’anith 24B; Vayikra Rabbah 21:12)

[Gemara]: Thus went the prayer of the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur upon his safe departure from the Sanctuary:

May it be pleasing before You, Hashem, our God, and God of our ancestors, that there not issue forth against us [a decree of] exile on this day or during this year, but if [a decree] of exile issues forth against us on this day or during this year, may our exile be to a place of Torah.

May it be pleasing before You, Hashem, our God, and God of our ancestors, that there not issue forth against us [a decree of financial] loss on this day or during this year, but if [a decree of financial] loss issues forth against us on this day or during this year, may our loss be a loss related to Mitzvoth. [Matters should fall out so that the money destined to be lost should be spent instead on charity or other good deeds.]

May it be pleasing before You, Hashem, our God, and God of our ancestors, that this year be a year of cheap prices, a year of plenty, a year of [prosperous] trade, a year of plentiful rain, sunshine, and shade [which are beneficial for crops],[104] during which Your people Israel need not [depend upon] one another. And do not listen to the prayer of those setting forth on a journey, [who pray that it not rain. In as much as there are always people traveling, if God would heed their prayers, it would never rain.]

The rabbis of Caesarea say [that the Kohen Gadol adds]: And upon Your people Israel that they not impose dominion upon one another. [It is harmful for people to exercise authority over one another even when they are justified in doing so.[105]]

And upon the people of the Sharon, he used to say: May it be pleasing before You, Hashem, our God, and God of our ancestors, that their homes not become their graves. [The Sharon lay in an area subject to frequent mudslides.]

And he would not extend [his prayers too much] so as not to frighten Israel. [The Holy of Holies was so sacred that only the Kohen Gadol could enter and even then, only on Yom Kippur. If he delayed in returning, people might fear that he had somehow violated its sanctity and died.]

There was an incident with one who extended [his prayers], and they decided to go in after him [to make sure he was all right]. They say that this was Shimon Hatzaddik.

They said to him, “Why did you lengthen [your prayers so much]?”

He replied, “I was praying concerning the Temple of your God that it not be destroyed.”

“Nevertheless, you should not have lengthened [your prayers] so much.”

For forty years Shimon Hatzaddik served Israel as Kohen Gadol. During the last year, he told them, “This year I will die.”

They asked him, “How do you know?”

“Each year, when I would enter the Holy of Holies, there was an old man dressed in white and wrapped in white who entered and departed with me. This year, he entered with me, but did not depart with me.”

They asked Rabbi Abahu [concerning this story]: But it is written, “And no man shall be in the Tent of Meeting upon his coming to atone in the Holy [of Holies] until his departure.”[106] [This means that] even those concerning whom it is written [that], “the image of their faces [resembles] the face of a person,”[107] [i.e., angels,] shall not be in the Tent of Meeting. [So how could an angel have accompanied Shimon Hatzaddik?]

He answered: Who says that it was [an angel who resembled] a person? I say that it was the Holy One, Blessed be He. [An image of the Divine Presence accompanied Shimon Hatzaddik.[108]]

Yoma 6:3 (דף ל”ג, ב’) (B.T. Yoma 39A-B; B.T. Menachoth 109B)

During all the days that Shimon Hatzaddik lived, [the scapegoat] did not reach halfway down the mountain before it was torn asunder. After Shimon Hatzaddik died, it fled to the desert where nomads [caught and] consumed it. [Since the scapegoat carried away the sins of the nation, its immediate destruction hinted that the nation’s atonement was accepted. Its escape into the desert implied that God was not pleased with His people.]

During all the days that Shimon Hatzaddik lived, the lot [for the goat to be sacrificed on Yom Kippur for] Hashem came up in [the Kohen Gadol’s] right hand. [This was considered a favorable sign because the right side represents kindness.] After Shimon Hatzaddik died, sometimes [it came up] in the right and sometimes in the left.

During all the days that Shimon Hatzaddik lived, the western lamp [of the Menorah remained] lit [after the other lamps of the Menorah had burned out even though it had no more oil than the others and even though it was lit every evening before the others. This showed that the Divine Presence resided in the Temple.[109]] After Shimon Hatzaddik died, sometimes it burned out and sometimes it [remained] lit.

[When the scapegoat was brought to the cliff from which it was to be thrown, the agent who brought it divided a scarlet tuft of wool and tied half to the goat and half to a boulder at the top of the cliff.[110] A scarlet tuft of wool was also tied to the entrance to the Heichal inside the Temple.[111]] During all the days that Shimon Hatzaddik lived, the scarlet tuft [of wool miraculously] turned white. After Shimon Hatzaddik died, sometimes it turned white and sometimes it remained red. [The whitening of the woolen tuft was a sign from Heaven that Israel’s sins had been cleansed.]

During all the days that Shimon Hatzaddik lived, the flame of the pyre [on the altar] gained strength and increased as soon as they placed two logs upon it in the morning, and they did not [need to] put [on any additional wood] throughout the day. After Shimon Hatzaddik died, the vigor of the pyre diminished, and [the Kohanim] did not stop placing wood [on it] all day long.

During all the days that Shimon Hatzaddik lived, a blessing was invested into the two breads [offered on Shavuoth] and the multi-faced breads [which the Kohanim consumed each Sabbath]. Each [Kohen’s share of bread] came out to only an olive size, [yet] there were those who ate and were satisfied, and there were those who ate and had leftovers [because the bread had a miraculous ability to expand and satisfy one’s appetite]. After Shimon Hatzaddik died, the blessing was taken from the two breads and the multi-faced bread, so that each [Kohen’s share] came out to only the size of a pea. The modest ones withdrew their hands [from taking such a small piece of bread]. The gluttons stretched forth their hands [to seize the bread].

An incident occurred with a Kohen from Sepphoris[112] who took his share and his comrade’s share. He was called “the pea man” ever after, as [King] David said, “My God, save me from the hand of the wicked, from the palm of the swindler and the robber.”[113] [This Kohen did not steal his friend’s bread. Rather, his comrade was among the modest Kohanim who found it unseemly to take so small a piece. Even so, this was a disgraceful act.]

[In the verse cited here, the terms swindler (מְעַוֵּל) and robber (חוֹמֵץ) are more or less synonymous, both referring to types of thieves. This superfluous repetition implies that even when nothing is stolen, it is a bad trait to grab something meant for someone else.[114]]

It is learned [in a Braitha]: During the forty years before the Temple was destroyed, the western lamp [of the Menorah] went out [before the others], the scarlet tuft remained red, the lot [which the Kohen Gadol selected for the sacrificial goat for Hashem] came up in [his] left [hand], and they would lock the doors of the Sanctuary (הֵיכָל) at night, but arise to find them open.

Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai addressed [the Temple homiletically]: Sanctuary, why do you dismay us? We know that your destiny is to be destroyed, as it says, “Open your doors, Temple, and let fire consume your cedars.”[115]

[As mentioned above,] Shimon Hatzaddik served Israel as Kohen Gadol for forty years. During the last year, he told them, “This year I will die.”

“Who should we appoint after you?” they asked.

“Behold, Nechunyon, my son, is before you.”

They went and appointed Nechunyon, but his brother, Shimon, envied him. [Shimon] went and dressed him in a lady’s leather garment and girded him with a lady’s belt. He then said to [the leaders of the nation], “See what [Nechunyon] swore to his mistress! He told her, ‘When I serve as Kohen Gadol, I will wear your gown and gird myself with your belt.’”[116]

They investigated these matters, but they could not find [Nechunyon because he fled].

They say [that] from there [Nechunyon] fled to the king’s mountain. [Then] from there he escaped to Alexandria and built an altar. To it he applied this verse, “On that day, there will be an altar to Hashem inside the Land of Egypt.”[117]

Take heed of how matters might be even more severe! This [Nechunyon] fled from a high position [having never actually served as Kohen Gadol], and look what turned out with him in the end. [He attempted to establish his authority by erecting a forbidden altar in Egypt.]  How much more so one who assumed [the position of Kohen Gadol] and left it [would try to reassert his authority, and so we see how careful one must be when accepting a position of power].

It is learned [in a Braitha]: The foregoing are the words of Rabbi Meir. [However,] Rabbi Yehudah says: No, rather, they appointed Shimon, and his brother Nechunyon envied him. [The roles of the two brothers in the story should be reversed.]


Yoma 6:4 (דף ל”ד, א’) (Compare B.T. Yoma 67A)

[On Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol sent out a scapegoat to be cast off a cliff in the desert. The distance from Jerusalem to the cliff was twelve Talmudic miles[118] — roughly thirteen kilometers, or eight statute miles. Ten rest stops stood along the way.[119]]

[Mishnah] At each rest stop, [those present] would say to [the Kohen Gadol’s emissary], “Here is food, and here is water.”

…[Gemara: They did so] to strengthen his resolve. Why? Because the evil inclination does not desire anything but what is forbidden it, as with Rabbi Manna when he went up [on Yom Kippur] to visit Rabbi Chaggai, who was feeling weak.

“I’m thirsty,” said Rabbi Chaggai.

“Drink!” insisted Rabbi Manna. He left him and went away. After an hour, he went up to him [again]. “What did you end up doing about your thirst?” he inquired.

“When you permitted it to me, [my thirst] went away.”

[On the other hand,] Rabbi Chiya bar ’Ba used to tell the following incident [about someone who encouraged an underage child to fast]:

A certain man was walking in the marketplace [on Yom Kippur] and his daughter was with him.

“I’m thirsty father,” said the daughter.

“Wait a little,” urged her father.

“I’m thirsty father,” she complained again.

“Wait a little,” he insisted.

[After this,] she died.

Rabbi Acha, when he completed the Mussaf prayer [on Yom Kippur], would announce before [the congregation]: “My brothers, whoever has a child should go home [to make sure he or she eats and drinks].[120]


Yoma 7:2 (דף ל”ז, ב’) – Yoma 7:3 (דף ל”ח, א’)

Why [must the Kohen Gadol serve] in white garments [when entering the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur]?

Rabbi Chiya bar ’Ba says: Just like the service above [is performed by angels envisioned as wearing white garments], so is the service below. Just as [concerning the service] above [the Prophet Ezekiel refers to], “one man among them dressed in [white] linen,”[121] so [concerning the service] below, [the Torah instructs that], “a holy robe of [white] linen shall he wear.”[122]

Why does the Kohen Gadol serve with eight garments [except when entering the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur]?

Rabbi Chananyah, colleague of the rabbis, said: Corresponding to [the covenant of] circumcision which occurs eight days [after a baby is born], reminiscent of [the verse], “My covenant was with him.”[123]

[The Kohen Gadol’s eight-piece uniform included garments that had gold threads.] Why does he not serve with the golden garments [when he enters the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur?]?

Due to pride. Rabbi Simon says: [This is] reminiscent of the verse, “Do not honor yourself before a king.”[124] [The Kohen Gadol’s golden garments marked him as superior to the other Kohanim, who wore plain white linen. Requiring the Kohen Gadol to don the same garments they did reminded him of his origins.]

Rabbi Levi states [a different reason]: An accuser cannot become a defender. Yesterday it is written concerning [the Jews], “They made for themselves gods of gold,”[125] yet now he stands and serves in gold garments!?! [The purpose of the Kohen Gadol’s service was to obtain forgiveness for Israel. Wearing garments reminiscent of the sin of the golden calf would contradict that purpose.]


Yoma 7:3 (דף ל”ח, א’) (B.T. Erchin 16A and Zevachim 88B)


Rabbi Simon said: Just as the sacrifices atone, so the garments [worn by the Kohen Gadol] atone — the robe, the trousers, the headdress, and the belt.

The robe used to atone for those who wore forbidden mixtures [of wool and linen]. There are those who wish to say that [the robe atoned] for bloodshed, as you would infer [based upon the verse concerning Joseph’s brothers], “They took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goatling, and dipped the robe in the blood.”[126] [Joseph’s brothers did not murder him, but the sages teach that whatever the ancestors of the Jewish people did is a sign for their descendants. Their action foreshadowed the function of the Kohen Gadol’s robe in atoning for bloodshed.[127]]

            The trousers used to atone for immorality, as you would infer [from the verse], “Make for [the Kohanim] linen trousers to cover [their] privates.”[128]

The headdress used to atone for the haughty-minded, as you would infer [from the verse], “You shall place the headdress upon his head.”[129] [Those who are haughty think that nothing is superior to them. The Kohen Gadol would have been especially susceptible to such thinking because only a Kohen who excelled over his fellows was selected for that position, and he enjoyed special prerogatives. The Kohen Gadol therefore wore a special headdress (מִצְנֶפֶת) which served as a constant reminder of the One who was superior to him.]

The belt used to atone for thieves, and there are those who wish to say for deceivers. Rabbi Levi explained: It had thirty-two cubits [of length], and he would twist it here and there. [Thirty-two is the numerical value of “heart” (לֵב), implying that the belt atoned for those who “steal the hearts of others” through deception. Moreover, the Kohen would wrap, or twist, the belt around his waist, reminiscent of those who twist facts to deceive others.]

The breastplate used to atone for those [judges] who [erroneously] tilted the law [in favor of one party or the other], as you would infer [from the verse], “You shall make a breastplate of judgment (חשֶׁן מִשְׁפָּט).”[130] [The reference to judgment suggests  that the breastplate had the power to atone for erroneous judgment.]

The apron[131] used to atone for idolatry as you would infer [from the verse], “For many days the Children of Israel shall dwell…and there will be neither apron nor idols.”[132] [The prophet warned that although the Jews would not be able to use the garments of the Kohen Gadol to predict the future while in exile, they must not turn to idols.[133] The reference to the apron and idols together suggests that the apron atoned for idolatry.]

[As for the Kohen Gadol’s] jacket (מְעִיל), Rabbi Simon stated in the name of Rabbi Yonathan of Beth Guvrin: There are two things for which there was no atonement [provided by the sacrificial service], but the Torah provided atonement for them [in a different way].[134] They are one who utters evil speech and one who kills a person unwittingly.

One who utters evil speech did not have an atonement [through the sacrificial service], but the Torah provided atonement for him [by means of the] bells on the [Kohen Gadol’s] jacket, [as the verse states,] “[The jacket] shall be upon Aaron when he serves, and its sound shall be heard when he comes to the Sanctuary before Hashem.”[135] Let a sound come and atone for a sound [of evil speech].

One who kills a person [unwittingly] did not have atonement [through the sacrificial service], but the Torah provided atonement for him [through the] death of the Kohen Gadol.  [One who murders unwittingly must flee to a city of refuge], “and he shall dwell in it until the death of the Kohen Gadol.”[136]

…[As for the gold] plate [which the Kohen Gadol wore on his forehead], there are those who wish to say [that it atoned] for blasphemers, and there are those who wish to say [that it atoned] for the insolent.

For the one who says that [the gold plate atoned] for blasphemers, it is well, for it is written [concerning David’s battle against Goliath, “David sent forth his hand to the container, and took from there a stone, and shot [it], and struck the Philistine upon his forehead], and the stone sunk into his forehead, and he fell upon his face to the ground.”[137] [Goliath challenged the Jews, saying, “Select for yourselves a man, and let him come down to me [to do battle].”[138] The term “man” (אִישׁ), as used here, refers to God.[139] Goliath blasphemed by suggesting that he could overpower God.[140]] And it is written [concerning the gold plate], “And it shall be upon his forehead constantly to find favor for them before Hashem.”[141]

[As for] the one who says that [the gold plate atoned] for the insolent, [he bases his position upon Jeremiah’s rebuke to the nation that], “You have the forehead, [i.e., insolence,][142] of a wayward woman and refuse to be embarrassed.”[143]


Yoma 7:3 (דף ל”ח, ב’) (Compare B.T. Yoma 73A-B)

            [The Talmud now discusses the Urim Vetumim (אוּרִים וְתֻּמִּים) — parchments with Hashem’s Names which were inserted inside the Kohen Gadol’s breastplate (חשֶׁן מִשְׁפָּט), enabling it to respond to questions of national importance.[144]]

Why are they called Urim? Because they illuminate [matters] for Israel [by answering the nation’s questions.[145] Urim (אוּרִים) means “lights”]. And Tumim (תֻּמִּים) because they simplified the way before them. [Tam (תָּם) means “simple.”] For whenever Israel was simple [that is, whenever they had pure faith in Hashem], they guided them rightly. For so we find [that the Urim Vetumim were reliable only when Israel behaved meritoriously], for they misled them at the Hill of Benjamin.

Said Rabbi Yehudah: God forbid! They did not mislead them at the Hill of Benjamin. At first, [the Urim Vetumim] said “Go up to him [to do battle],”[146] but did not say, “I will give him into your hand.” The second time [the question was posed, the Urim Vetumim] said “Go up [to do battle],” and also said, “I will give him into your hand.”[147]

[Some members of the Tribe of Benjamin attacked and murdered a concubine.[148] The rest of the nation formed an army which marched against Benjamin and demanded that the Tribe surrender the perpetrators.[149] When the Benjaminites refused, war broke out. After the rest of the nation suffered severe losses, they asked the Urim Vetumim whether to continue fighting, and the answer was “Go up to him.”[150] Although they sustained further losses, all the Urim Vetumim had advised was that they continue fighting, so this was not misleading. The next time they consulted the Urim Vetumim, the message was, “Go up, for tomorrow I will give him into your hand,”[151] and they indeed won the war after that.]

Two questions are never asked [of the Urim Vetumim] at once.

If [two questions] were asked, there are Tannaim who learn that [the Urim Vetumim] answer the first, but do not answer the second. There are [other] Tannaim who learn that [the Urim Vetumim] answer the second, but do not answer the first. There are [still other] Tannaim who learn that [the Urim Vetumim] answer neither the first nor the second.

The one who says that they answer the first, but not the second, [derives it] from here: “David said to Hashem, God of Israel, ‘Your servant has heard that Saul seeks to come to Ke’ilah to destroy the city because of me. Will the townspeople of Ke’ilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul descend as Your servant has heard? Hashem, God of Israel, please tell Your servant.’ And Hashem said, ‘He shall descend.’”[152] David did not ask properly [i.e., in the correct logical order]. He should not [have asked but as follows:] “Will Saul descend, and if he descends, will the townspeople of Ke’ilah surrender me into his hand?” [If King Saul never approached the city in the first place, then of course its inhabitants would not surrender David. Although David did not order his questions correctly, the Urim Vetumim answered only the one which should have come first.[153]]

The one who says [that the Urim Vetumim] answer the second [question], but do not answer the first [derive it] from [the same passage]: “David said to Hashem…Will the inhabitants of Ke’ilah surrender me into his hand, etc.?” [Rather than suggesting that the Urim Vetumim rearranged David’s questions to make logical sense, this Tanna holds that the Urim Vetumim followed the actual order in which they were posed. The second question was answered because that is always what happens when two questions are posed.]

The one who says [that the Urim Vetumim] answer him neither on the first nor on the last [derives his opinion from here]: [On another occasion, when David was pursuing Amalekites,] “David inquired of Hashem, saying, ‘Shall I chase after this battalion? Shall I overtake it?’”[154] [Although one may not ask two questions at once, and the Urim Vetumim did not ordinarily respond to such multiple inquiries,] David sought mercy [and gained a special privilege to be able to ask multiple questions. This explains why earlier he added the additional plea,] “Hashem, God of Israel, please tell Your servant.”[155]

You may know for certain [that this last view is correct] because [David] asked two questions [in the case where he was pursuing the Amalekites], but they answered [with] three [responses because of his prayer.][156] “David asked of Hashem, ‘Shall I chase after this battalion? Shall I overtake it?’ And He said to him, ‘Chase [it], for you shall surely overtake [it], and you shall surely save [the captives taken by Amalek].’”[157]

[The Talmud proceeds to discuss how the Urim Vetumim communicated their messages.] There are Tannaim who learn [that the Kohen Gadol] would hear a voice [in response]. There are [other] Tannaim who learn that the writing [on the gems of the Kohen Gadol’s breastplate] popped up, [and the Kohen Gadol would then interpret the message].

It is well according to the one who says that he heard a voice because it is written, “And when Moses would come to the Tent of Meeting to speak with Him, he heard a voice speaking to him.”[158] [So there is a precedent for saying that Hashem creates an audible response.]

According to the one who says that the writing popped up, however, there was no [letter] Cheth (ח) among the [names of] the Tribes, nor a Tzadi (צ), nor a Koof (ק)… [How could messages be conveyed by means of the letters inscribed on the gemstones set in the breastplate when some were missing?]

[The Talmud answers that] Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were [also] inscribed upon them, [and Isaac’s name (יִצְחָק) includes the letters Cheth (ח), Tzadi (צ), and Koof (ק)].

But there is [still] no [letter] Teth (ט) among [the names of] the Tribes [or the Patriarchs]. [The Talmud answers that the phrase], “All these are the Tribes of Israel”[159] was [also] inscribed upon them, [and the word “Tribes” (שְׁבָטִים) contains the letter Teth (ט).]


Yoma 8:4 (דף מ”א, א’) (Compare B.T. Yoma 82B-83A)

[Anyone whose life may be endangered by fasting is permitted to eat on Yom Kippur. If a pregnant woman is overcome by the smell of food, and her discomfort can be discerned on her face, then one should remind her that it is Yom Kippur. If this reminder does not help, then she should be fed.[160]]

Two pregnant women came before Rabbi Tarfon [on Yom Kippur seeking permission to eat]. He sent two disciples to them, saying, “Go and tell them that it is the Great Fast.” [They should only break the fast if absolutely necessary. Rabbi Tarfon reasoned that when the fetuses heard this, they would calm down, and the women would be able to complete the fast.[161]]

They told the first [mother], and [the fetus] settled down. They applied to [this fetus the verse], “From the womb of my mother You are my God.”[162]

They told the second [mother], but [the fetus] did not settle down. They applied to [this fetus the verse], “The wicked are cast away [from God] from the womb; those who speak falsehood stray [from God] from the belly.”[163]



Yoma 8:7 (דף מ”ב, א’ – ב’) (B.T. Yoma 85B; J.T. Shavuoth 1:6 (7A))

[Mishnah]: [As for] one who says, “I will sin, and I will repent. I will sin, and I will repent,” they do not provide him [with the chance] to repent.[164] [As for one who says,] “I will sin, and Yom Kippur will atone [for me],” Yom Kippur does not atone.

            Yom Kippur atones for sins between a person and God. [As for] sins between a person and his fellow, Yom Kippur does not atone until one appeases his fellow.

            Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah expounded this [idea based upon the following verse]: “For on this day, [God] shall atone for you to purify you from all your sins; before Hashem you shall be purified.”[165] [The end of the verse implies that] Yom Kippur atones [only] for sins between a person and Hashem. [As for] sins between a person and his fellow, Yom Kippur does not atone until one appeases his fellow.

            Rabbi Akiva said: Fortunate are you Israel! Before whom are you purified, and who purifies you? Your Father who is in Heaven, as it says, “I shall cast upon you purifying water, and you shall be purified.”[166] And it [also] says, “The hope of Israel is Hashem.”[167] [The Hebrew for “hope” (מִקְוֵה) is a homonym for “ritual bath.”[168]] Just as a ritual bath purifies those who are contaminated, so the Holy One, blessed be He, purifies Israel.

[Gemara:] If one says, “A fire-offering does not atone [at all],” or “It does not atone for me,” or “It indeed atones, but I do not want it to atone for me,” then it does not atone for him against his will.

[If one says,] “Yom Kippur does not atone,” or “It indeed atones, but I do not want it to atone for me,” it atones for him against his will. [Yom Kippur is more powerful than a fire-offering, so it eliminates sins even against the will of the transgressor.]

Rabbi Chanina, son of Rabbi Hillel, said: Not completely, [as may be understood] from the [analogy that if] a man would say to the king, “You are not king.” [When a king grants a general amnesty, all offenders go free. Nevertheless, the king is not fully reconciled with someone who does not recognize his authority.]

A fire-offering atones for [impure] thoughts of the heart. What is the Scriptural basis for this? “That which arises in your mind shall not be, that which you say, ‘We shall be like the nations, like the families of the Earth, to serve wood and stone.’”[169] [The Hebrew for “fire-offering” (עוֹלָה) means “rise” because fire rises. Similarly, thoughts are said to arise in the human mind, as this verse states. Just as God overrode the improper thoughts and plans of the nation to be like others, so fire-offerings override impure thoughts.]

Likewise, [the Book of] Job states, “[Job] got up early in the morning and offered fire-offerings [corresponding to] the number of all of [his children], for Job said, ‘Perhaps my children sinned, and they blasphemed God in their hearts.”[170] This shows that the fire-offering atones for [impure] thoughts of the heart.

Rebbi says: Yom Kippur atones for all the transgressions [listed in] the Torah except for one who casts off the yoke [of Divine authority by denying God’s existence],[171] one who cancels the covenant [by hiding his circumcision cosmetically],[172] and one who deliberately misinterprets the Torah.[173] If he repents, then [these] are atoned for, but it he does not repent, then [these] are not atoned for.

Rabbi Zevida quoted Rabbi Yassa as asking: Did Rebbi figure that Yom Kippur atones [for all other sins] without repentance?

Rabbi Ashian quoted Rabbi Yonah, who quoted Rabbi ’Ba, who quoted Rabbi Chiya, who said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: Rebbi agrees that Yom Kippur does not atone except with repentance, but death atones without repentance. [Rebbi was not quoted correctly above, and death should be substituted for Yom Kippur.[174]]

It is learned [in a Braitha]: The day of death is like the day of repentance. Who is the source of this teaching? It is Rebbi [who held that one need not repent for death to effectuate atonement].

This [contradicts] that which is learned [in a Mishnah]: Death and Yom Kippur [only] atone with repentance.[175] [This Mishnah] does not accord with [the view of] Rebbi [and reflects the view of a Tanna who disagreed with him].

Rabbi Mathya ben Cheresh asked Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah in the academy: Did you hear of the four categories of repentance that Rabbi Yishmael used to expound?

He replied: There are three, not including repentance [which is a prerequisite for all of them].[176]

One verse states, “Return wayward children, [and] I will heal your waywardness,”[177] while another verse states, “For on this day [of Yom Kippur, God] shall atone for you to purify you from all your sins; before Hashem you shall be purified,”[178] while yet another verse states, “With a rod I shall remember their sin and with plagues their transgression,”[179] and yet another verse states, “[I swear that] this transgression shall [not] be atoned until you die.”[180] [These four verses appear to contradict one another. The first implies that atonement requires repentance, the second that it requires Yom Kippur, the third that it requires suffering, and the fourth that it requires death.]

How does this work?

If one transgressed a positive commandment [by failing to do something the Torah requires], and immediately repented, he does not move from his place until [Hashem] forgives him. Concerning this one Scripture states, “Return wayward children, [and] I will heal your waywardness.”[181]

If one transgresses a negative commandment, and immediately repents, the repentance is held in abeyance, and [later on] Yom Kippur atones. Concerning this one Scripture states, “For on this day [of Yom Kippur, God] shall atone for you to purify you from all your sins; before Hashem you shall be purified.”[182]

If one deliberately transgresses [sins warranting] excision or capital punishment [by a human] court, [then] repentance and Yom Kippur atone for half, and suffering during the rest of the year atones for half. Concerning this one Scripture states, “With a rod I shall remember their sin and with plagues their transgression.”[183]

As for one through whom the Name of Heaven has been desecrated, however, there is no power in repentance to [hold matters in] suspense, nor in Yom Kippur to atone, nor in suffering to scour [away the sin]. Rather, repentance and Yom Kippur atone for one-third, suffering atones for one-third, and death scours [away the sin] with torments. Concerning this one Scripture states, “[I swear that] this transgression shall [not] be atoned until you die.”[184] Hence we learn that death scours away [even desecration of Hashem’s Name].

Rabbi Yochanan said: These are the words of Rabbi ’Lazar ben Azariah, Rabbi Yishmael, and Rabbi Akiva. The view of the sages, however, is that the scapegoat atones, but if there is no scapegoat, then the day atones. [Yom Kippur atones for even the most severe sins if one repents properly.[185]]


Yoma 8:7 (דף מ”ב, ב’) (Compare B.T. Yoma 87A)

Sh’muel says: One who sins against his friend must say to him, “I have offended you,” and if he accepts this, fine. If not, [then] let him bring other people, and let him appease [the offended party] before them. Thus, it is written, “Let him gaze upon people” — Let him form a row of people. [The word “יָשֹׁר,” meaning “Let him gaze,” resembles “שׁוּרָה”, meaning “a row.” The verse continues,] “and say, ‘I have sinned, [and] the straight I have twisted, but it was not worthwhile for me.’”[186]

If he did so, [then] concerning him Scripture declares [in the next verse], “He redeemed his soul from passing through the pit of destruction, and his life-force shall see light.”[187]

[If the aggrieved party] died, [then the penitent] should appease him at his gravesite, and say, “I have offended you.”

It is learned [in a Braitha]: Sins one confessed on a prior Yom Kippur should not be confessed again on a future Yom Kippur. If one does so, Scripture states concerning him, “As a dog [that] returns to its vomit, so is a fool who recapitulates his folly.”[188]

It is learned [in a different Braitha]: Rabbi ’Liezer says: Behold, this one is diligent, and he is rewarded [for recalling his former sin]. What is the Scriptural basis for Rabbi ’Liezer’s position? “For I know my iniquity, and my sin is constantly before me.”[189]

How does Rabbi Eliezer interpret the verse which the rabbis cite as proof [for their opinion, namely,] “As a dog [that] returns to its vomit, so is a fool who recapitulates his folly”[190]? [He maintains that this] refers to one who repeats the very same transgression, [not to one who repeatedly confesses it].[191]

How do the rabbis interpret the verse which Rabbi Eliezer cites as proof [for his opinion, namely,] “For I know my iniquity, and my sin is constantly before me”[192]? [This] means that [the sins] should not be [considered] in his eyes as if he never did them, but as if he did them and they were forgiven.[193]

…It is learned [in a Braitha]: One must specify his deeds [when confessing, and it is not sufficient to make a general admission that one has transgressed]. This is the view of Rabbi Yehudah ben Batheira. Rabbi Akiva, however, states: One need not specify his misdeeds.[194]

What is the Scriptural basis for Rabbi Yehuda [ben Batheira’s position]? [When Moshe Rabbeinu pleaded on behalf of the nation, he said,] “I beseech [You], this nation has committed a great sin, and they made for themselves a god of gold.”[195] [Rather than stopping with a general admission of wrongdoing, Moshe Rabbeinu went on to specify what it was.]

What does Rabbi Akiva do with this [proof]? [Moshe Rabbeinu was specific because the fact that the sin involved gold served as a basis for excusing it. God acknowledged that, in a manner of speaking, He Himself had caused the Jews to stumble.] “Who caused them [to err]? I did, for I increased their silver and gold? Why [did this cause them to sin]? A donkey does not bray except when it has a basket of carobs.” [Just as a donkey becomes rowdy when fed with higher quality food than what it needs, Israel’s excessive wealth made the nation haughty and predisposed to misbehave.]

It is written, “The hope of Israel is Hashem, etc.”[196] [As noted above, the Hebrew for “hope” (מִקְוֵה) is a homonym for “ritual bath.”] Just as a ritual bath purifies those who are contaminated, so the Holy One, blessed be He, purifies Israel. And so it states, “I shall cast upon you purifying waters, and you shall be purified from all of your impurities, and from all of your corruption I shall purify you.”[197]



[1] Leviticus 16:1, et. seq. וַיְדַבֵּר ה’ אֶל משֶׁה אַחֲרֵי מוֹת שְׁנֵי בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן בְּקָרְבָתָם לִפְנֵי ה’ וַיָּמֻתוּ

[2] The Talmud Yerushalmi often abbreviates the names of the sages. In this case, “Ba” (בא) is a shortened form of “Abba” (אבא). Further on, the Talmud uses “Lazar” (לֲעזָר) as an abbreviation for “Elazar” (אֶלְעָזָר), and so on.

[3] Deuteronomy 10:6.

[4] Hor Hahar (הֹר הָהָר) is shaped like a small apple on top of a large apple (Rashi on Numbers 20:22).

[5] Numbers 33:38 וַיַּעַל אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן אֶל הֹר הָהָר עַל פִּי ה’ וַיָּמָת שָׁם בִּשְׁנַת הָאַרְבָּעִים לְצֵאת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַחֲמִישִׁי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ

[6] Numbers 21:1 וַיִּשְׁמַע הַכְּנַעֲנִי מֶלֶךְ עֲרָד יֹשֵׁב הַנֶּגֶב כִּי בָּא יִשְׂרָאֵל דֶּרֶךְ הָאֲתָרִים וַיִּלָּחֶם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּשְׁבְּ׀ מִמֶּנּוּ שֶׁבִי

[7] I Chronicles 26:23.

[8] Psalms 72:7 according to Metzudoth David and Malbim ad. loc.

[9] Leviticus 9:4.

[10] Korban Ha’eidah and P’nei Moshe.

[11] Korban Ha’eidah. The word Palhedrin (פַּלְהֶדְרִין) appears as Parhedrin or Parahedrin (פַּרְהֶדְרִין) in the Romm Vilna edition of the Babylonian Talmud (B.T. Yoma 2A and elsewhere). Para in Greek means “around” or “beside,” and Hedra means “seat,” suggesting courtiers who sat around king’s throne.

[12] Korban Ha’eidah based on Leviticus 16:32.

[13] Korban Ha’eidah.

[14] Proverbs 10:27 יִרְאַת ה’ תּוֹסִיף יָמִים וּשְׁנוֹת רְשָׁעִים תִּקְצֹרְנָה

[15] Korban Ha’eidah.

[16] The commentators do not explain why these men sent their bribes through their sons. Perhaps they wished to maintain an outward appearance of propriety. Rather than sending the money directly, it arrived as if it were a gift from another family member, with the recipient understanding the true intent.

[17] This idiom comes from an episode during which Rabban Gamliel and his sister, Imma Shalom, exposed the hypocrisy of a certain philosopher. When Imma Shalom consulted the philosopher about sharing an inheritance with her brother, she gave him a golden Menorah, so he ruled in her favor. Afterwards, Rabban Gamliel gave him a more valuable Libyan donkey, and the philosopher reversed his opinion. The Talmud concludes that “a donkey came and kicked over a candelabrum” (B.T. Shabbath 116B).

[18] Toratha (תורתא) means “cow” in Aramaic. The Ritva comments that Rabbi Yochanan ben Toratha got his name from an incident when he sold a cow to a non-Jew. The animal refused to work on the Sabbath until the rabbi whispered into its ear that because of the change in ownership, it was permitted to work (Ritva on B.T. Yoma 9A).

Alternatively, Toratha (תורתא) appears as a place name in B.T. Sanhedrin 64A, so it may indicate the rabbi’s hometown.

[19] Joshua 18:1, according to Radak and B.T. Zevachim 112B. Some, however, say the structure was made of wood (Rabbi Ze’ira in Midrash Tehillim 78).

[20] B.T. Zevachim 118B and I Samuel 4:4-11.

[21] I Samuel 5-6.

[22] Psalms 78:60.

[23] Radak on Jeremiah 26:6.

[24] B.T. Zevachim 118B.

[25] Korban Ha’eidah.

[26] I Samuel 2:13-14.

[27] Yad Hachazakah, Hilchoth Ma’aseh Hakorbanoth 9:11.

[28] I Samuel 2:15.

[29] Korban Ha’eidah.

[30] Accordingly, it may also be said that these sins caused the destruction of the Second Temple, as the Talmud stated above — “And so it was with the Second,” and there is not necessarily a dispute between the two viewpoints.

[31] The Prophet Jeremiah described the shortcomings of the people living during the First Temple era in detail. He therefore also predicted that they would return to the Land of Israel after seventy years of exile (Jeremiah 29:10).

This version of the text follows the Korban Ha’eidah. The Romm Vilna edition omits the word “not” (לא). To have this make sense, P’nei Moshe reads it as a question: “Was the sin of the second ones revealed by Scripture? Since it was not, their final redemption was also not revealed.”

[32] The rabbis sometimes refer to the Temple as “the Chosen Place” because the Torah states that Hashem will choose its location (Deuteronomy 12:5).

[33] Isaiah 22:8.

[34] Korban Ha’eidah; P’nei Moshe.

[35] Psalms 137:7.

[36] Metzudoth David on Psalms 137:7.

[37] Rabbi Ovadia of Bartenura on Yoma 1:1.

[38] P’nei Moshe.

[39] Leviticus 16:32 וְכִפֶּר הַכֹּהֵן אֲשֶׁר יִמְשַׁח אֹתוֹ וַאֲשֶׁר יְמַלֵּא אֶת יָדוֹ לְכַהֵן תַּחַת אָבִיו וְלָבַשׁ אֶת בִּגְדֵי הַבָּד בִּגְדֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ

[40] The original text quotes only the word “he” (אֹתוֹ) from the verse. It appears to refer to this verse, which deals with the topic of the Yom Kippur service. Korban Ha’eidah, however, holds that the Talmud refers to the verse, “This is the sacrifice of Aaron and his sons which they shall offer to Hashem on the day of his anointing him” (Leviticus 6:13 זֶה קָרְבַּן אַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו אֲשֶׁר יַקְרִיבוּ לַה’ בְּיוֹם הִמָּשַׁח אֹתוֹ עֲשִׂירִת הָאֵפָה סֹלֶת מִנְחָה תָּמִיד מַחֲצִיתָהּ בַּבֹּקֶר וּמַחֲצִיתָהּ בָּעָרֶב). There too, the word “him” (אֹתוֹ) is extra.

[41] Psalms 45:14.

[42] Exodus 28:11; 28:13-14; 39:6.

[43] Leviticus 21:10.

[44] Leviticus 21:10.

[45] P’nei Moshe.

[46] See above and see B.T. Yoma 18A.

[47] Rabbi Ovadiah of Bartenura.

[48] Leviticus 16:2.

[49] Zadok and Boethius were disciples of Antigonos of Socho. One of Antigonos’s teachings was that Jews should serve Hashem altruistically, and not merely in the hope of receiving a reward (Pirkei Avoth 1:3). Antigonos had two disciples, Zadok and Boethius, who repeated this teaching to their disciples, and those disciples repeated it to still others. Eventually, some of those who heard it misinterpreted it to mean that God does not reward the righteous or punish the wicked. They then formed the deviant sects known as Sadducees and Boethusians (Avoth D’Rabbi Nathan 3:2). Although this passage attributes the dispute about the incense to the Boethusians, the Babylonian Talmud attributes it to the Sadducees.

[50] Although this Kohen Gadol’s father was a Sadducee, he balked at violating a solemn oath. The version of this story in B.T. Yoma 19B, however, quotes the father as approving of his son’s actions.

[51] Such a hoofprint would indicate that he was stricken by an angel because they are described in Ezekiel 1:7 as having feet similar to calves (B.T. Yoma 19B).

[52] Parah 3:8.

[53] Tosefta Parah 3:8, cited by P’nei Moshe.

[54] B.T. Sukkah 48B.

[55] Korban Ha’eidah.

[56] Sukkah 4:9.

[57] The version of this opinion cited in the Babylonian Talmud states explicitly that the Kohen Gadol was stricken as he left the Holy of Holies (B.T. Yoma 19B).

[58] I Samuel 2:12-17.

[59] Leviticus 12:6-8.

[60] B.T. Yoma 9A-B, explaining I Samuel 2:22.

[61] P’nei Moshe.

[62] Leviticus 16:17.

[63] Ezekiel 1:10.

[64] Yoma 2:1-2. As a result of the tragic incident described in this passage, the sages replaced this practice with a lottery.

[65] Deuteronomy 21:1-2.

[66] B.T. Yoma 23A-B.

[67] Maharsha on B.T. Yoma 23A-B.

[68] Presumably, the Talmud refers to this Kohen as a youngster (תִּינוֹק) because only young Kohanim, who were physically fit, participated in the race.

[69] Yoma 3:6.

[70] The text states, “one hundred Maneh,” and a Maneh equaled one hundred denarii.

[71] P’nei Moshe.

[72] When the Kohen Gadol lifted up the lot for the sacrificial goat, he declared, “A sin-offering for Hashem” (לַה’ חַטָּאת), pronouncing the Name (Yad Hachazakah, Hilchoth Avodath Yom Hakippurim 2:6).

[73] Korban Ha’eidah; P’nei Moshe.

[74] Exodus 3:15.

[75] Korban Ha’eidah. In the alternative, some of the Kohanim, including the Kohen Gadol, knew a twelve-letter Name which they used during the Kohanic blessings throughout the year. They would pronounce this Name while the other Kohanim sang the four-letter Name. That way, listeners could not make out the twelve-letter Name (Ibid., and see B.T. Kiddushin 71A, according to Rashi).

[76] Korban Ha’eidah; P’nei Moshe. See also Koheleth Rabbah on Ecclesiastes 3:11.

[77] Midoth 2:3.

[78] Joshua 18:10 וַיַּשְׁלֵךְ לָהֶם יְהוֹשֻׁעַ גּוֹרָל בְּשִׁלֹה לִפְנֵי ה’ וַיְחַלֶּק שָׁם יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶת הָאָרֶץ לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כְּמַחְלְקֹתָם

[79] Numbers 26:56 עַל־פִּי הַגּוֹרָל תֵּחָלֵק נַחֲלָתוֹ בֵּין רַב לִמְעָט

[80] Rashi on Exodus 28:30.

[81] B.T. Baba Bathra 122A.

[82] See Rashbam sub verba “Vehayah Mikaven” (והיה מכוין) on B.T. Baba Bathra 122A.

[83] Baba Bathra 122A, according to Rashi, who explains that being closer to Jerusalem was valuable because it meant a shorter trip to the Temple. In addition, those near a foreign border had to worry about enemy encroachments.

[84] Korban Ha’eidah.

[85] Ezekiel 36:26 וְנָתַתִּי לָכֶם לֵב חָדָשׁ וְרוּחַ חֲדָשָׁה אֶתֵּן בְּקִרְבְּכֶם וַהֲסִרֹתִי אֶת לֵב הָאֶבֶן מִבְּשַׂרְכֶם וְנָתַתִּי לָכֶם לֵב בָּשָׂר

[86] Korban Ha’eidah.

[87] Genesis 2:12 וּזֲהַב הָאָרֶץ הַהִוא טוֹב שָׁם הַבְּדֹלַח וְאֶבֶן הַשֹּׁהַם

[88] Rashi on Breishith Rabbah 16:2. This paragraph parallels a dispute found in the Midrash. The first sentence expresses the view that “good gold” has an obvious meaning and requires no homiletic interpretation, but Rabbi Yitzchak disagrees. (See Breishith Rabbah 16:2).

[89] P’nei Moshe.

[90] Korban Ha’eidah, but Rashi on I Kings 6:20 states that Targum Yonathan understood “closed gold” to mean that one who owns it keeps it closed up for himself, not wishing to share it.

[91] I Chronicles 29:4 שְׁלֹשֶׁת אֲלָפִים כִּכְּרֵי זָהָב מִזְּהַב אוֹפִיר וְשִׁבְעַת אֲלָפִים כִּכַּר־כֶּסֶף מְזֻקָּק לָטוּחַ קִירוֹת הַבָּתִּים

[92] I Kings 6:22 וְאֶת כָּל הַבַּיִת צִפָּה זָהָב עַד תֹּם כָּל הַבָּיִת וְכָל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ אֲשֶׁר לַדְּבִיר צִפָּה זָהָב

[93] “Closed gold” is mentioned in I Kings 6:20-21, where Metzudoth Tzion states that it is closed up in the smelter for a long time to ensure that all impurities are burned away. Although that is its plain meaning, this Talmudic passage adds a homiletic interpretation.

[94] Jeremiah 10:9 refers to gold from this location. Targum Yonathan on that verse identifies Upazz with Ophir (אוֹפִיר), the place from which King Hiram sent gold and wood to King Solomon for the Temple (I Kings 10:11). In I Kings 10:18, however, he interprets זָהָב מוּפָז as “good gold.”

[95] It was customary to laminate the pages of a ledger with an extremely thin layer of wax (Shemoth Rabbah 35:1). This gold is mentioned in I Kings 10:16-17.

[96] A Gordian dinar was thinner than other denarii and got its name from the place where it was coined (Korban Ha’eidah on J.T. Chagigah 3:8 (23A)).

[97] Rashi on II Chronicles 3:6.

[98] Midoth 3:8.

[99] Rambam, Perush Hamishnayoth ad. loc.

[100] Isaiah 35:2, according to Radak.

[101] B.T. Yoma 39B.

[102] Nahum 1:4.

[103] See Korban Ha’eidah.

[104] The Babylonian Talmud notes that the word שחונה implies excessive heat, meaning too much sunshine. Accordingly, the wording of the prayer should be that if the year is excessively hot and sunny, then it should be tempered by plentiful rain (B.T. Yoma 53B).

[105] Although Joseph was younger than all of his brothers except Benjamin, he died before they did because he ruled over them (B.T. B’rachoth 55A). This occurred even though Joseph was a righteous person and even though he was only fulfilling the prophecy foretold in his dreams.

[106] Leviticus 16:17.

[107] Ezekiel 1:10.

[108] When God judges the world, as He does on Yom Kippur, He is compared to a wise elder, as the verse says, “Until the Ancient of Days arrives and gives judgment” (Daniel 7:22) (Shayarei Hakorban). The Divine Presence is not God Himself, but merely a spiritual manifestation of Him.

[109] Korban Ha’eidah.

[110] Yoma 6:6.

[111] Yoma 6:8.

[112] Although the text has בציפורין, which usually translates as “in Sepphoris,” since it was forbidden to consume the multi-faced breads outside the Temple, the text evidently means that this Kohen was from Sepphoris and not that he consumed the multi-faced bread there.

[113] Psalms 71:4 אֱ-לֹהַי פַּלְּטֵנִי מִיַּד רָשָׁע מִכַּף מְעַוֵּל וְחוֹמֵץ

[114] P’nei Moshe.

[115] Zachariah 11:1.

[116] Ben Yehoyada on B.T. Yoma 39B suggests that this garment was not specific to women but, in this case, had a color not usually worn by men.

[117] Isaiah 19:19.

[118] Yoma 6:4, according to Rambam, Perush Hamishnayoth.

[119] Yoma 6:4-5.

[120] Children should not complete the Yom Kippur fast until the age of twelve and one day for girls or thirteen and one day for boys. A healthy child who is nine years old should be trained to fast on Yom Kippur by eating in the morning an hour later than usual. With a weak child, one should not start this practice until ten years old. No child under nine should be permitted to fast at all (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 616:2 with Mishnah B’rurah).

[121] Ezekiel 9:2.

[122] Leviticus 16:4.

[123] Malachi 2:5.

[124] Proverbs 25:6.

[125] Exodus 32:31.

[126] Genesis 37:31.

[127] Based on Rashi on B.T. Zevachim 88B sub verba “Vayitbelu” (ויטבלו).

[128] Exodus 28:42.

[129] Exodus 29:6.

[130] Exodus 28:15.

[131] Rashi on Exodus 28:4 states that he is uncertain how the ephod (אֵפוֹד) was designed, but that he was inclined to believe that it resembled a type of apron.

[132] Hosea 3:4.

[133] Metzudoth David on Hosea 3:4.

[134] B.T. Erchin 16A.

[135] Exodus 28:35.

[136] Numbers 35:25.

[137] I Samuel 17:49.

[138] I Samuel 17:8 וַיַּעֲמֹד וַיִּקְרָא אֶל מַעַרְכֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם לָמָּה תֵצְאוּ לַעֲרֹךְ מִלְחָמָה הֲלוֹא אָנֹכִי הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי וְאַתֶּם עֲבָדִים לְשָׁאוּל בְּרוּ לָכֶם אִישׁ וְיֵרֵד אֵלָי

[139] B.T. Sotah 42B.

[140] This is also suggested by David’s statement, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, and I come to you with the Name of Hashem of Multitudes, the God of the brigades of Israel, whom you have scorned” (I Samuel 17:45). Although the context implies that the phrase “whom you have scorned” refers to Israel, it may also be understood as referring to God Himself.

[141] Exodus 28:38.

[142] Using “forehead” as an idiom for brazenness resembles the English “barefaced.”

[143] Jeremiah 3:3.

[144] Rashi on Exodus 28:30. Others, however, state that the Urim VeTumim were Divine Names which descended into the breastplate (Kehilath Yaakov, Erech Urim (אורים)).

[145] Korban Ha’eidah.

[146] Judges 20:23 וַיַּעֲלוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּבְכּוּ לִפְנֵי ה’ עַד הָעֶרֶב וַיִּשְׁאֲלוּ בַה’ לֵאמֹר הַאוֹסִיף לָגֶשֶׁת לַמִּלְחָמָה עִם בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן אָחִי וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ עֲלוּ אֵלָיו

[147] Judges 20:28 וּפִינְחָס בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן אַהֲרֹן עֹמֵד לְפָנָיו בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם לֵאמֹר הַאוֹסִף עוֹד לָצֵאת לַמִּלְחָמָה עִם בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן אָחִי אִם אֶחְדָּל וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ עֲלוּ כִּי מָחָר אֶתְּנֶנּוּ בְיָדֶךָ

[148] Judges 19:25-28.

[149] Judges 20:13.

[150] Judges 20:23.

[151] Judges 20:28.

[152] I Samuel 23:10-11.

[153] B.T. Yoma 73A-B דָּוִד שָׁאַל שֶׁלֹּא כְסֵדֶר וְהֶחֱזִירוּ לוֹ כְסֵדֶר

[154] I Samuel 30:8.

[155] I Samuel 23:11.

[156] P’nei Moshe.

[157] I Samuel 30:8. B.T. Yoma 73B gives a different answer. Since King David was asking on an emergency basis, it was permitted to ask more than one question at once, and the Urim VeTumim responded accordingly.

[158] Numbers 7:89.

[159] Genesis 49:28 כָּל אֵלֶּה שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר וְזֹאת אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר לָהֶם אֲבִיהֶם וַיְבָרֶךְ אוֹתָם אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר כְּבִרְכָתוֹ בֵּרַךְ אֹתָם

[160] Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 617:1-2. The Mishnah B’rurah states that she should first be given a few drops of sauce to taste. If this does not help, then she should be given less than 1.5 fluid ounces of sauce to drink, wait nine minutes, and drink again. If even this does not help, she should be given no more than one fluid ounce from the food itself to eat, wait nine minutes, and eat again.

This all applies to an otherwise healthy individual who has been overcome by an aroma. One who is experiencing complications with her pregnancy should eat as her physician instructs. Moreover, the foregoing only describes how others should respond. Even an otherwise healthy individual may eat as much as she feels she needs if she thinks that her situation is life-threatening.

[161] Korban Ha’eidah.

[162] Psalms 22:11.

[163] Psalms 58:4.

[164] Although such people can still repent, Hashem will not assist them in doing so (Rabbi Ovadiah of Bartenura).

[165] Leviticus 16:30 כִּי בַיּוֹם הַזֶּה יְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיכֶם לְטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם מִכֹּל חַטֹּאתֵיכֶם לִפְנֵי ה’ תִּטְהָרוּ

[166] Ezekiel 36:25 וְזָרַקְתִּי עֲלֵיכֶם מַיִם טְהוֹרִים וּטְהַרְתֶּם מִכֹּל טֻמְאוֹתֵיכֶם וּמִכָּל גִּלּוּלֵיכֶם אֲטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם

[167] Jeremiah 17:13 מִקְוֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל ה’ כָּל עֹזְבֶיךָ יֵבֹשׁוּ [“יסורי” כתיב] וְסוּרַי בָּאָרֶץ יִכָּתֵבוּ כִּי עָזְבוּ מְקוֹר מַיִם חַיִּים אֶת ה’

[168] In addition, the end of the verse refers to Hashem metaphorically as “the Source of living waters” (מְקוֹר מַיִם חַיִּים), an expression which refers to spring water. The Mishnah lists six types of purifying waters, of which spring water is the most efficacious (Mikvaoth 1:1).

[169] Ezekiel 20:32.

[170] Job 1:5.

[171] Rashi on Yoma 85B sub verba “Chutz Miporek” (חוץ מפורק).

[172] In ancient times, Greek idolaters held athletic contests in which the participants did not wear clothing. Jewish participants were ridiculed because they were circumcised, so some employed various means to hide their circumcisions. This extreme rejection of one’s Jewish identity was an exceedingly serious offence.

[173] The text literally reads “reveals facets of the Torah [contrary to its true intent]” (מְגַלֶּה פָּנִים בַּתּוֹרָה). Some, however, understand this expression as referring to an impudent person who deliberately twists around the Torah’s meaning. מְגַלֶּה פָּנִים would then mean “one who [insolently] bares his face” to misconstrue the Torah, similar to the English expression “barefaced,” which means insolent.

[174] Korban Ha’eidah.

[175] Yoma 8:8.

[176] B.T. Yoma 86A.

[177] Jeremiah 3:22 שׁוּבוּ בָּנִים שׁוֹבָבִים אֶרְפָּה מְשׁוּבֹתֵיכֶם הִנְנוּ אָתָנוּ לָךְ כִּי אַתָּה ה’ אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ

[178] Leviticus 16:30 כִּי בַיּוֹם הַזֶּה יְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיכֶם לְטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם מִכֹּל חַטֹּאתֵיכֶם לִפְנֵי ה’ תִּטְהָרוּ

[179] Psalms 89:33 וּפָקַדְתִּי בְשֵׁבֶט פִּשְׁעָם וּבִנְגָעִים עֲוֹנָם

[180] Isaiah 22:14 וְנִגְלָה בְאָזְנָי ה’ צְבָאוֹת אִם יְכֻפַּר הֶעָוֹן הַזֶּה לָכֶם עַד תְּמֻתוּן אָמַר אֲ-דֹנָי ה’ צְבָאוֹת

[181] Jeremiah 3:22 שׁוּבוּ בָּנִים שׁוֹבָבִים אֶרְפָּה מְשׁוּבֹתֵיכֶם הִנְנוּ אָתָנוּ לָךְ כִּי אַתָּה ה’ אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ

[182] Leviticus 16:30 כִּי בַיּוֹם הַזֶּה יְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיכֶם לְטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם מִכֹּל חַטֹּאתֵיכֶם לִפְנֵי ה’ תִּטְהָרוּ

[183] Psalms 89:33 וּפָקַדְתִּי בְשֵׁבֶט פִּשְׁעָם וּבִנְגָעִים עֲוֹנָם

[184] Isaiah 22:14 וְנִגְלָה בְאָזְנָי ה’ צְבָאוֹת אִם יְכֻפַּר הֶעָוֹן הַזֶּה לָכֶם עַד תְּמֻתוּן אָמַר אֲ-דֹנָי ה’ צְבָאוֹת

[185] P’nei Moshe.

[186] Job 33:27 יָשֹׁר עַל אֲנָשִׁים וַיֹּאמֶר חָטָאתִי וְיָשָׁר הֶעֱוֵיתִי וְלֹא שָׁוָה לִי

[187] Job 33:28. The term שָׁחַת can mean both “pit” (Metzudoth Tzion on Psalms 35:7) and “destruction” (Deuteronomy 32:5). In the context of this verse, it means that the penitent’s soul will be saved from undergoing a purification process in Gehinnom.

[188] Proverbs 26:11 כְּכֶלֶב שָׁב עַל קֵאוֹ כְּסִיל שׁוֹנֶה בְאִוַּלְתּוֹ The Hebrew שׁוֹנֶה can mean to retell or recapitulate. It is related to מִשְׁנָה, which refers to the repeated recitation of oral teachings.

[189] Psalms 51:5 כִּי פְשָׁעַי אֲנִי אֵדָע וְחַטָּאתִי נֶגְדִּי תָמִיד

[190] Proverbs 26:11  כְּכֶלֶב שָׁב עַל קֵאוֹ כְּסִיל שׁוֹנֶה בְאִוַּלְתּוֹ

[191] The Hebrew שׁוֹנֶה can also mean to repeat an action.

[192] Psalms 51:5 כִּי פְשָׁעַי אֲנִי אֵדָע וְחַטָּאתִי נֶגְדִּי תָמִיד

[193] Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 607:4 rules in accordance with Rabbi Eliezer that one may recall sins he confessed on one Yom Kippur on a later Yom Kippur.

[194] Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 607:2 rules in accordance with Rabbi Akiva that people need not specify their sins but can simply recite a general confession on Yom Kippur. Nevertheless, people may specify their sins if they so desire.

[195] Exodus 32:31.

[196] Jeremiah 17:13 מִקְוֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל ה’ כָּל עֹזְבֶיךָ יֵבֹשׁוּ [“יסורי” כתיב] וְסוּרַי בָּאָרֶץ יִכָּתֵבוּ כִּי עָזְבוּ מְקוֹר מַיִם חַיִּים אֶת ה’

[197] Ezekiel 36:25 וְזָרַקְתִּי עֲלֵיכֶם מַיִם טְהוֹרִים וּטְהַרְתֶּם מִכֹּל טֻמְאוֹתֵיכֶם וּמִכָּל גִּלּוּלֵיכֶם אֲטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם

Application Contents of PowerSefer Updates of the 450 Common Books of Hebrew