THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) THE HEIGHT OF THE RINGS ON THE "MIZBE'ACH"
QUESTION: The Gemara explains that the Levi'im, who were ten Amos tall,
carried the Mizbe'ach, which was ten Amos high, with three and a third Amos
of it above their shoulder height, and six and two-thirds Amos of it below
their shoulder height (leaving about twenty Tefachim between the ground and
the bottom of the Mizbe'ach). If so, the rings in which the poles were
inserted must have been six and two-thirds Amos from the bottom of the
However, in Parshas Terumah (yesterday's Parsha), Rashi explains that the
rings were on the one-Amah-wide *Michbar* (the netting around the
Mizbe'ach) and the Michbar reached until *half* of the height of the
Mizbe'ach (Shemos 27:4). Since the Michbar was one Amah wide, the rings
must have been only *six* Amos from the bottom of the Mizbe'ach, and not
six and two-thirds!
Second, why does the Gemara have to say that things which are carried with
poles are customarily carried with one third of the object above the poles
and two-thirds below the poles? The verse itself teaches that six Amos were
below the poles! (CHASAM SOFER AL HA'TORAH)
ANSWER: The CHASAM SOFER answers that it could be that the rings were
elongated (oval shaped) so that the poles were two-thirds of an Amah, or
more, above the level of the Michbar.
2) TWO PEOPLE WHO PERFORM A MELACHAH TOGETHER
QUESTION: The Gemara says that according to Rebbi Shimon, two people who
perform a Melachah together are Patur, whether they were both able to
perform the Melachah alone or both unable to perform it alone. Rebbi
Shimon's source is the verse, "ba'Asosah" (Vayikra 4:27). Rebbi Yehudah
argues and maintains that they are Patur only when they are both able to do
the Melachah alone, but when they are both unable to do the Melachah alone,
they are both Chayav. Rebbi Yehudah also derives his view from the verse
3) SINNING AS A PAIR
Why does Rebbi Yehudah limit the exclusion of "ba'Asosah" to the case where
each individual is able to do the Melachah by himself? Rebbi Shimon's way
of understanding the verse seems simpler -- whenever more than one person
does the Melachah, there is no Chiyuv.
(a) RASHI (DH Rebbi Yehudah) explains that the Torah is extending the laws
of *k'l'Achar Yad*. When two people who are fully capable of doing the
Melachah alone do the Melachah together, that is an unusual way of doing
the Melachah and they are Patur. When they are both unable to do it alone,
then doing it together is the normal manner of performing the Melachah and
they are Chayav.
(b) RASHI later (93a, DH Mip'nei sh'Yecholah) explains that Rebbi Yehudah
maintains that they are both considered only to be *Mesayei'a* if they are
both able to do it alone. When both are not capable of doing it alone, they
are not just Mesayei'a.
(c) The RITVA cites RAV MOSHE BEN RAV YITZCHAK who explains that when both
are unable, since each person is doing *as much as he can*, he is Chayav.
When both are able to do it alone, they are Patur because neither one puts
all of the strength that he can into the action.
(d) The RITVA gives a second explanation, in which he says that when the
two people are unable to do the Melachah alone, since the Melachah could
not be accomplished without each one's participation, the Torah considers
the Melachah that was accomplished to be a significant Melachah (based on
the principle of *Ach'sh'vei*).
OPINIONS: Does the concept that "two people who perform a Melachah together
are Patur" also apply to other Isurim, other than Shabbos?
(a) The P'NEI YEHOSHUA in our Sugya maintains that it applies only to
Shabbos, since we find (Zevachim 108b) that if two people offer a Korban
outside of the Azarah together, they are both Chayav to bring a Korban for
their sin. He adds that if this is so, our Gemara needs further elucidation
(since proofs are cited from the laws of Zavim, which are not related to
Shabbos). The RASHBA (Teshuvot 1:28) appears to in fact rule exactly as the
Pnei Yehoshua suggested, writing that the exemption from a Korban for two
who sinned together only applies to "Zav and Shabbos" (that is, it applies
to Zav as well because of the unique rule that a Zav only makes an object
Midras if it supports *most* of his weight).
(b) However, the Gemara says that two people who do a Melachah together are
Patur because of the verse, "ba'Asosah." That verse is written in the
Parsha that teaches the Chiyuv to bring a Korban Chatas; it is not written
in the specific context of Shabbos. It would appear, then, that the
limitation of accountability that "ba'Asosah" teaches should apply to all
Aveiros, and not just to Shabbos. Similarly, the Gemara in Zevachim (108b)
derives from a verse that two people who offered a Korban outside of the
Azarah are Chayav. Since a special verse is required to teach that two who
performed the Aveirah are Chayav, it may be implied that without such a
verse, they would be Patur, because of "ba'Asosah."
The RITVA in Kidushin (43a) in fact says that this exemption applies to
every Isur, except for two people who carried a limb of a sanctified animal
outside the Azarah (as derived from the verse cited in Zevachim). Even the
Rashba that we quoted above (in (a)) is probably not arguing with the
Ritva. A close examination of his discussion shows that he may only have
meant that "Shenayim she'As'uha" does not apply to *carrying a Mes*; it
*does* however apply to *Isurim*, as the Ritva says.
(c) KUNTRESEI SHIURIM (Bava Kama 13:11,12, by my mentor, ha'Gaon Rav
Yisrael Zev Gustman Zatzal) cites the MEKOR CHAIM (O.C. 266) who adds that
this exemption applies only to Chiyuvei *Chatas*, but not Chiyuvei Lav -- a
very logical statement, considering that the verse "ba'Asosah" is written
with regard to Korban Chatas. HARAV HILLEL RUVEL pointed out to me that
RASHI clearly makes such a distinction in Pesachim 85b DH d'Avad Lei. The
Ritva and Rashba cited above most probably agree to this distinction as
well. The Mekor Chaim therefore concludes that two people who performed the
Melachah of Mechamer (which is only a Lav) together will be *Chayav*.