Menachot 97aמנחות צ״ז א
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97aצ״ז א

לבזבזין או בשלא חיפה את לבזבזין ואמר ליה לא שנא ציפוי עומד ולא שנא ציפוי שאינו עומד לא שנא חיפה את לבזבזין ולא שנא לא חיפה לבזבזין

the Table’s rim [levazbazin] as well as the Table itself, or even to a case where one did not cover its rim? And Rabbi Yoḥanan said to Reish Lakish: The case of a permanent covering is not different, and the case of a covering that is not permanent is not different. Likewise, the case where one covered the rim is not different, and the case where one did not cover the rim is not different. In any case a vessel’s status is determined according to the material of the external covering, and the shewbread Table should be susceptible to impurity because its external covering was of gold. It is therefore not necessary to derive that the Table is susceptible to impurity due to the fact that it is not designated to rest in a fixed place.

וכי תימא עצי שיטים חשיבי ולא בטלי הניחא לריש לקיש דאמר לא שנו אלא בכלי אכסלגוס הבאים ממדינת הים אבל כלי מסמס חשיבי ולא בטלי שפיר אלא לרבי יוחנן דאמר כלי מסמס נמי בטלי מאי איכא למימר

The Gemara suggests another explanation: And if you would say that the acacia wood from which the shewbread Table is fashioned is different, as it is an important, valuable type of wood and therefore the Table’s status as a wooden vessel is not negated by the fact that it was covered with gold, there would still be a difficulty. This explanation works out well according to the opinion of Reish Lakish, who said: The mishna taught that the status of a wooden vessel is determined according to the material of its covering only with regard to vessels made of medium-grade akhsalgos wood, which come from overseas, but vessels made of expensive masmas wood are important, and therefore their status as wooden vessels is not negated by the covering. According to this opinion the ruling works out well, as the acacia wood of the shewbread Table is also valuable. But according to the opinion of Rabbi Yoḥanan, who said the importance of masmas vessels is also negated by the covering, what is there to say?

שאני שולחן דרחמנא קרייה עץ שנאמר (יחזקאל מא, כב) המזבח עץ שלש אמות גבוה ארכו שתים אמות ומקצעות לו וארכו וקירותיו עץ וידבר אלי זה השולחן אשר לפני ה'

The Gemara answers: The Table is different, because the Merciful One called it wood, as it is stated: “The altar was of wood, three cubits high, and its length two cubits, and so its corners; and its length, and its walls were also of wood, and he said to me: This is the Table that is before the Lord” (Ezekiel 41:22). This verse is referring to the shewbread Table, and it describes it as being made of wood, even though the wood was not visible. This indicates that its status is like that of all wooden vessels, which are not susceptible to impurity unless they are carried both when empty and when full.

פתח במזבח וסיים בשולחן ר' יוחנן ור' אלעזר דאמרי תרוייהו בזמן שבית המקדש קיים מזבח מכפר על אדם ועכשיו שאין בית המקדש קיים שולחנו של אדם מכפר עליו:

The Gemara challenges: Why does the verse begin with the word “altar” and conclude with the word “Table,” even though both terms are referring to the same item? Rabbi Yoḥanan and Rabbi Elazar both say the following interpretation: When the Temple is standing, the altar effects atonement for the transgressions of a person, but now that the Temple is not standing, a person’s table effects atonement for his transgressions, if he provides for the poor and needy from the food on his table.

ארבע סניפין של זהב היו שם [וכו']: מנא הני מילי אמר רב קטינא אמר קרא (שמות כה, כט) ועשית קערותיו וכפותיו וקשותיו ומנקיותיו

§ The mishna describes the shewbread Table (96a): There were four panels of gold there, which split up at their upper ends, above the Table, and there were twenty-eight rods that rested upon the panels. The Gemara asks: From where are these matters derived? Rav Ketina said: The verse states with regard to the Table: “And you shall make its dishes and its pans, uksotav umnakkiyyotav, with which it shall be covered; of pure gold you shall make them” (Exodus 25:29).

קערותיו אלו דפוסין כפותיו אלו בזיכין קשותיו אלו סניפין ומנקיותיו אלו קנים אשר יסך בהן שמסככין בהן את הלחם

Rav Ketina interprets the verse: “Its dishes,” these are the molds in which the loaves are kneaded, baked, and placed after baking (see 94a). “Its pans,” these are the bowls for the frankincense that is placed on the Table with the shewbread. Kesotav,” these are the four panels of gold. Umnakkiyyotav,” these are the rods, which rest on the notches in the panels and bear the loaves, one on top of the other. “With which it shall be covered,” this indicates that the bread is covered by the rods.

מותיב רבא לא סידור הקנים ולא נטילתן דוחות את השבת ואי סלקא דעתך דאורייתא אמאי אין דוחות את השבת

Rava raises an objection to this interpretation, which indicates that the rods are required by Torah law: The mishna states: Neither the arranging of the rods for the new shewbread, nor their removal from the arrangement of the old shewbread, overrides Shabbat. And if it enters your mind to say the rods are required by Torah law, why does their arrangement not override Shabbat?

הדר אמר רבא לאו מילתא הוא דאמרי דתנן כלל אמר רבי עקיבא כל מלאכה שאפשר לה לעשותה מערב שבת אינו דוחה את השבת והני נמי אפשר דלא דחי שבת עלייהו

Rava then said: That which I said, that one can infer from the mishna that the rods are not required by Torah law, is not correct, as we learned in the mishna that Rabbi Akiva stated a principle: Any labor that can be performed on Shabbat eve does not override Shabbat. And these actions, arranging and removing the rods, can also be performed in a manner that does not require overriding Shabbat for them, as the rods can be removed before Shabbat, and the rods can be arranged for the new loaves once Shabbat has ended.

טעמא מאי דלא ליעפש לחם בכי האי שיעורא לא מיעפש

Rava explains why the rods can be arranged after Shabbat: What is the reason that the rods are required? They are necessary in order to create a gap between the loaves, so that the bread does not become moldy. In such a short time period as this, from when the new loaves are placed on the Table on Shabbat until the arrangement of the rods after Shabbat, the loaves will not become moldy.

כדתניא כיצד נכנס מערב שבת ושמטן ומניחן לארכו של שולחן ומוצאי שבת נכנס מגביה ראשיה של חלה ומכניס קנה תחתיה וחוזר ומגביה ראשיה של חלה ומכניס קנה תחתיה

This is as it is taught in a baraita with regard to the removal and arrangement of the rods: How does the priest proceed? He enters the Sanctuary on Shabbat eve and removes the rods from between the loaves. And he places them in the space of two handbreadths between the two arrangements, along the length of the Table. And at the conclusion of Shabbat he enters the Sanctuary again. He raises the ends of a loaf of the shewbread and inserts a rod underneath it, and again raises the ends of a loaf and inserts a rod underneath it.

ארבעה חלות צריכות שלשה שלשה קנים העליונה אינה צריכה אלא שנים לפי שאין עליה משאוי התחתונה אינה צריכה כל עיקר לפי שמונחת על טהרו של שולחן

The baraita continues to describe the placement of the rods: Each arrangement contains six loaves. The four loaves in the middle of the six require three for the first of the four middle loaves, and likewise three rods for each of the other middle loaves, totaling twelve rods. The upper loaf requires only two rods, as the weight of another loaf does not bear upon it. Each arrangement therefore requires a total of fourteen rods, and the two arrangements require twenty-eight rods. As for the lowest loaf of each arrangement, it does not require rods at all, as it rests on the Table itself.

תנן התם רבי מאיר אומר כל אמות שהיו במקדש בינוניות חוץ ממזבח הזהב והקרן והסובב והיסוד רבי יהודה אומר אמת בנין ששה טפחים ושל כלים חמשה

§ We learned in a mishna there (Kelim 17:10) that Rabbi Meir says: All the cubits that were mentioned with regard to the Temple were medium cubits, consisting of six handbreadths, except in the case of the following items: The golden altar, which was one cubit long and one cubit wide; each protruding corner of the external altar, which were one cubit long, one cubit wide, and one cubit high; the surrounding ledge of the external altar, which was five cubits high and one cubit wide; and the base of the altar, which was one cubit high and one cubit wide. In all these cases, the cubit was of five handbreadths. Rabbi Yehuda says: The measure of a cubit that was used with regard to the building of the Temple was a cubit of six handbreadths, but the cubit mentioned with regard to the Temple vessels, e.g., the Table, the Candelabrum and the golden altar, was a smaller cubit of five handbreadths.

אמר רבי יוחנן ושניהם מקרא אחד דרשו (יחזקאל מג, יג) ואלה מדות המזבח באמות אמה אמה וטופח

Rabbi Yoḥanan says: And both Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Yehuda derived their opinions from the same verse: “And these are the measures of the altar by cubits: The cubit is a cubit and a handbreadth,