שחל להיות בשבת מניח ידו על כתף חבירו ויד חבירו על כתיפו ותולה ומפשיט קרעו והוציא את אימוריו נתנו במגיס והקטירן על גבי המזבח
occurred on Shabbat, when moving the rods is prohibited (Rambam), he would rest his hand on another’s shoulder and the other’s hand on his own shoulder and suspend the offering and flay it. He would tear open the flesh of the offering and remove its sacrificial parts, i.e., the fats and other parts offered on the altar. He would place the sacrificial parts in a large basin [mageis] and burn them on the altar.
יצתה כת הראשונה וישבה לה בהר הבית שניה בחיל והשלישית במקומה עומדת חשיכה יצאו וצלו את פסחיהן:
If this took place on Shabbat, when carrying is prohibited, the first group would exit and remain on the Temple Mount; the second group would remain within the rampart, which was an area outside the women’s courtyard; and the third group would stand in its place in the Temple. They would wait there until nightfall, and as soon as it became dark, they would all go out and roast their Paschal lambs, everyone in his own place.
גמ׳ אמר רבי יצחק אין הפסח נשחט אלא בשלש כתות של שלשים שלשים בני אדם מאי טעמא קהל ועדה וישראל מספקא לן אי בבת אחת אי בזה אחר זה
GEMARA: Rabbi Yitzḥak said: The Paschal lamb is slaughtered only in three groups of at least thirty people each. What is the reason for this rule? The verse says: Assembly, congregation, and Israel, and each of these terms refers to a group of no fewer than ten people. We are uncertain as to whether this means that we need three groups of ten people at the same time or one after another.
הלכך בעינן שלש כתות של שלשים שלשים בני אדם דאי בבת אחת הא איכא ואי בזה אחר זה הא איכא הלכך בחמשין נמי סגיא דעיילי תלתין ועבדי עיילי עשרה ונפקי עשרה עיילי עשרה ונפקי עשרה:
Therefore, in order to satisfy both possible interpretations, we require three groups of thirty people each. As, if you say we need all thirty at the same time, we have that, and if we need them one after another, we have that as well. Therefore, in pressing circumstances when there are not enough people present, even fifty people suffice. How so? Thirty enter and perform the necessary rite, ten others enter and ten of the original group leave so that those present are considered a new group, and then ten others enter and ten more leave so that those present now comprise a third group. In this way the Paschal lamb is slaughtered in three groups of thirty people each, although the total number of people involved is only fifty.
נכנסה כת ראשונה וכו׳: איתמר אביי אמר ננעלו תנן רבא אמר נועלין תנן
The mishna teaches that the first group entered, after which they closed the doors to the Temple courtyard. It was stated that the amora’im disagreed about the precise wording of the mishna. Abaye said: We learned in the mishna that the doors of the Temple courtyard miraculously closed by themselves. Rava said: We learned in the mishna that people would close the doors of the Temple courtyard at the appropriate time.
מאי בינייהו איכא בינייהו למסמך אניסא אביי אמר ננעלו תנן כמה דעיילו מעלו וסמכינן אניסא רבא אמר נועלין תנן ולא סמכינן אניסא
What is the practical difference between them? The practical difference between them is with regard to whether we rely on a miracle. Abaye said: We learned in the mishna that the doors closed by themselves; as many people as entered, entered, and we rely on a miracle to close the doors so that an excessive number of people not enter and thus create a danger (Rabbeinu Ḥananel). Rava said: We learned in the mishna that people would close the doors, and we do not rely on a miracle to ensure that the courtyard not become overly crowded.
והא דתנן אמר רבי יהודה חס ושלום שעקביא בן מהללאל נתנדה שאין עזרה ננעלת על כל אדם בישראל בחכמה וביראת חטא כעקביא בן מהללאל אביי מתרץ לטעמיה ורבא מתרץ לטעמיה אביי מתרץ לטעמיה אין בעזרה בשעה שננעלה על כל אדם בישראל בחכמה וביראת חטא כעקביא בן מהללאל רבא מתרץ לטעמיה אין בעזרה בשעה שנועלין אותה על כל ישראל בחכמה וביראת חטא כעקביא בן מהללאל
And that which we learned elsewhere in a mishna with regard to the ban placed upon Akavya ben Mahalalel for having spoken harshly about Shemaya and Avtalyon, that Rabbi Yehuda said: Heaven forbid that Akavya ben Mahalalel was banned; it must have been someone else, as even when the entire Jewish people would come to Jerusalem for the Festival, the Temple courtyard would not close on any man from Israel as full of wisdom and fear of sin as Akavya ben Mahalalel; Abaye can explain this statement according to his opinion, and Rava can also explain it according to his opinion. Abaye can explain it according to his opinion as follows: No man from Israel was in the Temple courtyard when it closed by itself who was as full of wisdom and fear of sin as Akavya ben Mahalalel. Rava, too, can explain it according to his opinion as follows: No man from Israel was in the Temple courtyard when they closed it who was as full of wisdom and fear of sin as Akavya ben Mahalalel.
תנו רבנן מעולם לא נתמעך אדם בעזרה חוץ מפסח אחד שהיה בימי הלל שנתמעך בו זקן אחד והיו קוראין אותו פסח מעוכין
The Sages taught: No one was ever crushed by the great throngs of people in the Temple courtyard, except for one Passover in the days of Hillel when an old man was crushed, and they called that Passover the Passover of the crushed.
תנו רבנן פעם אחת ביקש אגריפס המלך ליתן עיניו באוכלוסי ישראל אמר ליה לכהן גדול תן עיניך בפסחים נטל כוליא מכל אחד ונמצאו שם ששים ריבוא זוגי כליות כפלים כיוצאי מצרים חוץ מטמא ושהיה בדרך רחוקה ואין לך כל פסח ופסח שלא נמנו עליו יותר מעשרה בני אדם והיו קוראין אותו פסח מעובין
The Sages taught: Once, King Agrippa wished to set his eyes on the multitudes [ukhlosin] of Israel to know how many they were. He said to the High Priest: Set your eyes on the Paschal lambs; count how many animals are brought in order to approximate the number of people. The High Priest took a kidney from each one, as the kidneys are burned on the altar, and six hundred thousand pairs of kidneys were found there, double the number of those who left Egypt. This did not reflect the sum total of the Jewish people, as it excluded those who were ritually impure or at a great distance, who did not come to offer the sacrifice. Furthermore, this was a count of the Paschal lambs and not of the people, and there was not a single Paschal lamb that did not have more than ten people registered for it. They called that Passover the Passover of the crowded, due to the large number of people.
נטל כוליא הא בעי אקטורה דהדר מקטיר להו והכתיב והקטירו שלא יערב חלביו של זה בזה
The Gemara questions one of the details of this story: How could the High Priest take a kidney? Didn’t he have to burn it on the altar? The Gemara answers: He first took the kidneys for the count, and subsequently he burned them. The Gemara asks: Isn’t it written: “And the priest shall burn it on the altar; it is the food of the offering made by fire to the Lord” (Leviticus 3:11)? The singular “it” apparently indicates that he must not mix the fats of this sacrifice with those of another; rather, he must burn each set separately.
דהדר מקטיר להו חדא חדא והתניא והקטירם שיהא כולו כאחד אלא תפיסה בעלמא דשקיל מינייהו עד דיהבין ליה מידי אחרינא:
The Gemara answers: He subsequently burned them one by one and not all together. The Gemara asks further: Wasn’t it taught in a baraita that the plural “them” in the verse: “And the priest shall burn them upon the altar; it is the food of the offering made by fire for a satisfying aroma; all the fat is the Lord’s” (Leviticus 3:16) indicates that all the sacrificial parts of a sacrifice must be offered at the same time? Rather, it must be that when the High Priest took a kidney for counting, it was merely momentary seizure; that is, he took it from them until they brought him something else with which to keep track of the numbers, and it was this other item that was counted afterward.
כהנים עומדין שורות וכו׳: מאי טעמא אילימא דילמא שקלי דדהבא ומעיילי דכספא הכי נמי דילמא שקלי בר מאתן ומעיילי בר מאה אלא דהכי שפיר טפי:
It was stated in the mishna that the priests stood in rows and that there were rows of priests holding silver bowls and rows of priests holding gold bowls, but that in no rows were there both gold and silver bowls. What is the reason that there was no intermingling of gold and silver bowls? If you say that it was due to concern that perhaps a priest would take a gold bowl to keep for himself and then return a silver one in its place, the solution described in the mishna does not alleviate this concern. Here, too, in a row where everyone is holding gold bowls, there is concern that perhaps a priest would take a two-hundred-dinar bowl, keep it for himself, and then return a one-hundred-dinar bowl in its place (Rid). Rather, the reason is that this arrangement, where all the bowls in each row are of the same color, is aesthetically more attractive.
ולא היו לבזיכין שוליים וכו׳: תנו רבנן כל הבזיכין שבמקדש לא היו להן שוליים חוץ מבזיכי לבונה של לחם הפנים שמא יניחום ויפרוס הלחם:
It was further stated in the mishna that the bowls did not have flat bases. The Gemara adds that the Sages taught a baraita that states: None of the bowls in the Temple had flat bases for the same reason, so that they should not be put down, which would allow the blood to congeal. This was with the exception of the bowls of frankincense that would be placed on the showbread, which did have flat bases. They could not have sharp bottoms out of concern that perhaps the priests would rest them on the bread and the bread would break. The showbread had an intricate and delicate shape, and a bowl with a sharp bottom could pierce or break the bread.
שחט ישראל וקבל הכהן וכו׳: לא סגיא דלאו ישראל היא גופא קא משמע לן דשחיטה בזר כשירה וקבל הכהן הא קמשמע לן מקבלה ואילך מצות כהונה
It was taught in the mishna: An Israelite would slaughter the offering and a priest would receive the blood and pass it to other priests. The Gemara asks: Is it not sufficient if someone who is not an Israelite slaughters the offering? Must the ritual slaughter be performed specifically by an Israelite, and not by a priest or a Levite? The Gemara answers: The mishna teaches us this halakha itself, that even if the slaughter is performed by a non-priest it is valid. And that which was stated in the mishna that the priest receives the blood comes to teach us that from receiving and onward the rite is a commandment cast upon the priesthood, and a non-priest may not perform it.
נותנו לחבירו שמעת מינה הולכה שלא ברגל הויא הולכה דילמא הוא נייד פורתא ואלא מאי קא משמע לן הא קמשמע לן ברב עם הדרת מלך:
It was also taught in the mishna that the priest would pass the bowl of blood to another priest. The Gemara suggests: Learn from this that carrying without walking, i.e., transporting the blood to the altar by passing it from hand to hand without actually walking with it to the altar, is considered a valid act of carrying the blood of a sacrifice to the altar, one of the four rites involved in the offering of a sacrifice. This would resolve the same unanswered question in tractate Zevaḥim. The Gemara rejects this proof: Perhaps the priest would move a little with his feet as he passed the bowl to the next priest, in order to fulfill the requirement to walk with the blood to the altar. Rather, what does this account of how they transported the blood to the altar teach us? The Gemara answers: It teaches us that the priests were arranged in rows in order to increase the number of people involved in the rite and fulfill the principle that “in the multitude of people is the king’s glory” (Proverbs 14:28).
קבל את המלא ומחזיר את הריקן וכו׳: אבל איפכא לא מסייע ליה לרבי שמעון בן לקיש דאמר רבי שמעון בן לקיש אין מעבירין על המצות:
It was further stated in the mishna that each priest would receive a full bowl of blood and return an empty one. The Gemara infers: But the opposite was not done; the priest would not first return an empty bowl and then receive a full one. This supports the opinion of Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish, as Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said: One must not postpone the performance of mitzvot. When one is presented with the opportunity to fulfill a mitzva, he must do so immediately and not delay for any reason. In this case, since bringing the blood to the altar is a mitzva, the priest should first fulfill the mitzva at hand and receive the full bowl of blood, and only then should he return the empty bowl.
כהן הקרוב אצל המזבח וכו׳: מאן תנא פסח דזריקה אמר רב חסדא רבי יוסי הגלילי היא
It was also stated in the mishna that the priest who was closest to the altar would sprinkle the blood upon the altar. Who is the tanna who holds that the blood of the Paschal lamb requires sprinkling from afar upon the altar, and that pouring the blood directly from the bowl onto the altar does not suffice? Rav Ḥisda said: It is Rabbi Yosei HaGelili.
דתניא רבי יוסי הגלילי אומר את דמם תזרוק על המזבח ואת חלבם תקטיר דמו לא נאמר אלא דמם חלבו לא נאמר אלא חלבם למד על בכור ומעשר ופסח שהן טעונין מתן דמים ואימורין לגבי מזבח
As it was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yosei HaGelili says: The verse states: “But the firstborn of an ox, or the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat, you shall not redeem, they are sacred; you shall sprinkle their blood upon the altar and you shall burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a satisfying aroma to the Lord” (Numbers 18:17). It is not stated: Its blood, but rather “their blood.” Similarly, it is not stated: Its fat, but rather “their fat.” This teaches with regard to the firstborn animal, which is mentioned explicitly in the verse, as well as the tithed animal and the Paschal lamb, which have a level of sanctity similar to a firstborn animal, that they all require placement of their blood and sacrificial parts on the altar, although the Torah does not give explicit instructions with regard to this aspect of the rite for a tithed animal or Paschal lamb.
מנלן דטעונין יסוד אמר רבי אלעזר אתיא זריקה זריקה מעולה כתיב הכא את דמם תזרוק על המזבח וכתיב התם וזרקו בני אהרן הכהנים את דמו על המזבח סביב מה עולה טעונה יסוד אף פסח נמי טעון יסוד
The Gemara asks: From where do we derive that their blood requires sprinkling upon the altar on a side that has a base? Rabbi Elazar said: This is derived by way of a verbal analogy between the word sprinkling used here and the word sprinkling used with regard to a burnt-offering. Here, it is written: “You shall sprinkle their blood upon the altar;” there, it is written with regard to a burnt-offering: “And he shall slaughter it on the side of the altar northward before the Lord; and the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall sprinkle its blood round about upon the altar” (Leviticus 1:11). Just as the blood of a burnt-offering must be sprinkled on the altar in a place where there is a base, so too, the blood of a Paschal lamb must be sprinkled in a place where there is a base.