The Gemara explains the difficulty: If one maintains that the mishna permits the priests to place the vestments beneath their heads, this works out well according to the one who said that the belt of the High Priest is not the same as the belt of an ordinary priest. Although the belt of the High Priest was made of both wool and linen, the belt of ordinary priests, like the rest of their vestments, were made entirely of linen and did not contain diverse kinds. But according to the one who said that the belt of an ordinary priest is the same as the belt of the High Priest, what is there to say? Since the belt contained diverse kinds, how could the mishna possibly permit the priests to sleep upon their vestments?
And if you would say that with regard to diverse kinds it is only placing the garment upon oneself or wearing it that is prohibited, but as for spreading it beneath you, it is permitted, this explanation is difficult. But isn’t it taught in a baraita: The verse states: “Neither shall there come upon you a garment of diverse kinds” (Leviticus 19:19). One should infer as follows: But you may spread a garment of diverse kinds beneath you, in order to lie upon it. The baraita continues: This is the halakha by Torah law, but the Sages said that it is prohibited to do so, lest a single fiber wrap itself upon his flesh, which would cause him to be in transgression of the Torah prohibition. Accordingly, the priests should not be permitted to place vestments made of diverse kinds beneath their heads.
And if you would say that the priests could place the vestments beneath their heads in such a manner that something separates between their flesh and the vestments, as the fibers could not wrap themselves upon their flesh, such conduct would still be prohibited. Doesn’t Rabbi Shimon say that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says that Rabbi Yosei ben Shaul says in the name of the holy community in Jerusalem: Even if there are ten mattresses piled one atop the other and a garment of diverse kinds is placed beneath all of them, it is prohibited to sleep upon them? This is because the rabbinic decree applies equally to all cases, irrespective of whether the concern that motivated the decree exists. Rather, one may conclude from here that the mishna permits the vestments to be placed only next to their heads.
The Gemara suggests alternative solutions: And if you wish, say instead that the mishna does permit the priests to place the vestments beneath their heads, as it is referring to those vestments that do not contain diverse kinds. Rav Ashi says: The mishna permits the priests to place even the belt that contains diverse kinds beneath their heads. This is because the priestly vestments, and specifically the belt, are stiff, and therefore it is not prohibited to lie on them. As Rav Huna, son of Rabbi Yehoshua, said: This stiff felt [namta], which is manufactured in the city of Neresh and is made of diverse kinds, is permitted. The prohibition of diverse kinds applies only to items that are similar to garments, which one derives pleasure from wearing. A stiff garment does not provide warmth, and is therefore not included in this prohibition.
The Gemara returns to discuss the earlier dilemma, of whether it is permitted to derive benefit from priestly vestments. Come and hear a baraita: With regard to the priestly vestments, the act of one who leaves the Temple dressed in them and goes out to the country, i.e., outside the Temple, is prohibited. But in the Temple, both at the time of the Temple service and not at the time of the service, wearing the vestments is permitted, as it is permitted to derive benefit from the priestly vestments. The Gemara concludes: One may conclude from the baraita that it is permitted to derive benefit from the priestly vestments.
According to the baraita, the priestly vestments may not be worn outside the Temple. The Gemara asks: And is it not permitted to wear the priestly vestments in the rest of the country, outside the Temple? But isn’t it taught in a baraita, in connection with a date mentioned in Megillat Ta’anit: On the twenty-first of Tevet, this is the day of Mount Gerizim, which was established as a festive day, and therefore it is not permitted to eulogize. This date was established as a festive day because the Temple was saved from destruction on that day, due to the actions of Shimon HaTzaddik, the High Priest, as it is related in tractate Yoma (69a), in the seventh chapter, which begins: The High Priest came close to read the Torah.
The baraita relates that Shimon HaTzaddik went to greet Alexander the Macedonian wearing the priestly vestments. The Gemara in Yoma cites the complete baraita, up to the Gemara’s explanation as to why Shimon HaTzaddik wore the priestly vestments outside the Temple: If you wish, say that Shimon HaTzaddik did not wear consecrated priestly vestments. Rather, he wore garments that were fit to be priestly vestments, i.e., they were made of the same material and design.
And if you wish, say instead that he did in fact wear consecrated priestly vestments. Although this is usually prohibited, in this instance it was permitted due to the principle: “It is time to act for the Lord; they have nullified Your Torah” (Psalms 119:126). In times of great need, such as when one seeks to prevent the destruction of the Temple, it is permitted to violate the halakha for the sake of Heaven, and the actions of Shimon HaTzaddik indeed averted the destruction.
§ The mishna teaches (25b): If a seminal emission befell one of the priests and rendered him ritually impure, he would leave the Chamber of the Hearth and he would walk through the circuitous passage that extended beneath the Temple, as he could not pass through the Temple courtyard, due to his impurity.
The Gemara notes that this mishna supports the opinion of Rabbi Yoḥanan, who says: The tunnels beneath the Temple Mount were not sanctified, neither with the sanctity of the Temple courtyard nor with the sanctity of the Temple Mount. The Gemara cites a related statement of Rabbi Yoḥanan: A man who experienced a seminal emission is sent outside of two camps, the camp of the Divine Presence and the camp of the Levites. Accordingly, he may not remain in the Temple courtyard, which has the status of the camp of the Divine Presence, nor on the Temple Mount, which has the status of the camp of the Levites.
The mishna teaches: And the lamps were burning on this side and on that side of the passage…and there was a bathroom of honor in the Chamber of Immersion. This was its honor: If one found the door closed, he would know that there was a person there, and he would wait for him to exit before entering. The Gemara relates: Rav Safra was sitting in the bathroom when Rabbi Abba came along. Since there was no door, Rabbi Abba coughed outside to alert anyone within of his presence and thereby inquire whether he could enter. Rav Safra said to Rabbi Abba: Enter, Master, and Rabbi Abba therefore entered the bathroom.
When he came out, Rabbi Abba said to Rav Safra: Until now, although you have traveled widely, you have never entered Seir, the land of the Edomites, who behave immodestly. Nevertheless, you have learned the ways of Seir. Didn’t we learn this in the mishna: If one found the door closed, it was known that there was a person there, and one would wait for him to exit before entering. This serves to say that a person should not enter the bathroom while another person is inside. Therefore, Rav Safra should not have told Rabbi Abba to enter.
The Gemara explains that Rav Safra told Rabbi Abba to enter because he thought: Perhaps Rabbi Abba is in danger. Rav Safra was concerned that if Rabbi Abba waited for him to exit, Rabbi Abba might jeopardize his health, as it was taught in a baraita that Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: A column of feces that is held back, because one refrains from relieving himself, causes a person to suffer from edema [hidrokan]. A stream of urine that is held back causes a person to suffer from jaundice [yerakon].
Rav said to his son Ḥiyya, and likewise Rav Huna said to his son Rabba: Relieve yourself when it gets dark, and relieve yourself before daybreak, even if you have no particular need to do so. The reason is that the streets are mostly empty at these times, and one can relieve himself near his home without concern that he might be seen. This is important, so that you will not have to relieve yourself during the day, when the streets are full, and you will be compelled to retain your feces while you distance yourself, which is liable to jeopardize your health. Furthermore, when relieving yourself, you should behave modestly. Sit down first and only then uncover yourself; afterward, cover yourself first and only then stand up.
With regard to drinking, these amora’im instructed their sons: When you drink wine, rinse the cup first and only then drink from it; after you drink, rinse the cup and only then set it back in its place. But when you drink water, it is not necessary to rinse the cup afterward; rather, pour out some of the water to rinse the rim of the cup, and afterward you may give the cup to your student, if he wants to drink.
As it is taught in a baraita: A person should not drink water and give the remaining water to his student, unless he first poured some of it out. And there was an incident involving a certain individual who drank water and did not pour some of it out, and he gave the cup to his student. And that student was a delicate person [istenis], and due to his sensitivity he did not want to drink from the cup, and he died of thirst. At that time, the Sages said: A person should not drink water and give the remaining water to his student unless he first poured some of it out. Rav Ashi said: Therefore, in the case of this student who pours water from the cup that his teacher drank from first, even if he does so in the presence of his teacher, his actions are not prohibited due to disrespect [afkiruta].
With regard to eating, these amora’im instructed their sons: In the case of anything that you are eating, if the food causes you to salivate and you need to spit out the saliva, do not spit it out in the presence of your teacher, as it is disrespectful, except in the case of a dish of gourd or porridge. If one is eating gourds or porridge he may spit out the saliva even in the presence of his teacher, as the saliva generated by these items is like a molten bar of lead, and refraining from spitting it out would be dangerous.
§ We learned in a mishna elsewhere (Middot 1:2): The man [ish] in charge of overseeing the watches of the Temple Mount would circulate nightly among each and every watch post, to ascertain that the watchmen were awake and performing their duty properly. And there were lit torches carried before him, so that the watchmen would see him approaching. And at every watch post where the watchman would not stand up, the man would test whether the watchman was sleeping; and the man of the Temple Mount would say to him: