מי איכא מידי דאנן לא מצינן למעבד ושלוחי דידן מצו עבדי הכי קאמרי ליה משביעין אנו עליך על דעתינו ועל דעת בית דין
is there any matter that we are unable to perform and our agents are able to perform? The role of the agent is to perform a task on behalf of the one who commissioned him. The agent cannot perform a task that the one who commissioned him is unable to perform. Since it is prohibited for Israelites to enter the priests’ courtyard and to perform the sacrificial rites, clearly the priests are not agents representing the Israelites. The language of the mishna in which the court Elders address the High Priest as their agent apparently contradicts that understanding. The Gemara answers: This is what they say to him: We administer an oath to you according to our understanding and the understanding of the court, cautioning him that he cannot rationalize violating the oath by claiming that he took the oath based on his own interpretation. He is bound by the understanding of the court. The mishna does not address the nature of the High Priest’s agency.
הוא פורש ובוכה והן פורשין ובוכין וכו' הוא פורש ובוכה שחשדוהו צדוקי והם פורשין ובוכין דא"ר יהושע בן לוי כל החושד בכשרים לוקה בגופו
§ The mishna continues: After this oath, he would leave them and cry and they would leave him and cry. The Gemara explains: He turned aside and cried due to the indignity that they suspected him of being a Sadducee; and they turned aside and cried, as Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: One who suspects the innocent of indiscretion is afflicted in his body. The High Priest might in fact be beyond reproach and they may have suspected him falsely.
וכל כך למה שלא יתקן מבחוץ ויכניס כדרך שהצדוקין עושין
The Gemara asks: And why were the Elders so insistent that the High Priest take an oath? The Gemara explains: So that he would not prepare the incense and light it outside in the Sanctuary, before entering the Holy of Holies, and bring the coal pan with the incense already burning on it into the Holy of Holies in the manner that the Sadducees did. Since the High Priest is alone inside the Sanctuary and there is no way to ascertain whether he is in fact performing the service in the proper manner, the Elders insisted that he take an oath to perform it according to their instructions.
ת"ר מעשה בצדוקי אחד שהתקין מבחוץ והכניס ביציאתו היה שמח שמחה גדולה פגע בו אביו אמר לו בני אף על פי שצדוקין אנו מתיראין אנו מן הפרושים אמר לו כל ימי הייתי מצטער על המקרא הזה (ויקרא טז, ב) כי בענן אראה על הכפורת אמרתי מתי יבוא לידי ואקיימנו עכשיו שבא לידי לא אקיימנו
The Sages taught in the Tosefta: There was an incident involving a certain Sadducee who was appointed as High Priest, who prepared the incense outside and then brought it into the Holy of Holies. Upon his emergence he was overjoyed that he had succeeded. The father of that Sadducee met him and said to him: My son, although we are Sadducees and you performed the service in accordance with our opinion, we fear the Pharisees and do not actually implement that procedure in practice. The son said to his father: All my days I have been troubled over this verse: “For I will appear in the cloud above the Ark cover” (Leviticus 16:2). The Sadducees interpreted this verse to mean that God will appear above the Ark cover, i.e., will enter the Holy of Holies, only after the incense cloud is already there. I said: When will the opportunity become available to me, and I will fulfill it according to the Sadducee interpretation? Now that the opportunity has become available to me, will I not fulfill it?
אמרו לא היו ימים מועטין עד שמת והוטל באשפה והיו תולעין יוצאין מחוטמו ויש אומרים ביציאתו ניגף דתני רבי חייא כמין קול נשמע בעזרה שבא מלאך וחבטו על פניו ונכנסו אחיו הכהנים ומצאו ככף רגל עגל בין כתפיו שנאמר (יחזקאל א, ז) ורגליהם רגל ישרה וכף רגליהם ככף רגל עגל
The Sages said: Not even a few days passed until he died and was laid out in the garbage dump, and worms were coming out of his nose in punishment for his actions. And some say that he was struck as soon as he emerged from the Holy of Holies, as Rabbi Ḥiyya taught: A type of sound was heard in the Temple courtyard, as an angel came and struck him in the face. And his fellow priests came in to remove him from there and they found the likeness of a footprint of a calf between his shoulders. That is the mark left by an angel striking, as it is stated with regard to angels: “And their feet were straight feet, and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot” (Ezekiel 1:7).
א"ר זכריה בן קבוטל וכו' מתני ליה רב חנן בר רבא לחייא בר רב קמיה דרב א"ר זכריה בן קפוטל ומחוי ליה רב בידיה קבוטל ונימא ליה מימר ק"ש הוה קרי
§ It was taught in the mishna that Rabbi Zekharya ben Kevutal says: Many times I read before the High Priest from the book of Daniel. Rav Ḥanan bar Rava taught this to Ḥiyya bar Rav before Rav in the following manner: Rabbi Zekharya bar Kefutal said, and Rav demonstrated with his hand that the name should be pronounced Kevutal. The Gemara asks: Why did Rav demonstrate his point with a gesture? Let him simply say it. The Gemara answers: Rav was reciting Shema at that moment and could not interrupt Shema by speaking.
וכי האי גוונא מי שרי והא"ר יצחק בר שמואל בר מרתא הקורא את שמע לא ירמוז בעיניו ולא יקרוץ בשפתותיו ולא יורה באצבעותיו ותניא רבי אלעזר חסמא אומר הקורא את שמע ומרמז בעיניו ומקרץ בשפתותיו ומראה באצבעו עליו הכתוב אומר (ישעיהו מג, כב) ולא אותי קראת יעקב
The Gemara asks: And is interrupting in a manner of that sort, by gesturing, permitted during Shema? Didn’t Rabbi Yitzḥak bar Shmuel bar Marta say: One who is reciting Shema should neither make allusions with his eyes, nor open and close his mouth with his lips to convey a message, nor gesture with his fingers? And it was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Elazar Ḥisma says: Concerning one who recites Shema and makes allusions with his eyes, or opens and closes his mouth with his lips, or gestures with his fingers, the verse says: “And you did not call out to Me, O Jacob” (Isaiah 43:22). By signaling while reciting Shema he behaves contemptuously toward God, and it is tantamount to not having recited Shema before Him. How, then, could Rav gesture while reading Shema?
לא קשיא הא בפרק ראשון הא בפרק שני
The Gemara answers: This is not difficult. This prohibition to interrupt one’s recitation of Shema with a gesture applies in the course of reciting the first paragraph of Shema, which is more fundamental; that case where Rav gestured was in the course of reciting the second paragraph of Shema, where gesturing to convey a significant message is permitted.
ת"ר (דברים ו, ז) ודברת בם בם ולא בתפלה ודברת בם בם יש לך רשות לדבר ולא בדברים אחרים
Apropos interruptions in the course of reciting Shema, the Gemara cites a baraita in which the Sages taught: “And these words, which I command you this day, shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently unto your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you arise” (Deuteronomy 6:6–7). This means that in the course of reciting them, the study of Torah and the recitation of Shema, it is permitted to interrupt to state a significant matter, but not in the course of reciting the Amida prayer, which may not be interrupted for any kind of speech. Another interpretation of the verse is: And you shall talk of them is to emphasize that it is permitted to interrupt Shema to speak these matters of Torah, but not to speak other matters that may lead to levity.
רבי אחא אומר ודברת בם עשה אותן קבע ואל תעשם עראי אמר רבא השח שיחת חולין עובר בעשה שנאמר ודברת בם בם ולא בדברים אחרים רב אחא בר יעקב אמר עובר בלאו שנאמר (קהלת א, ח) כל הדברים יגעים לא יוכל איש לדבר
Rabbi Aḥa says: Talk of them means one must render them, the words of Torah, a permanent fixture, and not render them a temporary exercise. Rava said: One who engages in idle chatter without Torah or any particular purpose violates a positive commandment, as it is stated: And you shall talk of them; talk of them and not of other matters. Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said: Furthermore, one even violates a negative commandment, as it is stated: “All these matters are wearisome; no man can ever state them” (Ecclesiastes 1:7). The phrase: No man can ever state them, is understood as a prohibition against engaging in idle chatter.
מתני׳ בקש להתנמנם פרחי כהונה מכין לפניו באצבע צרדא ואומרים לו אישי כ"ג עמוד והפג אחת על הרצפה ומעסיקין אותו עד שיגיע זמן השחיטה
MISHNA: If the High Priest sought to sleep at night, the young priests would snap the middle [tzerada] finger against the thumb before him, and they would say to him every so often: My Master, High Priest. Stand from your bed and chill yourself once on the floor and overcome your drowsiness. And they would engage him in various ways until the time would arrive to slaughter the daily offering.
גמ׳ מאי צרדא אמר רב יהודה צרתה דדא מאי היא גודל מחוי רב הונא ואזל קלא בכולי בי רב
GEMARA: The Gemara asks: What is the tzerada finger mentioned in the mishna? Rav Yehuda said: It is the rival [tzara] of that [da] one. Which finger is it? Tzerada is the rival of the thumb; it is the middle finger. The middle finger would be strongly positioned against the thumb, and when one separates them, the finger hits the palm, creating a sound. Rav Huna demonstrated the loud noise that could be achieved by snapping with the middle finger, and the sound traveled throughout Rav’s study hall. The sound created was loud enough to keep the High Priest awake.
ואומרים לו אישי כ"ג הפג אחת על הרצפה וכו' אמר רב יצחק על חדת מאי היא אמרי ליה אחוי קידה
It was taught in the mishna that they said to him: My Master, High Priest. Stand from your bed and chill yourself once on the floor and overcome your drowsiness. Rav Yitzḥak said that they said to the High Priest: Introduce something new. The Gemara asks: What is it that they asked him to introduce? They say to him: Demonstrate how to perform the ceremonial bowing [kidda]. This was a form of bowing that was difficult to perform, in which the High Priest was expert. The thought was that the exercise would keep him awake.
ומעסיקין אותו עד שיגיע זמן שחיטה (וכו') תנא לא היו מעסיקין אותו לא בנבל ולא בכנור אלא בפה ומה היו אומרין (תהלים קכז, א) אם ה' לא יבנה בית שוא עמלו בוניו בו
The mishna continues: And they would engage him in different ways until the time to slaughter the daily offering would arrive. It was taught: They would not occupy him with a harp or a lyre, which may not be played on a Festival, but would sing with their mouths. And what would they say? They would say this verse: “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain on it; unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman keeps vigil in vain” (Psalms 127:1). The message to the High Priest was that his service must be performed for the sake of Heaven for it to be accepted by God; otherwise his efforts would be in vain.
מיקירי ירושלים לא היו ישנין כל הלילה כדי שישמע כ"ג קול הברה ולא תהא שינה חוטפתו תניא אבא שאול אמר אף בגבולין היו עושין כן זכר למקדש אלא שהיו חוטאין
The Gemara relates that the prominent men of Jerusalem would not sleep the entire night but instead engaged in Torah study, so that the High Priest would hear the sound of noise in the city and sleep would not overcome him in the silence of the sleeping city. It was taught in a baraita that Abba Shaul said: They would do so even in the outlying areas and stay awake all night in acknowledgment of the Temple; however, the result was that they would sin, as the men and women would participate in games together to pass the time, leading to transgression.
אמר אביי ואיתימא ר"נ בר יצחק תרגומא נהרדעא דא"ל אליהו לרב יהודה אחוה דרב סלא חסידא אמריתו אמאי לא אתי משיח והא האידנא יומא דכיפורי הוא ואבעול כמה בתולתא בנהרדעא אמר ליה הקב"ה מאי אמר אמר ליה
Abaye said, and some say it was Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak who said: Interpret that statement as referring to Neharde’a, as Elijah the Prophet said to Rav Yehuda, brother of Rav Salla Ḥasida: You have said and wondered: Why has the Messiah not come? Why is that surprising? Isn’t today Yom Kippur, and relations were had with several virgins in Neharde’a, as the men and women stayed awake all night and that led to promiscuity? Rav Yehuda said to him: What did the Holy One, Blessed be He, say about those sins committed by the Jewish people? He said: This is what God said: