שלא כסדר והחזירו לו כסדר וכיון שידע ששאל שלא כסדר חזר ושאל כסדר שנאמר (שמואל א כג, יב) היסגירו בעלי קעילה אותי ואת אנשי ביד שאול ויאמר ה' יסגירו
out of order and he was answered in order. He should have asked first whether Saul would come down, and afterward what the people of Keilah would do. And once he realized that he had asked out of order he went back and asked in order, as it is stated immediately afterward: “Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And God said: They will deliver you” (I Samuel 23:12).
ואם הוצרך הדבר לשנים מחזירין לו שנים שנאמר (שמואל א ל, ח) וישאל דוד בה' לאמר הארדוף אחרי הגדוד הזה האשיגנו ויאמר (ה') לו רדוף כי השג תשיג והצל תציל
But if the matter is urgent and requires asking two questions simultaneously, there being no time to follow the standard protocol, one may ask both questions simultaneously and he is answered with regard to the two questions together, as it is stated: “And David asked of God, saying: Shall I pursue after this troop? Will I overtake them? And He answered him: Pursue, for you will surely overtake them, and will surely rescue” (I Samuel 30:8).
ואף על פי שגזירת נביא חוזרת גזירת אורים ותומים אינה חוזרת שנאמר (במדבר כז, כא) במשפט האורים
The Gemara notes the reliability of the Urim VeTummim: Even though a decree of a prophet can be retracted, as sometimes a dire prophecy is stated as a warning and does not come true, a decree of the Urim VeTummim cannot be retracted. As it is stated: “By the judgment of the Urim” (Numbers 27:21). The use of the term judgment suggests that the decree is as final as a judicial decision.
למה נקרא שמן אורים ותומים אורים שמאירין את דבריהן תומים שמשלימין את דבריהן
Why is it called Urim VeTummim? Urim, which is based on the word or, light, is so called because it illuminates and explains its words. Tummim, which is based on the word tam, completed, is because it fulfills its words, which always come true.
וא"ת בגבעת בנימין מפני מה לא השלימו
And if you say: In the battles following the incidents in Gibeah of Benjamin (Judges 19–20), why did the Urim VeTummim not fulfill its words? The Jewish People consulted the Urim VeTummim three times with regard to their decision to attack the tribe of Benjamin, and each time they were instructed to go to battle. However, the first two times they were defeated and only on the third attempt were they successful. Is this not proof that the UrimVeTummim does not always fulfill its words?
הם שלא ביחנו אם לנצח אם להנצח ובאחרונה שביחנו הסכימו שנאמר (שופטים כ, כח) ופנחס בן אלעזר בן אהרן עומד לפניו בימים ההם לאמר האוסיף עוד לצאת למלחמה עם בני בנימין אחי אם אחדל ויאמר ה' עלו כי מחר אתננו בידך
The Gemara answers: The first two times they did not check with the Urim VeTummim whether they would be victorious or be defeated but only inquired how and whether they should go to battle. Had they asked, they indeed would have been told that they would not succeed. But on the last time, when they did check and inquire whether they would be successful, the UrimVeTummim agreed with them that they should go to battle and that they would succeed, as it is stated: “And Pinehas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days, saying: Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And God said: Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver him into your hand” (Judges 20:28).
כיצד נעשית רבי יוחנן אומר בולטות ריש לקיש אומר מצטרפות
How is it done? How does the Urim VeTummim provide an answer? The names of the twelve tribes were engraved upon the stones of the breastplate. These letters allowed for the answer to be received. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: The letters of the answer protrude, and the priest then combines those letters to form words in order to ascertain the message. Reish Lakish says: The letters rearrange themselves and join together to form words.
והא לא כתיב בהו צד"י אמר רב שמואל בר יצחק אברהם יצחק ויעקב כתיב שם והא לא כתיב טי"ת אמר רב אחא בר יעקב שבטי ישורון כתיב שם
The Gemara asks: How was it possible to receive an answer to every question? But the letter tzadi is not written within the names of the twelve tribes engraved on the breastplate’s stones. Rav Shmuel bar Yitzḥak said: The names Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were also written there. The name Yitzḥak, Isaac, contains the letter tzadi. The Gemara asks again: But surely the letter tet was not written on the breastplate, since it is not found in the names of the Patriarchs nor in the names of the twelve tribes. Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said: Shivtei Yeshurun, the tribes of Jeshurun, was also written there. The word shivtei, tribes, contains the letter tet. In this way the entire alphabet was represented.
מיתיבי כל כהן שאינו מדבר ברוח הקודש ושכינה שורה עליו אין שואלין בו שהרי שאל צדוק ועלתה לו אביתר ולא עלתה לו שנאמר (שמואל ב טו, כד) ויעל אביתר עד תום כל העם וגו'
The Gemara raises an objection from a baraita: Any priest who does not speak with Divine Spirit and upon whom the Divine Presence does not rest is not consulted to inquire of the Urim VeTummim. As Zadok inquired of the Urim VeTummim and it was effective for him, and he received an answer; but Ebiathar inquired and it was not effective for him, and he did not receive an answer. As it is stated: “But Ebiathar went up until all the people had finished” (II Samuel 15:24), which is taken to mean that he was removed from the High Priesthood since the Divine Spirit had departed from him.
סיועי הוה מסייע בהדייהו
The Gemara asks: If it is true that the letters of the breastplate protrude or even join together to form the answer, why does the High Priest need the Divine Spirit and Divine Presence to be with him? And if he has the Divine Spirit and Divine Presence with him, why does he need the Urim VeTummim? The Gemara answers: The Divine Spirit assisted the Urim VeTummim. In other words, the letters formed the answer only if the High Priest himself was worthy, but his divine inspiration was not great enough to provide an answer without them.
ואין שואלין אלא למלך מנא הני מילי אמר רבי אבהו דאמר קרא (במדבר כז, כא) ולפני אלעזר הכהן יעמד ושאל לו במשפט האורים וגו' הוא זה מלך וכל [בני] ישראל אתו זה משוח מלחמה וכל העדה זו סנהדרין
§ It was taught in the mishna: And the High Priest may be consulted for the decision of the Urim VeTummim only on behalf of the king, or on behalf of the president of the court, or on behalf of one whom the community needs. From where are these matters derived? Rabbi Abbahu said that the verse states: “And he shall stand before Elazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before God; by his mouth they shall go out, and by his mouth they shall come in, both he and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation” (Numbers 27:21). Each phrase describes a different circumstance in which the Urim VeTummim may be consulted: “He”; this is a reference to a king, as “he” refers to Joshua, who had the status of a king. “All the children of Israel with him”; this is a reference to the priest anointed for war, as all of the Jewish people follow him to war according to his instruction. “Even all the congregation”; this is a reference to the Sanhedrin, who are the heads of the Jewish people.
הדרן עלך בא לו כהן גדול
מתני׳ יום הכפורים אסור באכילה ובשתיה וברחיצה ובסיכה ובנעילת הסנדל ובתשמיש המטה והמלך והכלה ירחצו את פניהם והחיה תנעול את הסנדל דברי רבי אליעזר וחכמים אוסרין
MISHNA: On Yom Kippur, the day on which there is a mitzva by Torah law to afflict oneself, it is prohibited to engage in eating and in drinking, and in bathing, and in smearing oil on one’s body, and in wearing shoes, and in conjugal relations. However, the king, in deference to his eminence, and a new bride within thirty days of her marriage, who wishes to look especially attractive at the beginning of her relationship with her husband, may wash their faces on Yom Kippur. A woman after childbirth, who is suffering, may wear shoes because going barefoot causes her pain. This is the statement of Rabbi Eliezer. The Rabbis prohibit these activities for a king, a new bride, and a woman after childbirth.
האוכל ככותבת הגסה כמוה וכגרעינתה והשותה מלא לוגמיו חייב כל האוכלים מצטרפין לככותבת וכל המשקין מצטרפין למלא לוגמיו האוכל ושותה אין מצטרפין
The mishna elaborates: One who eats a large date-bulk of food, equivalent to a date and its pit, or who drinks a cheekful of liquid on Yom Kippur is liable to receive the punishment of karet for failing to fulfill the mitzva to afflict oneself on Yom Kippur. All foods that one eats join together to constitute a date-bulk; and all liquids that one drinks join together to constitute a cheekful. However, if one eats and drinks, the food and beverage do not join together to constitute a measure that determines liability, as each is measured separately.
גמ׳ אסור ענוש כרת הוא אמר רבי אילא ואיתימא רבי ירמיה לא נצרכה אלא לחצי שיעור
GEMARA: The Gemara expresses surprise at the mishna’s terminology, which states that it is prohibited to eat and drink on Yom Kippur. Why does the mishna use the word prohibited, which indicates that these activities are only sinful? It is, after all, punishable by karet if he eats, and the mishna should have used the more accurate word liable. Rabbi Ila said, and some say that Rabbi Yirmeya said: This term is needed only for a half-measure, meaning that if one eats less than the amount that incurs the punishment of karet, he still violates a prohibition.
הניחא למאן דאמר חצי שיעור אסור מן התורה אלא למאן דאמר חצי שיעור מותר מן התורה מאי איכא למימר
The Gemara asks: This explanation works out well according to the one who said that a half-measure is prohibited by Torah law even though it does not incur a punishment. But according to the one who says that a half-measure is permitted by Torah law, and that it is the Sages who prohibit eating less than a full measure, what is there to say about the terminology?
דאיתמר חצי שיעור רבי יוחנן אמר אסור מן התורה ריש לקיש אמר מותר מן התורה הניחא לרבי יוחנן אלא לריש לקיש מאי איכא למימר מודה ריש לקיש שאסור מדרבנן
The Gemara explains: as it was stated that amora’im debated the nature of a half-measure of a forbidden substance: Rabbi Yoḥanan said: It is prohibited by Torah law, and the Torah prohibits even a minute amount of forbidden substance. Reish Lakish said: It is permitted by Torah law. This explanation works out well according to the opinion of Rabbi Yoḥanan. However, according to the opinion of Reish Lakish, what can be said? The Gemara answers: Reish Lakish concedes that a half-measure is prohibited by rabbinic law. If so, Reish Lakish, too, will say that eating or drinking a half-measure is prohibited on Yom Kippur, by rabbinic law.
אי הכי לא ניחייב עליה קרבן שבועה אלמא תנן שבועה שלא אוכל ואכל נבילות וטריפות שקצים ורמשים חייב ורבי שמעון פוטר
The Gemara asks: If so, if according to Reish Lakish there is a rabbinic prohibition to eat a half-measure, one should not be liable to bring an offering for breaking an oath to eat a half-measure of forbidden foods. Why, then, did we learn in a mishna otherwise: He who swore the following oath, an oath that I will not eat, and then ate unslaughtered animal carcasses, tereifot, reptiles, or creeping animals, he is liable to bring an offering for violating his oath. Rabbi Shimon exempts him.
והוינן בה אמאי חייב מושבע ועומד מהר סיני הוא רב ושמואל ורבי יוחנן דאמרי בכולל דברים המותרים עם דברים האסורין
And we discussed it: Why should he be liable for breaking an oath? He was already sworn and obligated at Mount Sinai, along with the rest of the Jewish people, not to eat these things. According to halakha, an oath does not take effect if it contradicts a previously existing oath. The second oath to not eat has no effect in terms of eating forbidden foods, so why should one be liable for breaking it? Rav, and Shmuel, and Rabbi Yoḥanan say with regard to this: Here we are dealing with a case where one includes permitted foods with forbidden foods. This means that had one sworn only not to eat unslaughtered animal carcasses or tereifot and then ate them, he would not be liable for breaking the oath because he was already sworn not to eat those foods. However, if one swore not to eat at all, his oath takes effect on permitted foods. Consequently, if he eats any food he is liable.
וריש לקיש אמר אי אתה מוצא אלא במפרש חצי שיעור ואליבא דרבנן או בסתם
And Reish Lakish said: The only application of this mishna you will find is in a case where one explicitly says that he will not eat a half-measure, and this is in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis. They say that when one swears that he will not eat, he prohibits himself only from eating a whole measure of food. If he eats a half-measure, he has not violated a prohibition. Therefore, in order for a half-measure to be prohibited, he needs to specify this in his oath. Or, you find it in the case of one who makes no specification at all of a half-measure,