QUESTIONS: The Beraisa states that when the Payesos were done, the Zaken sat in the western part of the Lishkas ha'Gazis and the Payis was done in the eastern part. Half of the Lishkah was in an unsanctified area of the Azarah, and half was in a sanctified area.
(a) Which half of the Lishkas ha'Gazis was built in an unsanctified area?
(b) How could half of the Lishkas ha'Gazis be built in a sanctified area? The Gemara says that the Lishkas ha'Gazis was built like a "basilica," which Rashi explains is a house on the upper story of another structure. The Gemara in Pesachim (86a) says that roofs and upper stories of structures in the Azarah were not sanctified. How, then, could any part of the Lishkas ha'Gazis be sanctified?
The Gemara earlier (19a) lists the Lishkas ha'Gazis as one of the Lishkos on the northern side of the Azarah. It is possible that it straddled the border of the Azarah, so that half of it was north of the Azarah on Har ha'Bayis (and not sanctified) and half (the southern half) was in the Azarah. The Zaken sat on the western side of the half of the Lishkah which extended beyond the northern border of the Azarah, and thus the Kohanim sat in the unsanctified part (as it is forbidden to sit in the sanctified part of the Azarah). The Payis was done in the eastern side of the southern half of the Lishkah, the half which was in the Azarah and was sanctified.
The EZRAS KOHANIM asks why the Zaken was required to sit specifically in the western side of the northern half of the Azarah. Since the entire northern half of the Lishkah was not sanctified, the Zaken could have sat in the eastern side as well! Similarly, why was it necessary to perform the Payis specifically in the eastern side of the part of the Lishkah which was in the Azarah? The entire southern half of the Lishkah was in the Azarah, and thus the Payis could have been done anywhere throughout that area!
Perhaps the answer is that the Chachamim wanted the Zaken to be as close to the Shechinah as possible, and thus they instituted that he sit in the western side of the Lishkah, which was closer to the Kodesh ha'Kodashim (which was in the west of the Azarah). In contrast, the Chachamim wanted the Payis to be done as far away from the Shechinah as possible, because "it is not respectful for a crowd to congregate in the place of the Shechinah," as the Gemara says later (26a).
This is the opinion of most of the Acharonim. However, the RAMBAM (Perush ha'Mishnayos, end of Midos) writes based on the Gemara here that the western side was unsanctified in order for the Zaken to sit there, while the eastern side (where the Payis was done) was sanctified and thus the Kohanim had to stand while they were there. How is it possible that the western side of the Lishkah was unsanctified if the Lishkas ha'Gazis was in the eastern part of the Azarah? The eastern side of the Lishkah is the only part that could possibly have been unsanctified (as it could have protruded past the eastern border of the Azarah). How could the western side of the Lishkah be unsanctified?
The EZRAS KOHANIM (Midos 5:4) suggests that the Lishkas ha'Gazis was not in the north-eastern part of the Azarah. Rather, it was set apart from the other Lishkos and was in the north-*western* part of the Azarah. If it was built along the western wall of the Azarah, its western section may have protruded beyond the western wall of the Azarah, and thus that section was outside of the Azarah. It was in that half of the Lishkah, which was not in the Azarah, that the Zaken sat.
(b) The EZRAS KOHANIM and SHILTEI GIBORIM (in Midos) point out that the ground level of Har ha'Bayis was much lower than that of the Azarah. Consequently, if the Lishkas ha'Gazis extended northward from within the Azarah, passing the border of the Azarah to the area over Har ha'Bayis, then the part of the Lishkah that extended over Har ha'Bayis would be much higher than the ground level of Har ha'Bayis. When the Gemara says that the Lishkas ha'Gazis was like a "basilica," it refers to the side of the Lishkah that protruded from the Azarah over Har ha'Bayis; that part of the Lishkah was much higher than the ground level, like an upper story, or "basilica." However, since it was on level ground with the Azarah, it would have been sanctified if not for the doorway that led out to Har ha'Bayis, because the Gemara in Pesachim (86a) says that any upper story on ground level with the Azarah is sanctified.
2) THE "MACHTAH" MAKES A PERSON WEALTHY
The Gemara says that if not for Rebbi Yehudah's statement, one might have thought that the Avodah of the Machtah should have its own Payis, because whoever performed the Avodah of the Machtah would become wealthy. In order to give every Kohen the opportunity to perform this infrequent Avodah and become wealthy, perhaps it should have its own Payis.
From where does the Gemara know that the Kohen who performs the Avodah of the Machtah becomes wealthy? RASHI refers to the Gemara later (26a), but the Gemara there says that the Ketores makes a person wealthy. It makes no mention of the Machtah.
ANSWER: The Tana of this Beraisa maintains that the Machtah, like the Ketores, also makes a Kohen wealthy, as the Yerushalmi says (quoted by the TOSFOS YESHANIM, end of 26b). The verse that teaches that the Ketores makes one wealthy, "Barech Hash-m Cheilo" (Devarim 33:11), concludes with the words, "u'Fo'al Yadav Tirtzeh," which teach that the Machtah makes one wealthy.
This is why the Kohen who would perform the Machtah was selected only by the third Payis. Only Kohanim who had never been selected to perform the Avodah of the Ketores or Machtah were permitted to participate in that Payis.
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