1) "SHIRAH" WITH "NESACHIM"
The Gemara asks about whether Nesachim that are brought alone, without accompanying a Korban, require that the Leviyim sing Shirah when they are brought. RASHI
(DH Nesachim) explain that the Gemara is asking about a Korban Tzibur whose Nesachim were not brought on the same day as the Korban itself (see Insights to Menachos 44:3
for a discussion of the exact source in the verses for the Halachah that permits the Korban to be offered separate from the Nesachim). The Gemara is asking that perhaps the Leviyim should sing Shirah because the Nesachim are being poured, as Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmani stated earlier (11a) that Shirah should be said over wine. On the other hand, it is possible that Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmani's intent was that only when a Korban is brought with wine is Shirah recited, but not when wine is brought by itself. The Gemara does not give a conclusive answer.
The RAMBAM (Hilchos Klei ha'Mikdash 3:2) rules that when Nesachim are brought by themselves, Shirah is not said. What is the Rambam's source for his ruling?
(a) The KESEF MISHNEH explains that since the Rambam saw no clear Halachic conclusion in the Gemara, he ruled leniently and wrote that Shirah is not required.
The CHIDUSHIM U'VI'URIM has difficulty with this explanation for the Rambam. The requirement to say Shirah when a Korban is offered is mid'Oraisa. Accordingly, the doubt whether Shirah is said when only Nesachim are brought is a Safek d'Oraisa, in which case Shirah should be required out of doubt (because of the rule, "Safek d'Oraisa l'Chumra")!
One cannot answer that there is a prohibition against saying Shirah when there is no obligation to do so, because Reish Lakish teaches (11b) that a Levi is allowed to say Shirah even when a Korban is not brought, and no one argues with Reish Lakish. Why, then, does the Rambam rule leniently? (The Chidushim u'Vi'urim suggests other possible sources for the Rambam's ruling, but he concludes that there is no clear source.)
(b) The SIMCHAS OLAM (Hilchos Klei ha'Mikdash 3:2) writes that the Rambam's source is the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (30b). The Mishnah there states that, originally, Beis Din would accept witnesses who testify about the sighting of the new moon all day on the last possible day of the month. However, it happened once that no witnesses came during the first part of the day, and the Leviyim, assuming that no witnesses were coming (and that only the following day would be Rosh Chodesh), sang the wrong Shirah. It was the thirtieth day of Elul. If witnesses come on that day, then that day is declared the first of Tishrei, or Rosh Hashanah. If no witnesses come on that day, then that day remains an ordinary day (the last day of Elul), and the following day is Rosh Hashanah. One particular year, it happened that no witnesses came before the Korban Tamid Bein ha'Arbayim was brought. The Leviyim were unsure about whether they should sing the Shirah of an ordinary day or the Shirah of Yom Tov (see Rashi to Rosh Hashanah 30b, DH she'Lo Amru). One opinion in the Gemara there explains that due to the confusion, they ended up not saying Shirah at all.
The Simchas Olam understands that they brought the afternoon Korban Tamid with a condition (Al Tenai). They stated that "if today is an ordinary day, then this Korban should be the Tamid of Bein ha'Arbayim. If today is Rosh Hashanah, then the Korban should be a Nidvas Tzibur (donation from the public)." If the Korban was a Tamid, then it required Shirah. If it was a Nidvas Tzibur, then it did not require Shirah. Even though there was a doubt about whether Shirah should be said, they did not say Shirah out of doubt. This is the source for the Rambam's ruling that when there is a doubt about whether the Shirah should be said, the Leviyim should conduct themselves leniently and not recite the Shirah.
2) THE SEVENTH YEAR
QUESTION: The Gemara explains that the Jews of Yerushalayim were exiled seven years after Nevuchadnetzar's original conquest of Yehudah (Judea), which was under the leadership of King Yehoyakim.
When RASHI (DH Kivesh) relates the year-by-year account of events, however, there seem to be only six years between Yehoyakim's downfall and the exile of Judea (see Chart).
As Rashi writes (based on SEDER OLAM, ch. 25), Nevuchadnetzar captured Yerushalayim during Yehoyakim's fifth year (out of his eleven-year reign) and appointed Yehoyakim to continue to rule as a vassal king. Yehoyakim ruled in this manner for three years, and then he rebelled against Nevuchadnetzar for three years, after which Nevuchadnetzar recaptured Yerushalayim and dethroned Yehoyakim, who died while being dragged to Bavel (Yirmeyahu 22:19; see also Rashi to Megilah 11b, DH Sheniyah).
Although it is true that the exile did not actually begin at the time of Yehoyakim's death, but it began at the time of the death of his son, Yehoyachin (who was appointed to rule in his father's place by Nevuchadnetzar), the verse specifies that Yehoyachin ruled for only three months and ten days before he was exiled with the rest of the people of Yehudah (Divrei ha'Yamim II 36:9). How are we to account for the "seventh year" that the Gemara mentions? (See RASHASH.)
(a) RASHI (in Erchin and Megilah) implies that Yehoyakim actually ruled for eleven years and nine months, and not just eleven years exactly. Since his son finished the last three months of the twelfth year, the year was counted towards the son's reign rather than towards the father's reign. The seventh year thus was comprised of Yehoyakim's nine months and his son's three months.
Alternatively, there were nine months during which nobody was appointed as king until Yehoyachin was appointed by Nevuchadnetzar. (This is what the verse means when it says that Nevuchadnetzar returned and banished Yehoyachin "at the turn of the year" -- that is, one full year from the exile and death of Yehoyakim. See VILNA GA'ON in IMREI NO'AM, Rosh Hashanah 3a.)
(b) From the words of the IBN EZRA (Daniel 1:1) and RADAK (Divrei ha'Yamim II 36:6), it appears that Yehoyakim was taken to Bavel immediately upon his original capture, where he remained imprisoned for one year. Only after that year did Nevuchadnetzar return Yehoyakim to the throne as a vassal king. Accordingly, this year in prison accounts for the missing seventh year. (This may be the intention of TOSFOS (DH Iy Hachi) as well.)
(According to this view, Nevuchadnetzar conquered Yehoyakim at the beginning of his fifth year of reign -- i.e. at the end of the fourth -- and not at the end of the fifth, as Rashi explains.) (M. KORNFELD)
3) THE FAMILY OF "PASHCHUR"
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes a Beraisa that states that four families of Kohanim went from Bavel to Eretz Yisrael at the time of the rebuilding of the Beis ha'Mikdash: Yedayah, Charim, Pashchur, and Imer. The Nevi'im among them divided them into twenty-four separate Mishmaros.
RASHI in Ta'anis (27a, DH Pashchur v'Imer) writes that he does not know the source of the Beraisa for the family of Pashchur, since it is not listed with the other families of the Mishmaros in Divrei ha'Yamim I (ch. 24). What is the source that the Pashchur family of Kohanim returned to Eretz Yisrael at the time of the rebuilding of the Beis ha'Mikdash?
(a) The MAHARSHA in Ta'anis answers that Pashchur, the son of Imer, is listed as a Kohen in the times of Yirmeyahu (see Yirmeyahu ch. 20). While this implies that Pashchur was part of the family of Imer and not a separate family, it is possible that because he had such a large family he became known as a family unto himself. Proof that he indeed had a large family is the Gemara in Kidushin (70b) that states that his family had four thousand servants that became intermingled (married with) the Kohanim.
(b) The SEFAS EMES in Ta'anis challenges the Maharsha's explanation. Yirmeyahu told Pashchur (who seems to have been a Rasha) that he would be exiled to Bavel along with the rest of the exiles (Yirmeyahu 20:6). Since the exile of Bavel lasted for seventy years, how is it possible that only seventy years after the exile this same Pashchur had a family that grew to a number of 1,147 people (as mentioned in Ezra 2:38)? Moreover, sine this Pashchur was a Rasha, as the Gemara in Kidushin implies (his family intermarried with servants), why was a Mishmar of Kohanim named after him?
The Sefas Emes therefore suggests that the Pashchur that the Beraisa mentions is Pashchur the son of Malkiyah, who is listed in Yirmeyahu (21:1, 38:1), Nechemyah (11:12), and Divrei ha'Yamim I (9:12). Although the verse in Divrei ha'Yamim lists his father, Malkiyah, as the head of one of the Mishmaros (for a list of the Mishmaros, see Background to Erchin 11:22
), it is possible that the Mishmar eventually became known in the times of Ezra by the name of Malkiyah's son, Pashchur. (Y. MONTROSE