1) HALACHAH: THE KEDUSHAH OF ERETZ YISRAEL AND YERUSHALAYIM TODAY
OPINIONS: In his original statement, Rebbi Yitzchak said that one is permitted to offer a Korban on a Bamah today (after the Churban of the Beis ha'Mikdash). The Gemara asserts that he maintains that "Kedushah Rishonah" (the original Kedushah with which Yehoshua sanctified the land) was not permanent ("Lo Kidshah l'Asid la'Vo"). However, Rebbi Yitzchak rescinded his opinion when proof against it was cited from the Mishnah here, which says that Bamos became prohibited after the fall of Yerushalayim, and from the Mishnah in Zevachim which says that Bamos became prohibited from the time the Jews sanctified Yerushalayim.
According to some Rishonim (see RITVA), the Gemara is saying that the prohibition of Bamos depends on whether the Kedushah Rishonah was temporary or permanent. Rebbi Yitzchak originally maintained that the Kedushah Rishonah was temporary (and thus Bamos are permitted). He then retracted his opinion and maintained that the Kedushah Rishonah was permanent (and thus Bamos are prohibited).
According to others (see TOSFOS), Rebbi Yitzchak never retracted his opinion that the Kedushah Rishonah was temporary. Rather, he originally maintained that the prohibition of Bamos depends on the presence of Kedushah Rishonah (and thus Bamos are permitted, since the Kedushah Rishonah departed at the time of the Churban). He then changed his mind and maintained that the prohibition of Bamos does not depend on the Kedushah Rishonah (and thus Bamos are prohibited even though the Kedushah Rishonah is no longer present).
The Rishonim discuss the implications of whether the Kedushah Rishonah was temporary or permanent, and they distinguish between various types of Kedushah.
(a) TOSFOS (DH Mai Ta'ama) asks why Rebbi Yitzchak retracted his opinion after he was challenged from the Mishnayos which contradict him. He obviously knew the Mishnayos, and he also knew that the question whether the Kedushah Rishonah was temporary or permanent is the subject of a Machlokes Tana'im, as the Gemara proceeds to discuss. Why, then, did he retract his original opinion after he was challenged from the Mishnayos? He should have answered simply that he follows those Tana'im who maintain that the Kedushah Rishonah was temporary.
Tosfos and others answer that there is a difference between the Kedushah of Yerushalayim with regard to offering a Korban on a Bamah outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash, and the Kedushah with regard to the other Halachos which depend on the Kedushah of Yerushalayim, such as offering a Korban in Yerushalayim upon the place of the Mizbe'ach, eating Kodshim Kalim and Ma'aser Sheni in Yerushalayim, and whether home-purchases are subject to the Halachos of Batei Arei Chomah.
Tosfos asserts that the dispute about whether the Kedushah Rishonah was permanent or not applies only to the latter Halachos. As far as the prohibition of Bamos is concerned, everyone agrees that a Bamah remains prohibited even after Yerushalayim loses its Kedushah. The Torah gives no allowance for Bamos after Korbanos have been offered upon the Mizbe'ach in Yerushalayim, regardless of whether or not the city still has Kedushah.
(b) The Rishonim further distinguish between the Halachos which depend on the Kedushah of the Beis ha'Mikdash and of the city walls, and those which depend on the Kedushah of Eretz Yisrael. All of the Mitzvos ha'Teluyos ba'Aretz, such as Terumos, Ma'aseros, Chalah, Orlah, Leket, Shemitah, Yovel, and Bikurim depend on the Kedushah of Eretz Yisrael.
The RAMBAM (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 6:16) rules that the Kedushah Rishonah remains in effect with regard to all Halachos associated with Yerushalayim and the Beis ha'Mikdash. In contrast, all matters that are not associated with Kedushas Yerushalayim and Kedushas ha'Bayis but with Kedushas ha'Aretz are no longer practiced because the Kedushah of Eretz Yisrael is no longer in effect. This is also the ruling of TOSFOS in Yevamos (82b).
The Rambam explains that the reason for this distinction is that the Kedushah of Yerushalayim depends on the Shechinah dwelling there. Even though Yerushalayim is in ruins, the Shechinah has not departed from there. The Kedushah of Eretz Yisrael, however, depends on Eretz Yisrael being under the jurisdiction of the Jewish people. Once Eretz Yisrael is no longer in Jewish hands, it loses its Kedushah. Tosfos cites verses to support this distinction and to prove that Kedushas Yerushalayim is permanent.
Other Rishonim, however, make the opposite distinction. TOSFOS in Makos (19a) writes that Kedushas ha'Aretz, upon which the laws of Terumos and Ma'aseros depend, may have remained in effect even after Eretz Yisrael fell into foreign hands at the time of Galus Bavel, while the Kedushah of the Beis ha'Mikdash was temporary and is no longer in effect. Apparently, this view maintains that the Kedushah of the Beis ha'Mikdash does not depend on the presence of the Shechinah but on the worthiness of the Jewish people. When the Jewish people sin, the place of the Shechinah loses its Kedushah.
(c) These opinions discuss the Kedushah Rishonah, the sanctification of Eretz Yisrael that was done when Yehoshua entered the land. However, the land was sanctified again at a later time with another Kedushah. When the people returned from the Galus in Bavel, Ezra re-sanctified the land. Even if the Halachah follows the opinion that the Kedushah Rishonah was temporary, the Gemara in Yevamos (82b) considers the possibility that the second Kedushah (Kedushah Sheniyah), with which Ezra sanctified the land when it was resettled by the returnees from Bavel, is permanent and remains until today.
The RAMBAM (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 6:16 and Hilchos Terumos 1:5) explains the logic behind the view that the Kedushah Sheniyah is permanent while the Kedushah Rishonah was temporary. The Kedushah with which Yehoshua sanctified the land was a result of the conquest of the land. Consequently, when the land was conquered by foreign nations and taken away from the Jewish people, its Kedushah departed. The Kedushah of Ezra, however, came about as a result of a formal acquisition of the land when the nations returned the land to the Jewish people (and a legal "Chazakah" was made on the land, as the Rambam writes). Therefore, even if the land is subsequently taken away from the Jewish people by force, it retains its Kedushah because the legal transfer of ownership through acquisition remains binding.
When the Gemara here discusses the prohibition against offering a Korban on a Bamah, it assumes that if the Kedushah Rishonah was not permanent, then Kedushas ha'Bayis was also annulled. Why does the Gemara not consider the possibility that Ezra's Kedushah was permanent? TOSFOS (DH Lamah) and others explain that even if the Kedushah Sheniyah is more lasting, it is more lasting only insofar as Kedushas ha'Aretz is concerned; it is not more lasting when it comes to Kedushas ha'Bayis. (This may be understood based on the Rambam's line of reasoning: since the nations willingly returned the land to the Jewish people, it retains Kedushas ha'Aretz even after it is subsequently taken away by force. However, the Kedushah of the walled city of Yerushalayim is no stronger merely because the land was returned to the Jews willingly.)
The RA'AVAD (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah, ibid.) gives the reason for why Ezra's Kedushas ha'Bayis is not permanent (while the Kedushas ha'Aretz is). He explains that Ezra himself did not give it a permanent Kedushah when he returned from Bavel. Ezra sanctified only the land with a permanent Kedushah, with regard to Terumos and Ma'aseros, but he did not give the city a permanent Kedushah because he knew that Yerushalayim and the Beis ha'Mikdash would be destroyed again and that there would be a much greater (and permanent) Kedushah when the third Beis ha'Mikdash would be built. (The Ra'avad writes that this explanation was "revealed to me through the secrets revealed to those who fear Hash-m.")
(d) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Terumos 1:26) makes a further distinction between the Kedushah of the land with regard to Terumah and the Kedushah with regard to all other Mitzvos ha'Teluyos ba'Aretz. The Rambam writes that with regard to Terumah the verse says, "When you come into the land..." (the Acharonim write that the Rambam's reference is to the verse, "Upon your entry (b'Vo'achem) to the land" in Bamidbar 15:18, which is written with regard to Chalah), which implies that all of the Jewish people must be living in the land in order for the obligation of Terumah to be in effect. In the times of Ezra only part of the Jewish people were living in Eretz Yisrael. Accordingly, today the obligation to separate Terumah is only mid'Rabanan even according to the opinion that the Kedushah Sheniyah was permanent with regard to other Mitzvos ha'Teluyos ba'Aretz. The Rambam adds that "it appears to me that the same ruling should apply to Ma'aseros" as well as Terumah. (However, the Rambam elsewhere (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 6:16) implies that the obligation of Ma'aseros is mid'Oraisa today; see RADVAZ, Hilchos Terumos 1:5, and Acharonim.)
HALACHAH: The ruling of the Rambam is cited as the Halachah in both regards -- the difference between Kedushah Rishonah with regard to matters that depend on the city of Yerushalayim and matters that depend on the land, and the difference between Terumah and all other Mitzvos ha'Teluyos ba'Aretz.
Therefore, in practice the Kedushah Rishonah is permanent for matters of the Beis ha'Mikdash and Yerushalayim (SHULCHAN ARUCH YD 331:135, MAGEN AVRAHAM, MISHNAH BERURAH OC 561:1) but not for matters that depend on the land. Consequently, today one is forbidden (with a Chiyuv Kares) to enter the area of the Beis ha'Mikdash when he is Tamei. With regard to Terumos and Ma'aseros, the SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 331:2) rules that the Kedushah of the land is not in effect and thus the obligation to separate Terumos and Ma'aseros is only mid'Rabanan, as the Rambam writes. The REMA writes that this is the practice today.
2) AGADAH: REJOICING AT THE DOWNFALL OF THE WICKED
QUESTION: The Gemara relates that Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi introduced his discourse on Megilas Esther by expounding the verse, "And it will be that just as Hash-m rejoiced over you to do goodness with you... so Hash-m will rejoice over you to harm you" (Devarim 28:63). Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi teaches that Hash-m Himself does not rejoice when the wicked are destroyed. However, He causes others to rejoice at the downfall of the wicked.
If Hash-m does not rejoice when His handiwork is destroyed, why does He cause others to rejoice over it?
ANSWER: The words of the Gemara may be explained as follows.
The verse says, "'Do I desire the death of the wicked man?' asks Hash-m. 'It is the return of the wicked man from his evil ways that I desire, so that he might live!'" (Yechezkel 18:23). Hash-m prefers that a person repent and realize his full potential rather than be destroyed as a result of his sins. For this reason, Hash-m does not rejoice when the time comes to punish the evildoers. Nevertheless, it is appropriate for the people who were threatened by the evildoer to rejoice when he is punished, for they now find themselves delivered from harm. They certainly are expected to express their gratefulness to Hash-m for saving them.
This is evident in the first two cases cited by the Gemara as proof that Hash-m does not rejoice at the downfall of the wicked. Although Yehoshafat's singers omitted a few words of praise, they did sing other praises to Hash-m for their victory. They omitted only the phrase "for it is good [in His eyes]," which implies that what happened was good in the eyes of Hash-m. Similarly, at the splitting of the Sea, the Jewish people -- who had just been miraculously saved from certain death at the hands of the Egyptians -- did sing praise to Hash-m for their salvation (Shemos 15). It was only the Mal'achim who were reprimanded when they attempted to sing Hash-m's praises, because there was no joy before Hash-m at that time.
These two cases show that although Hash-m does not rejoice when the wicked are punished, He does expect the beneficiaries of the downfall of the wicked to rejoice.
However, this assertion of the Gemara contradicts the Midrash. The Midrash teaches that the reason why [the full] Hallel is not recited on the last six days of Pesach is because the Egyptians drowned in the Sea on the seventh day of Pesach, and Hash-m said, "Although they were My enemies, I wrote in My writings (Mishlei 24:17), 'Do not rejoice at the downfall of your enemy'" (Yalkut Shimoni, Mishlei 2:960). The Midrash clearly states that even those who were saved from the hands of the Egyptians should refrain from expressing joy (by reciting Hallel) at their downfall.
How is the Gemara here, which asserts that Hash-m does expect others to rejoice when the wicked are destroyed, to be reconciled with the Midrash? (MAHARSHA to Berachos 9b and Sanhedrin 39b, TZELACH to Berachos 10a and 51b)
There is another, more obvious problem with the Midrash. If it is considered inappropriate for the Jews to praise Hash-m for the death of the Egyptians, why did they sing praise to Hash-m at the Sea (Shemos 15), and why do we recite this same song of praise as part of the daily prayers?
The answer is that there is a fundamental difference between the song of "Az Yashir" (Shemos 15) and the praise of Hallel. In Hallel, the verse, "Praise Hash-m, for it is good [in His eyes], for His mercy is forever," is recited several times. The phrase "for it is good" is precisely the expression which the singers of Yehoshafat omitted from their song, as the Gemara says. These are the words which imply that Hash-m is pleased with what has occurred (Rashi DH Hodu). Perhaps the Midrash means that specifically the praise of Hallel, with its implication of Divine pleasure, is an inappropriate form of thanksgiving on this occasion. The song of "Az Yashir," in contrast, contains no such implication, and thus it is an appropriate expression of praise on this occasion.
(This approach is apparent in the words of the Midrash. The Midrash says, "... although they were My enemies I wrote... 'Do not rejoice at the downfall of your enemy.'" The Midrash stresses that the Egyptians were the enemies of Hash-m, and that Hash-m wanted to refrain from joy. The Jewish people, however, were permitted to express joy at their downfall.)
However, other Midrashim imply that there is joy even before Hash-m Himself when evildoers are destroyed. The Midrash (Bamidbar Rabah 3:4) says, "There is joy before Hash-m when the wicked perish, as it says (Mishlei 11:10), 'When the wicked perish there are shouts of joy.' And it says further (Psalms 104:35), 'May sinners be terminated from the world and wicked people cease to exist; praise Hash-m, O my soul!'" In addition, Megilas Ta'anis (ch. 3, 9) relates, "There is joy before Hash-m when the kingdom of the evildoers is uprooted from the world.... There is joy before Hash-m when the wicked are removed from the world."
How are these Midrashim to be reconciled with the Gemara? (TOSFOS CHADASHIM on Megilas Ta'anis; AGRA L'YESHARIM by HA'GA'ON RAV CHAIM ZIMMERMAN zt'l, ch. 20)
ANSWER: The Zohar (Parshas Noach 61b) asks a similar question and answers that either joy or sadness may be appropriate, depending on the circumstances. When Hash-m punishes the wicked after their "measure is full" (i.e. when they have been given every opportunity to repent but rejected them all), He rejoices in their demise. In contrast, when Hash-m punishes them before their "limit" has been reached, He experiences sorrow, as it were, instead of joy.
The Zohar explains that sometimes the wicked bring upon themselves a premature end. When the evildoers pose an immediate threat to the Jewish people, Hash-m finds it necessary to destroy them without delay. When this happens, Hash-m is not pleased with the premature destruction of the wicked. This was the case when the Egyptians were drowned in the Sea, and when Yehoshafat's armies conquered the forces of Moav. (See also SHELAH HA'KODESH, Parshas Beshalach.)
In general, Hash-m is happy to eliminate the evildoers. Only when circumstances require that the wicked be removed from the world prematurely does Hash-m experience sorrow. This occurs only when the evildoers pose an immediate danger to the Jewish people.
In summary, according to the Zohar and the Gemara, the beneficiary of Hash-m's kindness should always rejoice when the forces of evil that had threatened him are destroyed. Hash-m Himself also rejoices when the wicked are eliminated after they were given every opportunity to repent. However, Hash-m does not rejoice when the wicked are eliminated before their due time. (See more on this topic in Insights to Avodah Zarah 3:3, and Parsha Page, seventh day of Pesach 5756.)