1) ROASTING THE "KORBAN PESACH" ON A GRILL WITH HOLES
QUESTION: The Gemara asks that the Mishnah (74a) seems to contradict itself. It first says that the Korban Pesach may not be roasted, and then it quotes Rebbi Tzadok who relates that Raban Gamliel instructed that his Korban Pesach be roasted. The Gemara answers that when the Mishnah says that the Korban Pesach may not be roasted, it refers to roasting the Korban Pesach on a normal grill. When Raban Gamliel instructed that his Korban Pesach be roasted, he meant that it be roasted on a grill with holes ("Menukeves").
Why may one roast the Korban Pesach on a grill with holes, but not on a grill without holes? In both cases, part of the meat rests on the grill on a place where there are no holes, and thus that part of the meat is cooked by the heat of the grill and not directly by the flame.
(a) RASHI explains that "Menukeves" means that the grill not only has holes, but that it has parallel metal rods without cross-rods. The Pesach is roasted on a skewer that is held in the empty space between two of the parallel rods. The meat does not touch the rods at all.
However, if this is the case, what new Halachah is the Mishnah teaching? Why would we have thought that such a method of roasting is not acceptable, such that the Mishnah must permit it? It seems that we might have thought that the Rabanan prohibited roasting it in this manner lest the animal touch the walls of the grill. The Mishnah teaches that this is not a concern.
(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Korban Pesach 8:9) writes that "one is not allowed to roast the Korban Pesach atop a stone or metal utensil, but if it has holes and the fire can reach through the holes to roast the animal, then it is permitted."
Why is this permitted? Even if the fire reaches the animal through the holes, there are still parts of the animal that rest on the base of the grill where there are no holes (RA'AVAD).
Because of this question, the KESEF MISHNEH is in doubt about the intention of the Rambam. He suggests that perhaps since the rods of the grill are so narrow, the fire is able to reach even the part of the meat that rests on the rods. (This case is not comparable to the case in the Mishnah which says that if the gravy of the meat of the Korban Pesach drips onto the earthen wall of the oven, the gravy becomes forbidden, because the oven, and not the fire, causes it to cook. In that case, the gravy becomes forbidden either because it covers a large surface area of the oven wall, or because the oven wall is at the edge, and not at the center, of the oven.)
(c) The Kesef Mishneh suggests a second explanation for the words of the Rambam. The Rambam is discussing a case in which the Korban Pesach hangs above the grill and does not touch it at all (exactly as the Ra'avad himself suggests). Thus, the fire reaches every part of the meat through the holes in the grill.
According to this approach, what is the Mishnah teaching? Why would we have thought that the Korban Pesach is prohibited in such a case, had the grill not been perforated?
The Mishnah is teaching that when there are no holes in the grill, one may not roast the Korban there. It is not considered "Tzli Esh," because the heat of the fire reaches it only indirectly. This also seems to be the approach of RABEINU CHANANEL here.
2) BURNING THE BAS KOHEN
QUESTION: The Torah teaches that a Bas Kohen who was betrothed and sinned with another man is punished with Sereifah (Vayikra 21:9). The Gemara says that molten lead is poured into her mouth. The Gemara asks why we do not interpret the verse in its most literal sense and burn her in an actual fire with firewood? The Gemara answers that a Gezeirah Shavah teaches that her punishment must be similar to the death of the sons of Aharon, who died by having their Neshamos burned while their bodies remained intact.
In the end of the Sugya, the Gemara cites the teaching of Rav Nachman, who derives from the verse, "v'Ahavta l'Re'acha Kamocha" (Vayikra 18:19), that when the Torah requires that a person be executed, the least painful, quickest form of death must be used. Therefore, when Beis Din executes a person with Sereifah, molten lead must be used, because that is the least painful and quickest punishment.
The Gemara says that even though Rav Nachman derives from the verse ("v'Ahavta l'Re'acha") that the Bas Kohen is killed with molten lead, the Gezeirah Shavah that compares her punishment to the death of the sons of Aharon is still necessary. Without the Gezeirah Shavah, we might have thought that this form of death (molten lead) is not considered Sereifah, and that only when the body is actually burned is it considered Sereifah. The Gezeirah Shavah teaches that even when the Neshamah alone is burned and not the body ("Sereifas ha'Neshamah"), it is considered Sereifah.
RASHI (DH Ka Mashma Lan) explains that the Gezeirah Shavah teaches that Sereifas ha'Neshamah is "also" considered Sereifah. Rashi's words imply that molten lead is not the only form of Sereifah that may be used, but that it may also be used.
What does Rashi mean? At the beginning of the Sugya, the Gemara says that the reason why we do not kill the Bas Kohen with a fire and firewood is because we must kill her with Sereifas ha'Neshamah (with molten lead). This implies that the Gezeirah Shavah teaches that the only acceptable form of Sereifah is Sereifas ha'Neshamah. Why, then, does Rashi write that the Gezeirah Shavah teaches that Sereifas ha'Neshamah is also an acceptable form of Sereifah, but is not the only acceptable form? (MAHARSHAL, MAHARASHA; see also HAGAHOS HA'BACH.)
ANSWER: The Acharonim explain that Rashi's explanation is based on the Gemara in Sanhedrin (52a). It is clear from the Gemara there that the Gezeirah Shavah does not limit the punishment of Sereifah exclusively to Sereifas ha'Neshamah, but rather it includes Sereifas ha'Neshamah as a permissible form of Sereifah. Indeed, there are other instances of "Sereifah" in the Torah which are done with a normal fire (such as the way the members of Korach's rebellion were punished, and the way that disqualified Korbanos must be discarded).
Rashi apparently understands that the Gemara originally assumes that the Gezeirah Shavah teaches that only Sereifas ha'Neshamah may be administered, because it does not know of any other reason why she should not be burned with firewood. However, once the Gemara mentions the teaching of Rav Nachman, that the least painful form of death must be administered, it understands that this is the source to exclude burning her with firewood. Accordingly, the Gezeirah Shavah merely adds Sereifas ha'Neshamah as an acceptable form of Sereifah. The requirement to choose the least painful death then teaches that Sereifas ha'Neshamah should be used.
(The RASHASH demonstrates that Sereifas ha'Neshamah is not the only acceptable form of Sereifah by pointing out that the Midrash (Bereishis Rabah, end of chapter 65) records an incident involving a Jew who transgressed every sin in the Torah. In the end of his life, he repented and accepted upon himself to die with all four types of death penalties. In order to fulfill the death penalty of Sereifah, he jumped into a fire. This implies that Sereifah also includes burning by fire.)