QUESTION: The Mishnah (7a) states that the Sotah must drink the Mei Sotah while she stands at Sha'ar Nikanor, on the eastern side of the Azarah. The Gemara says that the source for this requirement is the verse that says that the Kohen stands her up "Lifnei Hash-m" (Bamidbar 5:16). RASHI (here and on the verse) explains that it must be done at Sha'ar Nikanor because that is the gate through which people enter and exit the Azarah.
However, Rashi elsewhere (7a, DH Shema, and 7b, DH Mena Hani Mili) writes that the Hashka'as Sotah must be done in Yerushalayim. Rashi apparently maintains that "Lifnei Hash-m" means anywhere in Yerushalayim. What, then, is the source that the Hashka'as Sotah must be done specifically at Sha'ar Nikanor?
In addition to the Hashka'as Sotah, two other procedures must be done at Sha'ar Nikanor. The Kohen is Metaher the Yoledes there, and the Kohen is Metaher the Metzora there (by placing Dam on his thumbs). The Metzora must stand there because he needs to extend his thumbs into the Azarah in order for the Kohen to do Haza'ah on him. Since the Haza'ah must be done in the Azarah, but a Metzora is prohibited from entering the Azarah, the Metzora must stand right next to it, at the gate, and he cannot stand at any other place in Yerushalayim. Similarly, the Yoledes needs to stand there because she needs to be as close as possible to her Korban when it is offered due to the requirement that the owner of a Korban stand over it. The Sotah, however, should be permitted to drink the Mei Sotah in any part of Yerushalayim (since she does not bring a Korban at the time she drinks the Mei Sotah, and there is no requirement that she be in the Azarah). Why must she specifically stand at Sha'ar Nikanor?
Also, what is Rashi's source that she is given the Mei Sotah at Sha'ar Nikanor because that is the place where everyone enters and exits the Azarah? How is this reason implied by "Lifnei Hash-m," which Rashi interprets to mean Yerushalayim? Moreover, why does Rashi interpret "Lifnei Hash-m" here to mean Yerushalayim and not specifically the Azarah or the area opposite the Heichal (as the Gemara suggests later (14b) with regard to the place where the Minchah offering is brought)?
(a) The Gemara (9a) states that the reason the Torah wants the Sotah to stand at Sha'ar Nikanor is to disgrace her as much as possible. Sha'ar Nikanor is the place where everyone passes and will see her in her disgrace. Since she sinned in private, the Torah punishes her by publicizing her disgraceful act. Since she sinned by attracting a man to the gate of her house, she is punished by being embarrassed at the gate of the Azarah, "Midah k'Neged Midah." The verse "Lifnei Hash-m" is not the source for the requirement that she stand at Sha'ar Nikanor, because "Lifnei Hash-m" refers to all of Yerushalayim, as Rashi writes.
When Rashi here writes that Sha'ar Nikanor is the place where everyone passes, he is explaining why she must drink the Mei Sotah at Sha'ar Nikanor and not anywhere else in Yerushalayim. He explains that although this is the best place in Yerushalayim to give her the Mei Sotah to drink, any place in Yerushalayim is valid. (This answers the question of the Torah Temimah in Parshas Naso, 5:94.)
The reason why there are various definitions of "Lifnei Hash-m" in the different contexts in which the phrase appears is explained by the MALBIM (Parshas Tzav, #26, cited by the MINCHAS YAKOV here). The Malbim explains that the words "Lifnei Hash-m" are interpreted according to the context in which they appear. Rashi himself (in Vayikra 14:11) alludes to this when he writes that a Metzora stands "Lifnei Hash-m" -- at Sha'ar Nikanor -- because the Torah does not want him to stand in the Azarah while he is still Tamei. "Lifnei Hash-m" is always interpreted as the closest point to the Kodesh ha'Kodashim at which one can possibly stand. In the case of the Sotah, the Gemara assumes that "Lifnei Hash-m" cannot mean inside the Azarah since the Sotah might die from drinking the Mei Sotah, and a Mes is not permitted in the Azarah. (See Sotah 20b, where the Gemara says that although a Mes is prohibited mid'Rabanan from entering even the Ezras Nashim, the Rabanan did not prohibit the Sotah from going into that area because she is presently not dead and it is only a Safek that she will die; see Tosfos to Pesachim 92a, DH Tevul Yom.)
Alternatively, Rashi follows his own view as expressed in Kidushin (52a), where he writes that a woman is never supposed to be in the Azarah, especially with her hair uncovered and her clothes torn (see OR SAME'ACH, Hilchos Bi'as ha'Mikdash 1:17). Therefore, "Lifnei Hash-m" cannot mean any place closer to the Kodesh ha'Kodashim than the Ezras Nashim, and thus it presumably refers to all of Yerushalayim. She is brought specifically to Sha'ar Nikanor for the reason that Rashi here mentions -- to publicize her disgrace.
QUESTION: The Gemara introduces the principle of "Ein Osin Mitzvos Chavilos Chavilos" -- one may not perform Mitzvos in "bundles" (because doing so gives the impression that the Mitzvos are a burden). One may not prepare a number of Mitzvos to perform and then perform them consecutively, one immediately after the other. Accordingly, Beis Din may not prepare two women (each of whom is a Sotah) to drink the Mei Sotah one after the other. Similarly, Beis Din may not prepare two slaves for Retzi'ah, two Metzora'im to be purified together, or two Eglos Arufos to be beheaded at the same time.
RASHI and TOSFOS explain that only one person is prohibited from performing both Mitzvos consecutively. Two people are permitted to perform both Mitzvos simultaneously. TOSFOS (DH Ein Mashkin) asks that slaughtering a Korban is a Mitzvah, and thus according to this rule one should be prohibited from preparing two Korbanos in the Azarah for consecutive slaughter. One should be required to wait to bring in the second Korban until after the first one has been slaughtered. However, no such prohibition is mentioned anywhere. (On the contrary, on Erev Pesach everyone brings their Korbanos together into the Azarah.)
ANSWERS: TOSFOS does not answer this question. Other Rishonim, however, suggest various explanations for the principle of "Ein Osin Mitzvos Chavilos Chavilos" which may answer Tosfos' question.
(a) The TASHBETZ (2:42) writes that the principle of "Ein Osin Mitzvos Chavilos" applies only to a Mitzvah which Beis Din is obligated to perform, such as the Retzi'ah of an Eved, the Hashka'ah of a Sotah, and Arifas ha'Eglah. The Taharah of a Metzora is also an obligation of Beis Din, in that it is Beis Din's responsibility to compel the Metzora to become Tahor if the Metzora does not want to do so.
The principle of "Ein Osin Mitzvos Chavilos" does not apply to a Mitzvah when is obligatory upon the individual and not Beis Din. Accordingly, two people who have the same Mitzvah are permitted to appoint one person to perform both Mitzvos for them, and the appointed person may do the Mitzvos one after the other. Similarly, it should be permitted for two people to appoint the same Mohel to perform consecutive Milos for both of their sons. When two people bring their Korbanos to the Kohen at the same time, the Kohen should be permitted to offer the Korbanos one immediately after the other, since he serves as the agent of the owners of the Korbanos (and offering Korbanos is not an obligation of Beis Din or of the Kohanim, but of individuals).
The YOSEF DA'AS points out that this distinction may explain why Rashi here explains that the Retzi'ah of two slaves may not be done together when both slaves belong to the same master. Tosfos asks that even when they belong to two different masters, the Retzi'ah of both slaves should not be permitted to be done together, just as the Korbanos of two Metzora'im may not be offered together.
Rashi may understand that the Mitzvah of Retzi'as Eved is not obligatory upon Beis Din but upon the master of the Eved. Therefore, when two masters bring their slaves to Beis Din at the same time, Beis Din should be permitted to do the two Retzi'os together, since Beis Din acts merely as the agent of the separate masters. Only when one master brings his two slaves together to do Retzi'ah is there a problem of "Ein Osin Mitzvos Chavilos."
(b) The MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 147:11, as cited by the GILYON HA'SHAS) suggests that the principle of "Ein Osin Mitzvos Chavilos" applies only to Mitzvos which are obligatory. Mitzvos which are voluntary may be done together. One is not considered to be making such Mitzvos "Chavilos" when he does two of them together. (The very fact that he accepted upon himself to fulfill a voluntary Mitzvah demonstrates that it is not a burden to him.) The Magen Avraham concludes that a Kohen should be permitted to prepare two voluntary Korbanos, but not two obligatory Korbanos, at the same time. (This approach does not explain why multiple Korbenos Pesach may be prepared at the same time.)
(c) The OR SAME'ACH (Hilchos Tum'as Tzara'as 11:6) suggests that any Mitzvah that may be done by a Shali'ach may also be done in "Chavilos." Just as a person has the right to remove from himself the obligation to fulfill a Mitzvah by appointing a Shali'ach to do the Mitzvah for him, he has the right to remove the obligation from himself by doing many Mitzvos together. (That is, there is nothing wrong with making it look as though he wants to remove the obligation of a Mitzvah from himself as quickly as possible by doing it in "Chavilos," since he is able to remove the obligation from himself quickly by sending a Shali'ach to do the Mitzvah.) Consequently, since the owner of a Korban has a Mitzvah to slaughter his Korban Pesach and other Korbanos (see Rashi to Pesachim 7b) which he can fulfill by appointing a Shali'ach to do the Shechitah for him, he also should be permitted to offer multiple Korbanos at one time, and a Kohen should be permitted to slaughter two of his own Korbanos one after the other.
(d) It is possible that the principle of "Ein Osin Mitzvos Chavilos" applies only to Mitzvos which are relatively rare, such as Sotah, Retzi'ah, Taharas ha'Metzora, and Eglah Arufah. Mitzvos which are commonplace may be done together. One who performs common Mitzvos together does not give the impression that he wants to unburden himself of the Mitzvos by performing, since these Mitzvos occur frequently and concomitantly.
It is worth noting that Tosfos does not ask why one is permitted to slaughter two animals of Chulin consecutively in order to eat them. Tosfos asks only why one is permitted to slaughter two animals of Kodshim in order to offer them as Korbanos. Why does Tosfos not ask about the Mitzvah of Shechitah for animals of Chulin? The answer to this question may be found in the beginning of the comments of Tosfos, where Tosfos explains that the Isur of giving the Mei Sotah to two women to drink at once only prohibits bringing both women into the area of the Azarah at the same time.
Tosfos means that the Isur to make Mitzvos "Chavilos" applies only when the Mitzvos must be performed in a certain place, and before one performs the first Mitzvah he brings the two objects of the Mitzvah to that place in preparation for the Mitzvah. In the case of the Taharah of the Metzora, the preparation for the Mitzvah must be done first by bringing the Metzora to Sha'ar Nikanor to stand there. Similarly, preparation for the Retzi'ah of an Eved is done by bringing the Eved to Beis Din. In order to perform the Mitzvah of Eglah Arufah, the Eglah must be brought first to a Nachal.
In contrast, the Shechitah of Chulin animals may be performed anywhere. The animals do not need to be brought to any specific place in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of Shechitah. Bringing the animal to the slaughterhouse is not considered a part of the preparation for the Mitzvah, since the animal does not have to be slaughtered specifically in that place. Since no act is necessary to prepare an animal of Chulin for Shechitah, the Mitzvah of Shechitah is not subject to the rule of "Ein Osin Mitzvos Chavilos."
According to this approach, it seems clear that there should be no problem with bringing two babies to a single Mohel to perform both Milos consecutively, since bringing the baby to the place where the Mohel will perform the Milah is not considered a necessary preparation for the Mitzvah; the Mohel could do the Milah wherever the baby is located. The MAGEN AVRAHAM, however, writes that the principle of "Ein Osin Mitzvos Chavilos" does apply to two Milos, and thus it is the common practice to make a significant pause between the two Milos of twin boys.
(The rule of "Ein Osin Mitzvos Chavilos" mentioned by the Gemara here is not the same as the rule of "Ein Osin Mitzvos Chavilos" mentioned by the Gemara in Pesachim 102b, which says that one should not recite two blessings (such as Kidush and Birkas ha'Mazon) over one cup of wine. The Gemara in Pesachim refers to a more severe form of "Chavilos," because one actually performs two Mitzvos with one object. In contrast, the Gemara here refers merely to performing two Mitzvos with two different objects consecutively.)