MISHNAH: HALEL AND SIMCHAH
Halel and Simchah were all eight days.
This teaches us that the full Halel and Simchah (with the Shalmei Simchah) and Kavod Yom Tov are required on Shemini Atzeres just as on the other days of the Sukos.
SIMCHAH ON SHEMINI ATZERES
Question: What is the source for Simchah on the eighth?
Answer: Ach Sameach comes to add the night of Shemini Atzeres.
Question: Perhaps it comes to add the first night of Yom Tov and to require that Shelamim be offered on Erev Yom Tov in order to provide Simchah that night!?
Answer: Ach divides, thus subtracting the first night from Simchah.
Question: Why add Shemini Atzeres and subtract the first night, when we could do the opposite?
Answer: We add that which is already preceded by Simchah, not that which is not.
After completing his meal on the seventh day he should not dismantle the Sukah but he should bring down his utensils from there from Minchah-time in order to honor the upcoming Yom Tov.
ONE WHO IS UNABLE TO BRING DOWN HIS UTENSILS
Question: What if one has no utensils to bring down?
Answer: Then what did he use all week!?
Question: What if he has no room to bring them down to?
Answer (R. Chiya b. Ashi): He invalidates the Sechach.
Answer (R. Yehoshua b. Levi): He lights a candle therein.
R. Yehoshua was speaking of those in Chutz L'Aretz who must still use the Sukah; R. Chiya was speaking of those in Eretz Yisrael who do not need a Kosher Sukah any longer.
Question: The distinction of lighting a candle makes the matter evident in a small Sukah, but what evidence of ending the use of the Sukah is there in a large Sukah where one would ordinarily light a candle?
Answer: He brings soiled dishes into the Sukah.
Rava has taught that soiled dishes (not cups) may not be brought into the Sukah, thus bringing them in provides the necessary distinction that the Mitzvah is over.
MISHNAH: NISUCH HA'MAYIM
(Tana Kama): A gold pitcher of three Lugim was filled with water from the Shiloach.
It was brought through the "water gate" and the Shofar was sounded.
The Kohen went up the Kevesh and turned to his left to the first corner (Southwest).
There were two silver receptacles for the Nisuch (R. Yehudah says they were plaster but the wine caused them to take a darker silver-like tone), one for water and one for wine.
One hole was thicker than the other in order that the wine and water should end at the same time.
The more western receptacle was for water and the more eastern one was for wine, but if they were reversed they are Yotzei.
(R. Yehudah): The pitcher was of one Lug and the Nisuch was done for eight days (not just seven).
The Menasech was told to raise his hands to show the People that he was doing the Nisuch, unlike the Tzedukim who would not do so.
In one such incident the People pelted the Tzeduki Kohen who poured the water on his feet.
The Nisuch was the same on Shabbos, except that the Shiloach water was prepared in a gold barrel from before Shabbos.
If the water spilled out or became uncovered then water from the Kiyor was used in its place.
This is because exposed water and wine may not be poured on the Mizbe'ach.
BLOWING THE SHOFAR
Question: What is the source for blowing the Shofar at the time of the Nisuch ha'Mayim?
Answer: U'She'avtem Mayim b'Sason.
Two apostates, one named Sason and one Simchah were arguing...
Sason boasted that he is first in the Pasuk.
Simchah countered with a Pasuk of his own.
Sason cursed Simchah with a Pasuk.
Simchah responded in kind, citing our Pasuk.
Sason checked with R. Avahu.
R. Avahu refuted Sason's interpretation of the Pasuk, and cursed him as well.
GOING UP THE RAMP AND TURNING LEFT
Normally one always turns to the right with Nisuch ha'Mayim being one of three exceptions.
THE BLACKENED RECEPTACLES
Question: Why did the receptacle for water darken?
Answer: Given that, b'Di'eved, both may receive wine, they both darkened.
THE THICKER AND THINNER HOLES
Question: It would seem that our Mishnah is R. Yehudah who has us bring only one Lug of water, thus the two holes of differing size would equalize the difference in quantity between the wine and the water?
Answer: Even the Rabanan (who have both wine and water in the same quantity) would need different sized holes because of the difference in viscosity.
This seems supported by the fact that the difference between the two would not be enough to serve the equalizing purpose for R. Yehudah (Tzar vs. Rachav would be a greater difference than Tzar vs. Me'Uveh).
THE DAMAGED MIZBE'ACH
When they pelted the Tzeduki Kohen, they damaged the corner of the Mizbe'ach, causing it to lose its square.
A fistful of salt was used to fill the gap.
This would not render the Mizbe'ach fit for use, but would bring Kavod to the Mizbe'ach by concealing its defect.
Squareness is listed among the critical components of a Kosher Mizbe'ach (along with Kevesh, Keren and Yesod and R. Yosi b. Yehudah adds the Sovev).