1) THE KOHEN GADOL'S MORNING ROUTINE
QUESTION: The Gemara relates that the Kohen Gadol used two Lishkos during the seven days of his isolation. He used the Lishkas Beis Avtinus, where he was instructed how to perform the Chafinah with the Ketores on Erev Yom Kippur, and he used the Lishkas Parhedrin, where he slept at night during the seven days of isolation.
The Gemara asks whether the Lishkas Parhedrin, where the Kohen Gadol slept, was on the northern side of the Azarah or on the southern side. The Gemara first suggests that it was on the southern side, because the Mikva'os were in the south. Upon arising early in the morning, the Kohen Gadol would go to the bathroom and then immerse himself in the Mikvah. In the evening, the Haza'ah would be done to him (according to one opinion in the Gemara earlier, 14b), and he would do Tevilah afterwards, before he retired for the night. Since he needed to immerse in the Mikvah in the morning upon arising and in the evening upon retiring, it is logical that his place of residence was near the Mikvah. In this way, he was not troubled to walk from one side of the Azarah (where he slept) to the other (where the Mikva'os were located).
Why does the Gemara say that when the Kohen Gadol arose in the morning, he would first go to the bathroom and then immerse in the Mikvah? It is true that a Kohen who relieves himself is required to immerse himself in a Mikvah before he performs the Avodah (as Rashi writes, based on the Gemara in Yoma 28a). However, even if the Kohen does not go to the bathroom, he is required to immerse himself in a Mikvah when he arises! The Gemara later (30b) states that whenever a Kohen wants to enter the Azarah to perform the Avodah, he first must immerse in a Mikvah (Rashi DH Chutz mi'Zu). Why does the Gemara mention that the Kohen Gadol would go to the bathroom?
(a) The RASHASH and the SI'ACH YITZCHAK answer that it is true that the Kohen Gadol would need to immerse himself upon arising even if he did not go to the bathroom. The Gemara mentions that he would go to the bathroom only to give advice: the Kohen Gadol should go to the bathroom before he immerses so that he will fulfill two obligations of Tevilah with one immersion -- his obligation to immerse before the Avodah, and his obligation to immerse after he goes to the bathroom. In that way, he will not need to make a second trip to the Mikvah.
(b) Perhaps it is a Mitzvah for the Kohen to relieve himself before he enters the Azarah to perform the Avodah. The Gemara in Berachos (15a) teaches that one who goes to the bathroom, washes his hands, dons Tefilin, says Keri'as Shema, and then recites the Shemoneh Esreh is considered to have accepted upon himself the Kingship of Hash-m in the most complete way ("Kabalas Ol Malchus Shamayim Sheleimah") and he is considered as though he immersed in a Mikvah and offered a Korban upon the Mizbe'ach. (Y. SHAW)
2) AGADAH: THE TZEDUKI IN THE BEIS HA'MIKDASH
QUESTION: A Tzeduki Kohen Gadol once managed to perform the Avodah of burning the Ketores on Yom Kippur in the manner that the Tzedukim maintained that it must be done. As he exited the Kodesh ha'Kodashim, he was very proud of himself and of his "accomplishment." The Gemara relates two versions of what happened to him. According to the first version, he proudly boasted as he exited the Kodesh ha'Kodashim, and a few days later he was found dead in a garbage dump with worms coming out of his nose. According to the second version, on his way out of the Kodesh ha'Kodashim, a loud noise was heard in the Azarah. The Tzeduki suddenly lurched forward and fell on his face, and a large hoof-print was found between his shoulders. (The hoof-print was attributed to one of the angels, who "have feet like those of calves.")
Is there any significant difference between these two versions?
ANSWER: The MESHECH CHOCHMAH (Parshas Acharei Mos) cites the Gemara in Gitin (54b) which records two opinions of the Amora'im with regard to a Kohen who claims that he invalidated the Avodah with an improper thought, a Machshavah of Pigul. One Amora maintains that when a Kohen claims he had an improper thought while he performed the Avodah, he is believed and the Avodah is disqualified. Another Amora maintains that he is not believed, and the Avodah remains valid.
The Amora who says that the Avodah is invalid proves his opinion from the law of a Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur, who is believed to say that he invalidated the Avodah even though no one was able to see what he did (or hear what he said) while he stood in the Kodesh ha'Kodashim. The Gemara refutes this proof and says that perhaps the Kohen Gadol is not believed based on his testimony alone. Rather, the Avodah is invalidated only when someone else testifies that he saw (through a peephole) the Kohen Gadol utter his invalidating thought at the time he performed the Avodah in the Kodesh ha'Kodashim.
The first version of the Tzeduki's demise (he was found dead later) follows the opinion in Gitin that a Kohen is believed to say that he invalidated the Avodah. Consequently, the Tzeduki's declaration that he burned the Ketores in the wrong manner was accepted, the Avodah he performed was disqualified, and the Avodah was redone in the proper manner. There was no pressing reason for the Tzeduki to die immediately.
The second version of the Tzeduki's demise (he was struck dead immediately upon his exit from the Kodesh ha'Kodashim) follows the other opinion in Gitin, that the Kohen is not believed to say that he invalidated the Avodah. Consequently, the Tzeduki's declaration would not have been accepted, and the Avodah would not have been redone properly, had there been no other indication that the Avodah indeed was invalidated. Therefore, Hash-m sent a divine sign to show that the Avodah indeed was invalid so that the people would know that it needed to be redone. The divine sign was the sudden death of the Tzeduki at the hands of an angel.
How, though, did the sudden death of the Tzeduki prove beyond doubt that his Avodah was invalid? The verse states, "v'Chol Adam Lo Yiheyeh b'Ohel Mo'ed" -- "and no man shall be in the Ohel Mo'ed" (Vayikra 16:17). According to the Yerushalmi (Yoma 1:5), the verse teaches that even angels are not allowed to enter while the Avodah is being done on Yom Kippur. Why, then, was the angel that killed the Tzeduki in the Ohel Mo'ed?
The Yerushalmi asks this question and answers that the ban on the entrance of angels to the Kodesh ha'Kodashim applies only while the Ketores is being offered there in the proper manner. Since the Ketores that the Tzeduki offered was invalid, the angel was allowed to enter. Accordingly, the very presence of an angel in the sanctuary (who killed the Tzeduki as he exited the Kodesh ha'Kodashim) proved that the Tzeduki's Avodah indeed was invalid (even though the Tzeduki himself would not have been believed to say that it was invalid). That divine sign enabled the people to appoint another Kohen Gadol in time to redo the Avodah in the proper manner.