QUESTION: The Mishnah discusses the Payis, the drawing of the lots, that was performed each day in order to select the Kohen who would perform the Terumas ha'Deshen. The Mishnah concludes that this was the first of four Payesos performed during the day to select Kohanim for each part of the Avodah. The following Mishnayos proceed to describe the other Payesos in brief. A similar description of the Payesos is recorded in the Piyut of the Musaf Shemoneh Esreh of Yom Kippur.
The words of the Mishnah and the Piyut imply that these Payesos were performed on Yom Kippur just as they were performed on every other day. However, on Yom Kippur there was no need to select Kohanim to perform the various Avodos, as the only one who was authorized to perform the Avodah was the Kohen Gadol (Yoma 32b). Why, then, were Payesos performed on Yom Kippur?
(a) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR writes that no Payis was performed on Yom Kippur. The Mishnah mentions the Payesos only incidentally as part of its discussion of the Terumas ha'Deshen (20a), which was the first Avodah the Kohen Gadol performed on Yom Kippur. The Ba'al ha'Me'or asserts that the authors of the Piyutim erred in including the Payesos in the Yom Kippur prayers.
How, though, does the Ba'al ha'Me'or understand the Gemara earlier (12b) which makes reference to "the belt that the Kohen Hedyot wears on Yom Kippur"? If an ordinary Kohen (Kohen Hedyot) does not perform Avodah on Yom Kippur, how can he wear the belt of the Bigdei Kehunah on Yom Kippur? Apparently, the Ba'al ha'Me'or understands that the Gemara there refers to a Kohen Hedyot who decides to turn over an ember on the Mizbe'ach with a poker ("Mehapech b'Tzinora"), an act which is not an obligatory part of the Avodah of the day and which any Kohen may do, even on Yom Kippur. (TOSFOS YESHANIM 12b)
(b) TOSFOS (20b, DH Mishum) and the RAMBAM (Hilchos Avodas Yom ha'Kipurim 4:1) explain that although all of the Avodos of the day must be performed only by the Kohen Gadol, Avodos of the night may be performed by any Kohen. Therefore, a Payis was necessary to choose a Kohen for the Terumas ha'Deshen, an Avodah performed before daybreak.
The Rishonim (TOSFOS RID to 29a and others) cite proof for this explanation from the Gemara later (29b) which states that "when the watchman announced the break of dawn, the Kohen Gadol would be taken to perform his Tevilah." This implies that before dawn of Yom Kippur the Kohen Gadol was not required to serve in the Beis ha'Mikdash.
(c) The RITVA (12b) says in the name of the RAMBAN ("Rabeinu ha'Gadol") that mid'Oraisa only the Avodos which are unique to Yom Kippur must be performed by the Kohen Gadol. All of the regular Avodos which are done on all other days of the year, such as the Avodos of the Korban Tamid, may be done on Yom Kippur by a Kohen Hedyot, although it is a greater Mitzvah for the Kohen Gadol to perform them. The Rabanan enacted that the Kohen Gadol must perform all of the Avodos on Yom Kippur, but they permitted a Kohen Hedyot to perform the ordinary Avodos when the Kohen Gadol is weak. In such a situation, Payesos would be made on Yom Kippur to select the Kohanim to do those Avodos. It is to those Payesos which the Mishnayos here refer.
(b) The RAMBAN (in Milchamos) argues that certain unique Avodos of Yom Kippur may be performed by a Kohen Hedyot even l'Chatchilah. Accordingly, all four Payesos must be performed on Yom Kippur to select Kohanim for those Avodos.
The Avodah of Terumas ha'Deshen (included in the first Payis) may be performed by a Kohen Hedyot, since it is not an Avodah which must be done during the daytime of Yom Kippur. Similarly, the Dishun of the inner Mizbe'ach (included in the second Payis) may be done by a Kohen Hedyot because that Avodah may be done during the night. The Dishun of the Menorah (also included in the second Payis) may be done by a Kohen Hedyot, because it is only a preparatory Avodah (for the kindling of the Menorah), and it, too, may be performed at night. The Avodah of the Machtah (with which coals are brought from the outer Mizbe'ach to the inner Mizbe'ach), which is included in the third Payis, may be done by a Kohen Hedyot because it is only a secondary part of the burning of the Ketores. Finally, the fourth Payis on Yom Kippur selects the Kohen who will bring the limbs of the previous day's Korban which had been placed on the ramp but not yet brought upon the Mizbe'ach to be burned. Since this Avodah may be done at night, it may be performed on Yom Kippur by a Kohen Hedyot. This is why the Mishnah here, and the Piyut of Musaf on Yom Kippur, discuss all four Payesos.
The Ramban adds that a close examination of the Piyut reveals that, in its discussion of the Payesos, the Piyut mentions only the lots drawn for the specific Avodos which the Ramban enumerates.


QUESTION: Rebbi Mani expounds the verse, "And he fought in the brook" (Shmuel I 15:5), to mean that Shaul ha'Melech fought with himself about the brook. When Hash-m told Shaul ha'Melech to obliterate Amalek, Shaul said to himself, "If for one dead soul (a murder victim found on the roadside) the Torah tells us to bring an Eglah Arufah, then all the more so for all of these souls! And if the men sinned, did the animals sin? And even if the adults sinned, did the children sin?"
What was Shaul's logic in contesting the command of Hash-m? Is it possible that Shaul, who is called the "chosen one of Hash-m" (Shmuel II 21:6), doubted the justice of Hash-m's command?
(a) To better understand Shaul's intentions, we must ask another question. Why was the law of Eglah Arufah the only source that Shaul ha'Melech found that stresses the value of human life? Why did he not simply quote the verse, "One who kills another man shall be put to death" (Shemos 21:12)?
The answer to this question can be inferred from an analysis of Shaul's eventual sin. In the end, Shaul did not kill the animals of Amalek. He spared them in order to use them as sacrifices to Hash-m. Apparently, he felt a specific need to offer sacrifices at this time, perhaps as atonement for the eradication of an entire nation. Although Shaul was prepared to obey the word of Hash-m and he harbored no rebellious intentions, his reckoning implied that the eradication of Amalek's children and animals was essentially "wrong" and demanded atonement.
(Shaul understood that the purpose of killing the children and livestock was to insure that the Jews would destroy every living adult in Amalek. Had the people not concentrated on a complete obliteration, they would have been lax about the primary part of the command as well. Shaul interpreted the command to kill the children and livestock as a symptom of his people's lack of eagerness in the execution of the Divine will. This view, however, may have been based on a misinterpretation of the verse in the Torah that describes the Mitzvah to destroy Amalek. The verse says, "Eradicate every trace (Zeicher) of Amalek" (Devarim 25:19). Shaul may have read the verse as, "Eradicate every male (Zecher) of Amalek." Indeed, the same mistake is attributed to Yoav, the commander-in-chief of the Jewish forces shortly after Shaul's reign (see Bava Basra 21a). According to the proper reading of the verse, it is clear that the destruction of the livestock is just as important as the killing of the men of Amalek (see Rashi to Devarim 25:19). Support for this approach to understanding Shaul's mistake can be found in Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer (ch. 44), which relates the episode mentioned in the Gemara here and adds another detail to Shaul's argument: "Even if the men sinned, the women did not sin." This clearly indicates that in Shaul's mind, the command to kill Amalek applied only to the males.)
This explains why Shaul quoted only the verse about Eglah Arufah in his argument to spare the livestock of Amalek, and not the verse which prescribes the death sentence for a killer. That verse involves a sacrificial atonement for an act of killing. Shaul wanted to justify sparing Amalek's livestock by using the animals for sacrificial offerings of atonement for the destruction of Amalek. (RABEINU CHANANEL, IYUN YAKOV)
(b) The KEHILOS YITZCHAK (Parshas Shoftim) quotes RAV YAKOV, the Magid of Vilna, who offers another approach to this Midrash. In the end of Parshas Shoftim and beginning of Ki Setzei, the Torah discusses the Halachos of warfare. In the midst of those laws, the Torah teaches the Parshah of Eglah Arufah. The placement of the Parshah Eglah Arufah in the middle of the Halachos of warfare seems inappropriate. (This is especially difficult in light of the Gemara in Sotah (45b) which implies that an Eglah Arufah is not brought during times of war.)
Rav Yakov of Vilna explains that it is necessary to remember the laws of Eglah Arufah specifically during times of war. When the Jewish warriors wage a war, even a war that is necessary for the survival and protection of the Jewish nation, they become desensitized and accustomed to seeing death and killing. It is necessary to remind them of the importance of human life so that they not take the attitudes of warfare into their peacetime lives. The Torah places the Parshah of Eglah Arufah in the middle of the Halachos of warfare to remind the soldiers that even a single killing demands the attention of all of the sages of the people.
This was also the intention of Shaul ha'Melech. Shaul certainly was aware of the Torah's laws of warfare (see Shmuel I 8:20). He undoubtedly studied this Parshah well. Shaul did not intend to slight the command to eradicate every trace of Amalek. Rather, as his troops went out to war he found it necessary to emphasize to them the great value of a human life, just as the Torah teaches this lesson in the Parshah of the Halachos of warfare.
What, then, was his sin?
The Torah inserts the Parshah of Eglah Arufah after the laws that discuss the actual waging of war. This placement implies that the time to remind the soldiers of the gravity of killing is only after Hash-m's dictate has been carried out and the war is over. Shaul ha'Melech erred when he taught his soldiers this lesson before the actual war. His lesson had its effect, but at the wrong time, and thus it had a detrimental impact on the outcome of the battle. The lesson of the value of human life affected Shaul and his nation and, as a result, they "had mercy on Agag and on the finest of the sheep" and did not carry out the will of Hash-m in full.
(c) RAV SHALOM SHWADRON zt'l, the Magid of Yerushalayim, offered an original approach to explain the mistake of Shaul ha'Melech. Rav Shwadron quoted the RAMBAM in his preface to Avos (Shemoneh Perakim, ch. 6) who points out an apparent dispute between the view of the philosophers and the view of the Chachamim with regard to the service of Hash-m. The philosophers believe that one who innately desires to do good is on a higher spiritual level than one who desires to do bad but subdues his innate urge. The Chachamim, however, teach that "one should not say, 'I do not desire to eat milk with meat or to wear Sha'atnez,' but rather, 'I desire them, yet I shall refrain from them against my desires, because my Father in heaven has decreed upon me such'" (Toras Kohanim, cited by Rashi to Vayikra 20:26). However, various verses in the book of Mishlei seem to support the view of the philosophers. Why, then, do the Chachamim say that one who wants to do bad but subdues his urge is greater?
The Rambam answers that both views are correct and complement each other. Even a person of low spiritual stature must detest acts of sin that are naturally repulsive, such as murder, theft, property damage, insulting and disgracing others, and any act which is harmful to the fabric of society and which people would have outlawed even without the Torah's mandate. The philosophers' view applies to these acts.
However, a person should have a different attitude when he considers an act that seems to have no implications of evil but which was forbidden by the Torah for reasons beyond man's grasp. He should view such an act as desirable and avoid it only "because my Father in heaven has decreed upon me such."
Shaul ha'Melech was unable to comprehend the necessity to obliterate the entire nation of Amalek. Nevertheless, he undoubtedly accepted the word of Hash-m, just as he accepted the other decrees of the Torah that have reasons unfathomable to man. Accordingly, he reasoned that the preferable way to fulfill the Mitzvah is with the attitude that "I shall perform this act against my desires, because my Father in heaven has decreed upon me such." To this end, he emphasized to himself the importance of a human life. He did not do so to express doubt about the integrity of the word of the Almighty, but rather -- on the contrary -- in order to fulfill the Mitzvah that Hash-m gave him in the best possible manner.
His mistake was his assumption that killing is absolutely evil and always detestable. In truth, killing is not always detestable. To put to death a murderer is not an act of cruelty. The murderer's execution is a fitting punishment for his crime, and it is even considered an act of mercy in a sense. The Midrash on the verse, "Al Tehi Tzadik Harbeh" (Koheles 7:16) says, "One who shows mercy towards the cruel will eventually show cruelty towards the merciful." Instead of stressing the value of human life, Shaul ha'Melech should have clarified to himself the necessity for, and the justness of, the destruction of Amalek. Had he done so, he would not have "had mercy on Agag and the finest of the sheep" and would not have strayed from the letter of the law as conveyed to him by Shmuel ha'Navi. (-As heard personally from Rav Shwadron zt'l)
QUESTION: Rav Huna exclaimed, "How fortunate is the person whom Hash-m assists, for we find that Shaul sinned once and lost his kingdom because of it, while David sinned twice but did not lose his kingdom as a result."
Why did Hash-m help David and not Shaul? The Gemara makes no mention of any element of superiority of David over Shaul. On the contrary, the Gemara implies that they were equal in their righteousness, and that David's good fortune was merely a matter of being more "fortunate."
(a) The GEVURAS ARI explains that assistance granted to a person by Hash-m certainly does not depend on "good fortune." David ha'Melech had a special merit which made him worthy of receiving Hash-m's help. David ha'Melech was "Mekabel Yisurim b'Ahavah" -- he accepted his afflictions and suffering with love, and he sang to Hash-m in gratitude for all of his experiences. Shaul ha'Melech, though, did not express gratitude to Hash-m when he suffered. In the merit of his acceptance of afflictions with love, David ha'Melech became the recipient of Hash-m's expressions of love for him and He pardoned him for his sins.
(b) The VILNA GA'ON (Kol Eliyahu #203) writes that the difference between David and Shaul did depend, to some degree, on each one's Mazal. While the two kings were equal in their righteousness, Shaul was born with a natural tendency to be humble and with an inborn propensity for doing good. David, on the other hand, was born with a tendency to be prideful and with an attraction to warfare. He did not have the same natural inclination for good as Shaul had. Therefore, even though they were equal in their levels of righteousness, David ha'Melech underwent a much greater struggle to reach that level.
Since David overcame his natural tendencies, Hash-m rewarded him measure for measure. Hash-m caused His attribute of mercy to overcome His attribute of justice. Instead of punishing David ha'Melech for his sins, He dealt with David ha'Melech with "Erech Apayim" and accepted his Teshuvah.