YOMA 53 - Two weeks of study material have been dedicated by Mrs. Estanne Abraham Fawer to honor the Yahrzeit of her father, Rav Mordechai ben Eliezer Zvi (Rabbi Morton Weiner) Z'L, who passed away on 18 Teves 5760. May the merit of supporting and advancing Dafyomi study -- which was so important to him -- during the weeks of his Yahrzeit serve as an Iluy for his Neshamah.

QUESTION: The Beraisa states that the verse, "Ki b'Anan Era'eh..." -- "for in a cloud [of smoke of the Ketores] I shall appear over the Kapores" (Vayikra 16:2), teaches that Ma'aleh Ashan, the ingredient that causes the smoke of the Ketores to rise straight up, must be included in the Ketores. The Beraisa continues and says that the source for the requirement to include Ma'aleh Ashan in the Ketores is the verse, "v'Chisah Anan ha'Ketores Es ha'Kapores" -- "the cloud of the Ketores shall cover the Kapores... so that he not die" (Vayikra 16:13).
The Gemara asks why two verses are needed to teach the same thing. Rav Sheshes answers that the first verse teaches only that Ma'aleh Ashan must be included in the Ketores offered on Yom Kippur in the Kodesh ha'Kodashim. The second verse teaches that the Ketores offered during the rest of the year in the Heichal also needs Ma'aleh Ashan, and without Ma'aleh Ashan the Kohen who offers it is Chayav Misah.
The Gemara earlier (38a) says that the Ketores made by the people of Alexandria would have been acceptable if not for the fact that its smoke did not rise straight up, which made it less beautiful than the Ketores of Beis Avtinas. The BEIS YOSEF (OC 133) asks that the Ketores of Alexandria should not have been acceptable because of a more basic reason: it did not have Ma'aleh Ashan in it, as the Gemara there explains, and thus the Kohen would have been Chayav Misah for offering it. The Beis Yosef answers that Ma'aleh Ashan is not a necessary element of the Ketores and the Kohen is not Chayav Misah if he omits it.
What does the Beis Yosef mean? The Gemara here states explicitly that the Kohen is Chayav Misah if he offers Ketores that lacks Ma'aleh Ashan. It makes no difference whether he offers the Ketores of Yom Kippur or the daily Ketores without Ma'aleh Ashan, as Rav Sheshes says. (MISHNEH L'MELECH, Hilchos Klei ha'Mikdash 2:3. See Insights to Yoma 38:1:c.)
(a) The MISHNEH L'MELECH answers that the other Amora'im quoted by the Gemara here apparently argue with Rav Sheshes and permit one to offer the daily Ketores in the Heichal without Ma'aleh Ashan. The Beis Yosef follows the opinion of those Amora'im.
The Mishneh l'Melech adds that the RAMBAM writes that a Kohen is Chayav Misah for offering an incomplete Ketores in two different ways. With regard to the Ketores of Yom Kippur the Rambam writes that "if one omitted one of the ingredients or Ma'aleh Ashan," he is Chayav Misah (Hilchos Avodas Yom ha'Kipurim 5:25). However, with regard to the Ketores of the Heichal the Rambam writes only that "if he omitted one of the ingredients of the Ketores he is Chayav Misah" (Hilchos Klei ha'Mikdash 2:8) and he makes no mention of the Ma'aleh Ashan.
(b) The CHOCHMAS ADAM cites the VILNA GA'ON (see Insights to Yoma 32:1) who explains that Aharon ha'Kohen was permitted to enter the Kodesh ha'Kodashim on any day of the year, provided that he performed the Avodah as it is done on Yom Kippur (as described in Vayikra 16).
Perhaps the "Ketores of every day" to which Rav Sheshes refers is the Ketores that Aharon ha'Kohen would offer when he entered the Kodesh ha'Kodashim on any day other than Yom Kippur. When Rav Sheshes teaches that Ma'aleh Ashan is a necessary part of the Ketores on any day of the year, he refers to the Ketores that was offered in the Kodesh ha'Kodashim by Aharon ha'Kohen on any day other than Yom Kippur. One might have thought that only on Yom Kippur must the smoke of the Ketores rise straight up so that the presence of the Shechinah will appear in the cloud of smoke (Vayikra 16:2). During the rest of the year, when Aharon ha'Kohen entered the Kodesh ha'Kodashim only to pray but not to have the Shechinah's presence descend, perhaps it was not necessary to have the smoke rise straight up. Therefore, another verse is needed to teach that even the Ketores offered on any day of the year, when Aharon ha'Kohen entered the Kodesh ha'Kodashim, included Ma'aleh Ashan. Rav Sheshes is not discussing the Ketores of the Heichal at all. (NISHMAS ADAM, in Kuntrus Matzeves Moshe)
QUESTION: Rebbi Eliezer states that Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aharon, were punished with death because they rendered their own Halachic decision to bring a fire on the Mizbe'ach, and they did not ask Moshe Rabeinu.
TOSFOS (DH she'Horu) points out that the Midrash (Toras Kohanim, Parshas Acharei Mos; Vayikra Rabah 20:6-10; Sanhedrin 52a) offers several opinions for why the sons of Aharon were punished. Some say that they were punished because they entered the Mishkan in a state of inebriation, or with unshaven hair. Others say that they were punished because they abstained from marrying wives and bearing children. Others explain that they were punished because they said, "When will these old men (Moshe and Aharon) pass on so that we will become the new leaders of the nation!"
What is the point of dispute of these opinions? Why is the wrongdoing of Nadav and Avihu subject to such uncertainty? The verse itself (Vayikra 10:1) clearly states that they were punished because they brought an unsolicited fire on the Mizbe'ach and presented an incense offering with it. Why do the Chachamim seek other reasons for their death, and why do they suggest reasons that are unrelated to the Avodah in the Beis ha'Mikdash?
ANSWER: The Torah (Shemos 24:9-11) relates when Moshe and Aharon took Nadav, Avihu, and the seventy elders up to Har Sinai at the time of the giving of the Torah, they "beheld Hash-m, and they ate and drank." Rashi there comments, based on the Midrash, that Nadav and Avihu beheld Hash-m haughtily, when they were satiated with food and drink, and they should have been punished immediately. However, Hash-m did not want to diminish the joy of the giving of the Torah by punishing them at that moment. Instead, He punished them on the day of the inauguration of the Mishkan.
Why did Hash-m choose the day of the inauguration of the Mishkan as the day on which to punish Nadav and Avihu? The answer is because the sin of Nadav and Avihu at the inauguration of the Mishkan was based on the same error as their sin at Har Sinai.
Hash-m revealed Himself at Sinai to a degree to which He had never revealed Himself at any other time in history. It was to this display of the Divine Presence that Moshe and Aharon brought Nadav, Avihu, and the seventy elders, as the verse describes. However, before Moshe "ascended to the heavens" to encounter the Presence of Hash-m and to receive the Luchos, he abstained from food and drink for forty days (Shemos 34:28). Nadav and Avihu, however, did not conduct themselves with the necessary awe essential for so momentous an occasion. They believed that they were already spiritually prepared to behold the Divine Presence and had no need to abstain further from worldly involvement. In truth, however, they were not prepared to behold the Divine Presence. They were still bound to some degree to the physical world of eating and drinking, for "their hearts were dense with food and drink" (Rashi). They did not realize the extent to which one must separate himself from the world of material pleasure in order to approach Hash-m in such an intimate manner.
The same attitude led to their second sin, when they entered the Mishkan with their own fire at the inauguration of the Mishkan. According to the Midrash, Nadav and Avihu offered incense in the Kodesh ha'Kodashim on their own initiative on the day that Hash-m first rested His Presence there. Having been chosen to serve in the Mishkan as Kohanim, they considered themselves to be on a spiritual level great enough to enter the Kodesh ha'Kodashim and to behold the Divine Presence through a spontaneous offering of Ketores. They repeated the mistake which they had made at Har Sinai.
The other opinions quoted by the Midrash and Gemara express other manifestations of the same mistake. Nadav and Avihu's comment, "When will these old men (Moshe and Aharon) pass on so that we will become the new leaders of the nation," was based on their mistake that they considered themselves to be on a spiritual level equal to, or even greater than, Moshe and Aharon. The two sons of Aharon thought that they were like Moshe Rabeinu, who was granted "unlimited access" to the Kodesh ha'Kodashim (Toras Kohanim, Parshas Acharei Mos 1:6) and was in a constant state of preparedness to prophesy (Rashi to Bamidbar 12:4). They maintained that they were fit to serve in the sanctuary of Hash-m with the same cordiality as Moshe Rabeinu.
This attitude was the cause of their Halachic decision to bring a fire on the Mizbe'ach without first asking their teacher, Moshe Rabeinu. They felt that they were as competent as Moshe Rabeinu in matters of the Avodah in the Mishkan.
Nadav and Avihu's refusal to marry and bear offspring was rooted in the same mistake. They equated themselves with Moshe Rabeinu, who had to be in a state of constant preparedness to receive the word of Hash-m, and for this reason he separated from his wife, Tziporah (see Rashi to Bamidbar 12:4). Nadav and Avihu felt that they had attained a similar spiritual height, and thus they, too, abstained from marriage.
The Midrash also says that Nadav and Avihu entered the Mishkan while in a state of inebriation. This means that they entered the Mishkan at a time when their power of reason was not yet in full control over their worldly impulses. Their entry into the Kodesh ha'Kodashim with unshaven hair was another symbol of their attachment to worldly desires and impulses (as the Gemara in Nedarim (9b) describes).