Sequence Requirements in the Sacrificial Service of Yom Kippur

  • Rav Moshe Taragin
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The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash


 

Sequence Requirements in the Sacrificial Service of Yom Kippur

By Rav Moshe Taragin

 

The mishna in Yoma (60a) demands that the proper sequence of ceremonies be maintained during the avodat Yom Ha-kippurim (Yom Kippur service in the Temple). The subsequent gemara records a dispute between Rabbi Nechemia and Rabbi Yehuda surrounding the scope of this requirement. Was it stated regarding the unique Yom Kippur ceremonies performed with the bigdei lavan (special linen clothing worn on Yom Kippur in place of the standard gold clothing), or does it apply only to those unique avodot (services) performed in the kodesh ha-kodashim (holy of holies)? For example, would the sequence requirement apply to the lottery process, viduy (confession) recitation, or blood-sprinkling on the parokhet (curtain) - ceremonies performed outside the kodesh ha-kodashim but with linen clothing?

The gemara applies the sequence requirement to collecting ketoret (incense) and sacrificing the par (the bull brought as the kohen gadol's sin-offering), even though these ceremonies were performed outside the kodesh ha-kodashim, since they serve as preludes to avodot performed inside ("tzorech penim ki-penim dami"). Even Rabbi Yehuda, who restricts the sequence requirement to "avodot penim" ("interior rituals," those performed in the kodesh ha-kodashim), extends the condition to those "outside" avodot, or "avodot chutz," that precipitate and facilitate avodot penim.

Having established the issue of sequence, the mishna also mentions a specific sequencing of the ceremony of the "par u-se'ir." Generally, the ceremony involving the kohen gadol's bull ("par") was to precede and, to a certain degree, foreshadow, that of the "se'ir" - the goat brought as Benei Yisrael's sin-offering. (See Vayikra 16:15 – "as he did with the blood of the bull," implying that the goat ritual must follow that of the bull.) Is this sequencing issue identical to the general condition, or does it exhibit differences reflecting a unique requirement concerning the schedule of the par and se'ir ceremonies?

Before analyzing this issue, it would be helpful to list the desired sequence of the avodot of the par and the se'ir:

  1. semikha (leaning) and viduy of the par
  2. lottery of se'irim (hagrala)
  3. second viduy of the par
  4. shechita (slaughtering) of the par
  5. ketoret ceremony
  6. sprinkling the blood of the par in the kodesh ha-kodashim
  7. shechita of se'ir
  8. sprinkling the se'ir blood in the kodesh ha-kodashim
  9. sprinkling the par blood in the heikhal (= curtain and altar)
  10. sprinkling the se'ir blood in the heikhal

(When discussing the various permutations of sequencing violations, we will refer to the avodot through this numeric code.)

The gemara addresses a situation whereby the sprinkling of the par blood in the heikhal (9) preceded that of the se'ir blood in the kodesh ha-kodashim (8). The gemara disqualifies this as a sequencing violation, even though 9 is performed outside, in the heikhal, and is not considered an avodat penim. There are two approaches to this issue, each of which establishes a different paradigm toward understanding the issue of sequencing.

Rav Chayim Soloveitchik infers from the Rambam that blood sprinkling in the heikhal (9) is INDEED considered an avodat penim. Even though the kohen physically stands outside the kodesh ha-kodashim when sprinkling the blood on the parokhet, since he sprinkles on the parokhet PARALLEL TO THE ARK, it is considered an avodat penim. Of course, the second stage of the heikhal ceremony - the sprinkling of blood on the altar - is clearly considered an avodat chutz (ritual performed outside the kodesh ha-kodashim), regarding which sequencing is not a disqualification. Hence, according to Rav Chayim, this gemara refers to an inversion of two avodot penim (9 before 8, with 9 - the sprinkling of par blood in the heikhal - also considered an avodat penim).

Rashi, however, adopts a different strategy to resolve this question. Although the sprinkling of the par blood in the heikhal (9) is an avodat chutz, the sequencing violation nevertheless applies since it preempted the sprinkling of the se'ir blood in the kodesh ha-kodashim (8), which is an avodat penim. Rashi here advances an important theory about sequencing violations. The real problem involves delaying X by first performing Y, not accelerating Y by preempting X. Even though the sprinkling of the par blood in the heikhal (9) classifies as an avodat chutz, by performing it before the sprinkling of the se'ir blood in the kodesh ha-kodashim (8) one preempts 8 - an avodat penim. Hence, the schedule of an avodat penim has been violated and the entire procedure is disqualified.

To summarize: According to the Rambam, sequencing violations apply only if both avodot are avodot penim (according to Rabbi Yehuda). According to Rashi, once the performance of an avodat penim is delayed, the procedure is invalid - even if the accelerated ritual was an avodat chutz.

An earlier gemara debated a situation in which the sprinkling of the par blood in the kodesh ha-kodashim (6) preempted hagrala (2). The gemara ultimately validated this situation. According to the Rambam, this ruling is clear: hagrala is clearly an avodat chutz, and sequencing violations disqualify only if both avodot are considered avodot penim. Rashi would explain that since an avodat penim preempted an avodat chutz, no avodat penim has been delayed, and thus the disqualification does not apply. In the previous situation - sprinkling of par blood in the heikhal (9) before that of the se'ir blood in the kodesh ha-kodashim (8) - an avodat chutz preempted an avodat penim, thus disrupting the schedule of an avodat penim. In our situation, however, by accelerating an avodat penim (6) at the expense of an avodat chutz, one has not compromised the schedule of an avodat penim.

The Tosefot Yeshanim offer a different but enlightening explanation. Generally, sequencing violations disqualify only if both rescheduled avodot are avodot penim (in line with Rav Chayim's approach in the Rambam). Hence, hagrala's preempting of the sprinkling of par blood in the kodesh ha-kodashim does not invalidate. By contrast, sprinkling par blood in the heikhal (9) before sprinkling the se'ir blood in the kodesh ha-kodashim (8) is invalid (even though the sprinkling of par blood in the heikhal (9) is an avodat chutz) because it disrupts the sequence of blood sprinkling. A special sequencing requirement applies to the sprinkling of par blood and its subsequent shadowing by the sprinkling of se'ir blood. Disrupting this order entails a special pesul (disqualification), even if the scheduling conflict involves an avodat chutz. By performing 9 before 8, one inverts the order of blood sprinkling – a process with stiffer sequencing requirements.

This unique sequence requirement of the blood sprinkling may be deduced from an interesting gemara. The gemara claims that preempting the sprinkling of par blood in the heikhal (9) with the sprinkling of se'ir blood in the heikhal (10) disqualifies the process. According to Rav Chayim, this gemara might be referring to the sprinkling on the parokhet, which, Rav Chayim claimed, is considered an avodat penim. According to other opinions, which classify all heikhal sprinkling as avodat chutz, how can Rabbi Yehuda accept this ruling? Why should rescheduling TWO avodot chutz invalidate the process? We might apply the Tosafot Yeshanim's rule that blood sprinkling demands more stringent sequencing standards, and any disruption - regardless of whether we deal with avodot penim or avodot chutz - would disqualify.

 


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