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Steinsaltz

GEMARA: The mishna states that when the High Priest recites his confession, the bull stands between the Entrance Hall to the Sanctuary and the altar, and elsewhere (41b) it is stated that the bull is slaughtered at the place where the confession is recited. Apparently, the place where the confession is recited must be considered north. The Gemara clarifies: About whom did you learn that he said that the area between the Entrance Hall and the altar is considered north and is therefore a valid location for slaughtering offerings of the most sacred order, based on the verse written with regard to the burnt-offering: “On the side of the altar northward” (Leviticus 1:11)?

It is Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, as it was taught in a baraita: What is the north? It is the area from the northern wall of the altar until the wall of the Temple courtyard. And opposite the entire altar is also considered north; this is the statement of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda. And Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, adds even the area between the Entrance Hall and the altar to the area that is considered north. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi adds that even the areas to the north in the place where the priests walk, and even areas to the north in the place where the Israelites walk, are considered north in terms of the halakha of slaughtering offerings. However, everyone agrees that the area from the chamber of the knives and inward, which is an area off to the side, is unfit for slaughtering offerings of the most sacred order, as it is not visible from the altar.

The Gemara suggests: Let us say that the mishna is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, and not in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi. The Gemara rejects this: Even if you say that the mishna is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, now, does Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi add only to the statement of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, but does not add to the statement of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon? After all, the area deemed north according to Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, is included in the area deemed north by Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi. Therefore, the mishna could be in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi as well.

The Gemara reformulates its suggestion: This is what we are saying: If the mishna were in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, who holds that the entire courtyard is considered north, let us stand the bull anywhere in the entire courtyard and not necessarily between the Entrance Hall and the altar. The Gemara rejects this: Rather, what do you suggest? The mishna is only in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon? According to his opinion one could suggest: And let us stand the bull between the altar and the wall, as everyone agrees that this area is considered north.

Rather, what have you to say to explain why the bull is positioned specifically between the Entrance Hall and the altar? It is due to the weakness of the High Priest, so that he need not exert himself and walk long distances on Yom Kippur. According to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi as well, it is due to the weakness of the High Priest that the bull is positioned specifically there, although it is permitted to position the bull anywhere in the courtyard.

§ The mishna continues: The head of the bull was facing to the south and its face was facing to the west. The Gemara asks: Under what circumstances can a case be found where its head is toward one direction and its face is toward another? Rav said: It is a case where the animal is standing north-south and it turns its head and faces west. The Gemara asks: And let us stand it straight east-west with its back to the altar and its head facing the Sanctuary. Abaye said: It is prohibited due to a decree lest the bull defecate opposite the altar, which is a display of contempt for the altar.

The Sages taught: How does the priest place his hands on the offering? In the offerings of the most sacred order, the animal stands in the north of the courtyard and its face is to the west, and the one who is placing his hands stands to the east of the offering and his face is to the west, and he places his two hands between the two horns of the offering, provided that nothing interposes between his hands and the offering. And he confesses his sins. If the confession is over a sin-offering, he confesses the transgression for which he is bringing the sin-offering, i.e., unwitting violation of a prohibition punishable by karet. And over a guilt-offering he confesses the transgression for which he is bringing the guilt-offering, e.g., theft or misuse of consecrated property. And over a burnt-offering, with regard to which the Torah does not specify for which transgressions it is brought, he confesses the sin of not leaving gleanings, forgotten sheaves, and produce of the corners [pe’a], as well as not separating poor man’s tithe. This is the statement of Rabbi Yosei HaGelili.

Rabbi Akiva says: A burnt-offering is brought only over the failure to fulfill a positive mitzva and over violation of a prohibition that after violation is transformed into a positive mitzva. This refers to all prohibitions followed by positive mitzvot intended to rectify them; e.g., the prohibition against robbery is followed in the Torah by a positive mitzva for the robber to return the object that he stole. These transgressions are not punishable by lashes nor does a human court administer any other form of penalty. However, a burnt-offering is required in order to gain divine atonement for the sinner.

The Gemara asks: With regard to what principle do they disagree? Rabbi Yirmeya said:

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
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