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Steinsaltz

The Gemara asks with regard to the fact that Jehoahaz was anointed: And was there anointing oil during the days of Jehoahaz? But isn’t it taught in a baraita: When the Ark of the Covenant was sequestered, the anointing oil, and the jar of manna (see Exodus 16:33), and Aaron’s staff with its almonds and blossoms (see Numbers 17:23), and the chest that the Philistines sent as a gift to Israel, were all sequestered with it, as it is stated: “And you shall take the Ark of the Lord, and lay it upon the cart, and put the vessels of gold that you return Him as a guilt-offering in a chest by its side and send it away that it may go” (I Samuel 6:8).

And who sequestered the Ark? Josiah, king of Judea, sequestered it, as he saw that it is written in the Torah in the portion of rebuke: “The Lord will lead you, and your king whom you shall establish over you, unto a nation that you have not known” (Deuteronomy 28:36). He commanded and the people sequestered them, as it is stated: “And he said to the Levites who taught all Israel, and who were sacred unto the Lord: Place the sacred Ark in the room that Solomon, son of David, king of Israel built; there shall be no more burden upon your shoulders. Now serve the Lord your God and His people Israel” (II Chronicles 35:3).

And Rabbi Elazar says: One derives a verbal analogy between the term: There, written with regard to the Ark (see Exodus 29:43), and the term: There, written with regard to the jar of manna (see Exodus 16:33); and between the term: Keepsake, written with regard to the jar of manna (see Exodus 16:33), and the term: Keepsake, written with regard to Aaron’s staff (see Numbers 17:25–26); and between the term: Generations, written with regard to the jar of manna (see Exodus 16:33), and the term: Generations, written with regard to the anointing oil (see Exodus 30:31). By means of these verbal analogies it is derived that all of these items were sequestered. Rav Pappa said: They anointed Jehoahaz with pure balsam oil, not with anointing oil.

§ The Sages taught: How does one anoint the kings? One smears the oil in a manner that is similar to the form of a crown around his head. And how does one anoint the priests? One smears the oil in a shape like the Greek letter chi. The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of: Like the Greek letter chi? Rav Menashya bar Gadda said: Like the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew letter kaf.

It is taught in one baraita: Initially, they pour oil on the priest’s head, and thereafter, they place oil for him between the lashes of his eyes. And it is taught in a different baraita: Initially, they place oil for him between the lashes of his eyes, and thereafter, they pour oil on his head. The Gemara explains: It is a dispute between tanna’im. Some say: Anointing with oil between his eyes is preferable and takes precedence, and some say: Pouring oil on his head is preferable and takes precedence.

What is the reason for the opinion of the one who said that pouring oil on his head is preferable? It is as it is written: “And he poured from the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head and anointed him to sanctify him” (Leviticus 8:12), indicating that pouring precedes anointing. And the one who said that anointing is preferable and takes precedence, what is the reason for his opinion? He holds: Anointing takes precedence as that is what you find with regard to service vessels (see Numbers 7:1). They were anointed, but the anointing oil was not poured on them. The Gemara asks: But isn’t it written with regard to the priests: “And he poured,” and ultimately: “And anointed”? The Gemara answers: This is what the verse is saying: What is the reason that he poured the oil? It is due to the fact that he had already anointed them. Anointing is the primary component of the process.

The Sages taught: “It is like the precious oil upon the head coming down upon the beard, Aaron’s beard, that comes down upon the collar of his garments” (Psalms 133:2). Two drops of anointing oil, shaped like pearls, were suspended for Aaron from his beard. Rav Pappa said that it is taught: When Aaron would speak and his beard would move, those drops would miraculously rise and settle on the roots of his beard so that they would not fall. Moses was concerned about this matter. He said: Perhaps, Heaven forfend, I misused the consecrated anointing oil and poured more than necessary, as two additional drops remain? A Divine Voice emerged and said: “It is like the precious oil upon the head coming down upon the beard, Aaron’s beard, that comes down upon the collar of his garments. Like the dew of Hermon” (Psalms 133:2–3). This analogy teaches: Just as there is no misuse of the dew of Hermon, which is not consecrated, so too, with regard to the anointing oil that is on Aaron’s beard, there is no misuse of consecrated property.

And still Aaron was concerned. He said: Perhaps Moses did not misuse consecrated property; but perhaps I misused consecrated property, as the additional oil is on my beard and I enjoy it. A Divine Voice emerged and said: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity” (Psalms 133:1). Just as your brother Moses did not misuse consecrated property, so too, you did not misuse consecrated property.

The Sages taught: One anoints the kings only upon a spring, as an omen, so that their kingdom will continue like a spring, as it is stated with regard to the coronation of Solomon before the death of David: “And the king said unto them: Take with you the servants of your lord, and let Solomon my son ride upon my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon. And let Tzadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel and sound the shofar and say: Long live King Solomon” (I Kings 1:33–34).

§ Apropos good omens, the Gemara cites a statement that Rabbi Ami said: This person who seeks to know if he will complete his year or if he will not, i.e., whether or not he will remain alive in the coming year, let him light a lamp, during the ten days that are between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, in a house in which wind does not blow. If its light continues to burn, he knows that he will complete his year.

And one who seeks to conduct a business venture and wishes to know if he will succeed or if he will not succeed, let him raise a rooster. If the rooster grows fat and healthy, he will succeed.

One who seeks to embark on a journey and wishes to know if he will return and come to his home or if he will not, let him go to a dark [daḥavara] house. If he sees the shadow of a shadow he shall know that he will return and come home. The Sages reject this: This omen is not a significant matter. Perhaps he will be disheartened if the omen fails to appear, and his fortune will suffer and it is this that causes him to fail. Abaye said: Now that you said that an omen is a significant matter, a person should always be accustomed to seeing these on Rosh HaShana: Squash, and fenugreek, leeks, and chard, and dates, as each of these grows quickly and serves as a positive omen for one’s actions during the coming year.

Apropos good omens, Rav Mesharshiyya said to his son: When you seek to enter and study before your teacher, study the baraita first, and only then enter before your teacher. And when you are sitting before him, look to his mouth, as it is written: “And your eyes shall see your teacher” (Isaiah 30:20). And when you study, study adjacent to a river of water; just as the water flows, your studies will flow unimpeded. He added: And it is preferable for you to sit on the rubbish heaps [akilkelei] of Mata Meḥasya, and do not sit in the palaces [appadnei] of Pumbedita. Better to eat the rotten fish [gildana] of Mata Meḥasya than to eat kutḥa, which displaces rocks, a metaphor for how potent it is.

Apropos good omens for anointing, it is stated in the prayer of Hannah, Samuel’s mother: “My horn is exalted in my God” (I Samuel 2:1). The Gemara infers: My horn is exalted, and my jug is not exalted. David and Solomon were anointed with oil from a horn. This was a good omen for them and their reign endured. Saul and Jehu were anointed with oil from a jug and their reign did not endure.

§ The mishna teaches: And who is the anointed priest? It is the High Priest who is anointed with the anointing oil, not the High Priest consecrated by donning multiple garments. The Sages taught: “Anointed” is written in the verse (Leviticus 6:15). One might have thought that the reference is to a king. Therefore, the verse states: “Priest.” If the reference is to a priest, one might have thought that the reference is to a priest consecrated by donning multiple garments. Therefore, the verse states: “Anointed.” If the reference is to one who is anointed, one might have thought that the reference is even to a priest anointed for war. Therefore, the verse states: “And the anointed priest,” indicating that there is no anointed priest over him; rather, he is the highest-ranking priest.

The Gemara asks: From where is this inferred? The Gemara answers: It is as Rava said with regard to the term “the thigh” in the verse: “The sciatic nerve that is on the hollow of the thigh” (Genesis 32:33); the reference is to the stronger of the thighs. Here too, where the verse states: “The anointed,” the reference is to the most distinguished of those anointed, i.e., the High Priest.

The Gemara analyzes the baraita: The Master said: “Anointed” is written in the verse. One might have thought that the reference is to a king. The Gemara asks: Is it a bull that a king brings for a sin-offering? It is a male goat that he brings, as the Torah states explicitly, later in that passage. The Gemara answers: It was necessary for the tanna to say this, as it may enter your mind to say: It is for the unwitting performance of an action for which all people are liable to bring a sin-offering that a king shall bring a male goat as his offering; but for absence of awareness of the matter with the unwitting performance of an action, a king shall bring a bull. Therefore, the tanna teaches us that it is only the High Priest who brings a bull.

§ The mishna teaches: The difference between a High Priest anointed with the anointing oil and one consecrated by donning multiple garments is only that the latter does not bring the bull that comes for the transgression of any of the mitzvot. The Gemara comments: The mishna is not in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Meir, as, if it was in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Meir, isn’t it taught in a baraita: A priest who is consecrated by donning multiple garments brings a bull that comes for the transgression of any of the mitzvot; this is the statement of Rabbi Meir, but the Rabbis did not concede that point to him.

The Gemara asks: What is the reason for the opinion of Rabbi Meir? It is as it is taught in a baraita: “Anointed” is written in the verse. I have derived only a priest anointed with the anointing oil. From where do I derive the halakha of a priest who is consecrated by donning multiple garments? The verse states: “The anointed priest,” from which it is derived that anyone who is appointed as the High Priest is included, even if he was not anointed.

The Gemara asks: In accordance with which opinion did you interpret the mishna? It is in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis.

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)
אדם סלומון
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