Megillah, Daf Yod, Part 1



The final mishnah of this series of "there is no difference between X and Y except" deals with differences between places in which sacrifices can be offered.


1)    משנה. אין בין שילה לירושלים אלא שבשילה אוכלין קדשים קלים ומעשר שני בכל הרואה, ובירושלים לפנים מן החומה.

2)    וכאן וכאן קדשי קדשים נאכלין לפנים מן הקלעים.

3)    קדושת שילה יש אחריה היתר. וקדושת ירושלים אין אחריה היתר.


1)    There is no difference between Shiloh and Jerusalem except that in Shiloh sacrifices of lesser sanctity and second tithe could be eaten anywhere within sight [of the town], whereas in Jerusalem [they had to be eaten] within the walls.

2)    In both places the most holy sacrifices were eaten within the curtains.

3)    After the sanctification of Shiloh there is permission [for altars], but after the sanctification of Jerusalem there is no such permission.


Section one: During the time of Samuel the ark was at Shiloh (see I Samuel 3-4). Since the ark had a permanent home, it was prohibited to offer sacrifices at local altars, just as it was prohibited to offer sacrifices when the Temple stood in Jerusalem. There is only one difference between Shiloh and Jerusalem, and that is with regard to where certain sacrifices and second tithe could be eaten. When Shiloh was the center of worship, these could be eaten in any place within sight of Shiloh. In Jerusalem they had to be eaten within the city walls.

Section two: In both Shiloh and Jerusalem most holy sacrifices, such as sin and guilt offerings, had to be eaten within the Temple/Tabernacle (Mishkan) precincts.

Section three: When Shiloh was destroyed, it again became permitted to offer sacrifices at other communal and personal altars but when the two Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed there was no such permission and it continued to be forbidden to offer sacrifices at other altars. Put another way, when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed it became forbidden to offer sacrifices elsewhere and after the destruction of the Second Temple it remained forbidden until the Temple will be rebuilt.


גמרא. אמר רבי יצחק: שמעתי שמקריבין בבית חוניו בזמן הזה. קסבר: בית חוניו לאו בית עבודה זרה היא, וקא סבר: קדושה ראשונהקידשה לשעתה ולא קידשה לעתיד לבוא. דכתיב +דברים י"ב+ כי לא באתם עד עתה אל המנוחה ואל הנחלה, מנוחהזו שילה, נחלהזו ירושלים. מקיש נחלה למנוחה; מה מנוחה יש אחריה היתראף נחלה יש אחריה היתר.


GEMARA. R. Yitzchak said: I have heard that sacrifices may be offered in the Temple of Onias at the present day.

He was of opinion that the Temple of Onias is not an idolatrous shrine, and that the first holiness [of Jerusalem] sanctified it for its time but not for all time, as it is written, "For you have not yet come to the rest and to the inheritance" (Deuteronomy 12:9). "Rest" here means Shiloh and "inheritance" means Jerusalem. The verse compares "inheritance" to "rest" [to show that] just as after the [destruction of the] "rest" it was again permitted, so after the [destruction of the] "inheritance" it is again permitted.


R. Yitzchak says two related things. First of all, the Temple built by Onias (or his family) in Heliopolis in Egypt is not considered to be an idolatrous shrine. This famous Temple is discussed in both rabbinic sources and in Josephus. Some sources seem to oppose this Temple, whereas others do not. It was in any case destroyed shortly after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Second, R. Yitzchak holds that now that the Temple has been destroyed it is permitted to offer sacrifices elsewhere, just as it was permitted to offer sacrifices after the destruction of Shiloh. In other words, the sanctification of Jerusalem was only in place as long as the Temple stood. As we shall see, this is somewhat of a radical notion.


אמרו ליה: אמרת? אמר להו: לא.

אמר רבא: האלהים! אמרה, וגמירנא לה מיניה.


They said to him: Did you really say this? He replied, No.

Rava said: By God! He did say it and I learned it from him.


When asked if he really said such a thing, R. Yitzchak retracted. We shall see why below. Nevertheless, Rava confirmed that he did actually issue the above statement.


ומאי טעמא קא הדר ביה? – משום קשיא דרב מרי. דמותיב רב מרי: קדושת שילה יש אחריה היתר, קדושת ירושלים אין אחריה היתר.

ועוד תנן: משבאו לירושלים נאסרו הבמות, ולא היה להם עוד היתר, והיא היתה לנחלה.


Why then did he retract? On account of the difficulty raised by R. Mari. For R. Mari raised the following difficulty: After the sanctification of Shiloh there is permission [for altars], but after the sanctification of Jerusalem there is no such permission.

We have also taught: After they [the Israelites] came to Jerusalem, the altars were forbidden, and they were never permitted again, and it was the "inheritance."


The reason why R. Yitzchak retracted was that his statement contradicts two explicit tannaitic sources which state the opposite. Once the Jews established the Temple in Jerusalem it was never again permitted to offer sacrifices elsewhere.


תנאי היא: דתנן אמר רבי אליעזר: שמעתי כשהיו בונין בהיכל עושין קלעים להיכל, וקלעים לעזרה. אלא שבהיכל בונין מבחוץ, ובעזרה בונין מבפנים. ואמר רבי יהושע: שמעתי שמקריבין אף על פי שאין בית, אוכלין קדשי קדשים אף על פי שאין קלעים, קדשים קלים ומעשר שני אף על פי שאין חומה. מפני שקדושה ראשונהקידשה לשעתה, וקידשה לעתיד לבוא.


There is a difference of Tannaim on this point, as we have learnt. R. Eliezer said: I have heard that when they were building the hekhal [in the second Temple] they made curtains for the hekhal and for the courtyard, the difference being that in the hekhal they built [the walls] outside [the curtains] and in the courtyard they built [the walls] within [the curtains].

And R. Joshua said: I have heard that sacrifices may be brought even though there is no Temple; that the most holy foods may be eaten, even though there are no curtains; and that foods of lesser sanctity and second tithe may be eaten even though there is no wall, because the first holiness was conferred on Jerusalem both for the time being and for all time.


The Talmud cites a baraita from which we could learn that there is a dispute as to whether sacrifices may be offered on other altars after the destruction of the Second Temple. But first we should explain the baraita itself.

R. Eliezer says that when they were building the Second Temple, they put curtains around hekhal (the sanctuary) and the Temple courtyard during the rebuilding. These curtains would take the place of the walls. The curtains for the hekhal were outside the walls so that the builders wouldn’t enter the actually space of the hekhal. But they didn’t need to be so strict when it came to the courtyard. Here the curtains were inside the courtyard’s walls.

R. Joshua holds that once the first Temple was sanctified, the sanctity remained in Jerusalem forever. What this means is that it is permitted to offer sacrifices in Jerusalem even though the Temple and its walls have not been rebuilt.


מכלל דרבי אליעזר סבר: לא קידשה לעתיד לבוא.


We infer from this that R. Eliezer holds that it was not [at first] sanctified for all time.


If R. Joshua holds that the first sanctification lasted forever, then his disputant, R. Eliezer would seem to hold the opposite. Seemingly this is why R. Eliezer requires curtains they take the place of walls and allow sacrifices to be offered on the altars even before walls were rebuilt.


אמר ליה רבינא לרב אשי: ממאי? דלמא דכולי עלמא קדושה ראשונהקידשה לשעתה, וקידשה לעתיד לבוא. ומר מאי דשמיע ליה קאמר, ומר מאי דשמיע ליה קאמר. וכי תימא קלעים לרבי אליעזר למה לילצניעותא בעלמא.


Ravina said to R. Ashi: How so? Perhaps all agree that the first holiness sanctified it for its time and for all time, and one Master reported what he had heard and the other what he had heard. And if you ask, In that case, why were curtains needed according to R. Eliezer, we can answer that they were merely for privacy.


Ravina reasons that there is no dispute between R. Eliezer and R. Joshua. R. Eliezer agrees with R. Joshua that the original sanctification of Jerusalem was for all time. He requires the curtains not in order to take the place of the walls and thereby allow sacrifice. Rather, the curtains were there only for privacy.