"If the anointed Kohein will sin..."
This week's parsha records four of the six offerings that fall
under the penumbra of the Korban Chatas - sin-offering. The sin-offering
brought by a commoner was a female goat or sheep. If however, the
perpetrator was a Kohein Gadol who, being a scholar, took the liberty of
ruling to permit a certain prohibited activity for himself. Subsequently
upon discovering that this act was in fact forbidden, he was required to
bring a "par Kohein Mashiach" - "bull of the anointed Kohein" instead of the
female goat or sheep of the commoner. The Torah describes how after
slaughtering the animal the blood was caught in a bowl. The Kohein Gadol was
required to dip his finger into the bowl containing the bull's blood and
sprinkle it before the paroches, curtain separating the Holy from the Holy
The Torah records a second sin-offering that results from a mistaken ruling.
If the Sanhedrin of seventy-one judges issued an erroneous ruling which
resulted in the majority of the nation or a majority of the tribes
transgressing a sin punishable by spiritual excision, a korban called the
"par helem davar shel tzibbur" - "bull for the matter which was concealed
from the congregation" was required. Unlike the previous offerings which
were brought by the individual penitent, this korban was offered by the
Sanhedrin for the entire community. Here too, the Torah records that the
blood of the animal was sprinkled on the paroches. However, Rashi
identifies a discrepancy between both procedures. Whereas the sprinkling for
the "par Kohein Mashiach" is recorded as occurring before the "paroches
hakodesh" - "holy separating curtain", the sprinkling for the "par helem
davar" is described as occurring before the "paroches". Why is the same
curtain identified as holy in regards to "par Kohein Mashiach" but not when
associated with the "par helem davar shel tzibur"?
The Talmud identifies two procedures that were utilized to inaugurate a
Kohein Gadol. Ideally, pouring the anointing oil upon the head of the Kohein
Gadol elevated him to his new position. If no anointing oil was available,
donning the Kohein Gadol with all eight of his Priestly vestments was
sufficient. The anointed Kokein Gadol was known as the "Kohein Mashiach",
whereas the Kohein Gadol who was elevated through the vestments was referred
to as the "Merubah Begadim". One difference between the two types of Kohein
Gadol was the requirement to offer the "par Kohein Mashiach". Only the
anointed Kohein Gadol brought this offering; the "Merubah Begadim" brought
the offering of the commoner for his inadvertent transgressions.
The reason why the paroches is termed "hakodesh" is because the staves of
the Aron Hakodesh protruded from inside the "Kodesh Hakadoshim" - "Holy of
Holies" into the curtain, creating the effect of a woman's form for the
person standing in the Kodesh. The Torah therefore refers to the
separating curtain as a covering for the Ark. Hence it is given the
appellation "paroches hakodesh".
The Talmud enumerates those items which were not present during the Second
Temple. Among these items were the anointing oil and the Holy Ark which were
hidden after the destruction of the First Temple. Since the anointing oil
was only present during the First Temple, the "par Kohein Mashiach" could
only be brought during this time. The Torah alludes to this future
occurrence by describing the sprinkling as being performed before the
paroches hakodesh. The separating curtain could only be identified as
"hakodesh" when the Aron was in the Kodesh Kodashim and the staves were
protruding from the curtain, which only occurred during the First Temple.
The "par helem davar shel tzibbur" which was not contingent upon having the
Kohein Mashiach, could occur even during the Second Temple. Therefore, the
sprinkling of the blood of the "par helem davar shel tzibbur" is described
as occurring before the "paroches" alone, which is the manner in which the
paroches is referred to when it does not function as a covering for the Aron.
6. Menachos 98b