The Structure of the Chumash 05 – The Mizbeach

Rabbi Triebitz continues with Chazon Ish, Orech Chaim 125; se’if 5.

Chazon Ish has difficulty with the altar that was built at Har Sinai. The gemara in Chagiga 6b discusses the machlokes between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yishmael regarding whether the details of the mitzvot were given at Sinai or only in Ohel Mo’ed. The gemara brings an attack on Rabbi Yishmael from the Olot that were offered at Mount Sinai.

However, the Gemara does not bring as an attack the fact that an altar was built at Mount Sinai. Why not?

Furthermore, when Ramban says that this took place after Matan Torah, how can he reconcile that with the gemara in Yevamos 5b that says it took place ‘before the dibur (speech)’? Does that not mean it took place before the Ten Commandments were given?

Chazon Ish struggles with this, and gives an answer (hora’at sha’ah) which seems to contradict the gemara.

Rabbi Triebitz answers that ‘before the dibur’ referes to before the speech in Ohel Mo’ed. The real ‘learning’ of Torah (as Chazal were to understand it later, using the 13 midot of d’rash) only begins with Vayikra and Ohel Mo’ed. This is why Sifra begins with a discussion of those 13 midot. It also explains the beginning of Sifra which describes the difference between the dibur of Ohel Mo’ed and the dibur of Har Sinai. Malbim on the spot explains (though it is pashut p’shat) that Ohel Mo’ed was aspaklaria me’ira, whereas Sinai was not as clear.

Therefore the gemara only asks on Olah, which is part of Vayikra, and therefore ‘details’ that had to be learnt using the midot. Mizbeach is from Terumah, which did not yet involve ‘pratim’ and learning details from the midot.

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