The Mishna (60a) teaches that the various activities that make up the Yom Kippur service must be done in the order described. If done out of its proper order, then lo asa klum – it is as though nothing was done. What happens, then, if the blood for haza’a (sprinkling) spills before the act is performed? Two opinions are brought. The Tanna Kamma rules that a new animal must be slaughtered and the entire process of the avoda (service) started over, since the slaughtering is supposed to take place at the beginning. Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Shimon argue, claiming that the blood from the newly slaughtered animal can be used immediately, since the haza’at ha-dam is a separate mitzva.
The Gemara on our daf discusses whether this rule is true regarding other processes that took place in the Temple. Take, for example, the case of a metzora who has been examined by the kohen who declares that he is no longer leprous. The Torah teaches (see 14:1-32) that a recovered metzora has to undergo a series of activities both outside (shaving off all body hair) and inside the Temple (handing the kohen the lamb to bring as a korban asham together with the log of oil). Once the sacrifice is brought, the kohen takes from the blood and places it on the metzora’s earlobe, thumb and big toe. The kohen then takes the oil, first sprinkling it on the altar and then placing some on the metzora’s earlobe, thumb and big toe, with the remainder of the oil being poured on his head. Finally, a korban hatat and a korban ola are brought.
What if the oil spills after the sprinkling but before it is placed by the kohen on the body of the metzora? Does the same argument that we found in our Mishna with regard to the order of the Yom Kippur service apply here?
Rabbi Yehuda ha-Nasi quotes Rabbi Ya’akov on this matter. At first it appears that Rabbi Ya’akov distinguishes between the two cases, but the Gemara quotes a baraita based upon which the Gemara concludes that Rabbi Ya’akov taught that the same rule applies to metzora, as well.
Rabbi Ya’akov ben Kurshai lived in the generation prior to the canonization of the Mishna, and, as Rabbi Yehuda ha-Nasi’s teacher, played an important role in its development. Some claim that he was Elisha ben Avuya’s grandson.