Shekalim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Two

 

Introduction

This mishnah continues to discuss what was done with the appropriation of the chamber and then what surplus money was used for. 

 

Mishnah Two

1)      The [red] heifer and the scapegoat and the strip of scarlet came out of the appropriation of the chamber.

2)      The ramp for the [red] heifer and the ramp for the scapegoat and the strip of scarlet which was between its horns, and [the maintenance of] the pool of water and the wall of the city and its towers and all the needs of the city came out of the remainder in the chamber.

3)      Abba Shaul says: the ramp for the [red] cow the high priests made out of their own [means].

 

Explanation

Section one:  The red heifer (Numbers 19:2 ff.) and the Yom Kippur scapegoat (Leviticus 16:21) were both purchased with the appropriation money.  There are two ceremonies in which the Torah prescribes that a strip of scarlet should be used:  1) the red heifer (Numbers 19:6); 2) and the leper purification (Leviticus 14:4).  This strip of scarlet was purchased with the appropriation money.

Section two:  This section lists things which were paid for with money which was left over after the three yearly appropriations were made.  We can immediately notice that none of the things on this list are sacrifices.  Rather most of them are general issues of upkeep.  I will explain each separately.

The ramp for the [red] heifer:  they would build a ramp to lead the red heifer to the Mount of Olives (this is mentioned in Mishnah Parah 3:6).

The ramp for the scapegoat:  this was used to get the scapegoat out of the city (see Mishnah Yoma 3:6).

And the strip of scarlet which was between its horns:  they would take a strip of scarlet and place it between the horns of the scapegoat. We will learn more about this when we learn Yoma 6:4.

The remaining items on the list are all maintenance for the major structures of the Temple and Jerusalem.  I assume that the shekels were not sufficient for all upkeep, and the mishnah does not say that they were.  All that the Mishnah states is that the extra shekels would go to this upkeep. 

Section three:  Abba Shaul states that the ramp for the red heifer did not come from money left over from the appropriation but rather from the high priests.  According to the Tosefta and the Yerushalmi, whenever a red heifer was burnt, the officiating high priest would build a new ramp rather than use a ramp built by a previous high priest. 

 

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