Shekalim

Introduction to Tractate Shekalim

Introduction to Tractate Shekalim   In Exodus 30:11:16 God tells Moses that when he counts the children of Israel, he shouldn’t do a simple head count but rather each person should donate half a shekel.  The simple meaning of these verses is that the half-shekel is a one time donation, or at most a donation […]

Shekalim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 1

Shekalim, Chapter One, Mishnah One   Introduction In the introduction to the tractate I explained what the half-shekel is and what it was used for.  Our mishnah teaches that on the first of Adar they would make public announcements telling people to start preparing their half-shekels.  The mishnah also teaches other public events that occur […]

Shekalim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 2

Shekalim, Chapter One, Mishnah Two   Introduction At the end of yesterday’s mishnah we learned that on the fifteenth of Adar the court would send out agents to uproot kilayim, shoots that have grown from mixed seeds.  In today’s mishnah we learn how this was done.   Mishnah Two Rabbi Judah said: at first they […]

Shekalim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 3

Shekalim, Chapter One, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah returns to dealing with the half-shekel.   Mishnah Three 1)      On the fifteenth of [Adar] they would set up tables [of money changers] in the provinces.   2)      On the twenty-fifth they set them up in the Temple. 3)      When [the tables] were set up in the […]

Shekalim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 4

Shekalim, Chapter One, Mishnah Four   Introduction In this mishnah we see two early tannaim arguing over whether or not a priest donates the half-shekel.   Mishnah Four 1)      Rabbi Judah said: Ben Bukri testified at Yavneh that a priest who paid the shekel is not a sinner. 2)      But Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai said […]

Shekalim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 5

Shekalim, Chapter One, Mishnah Five   Introduction Most of this mishnah deals with Gentiles who wish to make donations to the Temple.  We should note that this was a sensitive and realistic issue in the Second Temple Period.  There were some groups of Jews, notably the Dead Sea Sect, which adamantly opposed accepting donations from […]

Shekalim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 6

Shekalim, Chapter One, Mishnah Six   Introduction The rabbis added onto the half-shekel a surcharge which is called a “kalbon.”  Rabbi Meir and the other rabbis disagree over the nature of the kalbon and therefore over who has to pay it.  According to Rabbi Meir everyone who gives the shekel has to pay the kalbon.  […]

Shekalim, Chapter 1, Mishnah 7

Shekalim, Chapter One, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah continues to discuss the kalbon, the extra surcharge paid with the shekel.   Mishnah Seven 1)      If one paid the shekel on behalf of a poor man or on behalf of his neighbor or on behalf of his fellow-townsman, he is exempt [from the kalbon]. a)      […]

Shekalim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 1

Shekalim, Chapter Two, Mishnah One   Introduction This mishnah contains several laws about the journey that the shekalim will make from the provinces from where they are collected to the Temple in Jerusalem.   Mishnah One 1)      They may change shekels into darics because of the load of the journey.  2)      Just as there were […]

Shekalim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 2

Shekalim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah deals with various scenarios in which a person paid his shekel from money which did not belong to him.   Mishnah Two 1)      One who gave his shekel to his fellow to pay it on his behalf, but [his fellow] paid it on behalf of himself: […]

Shekalim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 3

Shekalim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah discusses various scenarios in which a person set aside some money to use for his shekel or for another sacrifice and after he counted up the money he had set aside there was a surplus.  The question is whether or not the surplus money is sacred […]

Shekalim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 4

Shekalim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Four   Introduction This mishnah explains the difference between shekels and a sin-offering such that Bet Hillel holds that the surplus of coins set aside for a sin-offering are sacred whereas the surplus of coins set aside for a shekel are not.   Mishnah Four 1)      Rabbi Shimon says: what is […]

Shekalim, Chapter 2, Mishnah 5

Shekalim, Chapter Two, Mishnah Five   Introduction In the previous mishnayot we dealt with the subject of what surplus money is used for.  This mishnah discusses surpluses left over from money set aside for various other uses, mostly sacrifices or charity.   Mishnah Five 1)      The surplus of [money set aside for] shekels is non-sacred […]

Shekalim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 1

Shekalim, Chapter Three, Mishnah One   Introduction Our mishnah teaches that three times a year they would take the gathered shekels out of the chamber in the Temple and appropriate them to buy public sacrifices.  This time is connected to the period in which animals are tithed.  In the remainder of the mishnah there are […]

Shekalim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 2

Shekalim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah begins to teach how the appropriation of the shekels was made.   Mishnah Two 1)      In three baskets each of [the capacity of] three seahs they make the appropriation [of shekels] from the chamber.   2)      And on them was inscribed:  Aleph, Beth, Gimmel. a)      Rabbi Ishmael […]

Shekalim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 3

Shekalim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah continues to teach how the appropriation of the shekels was actually performed.   Mishnah Three 1)      [The members] of Rabban Gamaliel’s household used to enter [the chamber] with their shekel between their fingers, and throw it in front of him who made the appropriation, while he […]

Shekalim, Chapter 3, Mishnah 4

Shekalim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Four   Introduction Our mishnah concludes the description of how the appropriation was made.   Mishnah Four 1)      [After] he made the first appropriation, he covers [what is left] with leather covers. a)      [After he made the] second appropriation, he covers [what is left] with leather covers. b)       [But after] the […]

Shekalim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 1

Shekalim, Chapter Four, Mishnah One   Introduction This mishnah begins to discuss what they did with the money from the appropriation.   Mishnah One 1)      What did they do with the appropriation? a)      They bring with it the daily burnt-offerings (tamidim) and the additional burnt-offerings (musafim) and their libations, the omer and the two loaves […]

Shekalim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 2

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 […]

Shekalim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 3

Shekalim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah continues to deal with money that was left over after all of the needs in the previous mishnah had been taken care of.    Mishnah Three What did they do with the surplus of the remainder in the chamber?   1)      They would buy with it wines, […]

Shekalim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 4

Shekalim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Four   Introduction Whereas in yesterday’s mishnah we learned what they did with the surplus from the shekels which remained in the chamber after the appropriation had been made, today’s mishnah teaches what they would do with the surplus of the appropriation itself.  For instance, when the first of Nisan comes […]

Shekalim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 5

Shekalim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah deals with the extra incense.  Every day there were two incense offerings, one in the morning and one in the evening (Exodus 30:7-8).  The incense for 365 days and for three extra incense offerings on Yom Kippur was prepared ahead of time.  The lunar year is […]

Shekalim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 6

Shekalim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah deals with a person who dedicates some of his possessions to the Temple and among them are things which can be used as public sacrifices but not as individual sacrifices.  This would include, for instance, the ingredients for making the incense.  We should note that these […]

Shekalim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 7

Shekalim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Seven   Introduction Yesterday’s mishnah discussed what is done with things dedicated to the Temple that can be used as public sacrifices but not as individual sacrifices.  Today’s mishnah discusses things dedicated to the Temple that can be used for individual sacrifices.   Mishnah Seven One who dedicated his possessions to […]

Shekalim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 8

Shekalim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Eight   Introduction This mishnah deals with a person who dedicated his belongings to the Temple and there were among them things which could be offered on the altar, but they were not animal sacrifices, as was the case in mishnah 7.   Mishnah Eight One who dedicated his possessions to […]

Shekalim, Chapter 4, Mishnah 9

Shekalim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Nine   Introduction This mishnah teaches how prices were fixed on behalf of the Temple such that the Temple would always get the better of the deal, should there be price changes.   Mishnah Nine 1)      Once in thirty days prices were fixed [on behalf of] the chamber.   2)      Anyone who […]

Shekalim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 1

Shekalim, Chapter Five, Mishnah One   Introduction This mishnah lists and names fifteen officers who performed various services in the Temple.  There are various interpretations as to the names.  Albeck explains that in every generation the officers who filled these functions were called by these names.  Another explanation is that this is the list of […]

Shekalim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 2

Shekalim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah deals with two other offices in the Temple. The difference between today’s mishnah and yesterday’s is that since the offices described have responsibility to deal with money they were filled by more than one person to prevent dishonesty.   Mishnah Two 1)      They did not have […]

Shekalim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 3

Shekalim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Three   Introduction Above in mishnah one we learned that Yohanan the son of Pinchas was responsible for the seals and that Ahiyah was responsible for the libations.  In today’s mishnah and in tomorrow’s we will learn what their responsibilities are. The libations refers to grain offerings which include flour mixed […]

Shekalim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 4

Shekalim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Four   Introduction This mishnah explains how a person would buy libation offerings, meaning the flour, oil and wine which we described in yesterday’s mishnah.   Mishnah Four 1)      If one required libations he would go to Yohanan who was the officer over the seals, and give him money and receive […]

Shekalim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 5

Shekalim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah describes what happens if someone loses his seal, meaning he claims that he gave the money to Yohanan but by the time he got to Ahiyah to buy his libations the seal was lost.   Mishnah Five 1)      If one lost his seal his case they […]

Shekalim, Chapter 5, Mishnah 6

Shekalim, Chapter Five, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah discusses how people could give charity in secret either to the Temple or to the poor.  We should note that in the Rambam’s discussion of charity he states that the second best form in which to give tzedakah is neither for the giver to know the […]

Shekalim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 1

Shekalim, Chapter Six, Mishnah One   Introduction Our mishnah describes certain physical features of the Temple.  Fans of the Raiders of the Lost Ark series will enjoy this mishnah, as well as tomorrow’s.   Mishnah One 1)      There were in the Temple thirteen chests, thirteen tables and thirteen prostrations. 2)      [Members] of the household of […]

Shekalim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 2

Shekalim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah continues to discuss the hidden location of the Ark of the Covenant.   Mishnah Two It once happened that a priest who was busy [there] noticed that the floor [of the wood storage area] was different from the others. He went and told it to his […]

Shekalim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 3

Shekalim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah teaches that the thirteen prostrations mentioned in mishnah one above were made in front of the thirteen gates in the Temple.  The mishnah proceeds to name the gates.  The commentators explain that the prostrations were to thank God for the glory of the Temple.    Mishnah […]

Shekalim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 4

Shekalim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Four   Introduction This mishnah lists the thirteen tables mentioned in mishnah one.   Mishnah Four There were thirteen tables in the Temple: 1)      Eight of marble in the place of slaughtering and on them they would rinse the entrails. 2)      And two to the west of the ramp [which ascends […]

Shekalim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 5

Shekalim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah describes the thirteen chests that were in the Temple, as we learned above in mishnah one.  We should note that the mishnah first lists all of the chests, and then below it explains more fully four of them.  I shall explain them all in my explanation […]

Shekalim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 6

Shekalim, Chapter Six, Mishnah Six   Introduction The first half of our mishnah explains what one who volunteers to bring wood, frankincense or gold, three of the chests mentioned in yesterday’s mishnah (sections 5-7), must bring. The second half of the mishnah deals with the eighth section of yesterday’s mishnah, which mentions the six boxes […]

Shekalim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 1

Shekalim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah One   Introduction The first mishnah of this chapter deals with the status of coins found in between the money chests that were in the Temple (see above, chapter 6:5).  The three mishnayot which follow will also deal with various items found in a certain place in which their status is […]

Shekalim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 2

Shekalim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Two   Introduction Yesterday’s mishnah dealt with money found in between the money chests of the chamber in the Temple.  This mishnah continues to deal with money found in various places, and with how to determine its status.   Mishnah Two 1)      Money which was found in front of animal dealers […]

Shekalim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 3

Shekalim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah deals with meat found in various places and how a person should treat that meat—do we assume that it comes from a sacrifice?  Is it kosher?   Mishnah Three 1)      Meat which was found in the Temple courtyard: a)      Limbs: [they must be treated as belonging […]

Shekalim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 4

Shekalim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Four   Introduction This mishnah deals with beasts (cattle) found in proximity to Jerusalem.  Since many animals around Jerusalem may be escaped sacrifices (probably lost, but escaped sounds more interesting) we must treat them as if they were sacrifices.    Mishnah Four 1)      Beasts which were found in Jerusalem as far […]

Shekalim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 5

Shekalim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah is a direct continuation of yesterday’s.   Mishnah Five In olden times they used to take a pledge from any one who had found such a [stray] animal, until he brought its libation-offerings. Then people would leave the animal and run away. So the court decreed […]

Shekalim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 6

Shekalim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Six   Introduction According to Rabbi Shimon, the decree of the court that appeared at the end of yesterday’s mishnah was one of seven things that the court decreed.  The first two are similar to the decree mentioned yesterday.    Mishnah Six Rabbi Shimon said: there were seven things that the […]

Shekalim, Chapter 7, Mishnah 7

Shekalim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah contains the final three of the seven decrees mentioned by Rabbi Shimon in yesterday’s mishnah.   Mishnah Seven 1)      [They further decreed] concerning the salt and the wood that the priests may benefit from them.   2)      And concerning the [red] heifer that using its ashes is […]

Shekalim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 1

Shekalim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah One   Introduction This mishnah continues to deal with scenarios in which we determine the status of something based on a majority, a topic which we began discussing in the beginning of chapter seven.  The specific topic is spit found in the streets of Jerusalem.  If such spit comes from an […]

Shekalim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 2

Shekalim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Two   Introduction Yesterday’s mishnah dealt with the purity of spit found in Jerusalem; today’s mishnah deals with the purity of vessels found in Jerusalem.   Mishnah Two 1)      All vessels found in Jerusalem on the way going down to the place of immersion   are unclean, [but those found] on the […]

Shekalim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 3

Shekalim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah deals with a knife found in Jerusalem around the time of Pesah when many people will need to slaughter their pesach sacrifices. The question is:  can he rely on the fact that the knife is pure or must he immerse it before he slaughters with it? […]

Shekalim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 4

Shekalim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Four   Introduction This mishnah discusses the impurity of the curtain which separated the Holy of Holies from the remainder of the Temple.    Mishnah Four 1)      If the curtain [separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple] was defiled by a derived uncleanness, they immerse it within […]

Shekalim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 5

Shekalim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah describes the curtain in all of its glory.  Interestingly, Josephus (Wars of the Jews, Book V, Chapter Five, four) also describes the curtain in exceedingly glorious terms.  He writes: “But then this house, as it was divided into two parts, the inner part was lower than […]

Shekalim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 6

Shekalim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah discusses “most holy” sacrifices such as burnt-offerings, guilt offerings or sin offerings which were defiled either within the Temple or outside of it.  That these sacrifices must be burnt is clear and agreed to by all.  However, Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel disagree whether the sacrifice […]

Shekalim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 7

Shekalim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah continues the topic begun in yesterday’s mishnah—sacrificial “holy of holies” meat which became unclean either within or outside the Temple.   Mishnah Seven 1)      Rabbi Eliezer says: [Sacrificial meat] which was defiled by a principal uncleanness, whether inside or outside [the Temple precincts], must be burned […]

Shekalim, Chapter 8, Mishnah 8

Shekalim, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Eight   Introduction The first half of this last mishnah teaches where the limbs of certain sacrificial animals were placed before they were burned on the altar.  We should note that it is quite uncertain as to why this mishnah is placed here. The second half teaches that the laws of […]

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