THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) MA'ALIN B'KODESH V'LO MORIDIN
QUESTION: The Mishnah states if a Sefer Torah was sold, the money may not be
used to buy Sefarim of Nevi'im and Kesuvim. RASHI (DH Aval) explains that the
reason is because "Ma'alin b'Kodesh b'Lo Moridin" -- an item of a greater
Kedushah must be bought, and not one of a lower Kedushah.
2) BINYAMIN'S REWARD
Rashi then cites a Tosefta which brings sources for this principle. "Ma'alin
b'Kodesh" is learned from the construction of the Mishkan. Betzalel built the
Mishkan, and Moshe Rabeinu -- who was greater than Betzalel -- erected it.
"Lo Moridin" is learned from the Machtos (copper pans) used to bring the
incense offering by Korach and his accomplices, which were used to make a
covering for the Mizbe'ach.
Why do we need two different sources for the principle of "Ma'alin b'Kodesh
v'Lo Moridin?" Once we know that we must go up in Kedushah ("Ma'alin
b'Kodesh"), that implies that we may not go down ("v'Lo Moridin")! Second,
why does Rashi need to cite this Tosefta altogether? The principle of
"Ma'alin b'Kodesh v'Lo Moridin" is mentioned in many places, but Rashi does
not bother to bring the source every time. Why here does Rashi bring the
source? (In fact, the Gemara itself cites a source for Ma'alin ba'Kodesh v'Lo
Moridim, in Menachos 99a, and the Girsa there is somewhat different from the
Girsa Rashi cites from the Tosefta.)
ANSWER: The BA'AL HA'ME'OR and the Rishonim are bothered by an apparent
contradiction in the Mishnah itself. The beginning of the Mishnah states that
if Sefarim of Nevi'im and Kesuvim were sold, then the money may only be used
to buy Sifrei Torah (a greater Kedushah). This implies that the money may not
be used to buy other Sifrei Nevi'im (an equal Kedushah). However, the end of
the Mishnah states that if Sefarim of Nevi'im and Kesuvim are sold, the money
may not be used to buy Mitpachos (coverings for a Sefer Torah -- a lesser
Kedushah). This implies that the money *may* be used to buy other Sifrei
Nevi'im (an equal Kedushah)!
The RAN (based on a Gemara later, 27a) answers that both statements are
correct. The beginning of the Mishnah teaches that the money must be used
l'Chatchilah to buy something of greater Kedushah and not of equal Kedushah.
However, if one buys something of equal Kedushah, the purchase is valid. The
end of the Mishnah is saying that the money may *not* be used, even
b'Di'eved, to buy items of a lesser Kedushah. If an object of lesser Kedushah
is purchased, the sale is repealed. The beginning of the Mishnah is teaching
the Halachah l'Chatchilah, while the end of the Mishnah is teaching the
This might be why Rashi found it necessary to explain here that there are two
separate rules: (1) We must raise to a higher level of Kedushah, and (2) We
may not lower the level of Kedushah. Rashi explains that "Ma'alin b'Kodesh"
means that l'Chatchilah, we go up in Kedushah, but b'Di'eved it is acceptable
if we remain with an equal Kedushah. "Lo Moridin" means even b'Di'eved we may
not lower the Kedushah.
This is what the verses in the Tosefta are teaching. We learn "Ma'alin
b'Kodesh" from the fact that Betzalel built the Mishkan and Moshe Rabeinu
erected it. The verse does not say that Hashem prohibited Betzalel from
erecting it; rather the verse says that Moshe Rabeinu erected it. From there
we learn only that l'Chatchilah, it is better to rise in Kedushah, but
b'Di'eved it would have been acceptable had Betzalel erected it (staying with
the same Kedushah). In the verses of the Machtos of Korach's group, Hashem
tells Moshe that it is *prohibited* to use the pans for a non-Kadosh purpose,
since they were used already for bringing an offering to Hashem, and that
their Kedushah could not be removed in any manner. Moshe was to make them
into a covering for the Mizbe'ach for that reason. From there we learn that
it is *prohibited* (even b'Di'eved) to go down in Kedushah.
QUESTION: The Gemara says that Binyamin saw that he distressed when he saw
that he was not going to have all parts of the Beis ha'Mikdash and Mizbe'ach
upon his portion. Upon his portion would be the Mizbe'ach and all parts of
the Beis ha'Mikdash to the west of the Mizbe'ach, while Yehudah would receive
the land east of the Mizbe'ach, plus a strip right beneath the (southern and)
eastern base of the Mizbe'ach. Binyamin was distressed that he would receive
only part of the Mizbe'ach and not the entire Mizbe'ach.
As reward for his strong feelings to have all parts of the Mikdash in his
portion, Binyamin merited "to become host for the Shechinah." RASHI explains
that this means that "the Aron ha'Kodesh was placed in his portion."
The MAHARSHA (Zevachim 53b) asks that if Binyamin saw that he was going to
get most of the Mizbe'ach, except for one small strip extending from
Yehudah's portion to the east of the Mizbe'ach, that means that he knew that
the Mizbe'ach and the area to the west of it would all be in his portion. If
so, he already knew that the Aron would be in his portion! What, then, does
the Gemara mean that Binyamin was rewarded for his feelings of distress by
having the Aron in his portion? He already had the Aron in his portion! He
was missing only the strip coming into his portion from Yehudah's portion!
(a) Hashem revealed to Binyamin that both he and Yehudah would get parts of
the Mizbeach. He did not see, however, how exactly this distribution would be
executed. All he saw was that he would share the Mizbe'ach with Yehudah.
Since he was distressed about it, he merited to get the area to the side of
the Mizbe'ach that contained the Aron as well.
(b) The TORAH TEMIMAH in Parshas Zos ha'Berachah (Devarim 33:12) gives a
different explanation for what the Gemara means when it says that Binyamin
merited "to become host for the Shechinah."
The Gemara in Zevachim (118b) says that the Shechinah dwelt amidst the Jewish
people in three places: Shilo, Nov v'Gidon, and in the Beis ha'Mikdash in
Yerushalayim. All three of those places were in the portion of Binyamin.
Binyamin foresaw that he would have the Aron in his portion in the *Beis
ha'Mikdash*, while Yehudah would have only a strip from the Mizbe'ach in his
portion. As a result of being distressed about that strip that would not be
in his portion, Binyamin merited that the *other* places in which the Aron
resided would be in his portion as well! (It could be that this is the
intention of Rashi here as well.)
3) REMOVING THE "KEDUSHAH" FROM A "BEIS HA'KENESES" BY SELLING IT
QUESTION: Ravina wanted to sow an area of his property on which stood the
ruins of a Beis ha'Keneses. Rav Ashi advised him that if he wanted to sow it,
he should purchase the Beis ha'Keneses from the "seven leaders of the city,
before the assembly of the entire city."
The Gemara tells us a few lines later that one may sell or barter a Beis
ha'Keneses, because the Kedushah of the Beis ha'Keneses will be transferred
to the money or object which is received in return (Rashi, DH Chilufei). This
implies that when one sells a Beis ha'Keneses, its Kedushah is removed from
it and is transferred to the money with which it was purchased. This Gemara
must be discussing a situation when the Beis ha'Keneses was *not* sold by the
seven leaders before the entire city, since under such circumstances the
Kedushah is not transferred to the money at all; rather, the Kedushah of the
Beis ha'Keneses simply "leaves by itself," leaving no Kedushah behind at all,
neither on the Beis ha'Keneses nor on the funds used to purchase it, as the
Gemara said on the bottom of 26a ("even beer may be purchased with the
money..."). The Gemara that discusses the transferal of Kedushah, then, must
be discussing a Beis ha'Keneses that was sold only by the seven leaders, or
only by the other people of the city, but not by both.
4) HALACHAH: THINGS THAT GUARD AN ITEM OF KEDUSHAH
If so, why was it necessary for Ravina to purchase the Beis ha'Keneses before
the seven leaders *and* the entire city. All he wanted to do was use the Beis
ha'Keneses for other purposes, by transferring its Kedushah onto money. He
didn't care whether the money used to purchase it could also be used for all
purposes! (See GILYON HA'SHAS on Rashi, 26a)
(a) The RAMBAN and RITVA explain that the Beis ha'Keneses really did not have
to be sold by the seven leaders before the entire city. However, Rav Ashi
realized that the people of the town would not be interested in selling it if
they could not use the money they received for it except for purchasing
Sifrei Torah etc., since they had no need for new Sifrei Torah. He therefore
advised having it sold by the seven leaders before the entire city, so that
the funds generated by the sale could be used for any purpose.
(Alternatively, adds the Ritva, perhaps Rav Ashi said to have it sold by the
seven leaders "before the entire city" only to emphasize the fact that if he
does not purchase it in *some* manner, Ravina would not be permitted to sow
According to this, Kedushah is indeed transferred from the Beis ha'Keneses
even when *not* sold by the seven leaders before the entire city. However,
this does not conform to Rashi, who says clearly (end of 26a) that the
Kedushah is transferred from the Beis ha'Keneses only when sold by the seven
leaders before the entire city.
(b) The ROSH and RAN (based on RAMBAM Hil. Tefilah 11:17) also explain that
Kedushah is transferred from the Beis ha'Keneses even when *not* sold by the
seven leaders before the entire city. However, sowing a Beis ha'Keneses is
especially disrespectful to it. It is in the same category as making it into
a bathhouse, which the Chachamim prohibit even after Kedushah is transferred
from it (Daf 27b). If it is sold by the seven leaders before the entire city,
it may even be sown or made into a bathhouse. That is why Rav Ashi advised
having it sold by the seven leaders before the entire city.
From Rashi (ibid.), however, it would appear that *no* Kedushah is
transferred from the Beis ha'Keneses if it is not sold by the seven leaders
before the entire city. If it is not sold by the seven leaders before the
entire city, it may not be used for *any* purpose other than as a Beis
ha'Keneses. He must have answered this question differently.
(c) TOSFOS RID (Mahadura Tinyana) suggests that the Beis ha'Keneses was one
that had originally belonged to a major city. Although it is normally
prohibited to sell such Batei Keneses (26a), it is permitted to purchase them
from the seven leaders before the entire city.
(d) The RAN cites a Girsa that says that when a Beis ha'Keneses is sold by
the seven leaders before the entire city, "it is permitted to drink beer and
spread out fruits to dry *inside* the area of the Beis ha'Keneses." This
Girsa might answer our question, since according to this, when sold by the
seven leaders before the entire city the Gemara is lenient regarding the
*Kedushah of the Beis ha'Keneses*, and not regarding the *funds* received
through the sale. If so, perhaps the Kedushah of the Beis ha'Keneses is
transferred to the money even when it is sold by the seven leaders before the
entire city, and that is the case to which the Gemara is referring when
discusses (26b) the transferal of Kedushah when selling, trading, or giving
away a Beis ha'Keneses -- as the RIF there seems to say (see Ran).
When sold by *just* the seven leaders, *not* before the entire city, Kedushah
remains on both the Beis ha'Keneses and the money received for it. When sold
by the seven leaders before the entire city, Kedushah remains only on the
money received for it, but not on the Beis ha'Keneses itself -- which is why
Ravina needed to buy the Beis ha'Keneses from the seven leaders before the
This answer, too, does not conform to Rashi, who explains clearly that the
Gemara is lenient regarding the Kedushah of the Beis ha'Keneses, *and*
regarding the Kedushah of the funds received through its sale. However, Rashi
may learn that the funds lose their Kedushah only through a two-step process,
as the RAN suggests (26b). First, Kedushah is transferred from the Beis
ha'Keneses to the money, making their Kedushah lesser than that of the Beis
ha'Keneses itself. Second, the seven leaders before the entire city are
authorized to simply "remove" this lesser Kedushah from the money. If so,
when the Gemara discusses "transferring" the Kedushah of the Beis ha'Keneses
by selling or bartering it (26b), it means that when it is sold *by the seven
leaders, before the entire city*, the Kedushah is *first* transferred to the
money, and then is *removed* from the money by the authority of the seven
leaders standing before the entire city. (M. Kornfeld)
OPINIONS: Rava says that the covers of Chumashim and of Sifrei Torah are
considered Tashmishei Kedushah, and therefore when they wear out, they may
not be used for other purposes or discarded, but they must be put into
Genizah. The Gemara asks that it is obvious that they are Tashmishei
Kedushah; what is Rava teaching us? The Gemara answers that we might have
thought that these coverings are not made to give honor to the Sefarim, but
rather merely to protect them, and consequently they are not considered
Tashmishei Kedushah. Therefore, Rava must teach us that they are Tashmishei
What exactly is the Gemara's conclusion? Is Rava teaching us that these
coverings are indeed made to give honor to the Sefarim and that is why they
are Tashmishei Kedushah? Or is he teaching that even though they are *only*
made to protect the Sefarim, they are still considered Tashmishei Kedushah?
(a) The OR ZARU'A, cited by the HAGAHOS ASHIRI and MORDECHAI, explains that
Rava is teaching that these coverings are made to give honor to the Sefarim.
HALACHAH: The REMA (OC 154:3) rules like the Or Zaru'a with regard to an Aron
formed by an indentation in the wall of the synagogue. The MISHNAH BERURAH
(154:16), however, points out that if a nice Aron is built in that
indentation, that is certainly for the sake of giving honor to the Torah, and
that Aron is considered a Tashmish Kedushah. (The Rema's ruling seems to
apply to the common practice in many Yeshivos and Batei Midrash in Eretz
Yisrael to use a large steel safe as the Aron for the Sefer Torah, since it
seems that this "Aron" is not considered to be giving honor to the Sefer
Torah, but it only protects it (and is therefore not considered a Tashmish
According to this explanation, the Or Zaru'a rules that an Aron, the ark in
which the Torah is kept, which is formed by making an indentation in the wall
of the synagogue for the purpose of protecting the Sefer Torah, is not
considered a Tashmish Kedushah, since its main purpose is to protect the
Sefer Torah and not to honor it.
(b) The BI'UR HALACHAH (OC 154, DH Aval Aron) cites other Rishonim (the
ME'IRI, RABEINU YERUCHAM) who explain that the Gemara means that even though
these coverings are made only for the purpose of protecting the Sefarim,
nevertheless they are considered Tashmishei Kedushah.
According to this explanation, it could be that an Aron that is built into
the wall of the synagogue must be treated like any other Tashmish Kedushah,
since something which is made to protect a Sefer Torah is also considered a