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Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Megilah 26



(a) The residents of a town are permitted to use the proceeds from the sale of ...
  1. ... the main street of the town - to buy a Shul (or anything elsementioned in the Mishnah).
  2. ... the Shul - to buy a Bimah (Sefarim, or a Sefer-Torah).
  3. ... the Bimah - to buy Sefarim (or a Sefer-Torah).
  4. ... Sefarim - to buy a Sefer-Torah.
  5. ... a Sefer-Torah - to buy another Sefer-Torah (as we shall see later inthe Sugya).
(b) 'Sefarim' - means Nevi'im and Kesuvim (written in scroll form) - see Tif'eres Yisrael.

(c) The Tosefta learns the principle ...

  1. ... 'Ma'alin ba'Kodesh' - from the fact that Betzalel made the Mishkan, but Moshe, who was greater than Betzalel, erected it.
  2. ... 've'Lo Moridin' - from the fact that the (sanctified) pans brought by Korach's congregation, had to be used to overlay the Mizbe'ach (and could not be used for mundane purposes). See Mesores ha'Shas.
(d) The same restrictions apply to money that is leftover from the sale of one of the above as apply to the proceeds of the initial sale.
(a) The author of our Mishnah (who restricts the usage of the proceeds from the sale of a main street) is Rebbi Menachem bar Yossi S'timta'ah (see Rashi 2a. DH 'S'timta'ah'), who holds that the main street has a certain sanctity (because they tended to Daven there on Ta'aniyos and Ma'amados). The Chachamim say - that the street has no Kedushah whatsoever, because they only Davened there occasionally.

(b) If we have the text 'u've'Ma'amados', it refers, not to the actual *men* of the Ma'amados, who Davened in Shul and not in the street, but to the *cities* of the Ma'amados, which served as centers for the groups of people bringing their first-fruits. *They* deliberately remained in the street overnight (to avoid becoming Tamei), so they Davened in the street too.

(a) Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeini Amar Rebbi Yonasan confines our Mishnah to selling the Shul of a village, but he forbids selling the Shul of a town - because it is jointly owned by people from all over the world (see Tosfos DH 'Keyvan').

(b) Rav Ashi declared that he would be permitted to sell the Shul of Masa Machsaya, in spite of the fact that Masa Machsaya was a large town - because the people who came to Masa Machsaya, came there only because of him (in which case, everybody would place the authority with him to do with the Shul as he saw fit).

(c) Rebbi Eliezer was permitted to buy the Shul of the coppersmiths in Yerushalayim - because it was a private Shul belonging to the coppersmiths, and not to the public.

(a) The Tana Kama of the Beraisa learns from the Pasuk in Tazri'a "be'Veis Eretz Achuzaschem" - that only houses in a town that is possessed by one of the tribes is subject to Tum'as Ne'ga'im, to preclude Yerushalayim, which belonged to the whole of Yisrael, and not to any particular tribe (it was not called an 'Achuzah').

(b) Rebbi Yehudah says that only the 'Makom ha'Mikdash' is precluded - implying that all other houses in Yerushalayim are called considered an 'Achuzah' and are subject to Tum'as Nega'im, including Shuls (which teaches us that Shuls of large towns are owned by the residents of that town, and are not universal property, like Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeini Amar Rebbi Yonasan maintains.

(c) We therefore amend 'Makom Mikdash' - to 'Makom Mekudash', meaning that all holy places in Yerushalayim are precluded from Tum'as Nega'im (concurring with the opinion of Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeini Amar Rebbi Yonasan), but the other houses in Yerushalayim are.

(d) The basis of the Machlokes between Rebbi Yehudah and the Tana Kama is - whether Yerushalayim *was* distributed among the tribes (Rebbi Yehudah) or *not* (the Tana Kama).

(a) According to the Tana of another Beraisa, the Har ha'Bayis, the rooms (in the Chil) and the Azaros (i.e. the Ezras Nashim, the Ezras Yisrael and the Ezras Kohanim - i.e. the eleven Amos that reached up to the Mizbe'ach) were all situated in Yehudah's territory, whereas the Ulam (including 'between the Ulam and the Mizbe'ach', as well as the Mizbe'ach itself), the Heichal and the Kodesh Kodshim belonged to Binyamin.

(b) A small strip went out from Yehudah and absorbed part of the Mizbe'ach - the one Amah of the Yesod on the east side of the Mizbe'ach was actually in Yehudah's portion. It was noticeable by the fact that the east side of the Mizbe'ach did not have a Yesod (except for one Amah by the north-eastern corner). Note: It is unclear though, according to Rashi, why the *south* side did not have a Yesod either (except for one Amah by the south-western corner).

(c) Binyamin was deeply concerned about that one Amah. And as a reward for his deep concern - he earned the right to play host to the Shechinah (i.e. that the Aron was situated in his portion too).

(a) The Tana of yet another Beraisa forbids renting out houses in Yerushalayim - because he holds (like the Tana Kama in the previous Beraisa) that Yerushalayim belonged to the whole of Yisrael, and not to any one tribe (consequently, nobody could own houses there either).

(b) Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon is even more strict - he forbids renting out beds as well (because the beds are placed on ground which is public property).

(c) The house-owners in Yerushalayim therefore used to - take the skins of the Kodshim (Kalim) by force (in lieu of rental).

(d) Abaye learned from here - that it is Derech-Eretz (etiquete) for a guest to leave the jar (that contains his wine) and the skins of the animals, as a gift for his host.




(a) We learned in our Mishnah that the money from the sale of a Shul (and from the other holy objects mentioned there - that belong to the community) adopts the Kedushah of the object that it paid for (and the object too, retains its Kedushah). But if the sale is effected through the seven members of the town council in the presence of all the town, then both the Shul and the money lose their Kedushah and may be used for anything (with limited restrictions, as we shall see later). Note: It is unclear as to how Kedushah can dissipate without being transferred on to something else - even under these circumstances?

(b) When Ravina wanted to purchase a ruined Shul from a community to plant seeds there - Rav Ashi advised him to buy it from the seven committee members in the presence of all the residents.

(a) Rav Chisda prohibited the demolition of an old Shul in order to build a new one.

(b) Rami bar Aba thought that this might not apply to him - because perhaps Rav Chisda only forbade demolishing the old Shul, in case one becomes negligent, and fails to build the new one, something that did not apply to him, seeing as the purpose of demolishing the old Shul was to use the materials for the building of the new one.

(c) Rav Papa and Rav Huna B'rei de'Rav Yehoshua both ruled - that it was nevertheless forbidden.

(d) Even though one is permitted to swap or sell a Shul to use for mundane purposes, one is not permitted to rent it out or to give it as a security - because in the former case the Kedushah of the Shul is transferred on to the money, whereas in the latter case, there is nothing on to which the Kedushah can be transferred.

(a) By the same token, one is permitted to swap or sell the bricks of a Shul that was demolished, but not to lend them out. One may however, lend out bricks that were designated for a Shul that was not yet built - because the designation alone, does not place any Kedushah on the bricks.

(b) Even those who hold 'Hazmanah Milsa Hi' (e.g. that shrouds that were woven for a dead person are Asur be'Hana'ah, even though they have not yet been used) will agree with this - because whereas the shrouds are ready to wear immediately, the bricks are not ready to live in yet. In fact, the bricks are comparable to spun threads that were designated to weave shrouds, which even *he* admits, are not forbidden.

(c) Rav Achah and Ravina argue over giving a Shul (or the bricks of a demolished Shul) as a gift. This might be permitted - on the grounds that one does not tend to give a gift unless he previously received something from the recipient, in which case, it is like a sale.

(a) One may throw away the boards of a Sukah, an old Lulav, a disused Shofar or worn-out Tzitzis - because they are Tashmishei Mitzvah, and Tashmishei Mitzvah may be thrown away (though one does this in a respectful way).

(b) One may not, however, throw away a sack that held Sefarim, a Mezuzah-case or a bag that held a Sefer-Torah, a Tefilin-bag or their straps - because they are Tashmishei Kedushah, which may not be sold.

(c) Rava thought at first that ...

1. ... a wooden Bimah was a Tashmish de'Tashmish di'Kedushah, because it was made to hold the cloth which holds the Seifer-Torah. He changed his mind however - when he saw that they sometimes placed the Torah directly on the Bimah, and subsequently called it a Tashmish di'Kedushah.
2. ... the curtain inside the Aron ha'Kodesh was a Tashmish de'Tashmish di'Kedushah, because it was made to adorn the Aron ha'Kodesh (which holds the Sefer-Torah). He changed his mind however - when he saw that they sometimes wrapped the Torah with it, and called it too, a Tashmish di'Kedushah.
(d) A Tashmish de'Tashmish, like a Tashmish de'Mitzvah, may be thrown away.
(a) Rava says that taking an old large Aron ha'Kodesh ...
  1. ... cutting it down to size and making a small Aron out of it - ispermitted.
  2. ... but making a Bimah out of - is not.
(b) Similarly, taking the curtain from inside the Aron ha'Kodesh and making out of it a mantle ...
  1. ... for a Sefer-Torah - is permitted.
  2. ... for one of the five Chumashim (in scroll form) - is not.
(c) Rava also says that the sack or a box that held Sefarim is classified as Tashmish Kedushah and must be placed in Genizah. We might otherwise have thought - that the sack or the box is mainly to protect the Sefarim and not for Kavod, in which case they would not be considered Tashmishei Kedushah.
(a) Rava suggested that they stop up the entrance between the room where a dead man was lying and the Roman Shul - with the Aron ha'Kodesh, which he assumed, remained in one spot with the Sefer-Torah inside, and which was therefore not subject to Tum'ah (in which case it was able to block the Tum'ah).

(b) This was necessary - to enable the Kohanim of the Shul to Daven there.

(c) Rava's suggestion was unacceptable however - because that Aron ha'Kodesh it seems, was sometimes moved even with the Torah inside it, and whatever is moved both when it is full and when it is empty, is subject to Tum'ah, and cannot therefore block Tum'ah.

(d) He therefore concluded - that it was too bad. Unless they blocked up the entrance permanently, the Kohanim would simply not be able Daven in that Shul.

(a) Rava said that one should bury a Sefer-Torah that became worn out beside a Talmid-Chacham - even a Talmid-Chacham who had studied only Mishnah, but not Gemara and Beraisos.

(b) One should bury the Sefer-Torah - in an earthenware container, in order that it should last as long as possible.

(c) Rav Papi quoting Rava permits transforming a Shul into a Beis ha'Medrash, but not vice-versa - Rav Papa quotes Rava as saying exactly the opposite.

(d) Rav Acha agrees with Rav Papi - on the grounds that that is what Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi holds (see Tosfos 27a. DH 'Kavasei').

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