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Shekalim 4


QUESTIONS: The Mishnah states that, according to the Rabanan, a person who gives a Sela (that is, two half-Shekels) on behalf of himself and his friend (who is also Chayav to give a Machatzis ha'Shekel) is required to give one Kalbon as well. Rebbi Meir maintains that he must give two Kalbonos.

The Mishnah continues and says that one who gives a Sela in order to fulfill his obligation of giving a Machatzis ha'Shekel (half a Sela), and receives a half-Shekel in return, is required to pay two Kalbonos. In the Gemara (4b), Rav explains that even the Rabanan agree with this. Even though the Rabanan say that one pays only one Kalbon when he gives a Sela on behalf of two people, he must pay two Kalbonos when he gives a Sela and receives change.

1. Why does a person have to pay a Kalbon to begin with?
2. Why does Rebbi Meir say that one pays two Kalbonos and not just one, in the case when one pays a Sela on behalf of himself and his friend?
3. Why do the Rabanan say that one pays *two* Kalbonos when he pays a Sela and receives a Shekel as change?
1. RASHI (Chulin 25b and Bechoros 56b) and the ROSH and BARTENURA here explain that a Kalbon is a "Hechra," or a "bit extra" that is added on to cover any losses that Hekdesh might incur in the process of collecting the Shekalim. When a person gives a half-Shekel, he must add a little extra (to make up, for example, for rubbed out Shekalim).

2. The Rabanan maintain that when one gives a half-Shekel there is no need to add anything extra. The BARTENURA explains that they learned this from the verse "Zeh Yitnu" (Shemos 30:13), which means "give exactly this amount," no more and no less. Rebbi Meir -- who does not learn the verse that way -- says that everyone who gives the Machatzis ha'Shekel is required to add a little more, as stated above. (It seems that he had a different Girsa in the Yerushalmi (4b); according to our Girsa, the Gemara uses this verse as the source for Rebbi Meir, who requires the extra Kalbon, and not the Rabanan who do not.)

The Rabanan maintain that the only time one adds more is when he gives a whole Sela, for in that case the Gezeras ha'Kasuv of "Zeh Yitnu" (give this amount and not more or less) does not apply. "Zeh Yitnu" applies only when one is giving an actual half-Shekel.

Rebbi Meir, on the other hand, says that when one gives one whole Sela on behalf of two people, *both* people are required to give a Kalbon. It is his opinion that whenever a person gives a half-Shekel to Hekdesh he has to pay a Kalbon. This is why Rebbi Meir says one must give two Kalbonos in that case, while the Rabanan say that he gives only one Kalbon.

3. In the case when one gives a Sela and receives a Shekel in return, the Rabanan say that he must give one Kalbon as a "Hechra," because he did not give an exact half-Shekel. He must give a second Kalbon to pay the money- changer for the service of providing the change which he is receiving.

1. The RAMBAM (Perush ha'Mishnayos and Hilchos Shekalim) explains that during the time that the Machatzis ha'Shekel was given, that coin was in great demand. Therefore, the value of two half-Shekel's at the time was greater than the value of one whole Shekel. For this reason, if a person pays Hekdesh with any coin other than a Machatzis ha'Shekel, he has to add a Kalbon to make up for the difference in price.

2. According to Rebbi Meir, when one pays a Sela for himself and for his friend, he must give two Kalbonos. Since he is giving a Sela (instead of two half-Shekels), he must add a Kalbon. However, we view it as if each one is giving the Sela, and therefore a Kalbon must be given for *each* person. It seems from the Rambam that even according to Rebbi Meir, if one gives exactly a *half-shekel*, he gives no Kalbon.

3. If one gives a Sela and receives a Shekel in return, then one must give one Kalbon, because he used a Sela coin instead of a Shekel and he must cover the difference in price between them. The second Kalbon is to pay the money changer for providing change.

1. The VILNA GA'ON explains that a Kalbon is a Chiyuv d'Oraisa according to Rebbi Meir, and is learned from the verse which says "Zeh Yitnu," meaning that one must make sure not to give less than a half-Shekel (and therefore one must add a little more in case the coin became scratched). The Rabanan, who disagree, assert that it suffices to give a half-Shekel without any addition, unless one asks for change (in which case he must add a bit for the wages of the moneychanger).

2. The reason one must give two Kalbonos according to Rebbi Meir, in a case when one gives a Sela for himself and for his friend, is because both he and his friend are required to give this additional Kalbon when paying the Machatzis ha'Shekel, mid'Oraisa. (Rebbi Meir does not hold that one has to pay extra for paying the money changer that provides the change. However, the Rabanan -- who say that one pays one Kalbon when he gives a Sela for himself and for his friend -- hold that one *does* pay for the change, and that is why one must pay one Kalbon.)

3. When one gives a Sela and receives a Shekel, the Rabanan agree that one must give two Kalbonos. Even though they hold that one gives a Kalbon only for receiving change, they hold that in this case it is as if he is conducting *two* transactions, and receiving change twice. First, one is asking that Hekdesh take out half the value from the Sela and use it as his half-Shekel. Second, he is asking that Hekdesh give him change in the form of a half-Shekel (specifically).

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