(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld

Ask A Question about the Daf

Previous daf

Shekalim 9


QUESTION: The Gemara describes a Revi'is (which is a measure of liquid volume) in terms of measurements of cubic Etzba'os (fingerbreadths). Rav Shmuel says that a Revi'is is equal to the volume held within a box that is 2 Etzba'os long, 2 Etzba'os wide, and 1 5/6 Etzba'os high (2 x 2 x 1.833, or 7.33 cubic Etzba'os).

This Gemara is difficult to understand, because we learned in Pesachim (109a) that a Revi'is is equal to the volume held within a box which is 2 Etzba'os long, 2 Etzba'os wide, and *2.7* Etzba'os high (2 x 2 x 2.7 cubic Etzba'os, or 10.8 cubic Etzba'os)! (See Insights to Pesachim 109:1.) How are we to reconcile these two Gemaras?

ANSWERS: TOSFOS (Pesachim 109a, DH Revi'is) suggests two solutions, both of which are based on the understand of Rebbi Elazar ha'Kalir. Rebbi Elazar ha'Kalir mentions (in the Piyut of Shekalim) the size given in the Yerushalmi (describing the Revi'is as 2 x 2 x 2 minus a sixth), and he adds that it is 2 x 2 *around*. That is, the Yerushalmi is discussing the volume that fits into a *cylinder*, while the Bavli is discussing the volume that fits into a *cube*. Even so, how do the two measurements, one given for a cylinder and one for a cube, equal the same volume?

(a) In Tosfos' first explanation, he says that when the Gemara here describes the length and width as being 2 x 2, it refers to a circle which is *inscribed within* a 2 x 2 square. The Gemara's formula for the difference in the volume between a cylinder and a cube is that a cylinder inscribed within a cube always holds 3/4ths of the volume of the cube in which it is inscribed (Eruvin 78b). This is the first step.

Tosfos adds that the measurements used in the Yerushalmi are the measures of Tzipori, which were larger than the measures used in the Bavli (which were Midbariyos measures) by two "Shetusim," or 6/5 x 6/5, which is 36/25 (1 11/25, or 1.44). That is, the measures of Tzipori are 1.44 times larger than the Midbariyos measures. Taking these two points into consideration yields a cubic volume of 2 x 2 x ~2.7 [that is, 3/4 [2(2 x 36/25)(1 5/6 x 36/25)] or 11.4 Etzba'os. Although this amount is slightly larger than the 10.8 cubic Etzba'os of the Bavli, the Yerushalmi is being inexact as a stringency.

(b) In his second explanation, Tosfos says that the Yerushalmi is talking about a cylinder which is *circumscribed around* a cube having a length and width of 2 x 2 Etzba'os. According to this approach, both the Bavli and Yerushalmi are using Midbariyos measures, but in the Yerushalmi the cylinder is larger than the cube inside of it, and to compensate for the increased volume the height of the cylinder is reduced. How is that?

The Gemara in Eruvin (76b) shows that the difference between the area of a circle and the area of a square (or the volume of a cylinder and the volume of a cube) inscribed within it is a proportion of 3:2 (that is, the volume of the cylinder is one and one half times the volume of the cube). Using this proportion, we can determine how large a cube has to be in order to have a volume that is equivalent to the volume of a given cylinder. If the measurements of the cube inscribed within the cylinder are 2 x 2 x 1 5/6 (volume= 7.33) Etzba'os, then the cylinder around that cube has a volume of 7.33 x 3/2, or 11 Etzba'os. Although this is not exactly the same volume as the Bavli's measurement of a cube measuring 2 x 2 x 2.7 (volume=10.8), once again the Yerushalmi is inexact as a stringency.)

QUESTIONS: The Mishnah discusses the manner in which the Terumas ha'Lishkah was performed. Two weeks before Pesach, the first group of Shekalim would be separated from the Lishkah. After taking this first Terumah, the remaining coins would be covered with mats. Similarly, when the second Terumah was performed before Shavuos, they would place mats over the remaining coins. After the third Terumah, though, they did not cover the remaining coins with mats.

The Mishnah adds that the reason the coins were covered after the first two Terumos was in order to prevent Terumah from being taken a second time from the same coins, since Terumah is not taken from something from which Terumah was already taken.

Which coins were being covered? And what does it mean that we want to avoid taking Terumah from something from which Terumah was already taken?


(a) Most Rishonim explain that the coins being covered are the Shayarei ha'Lishkah, the coins remaining in the Lishkah after the Terumah was taken from there. The reason the leftover coins are covered is because one may take Terumah only once from each set of Shekalim that arrive at the Lishkah. After the first Terumah had been taken, new coins would come in and the second Terumah would be taken from the new coins. Therefore, a mat was placed on the leftover coins in order to separate between the old coins and the new ones.

(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Shekalim 2:5) has an entirely different understanding of the Mishnah. Although most Rishonim explain that the Shekalim were removed from the *Lishkah* three times a year, into three small Kupos of three Se'ah each, (Mishnah 8a), the Rambam learns differently.

In the Gemara earlier (end of 8a), the Rambam did not have the first seven words that appear in our text, "Taman Taninan... Kupos," and therefore he learned that the question of the Gemara there, "What is the size of the Kupos," refers to certain Kupos used for the Terumas ha'Lishkah which are not mentioned explicitly in the Mishnah there. What Kupos were these? The Rambam understands that at the time of the first Terumas ha'Lishkah in Nisan, *all* of the coins that would be used for the entire year were separated and placed into *three very large Kupos*. Each of these Kupos held a volume of *nine* Se'ah of Shekalim (3 x 3 Se'ah). When the Mishnah states that the Shekalim were separated three times a year, it means that three small Kupos, holding three Se'ah each, were used to remove coins from the three large ones three times a year.

This is how the Rambam explains the statement earlier (top of 2b) "all of the Shekalim would come at once." That is, the *Terumas ha'Lishkah would be separated* from the Lishkah at only one time. Then, the coins that were separated would be removed from the large Kupos that held them at three times during the year. This second separation was done in order to *publicize* the Terumas ha'Lishkah.

When our Mishnah says that they covered the coins, it does not mean that they covered the leftover coins in the Lishkah. Rather, they covered the coins of the Terumas ha'Lishkah which had been separated into the three *large* Kupos.

The reason they covered the coins in the large Kupos was in order "not to take [coins] from something from which Terumah had already been taken." According to the Rambam, what does that mean? The coins in the Kupos were supposed to be taken! The Rambam explains that it means that it was considered a privilege for a Kupah to have its coins used first for the Korbanos before taking coins from the other two Kupos. Therefore, in order not to show preference to any particular Kupah, at each of the three times a year that coins were taken from the Kupos to buy Korbanos, they would take the first group of coins from a *different* Kupah than the one which they had started with during the previous period of the year. In order to know which Kupah to start from the next time, they would cover the Kupah from which they had started the most recent time, as well as the Kupah which follows that one, and they would leave the third one uncovered, as an indication that they should start the next time from this Kupah. This is what the Mishnah means when it says that the reason the Kupos were covered was in order not to take from that which the coins had been taken from -- that is, to prevent *starting* from the same Kupah from which the Terumah was started the previous time.

The words of the Gemara (9b) fit nicely with this explanation (9b). The Gemara says that the reason people from the house of Raban Gamliel would make every effort to ensure that their coins would get into the Kupah was because it was a "Nachas Ru'ach" to them for the Korban to be brought from their coins *first*. According to all of the other Rishonim, the word "first" is extraneous; the Gemara should have said that they wanted the Korban to be brought from their coins, as opposed to their coins being left in the Sheyarei ha'Lishkah. The word "first" is meaningless in this context. According to the Rambam, though, it is very appropriate. The house of Raban Gamliel tried to get their coins into the *first* Kupah in order for the Korban to be brought from their coins *first.


Next daf


For further information on
subscriptions, archives and sponsorships,
contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf,