THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
1) THE SIZE OF A "REVI'IS"
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).
2) HOW THE TERUMAS HA'LISHKAH WAS PERFORMED
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
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
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
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.