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Shekalim 15


QUESTION: The Mishnah (15a) describes the special "Lishkas ha'Kelim" ("chamber of vessels") into which vessels which were donated to the Beis ha'Mikdash were placed. Once every thirty days, the Gizbarim (treasurers) would open the Lishkas ha'Kelim and survey the vessels. Any vessels in the Lishkah which were needed for service in the Beis ha'Mikdash were left there to be used in the Beis ha'Mikdash, and the rest of the vessels, for which there was no need in the Beis ha'Mikdash, were taken out and sold, and the money was used for Bedek ha'Bayis.

The Gemara presents this Mishnah as a contradiction to another teaching (a Beraisa). The Beraisa says that one may take items that were sanctified to be used for Bedek ha'Bayis (Kodshei Bedek ha'Bayis) and use them instead for the Mizbe'ach (which is a higher degree of sanctity), however, one may not use items that were sanctified for the Mizbe'ach (Kodshei Mizbe'ach) for Bedek ha'Bayis. The Gemara answers that the Mishnah does not mean that the money would go to Bedek ha'Bayis, but that it would go to *Lishkas* Bedek ha'Bayis.

What is the contradiction that the Gemara is asking, and what is the Gemara's answer to that contradiction?


(a) RABEINU MESHULAM explains that the terminology of the Beraisa, which says that one may be *Motzi* ("spend") Kodshei Bedek ha'Bayis for the use of the Mizbe'ach, implies that one must *redeem* the Kodshei Bedek ha'Bayis first, and only then use the money for the Mizbe'ach. The actual item, though, may not be used for Kodshei Mizbe'ach.

The Gemara then questions this teaching from our Mishnah, which implies that a sanctified item may be used itself (without being sold) when it is needed for any purpose of Bedek ha'Bayis, even though the vessels in the Lishkas ha'Kelim are presumably dedicated to be used for the *Mizbe'ach*. If so, then certainly if an item was dedicated towards *Bedek ha'Bayis* it may be used *without redemption* for the Mizbe'ach, in contradistinction to the Beraisa. (The Gemara, in its question, did not have the last few words that appear in our Mishnah, "u'Demeihen Noflin l'Bedek ha'Bayis," which imply that the Kelim in this Lishkah were dedicated towards Bedek ha'Bayis and not to the Mizbe'ach.)

The Gemara answers that the Lishkas ha'Kelim contained vessels that were dedicated to be used towards *Bedek ha'Bayis*, and not towards the Mizbe'ach. Indeed, the vessels in that Lishkah could not be used for the Mizbe'ach without first being redeemed, since they were dedicated towards Bedek ha'Bayis, as the Beraisa had explained. (The Gemara adds the words "u'Demeihen Noflin l'Bedek ha'Bayis" to the Mishnah, to make it clear that the Mishnah is saying that the items in the Lishkah were dedicated towards Bedek ha'Bayis.)

(b) The RAMBAM (see RADVAZ, Hilchos Erchin 2:13) and the TALMID RABEINU SHMUEL BAR SHNEUR explain that from the Mishnah it appears that one may only use the items designated for Bedek ha'Bayis for purposes of *Bedek ha'Bayis*. If, however, Bedek ha'Bayis has no use for an item, that item may *not* be used for the Mizbe'ach, and not even the value of that item (when it is sold) may be used for the Mizbe'ach -- as the Mishnah rules, "the value falls to *Bedek ha'Bayis*." This contradicts the Beraisa that says that Kodshei Bedek ha'Bayis *may* be used for Kodshei Mizbe'ach.

The Gemara answers that when the Mishnah says that the value of the vessels goes to Bedek ha'Bayis, it does not mean that the money is used for the maintenance of the Beis ha'Mikdash; rather, it means that the money goes to the *Lishkas* Bedek ha'Bayis -- it goes back to the Lishkah in monetary form, as coins. Once it is back in the Lishkah, it may be used like any other money of Bedek ha'Bayis, either for actual Bedek ha'Bayis *or* for the Mizbe'ach.

(The text of the Gemara of RABEINU SHLOMO SIRILIYO includes in the answer that the money goes "*l'Tzorech* Lishkas Bedek ha'Bayis." He explains that the Gemara's answer is that the Mishnah is discussing a situation in which the Bedek ha'Bayis *needed* money, however the money may also be used for the Mizbe'ach if the Mizbe'ach needs it.)

(c) The RA'AVAD (Hilchos Erchin 2:13, Hilchos Shekalim 4:10) rules that it is forbidden to use one type of Kodesh for another. It is even forbidden to use one type of Kodshei Bedek ha'Bayis for another type of Bedek ha'Bayis, and it is certainly forbidden to use it for the needs of the Mizbe'ach. The Beraisa, then, which says that one may use Kodshei Bedek ha'Bayis for the Mizbe'ach, is difficult in its own right. The Ra'avad implies that the Gemara was not asking a question on the Beraisa from our Mishnah. Rather, it was *strengthening* the teaching expressed by the Beraisa by showing that our Mishnah, too, seems to say that one type of Hekdesh may be used for another type. Even though the items in the Lishkas ha'Kelim are presumably dedicated for Kodshei Mizbe'ach (as Rabeinu Meshulam, above, explained in the Havah Amina of the Gemara), one is still permitted to take items from there and use them for Bedek ha'Bayis.

The Gemara goes on to explain that this teaching applies *only* to the "Lishkas Bedek ha'Bayis," meaning the Lishkas ha'Kelim mentioned in our Mishnah. This Lishkas ha'Kelim was different from most other Lishkos of Bedek ha'Bayis; although most of the money or items in it were used for Bedek ha'Bayis, there was a clear stipulation that any items donated to this Lishkah could be used for whatever type of Hekdesh needed it -- Bedek ha'Bayis or the Mizbe'ach. The items in the other Lishkos of Bedek ha'Bayis, however, may be used only for the purpose of Bedek ha'Bayis and they may not be used for any other purpose, even for another type of Bedek ha'Bayis. (According to the Ra'avad, the Gemara's answer, "l'Lishkas Bedek ha'Bayis," is not explaining *our* Mishnah, but is explaining the *Beraisa* that says that one may use an item from Bedek ha'Bayis for the Mizbe'ach.)

The VILNA GA'ON takes a similar approach (as explained in the TIKLIN CHADETIN). The Gemara wants to know how can it be permitted to use vessels which were placed into the Lishkas ha'Kelim, and thus sanctified for Bedek ha'Bayis, for other purposes. He explains that the answer of the Gemara is *not* that the Lishkas ha'Kelim is different (as the Ra'avad says), but that it is permitted to take the value of items sanctified for one type of Bedek ha'Bayis and use them for another type of Bedek ha'Bayis use, *with one condition* -- once the item that was sanctified for Bedek ha'Bayis was sold, the money must be placed into a Lishkah of Bedek ha'Bayis, at which point it loses whatever specific designation it had and starts afresh. It may now be used for any type of Bedek ha'Bayis use.

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