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Shekalim 18


QUESTION: The Yerushalmi explains that according to Chizkiyah, six Shofros (contribution boxes) were reserved for accepting donations for Korbanos, in order to accommodate the six Batei Avos that each of the Mishmaros were divided into. The Gemara in Menachos elaborates more -- the reason it was necessary to have a different donation box for each Beis Av was so that they should not quarrel with each other over the money that was donated for Korbanos. That is, if they would all share one box it would become a point of contention, since they would each suspect that the other is taking more than their share of the money in order to bring Korbanos on their day and collect for themselves more skins. Therefore, the money that was donated was split into six equal portions, each of which was placed in a different box (Gemara and Rashi, Menachos 107b).

This would not equalize the Batei Avos entirely, of course, since not everyone who donated gave money for a public Korban -- some actually brought animals as personal Olos, the skins of which were also given to the Kohanim of the Beis Av. If more *animals* were donated one day, that day's Beis Av would still come out ahead in skin-count. Nevertheless, the six boxes assured that each Beis Av would get an equal share of the *public* offerings brought from the money that was deposited in the boxes; the excesses that one Beis Av received from the private offerings would inevitably be attributed to their "luck" and not to unfairness. (Those who suggest other reasons for the six boxes for donations disagree with Chizkiyah since they did not accept that the Chachamim were afraid that Batei Avos would quarrel with each other, Gemara Menachos 108a.)

In either case, it is clear from the Yerushalmi here, and the Gemara in Menachos, that there were *six* Batei Avos per Mishmar. Each Mishmar came for a week at a time, and each Beis Av served for one day of the week. What happened on the seventh day, Shabbos? Rashi in Menachos (107b DH Keneged) explains that on Shabbos, all of the Batei Avos served together.

Rashi in Ta'anis (15b DH Anshei Beis Av, and Bartenura ad loc.) writes that there were *seven* Batei Avos in each Mishmar, each of which served on a different day of the week. That is, a separate Beis Av served in the Mikdash, by itself, on Shabbos. How can the words of Rashi in Ta'anis be reconciled with our Gemara? (CHASAM SOFER OC 200; MIKDASH DAVID 35:2)


(a) The CHASAM SOFER (OC 200) explains that actually, it is much more logical to assert that a *single* Beis Av served in the Mikdash on Shabbos, and the Batei Avos did not all serve together on that day. After all, since no Nedavos were allowed to be brought on Shabbos there was much less work to do, and one Beis Av would certainly suffice. Why, then, did Chizkiyah insist that there were only six Batei Avos? Because he was of the opinion that the Chachamim suspected the Batei Avos of quarreling with each other over the money. If they would each demand an equal portion, there would be no way to compensate the Beis Av who worked on Shabbos, since no non-Shabbos offerings were brought on Shabbos. Therefore, Chizkiyah had no choice but to assert that there were only six Batei Avos, one for each of the weekdays, and that all six of them performed the Avodah in conjunction on Shabbos.

However, the opinions who argue with Chizkiyah and assert that the donation boxes served another purpose, because the Chachamim did not suspect the Batei Avos of quarreling with each other over the money (as we cited above from Menachos 108a), would have no reason to limit the number of Batei Avos to six. Rashi in Ta'anis is siding with this opinion, and that is why he said that there ought to have been seven, and not six, Batei Avos in each Mishmar, and that only one Beis Av served on Shabbos.

(b) Perhaps Rashi in Ta'anis (seven Batei Avos) and Rashi in Menachos (six Batei Avos) are presenting two different ways of understanding Chizkiyah's statement. Rashi in Menachos explains that all the money that was donated was given to the Kohanim. It was the Kohanim who deposited the money into the boxes, and they did so only after dividing the money into equal portions. The contents of any of the boxes could be brought on *any* day of the week (i.e., the Mizbe'ach did not lose out if the contents of that Beis Av's box was all used up, since the contents of the next box would be offered). However, the skins of the Korbanos which came from a particular box would be given to the Beis Av of that box. (This appears to be the view of Rashi in Menachos 107b DH she'Yehei, 108a DH Kol Chad). If so, if there were indeed seven Batei Avos and not six, there should have been *seven* boxes, since the Shabbos Beis Av should have had its own box, the contents of which did not have to be offered on Shabbos at all. There is no choice but to explain that there were six, and not seven, Batei Avos.

Rashi in Yoma (55b DH v'Shishah), however, offers another interpretation of Chizkiyah. There Rashi explains that the donors themselves would deposit the money into the boxes. Each day, only one box would be left open, and the donations that were given on that day were sacrificed by that day's Beis Av. (That is, if one Beis Av ended up with more donations, it was simply their luck, and not unfairness in the distribution of the donations.) If so, even if a separate Beis Av served in the Mikdash on Shabbos there was no point in making a separate collection box for it, since no donations could be brought on Shabbos, nor could Korbanos other than the Shabbos Korbanos be brought on that day (as the Chasam Sofer postulated, above). The Beis Av of Shabbos lost out simply due its "bad luck" (alternatively, it was compensated by the fact that it alone got to eat from the Lechem ha'Panim). If so, there may indeed have been seven Batei Avos, but Chizkiyah only felt that it was necessary to have boxes installed for *six* of the seven existing Batei Avos. This, then, may have been the understanding of Rashi in Ta'anis as well. (M. Kornfeld)

Incidentally, support can be brought for the second interpretation of Rashi from the Tosefta in Ta'anis (ch. 2), which indeed asserts that a *single* Beis Av served in the Mikdash on Shabbos.

(Actually, the Tosefta asserts that some Mishmaros only had four Batei Avos, while others had five, six, seven, eight, or even nine Batei Avos -- some of which doubled up on the same day. This does not contradict Rashi's assertion in Ta'anis that there were seven Batei Avos, since Rashi's intention in Ta'anis that each Mishmar was divided into seven *days*, which were usually individual Batei Avos.)

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