THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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SHEKALIM 6-8 (1-3 Teves) - the Dafyomi study for the last days of Chanukah
and 3 Teves has been dedicated to the memory of Hagaon Rav Yisrael Zev
Gustman ZaTZaL (author of "Kuntresei Shiurim") and his wife (on her
Yahrzeit), by a student who merited to study under him.
1) THE REASON FOR GIVING HALF A SHEKEL
QUESTION: One opinion in the Gemara says that we give the half-Shekel as an
atonement for the sale of Yosef. The ten brothers sold Yosef for 20 Dinarim
of Kesef, and thus each one received 2 Dinarim, which is equal to one half-
Shekel. Therefore, all of the descendants of the ten tribes are obligated
each year to give a half-Shekel to the Beis ha'Mikdash as an act of
atonement for the sin of their forebears.
(a) If the Machtzis ha'Shekel is an atonement for the sale of Yosef, why is
the money given to the Beis ha'Mikdash? It should be given to Yosef (or to
his heirs)! According to the explanation of the VILNA GA'ON (as written in
TAKLIN CHADETIN), we can understand why the money is not given to Yosef --
because he also sinned by instigating his brothers' anger against him, and
thus he is included in the responsibility for his sale. Of the twelve
brothers, only ten were responsible for the sale of Yosef, including Yosef
himself. Reuven and Binyamin, though, were not involved in the sale of
We understand why the money is not given to Yosef. But why is it given
specifically to the Beis ha'Mikdash?
(b) Furthermore, since Reuven and Binyamin did not sin, why are their
descendants obligated to give the Machtzis ha'Shekel?
(a) The reason why the money is given to the Beis ha'Mikdash might be based
on what the RAMBAM writes in Moreh Nevuchim (3:46, see also Yalkut Shimoni
#521). The Rambam writes that all of the Se'irim (goats) which are brought
on Rosh Chodesh and on Yom Tov, as well as many other Korbanos, are intended
to serve as an atonement for the sale of Yosef (the Torah relates that the
brothers slaughtered a *goat* in order to attain its blood to make it look
like Yosef had been killed). Therefore, in order to attain atonement for the
sin of the sale of Yosef, we give the money to the Beis ha'Mikdash to buy
the Korbanos which atone for that sin.
(b) To answer the second question, the SHEYAREI KORBAN on the Yerushalmi
answers that the Gemara is not giving a reason why we give Shekalim. We give
Shekalim because we have to purchase Korbanos. Rather, the Gemara is giving
a reason why the *amount* that we must give was designated as half a Shekel.
Since most of the tribes sinned with the amount of one half-Shekel, it was
designated as the amount that each tribe must give.
2) SLAUGHTERING THE "MOSAR PESACH" WITH INTENT TO MAKE IT AN "OLAH"
QUESTION: The Mishnah teaches that Mosar Pesach l'Shelamim. A Korban which
was designated to be brought as a Korban Pesach but was not brought is
offered instead as a normal Korban Shelamim. The Gemara says that the Mosar
Pesach is a valid Shelamim only if it was slaughtered l'Shem Shelamim, with
specific intent to be offered as a Korban Shelamim, and not with intent to
be a Korban Pesach. The Amora'im argue whether the Mosar Pesach becomes a
valid Shelamim if it was slaughtered with intention that it become an
*Olah*. Some say that it is invalid and may not be brought at all, even as a
Shelamim, and Rebbi Yochanan (or Rebbi Chanina) says that it is a valid
The Gemara then goes on to discuss the Halachah of a Mosar Pesach which was
slaughtered with intention that it be an *Olah with a Machshavah of Pesul*.
That is, he not only slaughtered it to be an Olah, but he slaughtered it to
be an invalid Olah. The Gemara asks will such an animal be a valid Shelamim
or not, and the question is left unanswered.
What is the Gemara's question? According to both of the previous opinions
(regarding slaughtering the Mosar Pesach l'Shem Olah), there should be no
question! According to Rebbi Yochanan, who says that slaughtering a Mosar
Pesach l'Shem Olah still makes it into a valid Shelamim, it will obviously
be Pasul if one slaughtered it with a Machshavah of Pesul! According to the others who say that it is not a valid Shelamim when slaughtered l'Shem Olah,
it is already invalid if he slaughtered it l'Shem Olah and it does not make
a difference if he also slaughtered it with a Machshavah of Pesul! What,
then, is the Gemara's question?
(a) The KORBAN HA'EDAH (as explained by the PNEI ZAKEN) explains that the
Gemara is asking its question according to Rebbi Yochanan. The Gemara is
discussing a type of Machshavah of Pesul which would constitute Pigul if the
animal was an Olah, but *not* if the animal was a Shelamim. The Gemara is
asking what is the Halachah if a person slaughters the Mosar Pesach to be an
Olah, and he has this type of Machshavah while slaughtering it? For example,
a person has in mind to offer the flesh of the Korban on the following day.
Such a Machshavah by an Olah constitutes Pigul and invalidates the Korban,
because the flesh is part of what is offered on the Mizbe'ach on the day
that it is slaughtered. To have a Machshavah about offering it after its
time is Pigul. With regard to Shelamim, though, such a Machshavah does not
invalidate the Korban, because the flesh is not offered today on the
Mizbe'ach, but rather it is supposed to be *eaten* tomorrow, and thus
burning it tomorrow is not a Pesul at all. Do we say that since he is
slaughtering the animal l'Shem Olah, it is considered Pigul, or do we say
that since it does not actually become an Olah, even though he slaughters it
l'Shem Olah, it does not become Pigul.
This is what the Gemara means when it says, "Do you consider that it has
been changed to an Olah as far as Machsheves Pigul (that is, the type of
Machshavah which can only invalidate an Olah) is concerned [and thus it will
be Pasul], or do you not consider that it has been changed to an Olah with
regard to Machsheves Pigul [and thus it will not be Pasul]." (This also
appears to be the understanding of the TAKLIN CHADETIN in his *original
explanation* of the Gemara's question.)
(b) RABEINU MESHULAM and the TALMID SHEL RAV SHMUEL BAR SHNUER explain that
the Gemara here is just repeating its previous question. The Gemara asked
whether or not the Mosar Pesach will become a valid Shelamim if it is
slaughtered l'Shem Olah. The Gemara now is just giving another practical
ramification and is asking again, "Does an unfit Machshavah (such as
slaughtering it to be an Olah) make it Pasul?" The Nafka Minah will be if
one has a Machshavah of Pigul. If the animal remains a valid Shelamim when
slaughtered l'Shem Olah, then a Machshavah of Pigul will make it Pigul. If
the animal does *not* become a valid Shelamim when slaughtered l'Shem Olah,
then it is already Pasul and a Machshavah of Pigul will not affect it,
because a Korban which is already Pasul cannot become Pigul.
RAV CHAIM KANIEVSKY in his commentary to Maseches Shekalim develops this
explanation one step further. Perhaps the Gemara, in its question here, is
following the opinion of Rebbi Yochanan, who says that if one slaughtered
the Mosar Pesach l'Shem Olah, it is still a valid Shelamim. The question is
if he slaughtered it *l'Shem Olas Pigul*, to be an Olah but with Machsheves
Pigul -- is such a Machshavah still able to make it into a Shelamim (albeit
a Pasul one) or not? Perhaps only slaughtering it *l'Shem Olah Kesheirah*,
to be a *valid* Olah, makes it into a Shelamim. The Gemara then asks that in
either case, the Korban is Pasul. The Gemara answers that if such a
Machshavah makes it into a Shelamim, then it will be Pigul. If such a
Machshavah is unable to make it into a Shelamim, then it remains a Pesach
Pasul and therefore it is not Pigul.
(c) The TAKLIN CHADETIN (as he explains in the Gemara's conclusion) has a
different approach. He says that the Gemara follows the opinion of Rebbi
Yochanan that slaughtering the Mosar Pesach l'Shem Olah will make it into a
valid Shelamim. The question, though, is if -- by slaughtering it l'Shem
Olah -- it is lacking in its completeness and is only a valid Shelamim
*b'Di'eved*, or does it remain a *completely acceptable* Shelamim as if one
slaughtered it l'Shem Shelamim? The Gemara is asking if having a Machshavah
to make it into an Olah changes something in the Korban and makes it only
acceptable "b'Di'eved" -- and thus it cannot become Pigul, because only a
*completely* Kosher Korban can become Pigul -- or does the Machshavah to
make it an Olah not detract at all from it and it is completely Kosher and
can thus become Pigul.