Temple Management 101
‘The Rest Were Given To The Craftsmen As Wages’
The Gemara, on our daf, discusses how to dispose of ketores from the previous year that remained unused. The Gemara explains that any leftover ketores went toward the wages of the craftsmen engaged in the service of the Beis Hamikdash.
The funds for purchasing ketores came from the machatzis hashekel that every Jew was required to contribute annually before Rosh Chodesh Nissan. These shekalim were used to purchase karbenos tzibbur (which included the ketores).
The Gemara (Jerusalem Talmud, Shekalim 1:1) derives from Scriptural sources that sacrifices offered after Rosh Chodesh Nissan must be purchased with shekalim designated for the new year’s sacrifices and not with shekalim designated for the previous year’s sacrifices.
The Remaining Lambs
The Gemara (in Shevuos 10b) deals with the similar problem of sanctified tamid lambs remaining at the end of the year. Since they were purchased with shekalim collected for the previous year’s sacrifices, these lambs are unfit for use in the new year.
Rashi (ad loc. s.v. “temidim shelo hutzrechu l’tzibbur”) explains that at the conclusion of every year, four lambs remained. The mishnah (in Arachin 13a) states that Temple authorities always kept a minimum of six lambs on hand from which two would be chosen for the daily tamidim sacrifices. Thus, on the last day of Adar (the end of the year for this matter), the Beis Hamikdash had six lambs but only two were sacrificed. Four lambs thus remained.
Why the need for six lambs every day? The Rashba explains that the Beis Hamikdash needed extra lambs in case the chosen two developed blemishes. The six lambs were bought in advance and examined for four days to ensure the absence of blemishes.
A Simple Solution?
The Turei Even (Rosh Hashanah 29b) questions this procedure. Why, he asks, did the Beis Hamikdash purchase six lambs four days before they were needed? If examination of blemishes was the goal, why didn’t they examine them without buying them? In this manner, they could have avoided the whole question of what to do with the four extra lambs remaining at the end of the year.
In truth, the Gemara (in Shevuos 10b) states that Temple administrators would stipulate at the time of purchase that the animals were only to become hekdesh if they were needed. Thus, the four remaining lambs were not hekdesh and could be sold. Nonetheless, the Turei Zahav’s question still stands: Why did they buy the animals in the first place?
Chullin In The Azarah
In answer to this question, the Netziv (Meromei Sadeh, to Shevuos 10b) suggests that the administrators probably purchased and sanctified the tamid lambs because they were kept in a chamber of the Temple courtyard – the lishkas ha’tela’im – and it would have been inappropriate to bring chullin animals into this area.
This week’s Daf Yomi Highlights is based upon Al Hadaf, published by Cong. Al Hadaf, 17N Rigaud Rd., Spring Valley, NY 10977-2533. Al Hadaf, published semi-monthly, is available by subscription: U.S. – $40 per year; Canada – $54 per year; overseas – $65 per year. For dedication information, contact Rabbi Zev Dickstein, editor, at 845-356-9114 or visit Alhadafyomi.org.