THE KEDUSHAH OF BATEI KENESIYOS AND BATEI MEDRASHOS
(Rav Papi citing Rava): One may convert a Beis ha'Keneses into a Beis Medrash, but not vice-versa.
(Rav Papa): Rava said just the contrary!
(Rav Acha): Presumably, Rav Papi is correct, for R. Yehoshua ben Levi permits to convert a Beis ha'Keneses into a Beis Medrash.
(Bar Kapara): (Nevuzaradan burned) "Beis Hash-m" - the Beis ha'Mikdash; "Beis ha'Melech" - the king's palace; "v'Es Kol Batei Yerushalayim" - all houses of Yerushalayim;
(R. Yehoshua ben Levi or R. Yochanan): [He burned also] "V'Es Kol Beis Gadol" - where we cultivate Torah (a Beis Medrash) - "Yagdil Torah v'Yadir";
(The other of R. Yehoshua ben Levi and R. Yochanan): It refers to where we cultivate Tefilah (a Beis ha'Keneses) - "Ha'Gedolos Asher Asah Elisha";
Elisha performed his wonders through prayer.
Conclusion: Since R. Yehoshua ben Levi permits to convert a Beis ha'Keneses into a Beis Medrash, he must hold that it (Beis Gadol) is a Beis Medrash.
MAY WE TRANSFER TO THE SAME KEDUSHAH?
Question: May we sell an old Sefer Torah to buy a new one?
Since we do not raise the Kedushah, it is forbidden;
Or perhaps, since there is no higher Kedushah, it is permitted!
Answer #1: The Mishnah forbids to sell a Sefer Torah to buy Seforim. This implies that we may sell it to buy a Sefer Torah!
Rejection: That is b'Di'eved (if it was already sold). The question is whether or not we may sell l'Chatchilah.
Answer #2 (Beraisa): We may wrap a Sefer Torah with covers of Chumashim, and we may wrap Chumashim with covers of Nevi'im or Kesuvim. We may not wrap Nevi'im or Kesuvim with covers of Chumashim, nor Chumashim with covers of a Sefer Torah.
The Reisha implies that we may not wrap a Sefer Torah with the cover of a different Sefer Torah.
Rejection: The Seifa implies that we may!
Conclusion: The inferences contradict one another. We cannot resolve our question from this Beraisa.
Answer #3 (Beraisa): We may put a Sefer Torah on a Sefer Torah or on Chumashim (the same or a lower Kedushah); we may not put a Sefer on a Sefer of higher Kedushah.
Just like we may put one Sefer Torah on another, so too we may sell one to buy another.
Rejection: We cannot learn from there, for when Seforim are written together in one parchment that is rolled, perforce Seforim rest on Seforim. Therefore we always allow Seforim to rest on Seforim!
Answer #4: Rabah bar bar Chanah forbids to sell an old Sefer Torah to buy a new one.
Rejection: There, the concern is that he will neglect to buy a new one. Our question is when the new one is ready (to be sold, and he needs only to give the money).
Answer #5: R. Yochanan permits to sell a Sefer Torah only to learn Torah or to marry a woman. This shows that one may sell Torah for Torah.
Rejection: Perhaps one may sell for Talmud Torah or to get married (and fulfill Peru u'Revu), because learning brings to fulfilling Mitzvos, and "(The world) was created to be settled (with people)", but one may not sell to buy a Sefer Torah. (The question is left unresolved.)
(Beraisa): One may not sell a Sefer Torah even though he doesn't need it;
R. Shimon ben Gamliel says, even if one lacks what to eat and sells a Sefer Torah or his daughter (to be a slave), he will see no Berachah from the money!
(Mishnah): The same applies to excess money (it may not be used for a lower Kedushah).
(Rava): This refers to excess money from a sale, but if they collected money (to buy something Kodesh), the extra money has no restrictions.
Question (Abaye - Beraisa): If a condition was made, it may be used even for a Duchsusya (this will be explained).
This cannot discuss a sale, for a condition would not help for the excess!
It must discuss a collection. This shows that without a condition, the extra money has Kedushah!
Answer: Really, it was a sale. If the seven overseers of the city made a condition, the extra money may be used for Duchsusya.
Abaye (to a Chacham who used to recite Mishnayos in front of Rav Sheshes): Did you hear Rav Sheshes explain what is Duchsusya?
The Chacham: He said that it is a horseman to run errands for the city.
Abaye: If a Talmid does not understand what he heard, he should ask one who is frequently by Chachamim, for surely he heard the explanation from a great Chacham.
(R. Yochanan, and a Beraisa): If people of a city went to a different city, and they imposed on them to give an amount to Tzedakah, they must give (deposit it with the Gabai). When they return, they take back (from the Gabai) the money and give it to the poor of their city.
(Beraisa): An individual does not take back his Tzedakah. It goes to the poor of the city he went to. (Me'iri - some say that less than 10 is considered an individual.)
Rav Huna declared a Ta'anis. People of Rav Chana bar Chanilai's city came. Tzedakah was imposed on them, and they gave. When they were leaving, they wanted to take the money to the poor of their city.
Rav Huna refused;
(Beraisa): This (they take back their Tzedakah) is when there is no Chacham appointed over the communal needs. When there is a Chacham, all is done as he sees fit.
All the more so here Rav Huna decides, because the poor of both cities rely on him!
SELLING A BEIS HA'KENESES
(Mishnah - R. Meir): We may not sell a public Beis ha'Keneses to an individual, since this lessens its Kedushah;
Chachamim: It is permitted. If it was forbidden, one could not sell even from a large city to a small city!
(Gemara - Question): How does R. Meir answer the Chachamim?
Answer: He says that a Beis ha'Keneses of a small city also has Kedushah, but that of an individual does not;
Chachamim say, if we are concerned for the decrease in Kedushah, we should also be concerned from a big city to a small city.
(Mishnah - R. Meir): We may sell a Beis ha'Keneses only on condition that it can be bought back;
Chachamim say, it may be sold permanently, except for 4 things, i.e. to be a bathhouse, tannery, Mikveh, or Beis ha'Mayim (laundry, or a place to urinate).
R. Yehudah says, we sell it to be a courtyard. The buyer then does like he wants.
(Gemara - Question): According to R. Meir, there is a problem of usury (if it is bought back, the buyer lived there without paying rent. This is interest on his money!)
Answer #1 (R. Yochanan): R. Meir holds like R. Yehudah, who permits a sale that might result in usury:
(Beraisa): If Reuven sold his field to his creditor Shimon:
It is permitted only if Reuven eats the fruits, but not if Shimon eats them;
R. Yehudah says that Shimon may eat the fruits; R. Elazar ben Azaryah sanctioned such a sale.
Chachamim: No, the case was, Reuven ate the fruit.
They argue about whether a sale that might result in usury is allowed.
Rejection (Rava): No, all forbid a sale that might result in usury;
Answer #2 (Rava): They argue about whether we permit such a sale on condition to return the interest if the field will be bought back. (R. Meir holds like R. Yehudah, who permits.)
(Rav Yehudah): One may urinate within four Amos of where he prayed.
Objection (Rav Yosef): We already know this from the Mishnah! R. Yehudah permits one who buys a Beis ha'Keneses to do as he pleases, and Chachamim forbid making it a Beis ha'Mayim only because it used to be a fixed place of prayer!
Inference: All permit to urinate four Amos away from a place of prayer that was not fixed.
(A reciter of Beraisos): One who prayed must distance four Amos before urinating. One who urinated must distance four Amos before praying.
(Rav Nachman): Granted, the Seifa is like a Mishnah;
(Mishnah): One may not pray within four Amos of urine or excrement.
Objection (Rav Nachman): Why must one distance four Amos from a place of prayer? If so, one may not urinate in any street of our city (travelers have prayed)!
Correction: Rather, the (entire) Beraisa discusses waiting the time needed to walk four Amos.
Question: We understand the Seifa; one waits to ensure that all drops are absorbed (in his garment - Ran) before praying.
However, why must one wait after praying before urinating?
Answer (Rav Ashi): The words of prayer are still on his lips for this period of time.
ATTRIBUTES OF CHACHAMIM
R. Zakai attributed his long life to the following merits:
He never urinated within four Amos of praying; he never made a nickname for someone; he never missed making Kidush on wine.
Once, his elderly mother sold her kerchief to buy for him wine for Kidush.
(Beraisa): When she died, she left him 300 barrels of wine. When he died, he left 3000 to his children.
Rav Huna gave his belt for a security to obtain wine for Kidush.
When Rav heard this, he blessed him that he should be covered with silk.
This was fulfilled. Rav was upset that at the time Rav Huna had not returned the Berachah.
R. Elazar ben Shamu'a attributed his long life to these merits:
He never used a Beis ha'Keneses to be a shortcut; he never appeared to walk on the heads of Talmidim; he never said Birkas Kohanim without blessing first.