1) WAGES OF WORKERS FOR THE BEIS HA'MIKDASH
QUESTION: Shmuel states that when construction work is carried out in the Beis ha'Mikdash, the materials are left unsanctified until the construction is completed. When the construction is completed, money of Hekdesh is redeemed onto the building materials and the labor, and the money is given to the laborers as their wages and to the merchants who sold the materials (on credit) to Hekdesh.
Shmuel's teaching seems to contradict the Gemara in Kesuvos (106a) which states that the "Magihei Sefarim in Yerushalayim" received their wages from the Terumas ha'Lishkah, the funds of Hekdesh. RASHI there (DH Magihei) explains that when the Beis Din saw that people were becoming lax with regard to correcting errors in Sifrei Torah, they decided to allow the money of the Terumas ha'Lishkah to be used to pay the wages of expert scribes to fix the Sifrei Torah. (It is forbidden to possess a Sefer Torah with inaccurate text, as the Gemara there (19b) derives from the verse, "Do not let wickedness dwell in your tent" (Iyov 11:14).)
Why are those who check and correct Sifrei Torah permitted to receive their wages from the money of Hekdesh, while the craftsmen who do work for the Beis ha'Mikdash are not permitted to receive money of Hekdesh as their wages until the money has been redeemed and has become Chulin?
ANSWER: TOSFDOS (DH Bonin) answers that there is a difference between the money of the Terumas ha'Lishkah, which was collected from the public, and money donated to Hekdesh by an individual. For public donations, the principle of "Lev Beis Din Masneh Aleihen" applies. This means that when Beis Din collects the public donations, they make an unspoken condition that the money received from the public will lose its Kedushah if it is needed to pay workers' wages. This enables the money to be paid to the scribes. In contrast, "Lev Beis Din Masneh Aleihen" does not apply to private contributions, even if the donor is Makdish his money with intent of handing it over to the public's use. for Since the money of private contributions retains its Kedushah, the craftsmen cannot be paid with that money.
(The MINCHAS CHINUCH (357:10) in KOMETZ MINCHAH notes that it is surprising that the distinction that Tosfos makes is not cited by the Poskim. The CHOK NASAN, however, states that Tosfos' distinction applies only according to the view of Ben Azai (Shekalim 6a, and cited by Tosfos in Shevuos 10b, DH Mafrishin Sechar), who maintains that money (or objects) of Hekdesh cannot become redeemed onto work done for the Beis ha'Mikdash ("Ein Hekdesh Mischalel Al ha'Melachah"). Rebbi Akiva argues and maintains that Hekdesh can be redeemed onto the labor of workers. The Halachah presumably follows the view of Rebbi Akiva (see Eruvin 46b).)
The MIKDASH DAVID (Kodshim 35:3, DH Hikshu) explains that the reason why "Lev Beis Din Masneh" does not apply with regard to the wages of craftsmen is that the Gemara in Temurah (31b) states that the money given for the craftsmen's' wages should have Kedushah of Bedek ha'Bayis, as derived from the verse, "You shall make for Me a sanctuary" (Shemos 25:8), which implies that it should be built with money of Hekdesh. Therefore, the workers must be paid with money from Hekdesh, which is done by transferring the Kedushah of the money to the building when the work is completed, and then the money may be given to the workers. In contrast, the wages paid to the Magihei Sefarim need not be from Hekdesh at all, and thus they can be paid with money whose Hekdesh was removed because of "Lev Beis Din Masneh Aleihen." (D. BLOOM)
2) PAYING WORKERS WITH LEFTOVER KETORES
QUESTIONS: The Gemara cites the Mishnah in Shekalim (11a) that describes what is done with leftover Ketores from the previous year. Since the Ketores that is offered on the Mizbe'ach must be bought from the present year's collection of Shekalim, the leftover Ketores from the previous year may not be offered on the Mizbe'ach. What is done with the leftover Ketores? The Mishnah describes the procedure used to remove the Kedushah from the old Ketores and to buy back the Ketores with money from the new year's Terumas ha'Lishkah.
The Mishnah enumerates the four steps of this procedure:
1. The treasurers of the Beis ha'Mikdash put aside money for the wages of the artisans who performed services for the Beis ha'Mikdash. They take money from the Terumas ha'Lishkah and designate it for the artisans.
2. The treasurers then take the leftover Ketores and transfer its Kedushah (through "Chilul") onto the money.
3. They give the Ketores, which no longer has Kedushah, to the artisans in place of their wages (as that money now has the Kedushah of the Ketores).
4. Finally, they buy back the Ketores from the artisans with money from the new year's Terumas ha'Lishkah.
(The Mishnah in Shekalim states that they "separate from it (Mimenah) the wages of the artisans and are Mechalel it on the money of the artisans." The SHITAH MEKUBETZES here (#1) and TOSFOS in Shevuos (10b) delete the phrase "from it," because this phrase implies that they designate the wages from the Ketores itself, which is not accurate; they designate the wages from the money of the Terumas ha'Lishkah. According to our text which includes the phrase "from it," it means that they separate from the Lishkah the money for the wages of the artisans.)
This procedure seems to contain superfluous steps. Why must the treasurers set aside money as wages for the artisans, transfer the Kedushah of the old Ketores onto that money, and then give the old Ketores to the artisans in place of money? Instead, they should separate the old Ketores itself as payment for the artisans (and transfer its Kedushah onto the labor of the artisans). Then, they should "buy" back that Ketores from the artisans with the money from the new Terumas ha'Lishkah. (If this cannot be done because of the concern for how the Kedushah of the Ketores will be removed without being transferred to something before it is given to the artisans, the same concern applies to the money that is paid to the artisans in the Mishnah's procedure.)
(a) Why must money be set aside for the workers in order to be Mechalel the Kedushah of the Ketores onto it (step 1)?
(b) Why must the actual Ketores be given to the workers before it is bought back from them (step 3)? The treasurers should merely take money from the new Terumas ha'Lishkah and be Mechalel its Kedushah onto the Ketores without actually giving the Ketores to the workers.
(a) There are a number of explanations for why the treasurers may not pay the workers with the Ketores itself.
1. RASHI here (end of DH Mafrishin Mimenah) explains that the Mishnah refers to a case in which the leftover Ketores is not worth as much as Hekdesh owes the artisans for their wages. Since money must be separated in order to pay at least some of the wages, they separate money for all of the wages in order not to have to pay half of their wages with Ketores and half with money. Therefore, the first step is necessary.
2. Rashi in Shevuos (10b, DH u'Mechalelin) explains that it would be disgraceful for the Ketores to be paid directly to the artisans as their wages, since it is a disgrace to use Ketores as a form of payment. Therefore, they first pay the artisans with money by being Mezakeh the money to the artisans. Accordingly, their wages are paid already with the money. They then are Mechalel the Ketores on that money which already belongs to the artisans. In that way, the sanctified Ketores is not used as wages in return for services.
3. TOSFOS in Shevuos (10b, DH Mafrishin) says that according to Ben Azai in the next Mishnah in Shekalim (12a), who maintains that Hekdesh may not be used as payment for services rendered to the Beis ha'Mikdash, it is clear why the money, and not the Ketores, must be given first as their wages. Ben Azai maintains that the Kedushah of an object of Hekdesh cannot be redeemed onto work that was done, so that the object may be given as wages. Kedushah can be transferred only onto tangible assets.
Why, though, is it preferable to give money from the Terumas ha'Lishkah as payment for labor, rather than to give Ketores? After all, the money from the Terumas ha'Lishkah also has Kedushah, and the Kedushah cannot be transferred onto their work! (The Gemara in Me'ilah (14a) asserts that the rule that one cannot be Mechalel the Kedushah of an object onto on work applies to money of Kedushas Bedek ha'Bayis as well.)
The answer to this question is that money of the Terumas ha'Lishkah (with which the artisans are paid) is subject to the principle of "Lev Beis Din Masneh Aleihen," as Tosfos earlier writes (14a, DH Bonin; see previous Insight). At the time that the money is collected and sanctified, Beis Din stipulates that the money may be used to pay wages for services rendered. Beis Din does not make this stipulation for any other item of Hekdesh (such as the Ketores).
The RAMBAM (in Perush ha'Mishnayos) also understands that this is the reason why this procedure is used, as he asserts that the Mishnah is in accordance with the opinion of Ben Azai. The Rambam says that according to Rebbi Akiva, who argues with Ben Azai, the first step (giving money to the artisans) indeed may be omitted. However, Tosfos in Shevuos adds that perhaps this step is necessary even according to Rebbi Akiva, because Rebbi Akiva may agree that the Kedushah of public Hekdesh (such as the Ketores) may not be transferred through Chilul onto work, but only the Kedushah of the Hekdesh of an individual.
4. Tosfos in Shevuos adds that perhaps the artisans, mentioned in the Mishnah, to whom the old Ketores is given as payment are the artisans who prepare the Ketores for the new year. The leftover Ketores from the previous year cannot be used to pay them for their services, because their work for this year must be remunerated with money from this year's Terumas ha'Lishkah. There is no choice but to pay with money, transfer the Kedushah of the Ketores onto the money, and then give them the Ketores.
(b) TOSFOS gives two explanations for why the Ketores must be delivered into the hands of the artisans before the treasurers of Hekdesh buy it back, and why they do not merely hold on to the Ketores and be Mechalel the Kedushah of the money from the new year's Lishkah onto the old Ketores.
1. Tosfos here (DH Mosar) explains that if the Ketores is not actually given to the workers, the treasurers might forget and use the leftover Ketores for this year's service before they buy it back with money from the new Lishkah.
2. Tosfos adds that it is more befitting of the honor due to the Ketores to transfer the Kedushah of the Ketores onto the money by exchanging it for the wages of the workers, instead of overtly redeeming the Ketores and removing its Kedushah. The treasurers do not want to make it look like they are trying to remove its Kedushah, for this would be a disgrace to the Ketores. When the treasurers give the Ketores to the workers as their wages, the removal of its Kedushah appears to be merely an indirect result of their actions. (See also Insights to Shekalim 11:1.)
3) THE LABOR CAN BE WORTH MORE THAN THE BUILDING
QUESTION: The Gemara discusses a situation in which the building that workers build is not worth as much as the value of the leftover Ketores that Hekdesh wants to redeem, while the wages of the workers themselves is worth as much as the Ketores.
How can the wages due for work on a building be greater than the value of the building itself? (TOSFOS DH Mosar)
(a) In his first answer, TOSFOS explains that the Gemara is referring to artisans that decorate a building, not to builders that build one. The artists' craftsmanship often costs more than the appreciation of value of the building that they decorate.
(b) Tosfos answers further that the Gemara means that the building is not worth as much as the Ketores until the workers' wages are combined with the value of the building, and together they equal the value of the Ketores.
(c) Tosfos gives a third answer and suggests that the Gemara is referring to a case in which the workers started working but did not yet complete their job, and Hekdesh wants to pay them now for the entire job before it is completed. The value of the wages for the completed job is more than the value of the part of the building that has already been built. (Hekdesh may pay the workers in advance once they have started, because the workers are not permitted to discontinue their work.)