1) ONE WHO USES THE SHEKEL OF ANOTHER PERSON FOR HIS OWN OBLIGATION
QUESTION: The Mishnah discusses a case in which one gives his friend a Shekel and asks that he give it to the Beis ha'Mikdash on his behalf, and his friend gives it instead to the Beis ha'Mikdash on his own behalf. The Mishnah teaches that the friend is liable for Me'ilah if the Terumas ha'Lishkah was already done.
The Mishnah discusses a second case in which one has money of Hekdesh (designated for Bedek ha'Bayis) in his home and he gives it as his payment to the Beis ha'Mikdash for his obligation of Machatzis ha'Shekel. If the Terumas ha'Lishkah was done and the Korban was offered, he is liable for Me'ilah.
Why does the Mishnah mention only in the second case that he is liable for Me'ilah only after the Korban has been offered, and it makes no mention of this in its first case? If one is liable for Me'ilah for misappropriating the money of Hekdesh only when its value was already used to buy a Korban, then the same should apply in the first case. On the other hand, if one is liable only because the Terumas ha'Lishkah was already done, then why does the Mishnah mention in the second case that the Korban was offered?
(a) The ROSH (in PERISHAS HA'ROSH), BARTENURA, and KORBAN HA'EDAH explain that the transgression of Me'ilah is comprised of two parts. First, the object that one uses for his personal benefit must be Hekdesh in order for him to be liable for Me'ilah. Second, one must misuse the Hekdesh in such a way that its value as Hekdesh is diminished.
With regard to the first element of Me'ilah, normally the Shekel that one gives to fulfill his obligation of Machatzis ha'Shekel is not Hekdesh, even after it is given to the collector. It becomes Hekdesh only when the Terumas ha'Lishkah is done, at which moment all of the donated Shekalim become Hekdesh. The Mishnah states that in the first case the Terumas ha'Lishkah was done, and that is why the Shekalim are considered Hekdesh.
In the second case, the Mishnah discusses an object that was already Hekdesh, and thus there is no reason for the Mishnah to describe how it became Hekdesh. Rather, the Mishnah discusses the second point: in what way does the person's misuse of Hekdesh diminish the object's value? Even though the Gemara explains that the benefit he receives from the object (the Shekel) when he gives it to the Beis ha'Mikdash is that he prevents the seizure of his property as collateral for the Shekel that he otherwise would owe, that benefit alone does not make him liable for Me'ilah. In order to be liable for Me'ilah, one must do something with the object that diminishes its value for Hekdesh in some way. When he gives a Shekel that was Hekdesh to the Beis ha'Mikdash, it is still usable by Hekdesh and has not lost any value. Therefore, the Mishnah says that he is liable for Me'ilah only after the Terumas ha'Lishkah is done and the Korban is brought. At that moment, the Shekel was actually used for a purpose for which it was not intended.
The Bartenura explains that the same applies in the first case as well. The person is liable for Me'ilah only when the Shekel is used to purchase the animal for the Korban. Until that moment, the Shekel has not actually been misused. The Mishnah does not mention this point in the first case because it does not discuss what form of misuse was done with the Shekel, but rather it discusses what makes the Shekel into Hekdesh such that one who misuses it can be liable for Me'ilah.
(b) RAV CHAIM KANIEVSKY explains that the Halachah in the Mishnah is the subject of a dispute between Rebbi Shimon and Rebbi Yehudah, which the Yerushalmi here mentions and which the Tosefta in Me'ilah (ch. 1) explains in more depth. The first case in the Mishnah expresses the opinion of Rebbi Shimon, and the second case expresses the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah.
Rebbi Shimon maintains that as soon as the Beis ha'Mikdash is able to use the money, it is considered as if it has been used already. Rebbi Yehudah says that the money is considered as used only when the animal was actually purchased and the Zerikah performed.
According to the Yerushalmi, the Mishnah does not mention that the Korban was offered in the first case because that case expresses the opinion of Rebbi Shimon, who maintains that once the money has been given and is able to be used, it is as if it has been used already and the person who uses that money for his personal benefit transgresses Me'ilah. The Mishnah, in the second case, mentions that the Korban was offered because it expresses the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah.
(c) The VILNA GA'ON (cited by the TIKLIN CHADTIN) explains that a condition in the laws of Me'ilah says that in certain circumstances, liability for Me'ilah applies only when the person not only benefits from the object of Hekdesh, but also causes damage or depreciation to the object. Without damage, there is no liability for Me'ilah (as mentioned above). This clause applies only to the type of object that is damaged or diminished through ordinary use. When one uses such an object for personal benefit, he does not transgress Me'ilah unless his usage diminishes it in some respect and causes it to depreciate. In contrast, when one uses an object of Hekdesh that does not depreciate with normal use, he is liable for Me'ilah for merely using it, even if it does not depreciate.
In the first case, the Mishnah discusses one who uses his friend's Shekel for his own obligation. The purpose of the act of giving the Shekel is to add it to the Lishkah. This usage does not diminish its value in any way. Therefore, as soon as one benefits from it (in that he no longer needs to offer an item as collateral for his debt), he is liable for Me'ilah. (The Terumas ha'Lishkah must have been done in order to make the Shekel considered Hekdesh, but not to make it considered used, for it is not necessary for it to be considered used in order for Me'ilah to apply.)
In the second case, the Mishnah discusses Hekdesh of Bedek ha'Bayis. This type of Hekdesh is used to buy things needed for the Beis ha'Mikdash. The ordinary use of such Hekdesh, spending, diminishes it. Therefore, one is liable for Me'ilah only when he does something with the object that diminishes it. Accordingly, the Mishnah here says that one is liable for Me'ilah only when the money was used to buy the animal.
Rav Chaim Kanievsky (in Shekel ha'Kodesh, Bi'ur ha'Halachah to 3:11) questions this point. First, the Shekel itself is not just placed in the Lishkah -- it is used up by being spent, just like any other object of Hekdesh. Second, spending is not considered using it up; spending does not diminish the value of the object, because one ends up with the same value in a different form.
Perhaps the Vilna Ga'on means that in the second case of the Mishnah, a person gave as his Machatzis ha'Shekel a half-Shekel which had previously been dedicated as Hekdesh to the Beis ha'Mikdash. Such a coin could be hammered into a silver utensil for the Beis ha'Mikdash. Since the coin was intended to be made into a utensil, and the utensil eventually would be used and lose some of its silver during the course of normal usage, the coin is considered an object that is used in a way that diminishes its value. Therefore, one is liable for Me'ilah only once it is spent (or devalued).
(d) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Shekalim 3:10) records the first case of the Mishnah as the Halachah, and he adds that "one paid [his Shekel obligation] with his friend's Shekel in order that they not take a collateral (Mashkon) from him."
Perhaps the Rambam understands that the liability for Me'ilah depends on whether Beis Din is actively trying to take a collateral from him. If Beis Din is presently in the process of collateralizing his property, then he has immediate benefit when he gives his friend's Shekel to Beis Din, and thus he is liable for Me'ilah immediately, even before an animal is bought with the money.
In contrast, the second part of the Mishnah refers to a case in which one was not under pressure to give the Shekel in order to prevent a collateral from being taken from him. His benefit (in preventing his property from being taken as collateral) is not immediate and does not constitute Me'ilah. Therefore, he is liable for Me'ilah only when the coin is actually used to buy an animal. (In Hilchos Me'ilah 6:12-13, however, the Rambam does not add "in order that they not take a collateral from him" when he discusses these cases, as he adds in Hilchos Shekalim.)
(e) The RA'AVAD (in Hilchos Me'ilah 6:8, and in TORAS KOHANIM, Vayikra Dibura d'Chova 11:6, as cited by Rav Chaim Kanievsky in Shekel ha'Kodesh 3:76) explains that the second case of the Mishnah refers to a person who is a Gizbar (treasurer) of Hekdesh himself. A Gizbar of Hekdesh does not commit Me'ilah when he picks up an object of Hekdesh with intention to take possession of it for himself. He commits Me'ilah only when he actually spends or gives away the object. This is because the object, while it is in the Gizbar's possession, is considered to be safe and in the possession of Hekdesh even when the Gizbar picks it up.
Why, though, does the Gizbar not derive benefit from the coin of Hekdesh when he uses it to fulfill his obligation of Machatzis ha'Shekel? After all, he uses the coin of Hekdesh to prevent a collateral from being taken from him. The answer is that the Gizbar does not receive that benefit, because collateral is not taken from a Gizbar in the first place, just as it is not taken from a Kohen, as the Mishnah earlier teaches (see Ra'avad in Toras Kohanim, cited by Rav Chaim Kanievsky, Shekel ha'Kodesh 1:76).
The first case in the Mishnah, however, refers to a person who is not a Gizbar, and therefore he is liable for Me'ilah immediately when he picks up the Shekel for his own use and gives it to the Gizbar (the Shekel was considered Hekdesh already because the Terumas ha'Lishkah was done). When he picks up the Shekel of Hekdesh, he transfers it to a new domain (i.e. his), and he derives benefit from it by not having to give a collateral.