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Bidding Information
Lot #    21893
Auction End Date    11/18/2008 11:00:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Tractate Shekalim
Title (Hebrew)    מסכת שקלים
Author    [First Ed.- Gaon of Vilna]
City    Minsk
Publisher    Simhah Zimmel ben Ezekiel of Grodno
Publication Date    1812
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition of commentary. [5], 33, [1] ff. folio 280:195 mm., nice margins, light age staining, tape repairs to title and final, edges rounded. A good copy bound in modern cloth boards.
Paragraph 1    The Isaac Mehlman copy with his note of rare on fly.
   Tractate Shekalim from the Jerusalem Talmud with the annotations of the Vilna Gaon, R. Elijah ben Solomon Zalman and two additional commentaries, that of R. Israel ben Sauel of Shklov and glosses from Rashi and Tosafot. The tractate name and place of printing are printed in red. There is an introduction from R. Hayyim of Volozhin and a responsa from R. Akiva Eger and approbations from R. Hayyim of Volozhin, R. Menahem Mendel ben Baruch Bendet of Shklov, and R. Aaron ben Jekuthiel Segal, also of Shklov.

Shekalim is the fourth tractate in the order of Mo'ed, which deals, in eight chapters, with the annual half-shekel tax collected for the maintenance of the Temple and its services and with allied subjects. There is no Gemara in the Babylonian Talmud but there is in the Jerusalem Talmud, and this Gemara is usually included in the printed editions of the Babylonian Talmud. There is Tosefta, divided into three chapters. The reason for placing this tractate in the order of Mo'ed, dealing with festivals, is somewhat problematic. Since Shekalim deals principally with matters connected with the Temple, its expected place might have been in the order Kodashim ("Holy Things") together with the tractates Middot and Tamid. It is probable, however, that its inclusion in Mo’ed is connected with the opening paragraph of Shekalim, which says: "on the first of Adar, announcement is made concerning shekalim… on the 15th, the Megillah is read in the walled cities…" This formulation associates shekalim with the idea of an "appointed time," which is the basic meaning of mo’ed. Moreover, the first paragraph of chapter 3 significantly links the periodical allocations from the shekel funds with the festivals of Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot. It is also remarkable that the various printed editions and manuscripts of the Mishnah, Tosefta, and the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds differ widely as to the place of Shekalim in the sequence of tractates within the order Mo'ed. There are a few instances of its being placed ninth, 11th, or 12th, but it is most frequently found as either fourth or fifth. Following the rule that tractates with a higher number of chapters take precedence, Shabbat (24), Pesahim (10), and Eruvin (10) took the first three places, while Shekalim and Yoma, each with eight chapters, vied for the fourth place. But there is evidence, coming from geonic times, that Shekalim used to be studied before Yoma, and eventually the placing of Shekalim as the fourth tractate of Mo'ed prevailed.

The contents of the eight chapters of this tractate are as follows: chapters 1–2 deal with the time and manner of levying this tax. Chapters 3–4 deal with the allocations of the shekel fund, when they were made, and how they were to be used. Chapter 5 lists the various chief officers of the Temple and speaks, in particular, about the administration of the funds. Chapter 6 says first that there were in the Temple 13 "chests" for money donated, two of which were marked for shekel contributions. It then goes on to list other things of which there were 13 in the Temple. Chapter 7 first discusses the use to which lost money found on the Temple premises should be put, and goes on to consider similar questions, e.g., that of meat or cattle picked up in the sanctuary or elsewhere in Jerusalem or in the provinces. Various other questions are also touched upon, e.g., a burnt-offering sent by a heathen from abroad. Chapter 8 discusses a variety of questions which have nothing to do with the subject matter of this tractate, except for the incidental statement that the law of shekalim became obsolete with the destruction of the Temple. The following aggadic passages from the Jerusalem Talmud to the tractate are well known: "No monuments need to be put up for the righteous, their deeds are their memorial" (2:7, 47a), and "Whoever settles in Israel, speaks Hebrew, eats his fruit in ritual purity, and reads the Shema morning and evening is assured of the world to come" (3:4, 47c).

Paragraph 2    מן תלמוד ירושלמי, עם הגהות אשר הגיה רבינו... אליהו [ב"ר שלמה זלמן]... מווילנא... ונתעורר הרב... ישראל במוה' שמואל נ"י, מלפנים היה מ"מ בק"ק שקלאב ועתה קבע דירתו בגליל העליון... ומצא פירוש מספיק אשר המציא מדעתו... עפ"י הגהות הנ"ל, ובשארי מקומות מלוקט מפרש"י ותוס', ויקרא שמו תקלין חדתין. ובצדו ביאור רחב על ההגהות הנ"ל... ויקרא שמו משנת אליהו... והובא לבית הדפוס והוגה...ע"י זריז לעשות מצות נאמנו. ובעזר וסיוע... מהנגידה... בלומא בת... ר' מרדכי ז"ל ובניה... מוה' אלעזר ומוהר"ז וואלף נ"י, בני... ר' אלי' במו' שלום ז"ל מק"ק מינסק.

שם הספר ומקום הדפוס בדיו אדומה. הירושלמי על פי נוסחת ר' אליהו מווילנא (הגר"א) וסביבו שני הפירושים הנזכרים בשער. בשולי העמודים נדפסו "נוסחאות ישנות" (הנוסח המקובל של הירושלמי), במקום שהן שונות מנוסחת הגר"א, ו"מסורת הש"ס". דף [2]: הקדמה מאת ר' חיים ב"ר יצחק מוולאזין (נכתבה עבור ספרו של הגר"א "שנות אליהו"). דף [4,ב-5]: תשובת ר' עקיבא איגר "במי שנשא גיורת ואחרי מותה נשא בתה" והשגה עליו מאת ר' חיים מוואלוזין. [1] דף בסוף: השמטות ותשובת ר' חיים מוואלוזין "בענין אשר קצת ההמון נוהגים לעשות ציצית צמר בטלית קטן פשתן ע"י הפסק עור... דראוי לבטל המנהג". פועלי הדפוס: הזעציר אליהו בן מרדכי ממינסק והפרעסין ציהר אהרן בן נח בלאך מנווארדק. בסוף הספר דברי סיום מאת ר' ראובן בן משה. כנראה הוא האיש הנזכר בשער ובהסכמתו של ר' אהרן ב"ר יקותיאל משקלאוו, שהביא את הספר לדפוס והגיהו.

הסכמות: ר' חיים ב"ר מוהרי"ץ [ר' יצחק], וולאזין, כג אייר תקע"ב; ר' מנחם מענדיל ב"ר ב"ב [ברוך בנדט משקלוב], גליל העליון [צפת]; ר' אהרן ב"ר יקותיאל סג"ל, שקלאב, יז אייר תקע"ב.

   EJ; CD-EPI 0308275
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
Other:    Talmud
Blue Paper:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica