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Bidding Information
Lot #    32524
Auction End Date    12/20/2011 12:39:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Tractate Shekalim
Title (Hebrew)   
City    Cracow
Publisher    Isaac b. Aaron of Prostitz
Publication Date    1603
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   12 ff. folio 277:190 mm., margins trimmed, edges rounded, bound in modern half leather over boards.
   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 Moed 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 moed. 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 12 deal with the time and manner of levying this tax. Chapters 34 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).

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Listing Classification
17th Century:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
Other:    Talmud
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica