THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) THE "KALBON"
QUESTIONS: The Mishnah states that, according to the Rabanan, a person who
gives a Sela (that is, two half-Shekels) on behalf of himself and his friend
(who is also Chayav to give a Machatzis ha'Shekel) is required to give one
Kalbon as well. Rebbi Meir maintains that he must give two Kalbonos.
The Mishnah continues and says that one who gives a Sela in order to fulfill
his obligation of giving a Machatzis ha'Shekel (half a Sela), and receives a
half-Shekel in return, is required to pay two Kalbonos. In the Gemara (4b),
Rav explains that even the Rabanan agree with this. Even though the Rabanan
say that one pays only one Kalbon when he gives a Sela on behalf of two
people, he must pay two Kalbonos when he gives a Sela and receives change.
1. Why does a person have to pay a Kalbon to begin with?
2. Why does Rebbi Meir say that one pays two Kalbonos and not just one, in
the case when one pays a Sela on behalf of himself and his friend?
3. Why do the Rabanan say that one pays *two* Kalbonos when he pays a Sela
and receives a Shekel as change?
1. RASHI (Chulin 25b and Bechoros 56b) and the ROSH and BARTENURA here
explain that a Kalbon is a "Hechra," or a "bit extra" that is added on to
cover any losses that Hekdesh might incur in the process of collecting the
Shekalim. When a person gives a half-Shekel, he must add a little extra (to
make up, for example, for rubbed out Shekalim).
2. The Rabanan maintain that when one gives a half-Shekel there is no need
to add anything extra. The BARTENURA explains that they learned this from
the verse "Zeh Yitnu" (Shemos 30:13), which means "give exactly this
amount," no more and no less. Rebbi Meir -- who does not learn the verse
that way -- says that everyone who gives the Machatzis ha'Shekel is required
to add a little more, as stated above. (It seems that he had a different
Girsa in the Yerushalmi (4b); according to our Girsa, the Gemara uses this
verse as the source for Rebbi Meir, who requires the extra Kalbon, and not
the Rabanan who do not.)
The Rabanan maintain that the only time one adds more is when he gives a
whole Sela, for in that case the Gezeras ha'Kasuv of "Zeh Yitnu" (give this
amount and not more or less) does not apply. "Zeh Yitnu" applies only when
one is giving an actual half-Shekel.
Rebbi Meir, on the other hand, says that when one gives one whole Sela on
behalf of two people, *both* people are required to give a Kalbon. It is his
opinion that whenever a person gives a half-Shekel to Hekdesh he has to pay
a Kalbon. This is why Rebbi Meir says one must give two Kalbonos in that
case, while the Rabanan say that he gives only one Kalbon.
3. In the case when one gives a Sela and receives a Shekel in return, the
Rabanan say that he must give one Kalbon as a "Hechra," because he did not
give an exact half-Shekel. He must give a second Kalbon to pay the money-
changer for the service of providing the change which he is receiving.
1. The RAMBAM (Perush ha'Mishnayos and Hilchos Shekalim) explains that
during the time that the Machatzis ha'Shekel was given, that coin was in
great demand. Therefore, the value of two half-Shekel's at the time was
greater than the value of one whole Shekel. For this reason, if a person
pays Hekdesh with any coin other than a Machatzis ha'Shekel, he has to add a
Kalbon to make up for the difference in price.
2. According to Rebbi Meir, when one pays a Sela for himself and for his
friend, he must give two Kalbonos. Since he is giving a Sela (instead of two
half-Shekels), he must add a Kalbon. However, we view it as if each one is
giving the Sela, and therefore a Kalbon must be given for *each* person. It
seems from the Rambam that even according to Rebbi Meir, if one gives
exactly a *half-shekel*, he gives no Kalbon.
3. If one gives a Sela and receives a Shekel in return, then one must give
one Kalbon, because he used a Sela coin instead of a Shekel and he must
cover the difference in price between them. The second Kalbon is to pay the
money changer for providing change.
1. The VILNA GA'ON explains that a Kalbon is a Chiyuv d'Oraisa according to
Rebbi Meir, and is learned from the verse which says "Zeh Yitnu," meaning
that one must make sure not to give less than a half-Shekel (and therefore
one must add a little more in case the coin became scratched). The Rabanan,
who disagree, assert that it suffices to give a half-Shekel without any
addition, unless one asks for change (in which case he must add a bit for
the wages of the moneychanger).
2. The reason one must give two Kalbonos according to Rebbi Meir, in a case
when one gives a Sela for himself and for his friend, is because both he and
his friend are required to give this additional Kalbon when paying the
Machatzis ha'Shekel, mid'Oraisa. (Rebbi Meir does not hold that one has to
pay extra for paying the money changer that provides the change. However,
the Rabanan -- who say that one pays one Kalbon when he gives a Sela for
himself and for his friend -- hold that one *does* pay for the change, and
that is why one must pay one Kalbon.)
3. When one gives a Sela and receives a Shekel, the Rabanan agree that one
must give two Kalbonos. Even though they hold that one gives a Kalbon only
for receiving change, they hold that in this case it is as if he is
conducting *two* transactions, and receiving change twice. First, one is
asking that Hekdesh take out half the value from the Sela and use it as his
half-Shekel. Second, he is asking that Hekdesh give him change in the form
of a half-Shekel (specifically).