In Mishnah Shekalim we learned that on the first of Adar they would make two announcements: 1) That people should check their fields to make sure that diverse seeds are not growing together. If they are, they must be uprooted. 2) That people should bring their shekels to the Temple.
It is understandable why the announcement about the kilayim was made at this time, for spring is the planting season. But why make the announcement about the shekels?
The answer is that there is a month on which public offerings must be brought from new contributions, i.e. new shekels. That month is Nisan (this is derived in Rosh Hashanah). To give people some time to get their act together, they would let people know about this in the beginning of Adar. In the time of the Temple, they would make a public announcement. By the time of the Mishnah, this had been replaced with a Torah reading, as we read in our Mishnah.
The idea that they would announce the shekels thirty days before Nisan seems to accord with the first opinion in the baraita about teaching the laws of Pesah and not R. Shimon b. Gamaliel who says we only begin talking about Pesah two weeks before.
There was a custom to begin to set up the tables to exchange money to the proper currency as early as the middle of Adar. Therefore, the mishnah accords even with R. Shimon b. Gamaliel since the first of Adar is only two weeks before money began to be collected in the provinces.
This entire sugya is about what passage in the Torah is read on Shabbat Shekalim, the special Shabbat that falls before or on Rosh Hodesh Adar.
Shmuel says that the portion of Shekalim is Exodus 30:12 and onward, for that is where Israel was told to bring shekels during the census. This, according to many rabbis, is the source of the Second Temple practice of bringing a half-shekel to the Temple once a year.
But Rav says that it is the beginning of Numbers 28, which discusses the musaf and tamid offerings. Why that passage?
The answer is that this accords with R. Tabi’s statement from yesterday’s section, where he said that this verse teaches us that from the month of Nisan and onwards we use the new donations to fund the public sacrifices. Therefore, we need to let people know from Adar and onward that they should bring the shekels. According to Rav, we read this portion in the Torah as well.
Shmuel’s opinion, that we read Exodus 30 is also problematic, for the collection there was taken to pay for the sockets used in the construction of the Tabernacle (this is alluded to in Exodus 38:25-27). It was not used to finance public sacrifices, which is what the half-shekel was used for. [As an aside, this shows that it is not simple to draw a straight historical line from the collection taken in Exodus 30 to the Second Temple custom of the half-shekel. There is actually quite a bit of research about the subject.]
The problem is solved by an allusion to a statement made by R. Joseph, that there were actually three contributions, one for the altar, one for the sockets and one for the general repair of the Tabernacle/Temple. Thus according to R. Joseph there is a connection between Exodus 30 and the collection of the half-shekel.
In order to understand this section we need to understand some background concerning Torah reading during the Talmudic period. When a special Shabbat occurred, they would not read the regular portion of the week and then add on the special reading for that Shabbat as we do today. Rather, they would suspend the portion of the week and just read the special reading for that Shabbat. The problem is that if the portion of Shekalim is Numbers 28, then that is the same reading as every other Rosh Hodesh. So how would anyone know that it is a special Shabbat?
The answer is that in other cases of Rosh Hodesh six people would read the regular portion and the seventh would read the Rosh Hodesh reading as maftir (we do this slightly differently, seven people read and then an additional person reads the reading for Rosh Hodesh). On Shabbat Shekalim the entire reading would consist only of Numbers 28. I should note that this would mean there would be a lot of repeating because the passage is not that long.
The above difference between a regular Rosh Hodesh that falls on Shabbat and Shabbat Shekalim works only according to the opinion I described above, that they would interrupt the regular parshat hashavua reading and then return to it the following week. But there is another opinion, that on the special Shabbat the only thing that would be interrupted is the regular haftorah reading (as we do today). So if they read Numbers 28, how is Shabbat Shekalim different from a normal Rosh Hodesh?
Again, there is a difference as to how it is read. On a regular Rosh Hodesh six people would read the regular Torah reading and one would read the Rosh Hodesh portion. On Shabbat Shekalim three would read the regular portion and four would read the special portion for Shabbat Shekalim. [Again, this is not how we do things today].
The chapter of Yehoyada seems to allude to Exodus 30:12 and uses similar terminology. Indeed, many scholars trace a line between this Torah reading, Yehoash the king’s interpretation of it and the Second Temple custom. This haftorah accords well with Shmuel’s opinion, that we read Exodus 30. But what is the connection between that haftorah and Numbers 28?
Again, the connection is drawn through R. Tabi’s derashah, which connects the shekels with the new contributions used to fund the sacrifices.
The baraita brought here says that if the portion that is read on Shabbat Shekalim falls a week before or after they read the same portion as part of the regular cycle, then they just read it two weeks in a row. In the Babylonian tradition of reading the entire Torah in one year, this can only happen with Exodus 30, for Ki Tisa falls around this time of year. Parshat Pinhas, which includes Numbers 28, is in the summer. So this baraita seems to support Shmuel.
However, the Talmud explains that the baraita reflects the custom of Eretz Yisrael where they read the Torah in a triennial cycle (actually not exactly three years, possibly twice in 7 years). Thus there is no set time of year in which Exodus 30 or Numbers 28 would be read. Either could fall in Adar.
It has been taught in agreement with Shmuel: When Rosh Hodesh Adar falls on Shabbat, the portion “When you count” is read, and they read the haftarah concerning “Yehoyada the Priest.”
The sugya ends with a baraita that supports Shmuel’s opinion—we read from Exodus 30. This remains the custom to this day.
Today’s section deals with what we do with Rosh Hodesh Adar and Rosh Hodesh Tevet, each of which have various complications.
This is one of the occasions in which three Torah scrolls are used, to avoid having to roll from one to the other.
This is another of the occasions when three Torah scrolls are used.
The Talmud now asks a typical question: Why did R. Yitzchak have to make both statements? The first statement is definitely necessary for in it he lets us know that he rules like Shmuel, that we read from Exodus 30 on Shabbat Shekalim. Rav said we read from Numbers 28, the same passage used for Rosh Hodesh, in which case two would have been sufficient.
However, R. Yitzchak could have stated the former and not the latter? The answer is that indeed the latter statement was not actually stated by R. Yitzchak b. Nafha, it was derived from the former statement.
R. Yitzchak and R. Dimi disagree over what to do when Rosh Hodesh Tevet falls during the week. There need to be four aliyot because it is Rosh Hodesh. But do three read from Rosh Hodesh and one from Hannukah (R. Yitzchak) or three from Hannukah and one from Rosh Hodesh (R. Dimi).
R. Mani says that since Rosh Hodesh is more frequent than Hannukah (12-8) the first three should read from Rosh Hodesh and the fourth from Hannukah.
R. Abin says that since the fourth Aliyah is necessary only because of Rosh Hodesh, the fourth reads from Rosh Hodesh. The first three would read from Hannukah.
R. Joseph and Rabbah continue the dispute begun above. In the end the halakhah is that we “take no notice of Hannukah.” This means that we read three aliyot from Rosh Hodesh and then one from Hannukah.
Today’s section deals with the issue of Shabbat Shekalim falling on a Shabbat in which the regular portion of the week is either before or after the reading for Shekalim itself.
The portion read for Shekalim is Exodus 30:11-16 (“When you count”). This falls right after parshat hashavua Tetzaveh (“And you shall command”). According to R. Yitzchak Nafha, he reads the first six aliyot from Tetzaveh (starts at Exodus 27:20) and then the seventh Aliyah is from Shekalim, the next seven verses.