יקחו ספרים ספרים לוקחין תורה
they may purchase scrolls of the Prophets and the Writings. If they sold scrolls of the Prophets and Writings, they may purchase a Torah scroll.
אבל אם מכרו תורה לא יקחו ספרים ספרים לא יקחו מטפחות מטפחות לא יקחו תיבה תיבה לא יקחו בית הכנסת בית הכנסת לא יקחו את הרחוב
However, the proceeds of a sale of a sacred item may not be used to purchase an item of a lesser degree of sanctity. Therefore, if they sold a Torah scroll, they may not use the proceeds to purchase scrolls of the Prophets and the Writings. If they sold scrolls of the Prophets and Writings, they may not purchase wrapping cloths. If they sold wrapping cloths, they may not purchase an ark. If they sold an ark, they may not purchase a synagogue. If they sold a synagogue, they may not purchase a town square.
And similarly, the same limitation applies to any surplus funds from the sale of sacred items, i.e., if after selling an item and purchasing something of a greater degree of sanctity there remain additional, unused funds, the leftover funds are subject to the same principle and may be used to purchase only something of a degree of sanctity greater than that of the original item.
גמ׳ בני העיר שמכרו רחובה של עיר אמר רבה בר בר חנה אמר רבי יוחנן זו דברי ר' מנחם בר יוסי סתומתאה אבל חכ"א הרחוב אין בו משום קדושה
GEMARA: The mishna states: Residents of a town who sold the town square may purchase a synagogue with the proceeds. Concerning this mishna, Rabba bar bar Ḥana said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: This is the statement of Rabbi Menaḥem bar Yosei, cited unattributed. However, the Rabbis say: The town square does not have any sanctity. Therefore, if it is sold, the residents may use the money from the sale for any purpose.
ור' מנחם בר יוסי מאי טעמיה הואיל והעם מתפללין בו בתעניות ובמעמדות ורבנן ההוא אקראי בעלמא:
And Rabbi Menaḥem bar Yosei, what is his reason for claiming that the town square has sanctity? Since the people pray in the town square on communal fast days and on non-priestly watches, it is defined as a place of prayer and as such has sanctity. And the Rabbis, why do they disagree? They maintain that use of the town square is merely an irregular occurrence. Consequently, the town square is not to be defined as a place of prayer, and so it has no sanctity.
בית הכנסת לוקחין תיבה: אמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני א"ר יונתן לא שנו אלא בית הכנסת של כפרים אבל בית הכנסת של כרכין כיון דמעלמא אתו ליה לא מצו מזבני ליה דהוה ליה דרבים
§ The mishna states: If they sold a synagogue, they may purchase an ark. The Gemara cites a qualification to this halakha: Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: They taught this only with regard to a synagogue of a village, which is considered the property of the residents of that village. However, with regard to a synagogue of a city, since people come to it from the outside world, the residents of the city are not able to sell it, because it is considered to be the property of the public at large and does not belong exclusively to the residents of the city.
אמר רב אשי האי בי כנישתא דמתא מחסיא אף על גב דמעלמא אתו לה כיון דאדעתא דידי קאתו אי בעינא מזבנינא לה
Rav Ashi said: This synagogue of Mata Meḥasya, although people from the outside world come to it, since they come at my discretion, as I established it, and everything is done there in accordance with my directives, if I wish, I can sell it.
מיתיבי א"ר יהודה מעשה בבית הכנסת של טורסיים שהיה בירושלים שמכרוה לרבי אליעזר ועשה בה כל צרכיו והא התם דכרכים הוה ההיא בי כנישתא זוטי הוה ואינהו עבדוה
The Gemara raises an objection to Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani’s statement, from a baraita: Rabbi Yehuda said: There was an incident involving a synagogue of bronze workers [tursiyyim] that was in Jerusalem, which they sold to Rabbi Eliezer, and he used it for all his own needs. The Gemara asks: But wasn’t the synagogue there one of cities, as Jerusalem is certainly classified as a city; why were they permitted to sell it? The Gemara explains: That one was a small synagogue, and it was the bronze workers themselves who built it. Therefore, it was considered exclusively theirs, and they were permitted to sell it.
מיתיבי (ויקרא יד, לד) בבית ארץ אחוזתכם אחוזתכם מיטמא בנגעים ואין ירושלים מיטמא בנגעים אמר רבי יהודה אני לא שמעתי אלא מקום מקדש בלבד
The Gemara raises an objection from another baraita: The verse states with regard to leprosy of houses: “And I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession” (Leviticus 14:34), from which it may be inferred: “Your possession,” i.e., a privately owned house, can become ritually impure with leprosy, but a house in Jerusalem cannot become ritually impure with leprosy, as property there belongs collectively to the Jewish people and is not privately owned. Rabbi Yehuda said: I heard this distinction stated only with regard to the site of the Temple alone, but not with regard to the entire city of Jerusalem.
הא בתי כנסיות ובתי מדרשות מיטמאין אמאי הא דכרכין הוו אימא א"ר יהודה אני לא שמעתי אלא מקום מקודש בלבד
The Gemara explains: From Rabbi Yehuda’s statement, it is apparent that only the site of the Temple cannot become ritually impure, but synagogues and study halls in Jerusalem can become ritually impure. Why should this be true given that they are owned by the city? The Gemara answers: Emend the baraita and say as follows: Rabbi Yehuda said: I heard this distinction stated only with regard to a sacred site, which includes the Temple, synagogues, and study halls.
במאי קמיפלגי ת"ק סבר לא נתחלקה ירושלים לשבטים ורבי יהודה סבר נתחלקה ירושלים לשבטים
With regard to what principle do the first tanna and Rabbi Yehuda disagree? The first tanna holds that Jerusalem was not apportioned to the tribes, i.e., it was never assigned to any particular tribe, but rather it belongs collectively to the entire nation. And Rabbi Yehuda holds: Jerusalem was apportioned to the tribes, and it is only the site of the Temple itself that belongs collectively to the entire nation.
ובפלוגתא דהני תנאי
The Gemara notes: They each follow a different opinion in the dispute between these tanna’im:
דתניא מה היה בחלקו של יהודה הר הבית הלשכות והעזרות ומה היה בחלקו של בנימין אולם והיכל ובית קדשי הקדשים
One tanna holds that Jerusalem was apportioned to the tribes, as it is taught in a baraita: What part of the Temple was in the tribal portion of Judah? The Temple mount, the Temple chambers, and the Temple courtyards. And what was in the tribal portion of Benjamin? The Entrance Hall, the Sanctuary, and the Holy of Holies.
ורצועה היתה יוצאת מחלקו של יהודה ונכנסת בחלקו של בנימין ובה מזבח בנוי והיה בנימין הצדיק מצטער עליה בכל יום לבולעה שנאמר (דברים לג, יב) חופף עליו כל היום לפיכך זכה בנימין ונעשה אושפיזכן לשכינה
And a strip of land issued forth from the portion of Judah and entered into the portion of Benjamin, and upon that strip the altar was built, and the tribe of Benjamin, the righteous, would agonize over it every day desiring to absorb it into its portion, due to its unique sanctity, as it is stated in Moses’ blessing to Benjamin: “He covers it throughout the day, and he dwells between his shoulders” (Deuteronomy 33:12). The phrase “covers it” is understood to mean that Benjamin is continually focused upon that site. Therefore, Benjamin was privileged by becoming the host [ushpizekhan] of the Divine Presence, as the Holy of Holies was built in his portion.
והאי תנא סבר לא נתחלקה ירושלים לשבטים דתניא אין משכירים בתים בירושלים מפני שאינן שלהן ר"א (בר צדוק) אומר אף לא מטות לפיכך עורות קדשים בעלי אושפיזין נוטלין אותן בזרוע
And this other tanna holds that Jerusalem was not apportioned to the tribes, as it is taught in a baraita: One may not rent out houses in Jerusalem, due to the fact that the houses do not belong to those occupying them. Rather, as is true for the entire city, they are owned collectively by the nation. Rabbi Elazar bar Tzadok says: Even beds may not be hired out. Therefore, in the case of the hides of the renter’s offerings that the innkeepers take in lieu of payment, the innkeepers are considered to be taking them by force, as they did not have a right to demand payment.
אמר אביי ש"מ אורח ארעא למישבק אינש גולפא ומשכא באושפיזיה
Apropos the topic of inns, the Gemara reports: Abaye said: Learn from this baraita that it is proper etiquette for a person to leave his wine flask and the hide of the animal that he slaughtered at his inn, i.e., the inn where he stayed, as a gift for the service he received.
אמר רבא לא שנו אלא שלא מכרו שבעה טובי העיר במעמד אנשי העיר אבל מכרו שבעה טובי העיר במעמד אנשי העיר אפילו
§ The Gemara returns its discussion of the mishna: Rava said: They taught that there is a limitation on what may be purchased with the proceeds of the sale of a synagogue only when the seven representatives of the town who were appointed to administer the town’s affairs had not sold the synagogue in an assembly of the residents of the town. However, if the seven representatives of the town had sold it in an assembly of the residents of the town, then even