1) PAYING WORKERS WITH LEFTOVER KETORES
QUESTIONS: The Mishnah describes what is done with leftover Ketores from the previous year. Since the Ketores that is offered on the Mizbe'ach must be bought from the present year's collection of Shekalim, the leftover Ketores from the previous year may not be offered on the Mizbe'ach. What is done with the leftover Ketores? The Mishnah describes the procedure through which the Kedushah is removed from the old Ketores and transferred to money of the Terumas ha'Lishkah in such a way that the money is then used to buy back the Ketores with money from the new year's Terumas ha'Lishkah.
The Mishnah enumerates the four steps of this procedure:
1. The treasurers of the Beis ha'Mikdash put aside money for the wages of the artisans who performed services for the Beis ha'Mikdash. They take money from the Terumas ha'Lishkah and designate it for the artisans.
2. The treasurers then take the leftover Ketores and transfer its Kedushah (through "Chilul") onto the money.
3. They give the Ketores, which no longer has Kedushah, to the artisans in place of their wages (as that money now has the Kedushah of the Ketores).
4. Finally, they buy back the Ketores from the artisans with money from the new year's Terumas ha'Lishkah.
(The Mishnah says that they "separate from it (Mimenah) the wages of the artisans and are Mechalel it on the money of the artisans." TOSFOS in Shevuos (10b) deletes the phrase "from it," because this phrase implies that they designate the wages from the Ketores itself, which is not accurate -- they designate the wages from the money of the Terumas ha'Lishkah. According to our text which includes the phrase "from it," it means that they separate from the Lishkah the money for the wages of the artisans.)
This procedure seems to contain superfluous steps. Why must the treasurers set aside money as wages for the artisans, transfer the Kedushah of the old Ketores onto that money, and then give the old Ketores to the artisans in place of money? Instead, they should separate the old Ketores itself as payment for the artisans (and transfer its Kedushah onto the labor of the artisans). Then, they should "buy" back that Ketores from the artisans with the money from the new Terumas ha'Lishkah. (If this cannot be done because of the concern for how the Kedushah of the Ketores will be removed without being transferred to something before it is given to the artisans, the same concern applies to the money that is paid to the artisans in the Mishnah's procedure.)
(a) Why must money be set aside for the workers in order to be Mechalel the Kedushah of the Ketores onto it (step 1)?
(b) Why must the actual Ketores be given to the workers before it is bought back from them (step 3)? The treasurers should merely take money from the new Terumas ha'Lishkah and be Mechalel its Kedushah onto the Ketores without actually giving the Ketores to the workers.
(a) There are a number of explanations for why the treasurers may not pay the workers with the Ketores itself.
1. RASHI in Me'ilah (14b, end of DH Mafrishin Mimenah) explains that the Mishnah refers to a case in which the leftover Ketores is not worth as much as Hekdesh owes the artisans for their wages. Since money must be separated in order to pay at least some of the wages, they separate money for all of the wages in order not to have to pay half of their wages with Ketores and half with money. Therefore, the first step is necessary.
2. Rashi in Shevuos (10b, DH u'Mechalelin) explains that it would be disgraceful for the Ketores to be paid directly to the artisans as their wages, since it is a disgrace to use Ketores as a form of payment. Therefore, they first pay the artisans with money by being Mezakeh the money to the artisans. Accordingly, their wages are paid already with the money. They then are Mechalel the Ketores on that money which already belongs to the artisans. In that way, the sanctified Ketores is not used as wages in return for services.
3. TOSFOS in Shevuos (10b, DH Mafrishin) says that according to Ben Azai in the next Mishnah (12a), who maintains that Hekdesh may not be used as payment for services rendered to the Beis ha'Mikdash, it is clear why the money, and not the Ketores, must be given first as their wages. Ben Azai maintains that the Kedushah of an object of Hekdesh cannot be redeemed onto work that was done, so that the object may be given as wages. Kedushah can be transferred only onto tangible assets.
Why, though, is it preferable to give money from the Terumas ha'Lishkah as payment for labor, rather than to give Ketores? After all, the money from the Terumas ha'Lishkah also has Kedushah, and the Kedushah cannot be transferred onto their work! (The Gemara in Me'ilah (14a) asserts that the rule that one cannot be Mechalel the Kedushah of an object onto on work applies to money of Kedushas Bedek ha'Bayis as well.)
The answer to this question is that money of the Terumas ha'Lishkah (with which the artisans are paid) is subject to the principle of "Lev Beis Din Masneh Aleihen." At the time that the money is collected and sanctified, Beis Din stipulates that the money may be used to pay wages for services rendered. Beis Din does not make this stipulation for any other item of Hekdesh (such as the Ketores). (TOSFOS to Me'ilah 14a, DH Bonin; see Insights to Me'ilah 14:1.)
The RAMBAM (in Perush ha'Mishnayos) also understands that this is the reason why this procedure is used, as he asserts that the Mishnah is in accordance with the opinion of Ben Azai. The Rambam says that according to Rebbi Akiva, who argues with Ben Azai, the first step (giving money to the artisans) indeed may be omitted. However, Tosfos in Shevuos adds that perhaps this step is necessary even according to Rebbi Akiva, because Rebbi Akiva may agree that the Kedushah of public Hekdesh (such as the Ketores) may not be transferred through Chilul onto work, but only the Kedushah of the Hekdesh of an individual.
4. Tosfos in Shevuos adds that perhaps the artisans mentioned in the Mishnah to whom the old Ketores is given as payment are the artisans who prepare the Ketores for the new year. The leftover Ketores from the previous year cannot be used to pay them for their services, because their work for this year must be remunerated with money from this year's Terumas ha'Lishkah. There is no choice but to pay with money, transfer the Kedushah of the Ketores onto the money, and then give them the Ketores.
(b) TOSFOS gives two explanations for why the Ketores must be delivered into the hands of the artisans before the treasurers of Hekdesh buy it back, and why they do not merely hold on to the Ketores and be Mechalel the Kedushah of the money from the new year's Lishkah onto the old Ketores.
1. Tosfos in Me'ilah (14b, DH Mosar) explains that if the Ketores is not actually given to the workers, the treasurers might forget and use the leftover Ketores for this year's service before they buy it back with money from the new Lishkah.
2. Tosfos there adds that it is more befitting of the honor due to the Ketores to transfer the Kedushah of the Ketores onto the money by exchanging it for the wages of the workers, instead of overtly redeeming the Ketores and removing its Kedushah. The treasurers do not want to make it look like they are trying to remove its Kedushah, for this would be a disgrace to the Ketores. When the treasurers give the Ketores to the workers as their wages, the removal of its Kedushah appears to be merely an indirect result of their actions. (See also Insights to Me'ilah 14:2.)
2) BUYING THIS YEAR'S PRODUCTS FROM LAST YEAR'S "LISHKAH"
OPINIONS: The Mishnah says, "If the 'new' comes on time (Im Ba Chadash b'Zemano), then we buy the Ketores with the money of the new Lishkah, and if not, then we buy the Ketores with the money of the old Lishkah."
What does the Mishnah mean?
(a) The RAMBAM (Perush ha'Mishnayos) explains that if the new year enters but no new money has arrived, then, b'Di'eved, products bought from the previous year's money may be used. The Mishnah teaches we are permitted, b'Di'eved, to use money from last year's Lishkah for products to be used in this year's Avodah. This is also the ruling of the Rambam in Hilchos Shekalim (4:11).
(b) RABEINU SHLOMO SIRILIYO explains that the word in the Mishnah is not "Chadash" (the new money) but "Chodesh" (month). The Mishnah means that if Rosh Chodesh Nisan was declared in its time (that is, the thirtieth day of Adar was declared to be the first day of Nisan), then the Ketores for the new year must be purchased from the new year's Terumas ha'Lishkah. However, if the month of Nisan was not declared in its time, but Adar was thirty days long and Rosh Chodesh Nisan was declared to be the day after the thirtieth of Adar, then the products for that day (the Korbanos for Rosh Chodesh) do not need to be purchased from the new Terumas ha'Lishkah but may be purchased even from last year's Terumas ha'Lishkah.
(Perhaps Rabeinu Shlomo Siriliyo does not refer to the products that are bought for Rosh Chodesh, the day after the thirtieth of Adar, but rather he means that if the witnesses come on the thirtieth of Adar, after the morning Korbanos were already offered (from last year's Lishkah), to testify that they saw the new moon the night before, then it is not necessary to bring the rest of the day's Korbanos from the new Lishkah, even though the day is declared as Rosh Chodesh Nisan. Alternatively, if the witnesses come after Minchah on the thirtieth of Adar, and thus Beis Din does not accept their testimony until tomorrow (see Re'ah to Beitzah 6a), then it is not necessary to bring the rest of the day's Korbanos from the new Lishkah, even though that day is declared as Rosh Chodesh Nisan.)
TOSFOS REBBI AKIVA EIGER on the Mishnah cites a similar explanation in the name of the TUREI EVEN.