Shekalim 7a – Monuments for the dead

It is a pleasure to be forced to learn the Jerusalem (Palestinian) Talmud as part of Daf Yomi. As the Babylonian Talmud does not include Tractate Shekalim we learn the Jerusalem Talmud instead. That being said, this tractate is notoriously difficult.

In a discussion of how to deal with excess funds collected for a cause or for an individual the Mishnah states in Halakha 5:-

Rabbi Natan says: [With] the leftover [money collected] for a deceased [person they] build a monument [nefesh] on his grave for him.

The Koren notes the following:-

“…Since the monument is only a way of marking and remembering the place of the grave, the Sages said that one does not erect monuments to righteous people, as their words commemorate them sufficiently.”

Maimonides was very much against visiting the graves of righteous people due to fear of praying to those individuals rather than Hashem. Indeed, I have always found the practice of visiting Uman at Rosh Hashanah time rather curious. Maimonides would certainly object. Rav Ovadiah Yoseh zt”l was also against this practice but for very different reasons. He believed that their were many righteous people buried in Israel and it was a disgrace to them to leave Israel to visit the grave of another.

The Mishnah concludes that where money is raised for a general cause and there are excess funds then those funds should also be applied to the general cause. In the case of money raised for individuals (which include the poor and the captive) we give the excess funds to the individual


About bookabazza

I am an Osteopath and University Lecturer who is trying to keep up with the 7 year daf yomi cycle. I thought I would try and share a few small thought on the daf each week.
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