Wednesday, Jan 25, 2023

Megillah 26: Appropriate Use

On this daf, we find teachings about an aron hakodesh.

There was a shul with a beautiful aron kodesh. It had huge pillars that were truly magnificent. After several decades of use, it was time to remove these pillars and replace them with newer and nicer ones. The question was how to deal with the old pillars. Although our sages say that after something was sanctified, its sanctity does not just vanish, the congregants had no idea how to deal with these gigantic pillars. They could not be put into genizah due to their size, but they were also unusable for anything holy. They could, of course, be broken down and sold if there was some way to transfer their sanctity, but they were uncertain how exactly to do this.

When this question was presented to Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, he gave clear instructions of what should be done: “In this instance, it is permitted to sell the pillars with the consent of the congregants and the gabbaim. They will lose their sanctity and they should purchase Tehillim for the shul with the money. Although the Biur Halacha (154:3, “Tashmishei”) reckons with the opinion that selling such items will not remove their sanctity, our case is different, since these pillars will not be usable for anything beneficial if we do not permit them. We can therefore combine the opinion of the Chavos Yair (162) that when something holy becomes utterly unusable, the holiness is removed” (Kovetz Teshuvos).

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