Shekalim 5:3-4

Shekalim 5:3

There were four seals in the Temple, bearing the words “calf,” “male,” “kid” and “sinner” (used to indicate what kind of libation had been purchased because each sacrifice had to be offered with a particular volume of flour, wine and oil). Ben Azzai says there were five seals, written in Aramaic, and they said “calf,” “male,” “kid,” “poor sinner” and “rich sinner” (because a wealthy metzora and an indigent metzora brought different sacrifices). “Calf” was used for cattle offerings, whether large or small, male or female. “Kid” was used for sheep and goats, large or small, male or female, except for adult rams. “Male” was used for rams. “Sinner” was used for the three animals brought by a metzora (popularly translated as “leper” but not really).

Shekalim 5:4

A person who needed libations would go to Yochanan, who supervised the seals, pay him for the appropriate libation, and receive a seal. He would take it to Achiya, who supervised the libations, give him the seal, and receive the libation. In the evening, Yochanan and Achiya would meet. Achiya would give Yochanan the seals and receive the money from him. If there was extra money, it would go to the Temple treasury. If there was a shortage, Yochanan would pay it himself because, as noted in mishna 4:9, the Temple always has the advantage in financial transactions.
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