(a) Maseches Shekalim deals with the annual collection of the half-Shekel from all of the Jewish people during Adar, which was used to buy the Korbanos Tzibur throughout the year (see Background notes), and related topics. It consists of eight Perakim, which may be what gave it its place after the ten-Perek long Pesachim in Seder Moed (see our introduction to Maseches Tamid I:a -- note, however, that in certain editions of the Shas it is printed out of place, after Maseches Sukah).
(b) Maseches Shekalim is unique in that it is the only Maseches of the Yerushalmi that is printed in the common editions*** of the Shas, and is included in the Dafyomi cycle. The obvious question is, why? Although the Mishnayos of those Masechtos for which Gemara was not written were traditionally included in the Shas, it is puzzling why the entire Gemara Yerushalmi was included in this instance, as opposed to the Yerushalmi on Zera'im. Perhaps it was included since it is the only Maseches in Moed for which a Gemara Bavli was not written, whereas no Bavli was composed for nearly the entire Zera'im. Since it meant only a few extra pages, the otherwise frugal printers decided in the case of Shekalim to include the full Yerushalmi and not just the Mishnayos. A harder question to answer is why the founder of the Dafyomi cycle, Rav Meir Shapiro, zt'l, included it in the cycle. His intention may have been to complete Seder Moed -- a hypothesis confirmed by the fact that he included Mishnayos Kinim and Midos in the cycle to complete Seder Kodshim -- but then why did he not include Mishnayos Eduyos*** to complete Seder Nezikim? (Avos was understandably left out because it is learned in either case, between Pesach and Sukkos). Perhaps this Maseches, and Kinim and Midos as well, were included in order to fulfill the teaching of Chazal that "When Talmidei Chachamim study the laws of the Temple service, it is considered as though the Beis ha'Mikdash was rebuilt in their days" (Menachos 110a).
(c) There is no standard Daf-length in the Yerushalmi; rather, the length of the Daf is determined by the commentaries that happen to be printed alongside it. Since each printing of the Yerushalmi includes different commentaries, each has a different number of Dafim per Maseches. For example, Shekalim as printed in the Vilna Shas (Bavli) goes until Daf 22, in the Warsaw Shas until Daf 30, in the Zhitomir Shas until Daf 13, and in the original printing (Venice 1522, with only the Rambam's Perush ha'Mishnah) only until Daf 12. The length of Shekalim in editions of the Yerushalmi vary in length as well; it goes until Daf 33 in the Vilna Yerushalmi, while in the Zhitomir Yerushalmi it only reaches Daf 31. Incidentally, this phenomenon explains the mysterious "lengthening" of the Dafyomi cycle in the eighth Dafyomi cycle (which began in June 1975). Rav Meir Shapiro's original calendar was tailored to a 13 Daf Shekalim. When that edition became uncommon, the cycle was changed to accommodate the 22 Daf version of the Vilna edition, lengthening the Dafyomi cycle from 2702 days to 2711 days.
(d) The phraseology of the Yerushalmi differs markedly from that of the Bavli. The tough Aramaic words and unfamiliar phrases, combined with the great variety (and often blending) of Girsa'os and the lack of guidance from Rishonim, have made the study of Yerushalmi an almost forgotten field, pursued by only a handful of expert scholars. Shekalim is unfortunately no exception. Since each commentary uses his own approach to the Maseches, the best advice is to pick one of them and stick to it throughout the Maseches. Generally, Shekalim is learned today with the Hagahos ha'Gra and the "Tiklin Chadetin," which are printed in the Vilna Shas, and provide a clear and adequate commentary elucidating every point of the Maseches, and Kollel's Iyun Hadaf recommends doing the same. We will also provide notes (in our Background to the Daf mailings) on Girsa'os of the Tiklin Chadetin that are not recorded in Hagahos ha'Gra, as well as typos in the Tiklin Chadetin and Hagahos ha'Gra themselves. (For the adventurous, lists of variant Girsa'os in the Yerushalmi can be found in DIKDUKEI SOFRIM and in Rav Sofer's edition of Shekalim with Rabeinu Meshulam, see below 2:a.)
(a) RABEINU MESHULAM - talmid of Rav David ben Rebbi Klonimus of Mintzberg. (Rav David, a disciple of Rabeinu Tam, was one of the Ba'alei ha'Tosfos and is cited in Tosfos Kesuvos 4b DH Ad). Rabeinu Meshulam's commentary on Shekalim was written in the early 1200's. Currently unavailable, the commentary was orignally printed with short notes and references by Rav Avraham Sofer in 1954 (along with comparisons of the Girsa in the Yerushalmi itself from various manuscripts, and the Perush listed in the next entry).
(b) TALMID of RABEINU SHMUEL BEN REBBI SHNEUR - from Evreux, France (one of the Ba'alei ha'Tosfos). His student, whose identity remains anonymous, seems to have based his Perush in large part on the commentary of Rabeinu Meshulam (mentioned above), who was either his contemporary or lived slightly before him. Printed together with Rabeinu Meshulam by Rav Avraham Sofer in 1954, as above.
(c) RABEINU SHLOMO OF SIRILIYO -- expelled from Spain during Galus Sefarad (~1492), the Rash Siriliyo wrote a comprehensive Perush on the entire Yerushalmi Zera'im, as well as on Shekalim. Printed from a manuscript (of the British Museum, London) by Rav Efraim Ze'ev Garboz, who also wrote a commentary on it called Har Efraim (Jerusalem, 1958).
(a) RAMBAM - The Rambam's Perush ha'Mishnayos on Shekalim appears in the Vilna Shas, and was printed in a separate volume, newly translated from the original Arabic, with notes and references by Rav Yosef Kapach (Mosad ha'Rav Kook, Jerusalem, 1963, reprinted in 1992).
(b) RABEINU YEHUDAH BEN REBBI BINYAMIN HA'ROFEH -- commonly known as the RIVEVAN, his commentary on the Mishnayos of Shekalim is printed alongside the text of Shekalim in the Vilna printing of the Shas and Mishnayos. He lived in Italy in the mid-1200's.
(c) RA'AVAD - although we do not have the Ra'avad's Perush on Shekalim, Rav Shlomo Siriliyo claims to have seen it. (The "Likutim mi'Ksav Yad Kadmoni" which is printed in the Mishnayos, beginning of Perakim 1,3 and 5, may be scraps from the Ra'avad's Perush.)
(d) ME'IRI - Rabeinu Menachem ben Shlomo (d. 1315) wrote his comprehensive Halachic work, "BEIS HA'BECHIRAH," on the 37 Masechtos of Shas, including Maseches Shekalim. The Me'iri was a student of the Rashba, and sometimes even cites from commentaries as late as those of the Ritva. Almost never mentioning another Rishon by name, the Me'iri created "nicknames" for the commentators from whom he often cites, such as "Gedolei ha'Rabanim" for Rashi, Gedolei ha'Mechabrim for the Rambam, etc. (A convenient list of these, along with their true identities, can be found at the beginning of the Beis ha'Bechirah on Beitzah.) Although the Me'iri did not write specifically on the Yerushalmi of Shekalim, nevertheless he reviews the conclusions of the Yerushalmi (and sometimes even cites from it at length) in his commentary on the Mishnayos.
(e) PERISHAS HA'ROSH - a commentary on Mishnayos Shekalim by the ROSH (Rabeinu Asher ben Yechiel; d. 1328), printed in a separate volume by Rav Nisan Zaks in 1943 (and reprinted in 1967).
(f) SEFER HA'AGUDAH - short, Halachic commentary on the Mishnayos by Rabeinu Alexander Zuslin ha'Kohen (d. 1348; he was killed by gentiles in a pogrom during the period of the Black Plague).
ACHARONIM PRINTED IN THE YERUSHALMI(a) RAV ELIYAHU OF FULDA ("MAHARA FULDA") - in the Warsaw Yerushalmi, and in separate volumes
(b) KORBAN HA'EDAH and SHEYAREI KORBAN -- (the latter of which are like "Tosfos" to the Korban ha'Edah's "Rashi") by Rav David Frenkel, Rav of Berlin
(c) PNEI MOSHE and MAR'EH HA'PANIM - (the latter of which are like "Tosfos" to the Pnei Moshe's "Rashi") by Rav Moshe Margolies, of Amsterdam. Some consider him to have been the mentor of the Vilna Gaon.
(e) GILYON HA'SHAS and TZI'ON YERUSHALAYIM - these brief notes were written by "the Ba'alei Meforshei ha'Yam," RAV YOSEF SHAUL NATANSOHN and his brother-in-law, RAV MORDECHAI ZEV HA'LEVI ETTINGER.
ACHARONIM PRINTED IN THE BAVLI(f) TIKLIN CHADETIN, MISHNAS ELIYAHU, AND HAGAHOS HA'GRA - These three commentaries, printed together in the Vilna Shas, were written by Rav Yisrael Mi'Shklov, a disciple of the VILNA GA'ON. The "Tiklin Chadetin" is a line-by-line commentary on the Gemara, whose explanations often differ significantly from those suggested by the Korban ha'Edah. "Mishnas Eliyahu" contains in-depth discussions of various topics in the Gemara, often analyzing different opinions of Rishonim. "Hagahos ha'Gra" amends the text of the Gemara based on the Tiklin Chadetin's commentary. (It is ironic that his work is often referred to as "T*a*klin Chadetin," which means "new obstacles" [as in Targum to Tehilim 64:6], rather than the correct "T*i*klin Chadetin," for "new Shekalim" [as spelled in Temurah 23b]). As mentioned earlier, we recommend learning the Gemara with the Girsa of the Hahagos ha'Gra and with the commentary "Tiklin Chadetin," if one does not have the time to learn it in-depth with the other major commentaries.
(a) PNEI ZAKEN - a commentary on the entire Maseches by the Kamarne Rebbe
(b) DARVONEI ZAHAV - short commentary on the entire Maseches
(c) MENACHEM MESHIV NEFESH - short comments pertaining to the literal meaning of the Gemara, meant for those learning the Maseches quickly (on Berachos and all of Seder Mo'ed) by Rav Menachem Meinish Halperin of Broide.
(d) TALMUD YERUSHALMI SHEKALIM IM BI'URIM - by Hagaon RAV CHAIM KANIEVSKY, one of the greatest Gedolim in Eretz Yisrael today, son of the Steipler Gaon, who authored the "Kehilos Yakov." Based on his Yerushalmi shiur, this is a concise and lucid commentary on Maseches Shekalim, often solving problems and questions which earlier commentators left unresolved. This volume includes short insights written by his father, the STEIPLER GA'ON, zt'l. Rav Chaim recently published the SHEKEL HA'KODESH, another in his series of "Mishnah Berurah" type commentaries on non-Shulchan Aruch subjects. This phenomenal work, which is built around the text of the Rambam Hilchos Shekalim, comprises a Halachic synopsis of the Maseches dealing in depth with each and every understanding of the Maseches that is presented by the Rishonim, anywhere, and with many of the comments of the Acharonim as well.
(a) IKVEI AHARON - line by line commentary by Rav Yaakov Wehl, Menahel of Beis Yakov of Brooklyn New York (Feldheim, 1991). Includes also a more comprehensive commentary called "Pesher Davar," in which he deals with the various approaches of the Rishonim/Acharonim to each Sugya. Built around the standard Vilna printing of Maseches Shekalim.
(b) SHIKLEI YOSEF - line by line commentary by the late Rav J.H. Aronson of Monsey, New York (1991), along with a special section presenting the various Girsa'os.
(c) LIKUTEI SUGYOS MI'TALMUD BAVLI - by Rav Zvi Elimelech Fanet, Rav of Cong. Bnei Shileshim in Bnei Brak, a collection of all the Sugyos in the Talmud Bavli that deal with Maseches Shekalim along with the comments of Rashi and Tosfos. In his brief HAGAHOS HA'TZI VEHA'TZEDEK Rabbi Fanet compares the conclusions of the Bavli to those of the Yerushalmi. Includes the full text of the Rambam's Hilchos Shekalim (from the Mechon Shabsi Frankel edition).