For the week ending 23 August 2014 / 27 Av 5774

Mo'ed Katan 9 - 15

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • The source for not mixing one simcha with another
  • The Yom Kippur that was skipped
  • Criterion for giving priority to one mitzvah over another
  • The disguised blessings
  • Cosmetic care on Chol Hamoed and in general
  • Sewing clothes, stringing beads, making ovens, repairing mills and caring for animals
  • When intent determines permissibility of Chol Hamoed activity
  • Building roof guard and smoothing an oven floor
  • When refraining from activity will cause significant loss
  • Preserving fish with salt and advice on eating fish
  • Restrictions on labor during the shiva mourning period
  • Fertilizing a field on holiday and Chol Hamoed
  • Special behavior for a distinguished scholar
  • Avoiding labor whose purpose is for use after holiday
  • Penalty for purposely putting off activity until Chol Hamoed
  • Special dispensation for laborer who has nothing to eat
  • Transporting vessels from house to house
  • Covering fruits, selling, hunting and grinding
  • Who may cut his hair on Chol Hamoed and why others cannot
  • When traveling out of Eretz Israel is permitted
  • The mourners, the excommunicated one and the metzora in regard to Yom Tov, to cutting hair, to wearing tefillin, greeting others, learning Torah, washing clothes, rending garments, doing work, cleansing body, wearing shoes and marital relations

One Day Out of Prison

  • Mo’ed Katan 9b

If a Jew in a foreign prison is granted one day in the year to be free to fulfill his religious obligations, which day should he choose?

One of the early commentaries, Rabbi David ben Zimra (RaDvaZ) raises this question in one of his Responsa and suggests some possibilities of very important mitzvot.

A later commentary, Rabbi Zvi Ashkenazi in his Responsa Chacham Zvi (106), suggests that the answer can be found in our gemara. In resolving an apparent conflict between two passages in Mishlei (4:26 and 5:6) regarding the need to weigh the comparative value of mitzvot, the Sages thus conclude: If the less important mitzvah can be done by someone else, you should choose to do the more important one. But if both are incumbent on you then you must fulfill the first mitzvah that comes your way even if it is the less important one. Based on this resolution the fellow who has one day of freedom should ask for the very first day so that he can fulfill mitzvot which he cannot achieve in prison even though they are less important than others which could be fulfilled on a later day.

Another source for the same conclusion is offered by Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Chayes in his commentary on our gemara. In Mesechta Succah (25b) Rashi thus explains a point made in the gemara: "We thus see that when a mitzvah comes your way it should not be put aside in favor of a more important mitzvah due to come later."

What the Sages Say

"Don't shame others and you will merit not to be shamed."

  • The Sage Rav - Mo’ed Katan 9b

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