For the week ending 6 September 2014 / 11 Elul 5774

Mo'ed Katan 23 - 29

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Stages of mourning and when mourner for wife may remarry
  • Marital relations on Shabbat during the shiva mourning period
  • Rending of garments as expression of mourning
  • Burial of a child and condolences
  • When death occurs a day before a holiday
  • Rending garments for relative, sage or anyone else if present at death
  • The funeral of two sages and the eulogy said about them
  • The punishment of Bar Kipok and Bar Avin for preparing insensitive eulogies
  • The miraculous occurrences upon the deaths of some of the sages
  • Garments rended in mourning which cannot be repaired
  • Rending garments on death of parent and teacher with Elisha as source, and for heads of Sanhedrin and sad tidings with David as source
  • Rending garments for blasphemy, destruction of Sefer Torah and for Beit Hamikdash
  • Adding one tear to another when a second cause for mourning occurs
  • Details on the place where to rend the garment and what repair is permitted
  • The folding of the beds and other laws concerning the mourner's home
  • Practices instituted in funerals to avoid shaming the poor and others
  • When it is permitted to do work in a city where a Jew is being buried
  • The danger of overdoing mourning
  • The atonement power of the death of the righteous
  • The significances of the age of the deceased and how many days of illness preceded it
  • The confrontation of Sages with the Angel of Death
  • The condolences offered by the Sages to Rabbi Yishmael upon death of his sons
  • How to take leave of the living and of the dead

Prophecy Outside of Eretz Yisrael

  • Mo’ed Katan 25a

Is there prophecy outside of Eretz Yisrael?

This question arises in our gemara as a result of a eulogy which Rabbi Abba made on the passing of Rabbi Huna.

"Our teacher," he declared," was worthy of the Divine Presence resting upon him (of attaining prophecy) but being in Babylon prevented him from reaching this level."

When Rabbi Nachman bar Rabbi Chisda heard this statement about prophecy being limited to Eretz Yisrael he challenged it from the passage introducing the prophecy of Yechezkel: "There was, indeed there was, the Word of G-d to Yechezkel ben Buzi Hakohen in the Land of the Chaldeans." (Yechezkel 1:3)

This challenge did not find favor in the eyes of his father who gave him a reprimanding tap on his shoe for asking too many questions. He pointed out to him that the double language "there was, there was" indicated that this was an exception to the rule.

Rashi offers two explanations for it being an exception. One is that this was a one-time prophecy that was and would not occur again. His other explanation is that since "there was" prophecy for Yechezkel when he was in Eretz Yisrael, "there was" prophecy for him outside the Land as well.

Rabbi Yehuda Halevi in his classic "Kuzari" (Section 2:14) offers a third approach. Since Yechezkel was prophesying regarding Eretz Yisrael, he enjoyed prophecy even abroad.

The best-known example of prophecy being limited to Eretz Yisrael is found in the Book of Yonah, which we read as the haftarah for the Torah reading at Mincha on Yom Kippur. When ordered by G-d to go to the Assyrian capital of Nineveh to call upon its residents to repent, the Prophet Yonah, who had great reluctance to undertake this mission, attempted to flee by ship from Eretz Yisrael so that he would not attain prophecy and would be relieved from this responsibility.

What the Sages Say

"When a person commits a sin and then commits it once again he relates to it as if it is no longer a sin."

  • Rabbi Huna - Mo’ed Katan 27b

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