Monday, March 12, 2007

Daf Yomi - Moed Katan 2 - Highlights

(There is a matter of dispute among the Rishonim if the prohibition against performing labor on Chol Hamoed (the intermediate days of Pesach and Sukkos) is Biblical (Rashi) or Rabbinic (Tosfos). There are many different categories of labor that is permitted on Chol Hamoed. The first Mishna discusses the permissibility of performing labor on Chol Hamoed when otherwise; the person will suffer a substantial loss (Chagigah 18a). Even in such cases, one cannot perform labor that involves excessive exertion.)

The Mishna states: One is permitted to water an irrigated field (one that is located on a mountain and cannot survive on rainfall alone) on Chol Hamoed and during Shemitah (the Sabbatical year, when generally, it is forbidden to work the field). This may be done whether the water is from a newly emerged spring (where the walls are not very strong and there is a concern that they will collapse and he will repair them in a manner that is prohibited to do on Chol Hamoed) or from an older one. One may not water this field from a pool of rainwater or from a well and he may not dig ditches surrounding the grapevines (these are all forbidden on Chol Hamoed because they involve excessive exertion).

Rabbi Elozar ben Azarya says: One may not create a new irrigation canal during Chol Hamoed or Shemitah but the Chachamim maintain that this is permitted during Shemitah. One may repair a damaged canal on Chol Hamoed.

(Performing labor for the sake of the public is also permitted on Chol Hamoed.)
One may make repairs to the water containers in the public domain, and clean them (from the mud and small stones that accumulate in them). One may repair the roads, streets and ritual baths, and they may do all public needs, and they may mark the graves, and they may go out to inspect the fields for kilayim (the prohibition against planting together different species of vegetables, fruit or seeds – agents of beis din would be sent out at this time to warn the people to uproot any shoots of other seeds that appear among the grain). (2a)

The Gemora states: The Mishna rules that it is permitted to water an irrigated field on Chol Hamoed whether the water is from a newly emerged spring or from an older one; however, it is forbidden to water a rain-watered field because the water is not needed to prevent damage to the crops.

The Gemora Asks: Who is the Tanna that holds that it is permitted to perform labor on Chol Hamoed only if it will prevent one from suffering a substantial loss; however, it will be forbidden to perform labor for the sake of making a profit or to cause a benefit; and even when it is permitted to perform labor, it will only be allowed if there is no excessive exertion involved.
The Gemora answers: it is the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer ben Yaakov. He states in a Mishna below (6b): one is permitted to draw water from one tree to another on Chol Hamoed by creating a path from the tree that has water underneath it however, one is forbidden to water his entire rain-watered field (since the watering is beneficial and not to prevent a loss.)

The Gemora asks: it is evident that Rabbi Eliezer ben Yaakov maintains that one can not perform labor on Chol Hamoed if it is only beneficial and not to prevent a loss, but we do not see that he holds that there is a prohibition against excessive exertion even in situations where he is performing labor to prevent a loss?

Rav Papa answers: The Tanna of the Mishna is Rabbi Yehudah. We have learned in a braisa: One may water from a freshly emerging spring, even for a rain-watered field. This is the opinion of Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Yehudah says: One may only water an irrigation field that has dried up. Rabbi Elozar ben Azarya disagrees and says: Neither this nor that (whether the old spring dried up or whether it didn’t). Furthermore, Rabbi Yehudah says: One should not clean out his spring of water and use it to water his garden or his ruin on Chol Hamoed.

Abaye explains Rabbi Yehudah’s viewpoint: One may water an irrigation field if the spring of water that was used until now to water the field has dried up and now there is a new spring of water which can be used (stopping the watering of the seeds will cause damage).

It emerges from Rabbi Yehudah that one cannot perform labor on Chol Hamoed for the sake of a benefit because he holds that it is only permitted to water the irrigated field if it has previously been watered; he also maintains that one cannot use excessive exertion even to prevent a loss and that is why he ruled that one cannot clean out the spring of water to water his garden.

The Gemora challenges Abaye’s proof: Perhaps Rabbi Yehudah would hold that an old spring of water, where we are not concerned that the walls will collapse, may be used to water even a rain-watered field. This would be inconsistent with our Mishna which ruled that a rain-watered field may never be watered.

The Gemora answers: That cannot be Rabbi Yehudah’s opinion, for if so, our Mishna would not be following the opinion of any Tanna. The Gemora concludes that Rabbi Yehudah does not make a distinction between a new spring and an old one. Both springs may be used to water an irrigated field but they may not be used to water a rain-watered field. (2a – 2b)

(The Gemora discusses a halacha pertaining to Shabbos, which will be relevant to our discussion later.) The Gemora asks: On account of which category of labor shall we legally warn a person who weeds or waters seeds on Shabbos? (There are thirty-nine main categories of labor that are forbidden on Shabbos and in order for one to be liable to receive a punishment for intentionally performing a prohibited labor on Shabbos; he must receive a legal warning prior to performing the act not to perform this specific labor.) Rabbah said: He is warned not to plow. Just as plowing softens the earth, watering and weeding soften the earth. Rav Yosef said: He is warned not to plant. Just as planting causes the produce to grow, watering and weeding the seeds cause the produce to grow.

Abaye disagrees and maintains that he is actually transgressing both plowing and planting and therefore, he can be legally warned on account of either one.

The Mishna had stated: One is permitted to water an irrigated field on Chol Hamoed and during Shemitah. The Gemora asks: It is understandable why this is allowed on Chol Hamoed but not during Shemitah? It is forbidden to perform labor on Chol Hamoed because it is considered exertion and where there is a financial loss, the Rabbis were lenient and permitted it. In regards to Shemitah, where there is a Biblical prohibition against planting and plowing, why would one be allowed to water an irrigated field?

Abaye answers: Our Mishna follows the opinion of Rebbe who maintains that Shemitah nowadays is only a Rabbinic injunction.

Rava answers: Even if Shemitah nowadays is subject to the Biblical prohibition, only the main categories (av melocha) are Biblically forbidden and not the secondary labors (toldos). (2b - 3a)

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Shemitah (the Sabbatical year, when generally, it is forbidden to work the field its funny the gemurah in yerushalmi SHVEIS seems to imply MELACHA is assur cause it looks like planting field

SZR said...

Can you give a mareh makom for that please?

Anonymous said...

The mishnah is according to reb yehuda its in the gemurah reb yehuda holds the only time there is shemittah is when there is yovel

Avromi said...

not sure if youre asking a question or statement and also the Gemora is Rebbe which is rebbe yehbudah hanasi and stam rbbe yehudah is rebbe yehuda b'reb ilai

Rabbi Karr said...

Can you water your grass on chol haMoad by using an electrical watering system that is set before and involves no effort other than turning a switch?

Rabbi Neustadt said...

Chazon Ish 134:14 seems to permit it, but only if otherwise the garden or plants will go bad, as per Mishnah Berurah 537:16