Monday, March 19, 2007

Daf Yomi - Moed Katan 9 - Intermingling Joyous Occasions, Procrastinating the Completion of a Mitzva (Nine Days Siyum)

The Gemora seeks to find a Scriptural source that one should not intermingle one joyous occasion with another. The Gemora cites a verse in Melachim I [8:65]: At that time, Shlomo instituted the celebration, and all Israel was with him, a huge congregation, from the approach to Chamas until the Brook of Egypt, before Hashem our G-d, for seven days and seven more days, fourteen days. They celebrated the completion and dedication of the Beis Hamikdosh for seven days before Sukkos and then they celebrated the festival of Sukkos for seven days. The Gemora posits: If we would be permitted to intermingle one joyous occasion with another, they should have waited and combined the seven day celebration for the dedication of the Beis Hamikdosh together with the seven days of Sukkos. By the fact that they didn’t combine the two, it can be proven that we cannot intermingle two joyous occasions.

The Gemora rejects the proof: Perhaps we can intermingle two joyous occasions, but we cannot intentionally delay the celebration once the Beis Hamikdosh was complete.

The Gemora answers: Shlomo could have left out a small portion of the building and finish it immediately prior to Sukkos. By the fact that he didn’t leave over any part, this indicates that we cannot intermingle two joyous occasions.

The Avnei Neizer (O”C 459:9) asks: How could they have delayed the building of the Beis Hamikdosh? Isn’t there a principle that one cannot push off the performance of a mitzva?

He answers by citing the Chacham Tzvi (106), who maintains that it is permitted to delay the performance of a mitzva when the mitzva can be performed with a greater degree of sanctity later, and since here, the mitzva of completing the Beis Hamikdosh on Sukkos would be of greater sanctity and it would enhance the mitzva, there would be no concern for the procrastination of the mitzva.

The Shach (Y”D 246:27) rules that when one is close to finishing a Mesechta, he may leave a little left at the conclusion of the Mesechta in order to make the siyum on a day that is fit to have a siyum feast. It is brought in some seforim that the source for this halacha is our Gemora, which stated that they could have left over a small portion of the building of the Beis Hamikdosh in order to celebrate the dedication on Sukkos. (They didn’t do this by the Beis Hamikdosh because we cannot intermingle two joyous occasions or because it would be disgraceful to leave over a portion of the Beis Hamikdosh.)

The Elya Rabbah (551:27) states: While it is permitted to eat meat during the Nine Days at a siyum feast, one should not hurry or delay the finishing of a Mesechta in order to conclude it during the Nine Days.

The question is asked: Why not? Our Gemora prohibits this only by the building of the Beis Hamikdosh; it can be inferred that this would be permitted by all other mitzvos.

Rabbi Ezriel Hildesheimer (O”C 90) answers: Regarding the building of the Beis Hamikdosh, if we can intermingle two joyous occasions, there would be no prohibition at all to dedicate the Beis Hamikdosh on Sukkos. However, to hurry or delay the finishing of a Mesechta in order to conclude it during the Nine Days and make a siyum then would be inconsistent with the custom of not eating meat during the Nine Days. It is on account of this that the Elya Rabbah rules that this is forbidden to do.

2 comments:

Michael Post said...

Does this also hold true for delaying a siyyum until Erev Pesach when there are plenty of Shabbasim or other opportune times between when you "mostly finish" the Masechta and when you do the siyyum?

If not, why is this different than the situation of meat and the nine days?

Avromi said...

I didnt find the halacha there, perhaps it is because it is regarded as less of a custom (the fasting) as can be seen by the fact that we are lenient in regards to one with a headache or such.