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Moed Katan 3

MOED KATAN 3 (1 Cheshvan) - dedicated by Reb Mordechai Rabin (London/Yerushalayim) l'Iluy Nishmas his father, ha'Ga'on Rav Gedalya Rabinowitz (Manchester, England)

1) [line 1] TOLDOS
(a) There are thirty-nine Avos Melachos (categories of creative acts) that are forbidden mid'Oraisa on Shabbos. Each Av Melachah has Toldos (sub-categories) that are also forbidden mid'Oraisa. A list of the Avos Melachos is found in the Mishnah on Daf 73a (see also Background to Shabbos 73:6).
(b) With regard to the Halachos of the Shemitah year, only the Toldos of Zore'a, Choresh and Kotzer that are specified in the verses (Vayikra 25:4-5) are prohibited mid'Oraisa. They are Zemirah (pruning) and Betzirah (harvesting grapes). A person who transgresses these Toldos receives Malkos (lashes) mid'Oraisa.
(c) Transgressing other Toldos that apply to working the land that are not specified in the verses (ibid.) brings about the penalty of Malkos mid'Rabanan (RAMBAM Hilchos Shemitah v'Yovel 1:3). (Some say that the same applies to the *Av* of Choresh, since it is not specified in the verses -- see Insights.)

2) [line 3] BETZIRAH - harvesting grapes
3) [line 8] NIKUSH - removing weeds by uprooting them
4) [line 8] IDUR - hoeing under a grape vine
5) [line 8] KISU'ACH - removing weeds by cutting them down
6) [line 10] MEKARSEMIN - (a) pruning dry branches from *trees* (as opposed to Zimur, which is pruning dry branches from a grapevine (RASHI); (b) pruning *dry* branches (RASHI Shabbos 103a); (c) plucking out plants or weeds to prepare the ground for planting (RAMBAM Hilchos Shabbos 8:1, according to the explanation of the MINCHAS CHINUCH Mitzvah #32 in Musach Shabbos 1:7)

7) [line 10] MEZARDIN - (a) pruning overabundant dry and fresh branches from *trees* (RASHI); (b) pruning overabundant *fresh* branches (RASHI Shabbos 103a)

8) [line 11] MEFASGIN - (a) *propping up* a tree that is much too fresh and supple (RASHI); (b) *splitting* the branches of trees that are bearing much fruit that weigh down the branches. Sticks of wood are inserted into the slits to prop up the branches and their fruit (YA'AVETZ -- he offers this explanation since the connection that Rashi makes between "Pesigah" and "propping up" is not clear); (c) tying up a tree in which the branches are spread apart so much that they are leaning towards the ground (RAN)

9) [line 13] MEZABLIN - placing fertilizer at the bases of trees
10) [line 13] MEFARKIN - removing stones that are on top of the roots of trees
11) [line 14] ME'AVKIN - (a) covering exposed roots with dirt (RASHI); (b) removing the dust from trees (ARUCH)

12) [line 14] ME'ASHNIN - (a) producing smoke under a tree to make the worms fall off (RASHI); (b) boiling certain substances under a tree so that the vapors improve the tree itself (TOSFOS ROSH)

13) [line 16] YEKASHKESH - hoeing under an olive tree
14) [line 26] L'SAKEL - to remove stones

15a) [line 27] AVRUYEI ILANEI - (a) *making holes* to soften the ground above the roots of trees (RASHI Sukah 44b, 1st explanation); (b) making the tree grow better and *healthier* (RASHI Sukah 44b, 2nd explanation)
b) [line 27] SETUMEI PILEI - (a) filling up cracks in trees (RASHI, RABEINU CHANANEL Avodah Zarah 50b); (b) filling up cracks in the ground to cover exposed roots of trees so that the trees will not dry up (RASHI Sukah 44b)

16) [line 34] KELAL U'PERAT U'CHELAL (a) In the Introduction to the Sifra (the Halachic Midrash to Vayikra), Rebbi Yishmael lists thirteen methods that Chazal use for extracting the Halachah from the verses of the Torah. One of them is Kelal u'Perat u'Chelal Iy Atah Dan Ela k'Ein ha'Perat.
(b) When a Kelal (generalization) is followed by a Perat (specification), which is followed in turn by another Kelal, then everything belonging to the general category that is similar to the Perat is included. Anything that is not in the *general category* of the limiting Perat is not included.


17) [line 15] SEDEI HA'LAVAN - a field of grain [which looks "white," or which is not shaded from the sunlight] or a field planted with vegetables, as opposed to a field planted with trees.

18) [line 16] MISHE'TICHLEH HA'LEICHAH - (lit. when the moisture terminates) when the rains of the sixth year stop

19) [line 17] MIKSHA'OS U'MIDLA'OS - cucumber patches and gourd patches
20) [line 29] ESHTOMAM K'SHA'AH CHADA - Rebbi Avahu or Rebbi Yochanan was stunned speechless for a moment. [This is a quote from Daniel 4:16 when Daniel heard Nevuchadnetzar's dream.]

21) [line 33] BIK'AS BEIS CHAVARTAN - the valley of Beis Chavartan; this probably refers to Chavran or Auran, one of the mountains where a signal fire was lit to proclaim Beis Din's declaration of the new month (Rosh ha'Shanah 22b), located in the country east of the Jordan River named Aurantis

22) [line 33] ESER NETI'OS
(a) The Torah requires that farmers desist from working the land every seventh year, as described in Vayikra 25:1-7.
(b) Chazal learn from the verse, "be'Charish uva'Katzir Tishbos" (Shemos 34:21), that mid'Oraisa the prohibition against plowing the land during Shemitah starts one month before the actual Shemitah year ("Tosefes Shevi'is"). This applies both to fields and to orchards with grown trees. The Rabanan added to this prohibition and prohibited plowing a field from the Pesach before Shemitah and an orchard with grown trees from the Shavu'os before Shemitah.
(c) The Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai of "Eser Neti'os" teaches that if ten *saplings* are planted with equidistant spacing in an area of a Beis Se'ah (fifty square Amos), one is permitted to plow them right up to Rosh Hashanah of the Shemitah year, in spite of the Mitzvah of Tosefes Shevi'is described above. If there are less than ten saplings in this area or they are not planted as above (with equidistant spacing in the area of a Beis Se'ah), it is only permitted to plow the immediate area around each sapling up to the Shemitah year, but not the entire orchard (Shevi'is 1:6).

23) [line 33] ARAVAH
(a) On the first six days of Sukos (except Shabbos), very long willow branches were cut in Motza, near Yerushalayim, and brought to the Beis ha'Mikdash. These branches were placed upright alongside the Mizbe'ach, with their tops leaning over the Mizbe'ach. The Kohanim circled the Mizbe'ach once, reciting certain prayers. (According to one opinion (Sukah 43b), they circled the Mizbe'ach carrying these branches.)
(b) On Hoshana Rabah, the seventh day of Sukos, the Kohanim circled the Mizbe'ach seven times, amidst extensive prayers for spiritual growth, salvation and bountiful crops. If Hoshana Rabah fell on Shabbos, the willow branches that were used in the ceremony were cut before Shabbos (Sukah 45a, RAMBAM Hilchos Lulav 7:20-21).

24) [line 34] NISUCH HA'MAYIM
(a) One of the ceremonies of the holiday of Sukos in the Beis ha'Mikdash was the Nisuch ha'Mayim (water libation) ceremony, in which water was poured on the Mizbe'ach as a libation instead of wine. Tana'im argue as to whether this ceremony was performed all seven days of Sukos, or only six days (days 2-7) or two days (days 6 and 7). Another opinion holds that it was performed *eight* days, the seven days of Sukos and Shmini Atzeres (Sukah 3a; however see Hagahos Didukei Sofrim ad loc. #3, who suggests that no opinion holds that it was done for only two or six days).
(b) The Nisuch itself was done as follows. Water was drawn at daybreak from the Shilo'ach spring that is located to the south of the Temple Mount and was brought to the Azarah in a joyous procession. When the morning Tamid sacrifice was brought, a Kohen poured the water into one of the "Sefalim" at the top of the Mizbe'ach (the silver libation pipes located in the southwest corner of the Mizbe'ach).
(c) This ceremony was associated with much rejoicing. On the nights preceding the Nisuch ha'Mayim, people gathered in the Azaros of the Beis ha'Mikdash to rejoice and sing praises to HaSh-m until the morning, when it was time to draw the water. The Leviyim played more musical instruments than usual and the greatest Talmidei Chachamim danced and juggled exultantly. So many torches and lamps were lit in the Mikdash area to provide light for the celebrants that the streets of the nearby city of Yerushalayim were illuminated as bright as day. The Mishnah, describing the Simchas Beis ha'Sho'evah (Sukah 51a), states that anyone who has not seen the rejoicing of the Simchas Beis ha'Sho'evah has not seen rejoicing in his life.

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