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Moed Katan, 6

MOED KATAN 6 - dedicated by Mr. Avi Berger of Queens, N.Y. in memory of his parents, Pinchas ben Reb Avraham Yitzchak, and Leah bas Michal Mordechai.


QUESTION: Rav Yehudah says that if one finds a stone marked with a Tziyun for Tum'ah, then he may assume that only the area directly beneath the stone contains the grave.

How does Rav Yehudah understand the Beraisa earlier (5b) which states that a marker of Tum'ah is placed *in front* of the area that contains the grave, and not directly above it? According to that rule for setting up markers, if one finds a marked stone, he should assume that it is *in front* of the area which contains a grave, and not directly above it!


(a) RASHI answers that normally, a Tziyun is placed in front of the site of the grave, because a person usually does not see the Tziyun until he is standing directly over it. If such a Tziyun was placed directly on top of a grave, then by the time a person sees it, it will be too late -- he will be standing over the grave! However, a stone is somewhat higher than the ground and thus a person will see the Tziyun on it before he walks over the stone. Therefore, when the Tziyun is placed on a stone, it suffices to place the Tziyun directly over the Tum'ah (it is even preferable to do so, in order to minimize the area which is marked off as Tamei, as the Gemara says earlier (5b)).

(b) The TOSFOS HA'ROSH quotes the Yerushalmi in Shekalim which explains that when the Beraisa says that we do not place a Tziyun directly over the Tum'ah, it means that we place it *not only* on the area of the Tum'ah, but even extending past the Tum'ah. The *periphery* of the Tziyun is outside of the Tum'ah, but the Tum'ah is indeed under the marked area of the Tziyun itself. Thus both statement are true; the outer edge of the Tziyun is outside of the Tum'ah, but the inner part of the Tziyun is above the Tum'ah.. This is also the opinion of the RAMBAM in Hilchos Tum'as Mes 8:9.


OPINIONS: In the Mishnah, Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov and the Chachamim argue concerning two points. First, Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov maintains that when watering the trees in a field, it is prohibited to water the rest of the field, while the Chachamim permit watering the rest of the field. Second, Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov prohibits watering seeds that received no water before Chol ha'Mo'ed, while the Chachamim permit it. In addition, the Beraisa mentions a third point over which Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov and the Chachamim again argue -- whether or not it is permitted to water a "Sdeh Grid."

What is a "Sdeh Grid," and what are the reasons to permit or prohibit watering it?

(a) TOSFOS, the NIMUKEI YOSEF and other Rishonim explain that a "Sdeh Grid" is another term for a Beis ha'Ba'al, a field that does not need artificial irrigation. Literally, "Grid" means "dry," and it refers to a field that is not constantly watered. This also seems to be Rashi's intention.

They explain, like Rashi, that in the Mishnah, Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov and the Chachamim argue whether doing Melachah on Chol ha'Mo'ed for the sake of Harvachah, making a profit, is permitted. The Chachamim, who permit it, hold like Rebbi Meir (2a), who explicitly permits doing Melachah for the sake of Harvachah. The argument concerning a Sdeh Grid is the sequel to their argument concerning Harvachah. Watering a Beis ha'Ba'al is for Harvachah, and therefore Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov and the Chachamim argue whether or not it is permitted.

(b) TOSFOS cites others who explain that the argument in the Beraisa is not a question of whether Harvachah is permitted. Even Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov would permit watering a Sdeh Grid. Rather, the Tana Kama of the Beraisa is a third Tana, who is more stringent than Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov. (That is, even though the Halachah is in accordance with Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov's opinion, it is nevertheless permitted to water a Sdeh Grid.)

These Rishonim define "Sdeh Grid" as a type of field that is in between a Beis ha'Shalchin and a Beis ha'Ba'al. It is not exactly like a Beis ha'Ba'al, because supplying it with more water will not cause it to bear more fruit. Rather, it will produce its fruit *faster* if it is watered more (and in that sense, it is not a Beis ha'Shalchin, which is merely saved from drying out when it is watered more). The Tana Kama prohibits watering it because he considers that to be Harvachah, while the Chachamim permit it and do not consider it to be Harvachah, because when the fruit ripen faster they does not taste as good, for they do not ripen as fully. Therefore, one is not benefiting from watering such a field. It is not Harvachah to water the Sdeh Grid; one is merely changing the fruit from one type of fruit to another.

(c) The RITVA, NIMUKEI YOSEF, and TOSFOS HA'ROSH cite a Yerushalmi which says that the argument in our Mishnah between Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov and the Chachamim has nothing to do with Harvachah at all. Even the Chachamim do not permit Melachah for the sake of Harvachah, and they do not hold like Rebbi Meir. Rather, the Machlokes is whether watering the entire field, or watering seeds that were not watered before Chol ha'Mo'ed, is considered a Davar ha'Aved or not.

When the Beraisa says that it is not permitted to water a Sdeh Grid (which they define as a Beis ha'Ba'al, like Tosfos), even the Chachamim agree to that. If so, what is the meaning of the words at the end of the Beraisa, "v'Chachamim Matirin ba'Zeh uva'Zeh" -- 'The Chachamim permit *both* this and this?" The RITVA says that those words are not part of the Beraisa, but are a citation from our Mishnah which the Gemara is preparing to discuss. Alternatively, the NIMUKEI YOSEF explains that those words are referring back to the two cases mentioned in the *Mishnah*, and not to the third case -- Sdeh Grid -- which is mentioned in the Beraisa. Hence, everyone agrees that watering a Sdeh Grid is prohibited. (See next Insight)

The Tosfos ha'Rosh, after citing the Yerushalmi's understanding of the Beraisa, suggests that even if we accept the Yerushalmi's logic concerning the Mishnah, we could still learn that Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov and the Chachamim argue concerning a Sdeh Grid. They are not arguing whether or not Harvachah is permitted (as in (a) above), but whether a Sdeh Grid is a Davar ha'Aved. The Rosh defines "Sdeh Grid" as a Beis ha'Ba'al field that has not had water for an exceptionally long time (like Rashi on the Rif explains). In such a case, the Chachamim maintain that this field is a Davar ha'Aved and they permit watering it on Chol ha'Mo'ed, even though it is a Beis ha'Ba'al. Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov argues and says that it is prohibited to water this field on Chol ha'Mo'ed. His reasoning is that since it is not usually watered manually from non-natural sources, watering it now will not help it recover.

OPINIONS: Ravina deduces from the laws mentioned in the Mishnah and Beraisa that it is permitted to "sprinkle a Tarbitza" (vegetable garden) with water. He reasons that if it is Mutar to water a Sdeh Grid, thereby making the fruit ripen faster, then here, too, it must be Mutar to water the vegetables to make them ripen faster.

There is a Machlokes in the Beraisa whether or not it is permitted to water a Sdeh Grid (see previous Insight). Whose opinion of Sdeh Grid is Ravina using to prove his ruling? And does the fact that Ravina sides with one of the opinions show that that opinion is the Halachah?

(a) RASHI says that Ravina's proof is from the Chachamim, who argue with Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov and permit watering a Sdeh Grid, which is the same as a Sdeh Beis ha'Ba'al (and the Chachamim hold like Rebbi Meir who permits watering a field for the sake of Harvachah). We can infer from Rashi -- as many Rishonim (see ROSH and RITVA) point out -- that the Halachah indeed follows Rebbi Meir, and it is permitted to water a Beis ha'Ba'al for Harvachah, since Ravina is ruling like the Chachamim.

(b) TOSFOS (DH Shari) suggests that although Ravina adduces his proof from the opinion of the Chachamim who permit watering a Beis ha'Ba'al, that does not mean that Ravina is ruling in their favor. Rather, Ravina does *not* permit *watering* a vegetable garden, but only sprinkling it with water. His proof to permit it is that if the Chachamim go so far as to permit *watering* a Beis ha'Ba'al, then certainly Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov would not be so stringent as to prohibit *sprinkling* water in a Beis ha'Ba'al.

Alternatively the Chachamim who permit watering a Sdeh Grid include Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov, since watering such a field is not considered a true "Harvachah" (as mentioned above, previous Insight answer b). The Tana Kama who argues and prohibits watering a Sdeh Grid is not Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov, but another Tana. The Halachah, then, is in accordance with the Chachamim (and Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov) who permit watering a Sdeh Grid, but it is *not* in accordance with the Chachamim who argue with Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov in our Mishnah, and permit watering even a Beis ha'Ba'al.

(c) However, RABEINU CHANANEL, the RIF and most Rishonim explain that Ravina was not basing his ruling on the Halachah of Sdeh Grid at all. Rather, he was basing his ruling on the other cases mentioned in the Mishnah. The RITVA and NIMUKEI YOSEF say that his ruling was based on the Halachah that watering a Sadeh Metunenes is Mutar, and RABEINU CHANANEL says that it was based on the case of watering seeds that received water before Chol ha'Mo'ed, which is also Mutar. In these cases, watering is permitted even according to Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov.

When the Gemara, immediately after Ravina's statement, compares Ravina's case of a vegetable garden to the Beraisa's case of Sdeh Grid, it is *rejecting*, and not supporting, Ravina's ruling. The Gemara is asking how can we compare watering a vegetable garden to the cases that Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov permits; in the case of the vegetable garden, one is just causing it to ripen earlier, which is a case of Harvachah and is not a Davar ha'Aved, like Sdeh Grid, and therefore it should be Asur (see previous Insight, answer c). According to this interpretation, the Halachah will *not* follow Ravina, and the Halachah will follow Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov.

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