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Moed Katan, 14

MOED KATAN 14, 15 - anonymously dedicated my an Ohev Torah and Marbitz Torah in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.


OPINIONS: The Gemara records an argument between Rebbi Yehudah and the Rabanan regarding the Heter for a person who returns on Chol ha'Mo'ed from a trip abroad to shave on Chol ha'Mo'ed. Rava says that both Rebbi Yehudah and the Rabanan agree that if he went on a pleasure trip, "she'Lo b'Reshus" ("without permission"), he may not shave upon his return on Chol ha'Mo'ed. If he went abroad in order to support himself and his family, then everyone agrees that he may shave. They argue in a case where a person went abroad in order to make a profit (but already has enough money to support himself and his family). The Rabanan permit him to shave, while Rebbi Yehudah does not.

In what way is traveling for pleasure considered to be "without permission," so that he may not shave upon his return?

(a) The RA'AVAD (cited by the ROSH 3:1) quotes the Yerushalmi which says that Rebbi Yehudah is following his opinion elsewhere. Rebbi Yehudah ruled that one "may not travel in the sea." The Yerushalmi explains that according to this, if one leaves on a trip to Chutz l'Aretz and returns on Chol ha'Mo'ed, he may not shave, because his departure was not sanctioned by the Chachamim. The Ra'avad explains that the Yerushalmi understood "she'Lo b'Reshus" to mean that the traveler transgressed a prohibition, by traveling to Chutz l'Aretz.

According to this, the Mishnah is referring to a person who lives in Eretz Yisrael and who leaves to Chutz l'Aretz. The Gemara is saying that it is prohibited to leave Eretz Yisrael in order to go touring, but it is permitted to leave in order to earn a living. Therefore, if a person left Eretz Yisrael to take a pleasure trip, he is not permitted to shave when he returns on Chol ha'Mo'ed, since he was not supposed to leave Eretz Yisrael in the first place. If he went to earn a living, it is permitted for him to leave to Chutz l'Aretz, and to shave upon his return on Chol ha'Mo'ed.

(b) RASHI (DH Mipnei she'Yatza) does not seem to take the approach of the Ra'avad. Rashi says that "she'Lo b'Reshus" does not mean "without permission." Rather, it means, "not out of necessity," referring to a person who left his home when he was not compelled to. It has nothing to do with the prohibition of leaving Eretz Yisrael. The Heter of the Mishnah applies to a person who lives anywhere and must travel to somewhere else for compelling reasons. Since he has good reasons for traveling, the circumstances that caused him not to shave before the Mo'ed are considered "beyond his control."

(c) The VILNA GA'ON (OC 531:4) argues with the Ra'avad's understanding of the Yerushalmi. Rebbi Yehudah does not say explicitly that it is prohibited to go to Chutz la'Aretz from Eretz Yisrael. Rather, he says that one may not travel *via the sea* -- meaning that it is prohibited to put oneself in a situation of danger by traveling via the sea (see BA'AL HA'ME'OR to Shabbos 19a). Accordingly, whether or not it is permitted to shave has nothing to do with whether one leaves Eretz Yisrael to go to Chutz la'Aretz, or if one leaves a place in Chutz la'Aretz to go to a different place in Chutz la'Aretz -- traveling by sea is prohibited according to Rebbi Yehudah (unless one has a good excuse for traveling). Therefore, whenever one travels via sea (for pleasure alone), no matter where in the world he is, if he returns on Chol ha'Mo'ed he may not shave, because traveling by sea to begin with is unsanctioned (unless it is done for good reason, as our Gemara explains).

HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 531:4) cites the reasoning of the Ra'avad, that only if one goes from Eretz Yisrael to Chutz la'Aretz is it considered to be traveling "without permission" and one may not shave upon his return on Chol ha'Mo'ed. The MISHNAH BERURAH (in Sha'ar ha'Tziyon #12) points out that the VILNA GA'ON and many Rishonim and Acharonim disagree with the Ra'avad and prohibit shaving even if one went from one place in Eretz Yisrael to another place in Eretz Yisrael, or from place to place in Chutz la'Aretz. The Mishnah Berurah concludes, though, that one who wishes to be lenient may rely on the view of the Ra'avad to shave when traveling inside of Eretz Yisrael or Chutz l'Aretz.
QUESTION: The Gemara states that the circumstances which permit a person to shave on Chol ha'Mo'ed also permit a person to shave during Aveilus. We learned that one is permitted to shave on Chol ha'Mo'ed when circumstances beyond his control prevented him from shaving before the festival arrived. In the case of Aveilus, though, how does this reasoning apply? A person who becomes an Avel does not know in advance that he is going to become an Avel, and he has no time to prepare! It should be permitted to shave in *every* case of Aveilus, not just when an Avel was released from prison or returned from abroad! Why should we permit only the individuals who are permitted to shave on Chol ha'Mo'ed to shave during Aveilus and not any other Avel who simply had not had a haircut before he suddenly and unexpectedly became an Avel? (See SEFAS EMES.)


(a) It could be that a person always has to keep in mind every possible contingency. If he decides not to get a haircut for a few days and to let his hair grow a little more, he knows that he is taking a chance, and he might become stuck and not be able to cut his hair when he plans to. Death is a common enough occurrence (Kesuvos 8b) that one has to take into account that one of his close relatives might die. If he lets his hair grow now so that it will be uncomfortable if he becomes an Avel before getting a haircut, it is considered as though he knew and expected that such a thing would happen, and he may not shave when he is an Avel. In contrast, a person who is released from prison had no choice; he was unable to shave, and therefore when he is released from prison and he becomes an Avel, he may shave during his Aveilus.

(However, the Gemara later, 17b, explains that one may cut his hair during Aveilus *only* if he comes out of prison and then "Takfuhu Aveilav" -- that is, a second relative of his dies before he has finished mourning for the first extending his Aveilus longer than usual. It seems odd to say that a person must normally take into consideration the possibility that he will reach a situation of "Takfuhu Aveilav," and that is why it is not considered to be beyond his control if he does not shave before his Aveilus starts.)

(b) Sudden Aveilus is not considered an "Ones" (see RASHASH 17b, and Insights there). Perhaps the reason for this is that a person *wants* to grow his hair long while mourning for a loved one (see Insights to Sukah 25:3:a). Even though he is indeed *required* to grow his hair, since he feels good about growing his hair during Aveilus it is not judged as an Ones (circumstances beyond his control). Only if he did not cut his hair before the Aveilus against his will (e.g. if he was in prison or on a ship), do we allow him to cut his hair during Aveilus, since in such a case at least *part* of the length of his hair was grown involuntarily. (M. Kornfeld)


QUESTION: The Gemara attempts to prove from our Mishnah that a Metzora must observe the Halachos of a Metzora even during Chol ha'Mo'ed (even though doing so prevents him from fulfilling the Mitzvah to rejoice on the festival). The Gemara's proof is from the words of the Mishnah that say that a Metzora is permitted to shave during Chol ha'Mo'ed when he "becomes Tahor from his Tum'ah" during the festival. This implies that if he is still Tamei during the festival, he is not allowed to shave because he must observe the Halachos of a Metzora during Chol ha'Mo'ed.

The Gemara rejects this proof and says that the Mishnah means that both a Metzora who becomes Tahor and one who is still Tamei are permitted to shave during Chol ha'Mo'ed. The reason why the Mishnah specifically mentions that a Metzora who becomes Tahor may shave is because it is teaching a Chidush. We might have thought that a Metzora who becomes Tahor may *not* shave, and therefore the Mishnah must teach that he is permitted to shave. The reason we would have thought that he may not shave is because if he is permitted to shave when he becomes Tahor, "perhaps he will push off his Korbanos."

What does this mean, that "perhaps he will push off his Korbanos?" Why would we think such a thing? How will allowing him to shave on Chol ha'Mo'ed make him push off his Korbanos? When he becomes Tahor during Chol ha'Mo'ed, in what possible way will allowing him to shave immediately cause him to push off the Korbanos?


(a) RASHI explains that the Gemara does not mean that allowing him to shave will give him some reason to delay bringing his Korbanos. There is no connection between being permitted to shave on Chol ha'Mo'ed and delaying his Korbanos.

Rather, the Gemara means that we might have thought that there is a Gezeirah that a Metzora may not bring his Korbanos during Chol ha'Mo'ed, because if he is permitted to bring them during the festival, then he might mistakenly assume that just like it is permitted to bring the Korbanos on Chol ha'Mo'ed, it is also permitted to bring them on Yom Tov. He will then delay bringing his Korbanos until Yom Tov (instead of on Chol ha'Mo'ed, the day that he shaved), and it is forbidden to bring a private Korban on Yom Tov (according to the opinion in Beitzah 20a that private Korbanos may not be brought on Yom Tov). That is why we might have thought that he may not shave on Chol ha'Mo'ed -- since we might assume that there is a Gezeirah that he not bring his Korbanos on Chol ha'Mo'ed lest he bring them on Yom Tov.

(b) The TOSFOS RID questions this explanation of Rashi. If the Metzora makes a mistake and attempts to bring his Korbanos on Yom Tov, the Kohanim will not accept them! Hence, there is no reason to assume that the Rabanan made a Gezeirah that he not bring his Korbanos on Chol ha'Mo'ed lest he bring them on Yom Tov.

Therefore, the TOSFOS RID and RASHI KESAV YAD and others explain the Gemara differently. They assume that the Gemara is accepting the conclusion of the Gemara later (17b) that the Rabanan permitted a Metzora to shave on Chol ha'Mo'ed even if he became Tahor before the festival (because they did not want him to delay bringing his Korbanos). The Gemara is saying that we might have thought that no Metzora should be permitted to bring his Korbanos during Chol ha'Mo'ed, because if it is permitted, every Metzora will be tempted to push off his Korbanos *until the nearest festival*, during which he will shave and bring his Korbanos. He will be tempted to do this in order to avoid having to make an extra trip to Yerushalayim. Second, says Rashi Kesav Yad, he will want to fulfill his obligation of bringing Shalmei Simchah on the festival with the Shelamim that he has to bring anyhow as part of the Korbanos of a Metzora. (It is not clear where Rashi Kesav Yad found that a Metzora offers a Korban Shelamim. The Torah (Vayikra 14) only requires him to bring an Asham, Chatas and Olah! See footnote #6 of the annotations of Rav Nisan Zaks to the Tosfos Rid who discusses this problem at length. Perhaps Rashi learned that a Metzora is expected to bring Korbenos Shelamim in addition to the Korbanos that he is required to bring, from the words "Asher Tasig Yado," Vayikra 14:22, see Rashi to Bamidbar 6:21.) CHIDUSHEI HA'RAN on Daf 17b offers a similar explanation for the Gemara there.

According to Rashi Kesav Yad, how will prohibiting the Metzora from shaving during Chol ha'Mo'ed stop the Metzora from delaying his Korbanos until the festival? He will still wait until the festival to bring them -- he will just shave on the day before he becomes Tahor (before the festival), and then bring his Korbanos during Chol ha'Mo'ed! The answer is that normally the shaving of the Metzora was done at the time that he brought his Korban, so if he has to shave before the Mo'ed, he will bring his Korbanos then as well. (See TOSFOS 18b DH ha'Olim. This is especially true since the Metzora's haircut was not a regular haircut. He had to shave every bit of exposed hair on his body. As such, it was most likely done by the Kohen in the Beis ha'Mikdash who specialized in such haircuts. Thus, he would leave his shaving until he went to the Beis ha'Mikdash to bring his Korbanos. Alternatively, if he shaves before the festival, the Kohen will require him to shave again, since he will see that the Metzora has not shaved recently and will suspect that the Metzora did not shave as required. Thus it is not worthwhile for the Metzora to shave before he comes to Yerushalayim on the festival to bring his Korbanos.)

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