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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Moed Katan 27

MOED KATAN 26 & 27 - dedicated by Mr. Avi Berger of Queens, N.Y. in memory of his parents, Pinchas ben Reb Avraham Yitzchak, and Leah bas Michal Mordechai.



(a) According to Rebbi Eliezer, the beds of the Aveilim should be overturned the moment the Meis leaves the house on the way to be buried. Rebbi Yehoshua says - from the time the grave is filled.

(b) When, immediately after the burial of Raban Gamliel ha'Zakein, Rebbi Yehoshua instructed the Aveilim (his wife and her family) to overturn their beds - they replied that they had already done so earlier, upon the instructions of Rebbi Eliezer.


1. One turns back the beds (and couches) on Erev Shabbos - any time after Minchah (see Tosfos DH 'Min').
2. The Aveilim however - are not permitted to sit on them until the advent of Shabbos.
(d) On Motza'ei Shabbos - the beds must once again be overturned, even if there is only one day of Aveilus left.
(a) The Din of Kefi'as ha'Mitah ...
1. ... incorporates beds and couches that are designated for the Aveil's wife and children to sit on ...
2. ... but not beds and couches that are used to hold vessels and not for sitting on.
(b) According to the Tana of the Beraisa, a Dargesh does not need to be overturned, only up-ended (because its surface will get dirty and spoiled). According to Raban Shimon ben Gamliel - one unties its straps and lets the surface fall out.

(c) Rabah rejects Ula's initial interpretation of a Dargesh (a couch that is meant for good Mazel - but not to sit on) from a Mishnah in Sanhedrin, which states that a King sits Shiv'ah on a Dargesh. If that is what a Dargesh is, then seeing as the king never sat on it before, why should he suddenly be obligated to start sitting on it now?

(d) Rav Ashi counters Rabah's Kashya from the Din of feeding an Aveil - which is just as much of a novelty as sitting on a bed that is meant for good Mazel; so if he has to do the one, why should he not have to do the other?

(a) We then try to refute Ula's contention from the Beraisa's exemption of a Dargesh from Kefi'as ha'Mitah: 'If a Dargesh is a couch that is meant for good Mazel, asks the Gemara, then why should it be exempt'? We refute this argument however - on the grounds that it is no different than a bed that is meant for vessels (and not for sleeping on), which is also exempt. So why should a bed that is meant for Mazel not be exempt, too?

(b) We finally refute Ula's interpretation of a Dargesh from Raban Shimon ben Gamliel, who says that one simply unties the straps, allowing it to collapse by itself. Now, a bed meant for good Mazel does not have straps (so a Dargesh cannot be a bed meant for good Mazel)?

(c) Ravin, quoting Rav Tachlifa bar Ma'arva, defined a Dargesh as a leather bed.

(d) Rebbi Yirmiyah describes the (technical) difference between a Dargesh and a Mitah - that, by a Dargesh, the surface of the bed on which one lies is tied to the top of the frame (seeing as the straps are wound around the outside of the posts); whereas by a Dargesh, the straps go through holes in the bars of the frame, so that the surface is slightly sunken.

(a) Rav Acha bar Ya'akov rules like Raban Shimon ben Gamliel with regard to the above Machlokes concerning a Dargesh in the house of an Aveil. With regard to a two-poster bed in the house of an Aveil - quoting Rebbi Asi, he says that one only needs to up-end it, and no more.

(b) An Aveil who slept on a chair, the raised cover of a pit or even on the floor has not fulfilled his obligation - i.e. overturning his bed and sleeping on it (although, as we have already pointed out, this Minhag is no longer practiced).

(c) It is permitted to sweep, settle the dust and wash the dishes in the house of an Aveil. One may not however, bring incense (that was customarily brought in after the meal). The Beraisa which permits it - is speaking about the room where the Meis is actually lying.

(d) No Berachah is recited over the latter - seeing that the purpose of the spices is not to create a positive aroma, but to dispel the pervading stench (as we learned in Berachos).

(a) According to the Mishnah, one does not bring food to the house of an Aveil on a board, a dish or a sorting-dish made of woven palm-branches - but in wickerwork baskets made of willow twigs. Originally, they would do this for poor Aveilim, serving the wealthy Aveilim in silver and gold baskets. They decreed however, that all Aveilim should be served in standard wickerwork baskets - to stop the poor Aveilim from becoming embarrassed.

(b) On Chol-ha'Moed ...

1. ... Birchas Aveilim - is not said.
2. ... they do make a Shurah and comfort the mourner.
(c) Immediately after that - they send everybody home.

(d) One does not ...

1. ... put the bed down on the street (on the way to the burial - on Chol ha'Mo'ed) - because doing so serves as an invitation to deliver a Hesped, and Hespedim on Chol ha'Mo'ed are forbidden.
2. ... put the bed on which a woman is being buried down in the street (at any time, even if it is not Chol ha'Mo'ed) - to prevent embarrassment, because sometimes, her body emits blood.
(a) They used to serve wealthy Aveilim drinks, in vessels of white glass (crystal glasses) and poor ones in vessels made of colored glass. They changed this custom (that from now on, they would serve all Aveilim in vessels made of colored glass) - to stop the poor from becoming embarrassed.

(b) For the same reason, they instituted that ...

1. ... the faces of all dead bodies should be covered. Previously - they had tended to cover only the faces of the poor, because, as a result of acute hunger, they had turned black.
2. ... all dead bodies should be carried out on a stretcher (in Eretz Yisrael) - instead of carrying out the rich on a Dargesh, as had been the custom previously.
3. ... incense should be placed underneath *all* dead bodies - instead of restricting it the bodies of those who had suffered from stomach-trouble (to prevent the stench).
(c) In similar vein - they used to Tovel only the clothes of women who died Nidos and men who died Zavin, until, due to the fact that the Nidos and Zavin became embarrassed, they instituted that the clothes of all Meisim should be Toveled.

(d) Initially, the poor, who could not afford the expensive shrouds that were customarily used, used to leave the Meis unburied and flee - until Raban Gamliel set a precedent, ordering that they bury him in cheap linen shrouds (from which the custom evolved to bury the dead in shrouds made of cheap hemp worth no more than a Zuz.




(a) When Rav Papa said 'Ein Mo'ed bi'Fnei Talmid-Chacham' - he meant that the prohibition of delivering a Hesped on Chol ha'Mo'ed does not apply to a Talmid-Chacham (and it certainly does apply on Chanukah and Purim).

(b) Rav Papa's principle only applies to a Chacham in his presence. Nevertheless, Rav Papi explained, Rav Kahana eulogized Rav Z'vid from Pum Nahara on Chol ha'Mo'ed (even though it was not in his presence) - because it was the day that they first heard the news, which is considered as if it was in his presence.

(c) 'Hesped' entails banging one's heart -

1. Tipu'ach - clapping one's hands.
2. Kilus - stamping one's feet.
(d) Someone who performs Kilus should wear shoes and not 'sandals' - which can swivel round to the front of the foot, leaving his foot exposed, creating the risk that he damages his foot, when stamping hard.
(a) Rebbi Yochanan issued three rulings with regard to the conduct of an Aveil. When the Aveil nods his head - it signifies that the guests should leave.

(b) Besides an Aveil - a sick person is exempt from rising when the Nasi enters the room.

(c) Similarly - anyone else, other than an Aveil and a sick person, require permission from the Nasi to sit down.

(a) Rav Yehudah Amar Rav too, issued three rulings in connection with an Aveil. He learns from the Pasuk in Yechezkel "ve'Lechem Anashim Lo Sochal" - that, on the first day of his Aveilus, an Aveil should not eat of his own food. Rabah and Rav Yosef - exchanged meals when they were Aveilim (like they did to fulfill the Mitzvah of Sh'lach Manos on Purim).

(b) Rav Yehudah Amar Rav says that, in a town where there is a Meis - everyone is obligated to stop work and to accompany him.

(c) Rav Hamnuna issued a Niduy on the people of Darumta who were working in spite of the fact that the Shofar had announced that someone had died that day. He rescinded the Niduy however - when he was told that the town had a Chevra Kadisha.

(a) The third ruling of Rav Yehudah Amar Rav concerned crying excessively for one's deceased relative. Someone who does that - he declared, will end up crying over another Meis.

(b) Rav Huna warned that woman with seven children who cried excessively when one of them died, to control her emotions - she ignored him. Following a second, more explicit warning, one son after the other died. Finally, he warned her that if she did not stop, she too, would die. And sure enough, when she continued crying, that is what happened.

(c) The period for ...

1. ... crying - is three days.
2. ... eulogizing (mourning) - seven days.
3. ... ironing and not cutting one's hair - thirty days.
(d) It is not correct to extend the mourning period beyond the prescribed time - because one should not try to be more merciful than Hashem Himself.
(a) The Pasuk says in Yirmiyah "Bechu Bacho la'Holech Ki Lo Yashuv Od ...". "Holech" - means someone who dies childless.

(b) Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi's Minhag in this regard - would only visit the house of an Aveil whose relative had died childless.

(c) Rav Huna interpreted the above Pasuk in connection with someone who performs the same sin twice. Rav Huna said - that once someone has performed a sin for the second time, he considers the sin to be permitted (and will never do Teshuvah).

12) According to Rebbi Levi, during ...
1. ... the first three days - an Aveil should consider as if a sword was placed between his thighs (or shoulder-blades)
2. ... between then and the end of the Shiv'ah - as if the sword was placed in a corner.
3. ... between after the Shiv'ah and the end of the first year - as if it was passing before him in the street.
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