THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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- WHEN MUST "CHAFIFAH" BE PERFORMED?
OPINIONS: The Gemara makes two Halachic statements. It says first that the
Halachah is that a woman must perform Chafifah during the day. It then says
that the Halachah is that a woman must perform Chafifah only at night. The
Gemara resolves the contradiction by saying that one statement is "when it
is possible" and the other is "when it is impossible." How do we understand
the Gemara's answer?
- RASHI (DH Ha d'Efshar and DH Ha d'Lo Efshar) explains that "when it is
possiblequot; refers to the first statement, and it means that when the day
before her immersion is a weekday, she should perform Chafifah during the
day. "When it is impossible" refers to the second statement. It means that
when the night of her immersion falls on Motza'ei Shabbos and it is
impossible to perform Chafifah during the day on Shabbos, she should
perform Chafifah at night before she immerses. That is, normally, it is
better to perform Chafifah by day.
- The SHE'ILTOS, cited by Tosfos (DH Kach Amru), explains that "when it
is possiblequot; refers to the second statement, and it means when the night
of her immersion falls on a regular weekday and it is possible to perform
Chafifah at night, she should do Chafifah at night immediately prior to
immersing, since it is always better to perform Chafifah at night.
- RABBEINU TAM, cited by Tosfos (ad loc.) understands that the Gemara is
not talking at all about a normal case of the immersion occurring on a
weeknight. Both Halachos are referring to when the night of the
immersion is a Motza'ei Shabbos. "When it is possible" refers to the
second statement. It refers to when it is possible to perform Chafifah that
night (that is, Motza'ei Shabbos is a weeknight and not a Yom Tov). "When
it is impossible" refers to the first statement, and means that when
Motza'ei Shabbos is a Yom Tov and it is impossible to perform Chafifah
Motza'ei Shabbos, she performs Chafifah during the day -- i.e. on Erev
Shabbos, even though it is long before the Tevilah.
- The SHACH (199:6) has a novel interpretation of Rashi's explanation.
The Shach says that "when it is impossible" refers to the second statement,
and means that where there would be a three-day delay if she were to
perform Chafifah during the day (such as when her immersion falls out on
Monday night, and Sunday and Monday are Rosh Hashanah. The only time she
would be able to perform Chafifah during the day would be on Friday, which
is too distant from her immersion), then she is to perform Chafifah on
Motza'ei Shabbos. "When it is possible" refers to a normal case, when she
immerses on a weeknight. Then she should perform Chafifah during the day.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (Yoreh Deah 199:3) cites that a woman should
conduct herself as Tosfos (DH Kach Amru) recommends, beginning her Chafifah
during the day and continuing it into the night, since in that way she
satisfies all of the above-mentioned opinions.
The REMA adds that b'Di'eved, when necessary, a woman may perform Chafifah
either exclusively by day or exclusively by night. (The SHACH concludes
that the most correct opinion is that of Rashi (d), that the Chafifah
should normally be performed during the day.)
When the night of her immersion falls out on Motza'ei Shabbos, we ought to
conclude according to the interpretations all of the Rishonim (a,b, and c),
that she should perform Chafifah at night on Motza'ei Shabbos. This is
indeed the ruling of the SHULCHAN ARUCH (Yoreh Deah 199:4). The Rema,
however, quotes the TUR who says that it is best to perform a complete
Chafifah on Erev Shabbos, and to do a small Chafifah on Motza'ei Shabbos as
well. Perhaps the Tur came to this conclusion because he interpreted Rashi
like the Shach (d).
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