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Yevamos, 43

YEVAMOS 42 & 43 - sponsored by Hagaon Rav Yosef Pearlman of London, a living demonstration of love for and adoration of the Torah.


QUESTION: Rav Chisda cites a Mishnah (Ta'anis 26b) which states that it is permitted to perform Erusin during the week in which Tisha b'Av falls. RASHI (DH Mutar le'Ares) explains that "this is because Erusin is not a Simchah." Rav Chisda then cites a Beraisa which states that before Tisha b'Av (in the Havah Amina, this is assumed to mean the week in which Tisha b'Av falls, while the Gemara concludes that it refers to the week *before* the week in which Tisha b'Av falls), people must decrease their activity in business, building, and planting, but they may perform Erusin, but may not perform Nesu'in or conduct a Se'udas Erusin. Commenting on the Beraisa, RASHI (DH u'Me'arsin) says that "this is because it is not a Simchah, and because one is doing a Mitzvah."

Why does Rashi add here the reason that "one is doing a Mitzvah" by performing Erusin, while he did not mention it earlier? Second, what difference does it make if it is a Mitzvah? Since it is not "Simchah," it is permitted, regardless of whether it is a Mitzvah or not!

ANSWER: Rashi was bothered by the wording of the Beraisa. The Beraisa states that it is permitted to perform Erusin, but it is not permitted to perform Nesu'in or a Se'udas Erusin. If the reason it is permitted to perform Erusin is because there is no Simchah involved at all, then why does the Beraisa have to tell us that one may not perform Nesu'in or make a Se'udas Erusin? It is obvious that those things are prohibited, because those things *do* have Simchah (as the Gemara says later, on 43b, it is obvious that Nesu'in is prohibited because it has Simchah)! Why did the Beraisa have to specify that those things are prohibited?

It must be that Erusin does involve some degree of Simchah. Even though the Gemara (43b) says that without a Se'udah there is no Simchah involved with Erusin, it means that there is not the same amount of Simchah as there is with Nesu'in (as the TAZ OC 551:3 says). The reason that it is permitted to do Erusin, despite the Simchah, is because when a person does Erusin he is doing a Mitzvah, and that is why the Chachamim permitted it.

That is why the Beraisa must add that it is prohibited to do Nesu'in or make a Se'udas Erusin -- because those activities are also Mitzvos and we might have thought that they are also permitted because of the Mitzvah involved, despite the fact that they have Simchah. The Beraisa teaches that the since the Simchah involved with those activities is so great, they are not permitted even though they involve the performance of Mitzvos. This is what Rashi is teaching by introducing the fact that Erusin is a Mitzvah.


QUESTION: In the Mishnah (41a), Rebbi Yosi permits a woman (who became divorced) to do Erusin with a second husband immediately without having to wait three months. The only exception is a woman whose husband died, in which case the woman must wait before she remarries, not because of the requirement of "Havchanah" but because of her Aveilus.

Rav Chisda and Rava (43a) ask that Erusin for a woman who is in Aveilus should be permitted because of a Kal v'Chomer: We know that one is permitted to engage in Masa u'Matan (business) during Aveilus, but one is required to decrease his involvement in Masa u'Matan during the days before Tisha b'Av. If so, then Erusin -- which is permitted during the days before Tisha b'Av -- should certainly be permitted during Aveilus! How can we permit Erusin before Tisha b'Av, and prohibit it during Aveilus, if the laws of Tisha b'Av are more stringent than Aveilus?

At the end of the Sugya, the Gemara answers this question and says that "Aveilus Chadashah differs from Aveilus Yeshanah, and Aveilus d'Rabim differs from Aveilus d'Yachid." Rashi explains that this means that the period before Tisha b'Av is more lenient with regard to Erusin because it is a weaker form of Aveilus, since it is an "old" Aveilus (to which people have become accustomed), and it is a "public" Aveilus (and thus people are able to share the grief thus making it easier).

How does this answer the Gemara's question? True, it explains why it is prohibited to effect an Erusin during personal Aveilus but not during the time before Tisha b'Av. But this is still contradicted by the fact that Masa u'Matan is *permitted* during Aveilus and *prohibited* before Tisha b'Av! If the Aveilus of Tisha b'Av is more lenient, as the Gemara seems to be saying, then Masa u'Matan before Tisha b'Av should be *permitted*, since we find that it is permitted during the more stringent period of personal Aveilus! (TOSFOS DH Shani)


(a) RABEINU TAM, quoted by Tosfos, answers that the Gemara is not making one statement about the period of Aveilus before Tisha b'Av, saying that it is lenient for two reasons. Rather, the Gemara is making two statements, explaining why the laws of Erusin and Masa u'Matan are different. (This is borne out by the wording of the Gemara, which says the word "Sha'ani" ("it differs") twice, instead of including both differences in one clause.)

The first statement refers to Erusin and is saying that since Tisha b'Av is an "Aveilus Yeshanah," it is not as stringent as an "Aveilus Chadashah" when it comes to doing Erusin. The second statement refers to Masa u'Matan and is saying that since Tisha b'Av is an "Aveilus d'Rabim," we must be *more* stringent when it comes to acts that are done in public and are done for long durations of time. If such acts are permitted, then everyone will see the other person going to work and they will learn from each other and no one will mourn for Yerushalayim. That is why Masa u'Matan is prohibited on days of public Aveilus but permitted on days of personal Aveilus. Erusin, though, is not done in public and it only lasts for a moment. By permitting Erusin on a day of Aveilus d'Rabim, it will not cause people to neglect mourning for Yerushalayim.

(b) RASHI, though, clearly does not explain the Gemara this way. He explains that the Aveilus of Tisha b'Av is more lenient in two ways, in that it is "Yeshanah" and it is "d'Rabim." How, then, did Rashi understand the Gemara's answer? Why is "Masa u'Matan" permitted during personal Aveilus but prohibited during the Aveilus of Tisha b'Av, if Tisha b'Av is a more lenient type of Aveilus?

It could be that Rashi understood the Gemara in a way similar to that of Rabeinu Tam, that Tisha b'Av is more stringent when it comes to doing Masa u'Matan, but for a different reason than the reason that Rabeinu Tam gives. According to Rashi, the very fact that Tisha b'Av is not a personal Aveilus requires that steps be made to help arouse people to mourn. The Chachamim made certain enactments in order to help people focus on the Aveilus and ponder the loss of Yerushalayim and the Beis ha'Mikdash and not be distracted. Therefore, they prohibited things which cause people to take their minds off of mourning, such as Masa u'Matan. (That is, this may not be a law of *Aveilus* at all.) They did not prohibit Erusin, though, on such days, because Erusin is a momentary act that will not detract from one's concentration on mourning for Yerushalayim. During an Aveilus Chadashah, though, since the Aveilus is personal, the Avel will not become distracted from his Aveius by Masa u'Matan.

(c) The RAMBAN and other Rishonim explain in a manner similar to that of Rabeinu Tam, that the two differences -- "Aveilus Yeshanah" and "Aveilus d'Rabim" -- relate to the two different Halachos of Erusin and Masa u'Matan. However, they give a different logic for why the Gemara is more stringent when it comes to Masa u'Matan on the days before Tisha b'Av than on days of personal Aveilus. They say that the reason is not because it is an Aveilus d'Rabim, but because of the other difference of the Gemara -- because it is an Aveilus Yeshanah, and thus people treat it more leniently than a normal Aveilus. Therefore, the Chachamim had to be stringent and prohibit Masa u'Matan so that people would take the Aveilus seriously. As far as Erusin is concerned, they were lenient, because Erusin does not involve Simchah at all (this is in contrast to what we wrote in the previous Insight, according to Rashi). The only reason the Chachamim prohibited Erusin in a case of normal Aveilus was a Gezeirah, lest one make a Se'udas Erusin, or lest one perform Nesu'in. During the period before Tisha b'Av, since it is an Aveilus *d'Rabim*, we do not need such a Gezeirah, because permitting Erusin will *not* lead to Nesu'in or to making a Se'udas Erusin. This is because the person who performs the Erusin needs others to join him to make a Se'udah, or a Nisu'in, and no one else will join him because they are also involved in the Aveilus d'Rabim of Tisha b'Av.

(d) The ME'IRI explains, like the Ramban, that "Aveilus d'Rabim" refers to why Masa u'Matan is prohibited during the days before Tisha b'Av, and it means that people tend to be lenient on such days and therefore the Chachamim had to prohibit it. He explains, though, that the reason those days are more lenient with regard to Erusin is that if the Chachamim tell a person that he is prohibited to perform Erusin during those days he will ignore them, because he has a strong desire to perform the Erusin. The Chachamim could be stringent only for activities in which people have no emotional involvement, such as Masa u'Matan, where they will listen to the Chachamim.

(Tosfos writes in the name of RABEINU NISIM GAON (in MEGILAS SETARIM) that Erusin is not only permitted "Kodem d'Kodem," before the week in which Tisha b'Av falls, but it is even permitted during the week in which Tisha b'Av falls, and even on Tisha b'Av itself. Even though both Masa u'Matan and Kibus (washing clothes) are prohibited during that period, and are *permitted* during a normal Aveilus, nevertheless we are still lenient with Erusin because of the reasons mentioned above; when it comes to Erusin, a normal Aveilus is more stringent, and when it comes to Masa u'Matan or Kibus, an Aveilus d'Rabim is more stringent. All of the reasons above apply not only to Masa u'Matan, but to prohibited Kibus as well.)

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