THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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Moed Katan, 12
MOED KATAN 11, 12 - sponsored by Harav Ari Bergmann of Lawrence, N.Y., out of
love for Torah and those who study it.
1) THE "AVUNGERI" WORKERS OF THE REISH GALUSA
OPINIONS: Rav Chama permitted the "Avungeri" of the Reish Galusa to work on
Chol ha'Mo'ed. He said that since they do not receive an actual wage, but
they just eat from the table of the Reish Galusa, they may work on Chol
Who are these "Avungeri," and what type of Melachah did Rav Chama permit them
to do on Chol ha'Mo'ed? Were they Jews doing a type of Melachah which is
permitted on Chol ha'Mo'ed, or were they Nochrim doing Melachah which a Jew
may not do on Chol ha'Mo'ed?
(a) The NIMUKEI YOSEF and the RITVA (in his first explanation) says that the
Avungeri were Nochrim doing Melachah which a Jew may not do on Chol ha'Mo'ed.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 542:1) rules like the Ritva and Rosh (b) and
permits a Jew to do a type of Melachah which is Mutar (such as Ma'aseh
Hedyot, or Tzorech Mo'ed) only when he is not receiving a wage. If the Jewish
worker is very poor and does not even have money to buy food, then the Jewish
employer may certainly hire him and pay him a wage on Chol ha'Mo'ed (OC
However, the Ritva rejects this explanation because the Gemara says that "Rav
Chama permitted the Avungeri to work," which implies that the Avungeri were
asking the question. If they were non-Jewish laborers, the Gemara should have
said that Rav Chama permitted the *Reish Galusa* to have the Avungeri work
for him (since, obviously, the Nochrim would not have been asking a Halachic
(b) The RITVA cites RABEINU YEDIDYAH who says that the Avungeri were Jews
doing a type of Melachah which is permitted on Chol ha'Mo'ed (such as a
Ma'aseh Hedyot). Why, though, would such 'Melachah be prohibited if they were
receiving a wage? The Melachah itself is permitted! From here we learn that
even a type of Melachah which is permitted on Chol ha'Mo'ed may *not* be done
if one is paid for it (since that is Uvda d'Chol). This is also the
explanation of the ROSH.
The REMA (OC 542:1), based on the KOL BO (see, however, BI'UR HALACHAH)
permits paying a set wage to a Jewish worker to do a Melachah that is
necessary for a Davar ha'Aved on Chol ha'Mo'ed (the Bi'ur Halachah also rules
leniently with regard to paying a Jew to do a Melachah which is needed for
Ochel Nefesh). However, it is preferable to hire a non-Jew to do the work
than to have a Jew work on Chol ha'Mo'ed (MISHNAH BERURAH 542:5, SHA'AR
HA'TZION 542:8), unless the Jewish worker has no money with which to buy
food, in which case he may certainly be hired to do work on Chol ha'Mo'ed, as
2) HARVESTING ONE'S FIELD ON CHOL HA'MO'ED
OPINIONS: The Gemara relates that Rav Huna harvested his field on Chol
ha'Mo'ed. His son Rabah questioned his conduct from the Beraisa which says
that harvesting a field on Chol ha'Mo'ed is prohibited (unless one has
nothing else to eat). Rav Huna answered that the Beraisa is a minority
opinion, for it is expressing the opinion of Rebbi Yosi.
3) THE REQUIREMENT OF DOING A PERMISSIBLE MELACHAH PRIVATELY (B'TZIN'A)
The Gemara asks how can Rav Huna say that the Tana of the Beraisa is Rebbi
Yosi? Rebbi Yosi maintains that a Melachah that is permitted to be done on
Chol ha'Mo'ed does not need to be done with a Shinuy, while the Beraisa says
that if one must harvest his field on Chol ha'Mo'ed because he has nothing
else to eat, he may do so "as long as he does not use cows to thresh."
According to Rebbi Yosi, it should be permitted to thresh in the normal
manner, with cows, since he does not require a Shinuy! The Gemara answers
that "since every day we do not thresh with cows, not threshing with cows on
Chol ha'Mo'ed is not a Shinuy." Hence, the Beraisa *is* Rebbi Yosi, and the
reason why one may not thresh with cows is not because he requires a Shinuy,
but because "even on other days (that are not Chol ha'Mo'ed) one does not
always thresh with cows."
The Rishonim suggest different ways of understanding the Gemara.
(a) RABEINU CHANANEL, RASHI, and most Rishonim explain that there are two
different types of Shinuy. The first type is a Shinuy, or change, from the
way that this act is normally done. Rebbi Yosi does not require such a Shinuy
when doing Melachah on Chol ha'Mo'ed. The second type of Shinuy is refraining
from doing the act in a manner in which people do it when they want to have
exceptional results. Even Rebbi Yosi requires this Shinuy. He only permits
the Melachah to be done in a *normal* manner; he does not permit it to be
done in an *exceptional* manner.
Since threshing with cows (as opposed to a stick -- NIMUKEI YOSEF) achieves
outstanding, exceptional results, one must make a Shinuy from that manner of
threshing and thresh without cows on Chol ha'Mo'ed.
(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Yom Tov 7:6, 8:4) gives a different explanation for
the type of Shinuy that Rebbi Yosi requires. The Rambam explains that there
is a fundamental difference between the Heter to do Melachah for a Davar
ha'Aved, and the Heter to do Melachah when the person has nothing to eat.
In the case of a Davar ha'Aved, it is permitted to do a Melachah without a
Shinuy according to Rebbi Yosi, because the Rabanan did not include such
Melachah in the category of prohibited Melachah on Chol ha'Mo'ed. In
contrast, a Melachah permitted to be done for someone who has nothing to eat
*does* fall into the category of prohibited Melachah on Chol ha'Mo'ed, but
the Rabanan made an exception and permitted this person to do the Melachah
since he has nothing to eat. Since it is a Melachah which everyone else may
not do, the person who is permitted to do it must do it with a Shinuy. That
is why the person who has nothing to eat must harvest with a Shinuy and not
use cows (see Kesef Mishnah and Lechem Mishnah there). Since no one else is
threshing and it is a Heter given specifically to this person, he must use a
Shinuy. (See LECHEM MISHNEH Hilchos Yom Tov 7:6.)
The Rambam appears to have had a different Girsa in our Gemara. Perhaps his
Girsa was similar to that of the DIKDUKEI SOFRIM. When the Gemara explains
why cows may not be used even according to Rebbi Yosi, instead of saying
"since *every day* we do not use cows for threshing, not threshing with cows
on Chol ha'Mo'ed is not a Shinuy," the Girsa of the Dikdukei Sofrim (and some
Rishonim) reads, "since *all of the people* do not use cows for threshing,"
(and omits the word Ha'idna "Nami" Lav Shinuy Hu). Thus, the Gemara is saying
that since all other people (who do not lack what to eat) may not harvest
their fields now, on Chol ha'Mo'ed, this Melachah remains in the category of
prohibited Melachah and the person who has nothing to eat must make a Shinuy
when he harvests his field. (The word "Ha'idna" is the end of the *previous*
phrase; in addition, the Rambam probably had the word "l'Ayei" [it is true]
instead of "Lav," so that the phrase reads "*it is indeed* necessary to have
a Shinuy" -- M. Kornfeld)
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that it is permitted to bring in one's fruit on
Chol ha'Mo'ed if he fears that it might be stolen. The Gemara adds that it
must be done in a private, discreet manner ("b'Tzin'a").
Why does it have to be done b'Tzin'a? The Mishnah seems to permit it because
of Davar ha'Aved, to prevent it from being stolen. Why does this act of
preventing a loss need to be done b'Tzin'a, when we find no other Melachah
that is permitted for Davar ha'Aved that needs to be done b'Tzin'a?
(a) The RITVA explains, quoting the RAMBAN, that in this case, the source of
the potential loss is *external* to the object itself (thieves might come and
steal the object), in contrast to a case where the potential loss is internal
(the object will spoil). As such, the potential loss is not as evident, since
there is no way of seeing in the object any sign of a loss. Since it is not
immediately evident that the Melachah is being done to prevent a loss, and it
can be done easily b'Tzin'a without adversely affecting the outcome of the
Melachah, it must be done b'Tzin'a.
HALACHAH: The DARCHEI MOSHE (OC 638) cites this Mordechai, but does not
mention it in the Shulchan Aruch. The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 638:2) mentions the
requirement of "b'Tzin'a" only for the act of bringing in one's fruit (not
like the Mordechai).
(b) The ME'IRI and the MAGID MISHNAH (7:3) cite the RAMBAN, but they
understood his words slightly differently than the Ritva. They explain that
in the case of the fruit left outside, it is a Safek Davar ha'Aved. The
potential loss might not occur, and therefore bringing the fruit inside must
be done b'Tzin'a.
(c) The MORDECHAI (#855) writes that all Melachos done on Chol ha'Mo'ed for a
Davar ha'Aved must be done b'Tzina. (He adds that it might be permitted to do
it in public if it is being done *for the sake of the festival*, l'Tzorech