ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Moed Katan 18
(a) When Shmuel went to pay Pinchas his brother a Shiv'ah visit - he noticed
that Pinchas' fingernails were long and asked him why he did not cut them.
We learn the concept that a covenant is made with one's lips from a number
of sources - Rebbi Yochanan in our Sugya derives it from Avraham Avinu, who
said to Yishmael and Eliezer that he and Yitzchak would bow down and return
to them (even though officially, Yitzchak was going to be Shechted), and in
the end, they did (see Agados Maharsha).
(b) Pinchas replied by asking him whether he would be so callous as to cut
his nails if *he* was an Aveil - something that he ought not to have said,
because of the principle 'B'ris Kerusah im ha'S'fasayim' (One must careful
what one says).
(c) When Pinchas, as a result of his thoughtlessness, had to pay a return
visit - Shmuel, who was cutting his nails when he entered, took them, in his
anger, and threw them at him.
(d) He later swept them together - because, as we will see shortly, one is
not permitted to leave one's nails on the floor.
(a) There is no difference between the finger-nails and the toe-nails in
this regard - both are permitted according to Shmuel.
(b) We might have thought otherwise - because the fingernails are visible,
and therefore disgusting when they grow too long, whereas the toenails are
(c) Rav Chiya bar Ashi Amar Rav qualifies the concession of cutting one's
nails during Aveilus - by confining it to biting them, but forbids cutting
them with scissors.
(a) Rav Sh'man bar Aba found Rebbi Yochanan in the Beis-Hamedrash on Chol
ha'Mo'ed cutting his nails with his teeth. Besides the obvious Heter to cut
one's nails (with a Shinuy) on Chol ha'Mo'ed - we also learn from him that
it is not considered disgusting to have long nails (otherwise he would have
cut them with scissors), and that one is permitted to throw them on the
floor of the Beis-Hamedrash.
(b) Someone who ...
1. ... throws his nails on the floor - is called a Rasha.
(c) The reason for all this is - because we are afraid that a pregnant woman
may walk over the nails and lose her baby (due to witchcraft).
2. ... buries them - is called a Tzadik.
3. ... who burns them - a Chasid.
(d) Throwing one's nails on the floor of the Beis Hamedrash is nevertheless
permitted due to the fact that women do not generally frequent the Beis
Hamedrash. We are not afraid that the nails might be swept up and thrown
outside, to a location where women *do* go - because once the nails have
changed their location, they are harmless.
(a) Rebbi permitted a pair who came from Chamsan to cut their nails. Had
they asked him, Rav (or the Tana of a Beraisa) assessed - he would have even
allowed them to cut their mustaches (according to Shmuel, they actually did
ask Rebbi that, and he permitted it).
(b) Any part of the mustache is permitted - provided it interferes with
(c) Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak ruled - that as far as he was concerned, any
part of the mustache was permitted (period), because he was finicky in this
(a) Par'oh is described in Daniel as "Sh'fal Anashim" - because he was only
one Amah tall and so was his beard, whilst the size of his penis was one and
a half Amos.
(b) We learn from the Pasuk "Hinei Yotz'ei ha'Maymah" - that Par'oh was a
(c) Our Mishnah permits specific people to wash their clothes on Chol
ha'Mo'ed, and specific clothes to be washed. We justify ...
1. ... Rav Asi Amar Rebbi Yochanan permitting someone who has only one shirt
to wash his clothes too (even though he is not one of those listed in our
Mishnah) - by establishing our Mishnah by people who have *two* shirts which
are both dirty (and who would not be permitted to wash them were it not for
those circumstances presented by the Tana).
(d) Rav Heidaya tried to support Rebbi Yochanan's second statement with
first-hand evidence that he had seen with his own eyes (the Sea of Teverya
teeming with linen clothes being washed on Chol ha'Mo'ed). Abaye refutes
Rav Heidaya's proof however - on the grounds that, we cannot say with
certainty that those people were washing them with the Chachamim's approval.
2. ... Rebbi Yochanan's permitting the washing of *linen* clothes on Chol
ha'Mo'ed (even though they are not listed in our Mishnah either) - by
establishing our Mishnah by *other materials*.
(a) Our Mishnah permits writing a variety of documents on Chol ha'Mo'ed:
documents of betrothal and divorce, receipts, wills and gifts.
1. A P'ruzbul - is a document in which the creditor transfers his debt to
Beis-Din. This renders the debt as if it was already claimed (in which case
there is no prohibition in then claiming it from the debtor on behalf of the
Beis-Din) - Tiferes Yisrael.
(b) A document of Chalitzah too, is permitted, and so are decrees of
2. An Igeres Shum - is a document in which the Beis-Din assesses the
property of the debtor and transfers it to the creditor (Bartenura).
3. An Igeres Mazon - is a document in which a man undertakes to feed his
wife's daughter (from a previous marriage) - see also Bartenura.
1. A Sh'tar Miy'un - a document which states that a girl under Bas-Mitzvah
(who was married off by her mother or brother) walked out on her husband,
thereby negating their marriage.
(c) Chazal permit all of these on Chol ha'Mo'ed - because we are afraid that
perhaps one of the key players will die or go overseas by the time Yom-Tov
is out, making it a 'Davar ha'Aveid'.
2. A Sh'tar Birurin - is a document in which Beis-Din designate the
different parts of the field to the various partners (see also Bartenura).
3. An Igeres shel Reshus - is a document containing commands and decrees of
(a) Shmuel permits betrothal on Chol ha'Mo'ed in case someone else betroths
the woman first. There is no proof for this from ...
1. ... our Mishnah, which permits the writing of Sh'tarei Kidushin - because
our Mishnah may well be referring, not to the actual Sh'tarei Kidushin, but
to Sh'tarei P'sikta (the document which contains the various monetary
obligations undertaken by the parents of the Chasan and the Kalah.
(b) There *is* however, a Tana de'Bei Shmuel that bears out Shmuel,
explicitly forbidding marriage, but permitting betrothal. The Tana does
however, qualify the concession of betrothal - forbidding an engagement
party on Chol ha'Mo'ed.
2. ... the Mishnah on 8b., 'Ein Nos'in Nashim be'Mo'ed', implying that
betrothal is permitted - because this implication is a mistake. Maybe the
Tana is teaching us that *even* marriage is forbidden, in spite of the fact
that it is a Mitzvah (part of the act of having children), unlike betrothal,
which is not a Mitzvah, and which the Tana therefore takes for granted.
(c) The same Beraisa - forbids a Yavam to make Yibum on Chol ha'Mo'ed.
(a) Shmuel says that each day, a Bas-Kol makes two announcements -
so-and-so's daughter is destined for so-and-so, and such and such a field is
destined for so-and-so.
(b) When Shmuel permits betrothal on Chol ha'Mo'ed in case someone else
'gets her first', he does not mean that the other person betroths her first
(since this is impossible). What he means is in case someone else causes her
death by praying that she should die (rather than him seeing her become
engaged to her 'barsherte' - see Agados Maharsha.
(c) Rava told that man whom he overheard Davening for a certain woman - that
this was not the right way of praying, because, if she was destined for him,
then he would get her anyway, and if not then, seeing as Hashem would not
answer his prayers, they were bound to be in vain, and ultimately, weaken
his faith, when he saw that his prayers were not being answered.
(d) The man subsequently changed the wording of his prayer.
1. He then begin praying - that either *he* should die before she became
betrothed, or that *she* should (see Agados Maharsha).
2. Rava then told him - that he should not Daven in that manner.
(a) Rav (or a Beraisa) quoting Rebbi Reuven ben Itzrubli learns from Lavan
and Besuel's reaction to Eliezer's amazing success in finding the right
Shiduch for Yitzchak, in spite of their efforts to the contrary - that the
teaching that 'a woman is designated for a man' is contained in the Torah.
Their reaction is expressed in three remarkable words: "me'Hashem Yatza
(b) We learn the same thing from a Pasuk ...
1. ... in Nevi'im regarding Shimshon's parents - about whom the Navi writes
"And they did not know that it (the choosing of Shimshon's P'lishti wife)
was from Hashem".
2. ... in Kesuvim (Mishlei) - where Shlomoh writes "A house and wealth may
be an inheritance from one's fathers, but a wise woman is from Hashem".
(a) Rav (or a Beraisa) quoting Rebbi Reuven ben Itzrubli, also says that
someone who is suspected of having done something when he really did not do
it, either whole or even in part, nor did he even consider doing it - must
have at least seen someone else do it, and been pleased with what he saw
(otherwise he would be above suspicion).
(b) When Yisrael accused Hashem (Kevayachol) of having done wicked things -
they did so in order to anger Hashem; and, when on another occasion, they
suspected Moshe of having committed adultery - it was out of hatred. Neither
was a genuine suspicion.
(c) When Rebbi Yossi expressed the wish that his lot should be with those
who were suspected of having done things of which they were innocent (and
Rav Papa stated that this had actually happened to him) - they were
referring to a lasting suspicion that did not pass quickly (which we are
about to explain); whereas *we* are referring to a brief, passing one.
(a) One only contends with a rumor, if the person concerned has no enemies.
For a rumor to be classified as 'Kala de'Lo Pasik' - it must persist (as a
wide-spread rumor) for thirty-six hours.
(b) If the rumor stopped for a short while during that day and a half
period, then it is considered a 'Kala de'Pasik' - unless it was stopped out
of fear of the suspect.
(c) A broken rumor will be considered a 'Kala de'Lo Pasik' even if it
stopped in the middle of the thirty-six hours (not out of fear) - if it
breaks out again afterwards (see Hagahos me'Rav Renshburg).