MOED KATAN 3 (18 Av) - Dedicated in memory of Rabanit Miryam Rabinowitz zt'l, devoted wife of the Manostricher Rebbe shlit'a. May she be a Melitzas Yosher in heaven for her descendants and for all of Klal Yisrael.

[3a - 50 lines; 3b - 42 lines]

1)[line 1]"ובשנה השביעית...""UVA'SHANAH HA'SHEVI'IS..."- "And there shall be a complete resting of the land in the seventh year, a rest for HaSh-m; do not sow (Zeri'ah) your field nor prune (Zemirah) your vineyard. Do not harvest (Ketzirah) your wheat that has grown wild, nor gather (Betzirah) those grapes which you have protected; it shall be a year of rest for the land." (Vayikra 25:4-5)

2)[line 3]ובצירהBETZIRAH- harvesting grapes

3a)[line 8]לניכושNIKUSH- weeding

b)[line 8]ולעידורIDUR- hoeing [around the roots of a grapevine so as to loosen the earth around them]

c)[line 8]ולכיסוחKISU'ACH- trimming weeds

4)[line 8]"שדך לא""SADCHA LO"- From the words of the verse, "Sadcha Lo Sizra" - "your field do not sow" - rather than the simpler form of "Lo Sizra Sadcha" - "do not sow your field," the Beraisa quoted in our Gemara infers that actions other than the ones detailed specifically in the verses are forbidden as well.

5a)[line 10]מקרסמיןMEKARSEMIN- (a) pruning the dry branches of a tree (RASHI); (b) uprooting plants in order to prepare the ground for planting (RAMBAM Hilchos Shabbos 8:1, as explained by the MINCHAS CHINUCH Mitzvah #32 in Musach Shabbos 1:7)

b)[line 10]מזרדיןMEZARDIN- pruning [(a) both dry and fresh branches (RASHI); (b) the fresh branches (RASHI to Shabbos 103a) of a tree]

c)[line 11]מפסגיןMEFASGIN- (a) propping up [a tree that is too supple to stand on its own] (RASHI); (b) splitting [branches of a tree that are weighed down with fruit in order to insert wooden sticks as supports (YA'AVETZ); (c) tying [the branches of a tree so that they do not point to the ground] (RAN)

6a)[line 13]מזבליןMEZABLIN- fertilizing [tree roots]

b)[line 13]מפרקיןMEFARKIN- removing [stones from tree roots]

c)[line 14]מאבקיןME'AVKIN- (a) covering [exposed tree roots] with dirt (RASHI); (b) removing dust [from trees] (ARUCH)

d)[line 14]מעשניןME'ASHNIN- smoking [(a) worms out of a tree (RASHI); (b) a tree so that it is strengthened by the vapors (TOSFOS ROSH)

7)[line 17]יקשקשYEKASHKESH- hoeing [around the roots of an olive tree so as to loosen the earth around them]

8)[line 17]ולא יעדר תחת הגפניםV'LO YE'ADER TACHAS HA'GEFANIM- Although the Beraisa earlier ruled that Idur is forbidden, that was referring to loosening the earth around grapevines that had never before been serviced in such a manner. To re-loosen such earth is permitted (RASHI, based on 4b).

9)[line 18]נקעיםNEKA'IM- cracks in the ground

10)[line 18]עוגיות לגפניםUGIYOS LA'GEFANIM- circular [irrigation ditches dug] around [the base of] a grapevine

11)[line 19]זריעה בכלל היתהZERI'A BI'CHLAL HAYESA- planting was [already] included [in the verse mandating that the land rest (Vayikra 25:4; see above, entry #1)]

12)[line 20]להקיש אליהL'HAKISH ELEHA- to draw a comparison [between] it [and every other prohibited manner of working the land on Shemitah]

13)[line 21]עבודה שבשדה ושבכרםAVODAH SHEBA'SADEH VESHEBA'KEREM- a manner of working the land that is [performed equally] in [both] a field of grain and a vineyard

14)[line 24]"והשביעית תשמטנה ונטשתה""VEHA'SHEVI'IS TISHMETENAH U'NETASHTAH"- "And the [land in the] seventh year should be left unworked and abandoned..." (Shemos 23:11)

15)[line 26]מלסקלSAKEL- removing stones [from a vineyard]

16a)[line 27]אברויי אילניAVRUYEI ILANEI- (a) making holes [in the earth around tree roots in order to loosen it] (RASHI KSAV YAD, 1st explanation); (b) [actively] improving the health [of the tree] (RASHI KSAV YAD, 2nd explanation)

b)[line 27]סתומי פיליSETUMEI PILEI- filling in cracks [in (a) trees (RASHI, RABEINU CHANANEL to Avodah Zarah 50b); (b) the ground so as to cover exposed tree roots (RASHI Sukah 44b)

17a)[line 33]כלל בעשהKLAL B'ASEH- a generality in a positive commandment [such as that written regarding Shemitah, about which the verse states, "And there shall be a complete resting of the land in the seventh year..." (Vayikra 25:4)]

b)[line 33]ופרט בלא תעשהPRAT B'LO SA'ASEH- a specificity in a negative commandment [such as that written regarding Shemitah, about which the verse states, "... do not sow your field nor prune your vineyard" (Vayikra 25:4)]

18)[line 34]בכלל ופרט וכללKLAL U'FRAT U'CHLAL

In a Beraisa found in the introduction to the Sifra (the Halachic Midrash on Vayikra), Rebbi Yishmael lists the thirteen methodologies employed by Chazal when determining Halachah from the verses of the Torah. One of them is "Klal u'Frat u'Chlal, Iy Atah Dan Ela k'Ein ha'Frat." This rule teaches that when a Klal (generality) is followed by a Prat (specificity) and then a second Klal, the Torah intends to include in its teaching anything within the general category that is similar to the Prat. The teaching does not apply to that which can be shown to be Halachically dissimilar to the Prat, even if it falls within the parameters of the Klal. Presumably, the verses written regarding Shemitah fit the pattern of a Klal u'Frat u'Chlal (see above, entries #1 and 17). However, Rebbi Avin quotes Rebbi Ila'a who says that when a seeming Klal u'Frat u'Chlal does not fit the general pattern and the Klalim and Pratim alternate between being stated positively or negatively, then it is viewed as a Klal u'Frat, in which case only the Pratim described are included in the teaching of the verse. (See also TOSFOS DH Ein who has a completely different understanding of this Sugya).


19)[line 1]כי אתא רב דימי אמרKI ASA RAV DIMI AMAR- when Rav Dimi arrived [in Bavel from Eretz Yisrael], he said, ["I heard the following in Eretz Yisrael…"]

20)[line 2]ונסיב ליה תלמודאNASIV LAH TALMUDA- they adduced reasoning

21)[line 7]שהוסיפו חכמיםSHE'HOSIFU CHACHAMIM- that the Chachamim added [to the prohibitions related to the Shemitah year]

22)[line 9]"מבחריש ובקציר תשבות""BE'CHARISH UVA'KATZIR TISHBOS"- "[You shall work for six days, and on the seventh, you shall rest;] you shall rest from plowing and harvesting." (Shemos 34:21) - Although this verse is written regarding Shabbos, Chazal understand that it must be referring to the year of Shemitah, since it adds nothing to what is already written regarding Shabbos. Furthermore, Rebbi Akiva explains that since it adds nothing to what is already stated regarding the year of Shemitah itself, it must therefore be referring to part of the previous year (see the Gemara at the bottom of this Amud).

23)[line 12]בשדה אילןSEDEH ILAN- an orchard

24)[line 13]שיפה לפריYAFEH L'FEIRI- beneficial to the [crop of] fruits [that is growing in the sixth year]

25)[line 14]העצרתATZERES- the festival of Shavuos

26)[line 15]בשדה הלבןSEDEH HA'LAVAN- a field of grain or vegetables (which appears "white" due to that which it is not shaded from the sun)

27)[line 16]משתכלה הלחהMISHE'TICHLEH HA'LEICHAH- from when the rains (lit. moisture) [of the sixth year] cease [it is prohibited to plow, since from that point onward plowing is no longer beneficial to the crop grown during the sixth year]

28a)[line 17]מקשאותMIKSHA'OS- cucumber plots

b)[line 17]ומדלעותMIDLA'OS- gourd plots

29)[line 18]נתנה תורה שיעור לכל אחד ואחד בידוNASNAH TORAH SHI'UR L'CHOL ECHED V'ECHAD B'YADO- the Torah has given each individual a different point in time [until when he may plow, as not everyone plows his vegetable plots at the same time]

30)[line 23]נמנוNIMNU- counted [amongst themselves]; i.e., they took a vote

31)[line 23]שני פרקים הללוSHNEI PERAKIM HALALU- these two periods in time [of Pesach and Shavuos]

32)[line 29]"אשתומם כשעה חדא""ESHTOMAM K'SHA'AH CHADA" - "[Then Daniel, who was also known as Beltshatzar,] was confounded for a moment, [and his thoughts became confused. But the king addressed him and said, 'Beltshatzar, do not let the dream and its interpretation confuse you. Beltshatzar replied and said, 'My lord, may this dream be upon your foes, and its interpretation upon your enemies.']" (Daniel 4:16) (DANIEL INTERPRETS NEVUCHADNETZAR'S DREAM)

(a)Nevuchadnetzar, King of Bavel, had a dream which none of his wise men were able to interpret. So he called Daniel, who had already interpreted one dream of his when nobody else was capable of doing so.

(b)The verse describes Daniel's initial reaction to the dream. He knew that the interpretation of the dream was a bad one, and so he was afraid to convey its meaning to Nevuchadnetzar for fear of what he would do to him. Nevuchadnetzar, who already sensed the bad overtones of the dream and therefore anticipated an unpleasant interpretation, reassured Daniel that nothing would happen to him, and he ordered Daniel to proceed with the interpretation of the dream.

(c)For the details of the dream and its interpretation, see Background to Shabbos 47:5.

(d)Our Gemara ascribes to Rebbi Avahu (or Rebbi Yochanan) the words which describe Daniel's reaction to Nevuchadnetzar's request to interpret the dream; he was stunned into speechlessness for a moment when he heard the challenge of Rebbi Zeira (or Reish Lakish).

33)[line 31]דידהו היא?DIDHU HI?- is [the requirement to begin the prohibitions of the Shemitah year early] theirs (i.e., the result of a decree of Shamai and Hillel)?

34)[line 33]בקעת בית חורתןBIK'AS BEIS CHAVARTAN- the valley of Beis Chavartan. This most probably refers to Chavran or Auran, mountains from which fires were lit signaling that Rosh Chodesh had been declared (Rosh Hashanah 22b). These mountains are located in the area east of the Jordan River known as Aurantis.

35)[line 33]עשר נטיעותESER NETI'OS

(a)The Torah requires farmers to desist from working the land every seventh year (Vayikra 25:1-7). Produce which grows during the seventh (Shevi'is) year is holy, which in this context means: 1. It is considered ownerless; anyone may enter a field and pick that which he wishes to eat. 2. The fruits may not be bought and sold in a normal fashion (see Insights to Sukah 39:2). 3. Shevi'is produce may be consumed only in the manner considered normal for that type of food, or burned to provide illumination in the case of oil. It may not be wasted, used for medicinal purposes, fed to animals, etc.

(b)Chazal understand from the verse "ba'Charish uva'Katzir Tishbos" - "you should refrain [from working the field] during the time of plowing and harvest" (Shemos 34:21) - that one may not work his field for a period of one month prior to the Rosh Hashanah that signals the onset of Shemitah. This is known as Tosefes Shevi'is. The Chachamim enacted that one may not plow a field beginning from Pesach of the year before Shemitah, and that one may not plow around and under the roots of trees in an orchard in order to help aerate and irrigate them beginning from Shavu'os of the year before Shemitah (Mo'ed Katan 3a).

(c)"Eser Neti'os" - "ten saplings" - refers to a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai concerning ten young trees equally dispersed throughout a Beis Se'ah (an area fifty Amos by fifty Amos). The Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai teaches that since saplings are delicate, one may plow the entirety of such a field all the way up to the Rosh Hashanah at which Shemitah begins. If there are fewer trees or they are planted in a larger area, then one is permitted to plow under and around them for a proportionate area; i.e., an area one-tenth that of a Beis Se'ah (Shevi'is 1:6).

36)[line 33]ערבהARAVAH

(a)When the Beis ha'Mikdash stood, long willow branches were cut during each of the first six days of Sukos from Motza, an area just outside of Yerushalayim. They were placed in a standing position surrounding the Mizbe'ach, and they were long enough that their tips hung over the top of the Mizbe'ach. Kohanim made a circuit around the Mizbe'ach while reciting certain prayers. (According to one opinion (Sukah 43b), the Kohanim carried he Aravah branches as they circled.)

(b)On Hoshana Rabah, the seventh day of Sukos, the Kohanim made seven circuits around the Mizbe'ach, while fervently praying to HaSh-m for spiritual growth, salvation, and bountiful crops.

(c)If one of the first six days fell on Shabbos, then this ceremony was not held. If Hoshana Rabah was on Shabbos, however, then the willow branches were cut the day before (Sukah 45a, RAMBAM Hilchos Lulav 7:20-21).

(d)Aba Shaul derives the source of this Mitzvah from that which the verse detailing the Mitzvah of Arba'as ha'Minim mentions willows in the plural form. One refers to the Aravah of Arba'as ha'Minim; the other to the surrounding of the Mizbe'ach with Aravah branches all seven days of Sukos. The Chachamim maintain that the source of this Mitzvah is a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai (Sukah 34a and 44a).

(e)On Hoshana Rabah, everyone takes a bundle of five Aravos, even outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash. Prayers beseeching HaSh-m for salvation are uttered, and the bundle is either waved (RASHI) or beaten upon the ground (ROSH). This is either a Mitzvah or a custom instituted by the Chagai, Zecharyah, and Mal'achi, the last of the Nevi'im (Sukah 44a).

37)[line 34]וניסוך המיםNISUCH HA'MAYIM

(a)One of the ceremonies of the holiday of Sukos in the Beis ha'Mikdash was the Nisuch ha'Mayim (water libation) ceremony, in which water was poured on the Mizbe'ach as a libation instead of wine. Tana'im argue as to whether this ceremony was performed all seven days of Sukos, or only six days (days 2-7) or two days (days 6 and 7). Another opinion holds that it was performed eight days, the seven days of Sukos and Shmini Atzeres (Ta'anis 3a; however see Hagahos Didukei Sofrim ad loc. #3, who suggests that no opinion holds that it was done for only two or six days).

(b)The Nisuch itself was done as follows. Three Lugin of water (approximately 0.9, 1.035 or 1.8 liters, depending upon the differing Halachic opinions) was drawn into a golden Tzelochis (flask) at daybreak from the Shilo'ach spring that is located to the south of the Temple Mount and was brought to the Azarah in a joyous procession. When the morning Tamid sacrifice was brought, a Kohen poured the water into one of the "Sefalim" at the top of the Mizbe'ach (the silver libation pipes located in the southwest corner of the Mizbe'ach).

(c)On Shabbos the water could not be drawn and brought to the Beis ha'Mikdash due to the Isur of Hotza'ah (see Background to Menachos 37:37:a-b). The water would therefore be drawn on Erev Shabbos and placed in a golden Kad (jug) that was not sanctified in order that the water should not become Pasul because of Linah (remaining overnight off of the Mizbe'ach; see Background to Me'ilah 6:1).

(d)This ceremony was associated with much rejoicing. On the nights preceding the Nisuch ha'Mayim, people gathered in the Azaros of the Beis ha'Mikdash to rejoice and sing praises to HaSh-m until the morning, when it was time to draw the water. The Leviyim played more musical instruments than usual and the greatest Talmidei Chachamim danced and juggled exultantly. So many torches and lamps were lit in the Mikdash area to provide light for the celebrants that the streets of the nearby city of Yerushalayim were illuminated as bright as day. The Mishnah, describing the Simchas Beis ha'Sho'evah (Sukah 51a), states that anyone who has not seen the rejoicing of the Simchas Beis ha'Sho'evah has not seen rejoicing in his life.

(e)Part of the symbolism inherent in the Nisuch ha'Mayim is a request that HaSh-m judge us favorably and send rain. It therefore stands to reason that the Mitzvah of Nisuch ha'Mayim, which begins on the first day of Sukos, serves as the source for Rebbi Eliezer to determine that "Morid ha'Geshem" should be recited on the first day of Sukos.