1) FIXING THE WALL OF A "CHATZER" OR "GINAH" ON CHOL HA'MO'ED
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that if a wall falls down on Chol ha'Mo'ed, one is permitted to perform repairs to make it minimally effective, but not to rebuild it completely. If a wall falls down during Shevi'is, one is permitted to rebuild the wall completely.
Rav Chisda says that the Mishnah refers to a wall around a Ginah (a planted garden). Such a wall may not be rebuilt properly on Chol ha'Mo'ed. In contrast, if a wall around a Chatzer (private courtyard) falls down, one is permitted to rebuild it properly even on Chol ha'Mo'ed in order to prevent thieves from entering. (The lack of a wall around one's Chatzer is a greater Davar ha'Aved than the lack of a wall around one's Ginah.)
Rav Ashi cites support for Rav Chisda's statement from the words of the Mishnah itself. The Mishnah states that one is permitted to rebuild a wall properly during Shevi'is. To what type of wall does the Mishnah refer? It cannot refer to the wall of a Chatzer, because there is no prohibition against construction during Shevi'is. The only type of Melachah prohibited during Shevi'is is Melachah which involves gardens or fields in which produce grows. Building a wall around a Chatzer where produce does not grow is obviously permitted. The Mishnah must refer to the wall of a Ginah, a planted garden. One might have thought that rebuilding the wall around a Ginah is prohibited during Shevi'is because its purpose is to keep people away from the produce. The Mishnah teaches that rebuilding the wall around a Ginah during Shevi'is is permitted.
How do the words of the Mishnah support the ruling of Rav Chisda? Rav Chisda says that a wall of a Chatzer may be built properly even on Chol ha'Mo'ed, while the Mishnah says only that the wall of a Ginah may not be rebuilt properly on Chol ha'Mo'ed. The Mishnah discusses the wall of a Ginah, and not the wall of a Chatzer, only to teach a Halachah with regard to the laws of Shevi'is. Perhaps the Mishnah also prohibits rebuilding the wall of a Chatzer properly on Chol ha'Mo'ed. There is no proof for Rav Chisda's opinion -- that the wall of a Chatzer may be rebuilt properly on Chol ha'Mo'ed -- in the Mishnah. (See RITVA.)
ANSWER: RASHI apparently is bothered by this question. When Rav Ashi states that the Mishnah supports Rav Chisda, Rashi (DH Masnisin Nami) explains that Rav Ashi adduces support for Rav Chisda's statement that one may not completely rebuild the wall of a Ginah on Chol ha'Mo'ed, and not that Rav Ashi proves from the Mishnah that one is permitted to properly rebuild the wall of a Chatzer.
Why is it necessary to prove that the wall of a Ginah may not be completely rebuilt on Chol ha'Mo'ed? Even if the Mishnah refers to the wall of a Chatzer (and it rules that even the wall of a Chatzer may not be rebuilt properly on Chol ha'Mo'ed), then certainly the wall of a Ginah may not be rebuilt properly on Chol ha'Mo'ed! (That is, the law of rebuilding the wall of a Ginah is always more stringent than the law of rebuilding the wall of a Chatzer.)
The answer is that before the Gemara quotes Rav Chisda's elucidation of the Mishnah, one would have thought that the Mishnah refers only to a Chatzer and it rules that even the wall of a Chatzer may not be properly rebuilt on Chol ha'Mo'ed. This ruling would have implied that the wall of a Ginah may not be rebuilt at all on Chol ha'Mo'ed, even in a temporary, minimally-effective manner. Rav Chisda teaches that one indeed is permitted to rebuild the wall of a Ginah, albeit not in the normal manner, on Chol ha'Mo'ed. This is the point which Rav Ashi proves from the Mishnah. The Mishnah does not refer exclusively to rebuilding the wall of a Chatzer, because if it does then there is no need to mention that one is permitted to build the wall during Shevi'is. It must be that the Mishnah addresses the rebuilding of the wall of a Ginah, and it means that one is permitted to repair (minimally) the wall of a Ginah on Chol ha'Mo'ed as well as that of a Chatzer.
As Rashi points out, the Mishnah does not support Rav Chisda's ruling entirely, since the Mishnah does not imply that one is permitted to rebuild the wall of a Chatzer properly. Nevertheless, the Mishnah does support Rav Chisda's statement that one is permitted to repair minimally the wall of a Ginah.
2) EXAMINING A METZORA ON CHOL HA'MO'ED
QUESTION: Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Yosi disagree about whether a Kohen is permitted to examine the Nega of a Metzora on Chol ha'Mo'ed. Rebbi Meir maintains that he is permitted to examine it but he may not rule that it is Tamei if he sees signs of Tum'ah; such a ruling would distress the Metzora and diminish his Simchah during the festival. Rather, the Kohen should remain silent, and only after the festival may he declare it Tamei. Rebbi Yosi maintains that the Kohen may not examine a Metzora at all on Chol ha'Mo'ed, because if he sees that the Nega is Tamei he is required to declare it as such, and he thereby will cause distress to the Metzora on the festival.
The Gemara adds that Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Yosi agree that if the Metzora is completely Tahor at the time he comes to be examined, the Kohen may not examine him on Chol ha'Mo'ed because the Metzora stands only to lose. Similarly, if the Metzora has already waited for one week to pass (he is a Metzora Musgar after the first week of Hesger), Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Yosi agree that the Kohen may examine him because the Metzora stands only to gain. Their dispute involves examining the Metzora at the end of his second week of Hesger, when he has both the potential to gain (by being declared Tahor) and the potential to lose (by being declared Tamei as a Metzora Muchlat).
The Gemara's statements about a Metzora Musgar are difficult to understand. Why is there nothing for him to lose by being examined after the first week of Hesger?
In order to answer this question it is necessary to review the laws of the Metzora in brief:
When a person develops a mark that has the appearance of Tzara'as, he must be examined by a Kohen who will ascertain whether or not it is a Nega of Tzara'as. If the mark indeed is a Nega of Tzara'as, the Kohen pronounces him Tamei for one week. He now has the status of a Metzora Musgar (Hesger Rishon). The Kohen returns after one week to see if any changes have occurred to the mark. If no changes have occurred, the person remains a Metzora Musgar (Hesger Sheni) for another week. The Kohen returns after the second week to examine the mark. If there are still no changes after the second week, the Kohen pronounces the person to be Tahor. If, however, the Kohen sees signs of Tum'ah (Simanei Tum'ah) in the mark either after the first or the second week, he confirms the Tum'ah of the Metzora and pronounces him a Metzora Muchlat. A Metzora Muchlat remains Tamei until the signs of Tum'ah go away.
(The signs of Tum'ah in a mark on the skin (Nig'ei Basar) which render a person Tamei, or a Metzora Muchlat, are as follows: 1. the mark spreads (Pisyon); 2. at least two white hairs (Se'ar Lavan) grow on the mark; or 3. a patch of healthy skin (Michyah) appears in the middle of the affected skin.)
It is clear that a Metzora Musgar after the first week of Hesger stands to lose if he is examined. Although his status might remain the same for one more week, he might also be declared Tamei (if the Kohen sees Simanei Tum'ah). Why does the Gemara say that he stands only to gain? (TOSFOS DH Hesger)
An obvious solution is that the Gemara means that he stands only to gain because the possibility that a new development will arise (i.e. his Nega will develop Simanei Tum'ah) is not taken into account. There is no reason to assume that such Simanim will appear if they were not there earlier. Therefore, the Gemara assumes that the Metzora has nothing to lose by being examined; there are only two possibilities that are taken into account: he will become Tahor or he will remain the same.
This suggestion, however, is untenable. If the possibility of a new development is not taken into account, then why -- after the second week of Hesger -- does the Gemara say that the Metzora does stand to lose? If the possibility that the Metzora will develop Simanei Tum'ah is not taken into account, then even after the second week of Hesger the Metzora has nothing to lose by being examined. Whether the mark of Tzara'as remains the same or recedes, the Metzora will become Tahor!
ANSWERS:
(a) TOSFOS and other Rishonim explain that although it is true that if the Kohen declares the Metzora to be Tamei after the first Hesger he certainly will cause the Metzora distress, nevertheless Rebbi Yosi permits the Kohen to examine the Metzora after the first week of Hesger. Rebbi Yosi applies the reasoning of Rebbi Meir to the case of a Metzora after the first week of Hesger: the Kohen has the right to remain silent during the festival if he sees Simanei Tum'ah.
Why, though, does Rebbi Yosi rule that the Kohen may not examine the Metzora after the second week of Hesger because the Kohen is not allowed to remain silent? Why does he distinguish between the Metzora after the first week (when the Kohen may remain silent) and the Metzora after the second week (when the Kohen may not remain silent)? The Rishonim suggest a number of answers to this question:
1. The TOSFOS HA'ROSH cites the RASHBAM who explains that the words "l'Taharo O l'Tam'o" (Vayikra 13:59), from which Rebbi Yosi derives that the Kohen must declare the Metzora to be Tamei if he sees signs of Tum'ah, do not apply to a Metzora after the first week. After the first week, there are three possibilities: to make him Tahor, to make him Tamei, or to leave him as he is for a second week of Hesger. The verse, however, refers to the Metzora after the second week of Hesger, when there are only two possibilities: to make him Tahor or to make him Tamei (Muchlat). The verse does not apply to the Metzora after the first week of Hesger, when there are three options..
2. The Tosfos ha'Rosh and Chidushei ha'Ran cite the RA'AVAD who explains that if the Kohen sees -- after the first week -- that the Tzara'as has spread but he remains silent, the Metzora does not become Tahor but remains Musgar for another week (as if the Tzara'as had not spread). Since a Metzora Musgar retains many of the laws of Tum'ah, if the Kohen sees signs of Tum'ah and remains silent and thus the Metzora remains in the state of Musgar, that itself is a fulfillment of the verse, "l'Taharo O l'Tam'o"! Since the Metzora does not become Muchlat, he has nothing to lose by being examined.
3. TOSFOS explains that the "first week" refers to the beginning of the first week, when the afflicted person comes to the Kohen for the first time to be examined. Since there is nothing to be Metaher (since he is not Tamei yet) in this situation, the verse "l'Taharo O l'Tam'o" does not apply. The verse applies only when there is some sort of existing Nega, as in the case of a Metzora Musgar or Metzora Muchlat. (It is important to note that the text of Tosfos' edition of the Gemara clearly did not include the Girsa, "a person who is Tahor certainly cannot be examined by a Kohen." Indeed, the DIKDUKEI SOFRIM omits that line (see footnote 1 there). See RASHASH.)
(b) RASHI, however, does not seem to follow the abovementioned approaches. Rashi (DH b'Hesger) writes that even if the Kohen does not declare the Metzora Musgar to be Tamei, the Metzora does not lose because he simply continues with the status of Musgar for another week. Rashi seems to follow his own opinion as expressed in his commentary on the Torah. Rashi (to Vayikra 13:6) explains that a Metzora Musgar does not automatically become Tahor after two weeks if no change in his Nega occurs. He becomes Tahor only if the Nega becomes lighter in color (see Insights to Megilah 8:2). Hence, according to Rashi, a Metzora Musgar is declared Tamei and Muchlat even if his Nega does not develop signs of Tum'ah but merely does not become lighter.
Rashi here may understand that the Gemara means that the possibility that a Nega will develop Simanei Tum'ah is not taken into account. This is why, after the first week, the Metzora has nothing to lose by being examined. There is no concern that his Nega has developed Simanei Tum'ah. However, after the second week, his status of Musgar might change to a status of Muchlat even without the formation of Simanei Tum'ah -- such as in the event that the Nega does not become lighter. Therefore, after the second week, the Metzora Musgar stands to lose if examined.
(c) The VILNA GA'ON (in HAGAHOS HA'GRA) reverses the Girsa of the Gemara. According to his emendation, Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Yosi agree that after the second Hesger the Metzora may be examined. They argue only in the case of a Metzora after the first week of Hesger.
Apparently, with this emendation of the Girsa the Vilna Ga'on is suggesting a different solution to the difficulties on the Gemara.
The Vilna Ga'on understands that there is no reason to suspect that the Metzora will develop Simanei Tum'ah (as mentioned above). Consequently, after the second week he has nothing to lose by being examined. There is no concern that he will be declared Tamei, and the only other option is to make him Tahor (remaining Musgar for a third week is not a possibility). After the first week, however, even if he does not develop signs of Tum'ah, he might remain Tamei (in the state of Hesger) for a second week. If the Kohen declares him to remain Tamei for another week, he will experience distress because his state of uncertainty is prolonged for another week (see following Insight, (b)). Consequently, the Kohen may not examine him during the festival after the first week of Hesger because he might prolong the Hesger, but he may examine him after the second week because we do not take into account the possibility that the Metzora will develop signs of Tum'ah and become Tamei for another week.

7b----------------------------------------7b

3) EXAMINING A METZORA MUSGAR ON CHOL HA'MO'ED
QUESTION: The Mishnah and Beraisa (7a) record a dispute between Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Yosi with regard to whether a Kohen is permitted to examine the Nega of a Metzora on Chol ha'Mo'ed. Rebbi Meir maintains that he is permitted to examine it but he may not rule that it is Tamei if he sees signs of Tum'ah; such a ruling would distress the Metzora and diminish his Simchah during the festival. Rather, the Kohen should remain silent, and only after the festival may he declare it Tamei. Rebbi Yosi maintains that the Kohen may not examine a Metzora at all on Chol ha'Mo'ed, because if he sees that the Nega is Tamei he is required to declare it as such, and he thereby will cause distress to the Metzora on the festival.
The Beraisa quotes Rebbi who, according to the first version, says that the Halachah follows the view of Rebbi Meir in the case of a Metzora Musgar and the view of Rebbi Yosi in the case of a Metzora Muchlat. According to the second version, Rebbi says that the Halachah follows the view of Rebbi Meir in the case of a Metzora Muchlat and the view of Rebbi Yosi in the case of a Metzora Musgar.
It is clear that Rebbi essentially agrees with Rebbi Yosi that when a Kohen examines a Metzora he must declare him either Tahor or Tamei; he may not remain quiet and delay his declaration until after the festival (as Rebbi Meir permits him to do). Rebbi disagrees with Rebbi Yosi only inasmuch as he permits the Kohen to examine a Metzora on Chol ha'Mo'ed in certain cases (where declaring him Tamei will not cause him distress and will not detract from his Simchah during the festival). The Gemara explains these cases according to each version of Rebbi's ruling.
In its discussion of a Meztora Musgar, the Gemara says that the version which says the Kohen may not examine a Metzora Musgar maintains "Tzavta d'Alma Adif" -- a person prefers to be able to be with his friends. Therefore, the Kohen may not examine him because he may need to declare him Tamei, in which case the Metzora will be distressed as a result of the loss of companionship of his friends. The version which says that the Kohen may examine a Metzora Musgar maintains "Tzavta d'Ishto Adif" -- a person prefers to be able to be with his wife (rather than with his friends). Therefore, the Kohen may examine him because he may find him to be Tahor, in which case the Metzora will gain the companionship of his wife.
In what way could examining a Metzora Musgar cause him to lose the companionship of his friends, and in what way could it cause him to gain the companionship of his wife?
ANSWERS:
(a) RASHI explains that a Metzora who becomes Muchlat loses the companionship of his friends because he must leave the city. Until now, as a Musgar, he was not required to leave the city.
At the same time, a Metzora who becomes Muchlat gains the companionship of his wife. While he was a Musgar he was prohibited to be with his wife, but when he becomes a Muchlat he is permitted to be with her. (Even though he must leave the city, he considers his change of status as beneficial, since being with his wife is more important to him than being with his friends.)
(b) RASHI KESAV YAD agrees with the words of Rashi in the Gemara that a Metzora Muchlat benefits by gaining companionship with his wife, but he does not agree that the Metzora loses companionship with his friends by having to leave the city, because the Gemara in Megilah (8b) explicitly says that a Metzora Musgar is also sent out of the city.
Rashi Kesav Yad explains instead that the reason why the Metzora loses if the Kohen declares him to be a Metzora Muchlat is because as a Metzora Musgar, prior to the Kohen's inspection, he eagerly anticipates his return to normal society, as his status of a Metzora Musgar will pass automatically after two weeks. However, once the Kohen declares him to be Muchlat he cannot return to society at any known date (because now his return depends on the signs of Tum'ah disappearing). In that sense his loss of companionship is extended when he is declared Tamei, and that is the distress he experiences on Chol ha'Mo'ed. Therefore, the Kohen may not examine him until after the festival.
TOSFOS (7a, DH Amar Rebbi) suggests the same logic. He adds that the Metzora indeed loses the companionship of his friends as well if he becomes Muchlat, but not because he must leave the city. Rather, since a Metzora Muchlat must perform Peri'ah and Perimah (grow his hair long and tear his clothing), his friends will not want to associate with him.
(c) TOSFOS agrees with Rashi Kesav Yad with regard to the distress that the Metzora Musgar will experience due to the inability to be with his friends. However, Tosfos rejects the explanation of Rashi (in both the printed version and the Kesav Yad) with regard to how the Metzora Musgar gains companionship with his wife if he is declared Tamei.
Rashi assumes that a Metzora Musgar is prohibited to be with his wife (like a Metzora Muchlat during his seven-day count). Tosfos rejects this assumption based on the Gemara in Megilah (8b) which explicitly states that the laws of a Musgar and the laws of a Muchlat are the same in every respect, with the sole exception of the requirement to perform Peri'ah and Perimah.
Therefore, Tosfos instead explains that companionship with his wife is not considered a benefit which the Metzora gains as a result of being declared Tamei. This is because he never lost her companionship in the first place; as a Metzora Musgar he was permitted to be with her, and now as a Metzora Muchlat he still is permitted to be with her. Rather, the reason why Rebbi rules (according to the first version) that the Kohen is permitted to examine a Metzora Musgar on Chol ha'Mo'ed is because a person does not care about the companionship of his friends, and therefore if he is declared Tamei he does not experience distress from the loss of his friends' companionship. (Tosfos is consistent with his view that the loss of companionship is not that the Metzora must be sent out of the city, for -- as a Metzora Musgar -- he was already sent out of the city. Rather, since he must grow his hair long and tear his clothes, his friends do not want to associate with him. Alternatively, his distress is due to his despair of not being reunited with his friends in the near future. Since he suffers no tangible loss right now, his distress at being declared Tamei is not considered an actual loss.)
Rashi's explanation indeed is difficult to understand. What is Rashi's source for his assumption that a Metzora Musgar is not sent away from the city (unlike the Gemara in Megilah) and that he is prohibited to be with his wife?
The TOSFOS HA'ROSH and RITVA suggest a novel approach to explain the words of Rashi. They suggest that Rashi understands that the word "Musgar" (which literally means "closed in" or "confined") implies that a Metzora Musgar must be quarantined inside of his house. This is what the Gemara in Megilah means when it says that a Metzora Musgar is "sent away" -- he is not banished from the city, but rather he must remain in his house where he cannot mingle with his friends. However, from inside his house he is able to hear the sounds of his friends and he is comforted by their proximity. In contrast, a Metzora Muchlat is banned from the entire city and he cannot even hear his friends or associate with them in any way. This is what Rashi means when he writes that a Metzora in a state of Hesger may associate with his friends.
This explains Rashi's source for his statement that a Metzora Musgar is prohibited to be with his wife. Since he must be isolated in a private house, he may not be with his wife. He is not prohibited to be with his wife per se, but the requirement of his isolation precludes the presence of anyone else in the house. In contrast, a Metzora Muchlat is no longer in quarantine and may reunite with his wife (albeit outside of the city).
(d) The RITVA and TOSFOS HA'ROSH suggest another explanation for why Rebbi, according to one version, allows the Kohen to examine a Metzora Musgar during the festival. The Metzora certainly will be saddened if the Kohen declares him to be a Metzora Muchlat. Nevertheless, according to this version of Rebbi's ruling, Rebbi maintains that the Kohen is entitled to remain silent if he finds signs of Tum'ah (as Rebbi Meir rules). (See also HAGAHOS RAV ELAZAR MOSHE HA'LEVI HOROWITZ who suggests the same explanation as the Tosfos ha'Rosh.)

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