ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Moed Katan 17
MOED KATAN 17 (October 24) - In honor of the birthday of Simcha Klein of
Yonkers, NY, from the Leichmans of Teaneck, NJ. Ad Meah V'Esrim!
(a) We learn from a Beraisa that a Niduy imposed by a Talmid defending *his
own honor* is effective. What the Beraisa actually says in this regard is -
'Menudeh le'Talmid Eino Menudeh le'Rav', from which we can infer that as far
as everyone else is concerned, he is Menudeh.
(b) We know that the Tana is not referring to a case where the *honor of
Hashem* is at stake - because, if it were, then 'Ein Chochmah, ve'Ein Eitzah
ve'Ein Tevunah Neged Hashem' (and even Menudeh le'Talmid would be Menudeh
(c) Rav Yosef concedes to a Tzurba me'Rabbanan (a Talmid-Chacham) - the
right to take the law into his own hands (e.g. to take back what is his)
provided he is sure that he is in the right.
(a) Rav Yehudah had a problem with placing a Niduy on a certain
Talmid-Chacham about whom ugly rumors were being spread. He felt that he
could not simply impose a Niduy on him - because he was Rav of a community,
and his community needed him.
(b) Rav Yehudah consulted Rabah bar bar Chanah, who quoted the Pasuk in
Mal'achi "Ki Sifsei Kohen Yishmeru Da'as, ve'Torah Yevakshu mi'Pihu, Ki
Mal'ach Hashem Tzevakos Hu" - which he interpreted to mean that if the Rav
is like an angel of G-d, then learn Torah from him, but if he is not, then
(c) Rav Yehudah followed Rabah bar bar Chanah's advice - after which he fell
(d) Rav Yehudah laughed when the errant Talmid-Chacham entered - out of joy
that, when he arrived in the World to Come, he would do so in the knowledge
that even for a man the likes of that Talmid-Chacham, he had not allowed
himself to be flattered.
(a) Once Rav Yehudah died, there was nobody of his caliber in the Beis
Hamedrash to nullify the Niduy for that Talmid-Chacham. Rav Ami became
involved - because when there is nobody else to nullify a Niduy, then it
becomes the prerogative of the Nasi to do so (as we shall see later). So
they handed the Shamta to Rebbi Yehudah Nesi'a to nullify. Rebbi Yehudah
Nesi'a, in turn, appointed Rav Ami to nullify it on his behalf.
(b) Rav Ami was about to nullify the Niduy, but stopped short when Rav
Shmuel bar Nachmeini cited an incident with the maidservant of Rebbi - who
placed a Niduy on someone, which remained in force for three years. Now if
the Chachamim had such respect for the Niduy imposed by the maidservant of
Rebbi, then how much more so were Rev Yehudah's contemporaries obligated to
treat a Niduy imposed by Rav Yehudah with respect and not to nullify it so
(c) Rebbi Zeira accepted Rav Shmuel bar Nachmeini's objection without
question - because the elderly Tzadik had visited the Beis Hamedrash that
day for the first time in years (a sign from Heaven that it must have been
because his objection was valid).
(a) That Talmid-Chacham left the Beis Hamedrash crying, following which - a
bee came and stung him on his Milah and he died.
(b) He was not accepted for burial in the cave of the Chasidim, though he
was accepted in that of the Dayanim. This honor was conferred upon him
because he followed the advice of Rebbi Ila'i - who advised someone who sees
that the Yeitzer ha'Ra is overpowering him and he does not have the strength
to overcome him, to go to a place where he is not known, wear black clothing
and cover himself with black, and do there whatever he wants (to avoid the
Chilul Hashem - of doing it where people know him).
(c) Rav Hai Gaon interpret Rebbi Ila'i's statement - to mean that if he does
all of these things, then he will most certainly stop short of sinning.
(d) The maidservant of Rebbi placed a Niduy on someone - for hitting his
grown-up son, thereby encouraging him to hit back (transgressing the La'av
of 'Lifnei Iver Lo Sitein Michshol' - which means causing someone to perform
a sin which he would otherwise not have performed).
(a) Resh Lakish was guarding his fig-orchard. He placed a Niduy on someone -
for helping himself to his figs.
(b) That man then placed a Niduy on him in return - for placing a Niduy on
him, when his sole obligation was to pay for what he had eaten (but not
(c) The Chachamim gave the latter right. Resh Lakish was expected to go and
ask forgiveness from the man whom he had hurt.
(d) When Resh Lakish pointed out that he did not know who the man was - they
told him to go to the Nasi and ask him to nullify the Niduy on his behalf.
(a) Rav Huna said that in Usha, they initiated a Takanah with regard to
placing a Niduy on a Talmid-Chacham.
1. The first time he sinned - they would tell him 'Hikaveid ('Pretend you
have a headache', or 'Retain your dignity) and stay at home'.
(b) Resh Lakish disagrees with Rav Huna. What did Resh Lakish learn from
the Pasuk in Hoshei'a "ve'Chashalta ha'Yom ve'Chashal Gam Navi Imach
*Laylah*" - that, when placing a Niduy on a Talmid-Chacham, Beis-Din should
do so discreetly, like the night-time (where things cannot be seen by
2. The second time he sinned - they would place a Niduy on him.
(c) When Mar Zutra the Chasid had to place a Niduy on a Talmid-Chacham - he
would first place one on himself.
(d) He first nullified his own Niduy, before nullifying that of the
Talmid-Chacham - because of the Gemara in Shavu'os 'Yavo Zakai ve'Yecahper
al ha'Chayav' (one guilty person cannot atone for another).
(a) Rav Gidal 'boasted' that he had never placed a Niduy on a
Talmid-Chacham - on the basis of the Yerushalmim, who would vote to give a
Talmid-Chacham lashes, rather than place a Niduy on him (because it was the
better of two evils).
(b) 'Shamta' (which, to all intents and purposes is synonymous with Niduy)
is the acronym of one of two things: According to Rav, it stands for 'Sham
Misah', according to Shmuel, 'Shemamah Yihyeh' (perhaps it ought to be
'Shemamah Tehei' - see Rabeinu Chananel).
(c) When Shmuel then said that it is as effective as fat with which one
smears an oven - he meant that once it goes in, it never goes out, like the
fat ... .
(d) Resh Lakish disagrees. He says that ...
1. ... the numerical value of 'Cherem' (which we currently fuse with Niduy),
is 248, because it enters the 248 limbs of a man's body.
2. ... the Pasuk in Chavakuk "be'Rogez *Racheim* Tizkor" - that in keeping
with Hashem's mercy, once it goes out, it goes out of the 248 limbs (the
numerical value of "Racheim").
(a) Rav Yosef says - that if one were to place a Cherem on a dog's tail, it
would do its job.
(b) A dog was once chewing the Rabbanan's shoes. Not only could they not
catch it, but they did not even recognize it - so they placed a Niduy on it.
Sure enough, its tail caught fire and it burnt to death.
(c) When Rav Yosef instructed that Talmid-Chacham to place a Niduy upon a
certain bully, he was afraid to comply either verbally or in writing. Rav
Yosef then advised him - to take the script of the Niduy and to place it in
an earthenware jar (because man is nothing but an earthenware vessel - see
Agados Maharsha), to place it inside a grave (a place which people did not
usually frequent), and to blow in it on a thousand Shofros for forty
consecutive days. He did so; the jar broke and the bully died.
(d) Shofros are blown when a Niduy is imposed.
1. Those Shofros are called 'Shipuri' - because they cause the person
concerned to get punished (from the word 'Nifra' - 'punished').
2. They specifically include the note 'Shevarim' when imposing the Niduy -
because 'it breaks the high houses' (those who are haughty - for so Chazal
have said, when Chazal place their eye on someone, it means either death or
(a) Our Mishnah permits various people to shave or to wash their clothes on
Chol ha'Mo'ed. Rebbi Yirmiyah asked Rebbi Zeira whether this applies even if
they had time to do so before Yom-Tov. With regard to the majority of
cases - he answered in the negative.
(b) A Nazir and a Metzora are different. They are permitted to have a
haircut on Chol ha'Mo'ed even if they *did* have time to do so before
Yom-Tov - because they both bring their respective Korbanos only *after*
they have shaved, and forbidding them to shave will only cause them to delay
their Korbanos (which one wants to avoid doing).
(c) An Aveil whose eighth day fell on Erev Yom-Tov ...
1. ... is not permitted to have a haircut on Chol ha'Moed - because he
should have had it on Erev Yom-Tov.
(d) The author ...
2. ... which was also Shabbos, is not permitted to have a haircut on Chol
ha'Mo'ed either, even according to the Rabbanan of Aba Shaul (even though
the Halachah is not like them) - because even they (who normally do not
permit an Aveil to have a haircut before the eighth day) concede that in
this case, he may have it on Erev Shabbos. (Note: The basis of their
Machlokes is in 'Miktzas ha'Yom ke'Kulo': Aba Shaul holds 'Miktzas ha'Yom
ke'Kulo', whilst the Rabbanan require the entire day).
1. ... of the Beraisa which permits an Aveil to shave on Chol ha'Mo'ed - is
Aba Shaul, and it speaks when the seventh day fell on Shabbos which was Erev
Yom-Tov (so that, from the point of view of Aveilus, he was permitted to
shave, but could not do so because of Shabbos).
2. ... of our Mishnah, which prohibits it - is the Rabbanan (in whose
opinion he was not yet permitted to cut his hair even from the point of view
(a) The same Beraisa which permits an Aveil to have a shave and to wash his
clothes (under the circumstances that we just described) also permits a
Kohen whose Mishmeres just served in the Beis-Hamikdash to do so. This
cannot be speaking about a case when his group finished serving on Shabbos,
Erev Yom-Tov - because then, he would have been able to shave on Thursday
(li'Ch'vod Shabbos - as we learned above on Daf 14a.).
(b) The Tana of the Beraisa permits it - when the group finished their term
on Yom-Tov itself.
(c) The reason of ...
1. ... this Tana is - because the fact that the Kohanim remain for the
entire Yom-Tov, and even receive a portion in the Korbanos, does *not* make
Yom-Tov part of their term of Avodah.
2. ... the Tana of our Mishnah who forbids it - is because, *they* hold that
since the Kohanim continue to serve on Yom-Tov, it *does* (and we have
already learned that the Kohanim are forbidden to shave or to have a haircut
during their term of Avodah).
(a) The Tana of the Beraisa permits all those who are allowed to shave on
Chol ha'Mo'ed, to shave when they are in mourning. In order to reconcile
this Tana with the Tana of the Beraisa which expressly forbids it - Rav
Chisda quoting Rav Shilo establish this Beraisa by the case of someone who
is sitting a second consecutive period of mourning.
(b) The Beraisa, which permits someone who faces a second consecutive term
of mourning to 'lighten his hair with a razor and to wash his clothes with
water' (even without the circumstances mentioned in our Mishnah) - means
exactly what it says (to 'lighten his hair with *a razor* and to wash his
clothes *with water*' - but not to shave and wash clothes in the normal
manner; *that* is only permitted if one of the other circumstances mentioned
in our Mishnah, is added to the double period of mourning.
(c) Rav Chisda learns from this Beraisa - that an Aveil is forbidden to wash
his clothes (though above 15a. we learned this from the woman from Teko'ah)
See also Tosfos DH 'Zos'.
(a) Rebbi Yehudah compares cutting one's nails both on Chol ha'Mo'ed and in
the case of an Aveil to washing one's clothes - Rebbi Yossi permits it in
(b) Ula rules strictly by an Aveil, like Rebbi Yehudah, and leniently on
Chol ha'Mo'ed, like Rebbi Yossi - Shmuel, based on his own ruling that we
always rule leniently in Hilchos Aveilus, rules leniently in both cases.