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Can You Pay a Shiva Call on a Holiday? Gefet 24

Last week, we addressed the encounter between mourning and rejoicing. We saw that the festival cancels mourning. Of course, this can lead to difficult situations, such as when one passes away just before the festival; in this instance, it seems that all the customs of mourning come to an end as soon as the festival begins. This situation is liable to cause significant emotional pain for the mourners, who have not had the chance to receive acknowledgement or condolences from their community.

However, if we take a look at the Gemara, as well as Rashi and Tosafot, a different picture presents itself. Here, it seems that mourning that overlaps with a festival does not necessarily prevent comforting the mourners. The following Gemara makes this distinction clear:

ืชืœืžื•ื“ ื‘ื‘ืœื™ ืžืกื›ืช ืžื•ืขื“ ืงื˜ืŸ ื“ืฃ ื™ื˜ ืขืžื•ื“ ื‘

ื‘ืขื ืžื™ื ื™ื” ืื‘ื™ื™ ืžืจื‘ื”: ืงื‘ืจื• ื‘ืจื’ืœ, ืจื’ืœ ืขื•ืœื” ืœื• ืœืžื ื™ืŸ ืฉืœืฉื™ื ืื• ืื™ืŸ ืจื’ืœ ืขื•ืœื” ืœื• ืœืžื ื™ืŸ ืฉืœืฉื™ื? ืœืžื ื™ืŸ ืฉื‘ืขื” ืœื ืงืžื™ื‘ืขื™ื ืœื™ – ื“ืœื ื ื”ื’ื ืžืฆื•ืช ืฉื‘ืขื” ื‘ืจื’ืœ. ื›ื™ ืงื ืžื™ื‘ืขื™ื ืœื™ – ืœืžื ื™ืŸ ืฉืœืฉื™ื, ื“ืงื ื ื”ื’ื ืžืฆื•ืช ืฉืœืฉื™ื ื‘ืจื’ืœ. ืžืื™?

Talmud Bavli, Moed Katan 19b

Abaye inquired of Rabba: If one buried his dead relative on the Festival itself, does the Festival count toward his thirty-day period of mourning, or does the Festival not count toward his thirty-day period of mourning? Abaye elaborated on his question: I do not ask whether or not the Festival counts toward his seven-day period of mourning because the obligation to observe seven days of mourning does not apply at all during the Festival, and therefore he must certainly observe the seven-day mourning period, beginning from after the Festival. What I am asking is with regard to the thirty-day period of mourning, because certain aspects of the mitzva of the thirty-day mourning period do in fact apply during the Festival. What, then, is the halakha: Do the days of the Festival count toward the thirty days or not?

The Gemara addresses the question of whether the days of the festival are counted toward the thirty-day mourning period. As we have seen until now, and as we will continue to see throughout the tractate, the laws of mourning have several stages: 1. aninut, acute mourning โ€“ before the burial; 2. the first day of mourning, the day of burial; 3. the first three days of mourning, which carry special stringencies; 4. the seven days of mourning; 5. the thirty-day mourning period; 6. the twelve-month mourning period for oneโ€™s mother or father.

Last week, we learned that the days of the festival are not counted toward the seven-day mourning period โ€“ either they put an end to the seven-day mourning period, if the deceased passed away before the festival, or they postpone the seven-day mourning period, if the deceased passed away on the festival itself. However, it is not clear whether the days of the festival are counted toward the thirty-day mourning period. Rashi explains the doubt:

ืจืฉ”ื™ ืžืกื›ืช ืžื•ืขื“ ืงื˜ืŸ ื“ืฃ ื™ื˜ ืขืžื•ื“ ื‘

ืœืžื ื™ืŸ ืฉื‘ืขื” ืœื ืงืžื‘ืขื™ื ืœื™ – ื“ื•ื“ืื™ ืื™ื ื• ืขื•ืœื”, ื“ื•ื“ืื™ ืœื ื ื”ื’ื ืžืฆื•ืช ืฉื‘ืขื” ื‘ืจื’ืœ, ื“ื”ื ืื™ื ื• ืืกื•ืจ ื‘ื ืขื™ืœืช ื”ืกื ื“ืœ, ื•ืื™ื ื• ื ื•ื”ื’ ื‘ื›ืคื™ื™ืช ื”ืžื˜ื”.

Rashi, Moed Katan 19b

I do not ask whether or not the Festival counts toward his seven-day period of mourningโ€ฆ โ€“ because it clearly does not count, as we do not perform the mitzva of shiva on the festival; there is no prohibition on wearing shoes, and there is no custom of overturning the bed.

ื“ื”ื ื ื”ื’ื ืžืฆื•ืช ืฉืœืฉื™ื ื‘ืจื’ืœ – ื“ื”ื ื‘ืจื’ืœ ื ืžื™ ืืกื•ืจ ื‘ื’ื™ื”ื•ืฅ ื•ื‘ืชืกืคื•ืจืช ื›ืฉืœืฉื™ื.

Certain aspects of the mitzva of the thirty-day mourning period do in fact apply during the Festival โ€“ that is, on the festival it is also forbidden to launder clothes and cut hair.

The festival puts an end to the seven-day mourning period because the rejoicing of the festival prevents mourning from taking place; mourners are not forbidden from wearing shoes, nor do they overturn their beds. However, on Chol haMoed, there is a prohibition to launder clothes and cut hair โ€“ so perhaps it will be possible to count those days toward the thirty-day mourning period. Abaye goes back and forth on this question. Abaye clearly understands that there may be some level of mourning on the festival โ€“ perhaps not the full mourning of the seven-day mourning period, but at least the partial mourning of the thirty-day mourning period.

Perhaps this is the force behind Abayeโ€™s question: Is the festival considered entirely a joyous event with no room for mourning, in which case, even if we abstain from cutting hair and laundering clothes, we cannot associate this abstinence with mourning? Or is there room for a certain measure of mourning on the festival despite the joy of the event, such that those days can be counted as part of the mourning period? The emotional distinction between these two possibilities is crucial. Must the mourner be entirely happy on the festival, or is it possible to experience a certain amount of mourning even amidst the joy? Rabba provides a decisive answer:

ืืžืจ ืœื™ื”: ืื™ื ื• ืขื•ืœื”.

Rabba said to him: The Festival does not count toward the thirty days.

However, despite Rabbaโ€™s answer, the Gemara goes on to present a challenge to Rabbaโ€™s approach from two breitot, and conclusively refutes this approach:

ืื™ืชื™ื‘ื™ื”: ื”ืงื•ื‘ืจ ืืช ืžืชื• ืฉื ื™ ื™ืžื™ื ืงื•ื“ื ื”ืจื’ืœ – ืžื•ื ื” ื—ืžืฉื” ื™ืžื™ื ืื—ืจ ื”ืจื’ืœ, ื•ืžืœืื›ืชื• ื ืขืฉื™ืช ืขืœ ื™ื“ื™ ืื—ืจื™ื, ื•ืขื‘ื“ื™ื• ื•ืฉืคื—ื•ืชื™ื• ืขื•ืฉื™ื ื‘ืฆื ืขื ื‘ืชื•ืš ื‘ื™ืชื•, ื•ืื™ืŸ ืจื‘ื™ื ืžืชืขืกืงื™ืŸ ืขืžื•, ืฉื›ื‘ืจ ื ืชืขืกืงื• ื‘ื• ื‘ืจื’ืœ. ื›ืœืœื• ืฉืœ ื“ื‘ืจ: ื›ืœ ืฉื”ื•ื ืžืฉื•ื ืื‘ืœ – ืจื’ืœ ืžืคืกื™ืงื•, ื•ื›ืœ ืฉื”ื•ื ืžืฉื•ื ืขืกืงื™ ืจื‘ื™ื – ืื™ืŸ ืจื’ืœ ืžืคืกื™ืงื•. ืงื‘ืจื• ืฉืœืฉื” ื™ืžื™ื ื‘ืกื•ืฃ ื”ืจื’ืœ – ืžื•ื ื” ืฉื‘ืขื” ืื—ืจ ื”ืจื’ืœ. ืืจื‘ืขื” ื™ืžื™ื ื”ืจืืฉื•ื ื™ื – ืจื‘ื™ื ืžืชืขืกืงื™ืŸ ื‘ื•, ืฉืœืฉื” ื™ืžื™ื ื”ืื—ืจื•ื ื™ื – ืื™ืŸ ืจื‘ื™ื ืžืชืขืกืงื™ืŸ ื‘ื•, ืฉื›ื‘ืจ ื ืชืขืกืงื• ื‘ืจื’ืœ, ื•ืจื’ืœ ืขื•ืœื” ืœื•.

ืžืื™ ืœืื• ืืกื™ืคื? – ืœื, ืืจื™ืฉื.

ืื™ืชื™ื‘ื™ื”: ืจื’ืœ ืขื•ืœื” ืœื• ืœืžื ื™ืŸ ืฉืœืฉื™ื, ื›ื™ืฆื“? ืงื‘ืจื• ื‘ืชื—ื™ืœืช ื”ืจื’ืœ – ืžื•ื ื” ืฉื‘ืขื” ืื—ืจ ื”ืจื’ืœ, ื•ืžืœืื›ืชื• ื ืขืฉื™ืช ืขืœ ื™ื“ื™ ืื—ืจื™ื, ื•ืขื‘ื“ื™ื• ื•ืฉืคื—ื•ืชื™ื• ืขื•ืฉื™ืŸ ื‘ืฆื ืขื ื‘ืชื•ืš ื‘ื™ืชื•, ื•ืื™ืŸ ืจื‘ื™ื ืžืชืขืกืงื™ืŸ ื‘ื•, ืฉื›ื‘ืจ ื ืชืขืกืงื• ื‘ื• ื‘ืจื’ืœ, ื•ืจื’ืœ ืขื•ืœื” ืœื•!

ืชื™ื•ื‘ืชื. ื›ื™ ืืชื ืจื‘ื™ืŸ ืืžืจ ืจื‘ื™ ื™ื•ื—ื ืŸ: ืืคื™ืœื• ืงื‘ืจื• ื‘ืจื’ืœ. ื•ื›ืŸ ืื•ืจื™ ืœื™ื” ืจื‘ื™ ืืœืขื–ืจ ืœืจื‘ื™ ืคื“ืช ื‘ืจื™ื”: ืืคื™ืœื• ืงื‘ืจื• ื‘ืจื’ืœ.

Abaye raised an objection to Rabbaโ€™s opinion from the following baraita: If one buries his dead relative two days before a Festival, he must count five days of mourning after the Festival, and during this period his work is performed for him by others. And his menservants and maidservants do this work in private inside his house, and the public need not occupy themselves with him, for they already occupied themselves with him during the Festival. The general principle with regard to the matter is as follows: Any activity that is prohibited to the mourner because it is an expression of mourning is interrupted by the Festival. And anything that involves the publicโ€™s occupation with the mourner is not interrupted by the Festival. If he buries his relative three days before the end of the Festival, the mourner must count seven days of mourning after the Festival because his mourning never began. On the first four days of his mourning, the public must occupy themselves with him. On the three last days, however, the public need not occupy themselves with him, as they already occupied themselves with him during the Festival. And the Festival counts for him toward the thirty-day mourning period.

With regard to the statement of the baraita that the Festival counts toward the thirty-day period of mourning: What, is it not referring to the latter clause of that baraita, which speaks about a case where the burial was performed during the Festival itself? If this is the case, then a refutation of Rabbaโ€™s opinion is stated explicitly, that the Festival counts toward the thirty-day mourning period, even if the deceased was buried on the Festival itself. Rabba rejects this argument: No, it is referring to the first clause, which discusses a case where the burial was performed before the Festival, and since rites of mourning were observed already before the Festival, the Festival is counted toward the thirty-day period of mourning. Therefore, it is not a refutation of Rabbaโ€™s halakha.

Abaye raised an objection to Rabbaโ€™s opinion from another baraita, in which it was taught: A pilgrimage Festival counts toward the thirty-day period of mourning. How so? If one buried his dead relative at the beginning of a pilgrimage Festival, he must count seven days of mourning after the Festival, and during this period his work is performed by others. And his menservants and maidservants perform this work in private inside his house, and the public need not occupy themselves with him and come to console him, for they already occupied themselves with him during the Festival. And the Festival counts for him. Here it is explicitly stated that the Festival counts toward the thirty-day period of mourning, even when the deceased was buried during the Festival itself. The Gemara concludes: This is indeed a conclusive refutation of Rabbaโ€™s opinion.

 

These two breitot are brought by the Gemara in order to prove that the festival counts toward the thirty-day mourning period; however, along the way, they teach us an additional principle โ€“ that the festival does not prevent the public from coming to comfort the mourners! Letโ€™s take a look at Rashi and Tosafot, who emphasize this point:

ืจืฉ”ื™ ืžืกื›ืช ืžื•ืขื“ ืงื˜ืŸ ื“ืฃ ื™ื˜ ืขืžื•ื“ ื‘

ื•ืื™ืŸ ืจื‘ื™ื ืžืชืขืกืงื™ืŸ ืขืžื• – ื›ืœื•ืžืจ: ืื™ืŸ ืฆืจื™ื›ื™ืŸ ืœื ื—ืžื• ืื—ืจ ื”ืจื’ืœ, ืฉื›ื‘ืจ ื ื—ืžื•ื”ื• ืฉื‘ืขื” ื™ืžื™ื ื‘ืจื’ืœ.

Rashi, Moed Katan 19b

The public need not occupy themselves with him โ€“ that is, they do not have to come and comfort him after the festival, as they came to comfort him during the seven days of the festival.

ืจืฉ”ื™ ืžืกื›ืช ืžื•ืขื“ ืงื˜ืŸ ื“ืฃ ื› ืขืžื•ื“ ื

ื›ืœ ืฉื”ื•ื ืžืฉื•ื ืื‘ืœ ืจื’ืœ ืžืคืกื™ืงื• – ืฉืฆืจื™ืš ืœื”ืฉืœื™ืžื• ืื—ืจ ื”ืจื’ืœ, ื›ื™ื•ืŸ ื“ื›ื™ ื™ืฉื‘ ืฉื ื™ ื™ืžื™ื ืœืคื ื™ ื”ืจื’ืœ – ืฆืจื™ืš ืœื”ืฉืœื™ื ื•ืœื™ืฉื‘ ื—ืžืฉื” ื™ืžื™ื ืื—ืจ ื”ืจื’ืœ.

Rashi, Moed Katan 20a

Any activity that is prohibited to the mourner because it is an expression of mourning is interrupted by the Festival โ€“ and so it must be fulfilled after the festival, because one who sat shiva for two days before the festival must complete the mourning and sit for five days after the festival.

ื›ืœ ืฉื”ื•ื ืžืฉื•ื ืขืกืงื™ ืจื‘ื™ื – ื›ืœื•ืžืจ, ืชื ื—ื•ืžื™ ืจื‘ื™ื – ืื™ืŸ ืจื’ืœ ืžืคืกื™ืงื• [ื›ื“ื™] ืฉื™ื”ื ืฆืจื™ืš ืœื”ืฉืœื™ื ื•ืœืขืกื•ืง ื‘ื• ืื—ืจ ื”ืจื’ืœ, ืืœื ืžืชืขืกืงื™ืŸ ื‘ื• ื‘ืจื’ืœ.

And anything that involves the publicโ€™s occupation with the mourner is not interrupted by the Festival โ€“ that is, public condolences are not interrupted by the festival, and so there is no need to go back and complete it after the festival; rather, the public does it during the festival.

Rashi says explicitly that when the deceased passes away two days before the festival, the public continues to comfort the mourner for five days of the festival! That is, the mourner may not formally be in mourning, but the public will nonetheless come to offer condolences. What is the meaning behind this distinction? Condolences are considered the occupation of the public, and anything considered the occupation of the public is not brought to an end by the festival! This is consistent with what we saw last week: The reason that the festival overrides mourning is that mourning is a commandment incumbent on the individual, where the festival is a commandment incumbent on the collective. However, condolences belong to the collective, and so the festival does not override them.

Tosafot also notes the distinction between condolences and mourning:

ืชื•ืกืคื•ืช ืžืกื›ืช ืžื•ืขื“ ืงื˜ืŸ ื“ืฃ ื› ืขืžื•ื“ ื

ืฉื›ื‘ืจ ื ืชืขืกืงื• ื‘ื• ื‘ืจื’ืœ – ืชื ื—ื•ืžื™ืŸ ื•ื‘ืจื›ื” ื‘ืฉื•ืจื” ื•ื”ืจื™”ื˜ ื“ืคื™ืจืฉ ืœืขื ื™ืŸ ื”ื‘ืจืื” ื—ื•ืœืง ืขืœ ืžื—ื–ื•ืจ ืžื•ื™ื˜ืจ”ื™ ืฉืคื™ืจืฉ ื‘ืฉื ืจืฉ”ื™ ืฉื”ื™ื” ืื•ืžืจ ืฉืื™ืŸ ืขื•ืฉื™ื ื”ื‘ืจืื” ื‘ืจื’ืœ ื”ื•ืื™ืœ ื•ืœื™ื›ื ืื‘ื™ืœื•ืช ื•ืœืื—ืจ ื”ืจื’ืœ ื ืžื™ ืœื ื™ืขืฉื•ื” ื”ื•ืื™ืœ ื•ื‘ื˜ืœื” ืกืขื•ื“ื” ืจืืฉื•ื ื” ืคื™’ ื“ืžืกืคืงื ืœื™ื” ืœืจืฉ”ื™ ืื™ ื”ื‘ืจืื” ื‘ืžื•ืขื“ ืื™ ืœืื—ืจ ื”ืžื•ืขื“ ื“ืฉืžื ื”ื‘ืจืื” ืื™ื ื• ืขืกืงื™ ืจื‘ื™ื ื”ื•ืื™ืœ ื•ื™ื—ื™ื“ ื™ื›ื•ืœ ืœืขืฉื•ืช ื•ืขืœ ื”ื‘ืจืื” ืคื™ืจืฉ ืœืงืžืŸ ื›ืœ ื™ื•ื ืจืืฉื•ืŸ ืืกื•ืจ ืœืื›ื•ืœ ืžืฉืœื• ืืคื™’ ืื•ื›ืœ ืฉืชื™ ืคืขืžื™ื ื‘ื™ื•ื ื“ื”ื ืœื ืงืืžืจ ื’ืžืจื ืกืขื•ื“ื” ืจืืฉื•ื ื” ืืœื ื™ื•ื ืจืืฉื•ืŸ.

Tosafot, Moed Katan 20a

For they already occupied themselves with him during the Festival โ€“ This refers to condolences and blessings in a line (bracha beshura). And the Rit, who interpreted this to refer to the meal of condolences (seudat havraโ€™ah), disagrees with the Vitry Mahzor, who says in Rashiโ€™s name that the meal of condolences is not held on the festival, for there is no mourning on a festival. And after the festival, it will still not be held; the first meal will be canceled because, according to Rashi, there is a doubt whether it should be held on the festival or after the festival, for perhaps it is not a public occupation and can be held aloneโ€ฆ

ื”ืชื•ืกืคื•ืชย  ืคื•ืชื— ื‘ืืžื™ืจื” ืฉื”ืจื’ืœ ืœื ืžื‘ื˜ืœ ืฉืœื•ืฉื” ื“ื‘ืจื™ื: ืชื ื—ื•ืžื™ื, ื•ื‘ืจื›ื” ื•ืฉื•ืจื”. ื‘ื”ืžืฉืš ื”ืชื•ืกืคื•ืชย  ืžื‘ื™ื ืžื—ืœื•ืงืช ื‘ื™ืŸ ืฉื™ื˜ืชื• ืœื‘ื™ืŸ ืฉื™ื˜ืช ืจืฉ”ื™ ื”ืžื•ื‘ืืช ื‘ืžื—ื–ื•ืจ ื•ื™ื˜ืจื™ ื‘ื ื•ื’ืข ืœืกืขื•ื“ืช ื”ื‘ืจืื”, ื”ืชื•ืกืคื•ืช ื”ื‘ื™ืŸ ืฉื”ืชื ื—ื•ืžื™ื ื›ื•ืœืœื™ื ืืช ื›ืœ ืžืขืฉื™ ื”ืจื‘ื™ื ื‘ืื‘ืœื•ืช ื›ืœืคื™ ื”ืื‘ืœ โ€“ ื›ืœื•ืžืจ ืชื ื—ื•ืžื™ื ืกืขื•ื“ืช ื”ื‘ืจืื” ื•ืฉื•ืจื” ื•ื‘ืจื›ืช ืื‘ืœื™ื. ืื•ืœื ืจืฉ”ื™ ื”ืกืชืคืง ื‘ืกืขื•ื“ืช ื”ื”ื‘ืจืื” ื›ื™ื•ื•ืŸ ืฉืฉืื“ื ื™ื—ื™ื“ ื™ื›ื•ืœ ืœืขืฉื•ืช ืืช ืกืขื•ื“ืช ื”ื”ื‘ืจืื” ื•ืื™ืŸ ืฆื•ืจืš ื‘ืจื‘ื™ื ื“ื•ื•ืงื, ื‘ื ื™ื’ื•ื“ ืœืชื ื—ื•ืžื™ื ื•ืฉื•ืจื”.

Tosafot opens with the statement that the Festival does not cancel three things: public condolences, the blessing of the mourners, and the line formed to comfort the mourners. ย Tosafot goes on to bring a disagreement between his own approach and that of Rashi, brought by the Vitry Mahzor, with regard to the question of the meal of condolences. Tosafot understands that the condolences include all public acts of mourning โ€“ that is, public condolences, the meal of condolences, the line, and the blessing of the mourners. However, Rashi refers only to the meal of condolences, because the mourner can hold the meal of condolences alone and does not require the participation of the public โ€“ as opposed to public condolences and the lineย , which by their very nature require the public.

Rashi and Tosafot emphasize that comforters can come to comfort the mourner during the festival primarily because this is a collective commandment, a commandment incumbent on the public. However, other rishonim found another reason. We will look at the Meiri and the Rid:

ื‘ื™ืช ื”ื‘ื—ื™ืจื” (ืžืื™ืจื™) ืžืกื›ืช ืžื•ืขื“ ืงื˜ืŸ ื“ืฃ ื› ืขืžื•ื“ ื

ื•ืž”ืž ืื™ืŸ ืจื‘ื™ื ื—ื™ื™ื‘ื™ืŸ ืœื”ืงื™ืคื• ื‘ื”ื ื‘ืฉื•ืจื•ืช ืฉืœ ืชื ื—ื•ืžื™ืŸ ืฉื›ื‘ืจ ื ืชืขืกืงื• ื‘ื• ื‘ืจื’ืœ ืฉืื™ืŸ ื”ืจื’ืœ ืžื•ื ืข ืืช ื”ืžื ื—ืžื™ืŸ ืžืœื”ืงื™ืฃ ืืช ื”ืื‘ืœ ืœื ื—ืžื• ืฉื›ืœ ืฉื”ื•ื ืžืฉื•ื ืื‘ืœ ืจื’ืœ ืžืคืกื™ืงื• ื•ืื ืžืช ื‘ืชื•ืš ื”ืจื’ืœ ื‘ื›ื“ื™ ืฉืœื ื™ืขื‘ืจื• ืœื• ืฉื‘ืขื” ื‘ืจื’ืœ ืฆืจื™ื›ื™ืŸ ืœื”ืงื™ืคื• ื‘ืชื ื—ื•ืžื™ืŸ ืื—ืจ ื”ืจื’ืœ ืขื“ ืฉื™ื›ืœื• ืฉื‘ืขื” ืœืชื ื—ื•ืžื™ืŸ ืžื™ื•ื ืงื‘ื•ืจืชื• ื•ืื™ืœืš ื•ืž”ืž ืœืขื ื™ืŸ ืื‘ืœื•ืช ืžื•ื ื” ืฉื‘ืขื” ื’ืžื•ืจื™ื ืœืื—ืจ ื”ืจื’ืœ:

Beit haBechira (Meiri), Moed Katan 20a

โ€ฆThe public is not required to surround him in lines of condolence, as they already occupied themselves with him during the festival โ€“ for the festival does not prevent the public from surrounding the mourner to comfort him, because โ€œAny activity that is prohibited to the mourner because it is an expression of mourning is interrupted by the Festivalโ€ and if he died during the festival, such that the seven-day mourning period will not come to an end during the festival, the public must surround him and comfort him after the festival, until the seven-day period from the day of burial ends. For the purpose of mourning, however, one counts seven whole days after the festival.

ืคืกืงื™ ืจื™”ื“ ืžืกื›ืช ืžื•ืขื“ ืงื˜ืŸ ื“ืฃ ื› ืขืžื•ื“ ื

ื•ืื™ืŸ ืจื‘ื™ื ืžืชืขืกืงื™ืŸ ืขืžื• ืฉื›ื‘ืจ ื ืชืขืกืงื• ืขืžื• ื‘ืจื’ืœ, ืฉืืข”ืค ืฉืชืจื‘ื” ื–’ ืื—ืจ ื”ืจื’ืœ ืื™ืŸ ืจื‘ื™ื ืžืชืขืกืงื™ืŸ ืขืžื• ืœื ื—ืžื• ืฉื›ื‘ืจ ื ืชืขืกืงื• ืขืžื• ื‘ืจื’ืœ, ืฉืืข”ืค ืฉืื™ืŸ ืื‘ื™ืœื•ืช ื‘ืจื’ืœ ืžื•ืชืจ ืœื ื—ืžื• ื‘ืจื’ืœ.

Piskei haRid, Moed Katan 20a

And the public need not occupy themselves with him and come to console him, for they already occupied themselves with him during the Festival โ€“ because even if the seven-day mourning period continues after the festival, the public need not occupy themselves with him to comfort him, for although there is no mourning on the festival, it is permitted to comfort him on the festival.

The Meiri and the Rid emphasize that the reason it is possible to comfort the mourner is because comfort is not one of the laws of mourning. Only expressions of mourning are brought to an end by the festival; however, there is no contradiction between rejoicing on the festival and providing comfort!

In summary:

 

Despite the impression we may have gotten until this daf, we found that there is a distinction between the individual mourner and the role played by the comforters.

 

The breitot in the Gemara show that the public occupies itself with the mourner on the festival โ€“ and Rashi and Tosafot interpret this to refer to condolences.

 

According to Rashi and Tosafot, the reason that people come to comfort the mourner is that this is a collective commandment, and as per what we learned last week, the festival does not override collective commandments. However, another aspect of this ruling appears in additional rishonim, who note that this is not only a collective commandment but a commandment that is not considered mourning. That is, this commandment is not an act of mourning, but an act of support and reassurance; therefore, the injunction to rejoice on the festival does not contradict the performance of this commandment whatsoever.

 

It is important to note that in our day, the custom is not to comfort the mourner in any institutionalized way during the festival; this should be explored further, and perhaps there may even be room to return to the custom of the tannaim, amoraim, and rishonim to comfort mourners even on festivals.

Rabbanit Yael Shimoni

Rabbanit Yael Shimoni is the Ramit and Deputy Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshivat Drisha in Kfar Etzion. Rabbanit Shimoni has learned at Migdal Oz, Matan, and the Susi Bradfield Womenโ€™s Institute for Halakhic Leadership at Midreshet Lindenbaum. She holds a BFA from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design and a BEd in Torah Shebeโ€™al Peh and Jewish Thought from Herzog College. She is currently studying towards an MA in Jewish Thought Education at Herzog College. Rabbanit Shimoni taught gemara and halakha at Pelech High School and served as a ramit for shana bet at Migdal Oz. She directs Meshivat Nefesh, the online responsa program of the rabbaniyot of Beit Hillel. She is also a plastic artist and member of โ€œA Studio of Her Own.
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