Blog Yomi – Moed Katan #8

We ended the last Daf with the Gemara’s discussion of the prohibition of getting married on Chol HaMoed due to the well-known general principle of “אֵין מְעָרְבִין שִׂמְחָה בְּשִׂמְחָה” – not mixing one simcha together with another simcha. Putting this into context, there were four reasons given for not getting married on Chol HaMoed:

  1. Not mixing two joyous occasions, thereby diminishing attention from one or the other
  2. Not detracting from the preparation for the Holiday by the preparation needed for a wedding
  3. Preparation for a wedding it hard work (טרחה), and hard work is not permitted on Chol HaMoed
  4. Given the costs associated with weddings, people might defer wedding feasts to combine them with a celebratory feast on the רגל, and this would result in deferred pregnancies (בִּיטּוּל פְּרִיָּה וּרְבִיָּה).

The Gemara now begins a lengthy discourse on the topic of אֵין מְעָרְבִין שִׂמְחָה בְּשִׂמְחָה with the following evidence from שלמה המלך in dedicating the בּית המקדשׁ:

וּדְאֵין מְעָרְבִין שִׂמְחָה בְּשִׂמְחָה מְנָלַן? דִּכְתִיב: ״וַיַּעַשׂ שְׁלֹמֹה בָעֵת הַהִיא אֶת הֶחָג וְכל יִשְׂרָאֵל עִמּוֹ קָהָל גָּדוֹל מִלְּבוֹא חֲמָת עַד נַחַל מִצְרַיִם [לִפְנֵי ה׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ] שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וְשִׁבְעַת יָמִים אַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר יוֹם״. וְאִם אִיתָא דִּמְעָרְבִין שִׂמְחָה בְּשִׂמְחָה — אִיבְּעִי לֵיהּ לְמִינְטַר עַד הֶחָג, וּמִיעְבַּד שִׁבְעָה לְהָכָא וּלְהָכָא.

וְדִלְמָא מִינְטָר לָא נָטְרִינַן, וְהֵיכָא דְּאִתְרְמִי — עָבְדִינַן! אִיבְּעִי לֵיהּ לְשַׁיּוֹרֵי פּוּרְתָּא.

שַׁיּוֹרֵי בִּנְיַן בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ לָא מְשַׁיְּירִינַן. אִיבְּעִי לֵיהּ לְשַׁיּוֹרֵי בְּאַמָּה כָּלְיָא עוֹרֵב.

אַמָּה כָּלְיָא עוֹרֵב צוֹרֶךְ בִּנְיַן הַבַּיִת הוּא. אֶלָּא מִדִּמְיַיתַּר קְרָא, מִכְּדֵי כְּתִיב ״אַרְבְּעָה עָשָׂר יוֹם״, ״שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וְשִׁבְעַת יָמִים״ לְמָה לִי? שְׁמַע מִינַּהּ הָנֵי לְחוֹד וְהָנֵי לְחוֹד

And as translated by the Sefaria:

“The Gemara asks: With regard to the principle that one may not mix one joy with another joy, from where do we derive it? The Gemara explains that the source is as it is written with regard to the dedication of the Temple: “So Solomon held the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entrance of Hamath to the Brook of Egypt, before the Lord our God, seven days and seven days, fourteen days” (I Kings 8:65). And if it is so that one may in fact mix one joy with another joy, he should have waited until the festival of Sukkot, which was the second set of seven days, and made a feast of seven days for this and for that, i.e., for the dedication of the Temple and for the festival of Sukkot together. The fact that he did not do so indicates that one must not mix one joy with another.

The Gemara raises a question: Perhaps, however, it may be derived from here only that we may not delay a wedding to be on a Festival, just as King Solomon did not delay the Temple dedication to be on the Festival, but nevertheless, where it happens to occur that way, we may indeed prepare a feast to celebrate both occasions together. The Gemara answers: If this were permitted, Solomon should have left a small part of the Temple unfinished until the Festival, and thereby arranged for a joint celebration of the dedication of the Temple and the festival of Sukkot.

The Gemara responds: One may not leave any part of the building of the Temple undone, as a mitzva should be completed as quickly as possible. The Gemara modifies its previous opinion: Solomon should have left the cubit-wide plates with spikes, which were designed to eliminate the ravens, unfinished. The roof of the Temple was fitted with sharp metal spikes to deter the ravens, who were attracted by the smell of the sacrificial meat, from perching there. Although this was not considered a part of the building itself, delaying its installation would have allowed Solomon to delay the celebration of the Temple dedication.

The Gemara rejects this opinion as well: The cubit-wide plates with spikes to eliminate the ravens was a necessary element in the building of the Temple, and consequently Solomon could not delay its construction either. Rather, the proof is from the redundancy in the verse. Since it is written “fourteen days,” why do I need the verse to specify “seven days and seven days”? Learn from it that these seven days of celebrating the Temple dedication must be discrete, and similarly, these seven days of celebrating the Festival must be discrete, due to the principle that one may not mix one joy with another.”

By the way, metal spikes to deter birds are still commonplace today.

A comment here from The Transformative Daf is inspiring, entry #9, “The Very Best Version of You”: “On the one hand, Shlomo HaMelech teaches that you should perform every mitzvah that comes your way. On the other hand, he says that when faced with two mitzvos, you should strive to fulfill the bigger mitzvah … When we’re young, we think that we can do it all and have it all, but the truth is that it’s impossible to do everything in life. Every time you choose to do one thing, you are at the same time choosing not to do other things. … The goal in life is to figure out how to maximize your potential on earth … And so King Solomon’s advice is: Constantly ask yourself two questions. The first is, ‘Could anyone else do what I am doing’? If the answer no, then you must take care of it, no matter how trivial it may feel. If the answer is yes, then you may need to yourself the second question. ‘What else could I be doing in this world that might be of a better use of my talents, skills, and expertise?

The answer to these two questions is not static. It will change throughout your life, just as you change and the circumstances around you change. As you grow, your environment must grow. As you thrive, so should those you are impacting.”

Let’s Zoom ahead to a fascinating human interest take that the Gemara has on the self-image of women, permitting the use of cosmetics on Chol HaMoed:

תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן, אֵלּוּ הֵן תַּכְשִׁיטֵי נָשִׁים: כּוֹחֶלֶת וּפוֹקֶסֶת וּמַעֲבִירָה סְרָק עַל פָּנֶיהָ. וְאִיכָּא דְּאָמְרִי מַעֲבֶרֶת סְרָק עַל פָּנֶיהָ שֶׁל מַטָּה.

דְּבֵיתְהוּ דְּרַב חִסְדָּא מִקַּשְּׁטָא בְּאַנְפֵּי כַּלְּתַהּ. יָתֵיב רַב הוּנָא בַּר חִינָּנָא קַמֵּיהּ דְּרַב חִסְדָּא וְיָתֵיב וְקָאָמַר: לֹא שָׁנוּ אֶלָּא יַלְדָּה, אֲבָל זְקֵנָה — לֹא.

אֲמַר לֵיהּ: הָאֱלֹהִים! אֲפִילּוּ אִמָּךָ וַאֲפִילּוּ אִימָּא דְאִימָּךְ, וַאֲפִילּוּ עוֹמֶדֶת עַל קִבְרָהּ. דְּאָמְרִי אִינָשֵׁי: בַּת שִׁיתִּין כְּבַת שֵׁית, לְקָל טַבְלָא רָהֲטָא.

As translated by the Sefaria:

“It was taught in the mishna: And a woman may engage in all of her usual cosmetic treatments on the intermediate days of a Festival. The Sages taught in a baraita: These are the cosmetic treatments of women that are permitted: She may paint her eyelids, she may remove unwanted hair [pokeset], and she may put rouge on her face. And some say: She may pass a comb over her lower face, i.e., she may remove the hair from her pubic area.

The Gemara relates that Rav Ḥisda’s wife would adorn herself on the intermediate days of a Festival in the presence of her daughter-in-law, i.e., when she already had a married son. Rav Huna bar Ḥinnana sat before Rav Ḥisda, and he sat and said: They taught only that a woman is permitted to engage in cosmetic treatments on the intermediate days of a Festival only with regard to a young woman, as such treatments bring her joy, but in the case of an old woman, no, the treatments are not permitted, as she does not need them.

Rav Ḥisda said to him: By God! Even your mother, and even your mother’s mother, and even a woman so old that she is standing at the edge of her grave are all permitted to adorn themselves. As people say in the popular adage: A woman of sixty years, like one of six, runs at the sound of the timbrel [tavla], implying that women of all ages are young in spirit; since they all take pleasure in their adornments, they are allowed to adorn themselves, regardless of age.”

‘Nuff said …

About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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