Wednesday, July 26, 2006
M'shenichnas Av m'ma'atim b'simcha - court cases during Av
Chazal tell us (Ta'anis 26) that once the month of Av begins, one should be ‘mema’et b’simcha’, lessen the intensity of simcha in one’s life. The gemara quotes Rav’s opinion that this is not just a psychological idea, but has practical halachic significance – if one has a court case with a non-jew scheduled for the month of Av, one should try to postpone the trial for a later date. The Rambam (Ta’aniyos 5:6) cites the law of mema’atin b’simcha, but omits the practical import, leaving us with the question of why. The Chasam Sofer (Shu”t 160) offers two explanations for the Rambam: 1) Rav is l’shitaso elsewhere that the customs of aveilus are observed through the entire month of Av (think of how much laundry you would have been doing yesterday if we paskened like Rav!). Since we follow the practice that aveilus ends with chatzos of 10 Av, we reject Rav’s opinion; 2) Rav assumes that the mazal of the month of Av has an effect on one’s fortune; however, we pasken (Shabbos 156) that ain mazal l’yisrael, the Jewish people transcend the effects of mazalos. In a time of tzarah it bears mentioning that even if one accepts the premis that yesh mazal, according to many rishonim great zechiyus and tefillah have the power to override the influence of mazal.