Wednesday, August 02, 2006

seudah mamafseket (III) - learning torah erev 9 Av

A careful reading of the Ramban seems to belie the understanding that bathing is prohibited from the time of seudah hamafeseket because the seudah is a quasi- state of aninus. Recall that the Ramban explains that bathing, as opposed to wearing shoes, is prohibited from seudah hamafseket because the enjoyment of feeling refreshed extends into 9 Av itself, not just at the time of washing. Why does the Ramban need this sevara if the seudah obligates nihugei aveilus? I think the answer to this question is that the Ramban is not offering a new sevara to explain the reason for the issur, but is simply offering an indicator (siman, not sibah) why only the aveilus pratice of washing was prohibited but not wearing shoes, etc. However, in Moadim u’Zmanim, R’ Shternbruch takes this sevara of the Ramban at face value as the reason for the issur – it is the hana’ah which comes afterwards, on 9 Av, which creates the issur of bathing beforehand. This too suggests R” Shternbruch, is the reason for the prohibition of wine and meat – not because of aninus, but because these foods provide relish and enjoyment long after the meal has ended.
The Rama paskens that on erev 9 Av one should learn only material dealing with bad events or aveilus which are also permitted on 9 Av. The GR”A describes this as a chumra yeseira, an excessive prohibition, and the Aruch haShulchan as well does not seem to accept this Rama. Wwhen someone accused R’ Chaim Brisker of being too machmir, he offered a list of kulos he held of, among them the leniency to learn anything one wishes until nightfall on erev 9 Av. R’ Shternbruch writes that based on the Ramban, we can perhaps understand this Rama. Pekudei Hashem yesharim, mesamchei lev – we cannot learn Torah on 9 Av because there is no greater joy than engaging on Talmud Torah. Just as one cannot bathe, eat meat or drink wine on erev 9 Av because that enjoyment extends into the ta’anis itself, so too, the talmud torah of erev 9 Av would undoubtedly fill one with joy even after nightfall. The difficulty of this approach is why these issurim do not apply to Shabbos when 9 Av follows on Sunday. Regardless of whether the Moadim U’Zmanin’s sevara is correct in lomdus, it certainly is a powerful mussar to take away from hilchos tisha b’av.


  1. Bill Selliger1:50 PM

    When someone accused R’ Chaim Brisker of being too machmir, he offered a list of kulos he held of, among them the leniency to learn anything one wishes until nightfall on erev 9 Av.

    The Torah Temima says this story in the name of R. Chaim's father, the Beis Halevi. He also lists the other "kulos" you alluded to above.

    Also, I heard that the Rogatchover used to learn on Tisha B'av. When confronted, he replied something to the extent of, "if this is what I'm going to be punished for, so be it". Don't know if that's a true story or not.

  2. Tisha B'Av is worse than Yom Kippur, because at least on Yom Kippur you can learn, while on Tisha B'Av you cannot learn.

  3. I believe the source for this Rogatchover idea is from R' Zevin's sefer Ishim v'Shitot - I do not have a copy, maybe someone out there can check and confirm.

  4. BTW, for those keeping track, the daf Yerushalmi has no learning scheduled on 9 Av - the Bavli does!

  5. Maybe the Daf Yerushalmi and Daf Bavli argue on the nature of Motzei Tisha B'Av. Is it an extension of Tisha B'av and any learning is counted as being on 9 Av or is it a new day? :-)

  6. Bill Selliger3:00 PM

    I have an Ishim v'Shitos...I don't think I saw it there...maybe I'll check tomorrow (HA!).

  7. Bill Selliger12:43 PM

    It is there (biographical synopsis). Here's a loose translation:

    It certainly is not permitted (to learn), and when I accept my punishment for all my other sins, I will be punished for this as well. However, I will eagerly accept this punishment with love, because learning Torah is worth being punished for!

    It loses something in the translation. Sorry.

  8. The Sevara of Rav Shternbuch for not learning on Erev Tisha B'Av is similar (but perhaps not the same) as the Chasam Sofer's reason. The Chasam Sofer says that the reason is because he will be thinking about what he learned after Chatzos on Erev Tish'a B'Av into Tish'a B'Av. Rav Shternbuch seems to be saying that even if one is not thinking about it, the Simcha of learning is not only during the learning itself, but extends beyond the time the actual learning was done.

    Could be a Nafka Minah between the CS and Rav Shternbuch if one would learn Halacha Pesukah Erev Tish'a B'Av - which the Gemara is not concerned about re occupying one's thoughts, as evidenced by learning this before Sh'moneh Esrei, but the Simcha of the Limmud may still be there.

    But perhaps Yesh L'Chalek between thinking about it (problem for Tisha B'Av) and being distracted by it (problem for Sh'moneh Esrei)

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