|July 1, 2011 / 28 Sivan, 5771
MOED KATAN: CHAPTER 3: MISHNAH 6
Rabbi Adam Feldman
Rabbi Eliezer says, since the Temple was destroyed, Atzeret is as Shabbat. Rabban Gamliel says, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are as the Festivals. But the Sages say, Not according to the opinion of this one, nor according to the opinion of that one, but Atzeret is as the Festivals, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are as the Shabbat.
This Mishnah addresses the issue of Shavuot (Atzeret in Rabbinic language). Shavuot is similar to the other Festivals (Pesach and Sukkot) because it is a Pilgrimage Festival mentioned in the Torah along with the others.It is different because it is not observed for a week. In the Torah it is a one-day Festival as it is in Eretz Yisrael today. Outside of Israel it is observed as a two day Festival. Initially Shavuot had the same effect on Shiva and Shloshim as Shabbat (i.e. no public observance of mourning but Shiva and Shloshim continued after Shavuot). In more modern times, Shavuot has come to be viewed just like the other Festivals (i.e. it cancels the observance of Shiva and Shloshim).
The next set of Holidays that the Mishnah addresses is the modern High Holidays - Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. To the student of Rabbinic Literature this is no surprise that these holidays are only listed after the others because in both Biblical and Rabbinic times, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were not understood to be as important as the Pilgrimage Festivals of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot. It is only in more modern times that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur achieved prominence. Today these two holidays are understood to be the same as the others Festivals i.e, that they do cancel the observance of Shiva and Shloshim.
When the person dies during the intermediate days of Pesach or Sukkot the burial takes place immediately but the observance of Shiva and Shloshim do not begin until after the conclusion of the final day of the Festival. This is unique and difficult situation that causes many people a great deal of difficulty. The explanation for this observance is since we must care for the deceased immediate burial is required. However, because the observance of Shiva and Shloshim is a reflection of the community's ability to care for the mourner, they are postponed until the community has completed their own observance. When Shiva and Shloshim begin after the Festivals, they are observed in their totality.
This week's Mishnah lesson was written by
Rabbi Adam Feldman
Rabbi Adam Feldman became the spiritual leader of The Jewish Center in Princeton, New Jersey, n the summer of 2005 after serving for six years as Assistant and then Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom in Roslyn Heights, NY. He received his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York in 1999. His formal education included receiving a BA from Rutgers University in Hebraic Studies, participating in the USY NATIV Leadership Program in Israel as well as studying at the Hebrew University and Machon Schechter in Jerusalem. Prior to Rabbinical School, Rabbi Feldman worked for many years in synagogue and Jewish communal work, including working as a Program Director and senior staff member in national youth organizations and other prominent synagogues.
The opinions expressed in this Unraveller are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the FJMC.
FJMC International Convention 2011
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