Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, , at sacred-texts.com
§ 1. The following may [privately] shave [trim their hair] on the Moed:—he who arrives from beyond seas, or returns from captivity, or has been discharged from prison, or an excommunicated [person] whom the sages have absolved; likewise, he who has consulted a sage and been absolved, 1 also the nazir, 2 and the leper, who from [a state of] uncleanness is restored to cleanness.
§ 2. The following may wash [their garments] on the Moed:—he who arrives from beyond seas, or returns from captivity, or has been discharged from prison, and an excommunicated person whom the sages have absolved; also, he who consulted a sage, and by him had been absolved. Towels, barber's napkins, and bathing-towels [may be washed during the Moed]. Men and women who have had a running issue; women after their courses or lying-in; [in short] all [persons] who from [a state of] uncleanness are restored to cleanness, are permitted [to wash their garments], but all other persons are forbidden [so to do].
§ 3. The following [documents] may be written during the Moed: contracts of betrothing, 3 bills of divorce, 4 and receipts [in discharge
of debts]; 5 also wills or codicils, 6 deeds of gift, premonitions, 7 appraisements, 8 and deeds of maintenance, 9 certificates of חליצה, 10 and of refusal, 11 arbitration-bonds, 12 decrees of the Beth Din, and powers of attorney.
§ 4. They must not write bonds [to secure payment] of debts during the Moed; but if he [the lender] has no faith in him [the borrower], or if he has nothing to eat, then [the bond] may he written. 13 They must not write rolls of the Law, Tephilin, or Mezoozoth, during the Moed, and must not correct a single letter even in the roll of the law of עזרא, (Ezra), [another version has of the עזרה, Azarah, outer court of the Temple 14]. R. Jehudah saith, "A man may write Tephilin and Mezoozoth for his own use, and he may also spin sky blue wool for Zizith, in his lap."
§ 5. He who buried his dead [relative] three days before the commencement of the festival, is freed from the seven [days of deep mourning]; if [he buried his dead] eight days [before the festival],
he is freed from the thirty [days of mourning], because they [the sages] held that the Sabbath enters [into the computation], but does not supersede [the mourning, whereas] the festivals supersede [the mourning], but do not enter [into the computation 15].
§ 6. R. Eleazar saith, "Since the destruction of the Temple, the festival of weeks [Pentecost] is [in respect to mourning, to be considered] like the Sabbath." R. Gamaliel saith, "The new year and the day of atonement are [to be considered] like festivals;" but the sages hold not with the dictum of the one or of the other, but [decide that] the festival of weeks is like other festivals, and the new year and day of atonement are like the Sabbath." 16
§ 7. They are not to rend their garments, nor lay bare their shoulder, 17 not eat the funeral-meal [during the Moed], unless they be near relatives of the deceased; 18 the funeral-meal is not to be
taken except on a couch, standing up properly. 19 [The food for such a meal] is not placed before the mourners on a table, nor in a silver tureen, nor in a dish, but in wicker baskets. 20 The mourning prayer must not be said during the Moed, but the rows are formed, 21 and the [usual form of] consolation is pronounced, and the people assembled are at once dismissed.
§ 8. They must not set down [rest] the bier in any public place, that the mourning may not spread. The bier of women [must] at no time [be there set down], on account of [the] respect [due to the sex of the deceased]. The mourning-women may wail during the Moed, but not clap [their palms together]. R. Ishmael saith, "Those nearest to the bier, may clap [the palms of their hands together]." 22
§ 9. On the festivals of the new moon, of dedication, and of purim, they [the mourning-women] may wail [aloud] and clap [the palms of their hands together], but must not sing lamentations [funeral dirges]; but when the corpse is interred, they must neither wail aloud, nor sing dirges. What is [meant by the expression] wailing? When all of them 23 join in one chorus. What is [meant by the expression] lamentation [dirge]? When one recites and the others respond [or repeat after her], as it is said, "Teach your daughters wailing and every one her neighbour lamentation." 24 But of future [ages] that are to come it is said, "Death shall be swallowed [destroyed] for ever, and the Lord will wipe away tears from off all faces," &c. 25
196:1 From a vow he had made not to have his hair cut for a certain period; which vow he repents of, and desires to annul, but could not, before the Moed, meet with a sage who would consent to absolve him.
196:2 Vide Numbers vi. 1–21; in case the time of his vow expires during the Moed. This is also the case with all the permissions here granted, i.e. the person arriving from beyond seas, or returning from captivity, &c., must so arrive or return on the Moed.
196:3 The marriage subsequently to be completed under the nuptial canopy, and by consummation, when a regular marriage contract is granted. (Vide Treatise Kedushin.)
196:4 Granted by men who have been drawn to serve in the wars, and who must leave during the Moed.
197:5 In cases where the acknowledgment has been lost, and the debtor refuses payment.
197:6 To the will of a person dangerously ill, or dying.
197:7 פרוזבולין (Vide Treatise Sheviith, chap. X. § 7); a legal deed, by means of which the lender gave notice to the Beth Din, that he reserved unto himself the right of enforcing payment against the debtor at any time. It was introduced by the elder Hillel in consequence of poor people being exposed to great distress, because the wealthy refused to accommodate them with any loans, which, according to Deut. xv., they could not recover after the seventh, or Sabbatical year. This notice had to be given before the seventh year commenced.
197:8 Appraisements made by order of the Beth Din, in case the debtor's real property was to be assigned to his creditors.
197:9 By which the Beth Din allowed aliments to the wife and children out of a man's estate, or by which he undertook to maintain his step-daughter.
197:10 Vide Treatise Yebamoth, chap. XII. § 1 and 6.
197:11 Vide Treatise Yebamoth, chap. XIII. § 1.
197:12 Lest one of two litigants, who has agreed to submit his disputes to arbitration [a method of settling differences much encouraged by the Mishna], withdraw his consent; which, when the arbitration bonds have actually been signed, he no longer has the power to do.
197:13 As the bond may he executed after the Moed, unless the lender has so little faith in the honesty of his debtor as to suspect he might, at a later period, deny the loan, and contend it was a gift. The words, "if he has nothing to eat," are by some made to refer to the debtor, while others apply it to the writer of the bond, whose subsistence depends on his earnings.
197:14 The roll of the law written by Ezra himself; others suppose it to have been that roll of the law which was kept in the outer court of the Temple, that the Mishna here instances as most venerable.
198:15 The Sabbath is included in the number of the seven days of deep mourning, but does not supersede them; for if it did, there never could be seven days of deep mourning completed, as the intervening Sabbath would reduce the number. The festivals are not included in the number of the days of mourning, as they entirely supersede the seven days of deep mourning; and the portion of the thirty days mourning, which has expired before the festival, is carried forward till after the festival, and then added to the number of days, which complete the thirty. The mourning properly commences from the time the coffin is closed, hence the expression of the Mishna, "who buried his dead." The degrees of consanguinity which exact the full mourning [Sheebah, the seven days of deep mourning, and Sheloshim, the thirty days of mourning], are: first, father; second, mother; third, son; fourth, daughter; fifth, brother; sixth, sister; and seventh, spouse. The halachah is, that should a man bury his dead relative, even one hour before the festival comes in, he is freed from the seven days of deep mourning.
198:16 In the days of the second Temple, the sacrifices which every Israelite was bound to offer on the Pentecost, could, in case of omission, be brought during the six days next after the feast. This alone, according to the opinion of R. Eleazar, assimilated the Pentecost with the other two festivals of longer duration; a similarity which he thought ceased with the cessation of the extended privilege, at the destruction of the Temple. The halachah is, that all the festivals, including the new year and day of atonement, equally supersede the seven days of deep mourning.
198:17 A sign of mourning anciently exhibited, but now in desuetude.
198:18 In one of the seven degrees of consanguinity enumerated in note 15 to the preceding paragraph. The exception to this rule is at the death of a distinguished sage, or chief of a congregation, who is considered as an ornament to the human race, and dear to all men as if he were their nearest relative.
199:19 At all other times the couches, which in the east are used as chairs, are turned over, as the mourners must not use them in the ordinary way.
199:20 That no distinction he made between rich and poor.
199:21 Vide Treatise Berachoth, chap. III. § 2, and note thereto.
199:22 It was the custom in the times of the Mishna, to hire women whose profession it was to attend funerals, where they wailed, clapped their hands, &c.
199:23 The hired mourners.
199:24 Jer. ix. 20.
199:25 Isa. xxv. 8.