Friday, May 20, 2022

Moed Koton 10: Mundane Moderation

On this daf, we find that it is permitted to cut the nails of the millstone donkey on Chol Hamoed. Rav Chaim of Aram Tzova imparts a powerful homiletic explanation of this statement: “We can explain that a mill grinds like one who masticates food, so grinding here alludes to the mitzvah to indulge in material matters and eat well during Chol Hamoed. The Hebrew word for donkey is chamor, which also means materialism. Although one should enjoy his food and drink during the Yom Tov, he should not overindulge. In Yirmiyahu (17:1), we find that one’s sins will be inscribed on his nails. In this context, cutting the mill donkey’s nails alludes to reining in the indulgence—enjoying the food but cutting out before overeating.

“A mill can also allude to speaking. Although one should speak and enjoy conversation during Chol Hamoed, he should limit mundane speech—cut the nails of the millstone donkey—and make sure to learn Torah during these precious days” (Mekor Chaim, Chol Hamoed).


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