Wednesday, Sep 21, 2022

Moed Koton 4: Salty Tears

This daf discusses some halachos of watering plants.

There was a certain rebbe who spent an hour every day in his garden saying Tehillim in a very moving manner. He would cry bitter tears as he supplicated Hashem to have mercy on His Yiddishe kinderlach.

Some said that the rebbe’s practice should be forbidden on Shabbos. “After all, this man is crying copious tears in a garden where things grow. Obviously, this is a violation of zoreia, planting, which is clearly forbidden on Shabbos.”

One neutral party wondered why this should be permitted. When this man was exiled to Siberia, he met the Tchebiner Rov, who had also been exiled.

He asked, “Were these people right in their assessment of the situation, or was it really permitted for the rebbe to cry over his Tehillim in the garden on Shabbos?”

The Tchebiner Rov answered, “He was certainly permitted to cry in the garden. The reason is that tears are salty. In Taanis 40, the Gemara tells us that the Atlantic Ocean is salty; therefore, its waters do not cause grain to grow. Tears are therefore another one of the types of liquid that do not cause growth, and the Shulchan Aruch explicitly permits their dispersal in an area where things grow” (Shulchan Aruch, 336:3; Yeshurun, Part 14, p. 182).

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