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Thursday, 5 Kislev 5775 / November 27, 2014
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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Avel - Chapter 9

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Avel - Chapter 9

Halacha 1

Whenever a person rends his garments after the loss of a relative other than a parent, he may sew the tear after the seven days of mourning and mend it after thirty days. For one's father and mother, he may sew the tear after thirty days, but may never mend it. A woman should rend her garments and sew them immediately, even when she lost a father or mother, as an expression of modesty.

Halacha 2

Just as a person must rend his garments for the loss of his father and mother; so, too, he is obligated to rend his garments for the loss of a teacher who instructed him in the Torah, a nasi, the av beit din, the majority of the community who were slain, the cursing of God's name, the burning of a Torah scroll, when seeing the cities of Judah, Jerusalem, and the Temple in their destruction.

Halacha 3

All of these tears should be rent to the extent that one reveals his heart and they should never be mended. Although they should never be mended, they may be sewed irregularly, sewn after the sides are wound or twisted together, or sewn like ladders. All that was forbidden was Alexandrian mending.

Whenever a person tears a garment in a place where it was sewn irregularly or sewn after the sides were wound and twisted together, his act is of no consequence. If, however, he rips a garment where it has been mended in an Alexandrian manner, it is of consequence.

Even one turns a rent garment upside down and makes its collar its hem, he should not mend it.

Halacha 4

Just as the seller may not mend it; so, too, the purchaser may not. Therefore the seller must notify the purchaser that this tear may not be mended.

Halacha 5

What is the source that teaches that one is obligated to rend his garments at his teacher's death just as he rends his garments for his father? II Kings 2:12 states: "He was calling out: 'My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen.' And then he no longer saw him. And he took hold of his garments and tore them into two halves." This teaches that one must rip apart the collar.

Halacha 6

What is the source that teaches that one is obligated to rend his garments at the death of the nasi, the av beit din, and a report that the majority of the community have been slain? II Samuel 1:11-12 relates: "David took hold of his garments and rent them as did all the people who were with him. They mourned, they cried, and they fasted until the evening for Saul - the nasi - for his son Jonathan - the av beit din - and for the people of God and the House of Israel for they fell by the sword" - this is an unfavorable report.

Halacha 7

What is the source which teaches that one is obligated to rend his garments when hearing the blasphemy of God's name? II Kings 18:37 states: "And Elyakim ben Chilkiyah who oversaw the palace, Shevna the scribe, and Yoach ben Asaf the secretary, came to Chizkiyahu with rent garments." Just as one who hears the blasphemy itself must rend his garments; so, too, one who hears the report of the blasphemy from the listeners must rend his garments.

Halacha 8

The witnesses are not obligated to rend their garments when they testify in court, for they already tore them when they heard the blasphemy.

Halacha 9

What is the source which teaches that one is obligated to rend his garments for a Torah scroll that is burnt? Jeremiah 36:23-24 states: "And it came to pass that when Yehudi would read three or four columns... until the entire scroll was consumed by the fire in the hearth. And neither the king nor his servants became fearful, nor did they rend their garments." Implied is that one is obligated to rend one's garments.

One is obligated to rend one's garments only because of a Torah scroll that was burnt arrogantly as in the incident cited. One is obligated to rend one's garments twice: once for the parchment and once for the writing, as ibid.:27 states: "After the king burnt the scroll and the words."

Halacha 10

What is the source which teaches that one is obligated to rend his garments when seeing the cities of Judah, Jerusalem, and the Temple in their destruction? Jeremiah 41:5 relates: "Men came from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria, eighty men with their beards shaven and their garments rent."

Halacha 11

Whoever is present with a dying person at the time his soul expires is obligated to rend his garments even if he is not his relative. Similarly, when a virtuous person dies, everyone is obligated to rend his garments because of him, even though he is not a sage. They tear them a handbreadth as other mourners do. When, however, a sage dies, everyone is considered as his relative. They rend their garments for him until they reveal their hearts and uncover their right arms. The house of study of that sage should be discontinued for all seven days of mourning.

Torah scholars have universally accepted the custom of rending their garments for a handbreadth in respect for each other even though they are equal in stature and neither of them teaches the other.

Halacha 12

Whenever a person rends his garments because of a sage who dies, as soon as he turns away from the bier, he may sew it irregularly. It appears to me that when a person rends his garments for a sage, he may mend them on the following day. For even when his teacher dies, one should mourn for him for only one day, either the day of his death or the day he hears the report of his death.

Similarly, it appears to me that a person who rends his garments because of the death of the nasi or the like may sew them irregularly on the following day even though he may never mend them.

Halacha 13

When a report comes that a sage has died, we rend our garments only at the time he is eulogized. This is the honor granted to him. One may sew the garment that day and mend it on the following day.

Halacha 14

When the Av Beit Din dies, everyone rends their garments because of him and uncovers their left arm. All of the houses of study in the city are discontinued. The members of the synagogue enter the synagogue and change their places. Those who sit at the south should sit at the north and those who sit at the north should sit at the south.

Halacha 15

When a nasi dies, everyone rends their garments because of him and uncovers both arms. All of the houses of study are discontinued. The members of the synagogue enter the synagogue on the Sabbath, call seven men to the Torah reading and depart. They should not stroll in the market place, but instead should sit together in families mourning the entire day.

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