How do we know that the prohibition against doing m'lacha on chagim begins at sunset and not dawn?

  • I will be the first to admit I don't understand what the "drush" tag is intended for, or why there are no "midrash", "drasha" or "darshanut-torah-explication" tags. Can someone explain what "drush" is or how this state of affairs came about historically? – WAF Apr 24 '11 at 14:13
  • Same question exists for Shabas, no? OTOH, why would one think the prohibition starts with daybreak? – msh210 Apr 24 '11 at 17:01
  • @msh210 - Re shabas - More simple to connect it with primordial shabas, which began the previous night. Re the hava amina - Intuition says that morning is the beginning of the day, the Torah, in commanding us to do the mitzvos of the chagim doesn't mention that they should start at night (null hypothesis), and those mitzvos include bringing karbanos, whose cycles generally begin in the morning and end at the end of the night (weak support). – WAF Apr 24 '11 at 17:56
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    @WAF, aside from my answer below, I have to take issue with your null hypothesis, because there is indeed a place where the Torah does explicitly state that the mitzvos of the Yom Tov start at night. This is in connection with Pesach: בערב תאכלו מצות עד יום האחד ועשרים לחדש בערב (Ex. 12:18). – Alex Apr 27 '11 at 5:13
  • @Alex - In. Hachi nami. – WAF Apr 27 '11 at 13:55

The Torah spells out (Lev. 23:32) that Yom Kippur begins בתשעה לחדש בערב, in the evening of 9 Tishrei, and that it runs מערב עד ערב, from evening to evening.

As explained by the Gemara, Rosh Hashanah 9a, the words בתשעה לחדש בערב teach us that מוסיפין מחול על הקדש - we have to start Yom Kippur a little earlier than sunset and end it a little after nightfall. The final words of the verse, תשבתו שבתכם, tell us that the same applies to Shabbos and all of the other Yamim Tovim (all of which are collectively called Shabbos, as in ממחרת השבת in connection with Sefiras Haomer). So we see that all of them begin and end at the same time.

  • Are you suggesting that the isur m'lacha is learned out of tosefes or that the g'mara there says that the times are learned by means of the same d'rasha? In other words is the inference in your answer your own (perfectly sensible but strange to not appear in the g'mara) or the g'mara's? – WAF Apr 27 '11 at 13:55
  • It's my own inference. The Gemara says that tosefes applies to all of them, and it seems logical to say that this means the same tosefes timewise. (The alternative would be to say, for example, that other Yamim Tovim start at daybreak, and tosefes tells us to start them earlier, say at dawn; but that would be hard to accept considering that we're deriving tosefes from the term בערב.) – Alex Apr 27 '11 at 16:02

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