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The first mishna in Moed Katan says that during Chol Hamoed or Shemitta,

ואין עושין עוגיות לגפנים

You can't bake cookies for grape vines.

I don't know much about agriculture, but why would you want to bake cookies for vines? And why can't you?


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It is because the bakery of Choni Hameagel (¹) was closed, he was sleeping 70 years (²) after that he baked a cake, a dry cake, to atract the humidity.


(¹) Mishna Taanit 3, 8b

He prayed, and the rain did not descend. What did he then? He marked out a circle, and placing himself within it ( מה עשה עג עוגה) , thus prayed, "Creator of the world! thy children have looked up to me as being peculiarly favoured by thee; I swear, by thy Great Name, that I will not move from this place until thou wilt have compassion on thy children." The rain began to drop down [gently]. He said, "It was not for this that I petitioned, but for rain [sufficient to fill] wells, cisterns, and caves." The rain then fell in violent torrents; when he said, "Not for such rains did I petition, but for mild, felicitous, and liberal showers." The rain then fell in the usual manner, until the Israelites of Jerusalem were obliged to go from the city to the Temple mountain, on account of the rain. They came and said to him, "Even as thou didst pray that the rains might come down, thus pray now that they may cease." He said to them, "Go and see whether the stone ‏טועים‎ is covered by the waters." Simeon, son of Shatach sent him word, "If thou wert not Honee, I would order thee to be anathematised; but what shall I do to thee? since thou sinnest against God, and yet he forgives and indulges thee like a favoured child, who sins against his father, and is yet forgiven and indulged. To thee may be applied the text, 'Thy father and mother shall rejoice, and they who begot thee shall be glad.' (Prov. 23:25)"

(²) Taanit 23a

The Gemara relates another story about Ḥoni HaMe’aggel. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: All the days of the life of that righteous man, Ḥoni, he was distressed over the meaning of this verse: “A song of Ascents: When the Lord brought back those who returned to Zion, we were like those who dream” (Psalms 126:1). He said to himself: Is there really a person who can sleep and dream for seventy years? How is it possible to compare the seventy-year exile in Babylonia to a dream? etc...

  • I don't get it. What does Choni have to do with cake? – Scimonster Feb 26 '17 at 20:20
  • @Scimonster It says in Taanit 3:8 that he baked a cake (עג עוגה). Since Moed Katan is only 2 masechtot after Taanit I guess it's reasonable. – Heshy Feb 26 '17 at 20:25
  • This answer could use a few more details. Are you also baking cookies to attract water to the grape vines like Choni did? That fits with the rest of the mishna which is about watering plants. – Heshy Feb 26 '17 at 20:26
  • @Heshy the answer was for you and I knew you understand – kouty Feb 26 '17 at 20:27
  • OK a bissale details – kouty Feb 26 '17 at 20:28

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