This was going to be the last segment of our שובבי”ם series about the עונת אביאסף, however, in the process of writing it became apparent to the author that it needed to be broken up into smaller pieces. It is written assuming that the reader is familiar with the two previous segments. Segment One. Segment Two.

We left off last time having explained why the definition of a עונה is a period of 12 equal hours – a day or a night at the equinoxes and half a day and half a night at the solstices. The אביאסף, we noted, defines the עונת הוסת as such – and yet – the הגהות מיימוניות claims that this makes no sense. Let’s ponder two reasons as to why this may be.

  • Reason One: A literal interpretation of the ברייתא (applied to a וסת) would have a woman changing her עונת הוסת sometime during the year. This leaves us with several practical problems:
    • When would this change occur? On the first day of summer or winter? That seems rather arbitrary!
    • A woman who sees at a certain עונה in the spring, but sometimes before noon sometimes after noon – would set a וסת for that עונה. Which half of the day would she keep as her וסת during the summer? How could she be מותרת for the other half when we know that she sometimes sees then?
    • Such a וסת would be very hard to keep track off.
  • Reason Two: The גמרא sets נץ החמה as the cutoff point for a וסת and makes no mention as to the season.

These reasons point to some underlying distinctions which must be made (and as we shall see has been made) between the applications of עונה listed in נדה דף סה (namely the time necessary to run a faucet in order to render כלים fit for use, or the amount of time one can assume that the appearance of blood is due to דם בתולים) and the application of עונה in עונת הוסת. On דף סה the עונה is a measurement of time from a given event – either the placement of כלים under a faucet, or the rupture of the hymen (even though in the case of דם בתולים it is clear that the clock starts ticking at the beginning of that evening – as extra time is allotted for the likely occurrence that they are delayed). By contrast, in the case of עונת הוסת the עונה is a time in which we are חושש that sometime may happen (nothing yet has happened from which to count from).

Also, a וסת is, by definition, a recurring event – which should be consistent across seasons – whereas the other applications are not.

On the other hand, as we have demonstrated, the ברייתא on דף סה clearly defines a עונה as such. Let’s start addressing these issues by first quoting the בית יוסף in יורה דעה סימן קפ”ד:

כתבו הגהות מיימוניות בפרק ד’ אות ט’ בשם אביאסף ‘וכמה עונה? יום או לילה ביומי ניסן ותשרי וחצי יום וחצי לילה ביומי תמוז וטבת ע”כ’ ונראה שטעמו משום דמשמע ליה דשיעור עונה הוי י”ב שעות מהשעות שהם כ”ד ביום ובלילה ומ”מ נראה לי שאין לחוש לכך מאחר שהפוסקים לא הזכירוהו וגם לישנא דגמרא משמע דלא קפיד אלא על יום או על לילה לא על שעות ולא הזכירוהו שעות בפרק האשה אלא משום פלוגתא דרבי יוסי דאיתא התם.

The הגהות מיימוניות Chapter 4 Footnote 9 quotes the אביאסף: “And how much (long) is an עונה? A day or night during the days of Nissan or Tishrei or a half a day and a half a night during the days of Tammuz or Teves.” It would seem that his reasoning is because he is of the opinion that this is implied from the גמרא that the measurement an עונה is a 12 hour period of the day when the days are 24 hours day and night, despite this, it seems to me that one need not worry about this, since this opinion is not mentioned in the פוסקים. Also, the wording of the גמרא implies that we are only worried about the day or night – but not about hours, and hours are only mentioned in Perek HaIsha because of the dispute of Rav Yosse.

Let’s first note that the בית יוסף makes no mention of the גמרא on דף סה defines an עונה as the אביאסף does, but rather, assumes that the אביאסף’s reasoning is based on his interpretation of the גמרא’s use of the term “שעות” (hours). He then rejects the אביאסף by offering an alternative reason for the use of that term.

The מעדני יו”ט noted this glaring omission (רא”ש פרק א סימן ב אות ל במעדני יו”ט) (The מעדני יו”ט makes reference to a דרישה that we will see later, but for our purposes at this point it is the same as theבית (יוסף:

…ואני אומר דבלי ספק דאגב חורפיה לא דק ואשתמטיה הך סוגיא דפרק התינוקת דבודאי דמשם יצא לו להאביאסף ולא משמע ליה מסברא דעלמא דכתב הב”י אלא סמיך ליה על הגמרא הערוך שכתבתי וגם מ”ש הב”י דלישנא דגמרא משמע דלא קפיד כו’ גם בזה לא עיין דקסבר הוא שזה הלשון שהזכירו הרי”ף ורבינו או יום או לילה דבגמרא אדהכא איתמר כך  ולא היא שמצינו להך סוגיא דפרישה סמוך לוסתן שהוא בגמרא בג’ מקומות בפ”ב דשבועות ובפרק האשה ובפרק הבא על יבמתו ובשלושתן לא אתמר בגמרא כלום אלא ששיעור הפרישה הוא עונה אבל כמה היא שיעור עונה לא אתמר כלל וא”כ אדרבא מסתמא יש לנו לומר דנלמוד סתום מן המפורש והיינו ההיא דפרק התינוקת…

… And I contest that without a doubt due to his )the פרישה’s) sharpness he committed an error and neglected the סוגיא in פרק התינוקת, for certainly that is the אביאסף’s source and not just from some סברא as the בית יוסף says – but rather, he relies on the explicit גמרא that I wrote. Also, that which בית יוסף says that the language of the גמרא implies that we are only worried about days etc. also here he erred as he assumed that since the רי”ף and the רא”ש say that an עונה is either a day or a night – such it is said in the גמרא, but that is not the case – for we have seen three places where abstaining adjacent to the וסת is mentioned- in the second chapter of tractate שבועות, in פרק האשה and in פרק הבא על יבמתו and in these three places nothing is mentioned in the גמרא about the length of an עונה other than that עונה is the length of abstinence – but regarding the length of an עונה nothing was taught. Therefore, contrary (to the reasoning of the בית יוסף) we should learn the cryptic from the explicit, namely, the גמרא in פרק התינוקת…

To be continued…




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