THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
1) FASTING ON SHABBOS
QUESTION: The Gemara relates that Mar brei d'Ravina fasted all year, except
for Shavuos, Purim, and Erev Yom Kippur, since those are days on which one
is required to eat, as the Gemara explains.
2) EATING AND DRINKING ON SHAVUOS
The Gemara states that these three days were the only days on which Mar brei
d'Ravina did not fast, which implies that he fasted on every other day of
the year -- including Shabbos and Yom Tov. How could he fast on Shabbos and
Yom Tov? It is forbidden to fast on Shabbos, as Rabah mentioned a few lines
back! On Yom Tov, it should also forbidden to fast since the Halachah
normally does not follow Rebbi Eliezer (Shamuti) when he argues with Rebbi
Yehoshua. Rebbi Yehoshua, earlier in our Gemara, says that one is required
to eat on Yom Tov.
(a) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR concludes from the practice of Mar brei d'Ravina that
it is actually permitted to fast on Yom Tov, and that the Halachah follows
Rebbi Eliezer who says that one does not need to eat on Yom Tov. (This is
also the opinion of the MORDECHAI in Shabbos, 1:230.) According to the Ba'al
ha'Me'or, Mar brei d'Ravina did *not* fast on Shabbos (although the Gemara
does not say so specifically), since even according to Rebbi Eliezer one
must eat on Shabbos, as Rabah stated earlier in our Gemara.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 288:2) cites that "some say" one may fast
on Shabbos if eating causes him harm, because then the fast itself is his
Shabbos pleasure. Similarly, if one fasts all year and therefore eating on
Shabbos will cause him to become sick, he is permitted to fast (288:3), like
the Hagahos Maimoinyos in (c) above.
The RA'AVAD cites RAV HAI GA'ON who, initially, came to the same conclusion
as the Ba'al ha'Me'or that the Halachah follows the opinion of Rebbi
Eliezer. He adds, though, that Mar brei d'Ravina argues with Rabah and
permits fasting even on Shabbos according to Rebbi Eliezer.
(b) The RA'AVAD himself disagrees, and writes that the Halachah does not
follow Rebbi Eliezer, but it follows Rebbi Yehoshua. When the Gemara says
that Mar brei d'Ravina fasted all year, it means that he accepted upon
himself to fast throughout the year *only on* Mondays and Thursdays, as is
customary for righteous people to do. At the time that he accepted this
practice upon himself with a Neder, he remembered to specifically exclude
the three days mentioned in the Gemara as exceptions, but he did not specify
any other exceptions. Therefore, if another Yom Tov fell on Monday or
Thursday, he fasted because of his Neder. (The Neder overrides the
obligation to eat on Yom Tov since the Neder was not to fast *specifically*
on Yom Tov.)
In a similar manner, TOSFOS (Berachos 49b, DH Iy Ba'i Achil) explains that
Mar brei d'Ravina did not fast *every day* of his life, but rather that when
he had a bad dream, he observed a "Ta'anis Chalom" -- a fast to annul the
Divine decree that a bad dream represents -- any day of the year. It is
permitted to observe a Ta'anis Chalom even on Shabbos and Yom Tov; but Mar
brei d'Ravina did not want to observe even such a fast on the three days
mentioned in the Gemara.
Once again, there is no proof from the practice of Mar brei d'Ravina that
the Halachah follows Rebbi Eliezer, because even Rebbi Yehoshua would agree
that it is permitted to observe a Ta'anis Chalom on Shabbos.
(c) RAV HAI GA'ON, in his final answer, concludes that Mar brei d'Ravina was
not necessarily following Rebbi Eliezer's opinion. When he fasted on Shabbos
and Yom Tov, that was because something traumatic once happened to him, for
which he resolved to fast every day for the rest of his life as an act of
*repentance*. A fast for repentance is permitted even on Shabbos, because
one will experience more distress if he does not fast (since he will feel
the lack of repentance). Fasting, then, is his form of pleasure, "Oneg."
Similarly, RABEINU DAVID says that Mar brei d'Ravina did not specifically
accept upon himself to fast every day. Rather, he just happened to go
without eating during the day because he was so involved in his *Torah
learning*, and he would not eat until he came home from the Beis Midrash at
night. Since his life's joy was in the study of Torah, he was permitted to go without eating on Shabbos because that itself was his "Shabbos pleasure"
("Oneg Shabbos"). On Yom Tov, as well, that was his "Simchas Yom Tov."
Even though Rebbi Yehoshua requires "Lachem" -- that one partake in food and
drink in order to experience personal Simchah on Yom Tov, he agrees that one
fulfills "Lachem" if one has so much Simchah in learning Torah that he
experiences no physical discomfort as a result of not eating (RAV MORDECHAI
GIFTER, shlit'a, cited in a footnote to the above).
The HAGAHOS MAIMONIYOS (Hilchos Ta'anis 1:2) similarly explains that Mar
brei d'Ravina's fasts were based on abnormal circumstances. He writes that
Mar brei d'Ravina was accustomed to fasting throughout the year, and if he
would eat (even on Shabbos) it would upset his stomach. Therefore, it was
permitted for him to fast on Shabbos, since eating on Shabbos would be a
change from his normal dietary routine and would cause him to be ill.
Fasting, then, was his "Oneg" on Shabbos.
In addition, one may observe a Ta'anis Chalom on Shabbos -- but in such a
case one must also fast on a weekday in order to atone for not having Oneg
on that Shabbos (288:4). Some say, however, that nowadays we are not expert
in understanding dreams, and one should not observe a Ta'anis Chalom on
Shabbos (Shulchan Aruch OC 288:5).
As far as Yom Tov is concerned, the Halachah follows Rebbi Yehoshua
(Shulchan Aruch 529:1) and one must eat on Yom Tov. (The exceptions
enumerated above for eating on Shabbos will also apply to Yom Tov.)
QUESTION: The Gemara says that according to Rebbi Eliezer, who holds that
one's Yom Tov activity may be totally dedicated to Hashem with no personal
physical pleasure, there are three days on which one must have physical
pleasure as well: Shavuos, Shabbos, and Purim. The Gemara explains the
reason for each one. Shavuos is the day on which the Torah was given.
Shabbos requires "Oneg Shabbos" as the verse commands. Purim is a day of
"celebration and joy."
Why we must eat and be happy on Shabbos and Purim is clear. But why must we
eat on Shavuos because that is the day the Torah was given? On the contrary,
that should be a day completely dedicated to Hashem! It would seem that the
appropriate way of showing appreciation for Torah would be to learn Torah
all day on the day that it was given! Furthermore, we know that the Mishnah
in Avos (6:4) says that the way of Torah is for one to eat only bread with
salt, and to minimize one's physical pleasures (6:6). Why, then, is Shavuos
not to be completely dedicated to Hashem?
ANSWER: Shavuos is not designated as the day of *learning* Torah per se, but
as the day of *Kabalas ha'Torah*. In fact, all three days which Rebbi
Eliezer agrees must have some element of personal pleasure are days of
Kabalas ha'Torah. The Gemara (Shabbos 88a) says that on Purim, the Jewish
people renewed their acceptance of the Torah. Shabbos, too, is that day of
the week on which the Torah was given (ibid.), and that is why we mention
Kabalas ha'Torah in the Shemoneh Esreh on Shabbos morning.
The days that represent Kabalas ha'Torah are days on which we must eat and
feel pleasure, because if we were to fast, and not be happy and rejoice,
that would show that we feel that observing the Torah is a burden
(especially since we were forced to receive the Torah, as the Gemara in
Shabbos explains). Therefore, on the day of receiving the Torah, we must
emphasize our joy by celebrating publicly.
This is the same reason that Rav Yosef (who was blind) made a festive meal
when he was told that a blind person is obligated to keep the Mitzvos
(Kidushin 31a, Bava Kama 87a). He wanted to show that he was happy to be
obligated in Mitzvos. This is also why a young man's Bar Mitzvah is
celebrated with a festive meal -- to show the joy of accepting the Torah and